Horse welfare advocates have a small victory to celebrate with the passing of Bill C-355  in the House of Commons on January 31st. We’ve covered Bill C-355 extensively,  which seeks a total ban on the live export of horses overseas for slaughter. Now that the 181 Members of Parliament voted for this protective bill, it will move to the Agriculture Committee for approval. So while this is indeed a victory for horses, the war isn’t over yet.

The non-profit group the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC),  which has been on the forefront of the battle to get the ban, issued a statement: “It is important that we celebrate wins when they happen, but it’s also vital that we keep the pressure on political decision makers. Bill C-355 will now enter the Committee Stage where it will be studied in-depth and suggested changes will be made.”

The group goes on to express their gratitude to Liberal MP Tim Louis, who proposed the bill, and Senator Pierre Dalphond, whose Horse Protection Act stands in support of MP Louis’ efforts. As the bill moves forward, it must eventually be considered and passed by the Senate. The CHDC also thanked fellow animal welfare organizations and everyday horse people who have supported the cause.

And last, but far from least, the group also praised Canadian singer/writer Jann Arden, a patron of the group, and her Horseshit team for their work on the issue. The involvement of Arden certainly helped raise public awareness of the plight of these horses. She has lobbied Ottawa and taken to the streets to busk  to give the issue greater visibility.

“We are obviously very thrilled that bill C-355 passed in the House of Commons ‒ but realize that much work is still to be done,” Arden told Horse-Canada. “It’s important that the agriculture committee provides guidelines and a language that make it very clear to horse owners, that travel for horse shows, competitions or personal travel is very clearly laid out — and not affected by horses that are horrifically flown in wooden crates for human consumption on the other side of the world. We are confident that a balance can be struck and that live horse export can be ended for once and for all. It has been a stain on Canadian agricultural for 20-plus years.”

It should be noted that the majority of those who voted in favour were from the Liberal and NDP parties, with the Conservative and Bloc MPs tending to vote against. You can visit here to view how your Member of Parliament voted.

Despite this small step forward, the CHDC explains that once the bill enters the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food, there will likely be proposed amendments put forward by horse meat lobbyists attempting to undermine the excellent protective efforts achieved so far. To continue the fight, the CHDC encourages you to contact your MP and members of the Agriculture Committee  to voice support to pass Bill C-355.