Wednesday , April 14 2021

A look at Canada’s “awful” horse meat industry



CALGARY – Canada – and Alberta in particular – is one of the world’s largest suppliers of horse meat. More than 25,000 are slaughtered annually. Meat is frozen and exported, mainly to Japan, France and the USA

But what is most controversial is how the industry fuels the desire for fresh raw horse meat in Asia. Thousands of live horses are loaded onto planes each year and flown thousands of miles away, where they are fattened for slaughter.

The Canadian Defense Coalition describes this journey as cruel and inhumane: “They are… stuffed… in small wooden crates, three to four horses per box. Often, there is not enough space. There is no place to lie down. They can not be spread. “Sometimes the horses have fallen … during take-off and landing,” CEO Sinikka Crosland told W5.

Horses fly almost weekly from airports in Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. Their destination is 9,000 kilometers away in Kumamoto Prefecture, western Japan. Horse meat is a delicacy in Japan. Raw horse meat is called “basashi” and customers will pay up to 8,000 yen or about $ 100 per serving, according to what Canadians pay for high quality steak.

Activists have made numerous requests for access to information to government authorities to monitor how many horses are injured or killed during this long journey. In 2014, a horse described as “troubled” kicked the fuselage and forced it to land. The horse died. In 2018, a horse described as anxious and breathing heavily was “down in a cage”. It was euthanasia when she could not get up. By 2020, five horses had fallen and one was dead on arrival in Japan.

There is a growing global movement to end the transport of all living animals, not just horses. The British Parliament announced plans to end the export of live animals for slaughter, calling the practice inhumane.

Canadian veterinarian Judith Samson-French explains why the journey is particularly difficult for horses: “Horses are not trained or prepared for transport. Horses are flying animals and we treat them like cattle. Not working. So, from a human point of view … and the biology of the horse, it does not make it conducive to transport. Animals must be slaughtered where they grow up. They do not have to kill an ocean and get through the misery of transportation. “

International standards set by the World Organization for Animal Health stipulate that large horses are separated during transport and that the top of their head does not touch the top of the box. They do not have a compliance or enforcement order. And while Canada is a member of the organization, this country does not follow these standards. Instead, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) argues that it is human to ride horses in groups during flights if they are “compatible” and that their heads can touch the top of the box if they “shake”.

Canadian singer and TV host Jann Arden uses her voice to support the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition in a campaign called #horseshit. From her Calgary recording studio, Arden says seeing horses loaded at Calgary Airport has changed her forever.

“To see the horses die. It’s awful. I wish I had never seen it. He will be with me for the rest of my life, but because I am able to testify, I can help them. This country was built on the back of a horse. We owe them a gratitude. Are we horse people or are we this awful part of agriculture? “

A petition to end live horse exports has been submitted to the House of Commons by Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, MP for East York Beaches in Toronto.

Watch “Flight Animals” on Saturday at 19:00 on W5




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