Transport of Live Horses to Asia for Slaughter
Live horses are flown from Edmonton and Calgary to Asia for slaughter and consumption. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is responsible for overseeing the transport and care of these horses within Alberta during this process. The Health of Animals Act (Canada) and the Health of Animals Regulations enacted thereunder set out rules governing the transportation and export of these horses. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is an NGO dedicated to achieving an end to export of live horses for slaughter.
The Clinic was retained by a local veterinarian in 2016 who had evidence that horses were being transported out of the Calgary airport in a manner that caused them undue suffering and under conditions which did not comply with the rules set out in federal legislation. Our client was also concerned that federal rules were not consistent with international standards for the humane transportation of livestock. Clinic students worked with the client to develop and make a written submission on proposed amendments to the Health of Animals Regulations in February 2017. The focus of this written submission was to highlight the risks inherent in the outcomes-based framework in the proposal and the absence of a meaningful compliance and enforcement program.
The Clinic continues to monitor this topic. In a December 2021 mandate letter to the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Prime Minister directed the Minister to deliver on a commitment to ban the live export from Canada of horses for slaughter.