Update of 2014 horse slaughter statistics

DSC04966The final sad numbers are in for 2014.  You can view the table here.  To quickly summarize, the total number of horses slaughtered in Canada for 2014 was 66,651.  Of those, 40,140 or 60% were from the US.  Please see our previous posting for a more thorough breakdown.

Posted in Horse Slaughter | 16 Comments

Amendment to previous post

On January 29, 2015, we posted a blog entitled “Kill Buyer Lalonde In Court For Failing To Provide Adequate Care To Animals.”

The blog post indicated that Jonathan Lalonde, an Ottawa-based kill buyer, appeared in court on January 9, 2015 to answer to animal welfare charges, specifically, “permitting distress and failing to provide adequate standards of care for a horse and a bull in his care.”

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition retracts that statement. Mr. Lalonde did appear in court on January 9, 2014, to answer to animal welfare charges laid against him in 2013. However, the charges were withdrawn on May 29, 2014.

Publishing the incorrect date of January 9, 2015 instead of the accurate date January 9, 2014 was an inadvertent error. We apologize to Mr. Lalonde for the error. We have removed the blog post in question.

Posted in Horse Slaughter

Upcoming event in the Toronto area for horse lovers March 29, 2015

highres_434041831For anyone who loves horses and who wants to share their love by encouraging open, respectful and non-confrontational discussion about preventing horse slaughter in Canada.  Learning to talk respectfully about this divisive subject is a key goal to finding solutions within the industry.  If we can’t even talk about it, how will it ever change?

If you want to do something – anything – about the issue of horse slaughter in Canada you have come to the right place. We know it’s not a fun topic but we can have lots of fun taking small, positive steps in the right direction.

Find out more, meet others who feel the same way, and feel good about being part of an exciting move toward a solution!

For more information please go here.

Posted in Horse Slaughter | 7 Comments

Spa Creek Ranch in B.C Producing Mare’s Milk Skin Cream and Shampoo

Warmblood Mares milk

Click to enlarge

As per an article in the 2012 Canadian Warm Blood Breeder’s Digest,  Spa Creek Ranch,  located in Salmon Arm British Columbia,  is producing horse milk products.

According to their website:

“Mare’s milk is closer in compounding to human milk than to for instance [sic] to cow or goat milk.

This is so because a horse is not a ruminant, isn’t susceptible to most
diseases the ruminants can get, and is just a completely different animal.

We used unpasteurized, pure mare’s milk for this cream, so that all the
beneficial substances in the milk are kept intact.

In Europe, unpasteurized mare’s milk is used for health purposes,  because our skin is our largest organ, it penetrates through the skin and helps that way.”


“Horse milk contains many easy absorbable [sic] vitamins; it gives the skin resistance and increases the blood flow.

All the caring products contain no perfume, and are not tested on animals.”

The advertisement in the Warm Blood Breeder’s Digest claims that the milk products “give energy to cancer patients.”




Posted in Agriculture, Horse Slaughter, Horse welfare, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

Canada’s $80 million Horse Slaughter Industry – Statistics and Analysis – What You Can Do

The CHDC is releasing 2014 data (to November) from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada on horse slaughter including live U.S. imports, live exports to Japan for slaughter, and horsemeat exports by country.  Continue reading for our analysis of the data, and what you can do to speak out for the horses.

Horses to Slaughter in Canada

Robust, healthy horses awaiting slaughter at Bouvry Exports - photo courtesy Tierschutzbund & Animals' Angels

Robust, healthy horses awaiting slaughter at Bouvry Exports – photo courtesy Tierschutzbund & Animals’ Angels

Total number of horses to slaughter in Canada to November 2014 is 61,209, down 6.9% from 65,428 in November 2013.

Overall, the number of horses to slaughter continue to decline since the highest year in 2008 when the number totalled 113,064.  That year saw a dramatic increase due to the closure of all U.S. plants in 2007.

The number of imported U.S. horses for slaughter to November 2014 is 37,422, or 61% of all horses slaughtered in Canada to November.  In 2013, 42,130 horses were imported from the U.S. for slaughter in Canada; 59% of the 71,961 total.  The previous year was higher with 68% of horses from the U.S.

Live Exports for Slaughter

Japan has increased their live exports by 286% for 2012 over 2013, and up another 11% to November 2014.  The number of horses was 1179 in 2012, then 6635 horses in 2013 – up 562%.  To November 2014, it’s 6,976, up another 5% over 2013.  Japan is the only country that live ships horses for slaughter from Canada.  (The UK is noted as shipping one horse in 2014).

Horse Meat Exports

For total Canadian horse meat exports, the latest figures show the total amount to be $72.8 million as of November, and the estimated amount for the entire year will be just under $80 million.  The total for 2013 was $80.5 million.  AAFC also reports that horse meat exports quantities total 12.4 million kilograms to November 2014, closing in on the 14.5 million kilograms reported in 2013.  A separate table from AAFC, broken down by horse meat cuts, shows Japan with 2.0 million kilograms, Kazakhstan with 1.8 million kilograms, then France with 1.6 million, followed by Belgium, Switzerland and Finland with 1.0 million, 0.95 million and 0.2 million respectively.  For boneless cuts, Kazakhstan leads, followed by Japan, Belgium and France.

Japan was #2 for horsemeat exports for 2013 and has moved up to #1 in 2014 (to November).

Switzerland, who in recent years was consistently at the top on the list, has moved down to #3 in 2014.  We expect that supermarket chain Migros’ decision to stop the sale of horse meat from Alberta based Bouvry Exports (due to animal welfare issues) has affected this change.

The same 6 countries remain in the top 6 spots for horse meat exports in 2013 and 14.  Their positions have changed year over year:  1. Japan (non EU – was 2. In 2013); 2. France (3. In 2013); 3. Switzerland (non EU – was 1. In 2013); 4. Belgium (4. In 2013); Kazakhstan (non EU – 5. In 2013); and 6. USA (6. In 2013).

Countries with increased imports include Spain, Italy, Lithuania, Vietnam, and Macao.  Countries with less imports include Netherlands, Finland, and Egypt.

What You Can Do

Reading these statistics, it’s difficult to fathom all the individual lives that were taken violently in Canada’s 5 slaughter plants.  Here’s how you can voice your concern.

Japan has become Canada’s #1 country for horse meat exports, as well is the only country shipping live horses for slaughter, with alarming increased shipments in recent years.  The CHDC has reported several times on live shipments of horses out of Calgary International Airport.  Find our videos on Youtube.  Find our blog postings on live shipments to Japan here.

Crated horses for live shipment to Japan - Calgary 13-Jan-15 - photo supplied

Crated horses for live shipment to Japan – Calgary 13-Jan-15 – photo supplied


At this time we are providing contact information for raising awareness about our new #1 business partner for horses and horsemeat – Japan.  Please find below links to government and animal welfare agencies in Japan.  As well, you can reach our Canadian government through the links provided.

Who to contact in Japan:

Japan Ministry of the Environment

Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan
Godochosha No. 5, 1-2-2 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8975, Japan
Tel: +81-(0)3-3581-3351

Japan Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

Prime Minister of Japan and His Cabinet

Japan Animal Welfare Society

The Japanese Coalition for Animal Welfare

In Japan, the Act on Welfare and Management of Animals (Act No. 105 of October 1, 1973) (amended in 1999 and 2005) stipulates that “no person shall kill, injure, or inflict cruelty to animals without due course”, and in particular, criminalises cruelty to all mammals, birds, and reptiles possessed by persons; as well as cattle, horses, goats, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, pigeons, domestic rabbits, chickens, and domestic ducks regardless of whether they are in captivity.

Also, please contact Japan’s Ambassador to Canada:


In Canada contact:

 Hon. Rona Ambrose, Minister of Health (Minister responsible for the CFIA)
Email: rona.ambrose@parl.gc.ca
Web: http://ronaambrose.com/?page_id=12
Tel: 613.996.9778; Fax: 613.996.0785

Dr. Bruce Archibald, President, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
1400 Merivale Rd., Tower 1, Floor 6, Ottawa, ON K1A 0Y9
Email: Bruce.Archibald@inspection.gc.ca
Tel: 613.773.6000; Fax: 613.773.6060

Dr. Harpreet Kochhar Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, CFIA
Email: Harpreet.Kochhar@inspection.gc.ca
Tel: 613.773.7472;  Fax 613.228.6637

Dr. Martine Dubuc, Chief Food Safety Officer, CFIA
Email: Martine.Dubuc@inspection.gc.ca
Tel: 613.773.5722;  Fax 613.773.5797

CFIA Animal Health Offices

Hon. Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
Email: Ritz.G@parl.gc.ca
Tel:  613.995.7080;  Fax: 613.996.8472


Posted in Horse Slaughter | 15 Comments

Armstrong Horses Escape Kill Buyers

Initially the task of safe placement for 100 horses under a tight timeline seemed daunting – and downright impossible.

The CHDC became aware of the plight of about 100 horses belonging to an Armstrong man after the SPCA had seized 16 of them and sought the assistance of the Crown to rule on the remainder of the very large herd.  Under court order to dispose of his horses, the owner took them to Valley Auction, a facility that kill buyers regularly attend.  There was every reason to fear for the lives of these animals.  They were rescued from a situation deemed neglectful by the SPCA and the courts, only to be delivered into a risky environment where only the fortunate find good homes.  Meat dealers are happy to purchase horses who will bring them a profit.  Swept into the system like so many other “livestock” animals, they are considered meat on the hoof and their lives end tragically and cruelly in any of the five slaughterhouses across Canada.

mare_in_foal_armstrongThe Armstrong herd was lucky.  Through the power of social media and networking, urgent Facebook and blog posts, word-of-mouth amongst animal advocates and horse rescuers, Valley Auction ended up packed!  Although kill buyers were present, the prices appeared to be too high for them.  They seemingly went away empty-handed, looking for cheaper flesh.  (However, if anyone should have any information to the contrary – horses slipping through the cracks into the hands of kill buyers – please be sure to let us know and we will investigate.)

There is another angle to this story.  CHDC took the initiative to interview Gary Roberts, the owner of the herd of horses, at his farm.  Mr. Roberts stated that he had administered phenylbutazone, a prohibited drug, to a number of his horses.  He had no idea about the drug history of other horses he had acquired along the way, and some of those horses were from the racing industry, which is renowned for the use of anti-inflammatory drugs.  Therefore, none of the herd was eligible for slaughter as they could not be guaranteed free from medications that are prohibited from entering the food chain.

CHDC immediately faxed official notice to the auction that the horses’ drug history legally prohibited them from going to slaughter.  This letter was copied to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and to the media.  The coalition followed up with a phone call to the auction and persuaded the auctioneer to agree to publicly state that some of these horses had been administered drugs prohibited for human consumption.  At the start of the auction, that statement was indeed made.  This was greeted with a jubilant response by the majority present.  (Following the announcement, however, one buyer near the front was heard to utter an unprintable outburst and, with a look of shock and disgust on his face, exited the auction.)

In essence, the CHDC obtained evidence, put the auction on notice, prompted the auctioneer to publicly state that some of the horses could be positive for prohibited drugs, and caused the exit of one individual who, judging by his behaviour, may have been a kill buyer.

The CHDC also provided advice to potential buyers on bidding strategy and current meat prices.

All along, we updated media on developments and took part in interviews.  The story of the Armstrong horses swept like a tidal wave across the province of BC:

Inadequately fed horses seized from Armstrong farm

Court ordered horse auction in Vernon

Concerns about possibility of kill buyers at Armstrong horse sale

Auction horses unsafe to eat

We are thrilled that so many wonderful people came forward to bid on these horses, and we wish you well.  CHDC would love to hear from those of you who acquired horses from this herd.  Please write to us and tell us how your horses are doing!

With your permission we would be pleased to post these stories on our blog.

Additionally, and very importantly, there are lessons to be learned from this situation and some strategy that we can employ.

One, the powers-that-be must plan carefully for the well-being of horses once they are seized or ordered disposed of.  It is not enough to remove them from situations of neglect if only to shuffle them on to a further horror, death in a slaughterhouse where fear and pain are the norm.  Slaughter is not humane euthanasia.  Let’s work on educating those who hold the lives of animals in their hands and have the power of making life or death decisions.

Two, let’s cut the industry off at the pass wherever we can.  Please let CHDC know about any impending crises where horses are about to be sent down the slaughter pipeline.  We will try our best to research drug histories of those horses and utilize the power of legislation, media and social media to rescue them.  Just like the Armstrong horses!  Local rescuers in communities across Canada are encouraged to use the Armstrong situation as an example themselves, delving into horses’ drug histories if possible, and potentially stopping the slaughter of drug-positive horses.

Please consider even a small donation to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition so that we may continue our work.  We are strictly a volunteer organization; no one draws a salary.  Donations, therefore, go 100% for investigations, research and legal costs involved in the challenge of ending horse slaughter.

We’re there for the horses, and we know you are, too!


Posted in Horse Slaughter | Tagged , , | 23 Comments

Armstrong Horses auction update

Global TV Vancouver had an story on today’s auction which can be seen here.  You may have to scroll to find it.


Thank you to all of those who came out and made a difference for these horses!

Posted in Horse Slaughter | 4 Comments