Important! Survey Participants Requested for Horse Welfare Study At Guelph University

SurveyThe University of Guelph is a public research university and veterinary school in Canada.  In this survey you are given the opportunity to offer your opinion on your own standards of horse care, changes you would like to see in the marketplace, and the type of governance that you see as beneficial to horse welfare in Canada. You must be a Canadian resident in order to participate.

Surveys such as these are important not only to help graduate students with their work, but to help formulate policy on horse welfare standards in Canada. There are several opportunities to add your own comments and a large free-form text field at the end to include any relevant paragraphs that you would like to add. You will have the opportunity to comment on horse slaughter as well.

From the Survey:

Industry views of the prevalence and perception of horse welfare issues in Canada

You are asked to participate in a research study conducted by Dr. Katrina Merkies and Lindsay Nakonechny, from the Department of Animal and Poultry Science, Ontario Agricultural College at the University of Guelph. The results of this project will contribute to the fulfillment of a graduate student major project.

If you have any questions or concerns about the research, please feel free to contact:

Dr. Katrina Merkies: Faculty Supervisor

Associate Professor

Dept. of Animal & Poultry Science
University of Guelph

Guelph, ON, Canada. N1G 2W1
(519) 824-4120 x54707

 Lindsay Nakonechny: MSc student

University of Guelph

(780) 819-4914

This survey-based study is distributed to the Canadian horse enthusiast population in order to examine the current state of the Canadian horse industry and determine prevalence and perceptions of horse welfare issues. The objectives are to understand industry management practices, rationale and frequency for contacting veterinarians, attitudes towards horse behaviour and welfare issues, and how information is acquired. By completing an online survey, the data will be compiled to determine industry prevalence and predominant opinions of horse welfare issues in Canada. Once major areas of concern for horse welfare are identified, feasible and effective solutions can be developed to improve horse welfare in Canada.

If you volunteer to participate in this study, we would ask you to do the following things:
To take part in this survey, you must be 18 years of age and a resident of Canada. Please take the time to read each question clearly and carefully, and answer honestly and to the best of your ability. If you feel uncomfortable answering any question, you have the option to skip a question. There are no right or wrong answers. The survey should take approximately 20-30 minutes of your time.

To thank you for your help, there is an opportunity to enter a prize draw to win a two-week online education course (choice of Behaviour & Safety, Colic Prevention, or Biosecurity course offered in Fall 2015 or Winter 2016) offered by Equine Guelph (valued at $75 + tax)! At the end of the survey, you will be asked to provide your email address if you choose to enter the prize draw or wish to receive the results of the research. The chance of winning is estimated at 1 in 100.

Evaluation of the current state of the Canadian horse industry is a first step towards developing welfare-friendly horse care standards. The data will identify areas of horse welfare concern, potential strategies to improve welfare, and effective methods of information delivery on optimal care and management to horse enthusiasts. In addition, these results will help develop a Canadian-based horse welfare assessment model, which can be translated to a welfare assessment audit by third-party groups. Attention to horse welfare issues will ensure responsible on-farm and facility care of horses.

Take the Survey!




Posted in Agriculture, Animal Cruelty, Horse Slaughter, Horse welfare, Politics | Tagged , | 4 Comments

New Advocate Against Horse Slaughter? Start Here….

16 159Overview and Brief History of Horse Slaughter in Canada (for newcomers to the advocacy movement)

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) is a collective of people and national groups that have joined forces in order to ban the slaughter of equines for human consumption in Canada, as well as the export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose.  The slaughter industry is a predatory one;  from the time the horse is acquired by a “kill buyer,” he or she is “meat on the hoof” and is treated as a mere commodity.  Travel to slaughterhouses may take days without food or water, followed by an often painful and slow death by captive bolt or .22 rifle. The CHDC has reported, in four investigative reports conducted over several years, that rampant cruelty is endemic in Canadian horse slaughter plants.

Press Exclusive Dec 2012

Press Exclusive – Rescued from slaughter

In addition,  the horses that enter the food chain are not guaranteed to be free of prohibited drugs, since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency currently finds the “honour system” an acceptable program for owners and kill buyers when declaring (or not declaring) the presence of drugs in horses.  Clearly, allowing horse owners or worse, kill buyers, this kind of input and control over the food supply is unacceptable.  Horses are not raised as food animals. Slaughter simply is not a legitimate form of euthanasia and it is disturbing that a few organizations have manipulated messages about humane euthanasia by veterinarians.

This resource is not intended to be a “canon” of all available literature on the horse slaughter issue.  But these materials cover the main contentious issues with slaughter and a comprehensive reading will enable to the new advocate to speak confidently on the main message points.  You can expand on your knowledge by googling practices or issues with horse slaughter as well.  Welcome,  thank you for your support and interest,  and please read on….

Euthanasia is defined as “the intentional causing of a painless and easy death to a patient suffering from  an incurable or painful disease”

Webster’s II University Dictionary, 1996

What’s Wrong With Horse Slaughter?

Two issues central to horse advocacy are that:

1)Horses are not regulated as food animals in Canada,  gaps in regulation and enforcement allows meat into the food chain that is not fit for human consumption.

Why the EID Fails to Protect Consumers From Horsemeat

Global 16 x 9 Expose into horse slaughter and drug contamination in Canada

The Toronto Star Exposes Canada’s Inadequate Food System

Habitat for Horses Releases the Quintessential Resource on Horsemeat and Drugs

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s Meat Hygiene Manual – Prohibited Drugs

2) In addition to the drug issues inherent with horse meat,  many animal advocacy groups report on transport and feedlot issues on behalf of horses.  The CHDC Youtube Channel is a resource for video evidence of cruelty to horses in the slaughter pipeline – some graphic content in videos (user discretion advised).   In addition,  we have published investigations into Canadian slaughter plants based on anonymously obtained video.  Compare the slaughter videos on our YouTube channel with this video of humane euthanasia:

2012 – The True Faces of Horse Slaughter in Canada – A View into Alberta’s Horse Feedlots

2012 – Slaughterhouse Six – Six Standardbreds who met their death in a Canadian slaughterhouse in July 2011

2011 – Pasture to Plate – Investigation of Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation

2010 – Chambers of Carnage – Investigation of Bouvry Exports and Richelieu Meats

2009 – River Runs Deep – A Report for Carry the Kettle First Nations

2008 – Black Beauty Betrayed – Investigation at Natural Valley Farms

2008 – Early Investigation at Natural Valley Farms

2008 – Illegal Dumping of Horse Blood at Natural Valley Farms

CHDC Completes 4th ATI Request from LPN Slaughterhouse – Late Stage Pregnant Mares Shipped Again

CHDC files complaints with the CFIA and Transport Canada about the live horse shipments to Japan

Transportation To Slaughter Issues – The Humane Society of the United States

Why Does Horse Slaughter Persist And Who Benefits By Its Continuation?

Many organizations in the US and Canada actively promote horse slaughter and benefit from its existence.  The trade in horsemeat is lucrative:

Update of 2014 horse slaughter statistics

Industry Organizations Position on Slaughter

Discussion of Conjugated Equine Estrogens used in drugs at Tuesday’s Horse (Blog of the Horse Fund)

Who Opposes Horse Slaughter?

Yet many organizations in addition to the CHDC are adamantly opposed to the slaughter of horses.  In a survey of Canadians,  approximately 64% stated that they were opposed to horse slaughter.  Written By Allen Warren, this paper not only proposes a change in the legal status of equine, but also delves into the pre-1990 history of equine slaughter.

Veterinarians for Equine Welfare have written a Position Paper opposing horse slaughter in the United States.

The Political Process To Oppose Slaughter in Canada

The CHDC has been active for several years in the political forum,  working with supportive MPs who have drafted anti-slaughter private member’s bills in Canada.  A discussion of horse slaughter in Canada would not be complete without mentioning the two latest anti-slaughter bills.  (Bill C-322 replaced the earlier Bill C-544):

Bill C-322

The demise of Bill C-571

Countering False Information

Horse slaughter proponents are continually challenged to debunk false information and propaganda by those individuals and organizations who are determined to benefit by the existence of horse slaughter.  Many reports of horse abandonment en mass have been shown to be exaggerated or false.  The truth about horse abuse and abandonment (and the primary causes) is discussed in the following articles:

John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance leads the reader through a detailed analysis and debunking of the GAO report on horse slaughter

The mystery surrounding abandoned horses finally solved

Is it true that horse slaughter relieves the abuse of horses? 

Who Knew? Horse Industry Groups Still Lying About Horse Abandonment

Equine Terrorists Fabricate Untruths to Promote Eating Horses

What Are The Alternatives to Horse Slaughter?

Despite slaughter proponents’ claims that horse slaughter is necessary,  alternatives to slaughter and disposal methods do exist and can be further developed in the market based on demand (the following is by no means an exhaustive list).  It is quite true that “necessity is the mother of invention” and while slaughter exists,  there is less of an imperative to develop many innovations for horse disposal or humane alternatives to slaughter:

Emergency Euthanization of Horses

Carcass Disposal

The Captive Bolt vs. Humane Euthanasia for Horses

Approved Canadian Rescue Centres

Mortality Composting and other methods of disposition

A “Living Will” for horses

For further reading we offer the new advocate,  in descending order,  a listing of CHDC’s most popular blog posts,  covering a range of topics that our readers found most compelling:

CHDC Writes Letter to Shania Twain Protesting Her Performance at the Calgary Stampede
The Sad Fall of a Racehorse
Fifth horse slaughter plant opens in Westwold, British Columbia
Update of 2014 horse slaughter statistics
Homeless Horses
Mayor Paula Bacon again speaks out against horse slaughter
OSPCA Fails Another Horse – This Time with Tragic Consequences
Rally to support a ban on live horse exports for slaughter
Ontario horse auctions coming up
Canada’s $80 million Horse Slaughter Industry – Statistics and Analysis – What You Can Do

Please share:

With friends who own horses but may not be aware of the horse slaughter industry in Canada….

With friends who may be taking conjugated equine estrogens for menopause….

With doctors who prescribe CEE drugs….

And with any friends considering taking their horse to a sale barn or auction.






Posted in Uncategorized, Success Stories, Horse Slaughter, Transport, Politics, Animal Cruelty, Food Safety, Agriculture, Horse welfare | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Childrens’ summer camp season please choose programs that do not discard horses and ponies

Equine Advocates in Chatham NY posted an educational article on summer camps and horses which Heather Clemenceau has reprinted with permission.   A must read for parents.


Posted in Horse Slaughter | Leave a comment

Reminder: 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

“Tea In The Forest With Horses” Fundraiser May 17th

Screen-Shot-2013-07-14-at-10.52.47-AMThis fundraiser will be held at the home of CHDC supporter Patricia Thomson in Lake Cowichan, British Columbia. Tea will be supplied by Janet’s Special Teas from Sidney, near Victoria, B.C.

The event will also feature pre-recorded music by Cat Thomson, and all proceeds will benefit the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.  If you live locally,  please plan to attend!

Patti would also like to issue a challenge to other CHDC supporters to hold similar events in their own locales……. Please watch the blog in the coming months for further details and specific info for this event!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Posted in Horse Slaughter, Upcoming Events | Tagged , | 2 Comments

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 | 26 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