OEF and Other Provincial Horse Federations Linked to Dubious Pro-Slaughter Horse Group

In October 2008, it was announced by then Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF) Vice-President, Gary Yaghdjian, in his article “The Truth About Horse Slaughter in Canada” http://www.horse.on.ca/files/October_2008_WHOA!.pdf , “With the advent of animal activist activity here in Canada, the OEF has been networking with its sister federations and Provincial farm animal councils to form the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC)”.  http://www.horsewelfare.ca/index.php

The HWAC has a vague agenda, but when you look closely at its listed Partners, and the activities of the group, it becomes apparent that their mandate is anything but the welfare of horses.  When it first appeared on the scene in 2008, we saw HWAC’s message: “Promoting the humane handling of horses throughout all their life stages”.  However, their slick website once researched, reveals much more than horse welfare concerns.

From the HWAC’s Designated Regional Spokesperson list: http://www.horsewelfare.ca/contact we see the close links with the OEF and the AEF:

Ontario – Gary Yaghdjian (OEF Past President)  Tel 905-649-1342    Cell 905-424-0078
Executive Committee

Jack De Wit (OEF Board Member) Tel 905-424-4666

Bill DesBarres (Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF), Chair Breeds & Industry, and HWAC President Tel 403-526-1070  Cell 403-529-7237

HWAC’s agenda becomes more clear when you read this page http://www.horsewelfare.ca/about including:

 Some reflections:

  • Horses are the only food producing livestock species not 0-rated for GST.
  • Annual exports of horse meat exceed $60 million.
  • 70% of the annual sector production is processed for export and domestic markets.

 Horse processing:

  • 16% of the world’s population consumes horse meat.
  • Europe, Asia, South America, Australia and Canada consume horse meat.
  • Horse meat is low in fat, and a good source of protein and iron.
  • Cultural factors (religious, economic) influence public attitudes towards eating horse meat.

The CHDC has exposed the dirty underbelly of Canada’s horse slaughter industry, under two separate investigative reports in 2008 (Natural Valley Farms in SK) and in 2010 (Bouvry Exports in Alberta and Richelieu Meats in Quebec). 



 Exposure at both plants revealed cruel handling, unsafe kill floor conditions, and improper stunning practices resulting in immense suffering of horses. 

In both cases, some horse federations and/or HWAC denied the film evidence was authentic.  These claims were later proved to be unfounded.

Instead of acknowledging and acting on this evidence, the kneejerk reaction of these industry groups was to deny it ever happened.  But happening it was, and still is, as long as horse slaughter exists in Canada.

 To further expand on this, the CHDC wrote a revealing paper earlier in 2010 asking the question, “Did you know that your provincial horse federation supports and endorses the slaughter of North American horses?” called What You Didn’t Know about Canada’s Horse Federations


 In this document, the relationship is revealed between HWAC and the U.S. based United Organizations of the Horsehttp://www.unitedorgsofthehorse.org/ From their website: “The United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) was formed to address two key issues:

        1. To restore humane and regulated horse slaughter in the U.S.; and
2. To control the overpopulation of wild and feral horses on federal, state, tribal, and private lands.”

There is another pro-slaughter horse group closely linked to the UOH. They are the United Horsemen’s Front (UHF)http://www.unitedhorsemensfront.org/. From their website: “The United Horsemen’s Front promotes horse welfare and the health of the horse industry by providing accurate, timely information about the unintended consequences of the ban on equine processing in the United States. The United Horsemen’s Front seeks to unify our country’s horsemen and -women in our common goal: achieving humane and realistic solutions to the unwanted horse problem from the perspective of experienced horse people who have the best interest of the horse at heart.”

The United Organizations of the Horse and the United Horsemen’s Front are promoting and creating means to slaughter not only America’s domestic horses, but also their wild mustangs.

Now these groups have a pro-slaughter conference planned for January 2010 in Las Vegas they’ve called the “Summit of the Horse”: http://www.united-horsemen.org/summit-of-the-horse/.

From their website, the summit is: “A gathering of men and women who make their living with horses, and those who care deeply about ecological balance on healthy lands. A summit of concerned citizens who understand what is necessary to keep the land, the horses, the people, the cultures, and the economies vibrant and healthy.”  “Now is the time for all of those who care deeply about the land and the horse, to come together as ethical and moral horse people, and find ways to address ignorance and a lack of understanding by activists and policy makers.”

Summit sessions will include: “Control Excess Wild & Feral Horses: Deal with Unwanted, Abandoned, and Neglected Horses on all Lands”, also “Restore Humane & Regulated Horse Processing: Resurrect the Horse Industry and Normalize the Equine Economy”, and “Healthy Lands/Healthy Horses – Restoring ecological balance to federal lands, controlling excess and unwanted feral horses on state, tribal, and private lands.”

The Summit of the Horse and its organizers do not hide their agenda – it’s straight forward in its attempt to rally like-minded people and groups to restore horse slaughter in the U.S., and control the wild mustang population. That much cannot be said of the HWAC in Canada, whose agenda is more hidden behind “horse welfare” messaging such as “promoting the humane handling of horses throughout all their life stages”.

But make no mistake about it – they are all tightly connected with a similar mission, and quite incredibly, Canada’s provincial horse federations are interwoven among these fringe pro-slaughter groups. 

To expand on this reality check, I encourage you to read R.T. Fitch’s blog “Straight from the Horse’s Heart”:

– “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis Public Sticks Bloody Foot in Mouth http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/12/16/slaughterhouse-sue-wallis-publicly-sticks-bloody-foot-in-mouth/

 – “Summit of Horse Slaughter Promoters” Grasping at Straws http://rtfitch.wordpress.com/2010/12/13/%e2%80%9csummit-of-horse-slaughter%e2%80%9d-promoters-grasping-at-straws/

Finally, it must be stated that it is a frightening proposition what the HWAC, UOH, UHF and the Summit of the Horse represent. It is even more frightening that Canada’s horse federations are linked with this extreme, intolerant pro-slaughter movement.  Canadians must be made aware, and concerned horse people must let Equine Canada http://equinecanada.ca/breedsandindustry/index.php and their provincial horse federations http://albertaequestrian.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=427&Itemid=383 know how they feel about this alarming push towards equine prejudice.

Solutions for managing horse populations start at the source – at the breeders and owners – not an end solution at the slaughterhouses.  For more information on humane options for horses and eliminating slaughter, visit the CHDC at www.defendhorsescanada.org



  1. Horsenut · ·

    I agree with Cynthia, horse slaughter is the symptom and not the root of the problem.
    I believe that the OEF and the other organizations are saying that, if the people can’t manage their horses and numbers, then they will step up to the plate and make sure that the horses that go to the slaughter house, are treated fairly. The people in the horse industry are causing the horse slaughter, not these organizations. If you are against horse slaughter and want to do something about it, direct your energies to the root. The organizations sound like they will help with maintaining the humane treatment of horses at the slaughter house, but YOU, that are against the slaughter houses, get out there and direct your energies to really help the horse and set up a system, so there are no horses, to slaughter! Put your efforts into something that will help end the slaughter. Don’t make yourself a thorn in somebody’s side that is trying to help, at the other end.
    Obviously, someone or group/organization needs to step up to the plate and come up with a system that creates, no horses available for slaughter.
    Shutting down the USA slaughter plants, just made it worse for the horse, as now they have to travel, much farther to get to a slaughter house. It doesn’t make much sense to me. I thought you liked horses?
    Just a thought, but most people that don’t know how to do something, don’t have a license/or a degree for it, either. Why not horse owners? Make them accountable for their actions towards their horses. They have to be licensed or certified to run a breeding operation. The course they have to take is extensive, in genetics, confirmation, disposition etc. Owners/barn owners/caregivers also need to be licensed, as they can cause the horse a lot of problems mentality and physically, from their lack of knowledge.
    Then, there is also the problem of all the horses in the overcrowded rescue centers that are begging for funding, to look after other people’s mistakes, problems and medical issues. What is one to do with a horse that is in chronic pain for the rest of his life?
    I think there is a lot that could be done at this end, of a horse’s life, so it doesn’t end up at the slaughter house, at the end of his life.

  2. The HWAC is a sponsor of the Slaughter Summit being orchestrated by these loons. HWAC’s Exec Dir, Bill DesBarres, is a confirmed speaker for the event as well. You can see all the sponsors, speakers, founders and supporters of these US groups, UOH and UH here: http://whohateshorses.wordpress.com/

    Please share that link broadly – all the supporters are listed. It behooves the real horsemen, the humane ones, to boycott all these “people” and their businesses who wish only for the brutal destruction of horses, even to the point of eating them! How disgusting and despicable. Many provide equine products and services and all of us should take care not to put one thin dime into their pockets!

    We must seek out humane like minded suppliers to support, never to these devils. Down with slaughter supporters!

  3. Apart from the obvious error in logic that these self-described “horse people” make–that of restoring “humane” slaughter to the territories of the US, there is the blatant egregiousness of treating the symptom rather than the root cause: overbreeding; backyard breeding; and the casual exchange of one horse for another, as if they were sofas (if you don’t like one sofa, you can exchange it for another, and send the first sofa to be dismantled and re-worked into a desk). It’s like taking a toy away from a child instead of teaching the child how to use it responsibly. These people have no sense of the horse as a sentient, feeling being: it’s just a service animal. The deadliest and most challenging problem to overcome is the fact that horse slaughter is a billion-dollar industry–something I address directly in my novel, Ground Manners. Just as with the tar-sands or sub-marina drilling for oil, there are few arguments which could win over big industry giants who see the earth, its inhabitants and its resources as theirs to harvest. In the end, their short-sightedness will kill them–and us along with them. The great tragedy is always the horses, and I cannot describe their plight more poignantly than the woman who wrote the next post about New Holland. I can hardly breathe with the horror of it. When my breath returns to me, I’d like to thank her for describing the horror so directly…but I don’t think I will ever get my breath back.

  4. Exactly,, Solutions for managing overpopulation of Horses, is the *SEED* of the problem then the *STEM*. Meaning, the (Breeders then Owners)…
    How can one not see or learn a simple lesson in Life. When is one going to learn? And when will, they leave these poor EQUINES alone? Leave them alone…

  5. Jenniefer Stronge · ·

    It is absolutely horrible, our horses are being treated with less dignity and respect than a cruel enemy!!! We are supposed to be living in a civilized society!! This is no heritage to leave our children!

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