News Release – CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan


CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan

October 18, 2012, Calgary, AB – Footage taken of Alberta horses being shipped live to Japan for slaughter shows that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is violating their own standards set forth in the Health of Animals Regulations.  The Regulations prohibit the transportation of all animals under conditions that would expose the animals to undue injury or suffering.

The 2012 footage shows horses in a feedlot being loaded with electric prods into transport trucks, transported to the Calgary International Airport and being crated in wooden crates so small they cannot stand in their natural position, in violation of Section 142 of the Health of Animals Regulations (“No person shall transport or cause to be transported animals in a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel unless each animal is able to stand in its natural position without coming into contact with a deck or roof.”).

Some horses were even being crated together, even though it is in violation of Section 141.8 of the Health of Animals Regulations, which states that horses over 14 hands high must be segregated for air transport.

Canadian draft horses from various producers are routinely live shipped to Japan for slaughter from the Calgary and Winnipeg International Airports. On arrival in Japan, horses are transported to a feedlot; once they reach desired weight they are slaughtered for horse sashimi, which is considered to be a delicacy in Japan. The meat must be eaten within three days because it is highly perishable; according to the 2008 Alberta Horse Welfare Report, each Canadian horse is worth approximately $20,000.

“Footage shows large horses overcrowded (not segregated) into wooden transport crates, often unable to stand in their natural position for a long journey to Japan, in clear violation of two of the CFIA’s own regulations”, says Sinikka Crosland, executive director with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. These transport conditions not only are inhumane but also are likely to lead to injuries and potential deaths during transport.

“Once again we see the CFIA turn a blind eye and choose to protect industry profits rather than do their job”, says Crosland.  “The CFIA’s mandate is both to protect human health and monitor animal welfare.  We have recently seen them fail to protect the public from contaminated meat and now we have clear evidence of them failing to follow their own regulations when it comes to live transport of horses for meat.”  

To view the footage of Alberta horses being shipped live to Japan:

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For further information, please contact: Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. Tel: 250.681.1408

To learn more about the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition:


  1. […] complaints are filed subsequent to the CHDC’s news release of October 18, 2012 “CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan” announcing that video footage was captured of draft horses being loaded and shipped from […]

  2. […] Here’s the link for the October 18, 2012 CHDC news release, “CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan” […]

  3. […] Here’s the link for the October 18, 2012 CHDC news release, “CFIA Fails Again at Enforcing Regulations for Live Horse Exports to Japan” […]

  4. […] Saskatoon ran a story about the live horse shipments to Japan that was featured in our report which showed the wretched conditions for these draft […]

  5. Dennis Davey · ·

    I have written George Shaw head of Public Relations, expressing my outrage, and an explanation that would also include punative measures. I also copied G Ritz and Thomas Mulcair, leader of the Federal NDP Party concerning this inhumane transport.
    Also Ritz comment that the CFIA in the XL BOONDOGGLE, was not hard nosed enough is nothing more than a COPOUT. As he conviently fails to mention that as the Minister of Agriculture, he is speaking about himself, as he oversees the CFIA. Frankly speaking with the Maple Leaf DISASTER and now the XL BOONDOGGLE he should be fired and charged criminally.

  6. Catherine · ·

    Are they shipping draft horses from Vancouver International Airport to Japan? I would like
    to become more involve and join a group that films these awful events. I feel a bit helpless and would like to meet other horse lovers who share the same feelings.

  7. Investigations done here in US have proved really bad conditions in Texas and Mexico!

    Canada’s slaughterhouses are bad too…UNITED WE STAND!

    Anyone speak or write Japanese so we can contact animal rights activists over in Japan?

  8. Kate Dougherty · ·

    Please contact the Canada Transport Agency and report violations regarding transportation of these horses. The next step would be send the video to TV stations across Canada.

  9. You might put the pressure on the airline and complain. But there is so much money involved here and its been going on for so long that I don’t know just what can be done. Keep in mind too that your government is collecting taxes on all of this because it is a business. This is just what a lot of the people here in the US had in mind to do until the slaughter plants were shut down. A few days ago funding to supply meat inspectors for any horse slaughter plants that might open up was denied so that won’t have to fought again for at least a year. Believe it or not but Bouvry the man that owns Bouvry horse slaughter in Canada was so sure the inspectors would be funded to the tune of $5 million US taxpayer dollars that he commented that he was sure that horse slaughter would open again in the US. Looks like he was wrong.

  10. Absolutely heartbreaking. Where will this all end?

  11. […] (HERE) to visit CHDC’s Blog and to Comment Rate this:Share this on behalf of the […]

  12. There have been bills introduced in the US congress to stop US horses being shipped to slaughter in Canada for the past ten years. Each and every time the bills never got past the committee and the one time that they almost made it the bill had a hold put on it by a congressman. It is the US Senate members not the House members that have blocked any bills from passing. Right now there are 165 members of the House that have cosponsored H.R.2966. There are only 25 Senate members that have cosponsored S.1176. The US Senate is paid off by lobbyists to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to their reelection campaigns and all the extras that go with it. The racing industry hires lobbyist to the tune of $50,000 a pop to make sure the Senate bills never make it into law. If it wasn’t for the US Senate these bills would have been passed years ago and all of this would be over. Particularly the Senate members pay no attention to letters or emails sent to them by their constituents wanting this stopped. You get a bland letter telling you they will keep you in mind if the bill ever comes up to be voted on which it never does. And everybody knows that if you can’t the bill through the Senate it’s not passed so the horse lose again.

  13. The United States Of America Has A Bill stuck in congress. Here is the link to sign and stop horse slaughter for human consumption. Is anything like this in place in Canada?

    This is so sad, thank you for all you do to try and stop Horse Slaughter. Melody

    1. Yes, we have Bill C-322.

      In June 2010 MP Alex Atamanenko (NDP Agriculture Critic) tabled Bill C-544, an Act that would effectively have ended the transport of horses and horse meat for human consumption. The bill died due to the federal election being called. Then in October 2011, MP Atamanenko re-introduced the bill as Bill C-322.

      English Petition in support of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada as well as live export of horses:

      Click to access PetitionOct11.pdf

      MP Alex Atamanenko speaks about Bill C-322:

  14. Reblogged this on delia1979.

  15. Eve – This footage was obtained covertly, so details are not known about CFIA inspectors being present. However if you see our previous reports from 4 CDN slaughter plants, the CFIA are hardly present on the kill floor, and when they are, like in the last report “Pasture to Plate”, he’s looking into an empty kill box, with no horse there. Or another instance in the same report, where the shooter is talking to the CFIA inspector saying “I think he’s dead” or something to that effect, after he’d shot the horse in question more than once, and on close examination, the horse is still showing signs of consciousness! No actions taken from what’s seen on the tape, so is the CFIA doing their job even when they’re present? Evidence has shown that to be in question.

  16. Video isn’t working. Just getting an error message

  17. Can I ask a couple questions? Was there a CFIA inspector there when these horses were loaded? Is one supposed to be there at all times when “meat” horses are exported, and if so, can charges be brought against them for negligence? Does the airport itself have any control over this or are these loads done in the private hangars like Fed Ex etc that are not property of the airport but pay fees to use the commercial strips? Can the airport authorities be involved in any way?

  18. Please join me in expressing concern to these transport companies for their involvement. You can send them something as simple as “It saddens me that you are involved with such cruelty to horses. (Attached the CHDC link/video):

    EMAIL: The Calgary Airport Authority (

    FED EX: Email through internet message:

    NIPPON AIR CARGO: No email, just internet message:

    KOREAN AIR CARGO: No email, go to Voice of Customer: (Under Complaint)

    1. KA Schaaf(kasohio) · ·

      Am I understanding this correctly- FEDEX is involved in shipping these live horses?

  19. Please go to the Do It Now page on the CHDC website for who to contact at the CFIA: and our flyer has it specifically at: This flyer can be printed, copied and distributed. Thank you!

  20. I cannot view the footage because of the severity of abuse. I am glad people are doing what they can to save our horses and am hopeful this will stop. Plenty of media advertising and public education needs to be continuously made so people learn.

  21. marni montanez · ·

    what can we do besides share this? Is there a petition or person to write to?

    1. Marni, thank you for asking to help. Here is a list of individuals that need to hear from you on this disgusting treatment to our beautiful horses. It is time to speak out to the people that are responsible for this. I added the email for the Canadian Belgain Horse Association because they can help stop this, well, if they are not involved.
      Gerry Ritz
      Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food

      George Da Pont, President
      Canadian Food Inspection Agency

      Dr. Ian Alexander, Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada, CFIA

      Dr. Martine Dubuc, Chief Food Safety Officer, CFIA

      Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food

      Canadian Belgian Horse Association

      1. Sorry, the above email address for Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food is incorrect. Please use:

      2. Thanks Marie; I have not been doing much lately as I have been super busy, but now with the summer over I have a little extra time to get back at it and will be sending emails off to all of these people. I have fears that there is a small farm locally raising drafts for the meat market. It is between Oliver and Okanagan Falls, British Columbia. Anyone on here have any info on that?

  22. Tks for the footage, tks for the update(s), ect. My heart bleeds. The (CFIA) is full of BS and Horses should not be in the food-chain, period. Shame on Bouvry, ect and this Airport! 😦
    Could this press release & video be shared to the media, also!?
    Bless ~

  23. Stephanie · ·

    I have been scouring the internet for images that proved what was going on and now I finally see it and I am horrified. It also looked like a lot of those draft mares in the video were pregnant? Is that the case?

  24. jean robertson · ·

    Great footage Sinikka. Now all the non believers can become enlightened as to how badly even the horses bred for meat are handled by those in charge. Regulations mean little if they are not followed.
    You rescued my two mares from an Alberta feedlot eight years ago and saved them from the same treatment as those poor souls in the footage.
    Don’t give up, the end is in sight.

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