CHDC encourages all horse advocates to support Bill C-571

Percherons at Ontario kill buyer feedlot

Percherons at Ontario kill buyer feedlot

This new bill, tabled by MP Alex Atamanenko, would prevent the majority of equines in Canada from going to slaughter, including wild horses.  The bill does include an exemption for the slaughter of purpose-bred horses; however, we have yet to find conclusive evidence of where these horses are raised and how many there actually are.  The percentage of purpose-bred horses as opposed to the general equine population is very small.

Please contact your Member of Parliament as soon as possible to voice your support of Bill C-571.

If enacted into legislation, this bill would be sure to disrupt the activities of careless breeders, feedlot operators, and equine slaughterhouses.  It is a giant step in the right direction and can pave the way to a permanent future ban on the slaughter of all horses in Canada.  Your MP needs to hear from you!

A petition posted by MP Alex can be accessed here.

Our friends in the U.S. can help, too.  Please contact Canada’s Ambassador to the US, Gary Doer, here and tell him that you won’t consider visiting Canada until horse slaughter has ended.

Thank you, on behalf of the horses!


  1. EquineRight, how could 571 be unenforceable? If something is against the law then the entity cannot operate. It would mean that there would be no CFIA support for the industry, no export of “product” out of the country etc.

    1. There is nothing in Bill C-571 that says that raising horses primarily for human consumption is illegal so that makes it legal:

      Excerpt from Bill C-571 below:

      (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if

      (a) the horse or other equine was raised primarily for human consumption and is accompanied by a medical record that contains its standardized description and a complete lifetime record, in chronological order, of the medical treatments it has received; or

      (b) the meat products derive from a horse or other equine described in paragraph (a).”

      In our view, that paves the way for Horse Factory Farming.

    2. Why do you suppose no one has already started “factory farming” of horses thus far?

      1. As you mentioned in one of the previous posts, “Yes, we know there are “meat” horse breeders in Canada.”

        Excerpt from Bill C-571 is below:
        Section 9.1(1) prohibits the importation or exportation of “(a) a horse or other equine for slaughter for human consumption; or

        (b) horsemeat products […]

        (2) Subsection (1) does not apply if

        (a) the horse or other equine was raised primarily for human consumption […]

        In layman’s terms, a horse cannot be imported or exported for slaughter for human consumption except if the horse was raised primarily for human consumption. In effect, the horse must be raised on Canadian soil for the purpose of human consumption.

        The concept of closing Canada’s borders to the USA horses headed to our slaughter houses parallels the American SAFE Act and ofcourse ER supports both.

        We should also remember that all horses are destined for slaughter unless a human decides otherwise and anyone can send a horse to auction where the slaughter house kill-buyers can also bid.

        Horse slaughter methods are antiquated, inhumane and cruel and no animal, including farm animals, should undergo such cruel torture to end life as we subject horses and farm animals to in Canada in the slaughter houses.

      2. But you specifically mentioned “factory farming” of horses. Factory farming is a precise terminology that describes high-intensity animal farming, where animals are confined at high stock density. This is normally what we see for pigs and chickens. To my knowledge, this has never been done for horses. I think we disagree on what “factory farming” actually is. A horse meat breeder is unlikely to be engaged in “factory farming.”

      3. Also, one of the reasons why horses aren’t “factory farmed” is because private owners have already raised the horses to maturity. That’s what makes it economical for this sleazy industry to capitalize on our horses – we did all the work and covered all the expenses. Do you think that horse slaughter would be economical if farmers had to do all this themselves? NO! That’s why it isn’t profitable for most – unless you already have ample cheap land in a temperate climate, with cheap feed/grain, it is just not profitable. Take away the privately owned horses that have been raised by recreational riders and it will be supremely difficult to make a profit at breeding for slaughter.

      4. We agree with you that others (race track horse owners, recreational, sport, etc etc) raise horses that end up in the slaughter houses currently and that a very large percentage come from the USA which makes horse slaughter profitable for Canadian slaughter houses. If Bill C-571 became law, then a horse cannot be imported or exported for slaughter for human consumption except if the horse was raised primarily for human consumption. So the supply of horses bound for slaughter to Canada from the USA will dry up. Great, that’s the Good part of the Bill C-571. However, here comes the ‘exception’ –> Since it is not economically feasible to raise horses on hundreds of acres as someone else has already pointed out, the high-density and cost-cutting approach that is factory farming is what makes factory farming economically feasible. For example, letting chickens roam on acres of field doing what they like to do naturally with housing that they can nest in makes no profit compared to factory farming of chickens where the birds are denied anything called life except for breathing and eating until their dying day. Factory farming enables the operators to have hundreds of animals in enclosed buildings, fatten them and grow them unnaturally and quickly, slaughter them in their youth or prime (mostly youth). How many horses do you think could be lined up like sows in crates in those buildings? Row after Row, no space between rows to speak of – those horses wont have enough room to lie down or turn around. In order to be profitable, the horses wont see daylight either. They will live just like other farmed factory animals ‘live’: In spaces where they are crammed, denied medical attention (that costs money), denied proper and healthy food (that costs money) and given other animal or plant leftovers with doses of *&#@@! (name it) and NO exercise: “Purpose bred” – horses. You don’t think that a horse raised for human consumption will be the prized type like the show jumpers or barrel horses – oh no, those “purpose-bred” horses will be the ones that nearly everyone will turn a deaf ear and blind eye to. In Corporate Speak, Factory farming is the modern method of making big bucks when you can’t meet quotas anymore using other methods and we have seen that now with quite a few animals that humans eat for meat. Canada is not known for its compassion for living animals as the seals, factory farmed animals, horses slaughtered while conscious can testify to. It would be so naive to think that the lucrative horse slaughter industry in Canada would just drop and die when there is still a loophole which is what ‘exceptions’ politically and otherwise are all about. Besides, there would be subsidy as incentive …

      5. OK, but what hasn’t been explained is why no one has thought to do this already. The closest we have is the PMU farms, of which there are less than 30 operating in Canada now, and their primary purpose is to produce pee, not meat. It’s believed that Bouvry produces meat horses and that these are the horses being shipped out of YYC, and if so, why wouldn’t he or anyone else use this method already? To the best of my knowledge, “factory farming” of horses isn’t done anywhere in the world – not even in countries where there is traceability. The Bill itself does not create an opportunity to do so, since that opportunity already exists.

        And anyway, in the absence of Bill C571, what do you personally suggest be done? Consider that it’s now 2015 and the original Bill C-322 has failed. Alex Atamanenko has now retired and there is no new MP available who has taken up the charge against horse slaughter. Where do we stand? We have no active Bill, and no MP amenable to our interests. We have no voice in parliament.

      6. Heather asked, “OK, but what hasn’t been explained is why no one has thought to do this already. ” Because there is no need currently – there is a huge supply of horses in the thousands from the States sent to Canada for slaughter and add Canada’s horses that are also slaughtered – the industry is thriving to the tune of 80,000 horses annually. As we all know, anything goes (EID papers are useless) and any horse doing anything of any breed that’s mostly healthy is doomed to slaughter unless a human decides otherwise: Famous or not race horses, jumpers, show horses, pets, companions, carriage horses, farm horses, any horse that’s mostly healthy, will do. Who needs factory farming with that kind of supply? To boot, another horse slaughter factory has recently opened!They are not worried. PMU mares … tragic … and the demand is nowhere near that of horse meat for human consumption.

        What to do? We have some solutions on our Solutions web page. In terms of Bill C-571, amend it by taking out the exception. We will email the rest of our thoughts to CHDC for them to consider and share 🙂

      7. If we take out the exception, then we basically have bill C-322 which we know won’t pass.

        Pigs, chickens, and cattle are factory farmed because there is pressure to supply extremely high demands for meat. They are all genetically modified to grow faster than their predecessors or produce different types of fats in their bodies to grow leaner or “healthier” forms of fats. Factory farming is the price of cheap meat.

        Cows are typically ready for market at 18 – 22 months of age when they weight at least 1,400 lbs. Most adult horses provide 600 lbs of meat and they are fully grown at that. Of course drafts would weigh more. It would take approximately 4-5 years to raise a fully grown horse, maybe slightly less if you overfed them to the point of laminitis.

        We don’t have the same demand for horsemeat that exists for other animals. Horses are not genetically modified to grow faster. Most people in Canada or the US won’t eat horse. So that begs the question of why we would need to factory farm them, and whether they would become genetically modified animals in order that they be able to be “taken to market” that much sooner.

        Can someone get into the horse meat business? Sure, they could compete with Bouvry on price and try to apply for export permits. It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility Will they “factory farm” horses any time soon? Extremely doubtful, IMO. All the things that have been done to make chickens, pigs, and cows grow faster and make more profits for farmers have not been done to horses.

  2. Thank you on behalf of the horses, you must be kidding.

    1. “The bill does include an exemption for the slaughter of purpose-bred horses; however, we have yet to find conclusive evidence of where these horses are raised and how many there actually are. The percentage of purpose-bred horses as opposed to the general equine population is very small.” Not according to Bill DesBarres who stated in a recent interview that there are several of the “purpose-bred horses” lots in various areas of Canada – he says that he knows of a few – and right in Sinikka’s neck of the woods there are tons of horses being raised for slaughter. What doesn’t the CHDC get? That horses are doomed to a factory farm “life” like all other farm animals? That Draft horses are the pick of the litter for “purpose-bred” horses – the very sweethearts that built our Nation?
      We agree to disagree wholeheartedly with any of the crap in Alex Atamenko’s new manifesto with the praises of the CHDC and those of you who don’t like animal cruelty, should not support Bill C-571 and contact your MPs to vote against it.

      1. I don’t mean you any disrespect at all, but your first mistake is believe propaganda from DesBarres. HWAC has no real horse welfare programs, and if they were genuinely concerned about horse welfare, DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence. That speaks volumes. He’s the paid representative of Claude Bouvry. He has fought against those who seek protection for horses, by attempting to repudiate footage from four separate equine slaughter plants has been aired between 2008 and 2011 and all showed appallingly cruel treatment of horses, including in the Bouvry plant in 2010. The RCMP have already determined that it is authentic and that no changes had been made to the videos, so that should be good enough for anyone, including DesBarres. In a court of law it would stand the test of cross examination as evidence. However, Bill insists that the video was fabricated somehow, perhaps with highly-trained stunt horses as a direct-to-video slasher movie. He must think that the CHDC has a production budget in the millions!

        DesBarres has continually praised the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at every opportunity. In the Forking and Spooning audio discussion (you couldn’t pay me enough to listen to this dry heave-inducing segment a second time) on the wonders of horse slaughter, he slaughters all his horses and never considers euthanasia under any circumstances. DesBarres also partners up with Dr. Martin Appelt of the CFIA, who is on-hand to promote the deadly Premarin®/Prempro® industry whilst referring to menopause as a “disease” that requires treatment (apparently, with Premarin®). Personally, I’d rather not get advice on the function of any of my lady bits from a veterinarian, thank you very much. Of course the CFIA is not going tell anyone that the conjugated equine estrogen industry originates in the misery of thousands of mares and foals.

        Yes, we know there are “meat” horse breeders in Canada. Are there “tons” of them? Do you believe his propaganda?

      2. Felicia, can you provide a link to the DesBarres article? Also, in regards to the breeding of horses for their meat, I’m presuming that you’re looking at the Bouvry feedlots and surmising that the horses there are purpose-bred. I have reason to doubt that. Here’s why.

        1) If you’re in the business of breeding just to kill them for their meat (gag) then would you spend money on docking tails? Virtually every Belgian and Percheron in those feedlots has a docked tail indicating horses bred for harness, not to be eaten.
        2) A number of the Belgians have been seen on the feedlots with braids in their forelocks. This is a Mennonite custom when taking a horse to auction.
        3) The market for draft horsemeat is very small as the European “gourmands” want meat that is lean which is from light horses not drafts.

        This evil trade in sending drafts to Japan for slaughter has been going on for years and years and, initially, it was from the US to Japan and now, sadly, from Canada but it still has strong US interests involved.

        Keep in mind, also, that this trade is not illegal. While C-571 may not be perfect it will STOP the vast majority, likely 95% of the at-risk horses from ever entering the slaughter pipeline and can be viewed as a starting point to ending the awful live-shipments to Japan.

        The CHDC has released several reports on this trade to raise awareness and to try and get answers from the CFIA and IATA regarding the regs being broken with these shipments. True to form, neither have responded.

        You should also read an excellent article by Heather Clemenceau about C-571, Between a Wedge and a Hard Place.

      3. Purpose bred horses are raised where there is lots of cheap grain and hundreds of acres of cheap pasture. Bouvry keeps a herd of Belgians for that purpose. “tons of horses being raised in Sinikka’s area” is pure b.s. Des Barres doesn’t get out much or he would know 5 acres in the Okanagan starts at $500,000.00 which is not even space for one horse let alone a herd. With the price of cattle up to a record high of $2 per pound live, those breeding horses for meat and selling for 30 cents a pound have to be real morons.

    2. No, that’s not a joke. Alex is retiring in 2015, and without him, there are no MPs willing to champion our cause. Analysis of Bill C-322 showed that it had no support in the predominately conservative caucus and would not pass. Is it better to potentially save the bulk of horses and to continue to find ways to interrupt the flow of horses to slaughter, or to give up, throw our hands in the air and admit defeat? I

      1. Andalvin1962 here is the link to the interview with B Desbarres interview:
        In response to “Keep in mind, also, that this trade is not illegal. While C-571 may not be perfect it will STOP the vast majority, likely 95% of the at-risk horses from ever entering the slaughter pipeline and can be viewed as a starting point to ending the awful live-shipments to Japan.’ No, Bill C-571 will enable business as usual and is not enforceable. The CFIA cannot even keep up with the miniscule tasks it oversees currently and to think that a bigger workload means more efficiency is simply not true. Nor is there anyone else who could enforce Bill C-571 even if it became law.
        ER will not support any Bill that violates the fundamental principle of Law: Justice For All. For this reason, we suggest that the C-571 is amended at the very least, particularly, the exceptions Section 2
        MP Alex Atamenanko’s initiative is to be applauded and admired on behalf of horses however justice must prevail for all in Law, and that includes all breeds of horses. Since Bill C-571 sets a precedent for essentially discrimination “(a) the horse or other equine was raised primarily for human consumption” is ok to slaughter, that is shaking hands with the horse slaughter industry and sets the stage for Horse Factory Farming. Since we already know the abuses and horrific conditions of farm animals in factory farming, we wont support that. As a matter of fact, we are in process of developing other chapters for farm animals to fight for quality lives for those tragic animals. You may wish to check the BC SPCA’s web site for farmers that are endorsed as providing better lives for meat raised livestock and those who include animal meat in their diets, look for those farmers when you next do your meat shopping.

      2. “HWAC has no real horse welfare programs, and if they were genuinely concerned about horse welfare, ” ER would like to see the horse organizations and societies listed on the HWAC web site pull out from the HWAC since the HWAC is a corporation that promotes horse slaughter. Horse organizations should be promoting the welfare and wellbeing of the horse breeds that they represent and that includes providing the horses quality lives through-out their lives.

      3. How would the Bill “set the stage” for factory farming of horses? The only way to actually promote such an endeavour is to subsidize it, rather like farm subsidies. It would remain status quo for anyone who is actually breeding for slaughter, but it would not promote it. The small number of breeders who are breeding for slaughter, or send part of their crop for slaughter won’t get any additional incentive to do so……..

  3. Laureen Godin · ·

    Yes humans are a repulsive lot. if you think about all the horrific things that we do to and with animals is staggering!!! this is one of them. I cannot stand the fact that humans continue to make money from the slaughter pipeline: from breeding, to the auction houses, to the kill buyers to the feedlots to the transport trucks to the slaughterhouses to the stores and restaurants. The Canadian Government it seems will never shut this industry down. There is too much profit to lose. Forget that the horse is a living, breathing, feeling being. That does not matter AT ALL. What matters is the money!

  4. I am sorry. The idea that horses are raised for their meat is repulsive to most humans even as non-horse guardians or having no intimacy with horses. As it is the Belgians raised in the west and sent live to Japan for slaughter is disgusting. The slaughter of all horses must be the goal. This bill does not do that and might actually increase the breeding of horses for the purpose of nothing other than slaughter. Way too possible.

    1. The PMU industry in Manitoba and Saskatchewan also enables this industry. Women can all help by refusing to use conjugated equine estrogens and enlightening other women as well as to the hazards of using “horse pee” drugs. It is not economical in Canada for most breeders to breed for slaughter. Our winters are way too long. Bill C-322, sadly, is not viable. We have to come up with an alternative to save the majority of horses. Bill C-571 is that bill.

  5. Barbara Griffith · ·

    If the number of horses raised for slaughter is found to be small way the bill is written will only encourage more greedy people to start breeding horses for slaughter like they are cattle. These horses probably wouldn’t be given any vet care at all with the owner/breeder not wanting to risk being stopped from sending them to slaughter. I don’t live in Canada but giving anyone the OK to breed horses for meat is a very, very bad idea. Every restaurant in Canada would jump on the bandwagon and start serving horse meat claiming it has no vet drugs. Right now horse slaughter in the US is stopped because no funding for inspections is in the federal spending bill. This blocked at least 3 companies that was hoping to start the killing again. I will send a email to the Ambassador’s office but I don’t think much will come of it. Last year when the state of Oklahoma passed a bill to allow horse slaughter I think half the country sent emails to the Governor telling her that they would never visit the state again but she still signed the bill into law.
    Which is now blocked because of no inspection funding.

    1. It is not economical for most breeders to breed for slaughter. Not in Canada anyway.

  6. France does breed a certain type of Percherons for slaughter!!

    1. Gross , gross gross & I am French ewe , bad enough hearing frog leg jokes , no class there anymore 😦

  7. Jagadambe Dasi · ·

    This is the letter I sent
    If anyone wants o use it as a prototype I would be honored.
    We need to take the time to do this and make them aware that we stand strong against Horse Slaughter.

    I am writing to let you know that as a US Citizen I am appalled that Canada continues to slaughter horses for Human Consumption.

    I have always loved crossing the border into Canada. Living approximately 1 hour from the border has allowed me to visit Montreal and enjoy all of Canada’s cultural centers and museums. I have trained as a Yoga instructor in Canada and have many friends who live there.

    It breaks my heart to say that I won’t be visiting Canada until your policies on Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption change.

    This is not just a moral issue for me; but also a health issue as horse meat is contaminated with drugs and unsafe for humans to eat.

    I respectfully ask you to challenge Canada’s policies and hope that once again I will find joy crossing the border.

    Helene D. Mowka

    1. Excellent Helene. If all U. S. citizens would follow your lead and send letters in protest maybe those in control would reconsider and shut down horse slaughter completely.

      1. Heather · ·

        Well done Helene and thank you. Hopefully the US will ban sending horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. With that pipeline gone, then hopefully we can get a bill to end horse slaughter in Canada passed. Not, however, as long as Harper is our Prime Minister. He is such a dictator…and all he cares about is big business and helping them make more money. The majority of the world is against baby seals being slaughtered inhumanely in Canada but that doesn’t stop the annual seal hunt. Harper even goes as far as subsidizing this atrocity!!!

        Canadians need to change our image how the world sees us and the only way to do that is to make sure that the next Prime Minister that is elected is willing to stand up and do the right thing and end inhumane practices of slaughter of animals of all kinds. We can change by our votes!!

  8. Chris1055 · ·

    I love Percherons and they should be retrained not slaughtered! These horses suffer greatly.

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