Canadian Government Does An About-Face On Equine Traceability

Crates containing horses in shed at Calgary Airport

Crates containing horses in shed at Calgary Airport

On October 9, the Canadian Government announced that they will be spending $7.5 million to develop and implement a national database for tracing all livestock as a tool to improve food safety and bolster trade:

Details on the livestock traceability remain sketchy at this time, however it is important to note that equines are included. What is interesting is that the move appears to come at a time when the federal government have been in trade talks with not only the European Union but also Korea and Japan.

It is not stretching the imagination to conclude that outside pressure was exerted by trading partners to improve and implement a far more reliable livestock tracing system in keeping with traceability measures already in place in other countries.

In the past, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has questioned the government on its 51ftJEsNw0L._SY300_failure to implement equine traceability by July of 2013. We detailed this in a report over two years ago entitled “Pro-Slaughter Group Attempts to Cash In on Horse Traceability Program While Canada Falters on its Deadline” Further reading on Equine Traceability was explored in Heather Clemenceau’s blog piece

The premise for the now defunct Bill C-571 which  included a European-type passport system for horses was defeated by the government as late as five months ago, in May of this year. Bill C-571 specifically targeted the food safety issue of horsemeat in an effort to close the loopholes in the slaughter industry.

Skipper died at NH before he could be rescued from tetanusThe Conservative Ministers of Parliament unanimously voted against the Bill with the exception of two MPs.  Despite the Bill being a NDP Private Members Bill, the Leader of the New Democratics, Thomas Mulcair, voted the Bill down.  The official tally for all MPs that voted stands at 155 against and 102 for the Bill with the Conservative government that holds a majority in parliament making up 141 of the nay votes.  The only parties that voted in complete agreement with the Bill were the Liberal Party and the Green Party. A complete CHDC synopsis of the voting can be found here. 

In the past, the implementation  of equine traceability in Canada  has been largely under the umbrella of pro-slaughter Equine Canada, the official arm of the equine industry in Canada.

Shortly before the vote on Bill C-571, Equine Canada released its statement against the Bill stating:  “The enactment of Bill C-571 would establish a new defacto trade standard (for both inter-provincial and international trade) that is outside the scope of Canada’s current horse-on-platepolicy and trade agreements for meat imports and exports and inter-provincial trade in food products.”  For at least five years, Equine Canada has struggled to enact any form of equine traceaiblity in spite of designated federal funding earmarked for them to do so.  It is not known what position Equine Canada will take in implementing the federal government’s new livestock traceability proposal, if any.

As with some government proposals, it is sometimes years before they are enacted.  This proposal does not come with a timeline and it could prove costly to implement considering all livestock are targetted.

Also, as over 60% of horses being slaughtered in Canada are from the U.S., it is not known what future provisions will be put in place to ensure the horse meat that is slaughtered from U.S. sources meet the new Canadian standards.


  1. Mary Ann · ·

    There is not a domestic horse in the USA that does not have meds of some type in them,why do you think horse meat is not consumed in the states?it is not safe.stop eating horse meat! You are asking for tainted meat. We do not nor have never raised horses for meat.stop eating them.

  2. I wrote to the EU Food Safety and the response I got back from them TWICE is that they trust Canada’s EID now can you believe that??? They trust the system right now that all horses slaughtered in Canada are safe!!! Every country that engages in Horse slaughter are lying son of a bi-ches…. Like everyone else said it is about $$$$$$ period…. Not food safety and certainly not inhumane treatment… Disgusted….. There was a tweet storm before the bill C571 was voted on and ONE parliament official tweeted me back saying( don’t tell us we just export the meat tell the EU the meat is toxic)… NOW there you go, do I need to say anymore???

  3. @ Kathryn..there is very little horse meat consumed in Canada..And what is mostly European people that now live in Canada..there is five known horse slaughter plants in Canada..which kill about 110-120000 horses per year…which the majority of the Canadian public are lead to believe are old and sick horses..the flesh of these killed horses is mostly sent to Asian countries and Europe..I have no facts on Mexican consumption..But don’t state that Canadians eat horses..

  4. Barbara Griffith, and Anne Streeter your comments CLEARLY say it all. I sent Thomas Mulcair a letter over his vote on Bill C 571 stating I would no longer donate to the Party and would vote Liberal in 2015.
    I also believe that since it is CLEAR Horse slaughter will continue under Heir Harper , that perhaps the CHDC should be working on a plan to lobby MP and further work on a plan to get out the vote in 2015 to oust this REGIME.

  5. The facts are here for all to read & these are the facts the Conservative Government of Canada & those who support horse slaughter do NOT want you to know…posted this & this well done blog on Conservative Bruce Stanton’s facebook page…sharing everywhere I can think of….

  6. halchkakonie5113 · ·

    It is all just BS; Canada is butt licking China in so many ways, as is another country next door, that all their tales are becoming pure science fiction, to lead the overly busy households who cant make ends meet interested in something else just to get the peoples minds off of how we are all getting scammed daily…

  7. Horses are not food, never have been and are not raised for food, it is unsafe to eat them due to medicines that are giving to horses when they are sick and hurting . please read and let it sink in they are not food.

  8. the shipping of horses over seas in crates is inhumane for them, no water, no hay , no feed, and nailed and wired in to a crate. Wake up people and get a hold of the white house 1 202 456 1111

  9. Anne Streeter · ·

    I am a card carrying member of the NDP. So disappointed in Tom Mulcair and the nos. Could it because there are two horse slaughterhouses in Quebec?

  10. donikash · ·

    Commitment of $7.5 million says it all – token gesture to appease someone with no intention of actually creating anything. Be ready in October 2015 to go to the new government to demand change. They are on the record as supporting a ban on horse slaughter. This nonsense about harming international trade is just that – the Americans know that the horses they export are full of harmful drugs, just like we do.

    1. Thank you, donikash. Yes, our American horses are full of drugs and the businesses down here that support slaughter have no interest in passports – because we know the passports tell everyone that our horses are not safe for human consumption. I wish there was a way that I could support your new anti-slaughter government. I am 25% Canadian (Nova Scotia) and I sincerely hope that we can get real about this situation and shut it down. Shipping horses to Canada is terribly inhumane. Shipping them overseas seems an even worse experience. And then they get about the long, hard, road to hell that is forced upon the innocent. Makes my heart hurt.

  11. As far as the US government doing anything to stop US horses from making up that 60% it isn’t interested in doing one thing to stop it. The bills that are sitting in committee will never see the light of day like they always have done. These politicians in both countries are paid off to do nothing to stop any of this. As long as their palms are greased with greenbacks they do as they are told.

    1. Kathryn W · ·

      Sad to say that I share your opinion and your disappointment, Barbara.
      Money drives Washington. But their biggest fault is their short-sightedness: US horses shipped to slaughter for human consumption are not and have never been raised for human consumption. The wormers and anti-inflammatories given to US equines are being consumed by Canadians and Mexicans etc.
      Someone’s happy to get that easy money, but what does this harmful, unregulated meat suggest about our nation’s standing? And to the efficacy, viability, and credibility of any other crop, food or manufactured product that the US produces?
      Every single federal agency, every single agency heae sticks its head in the sand on US horse meat. There’s not a man among them.
      Over 81K US horses have shipped to slaughter in Mexico to date.

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