Never before released video footage of a shipment of live draft horses arriving in Japan

As a follow up to our recently released information on the live draft horse shipments out of Calgary, Alberta, we are releasing this footage that has not been in general release until now.

This footage was taken in January and March 2015.  In the first segment we see 4 horses being loaded into a crate in Calgary that’s designed for three and which is against Canada’s Health of Animals regulations.  You can see the specific sections here (140.1 and 141.8)

We then see the unloading in Japan and can clearly see the crates that the horses have been confined in for many, many hours as well as the typical rough handling that is endemic in this industry.

We must also ask why the horses are not being led in one at a time rather than stampeding into the crates given that they all have halters on.  You would think that it would be much safer that way.


Please consider contacting Japan’s Ambassador to Canada.  His contact information can be found here.

Also, please let the Canadian Ambassador to Japan know how you feel about this trade.  His information is here.

Atlas Air Cargo is the carrier currently doing these charters.  Please write to them here and here.




  1. Carol Crunkhorn · ·

    As long as people eat meat and dairy products, animals will suffer. What is happening to these horses, is happening constantly to animals around the world. There is no such thing as humane farming or humane slaughter, that is just a convenient lie.

  2. James wylie · ·

    Stop this inhumane treatment of these poor horses. They hurt no one

  3. I don’t agree with eating horse meat. The horses suffer in transit and then killed is cruel. Breeders treat them as a throw away commodity.

  4. Celia Morgan · ·

    This needs to be stopped…. Horses are not met to be slaughter… We need to stop the breeding and breeding . Maybe a tax on breeders that may stop all this breeding. If people have to pay a tax then they will thing about breeding over and over. I cannot believe that we allow horses to be shipped over to Japan . First the whales now are beautiful horses. Stop this in humane treatment now.

  5. patti strogal · ·

    I am so overwhelmed with sorrow,i can hardly see through my tears,this is unbelievable cruelty for such an unsuspecting and majestic animal please stopt this outrage immediately!!!!!

  6. Margaret routh · ·

    Disgusting, too! Crowded should be cleaned and cared for during shipping. If these were people there would be a. World-wide outcry.

  7. What is wrong with this world?!😱 the poor horses!!

    1. WENER · ·


  8. catherine woolgar · ·

    Inhumane the way some people treat animals

  9. Tracy Naff · ·

    Justice must be saved for those without a voice!

  10. Until people stop breeding horses just because they can slaughter is an unfortunate must. I love horse have 6 of my own but we are talking about animals that live for 20-30 years, can’t be mad at slaughter plants there are not enough homes for all horses. There are the badly bred, that are lame or unusable from the moment they are born because of to many breeders that don’t put any thought into their breeding program . Who is going to feed all the lame / not rideable / unwanted horses for 20-30 years ???

    1. Over 90% of all horses sent to slaughter are not lame, but are healthy and rideable. Are racehorses badly bred too? And presently, only 1-5% of all horses that die in any given year die as a result of being slaughtered. Most privately owned horses are already being humanely euthanized when that time comes.

    2. Yes, I can be mad at the slaughterhouses, the breeders, the lame excuses we hear. If you breed them. You feed them. What are you going to do with your loved 6 horses? You don’t love them, they are a convenience and a distraction based on the rest of your lame remarks. I think a tax on anyone selling their horse should be at about the price charged. These aren’t big chairs – they are living conscious congenial beings capable of making their own decisions. It is abhorrent anyone woud use a lifespan against another. Maybe we should look at our own longevity. Eh! Oh but we are exempt?

    3. Sylvia Young · ·

      Badly breed…not true! Horses that lame…not true! Horses that are unusable…not true! Why do you I say that you ask? Because my family has two horses that were saved from slaughter…a beautiful bay mare who is now 30. She was going to slaughter because her owner didn’t want her anymore. There is nothing wrong with her…she is the kindly “grandmother” of our herd. The second slaughter bound horse came to us this past winter…he was 10 months old at the time! He would have loaded 30 minutes after we saved him if we had not stepped in!! He’s a beautiful little paint with a disposition that is as sweet as can be. My daughter is currently “fitting” him to show in the Color Breed Congress in November…if you saw him you would realize we have a winner! So don’t tell me only the lame or non-rideable horses go to slaughter! We have a rescuer here in Oklahoma who has saved thousands from slaughter…at least 95% are healthy and rideable. They have the most loving hearts…because they KNOW they’ve been saved. The biggest issue is indiscriminate breeding…stop that and the slaughter pipeline will run dry!

  11. Do not ship these poor horses for hours on end only to be shamelessly slaughtered.

  12. Kelly · ·

    The issue is breeding not slaughter. If you want to be able to regulate horse slaughter open the plants back up in the US instead of shipping the horses to Mexico and Canada. The question in the article of why weren’t the horses led into the crates it’s because it would have been to dangerous for the handlers. I work with horses everyday and love them dearly but you wouldn’t catch me walking three or four horses into a straight load with no man door and that’s what those crates basically are. Also the poop in the crates is a normal amount for a stressed draft. But honestly slaughter is never going to go away as long as there is a dollar to be made. However if we regulated it within the US it could at least be done humanely. My two sense for what it’s worth.

    1. The USDA did not regulate horse slaughter any better or any worse than the Canadians. The plants were designed to cater to the same markets in the EU and therefore used the same methodologies and processes. Horses were still shipped long distances, and many US horses were shipped to Canadian plants because it was closer in some cases. The idea that somehow the horses went more willingly to the slaughter in the US or that it was better regulated is a fallacy.

  13. Alison · ·

    A slaughter ban is not the answer. A ban on breeding / raising horses for rendering/harvest is a plan. To the gentleman who said you need an exit plan–no one plans on their friend colicing and when he does the only humane choices is to euthanize him. At which point, in Canada, I had a choice to either pay upwards of $1000 to have his remains delivered, interred or cremated or have him rendered. I said ‘his remains’ because “he” was gone–I held his head as he left. In the US I wouldn’t have this route. If he was aged, in pain, or unrideable, I couldn’t take him to the auction because he has to be deemed ‘saleable’ for use. So that’s why people are forced to abandon their horses. A slaughter ban is not the answer. This is still wrong–I believe breeding controls and laws, and laws banning the export of live animals for slaughter, is a better answer.

  14. Anne Streeter · ·

    I have phoned & e-mailed the office of Japan’s ambassador to Canada & I have e-mailed Atlas Air. Can you be more specific about the e-mail address of Canada’s ambassador to Japan. Couldn’t find it.


  15. David · ·

    We can point fingers and the slaughter industry all day and it will change nothing. As long as there is a product there will be an industry. The issue is not in the slaughter business it is in the breeding industry. There are many breeders out there that produce many new foals each year. Some with very expensive price tags. When we see articles or posts on slaughter or kill sales we see dark dingy images, videos of poor conditions and even worse handling. Yet we see posts of young horses in lush fields filled with yellow buttercup flowers pretty clouds against blue skies and comment.. ohh how sweet… then after a few years these same horses that were once sold as prospects for thousands of dollars have become forgotten or the little snowflake it was bought for has discovered boys/girls and other interests and just like that this prospect horse is on the Meat Sale being sold for cents on the pound. To put in perspective (In Ontario Canada) the OLEX processes some 500 horses per week… lets do some math 500 week X 4 Weeks month = 2000 horses X 12 mths per year = 24000 horses… each one of them once a foal thought of as cute sweet etc… to truly stop the slaughter the source needs to be controlled. Regulated licensing of breeding, quotas on how many can be produced would be a start. In addition, better methods of gelding (cheaper) and or better methods of controlling the mare could help. All the attention and comments towards the slaughter will do nothing, stop the needless supply that seems to be never ending.

    1. Where do you get a number of 24000 a year through OLEX?? Stats for Jan – Aug 2013 shows a very different picture.

    2. You know only a very small percentage of horses ends up in the hands of kill buyers and slaughtered. There is NO idustry. This is a specialty market that unfortunately ignores the reality and need of the horses. Those who support slaughter are ignorant to so many facts of life such as the stress on the horses, their emotional bond with the lives they have been jerked out of, the very criminal nature of those in this speciality who have no intention of following jumane controls, and the deadly and consequential act of eating horsemeat being of no impact to you on the dark side of processing. You ought to all be sure and put your full names down so when it is discovered loved ones died from the inflictions caused by the poisonous meat you fed to them – they can sue you. Otherwise, you are liars, thieves, cruel, discompassionate to human and horse alike and it is just a matter of time before you break some other law. Horse slaughter is a nasty, dirty business and MUST be eradicated. Like rats, those who favor slaughter, better jump ship.

  16. Reblogged this on Comedyflyer's Blog and commented:
    The Con-servatives support the live shipment of Canadian horses to Japan…to be eaten RAW….heave Steve & research who you vote for…The Japanese government was also feeding mercury laden dolphin meat to school children…ANYTHING for a $$$$$$

  17. This is disgusting and inhumane since when were canadians so heartless .it needs to stop its plain greed on both parts .why if the japs gotta eat them can they not be humanely put down here and shipped .

  18. Georgina · ·

    One remark was ‘Why can’t they lead these horses’. These horses are haltered in a chute before they are shipped to Calgary. They are not broke to lead. The people unloading these unfortunate horses probably do not know horses at all, other than they are going to be force fed to butcher! Pretty soon we’ll be shipping cats and dogs to the Asians to eat too!!!! The pos in Government who allow this to happen’ for the money’ and keep kissing the Asian markets asses–should go and see what happens to these animals over there!!!!

  19. Dave Beveridge · ·

    GET REAL. First why where they transported live if they were to be slaughtered. Way cheaper just send meat. There are rendering plants in Canada for horse meat. Also these plants serve a purpose. Look what happed in US where PITA types got plants shut down… now horses are dumped of in fields and left to dye or starve to death. I love my horse and treat him well but am not sure what the procedure is when his time comes.

    1. McDane · ·

      Dave if they have the horses live over there 6 months (I think – could be less) they can label the meat as a product of Japan. that’s why they want them live.

    2. David · ·

      Dave… I have horses as well… before I got mine I knew my exit plan… that is a lot of the problem where ppl do not know what to do with their horses whrnt he time comes. If you are going to be responsible owner know your exit… some suggestions, give to a proper home as a companion horse, get to know a Horse Rescue Facility and make an arrangement, make a sale to a proper home. It only takes some thought

      1. Yes, and I’m always astonished that many people have never heard of humane euthanasia either.

    3. Georgina · ·

      Because they are finished there with a total different feed and fed to where they cannot stand on their own anymore because some of these horses are fed to be 3000lbs. They want them killed’ THEIR WAY’.

    4. Either they do not care about the cost or it is subsidized by the Canadian taxpayer through various programs, and they want fattened horses to the point of laminitis. Then they want it extremely fresh – as in raw.

  20. Totaly disturbing, this cruelty has to stop immediatly!!!

  21. Ines Kniebel · ·

    Stop it

  22. ron harvey · ·

    I am never going to buy another japanese car
    I will drive u s crap before I give Japan cruel idiots a penny
    Monsters to do what they do

  23. Tracy Black · ·

    i buy nothing or support nothing from Jspsn or China to my ability. CAnada, shame on you! Shame on America for not monitoring and setting regulations on breeding and breeders.

  24. Shelley · ·

    Shame on Canada for allowing such horrible treatment of these beautiful horses!!! They weren’t just work horses someone once loved them & slaughter should not be their destiny!!! These Majestic horses are NOT for human consumption and should be treated with the love & respect that they deserve!!! Shame on Japan for torturing and causing them to suffer great pain & stress while undergoing a horrific terrifying death!!! Our Beautiful friends & companions do not belong on a dinner plate!!!! Shame on anyone that takes these horses to auctions week after week knowing full well that they have just given them a death sentence sealing their fate destined for slaughter!!!!! OUR HORSES ARE NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION NOR WERE THEY EVER RAISED WITH THAT INTENT!!!!!!!!

  25. I dont even know what to say anymore, So many innocent lives lost, we let innocent animals be slaughtered daily every over and over agian..I have to believe there will come a time when man will realize you dont have to eat the meat of animals to survive. Cows,horses,pigs,dogs, goats, They live to make our lives easior, to love us, to depend on us, as we recieve so many wonderful rewards from them. All they ask is that we treat them back in kind..It seems these people do not have the same respect as the animals have for them, so who is really the animal here?

  26. Harriet Helisek · ·

    this is terrible to be doing this to the horses…It must be stopped! These horses were not raised for food….or slaughter…..they were once someones pet or partner in the field.

    1. Karen swain · ·

      Yes, they were someone’s pet or partner. What happened? Why get a new a new horse and toss the current one you have away? Oh, yeah, because you want a newer and better horse for your show, competition or race or what ever you do with your horse. Maybe you breed them too. You want to do better and it has to be the horses fault if you fail to achieve the level you have set in your mind. So, just pass on the old horse and let it become some one else’s burden. Get a new horse and shine in the ring. Nice. But maybe you rescue one once in a while, (and brag about it FB), to alleviate your guilt. Nice. If you can live with that. Ok. Good for you.

    2. No, they were probably used in the PMU program to make estrogen replacement therapy drugs. Google that and then get really upset!

    3. McDane · ·

      Actually they were raised for this specific purpose. This exactly proves people need to do their research fully before jumping on the anti slaughter ban wagon.

      1. Why does the video show docked tails? Did they drive or longline them around the feedlot beforehand?

      2. No one in the slaughter industry is going to spend money docking horses tails. Not only do mares have docked tails but the geldings do too. So how do you explain that?? Docking is done for horses who will be used in harness. These horses come from various sources. We’ve seen photos and videos of horses who came from Mennonites. The horses had braids in their forelocks which is a Mennonite custom for horses going to auction. We keep hearing that people are breeding these horses for meat but, with one exception, have had concrete proof of it. The one exception was Hutterites saying that they had a small group of purpose-bred horses for Boubry.

      3. McDane · ·

        I have no idea. My best guess is Japan requests it. But I do know firsthand they have hundreds of heavy babies born on the property each year for this. Think about it…driving isn’t that popular in this day and age, do you really think that market would produce enough for this?

      4. McDane · ·

        I will ask for you. I doubt the Amish would get rid of horses that young, these will be 2 & 3 year olds. Don’t get me wrong I know some horses come from private places and auctions, but I do know 100% that there is a breeding program for them. Anyone who says there isn’t has never been to the area and therefore in my opinion has no right to speak on the subject.

      5. Why would Japan request it on some but not all horses? What it suggests is that purpose-bred horses may be mixed in with former Mennonite or Amish horses.

  27. We can only hope when the aliens land they pick the Asians to eat.. And we can all just sit back and ignore ..

    1. Shelley · ·

      It isn’t just Asian people they slaughter horses in Canada, New Mexico & Europe! The people eating our beloved friends aren’t the only one’s to blame! Let’s start with the people taking their horses to an auction knowing that they can & more then likely be purchased for slaughter! The auctions that allow horses to be sold & bought for slaughter, the greedy kill buyers that purchase our horses day after day after day, the truckers delivering the horses to a horrific death, the people working in these slaughter plants, the greedy owners of these slaughter houses then to the people eating our friends!!!

  28. Horselover4ever · ·

    we need to work from the top down people we need to stop senseless breeding if we don’t supply the horses these people they don’t have the food to butcher we are the ones to blame for this in the end I’ve even rescued horses that people didn’t want any longer.

    1. These horses were intentionally bred to be meat. If a seller can make money by breeding a large draft and selling a 2 year old to be carted to Japan, why would they not? These are not your average slaughter bound back yard bred horses.

      1. As was previously noted, why are some of their tails docked?

  29. Rene Denney · ·

    i couldnt even watch the whole thing so upsetting to me…. how cruel can people be… please stop this… please!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  30. Will never understand why this has to happen. Why are we, the human race, so cruel

  31. betty Lyons · ·

    they are so confused and the idiots just keep hitting them, to bad they couldn’t kick their stupid heads off. so very sad. these horses are so gentle, makes me sick. i hope the japs all get sick.

  32. this needs to STOP first ww2 with the japs now they don have enough room to breed horses for their blood thirsty appetites. makes me want to kill or puke

  33. A very large number of the drafts on the Bouvry feedlots, which is where the horses are warehoused prior to shipping to Japan, have docked tails. Tails are docked on drafts who will be put into harness so it’s obvious that these horses are coming from various sources. Anyone who would raise these gentle giants for this awful trade is not going to spend money docking tails.

    1. The docked tails are so they don’t get in the way of the urine collection harness. Most of these horses are in the PMU program.

      1. Georgina · ·

        No, most of these horses are not from PMU farms!! There are places that breed and raise these draft X’s totally to ship live to Japan. They only want the big draft horses. A large number are horse from the Amish from the States.

    2. Georgina · ·

      The horses are NOT warehoused at Bouvry to be shipped to Japan! Bouvry only ships meat. The horses are slaughtered right there. They do not and are not allowed to ship LIVE horses!!!

      1. Bouvry Exports has over 2000 acres where these drafts are warehoused. They are in the Granum area. When they are deemed ready to ship they’re sent to the Summerview feedlot which is a CFIA approved quarantine station. They stay there for about two weeks and then are loaded on trailers to go to Calgary Airport. Records indicate that thee Summerview feedlot is owned by Shorno-Agri Business of Yelm Washington.
        You can read about these feedlots here: and here: and also here:

      2. McDane · ·

        another false statement

      3. Georgina, can you contact me at Thanks.

    3. McDane · ·

      the vast majority of these heavies are bred by Bouvry, they don’t come from private farms after being driving horses. I don’t know the reason for the docked tails. Perhaps Japan requests that.

      1. Georgina · ·

        No McDane you are wrong. A lot of the horses were bought by the feedlot at Summerview from Bouvry’s Prime Feeders but not anymore. Summerview gets most from private places and from sales!!!!! Lonita, I worked at Schorno!!!!!

      2. McDane · ·

        Agree to disagree Georgina I guess. I know firsthand. Have a good day.

      3. Georgina · ·

        May I ask how you know firsthand Mcdane?

      4. Georgina · ·

        May I ask how you know firsthand Mcdane? And Japan does Not request tails to be docked! !

      5. Georgina · ·

        Summerview received many horses that were driving horses McDane, lots came in pairs and there were many, many yearling Amish horses that came in by truck that were purchased at sales and still had the ribbons in their mane and tails. I agree to disagree, because I KNOW FIRSTHAND!!! Bouvry has many brood mares but they have private suppliers as well.

  34. Jennifer Eadie · ·

    This beyond infuriates me. How is this allowed when it is obviously illegal shipping, by their own rules/laws?

  35. There is no difference in the way these horses are treated than the loads of horses killed in Mexico/Canada. Why poke a metal pole in the pen and to hit the horses with it? If one of these fools had simply allowed one horse to move through the gate the others would have followed.
    Keep in mind too the Japan is the country that allows dolphins to be rounded up and slaughtered not caring what the world thinks about it. These horses are being raised for slaughter there is no doubt of that but how can it be stopped? The greedy horse breeders here in the US are just licking their chops to start up horse slaughter plants again even knowing the EU won’t accept US horse meat from the US. The EU seems to ignore the fact that most of the horses slaughtered in Canada and Mexico come from the drug saturated horses from the US.

    1. Jennifer Eadie · ·

      Yes there is…..they are crammed tightly in flimsy crates, more so than legal….and then put on a plane for at least 36 hours…..the stifling heat, the noise, the energy, the elevation…..then to land, completely bewildered, thirsty and freaked right out, to land to these bunch of idiots….not bashing the Japanese, I am bashing these idiots that don’t have a clue about horses or what these poor, doomed beings have just been through……..most or many of these horses(basically bred by these bastards, solely for this purpose) lived an idylic life from foalhood…frolick
      ing in the fields and fed the best food….then one day, when they are heavy enough, they are herded up and rammed into these crates and flown to be butchered………….I can’t imagine the confusion and terror they feel.

      1. veronica · ·

        not metal pole electric rod CRUELTY IS NEVER AN

    2. It is a matter of public safety. Remember the journal of the pilot? He said, that the condensation and heat in the plane had to have special air blowers to keep the plane in flying order. And to keep the horses from suffocating. It is inhumane. There is no justification for it. The Japanese could care less, it is just meat and gluttony to them/ It cracks me up that they can brutalize a sentient being and wear masks protecting themselves.

  36. jan zacharias · ·

    Just sickening ….. how can human’s be so cruel !

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