Questions for Election Candidates

magThere are many important campaign issues surrounding this election. The following list of suggested candidate questions pertain to equines, and are not intended to be the sole questions asked of candidates.  Please use these as a supplement to any other compelling election issues you may have, and ask candidates to consider equine welfare if they want your support!

To find your candidates or check your voting status,  navigate to this Elections Canada site and enter your postal code.

  1. There is a necessity for stronger enforcement of charges against animal abuse, including drug abuse at race tracks, abuse and neglect at auctions, and private Link8_13-Jan-15_YYCownership abuse. Do you support strengthening the animal cruelty sections of the Criminal Code by closing the loopholes that currently prevent the prosecution of many serious cases of animal abuse and neglect?
  1. The road to slaughter is particularly cruel to horses. Will you take action to amend regulations covering the transport of horses including the addition of maximum density limits and a significant reduction in maximum transport times? Will you support the enforcement of transport regulations and the application of fines or other penalties when infractions occur?
  1. Do you support incorporating the Codes of Practice as mandatory minimum WW1_sites-33requirements rather than only recommendations?
  1. Mainstream media has also been covering the live draft horse shipments from Calgary and Winnipeg airports to Japan where the horses are slaughtered as the Japanese prefer their meat “fresh”.   This industry violates CFIA and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations regarding the live shipping of horses by air by having 3 or more horses unsegregated in wooden crates. Despite receiving many letters of complaint to the CFIA and IATA, horses are still being shipped in violation of regulations. Will you and your party support a ban on this trade?
  1. Last year there was a vote on horse anti-slaughter Bill C-571. Virtually all Liberal, Green Party and most NDP MPs voted in favour of it. The Conservatives, with the exception of two, voted against it. The NDP were told by MP Malcolm Allen that there was a report stating dire consequences if horse slaughter was banned. The report he referred to was the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report which was quickly debunked by equine advocates. The EU completed an audit in 2014 and found the Canadian horse slaughter industry to be completely lacking in most areas. The Equine Information Document (EID) has long been criticized for being inadequate to chuckwagonsverify horses’ qualification for being acceptable for human consumption, and the EU has also identified the shortcomings of the entire EID system. It is a system open to fraud and the CHDC has provided many examples of fraudulent EIDs. After a similar audit of Mexico, the EU banned the sale of horse meat from Mexico to the EU. They have not done this for Canada although they indicated new restrictive measures would be taken. Also, the lack of food traceability was evident in the horse meat scandal of 2013, resulting in massive changes outside of Canada, yet the EU continues to accept Canada’s sub-standard EID system.  Will you support a horse anti-slaughter bill?  Will you consider introducing such a bill?
  1. Undercover video taken in slaughterhouses has revealed systemic cruelty with the slaughter of horses. Given that horses are raised as companion animals and working partners, are very agile and easily frightened thus making it very difficult to stun quickly and humanely, as well as often being administered drugs that are prohibited from entering the food chain, would you be in support of legislation prohibiting the import, export and slaughter of horses for human consumption?
  1. Alberta’s and BC’s free-roaming horses are an integral and valuable part of Canada’s sable-island-horsesheritage, yet each year many are rounded up and slaughtered. Their numbers are dwindling. Saskatchewan has passed legislation to protect its wild ponies. Will you support similar legislation that will grant federal wild horse status and/or create a sanctuary that will protect them?
  1. There is uncertainty surrounding the status of the wild horses on Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia. The horses have been living on the island since the 18th century, without human intervention. The horses on Sable Island have never received modern veterinary care and may be a good resource for studying antibiotic resistance in horses. Yet the horses are controversial in some circles and protection may not always be extended. Do you support protecting these horses?



  1. These are fantastic questions. Let us hope that someone answers them.

  2. Stan Whiston · ·

    I worked on Sable Island for a few months in 1968. There were a few older horses that had been tamed and used for patrolling the beaches looking for shipwrecked sailors. That activity had been dropped in the early ’60s as there had been no shipwrecks since about 1947. Two of those tamed horses were still fit for riding, and I was able to catch them and saddle up. That was probably the last time that happened.
    There are various theories about how the horses arrived on the island, but they have been there for a long time and are now a part of the island’s wildlife. I recently saw a video about that wildlife and the Sable Island, although changed by the shifting of dunes caused by the strong winds, did not seem adversely affected by the cropping of the grass by the horses, or their wandering over the dunes.
    I believe that the horses should be allowed to live and bred as they have for many, many years.

    Stan Whiston
    Woodstock, Ontario

  3. Kathleen Ryan · ·

    Thank you for this excellent summary on horse issues that must be addressed

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