August 29th is an International Day of action against the live export trade. It marks the 20th anniversary of the biggest disaster in live export, when 67,488 sheep drowned or burned to death when the shipping vessel MV Uniceb burst into flames.
Animals are not freight. Suffering is inherent in all long distance transport, and it is time for governments to ban live exports.
Canada’s animal transportation laws are the worst in the developed world. In Canada it is legal to transport cows for up to 52 hours without food, water or rest. Other animals such as pigs, horses and chickens can be transported wihout food, water or rest for up to 36 hours.
In Calgary, we will be focusing on the approximately 7000 horses that are exported from Calgary to Japan each year. This gruelling journey from feedlot to Japan takes approximately 30 hours if there are no flight delays, a journey during which some horses are known to have died.
At the airport the horses are kept for approximately 12 hours in wooden crates. During this time they are subjected to extremely loud airplane noise, jet blast and deicing fluid. The wooden crates they are transported in are not approved by the International Air Transport Association. Regulations such as a requirement to segregate all horses over 14 hands high but the draft horses are much larger than that and are packed 1 – 4 to a crate against the regulations. The regulations also stipulate that horses must be able to stand in a natural position without their heads coming into contact with the roof of the crate. The regulations are routinely broken and are not enforced by the regulatory body, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).
Please go here for more information on this event.
If you’re new to this issue, here’s a video that shows the draft horses going from the feedlot to Calgary Airport.