The Clock is Ticking! The Horses Need You!
December 21, 2016 is the deadline for signing E-petition 116. This is your opportunity, as a Canadian and a horse defender, to speak out against horse slaughter! An official government petition, E-116 has been sponsored by Member of Parliament Mark Holland. It calls upon the House of Commons in Parliament to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.
Please sign and share as widely as you can!
To date, the horses have achieved just over 2500 signatures, but need far more than that before December 21st in order to send a timely and crucial message to Parliament Hill, that Canadians want horse slaughter stopped!
Look into my eyes. Speak gently to me of green fields and soft summer breezes.
Protect me from betrayal.
Look into my eyes and know that with every drum beat of my heart
I yearn to live.
Lobby Days on Parliament Hill
On October 4th and 5th, representatives from several animal protection groups joined the CHDC in Ottawa to speak with Members of Parliament and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). These groups included Animal Alliance of Canada, Humane Society International, and International Fund for Animal Welfare. This initiative was spearheaded by the CHDC and organized by a professional lobbyist hired by our coalition. We thank the representatives who were able to attend and participate in our lobby efforts. Working together, we are stronger!
During those two days it became very clear that, in general, MPs are not knowledgeable about the issue of horse slaughter, as there are many new MPs in this current Liberal majority government. Responding to the many questions they asked during the meetings, CHDC has since then prepared and sent information to all MPs, including an overview and facts about the horse slaughter industry. We are keeping in touch with those MPs who have expressed particular interest in our efforts to stop horse slaughter.
While we attended in Ottawa, Bill C-246, the Modernizing Animal Protections Act, was defeated at its second reading on October 5th. With a vote of 198 to 84, the ramifications of this disappointing result was felt by animal welfare advocates across Canada. It left little doubt that we have our work cut out for us, but the CHDC will continue to educate and communicate with our government and the agencies that oversee the horse slaughter industry, including the CFIA, the Ministry of Health and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
We are consulting with legal counsel in a continuing effort to explore legal strategies to stop illegally-conducted live shipments of horses to Japan for slaughter. Legal and court costs can be costly, so please consider making a donation to the CHDC to assist in our efforts to challenge the industry.
CFIA Proposes Changes to the Health of Animals Regulations
On December 3rd, the Canada Gazette published Regulations Amending the Health of Animals Regulations which summarizes the proposed changes to the Health of Animals Regulations (HAR) recognizing that the transport of animals in Canada is not aligned with those of other countries (World Organisation for Animal Health – OIE) nor do they align with the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice (NFACC) or international trading partners such as the US and the EU.
The proposed updates would include changes to how animals are segregated and handled; their loading density, feed, water, rest, conveyance requirements as well as training for handlers, definitions for “unfit” animals, and contingency planning. For animals transported by air (horses) the container requirements set out in the IATA, of which the CHDC has continually reminded the various levels of government, would be incorporated into the HAR.
Under the new proposed regulations, the maximum transport time for horses would be reduced from 36 to 28 hours (maximum interval for access to feed and water).
However, while the reassuring wording of the proposed changes may appear to be an improvement, a close reading indicates otherwise. The text refers to an “outcome-based approach” – in other words, loopholes are provided where they may be needed. We can illustrate this with two examples extracted from the proposed amendments:
1) ”These amendments would also provide additional clarity about the preferred position of various species during transportation and propose outcome-based requirements respecting the height of the roof or top of the conveyance or cover of the container needed to accommodate the animal’s natural behaviour. For example, horses may wish to hold their heads straight or hold their heads up, depending on the breed, size and type.” (This provides a convenient loophole for HAR, Section 142, which states that the animal’s head must not come into contact with the ceiling of the container.)
2) ”The prescriptive nature of the current requirements respecting segregation by species, age, and weight would be replaced with an outcome-based provision that would prohibit loading, transporting, or confining animals that are incompatible (by reason of their nature, species, temperament, gender, weight or age, which are likely to result in injury, suffering or death to any animal transported in the same conveyance), unless they are segregated. This outcome-based approach is consistent with OIE standards, and provides the flexibility for animals that prefer travelling together to be kept together; under the current requirements, these animals would need to be segregated irrespective of compatibility.” (This is a loophole for HAR, Section 141.8, which stipulates that horses over 14 hands high must be segregated for air transport.)
CHDC has repeatedly called for the CFIA to follow the law, and the agency has responded vaguely that draft horses have a calm temperament and are compatible, and that “in keeping with the intent of the Regulations, allowing them to travel together helps to minimize anxiety”. The CFIA has not directly addressed the issue of laws being violated. But now the agency wants to cover its actions by incorporating loopholes into the HAR.
Does this seem right to you? Have your say!
“Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations within 75 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Dr. Cornelius F. Kiley, National Manager, Animal Welfare, Biosecurity and Assurance Programs Section, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, 59 Camelot Drive, 3rd Floor East, Room 231, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0Y9 (tel.: 613-773-7028; fax: 613-773-7567; email: firstname.lastname@example.org ). By submitting representations, interested persons consent to having their representations posted on the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s website.”
Toronto Sun Series – Missing Horses Sargon and Apollo
In October, Toronto Sun journalist Chris Doucette reported on a cautionary tale about 2 horses who disappeared and their likely tragic ending, which serves as a reminder to all horse owners about the risks horses face when they get sold or handed “down the line”.
New EU Rules for Import of Canadian Horsemeat
In September, it was announced that the European Commission is set to adopt long-awaited requirements to more strictly regulate the import of horsemeat from non-EU countries following the latest audit finding that Canadian horsemeat may not meet EU food safety standards. The new rules mean that from March 31, 2017, horses destined for slaughter in non-EU countries but for export to the EU, must undergo a minimum six-month residency requirement.
CHDC Prepares Response to Standard Government Form Letter on Horse Slaughter
Tired of the same old standard responses from government to your concerns about horse slaughter? The CHDC has prepared a helpful response document for you to use!
Revealed: Death Flights to Japan for Our Horses
In August, the CHDC released footage that reveals new information about the final destination for the live draft horse shipments to Japan for human consumption.
Petition to Atlas Air, Alert Requesting the CFIA to Follow the Law–Not the Money and Consolidated Review of Life Horse Shipments to Japan
In our ongoing work to expose the live horse shipments to Japan, we continue to promote the Change.org petition to Ask Atlas Air to End the Shipment of Live Horses for Slaughter, which currently stands at 18,358 supporters. In July, we published an Alert to ask Canada to follow the law – not the money. after Access to Information documents reveal that Japanese importers had contacted several producers and told them that if new CFIA regulations surrounding the size and weight of crates, as well as limiting two horses to a crate, is going to be normal operating procedure, they will no longer be bringing in animals from Canada as it will cost them enormous amounts of money in additional expenses. Also in May, we published a consolidated review of the live draft horse shipments from Canada to Japan.
CFIA Uses Intimidation Tactics Against Horse Rescuer
In January, a disturbing event occurred for a BC horse rescuer. Theresa Nolet, renowned for her tireless horse rescue efforts in the area of Penticton, BC, is a good samaritan for animals, as she rehabilitates and cares for wild and feral horses on her own property. Some of the horses have wandered into her yard from First Nations properties, and she has fed, groomed, and given necessary medications to those animals needing a helping hand. When she was made aware that some of the horses were being rounded up to possibly go to slaughter, she notified the CFIA that she had administered phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug for horses that is banned from the human food chain. She was subsequently contacted by the RCMP (via the CFIA), suggesting that she purposely administered the drug, not to help the horse(s), but did so surreptitiously. To the CFIA, it’s all about safeguarding the food supply, and horses are a part of that lucrative picture, as this letter implies.
Handy Postcard Communication Tool
In January we created the CHDC postcard, to use as a new way to communicate the message against horse slaughter. We’ll send them to you at no cost! Email us at email@example.com to receive yours.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from the Team at the CHDC and All the Best to You and Our Horses in 2017