The CANADIAN HORSE DEFENCE COALITION RELEASES ACCESS TO INFORMATION DOCUMENTS FOR KOREAN AIR CHARTER OF LIVE HORSES FROM THE CALGARY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT TO KAGOSHIMA, JAPAN
On October 4, 2018 a Korean Air cargo plane left the Calgary International Airport carrying 114 horses destined for slaughter to Kagoshima, Japan. Because there was a significant flight delay, an Access to Information request was made seeking to determine the cause as well as the length of time the horses had been confined without food and water.
The documents provided name Willjill Farms Inc., St. Thomas, Ontario as the owner.
The Inspector’s Report discloses 148 horses were examined, with blood collected to test for various diseases in order to comply with export requirements to Japan. Extra horses were tested to allow for the possible removal of some depending on test outcomes.
All horses included in this shipment were identified as a Belgian cross gelding born in 2017. In total, twenty-nine crates were used to hold the 114 horses on this flight; twenty-eight crates contained four horses each with one crate having two horses.
Health of Animals Regulations
141 (1) Subject to this section, no person shall load on any railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel and no carrier shall transport animals of different species or of substantially different weight or age unless those animals are segregated.
(8) Every equine over 14 hands in height shall be segregated from all other animals during transport by air. http://laws-lois.justice.gc.ca/eng/regulations/C.R.C.,_c._296/page-17.html
While each crate held more than one horse, no non-compliance is entered on the Humane Transportation of Animals form (CFIA 5663) although an explanation for disregarding section 141 (8) of the regulations is provided in the comments section:
|39. Comments I Commentaires
“Horses exceeding 14 hands were not segregated as per HAR 141(8). This is in line with Program direction and operational assessment concluding that the horses in this load are socialized and compatible with each other. In keeping with the intent of Part XII of the HAR, allowing horses to travel together minimizes their anxiety far more than individual segregation.”
As the flight was scheduled to leave Calgary on October 3, the horses were transported from the quarantine location to the airport and loaded into crates the previous evening. Page 2 of form 5663 provides a timeline of events:
October 2 – Horses are transported to the Calgary International Airport where they were loaded into crates beginning at 6:45 p.m. “Based on the observations during the inspection, the load appears to be in compliance with those sections of the Regulations that were assessed.“
October 3 – The Inspector arrived at the International Animal Lounge at 2:30 a.m. and was informed the flight would be delayed, eventually learning it would be postponed until the following day as a malfunctioned unloader (in Japan) would not be repaired until then. In order to comply with HAR section 141 (4) this delay necessitated unloading the horses into corrals with food and water made available.
The horses were unloaded from the crates into corrals from 12:52 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. and reloaded from 8:30 to 9:20.
Health of Animals Regulations
(4) Livestock that is unloaded from a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel to be fed, watered and rested before the livestock is re-loaded, shall be unloaded into a pen, rested for not less than five hours, provided with an ample quantity of suitable food and potable ice-free water, and before the livestock is re-loaded, the floor of the railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel shall be littered with straw, wood shavings or other bedding material.
October 4 – Crates were loaded on the aircraft from 7:26 a.m. to 9:21 a.m. However, one horse was down in one of the crates and unable to rise on his own. The crate was taken back to the IAL and the horses unloaded. The horse who was down was then able to stand and exit the crate unassisted; the horses were assessed for 10 minutes, reloaded in the crate and taken back to the plane. The aircraft departed at 10:45 a.m.
Without including the time the horses were loaded on trailers and transported to the airport, using the times given in the documents provided we can calculate the amount of time the horses were confined without food or water for each phase of their journey.
Oct. 2 – 6:45 p.m. Crate loading begins at the Calgary Airport
Oct. 3 – 3:30 p.m. Horses are unloaded from crates into corral
Time confined in crates at airport without food or water: 20 hours 45 minutes. Transport time to the airport is not included.
Oct. 3 – 8:30 p.m. Horses are reloaded into crates
Oct. 4 – 10:45 a.m. Aircraft departs, total flight time is 10 hours 31 minutes
Time confined after being reloaded in crates (including flight time): 24 hours 46 minutes. This does not include unloading time upon arrival in Japan or transport time to the quarantine station there.
The condition of the horses upon arrival in Japan was not provided.
It appears that certain visitors, whose names have been redacted, were pleased with CFIA oversight at the airport, citing ‘great work’ and ‘professionalism’. However, the time of their visit should be noted, and the fact that they wouldn’t have been present to witness the unloading to corrals and the reloading to crates, nor the plight of the fallen horse.
All documents can be viewed here. Please note all documents appear as received, with portions exempted under sections 17, 19(1) and 20 (1)(c), of the Access to Information Act.