We Get Mail – A Reader Addresses the “Detestable Business of Slaughtering Horses”

From time to time we publish letters written by horse advocates.  They may be letters to the editor, or an op-ed piece,  or like the letter we received from Joe Muff of Whitehorse, Yukon, they convey shock and dismay at the discovery of the horse slaughter industry in Canada.  Here’s Joe’s letter to us:

“Canadian Horse Defence Coalition:

Re: the multi-million dollar commercial sales, transportation & slaughter business for European & Asian human consumption – an ongoing so-called business practice about which I had no knowledge, nor have I ever even imagined that this level of immorality can actually exist and continue to be condoned throughout this country.

I am most appalled, as well as severely disgusted, by this apparently legal commercial practice that has been sanctioned in this country via federal & provincial regulations and permits provided to slaughterhouse enterprises for numerous years.

The predominant principals of this questionable ‘business’ activity seem to originate in Alberta, a province that has promoted itself for decades as the unique Canadian ranch country, traditional home to Cowboys & Horses. And yet, this province’s population is somehow able to accept the morally detestable business of slaughtering horses or transporting them to foreign lands to be slaughtered for human consumption??? Really??? For shame…….!!

I find it absolutely ludicrous that, during this annual Calgary Stampede period, there are endless photo ops being publicized, featuring current Canadian Provincial Premiers, as well as the Prime Minister of Canada, all wearing white Cowboy hats in pretense of unified purity, yet all the while each is promoting their own brand of politics. I’m not aware of any one of these top political ‘leaders’ acknowledging the existence of commercial domestic & export establishments that deal in slaughtering and selling horses for human consumption, many of these steeds readily purchased from ‘kill buyers’.

To my mind, if certain foreign nationals have developed a cultural urge for horseflesh consumption, they should raise their own horses in their own lands for this despicable practice, and not acquire these noble creatures from Canada, a country that, not all that long ago, was largely dependent upon the help & extremely hard labor of horses trained for performing such difficult tasks.

It should be noted here too, that, not only are the actual slaughterhouse enterprises involved in this despicable export commerce, but any individual or employee who happens to be a knowing part of related activities – air, marine, rail, or road transportation shipping & associated facilities; stockyard facilities, enroute cold storage facilities for butchered horse flesh, associated Government departments, politicians, etc., etc.

In closing, I will mention that I was raised on a small B.C. interior stump ranch as a youngster and worked with horses long before we were even able to acquire motorized equipment such as cars, trucks, or farm tractors. Our family utilized draft horses for timber logging, snow plowing, hay raking and hauling, firewood, groceries, & drinking water hauling by the wagonloads, and a myriad of other draft horse tasks. My father acquired & slowly healed a former trained horse to deliver and pick up us little kids daily to & from the major highway school bus stop, several miles away. Back in those early times, I spent many hours & days exploring our remote countryside on horseback, and to this day, I still enjoy riding these fine saddle horses whenever I get the occasional chance to do so.

Having only recently been made aware of this existing horse slaughter commerce in Canada, these above comments serve to advance my own total disagreement with this disgusting activity at every opportunity that becomes available to me.”

Joe Muff
Whitehorse, Yukon

With the help of your letter-writing and petition-signing, we’ve made horse slaughter a national political issue. Let’s keep up the momentum!

Please ask for a meeting with your MPP (Member of Provincial Parliament) and your MP (Member of Parliament). 

This is important because:

  • MPs/MPPs will assume that for every person they meet with, that there are many more people who hold the same view about horse slaughter, but haven’t yet contacted them. This would also be a good time to share the Nanos poll on horse slaughter. 
  • Hearing about the critical issues of horse slaughter from you personally is more likely to have an impact.
  • Members do share information about constituent meetings and will identify where there is support for specific initiatives across Canada.
  • A personal meeting gives you an opportunity to connect with your representative and will pave the way for any future discussions. 

Asking for a meeting:

  • Email the constituency office.  Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back, so please follow-up with a phone call. 
  • If the MP/MPP is unavailable for a meeting, request a meeting with a member of his/her staff- ask the staff person to bring your concerns to your representative and follow-up with them.

You can also:

  • Speak to the media  – raise awareness and get the attention of decision-makers
  • Write an Op-Ed piece for your local newspaper
  • Respond in the comments section of related articles politely, and with facts
  • Write a Letter to the Editor – take the time to respond to a previously published letter, article, or editorial. 
  • Call into a TV or radio show – be prepared and be concise!  Depending on the topic being discussed,  provide support for the person being interviewed, or be prepared to refute a contentious claim.  

How to find your MPPhttps://www.ola.org/en/members/current/contact-information

How to find your MPhttps://www.ourcommons.ca/Parliamentarians/en/constituencies/FindMP





  1. Patricia Bailey · ·

    I agree with Mr Muff as I too grew up with working horses and know they should be treated with the respect they deserve. Not everything is about money. We should value these animals and others instead of violating them. Please stop this practice.

  2. Deborah shoniker · ·

    Absolutely dispicable. I am appauled as I am Canadian…. These beautiful gentle , smart creatures why??? This is like the dog/cat meat trade in Korea …. sick

  3. lois isfjord · ·

    Joe Muff’s comments are heartfelt indeed. I had the same reaction as well many years ago when I first encountered this sad sad fate for horses in North America.
    I truly believe that each of us can make a difference in our own way. Certainly speaking out is an effective tool. For those who are not comfortable for what ever reason in speaking out, there’s the option to donate money to the CHDC so that they can continue the fight.
    Doing nothing is to almost condone this slaughter. This beautiful magnificent animal deserves our help.

    Thank you Mr. Muff. Well said.

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