The Winnipeg Humane Society and animal law organization Animal Justice are calling on the federal government to ban the live export of horses for slaughter.
Footage provided to media shows a transport trailer with live horses being prepared for departure on Sunday night in Winnipeg.
“Footage has surfaced of reluctant horses being forcibly prodded and jabbed as a means to get them to unload off the trailers,” said Brittany Semeniuk, animal welfare consultant with the Winnipeg Humane Society.
“Horses are incredibly sensitive animals and panic easily in unfamiliar situations. Once off the trailer, the horses were loaded into wooden crates, and placed on deafeningly loud tarmacs to await their gruelling journey across the world for slaughter. Subjecting Canada’s gentle giants to such inhumane conditions, after relying on them heavily to build this country, is the ultimate betrayal.”
Horses exported to Japan often spend more than 24 hours in transport, during which time they are forced to go without food, water, and rest, the groups say.
The WHS and Animal Justice say the Liberal Party promised during the 2021 federal election to ban the live export of horses for slaughter.
“Today’s shipment of horses is one of many that have left Winnipeg and other western Canadian airports for Japan since the 2021 federal election,” a news release said.
Kaitlyn Mitchell, a Winnipeg-based staff lawyer with Animal Justice, says Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food in Canada, Marie-Claude Bibeau, has refused to meet with Animal Justice and the Winnipeg Humane Society to discuss the export of horses and when the promised ban will be put into place.
“Further delay in ending this cruel practice will doom even more horses to needless suffering and death,” Mitchell said.