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April 1, 2010

Undercover Investigation Exposes Severe Suffering in Canadian Horse Slaughter Plants

Humane Society International/Canada repeats call for national ban on horse slaughter

Humane Society International/Canada

Humane Society International/Canada repeated calls for a national prohibition on the sale, transport and slaughter of horses for human consumption in the wake of shocking new evidence of suffering in Canadian horse slaughter plants released by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.

“Investigations consistently show severe suffering of horses in slaughter plants, and yet our government continues to authorize this unacceptable industry,” said Rebecca Aldworth, executive director of Humane Society International/Canada. “The industrial-scale slaughter of horses for human consumption is inherently inhumane, and must be prohibited nationwide.”

In February 2010, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition received hidden-camera footage taken at two of Canada’s largest horse slaughter plants—Viande Richelieu (Quebec) and Bouvry Exports (Alberta). Bouvry Exports is considered the largest exporter of horse meat in North America, and has come under repeated criticism for its treatment of horses.

At the Bouvry Exports plant, a chestnut horse is shot three times while a gray mare waits in the kill box. As the chestnut horse panics and struggles—as horses are biologically wired to do—the gray mare is shot. She remains alive and kicking even as two more .22-caliber shots are fired at her face. She languishes. The pattern repeats itself.

Nicholas H. Dodman, D.V.M., one of the world's most noted and celebrated veterinary behaviorists, a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, and Tufts University School of Veterinary Medicine professor, reviewed the videos for HSI and stated: “Noise, blood and suffering is what you get at the Bouvry equine slaughter plant: Horses kicking after they have been shot, sinking down and rising up; sometimes periods of struggling or paddling before a second or third shot has to be administered. This atrocity goes against all veterinary guidelines for humane euthanasia. Terror and suffering is the rule at this equine house of horrors ... and all in the name of the gourmet meat market.”


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Humane Society International/Canada is a leading force for animal protection, representing tens of thousands of members and constituents across the country. HSI Canada has active programs in companion animals, wildlife and habitat protection, marine mammal preservation and farm animal welfare. HSI Canada is proud to be a part of Humane Society International — one of the largest animal protection organizations in the world, with more than eleven million members and constituents globally. On the Web at hsicanada.ca.

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