ORANGEVILLE, ON, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ - The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has discovered gruelling evidence of multiple horse deaths connected to air transport to Japan, and attempts by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to cover up the truth.
Access to Information (ATI) documents reveal that three horses died as a result of a landing accident and six horses perished in flight on August 1, 2012, "due to a combination of a substantial delay, the large size of the horses, and significant stress levels in the animals". However, a placating form letter dated November 2012, and later sent to inquiring members of the public, indicates that "the CFIA is not aware of any injury or undue suffering due to lack of segregation of horses over 14 hands in height."
Further ATI findings include: "...horses usually go down during take off and landing", and one horse evidently died on a trip from Calgary and was found upside down in his crate. Of ongoing concern has been breakage of the wooden crates, especially with stressed horses rearing up and falling against the crates' wood strips covered in netting. Past instructions from the CFIA to exporters have included repairing the broken shipping containers with duct tape.
The CHDC also notes that, in spite of lengthy debate within the agency concerning overloading the crates with four heavy horses, the practice is still continuing. In fact, The Health of Animals Regulations stipulate that horses over 14 hands high (56" high at the base of the neck) must be segregated for air transport, and they must be able to stand in a natural position, without coming into contact with a deck or roof. Both laws are being broken on an ongoing basis, with the CFIA fully aware of this and, on horse shipment formwork, noting the segregation regulation under "Description of Non-Compliance". Further, for their own purposes, the agency has added wording to the Health of Animals Regulations that has not gone through official legal channels.
Attempts have been made by at least one agency official to install cameras in aircraft and to initiate a study regarding equine welfare associated with air transport. Both proposals were turned down. ATI findings indicate that the reason could have been "siding with exporters".
CHDC Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland, states: "In 2014, over 7,000 large draft horses shipped from Canada to Japan under these circumstances. It is clear that international trade and profit take precedence over animal welfare, possibly even human safety, and that the CFIA is turning a blind eye, circumventing laws and misleading the public. We have strong evidence of the agency failing to follow its own regulations concerning the live transport of horses for meat, and even lying to the public to cover deviations from the law."
The CHDC calls upon the Minister of International Trade, Hon. Edward Fast, and Bruce Archibald, President of the CFIA, to demand that the practice of sending horses overseas by air cargo for slaughter be stopped on humane and legal grounds.
ATI documents and video evidence can be found at this link: https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/media_page_jun_2015.pdf.
SOURCE Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
For further information: Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Phone: 250.681.1408, Email: [email protected]