Calling on Law Enforcement: Lay Charges Over Unlawful Shipment of Horses to Japan

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Another shipment of Canadian horses being sent to Japan for slaughter has exceeded the legal time limit for travel, causing additional suffering to terrified horses in cargo.

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Animal Justice, the Winnipeg Humane Society, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, and Manitoba Animal Save have sent a legal complaint to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), calling for enforcement action over the cruel and unlawful shipment.

On January 22, 2024 approximately 99 horses were sent from Winnipeg to Izumisano, Japan, where they would be fattened, slaughtered, and eaten as a raw delicacy. The horses, most aged approximately 18 months, were loaded three per wooden crate and had a layover in Alaska before crossing the ocean to Japan. Through access to information requests, it was revealed that before the horses arrived at the Winnipeg airport, their flight to Alaska was delayed by two hours. They were shipped anyway, and were in transit without food, water, and rest for approximately 32 hours—exceeding the 28 hour legal time limit.

This shipment was in violation of federal transport laws, yet it appears that no charges have been laid by authorities.

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Animal Justice Charges Live Exporter Over Violations

On February 27, 2024 Animal Justice successfully laid a charge against Carolyle Farms over a previous unlawful shipment of horses to Japan for slaughter that also exceeded the legal time limit for export.

On December 12, 2022, Carolyle Farms was preparing to ship live horses from the Winnipeg airport to Kagoshima, Japan. The plane had a scheduled stop in Alaska on the way, but heavy snowfall made the plan unfeasible. They proceeded with the shipment, and the gruelling journey likely took over 32 hours, with three horses tragically collapsing on the plane.

Once again, Animal Justice, Winnipeg Humane Society, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, and Manitoba Animal Save filed a complaint with the CFIA over the unlawful conduct. After the CFIA refused to take enforcement action, Animal Justice began the months-long process of laying private charges.

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This is a rare example of a private prosecution, in which a private individual, rather than public authorities, is permitted by the court to lay a charge for an alleged offence. The charge laid was for failing to have a contingency plan for the export of the horses.

Support Legislation to Ban Live Horse Exports for Slaughter

Right now, a federal bill to end the export of horses from Canada for slaughter overseas is making its way through the parliamentary process. Take action now and tell Canada to finally put an end this cruel practice!

Banner: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

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