Justice for Horses: Live Exporter Faces First Appearance in Court

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A live horse export company is in court in Winnipeg today, facing a charge over a shipment of horses from Swan River, Manitoba to Japan for slaughter that exceeded the 28-hour legal time limit for travel. The gruelling journey was likely over 32 hours long, and three horses tragically collapsed on the plane.

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On February 27, 2024 Animal Justice successfully laid a charge against Carolyle Farms over the unlawful shipment, after the Canadian Food Inspection Agency failed to enforce federal laws designed to protect animals during transport, and declined to prosecute the horse export company. 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.

On December 12, 2022, Carolyle Farms was preparing to ship live horses from the Winnipeg airport to Kagoshima, Japan, where they would be fattened, slaughtered, and eaten as a raw delicacy. The plane had a scheduled stop in Anchorage on the way, but heavy snowfall in Alaska made the plan unfeasible.

Horse in crate at Canadian airport to be live exported to Japan for slaughter.
Horses being loaded for transport. Photo: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Rather than cancel the flight, Carolyle Farms rerouted the plan through Seattle and flew the horses to Japan anyway, even though the multi-hour delay would mean that the horses would be forced to go without food, water, and rest for well over the legal transport limit of 28 hours. These flights are terrifying for the horses and incredibly taxing. Each passing hour increases the risk for harm and injury for the sensitive animals. 

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After the heartbreaking flight took place, Animal Justice, Winnipeg Humane Society, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, and Manitoba Animal Save filed a complaint with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency—but they refused to act—which is why Animal Justice sought to lay private charges.

Next, the charge will be further considered by the courts. Join our mailing list to stay up to date on the case, and for ways you can support Animal Justice’s mission for animal protection.

Banner: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

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