Question Period: Live Horse Exports

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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Hon. Pierre J. Dalphond: My question is for Senator Gold, the Government Representative.

In the last election, the Liberal Party promised Canadians that the live export of horses for slaughter would be banned, yet horses continue to suffer. On March 1, 2023, The Globe and Mail reported about the continued practice of shipping draft horses to Japan by cargo plane, up to four in each crate, without food or water for 25 to 30 hours.

Senator Gold, when is the government going to act on its promise to ban this kind of shipment to Japan?

Hon. Marc Gold (Government Representative in the Senate): Thank you. What you describe is troubling, to say the least. Indeed, the ban on the export of live horses is part of Minister Bibeau’s mandate letter.

I have been informed that the government is in discussions with key stakeholders and is evaluating different approaches to determine the best course of action. In the absence of a ban on the export of live horses for slaughter at present, the CFIA, or Canadian Food Inspection Agency, continues to enforce the relevant regulations to ensure that horses are fit for travel and, importantly, are transported humanely.

Senator Dalphond: I understand that the government is looking into this, but I would point out that the U.S. government banned this practice 17 years ago. In Canada, in the last five years, 14,500 horses have been shipped to Japan to become raw sushi for wealthy people. Don’t you think it’s time to put an end to this practice rather than finding humane ways to send them to slaughter in Japan?

Senator Gold: That is the government’s goal and it was included in the mandate letter. I will make inquiries to see what progress is being made. I will come back to the Senate with an answer.

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