Jann Arden and Senator Dalphond announce bill to ban export of live horses for slaughter overseas

By: The Hon. Pierre Dalphond

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OTTAWA, June 21, 2023 – Today singer-songwriter Jann Arden and Senator Pierre Dalphond are pleased to announce the introduction of the Horse Protection Act, a new Senate bill proposing to ban the export of live horses for slaughter overseas. The Liberal Party promised Canadians such a ban in the 2021 federal election, a commitment reflected in the mandate letter of the re-elected Prime Minister to Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau. “Now is the time to take action to end the cruel export of horses for slaughter overseas,” said Senator Dalphond, who will introduce the bill in the Senate this afternoon. “Through the Horse Protection Act, I am proposing a statutory ban that will become effective the day the bill is adopted.”

“Since 2006, tens of thousands of terrified horses have been crammed into shoddy wooden crates and flown 8,000 km to their demise, enduring turbulence, thirst and hunger, and abject fear.  To say this practice is inhumane would be an understatement. Canadians want this to end,” said Jann Arden. Jann Arden is a multi-platinum Canadian artist and leading voice for a ban on the export of live horses for slaughter overseas. She is the patron of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and will headline Ottawa’s 2023 Canada Day celebrations.

Since 2013, over 30,000 horses have been shipped from Canadian airports overseas for slaughter, with Japan and South Korea being the most common destinations. In the first quarter of 2023, Canada exported 899 live horses to Japan for slaughter, where they are considered a delicacy and consumed as sashimi, an increase of 3 % compared to the same period last year. Many of the horses are large draft breeds, such as Clydesdales and Percherons.

The horses’ total time in transit to Asia, by air and road, often exceeds 24 hours. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency permits food and water to be withheld from horses for up to 28 hours. During air transport, horses – who are easily panicked and have a strong flight response – become stressed and suffer due to the loading process; loud, sudden, and unfamiliar noises of aircraft; close confinement in crates with unfamiliar and terrified horses; and difficulty balancing during takeoff, turbulence, and landing, sometimes resulting in falls.

Over 36,000 Canadians have signed a House of Commons petition calling on the Government to ban the export of live horses for slaughter overseas. Two-thirds of Canadians oppose the practice.

Yesterday MP Tim Louis announced he plans to introduce a private Member’s bill in the House of Commons in the fall to ban the live export of horses for slaughter overseas. “I’m happy to see MP Louis coming to the same conclusion as me, and I look forward to working with him and all parliamentarians to achieve a statutory ban to protect horses from this harmful practice as soon as possible,” said Senator Dalphond.

“Shipping terrified draft horses from Canada to Japan is cruel and completely unnecessary.  Thousands of gentle draft horses are sent on this grueling journey overseas each year from Canada.  We applaud this Senate bill, which is an important step toward bringing our laws in line with the values of Canadians,” said  Kaitlyn Mitchell, a lawyer and Director of Legal Advocacy with Animal Justice, Canada’s only national animal law advocacy organization.

“Canada is one of the only countries in the world that breeds, raises and transports horses overseas to be slaughtered,” said Barbara Cartwright, CEO of Humane Canada, the country’s federation of SPCAs and Humane Societies. “Senator Dalphond’s bill is a practical, simple way to bring to an end to the inhumane and unnecessary practice.”

“Horses are sentient and emotional, and they offer us their trust,” said Senator Dalphond. “We owe greater compassion to these gentle creatures whose strength and loyalty built Canada, and who have given us friendship and service in times of war and peace.”

The Hon. Pierre Dalphond is an independent senator and Deputy Leader of the Progressive Senate Group.

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