horse feedlot


Every year, tens of thousands of horses are slaughtered in Canada (54,000 in 2016). Many of these horses are transported from the United States, where horse slaughter plants have been closed since 2007. The meat is sold primarily in Europe and Asia and, to a lesser extent, Quebec.

Horses sent to slaughter in Canada include unsuccessful race horses; sick or lame pets; horses bred specifically for their meat; and foals, the offspring of the Premarin and Prempro industries. Premarin and Prempro are female hormone replacement drugs for women. Hormones are extracted from the urine of pregnant mares, who must be continually reimpregnated. Many of the resulting foals are of no use to the industry and are often sent to slaughter.

In Canada, it’s legal to transport horses up to 36 hours without water, food or rest in any and all weather conditions. While it’s illegal in the United States to transport horses destined for slaughter on double- decker trailers, this still occurs in Canada. The ceilings in these trailers are low; horses are forced to keep their necks bent the entire journey. Horses are often transported with their metal shoes still attached (increasing the risk of injury to other horses), injured horses are frequently not separated and pregnant mares are sometimes transported close to term.

In Canada, four slaughterhouses are licensed to slaughter horses: Viande Richelieu Inc. in Massueville, Que.; Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation in St-Andre- Avellin, Que.; Bouvry Export Calgary Ltd. in Fort MacLeod, Alta., and Canadian Premium Meats Inc. in Lacombe, Alta.

A few thousand horses are shipped from Canada to Japan, where they are slaughtered, every year. They are packed into wooden crates, most often with four horses per crate (the Canadian government’s recommendation is one per crate), and put into airplanes. They remain in their crates until they land in Japan, up to 26 hours later. Overcrowding results in injuries; if a horse falls, he is at great risk of being trampled by other horses. Canada has no jurisdiction over the welfare of these horses once they land in Japan.

Canadian horse slaughterhouses

CCFA occasionally receives calls from U.S. citizens asking how they can contact Canadian horse slaughter plants, fearing a particular horse is bound for slaughter in Canada. That information is available on the website of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, but is not easily accessed. To make that information readily available, here is a link:

Videos of horse slaughter

By the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (March 2010)