UPDATE: Bill to end live horse export for slaughter moves to next stage 

Photos: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Members of Parliament recently voted in support of sending Bill C-355 to the House of Commons Agriculture Committee for further review (181 yes-137 no). See how your MP voted!

This bill aims to end Canada’s highly controversial practice of shipping live horses overseas for slaughter. Your action is needed to support this bill as it moves through the legislative process. Call on the Agriculture Committee and your Member of Parliament to support Bill C-355 and end live horse export for slaughter once and for all!

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Many Canadians would be surprised to learn that Canada is one of the top exporters of live horses for slaughter. Every year, thousands of live draft horses are loaded onto planes, packed tightly with 3-4 horses per crate, and flown abroad where they will be slaughtered for meat. 

Horses’ journeys to slaughter are long and stressful 

  • Horses can be transported for up to 28 hours without access to food, water or rest. 
  • As sensitive prey animals with strong fight or flight instincts, this journey can be incredibly stressful. 
  • Deaths and injuries have occurred, including one known incident of damage to an aircraft, which led to an emergency landing and the death of the horse involved. 
  • There is also no obligation for countries on the receiving end to report back to Canada about the condition of the horses upon arrival. 

Canadians are calling for change 

Polling shows that a majority of Canadians are opposed to the practice of exporting live horses for slaughter. 

The VHS supports organizations including the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition who have long been calling for an end to live horse export for slaughter. In Spring 2021, the VHS signed a group letter calling on the federal government to end the practice. 

A federal parliamentary e-petition garnered more than 77,000 public signatures in support of a ban, making it one of the most popular animal-related federal petitions on record.   

In December 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau directed the Minister of Agriculture to ban the live export of horses for slaughter. Still, horses continue to be shipped to their death as a result of government inaction.   

Finally, in 2023, two new bills were introduced that aim to end the controversial practice of exporting live horses from Canada for slaughter abroad. Senate Bill S-270, the Horse Protection Act, was introduced by Senator Pierre Dalphond and singer-songwriter Jann Arden, while private member’s bill C-355 was introduced in the House of Commons by Liberal MP Tim Louis.  

Bill C-355 has since been voted on by Members of Parliament (MP) to be sent to the next stage, which involves further study by the House of Commons Agriculture Committee. Find out how your MP voted on the bill at the second reading stage. 

Can you call on the Agriculture Committee and your Member of Parliament to support Bill C-355 and end live horse export for slaughter.