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Standing against horse export for slaughter

Happy Monday!

Last summer, I was part of a lengthy and elaborate email correspondence concerning the shipment of horses out of Winnipeg airport.

The string of messages between me, my former colleague Carl DeGurse and members of the animal-rights group Manitoba Animal Save centred around an ongoing effort to stop the transportation of live horses to slaughter.

Debbie Wall at Manitoba Animal Save said in those emails that horses were regularly forced to endure a 28-hour flight from the Winnipeg airport, in wooden crates with no food or water, to be slaughtered in Japan.

The Liberal government’s campaign platform included putting an end to this industry, Wall said. In his mandate letter to Minister of Agricutlure Marie-Claude Bibeau, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called for a ban on the live export of horses for slaughter.

“Yet these flights carry on, including out of Winnipeg Richardson International Airport,” Wall said. “We need to put pressure on our MPs to hold the Liberal government to account and have them keep their promise.”

In last week’s Free Press, freelance reporter Janine LeGal wrote that Canada continues to slaughter roughly 25,000 horses annually and is one of the top exporters of horse meat in the world, with an annual revenue of roughly $80 million.

Activists like Wall and Denae Tonge at Manitoba Animal Save continue to try to stop them.

“I still call the PM and minster several times a week, and no reply yet,” Tonge said late last week. “It just goes to voicemail.”

Crates full of horses are unloaded at Winnipeg-airport. (Manitoba Animal Save)

A horse shipment. (Manitoba Animal Save)

Last night I received a news release from her stating that dozens of draft horses were scheduled to leave the Winnipeg airport between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m. and flown to Japan where they would be slaughtered. Canadian draft horses are used in a Korean delicacy known as basashi, Tonge said in the release.

“Horse meat, especially raw, is a delicacy in Japan and customers will pay up to 8,000 yen or $100 a serving,” she said.

If you want to be a part of the pressure needed to enact the ban on horse export for slaughter, go here.

“This ban must be enacted without further delay,” said Tonge, adding that the federal e-petition 4190 closed on Feb. 7 with 36,175 signatures, but the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition still has a page with current petitions. You can reach them here.

And if you want to message the government, go here or call the prime minister at 613-992-4211 and the minister of agriculture and agri-food at 613-995-2024.

Have a great week!

Leesa Dahl

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