For Immediate Release

February 10, 2017   
EU Campaign Turns the Spotlight on Canada

The extensive field work conducted by Animals' Angels and Tierschutzbund Zurich of Switzerland was instrumental in the EU's 2015 banning of horse meat imported from Mexico. We're grateful to our European Partners, Global Action in the Interest of Animals (GAIA, Belgium), Eyes on Animals (Netherlands), Eurogroup for Animals, Welfarm (France), and Afaad (France) for their unwavering support and assistance in raising the awareness needed abroad to make our EU campaign a success.  

According to Sonja Meadows, President of Animals' Angels, " When the EU Commission banned the import of horsemeat from Mexico it was a time of rejoicing, but rejoicing tempered with the knowledge that there was still work to be done. The Commission had taken no steps against the importation of horsemeat from Canada. "

feedlot of Bouvry Exports of Canada

Animals' Angels immediately started an in-depth investigation into the horse slaughter pipeline to Canada, and has spent the last two years gathering additional proof that the inhumane and illegal behavior that often runs rampant in the horse slaughter industry is by no means confined to Mexico. 

While both slaughter and shipment figures have generally decreased due to a change in demand in Europe and retailers cutting ties with slaughterhouses in Canada, in 2016 over 30,000 horses were still imported from the United States. 

Animals' Angels has been investigating the feedlots and auctions of the main U.S suppliers of slaughter horses to document the conditions and treatment these horses endure before , during, and after their arrival at Canadian slaughterhouses. We have also conducted extensive research of public documents and evidence obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests which has added valuable supplementary information to our investigations. 

overcrowded holding pens with no protection whatsoever from the elements is common

We supplied this information to the EU Commission to raise awareness during their decision-making process, and in fact, they have put into place tougher restrictions on horse meat imported from Canada - but we are strongly urging the EU Commission to issue an outright ban.

In the field, we continue to witness the inherent cruelty of the horse slaughter trade, and the complete indifference to the suffering of the animals is shocking. 

emaciated horse accepted for sale at auction

blind horse at auction

Our investigations documented not only inhumane treatment of the horses, but also inaccurate health and shipping paperwork which is a common occurrence throughout the industry.

Illegal activities by those profiting from the Canadian horse slaughter pipeline put human health at risk.
  • Almost every single kill buyer currently providing horses to the Canadian horse slaughter plants has a well-documented history of providing inaccurate export paperwork. There is no accountability or reliability regarding the information on owner/shipper paperwork or on EID's regarding a horse's drug history, which poses a significant risk that horses with phenylbutazone or other restricted substances in their system will enter the food chain.  
Inhumane and cruel treatment to which slaughter horses are subjected is horrific and unacceptable.
  • Almost every single kill buyer has demonstrated a complete lack of concern for the well-being and welfare of the slaughter horses in his care. Public documents and investigative results show that severely injured, sick, and emaciated horses are shipped to slaughter. Horses are kept in overcrowded, filthy conditions without shelter. Access to necessary veterinary care or a farrier is virtually nonexistent and wounded or ill horses are often left to die alone, without any intervention.
dead horse with USDA slaughter tag at holding pen of kill buyer

  • The conditions at auctions providing horses to the slaughter buyers are equally poor. Cruel handling, overcrowded conditions, lack of shelter, pens literally awash in manure, and no veterinary care have been documented.

extremely thin horse with overgrown hooves, severe eye infection, and other health issues found for sale at auction

same horse (as above) in dumpster at auction

another horse down at an auction
  • Transport routes remain long, especially for large scale kill buyers like Keith Tongen and Scott Kurtenbach. With their feedlots 1344 and 1160 miles away from the plant respectively, they are pushing transport times of well over 20 hours. 

As stated by Sonja Meadows, who is also the lead investigator for Animals' Angels, " Our investigators have taken and continue to take risks on a weekly basis to obtain the evidence of the illicit and inhumane activities which are endemic in the Canadian horse slaughter industry.

The evidence we are currently presenting to legislators in Europe documents not only the persistent maltreatment of horses, but also, and from their standpoint perhaps more serious, the very grave dangers to the health of their own citizens through the continued import of Canadian horsemeat. "

no respite from the elements for mares and foals in slaughterhouse feedlots

" We are confident, " she continued, " that the evidence gathered will have a tremendous and far-reaching impact in the fight against horse slaughter. "

In fact, the latest developments in our EU Campaign have already had exposure abroad, specifically in France . Raising awareness among the primary consumers is imperative if we want to end the demand for horse meat.

Below is a link to a film produced by Animals' Angels and the Tierschutzbund Zurich/Animal Welfare Foundation that illustrates our findings on the Canadian horse slaughter industry. Please watch this educational film to learn more about this " pipeline to hell."

Help Create a Brighter Future for Thousands of Horses
It isn't a pleasant thought, but the reality is that all over the country, our beloved horses are traded, transported, and sent to slaughter in alarming numbers. 

T heir lives are cruelly exploited for money. The individuals, these businesses, do not care what is in the best interest of the animals - they care only for the best interest of their bottom line.

Animals' Angels fights against these injustices. But no matter how hard we fight, we need YOUR help to succeed!  The shocking results from our investigations have proven over and over again to spur positive change and we have no intention of slowing down. 

"We are there with the animals" - but only YOU can make it possible. Animals' Angels does not receive any kind of government funding. We are funded entirely by people who want to make a difference - people like you .

We're determined to be a voice for the voiceless. Please add your voice to ours and donate to our investigations today. Not only do we need you, the animals need you!   Together we WILL make a difference!

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sonja inspecting trailer

Your support is crucial to continue the fight against animal cruelty.   Animals' Angels counts on you!  Help us be there for the animals.

Animals' Angels works to improve the conditions for farm animals and horses all over the country. 
Our investigators are out in the field nationwide, visiting auctions, kill pens, feedlots and slaughter plants to uncover the cruelty and abuse that animals all too often face each and every day.
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