Updates on the Canadian
Horse Slaughter Pipeline

September 2017   
For years Animals' Angels has been at the forefront of efforts to stop the horse slaughter industry from every angle possible. Building on our established mission of openly sharing the information gathered from our tireless investigation efforts, Animals' Angels has established strong and respectful relationships with the key decision makers in Europe who have the authority to put an end to the import of horse meat. 


Since 2012, Animals' Angels, working with our coalition partners in Europe, has been providing documentation of the seedy underbelly of the horse slaughter industry to the EU Commission. Frightened horses, crowded into a feedlot like sardines, trying to avoid stepping on the decomposing bodies of other horses that have been dead for days. Emaciated horses, staring dully at the ground where there is no food or water to be found. Horses with open gashes on their flanks, hobbling around with dislocated or broken legs. Horses with obvious infections and illnesses. A dying mare, her dead foal still lodged in the birth canal. These are just a few of the images that Animals' Angels has presented to EU legislators.
Our EU Campaign took a major step forward in 2014 when we were the only US organization asked to present evidence in person to the EU Commission. During that meeting, we submitted evidence of wide-spread abuse of horses, destined to be slaughtered and their meat shipped to Europe to be sold in various countries throughout the European Union. 

animal welfare coalition at EU Commission July 4, 2014

Shortly after the July meeting, the EU legislators decided to ban horse meat imports from Mexico altogether. While this was indeed a significant step in the right direction to ensure the safety of US horses, and in fact, has saved the lives of  thousands upon thousands of animals and continues to save more every year, we were disappointed that the ban did not extend to Canada. 


Undeterred, Animals' Angels has continued to investigate and expose the US to Canada horse slaughter pipeline in an effort to achieve the same ban for Canadian exports. Ever diligent in the field, our investigators conducted numerous investigations along the northern border and at Canadian feedlots so that we could inform the EU Commission, as well as the public, of the continuing poor conditions and ongoing issues with traceability and documentation credibility.

Bouvry Exports feedlot in Canada

In response to the overwhelming evidence exposing the Canadian horse slaughter empire as well as their own audit which  confirmed the findings of our many investigations, the EU Commission instituted stricter regulations on Canadian horse meat imports in 2016 which included a 6-month Canadian residency requirement. While this was yet another step in the right direction, it is by no means strong enough. Nonetheless, we have been closely monitoring the effects of this development on PA, OH, and MI exporters, as well as Bouvry Exports in western Canada and the Viande Richelieu plant in eastern Canada.  


We do have some good news to share with you! Our research shows that all the usual shippers in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan have been effected by the new residency rule.  There has been drastically reduced activity among the kill buyers who normally ship horses to Canada and among those still active, their shipments have been greatly reduced. There are very few kill buyers currently sending horses to the slaughter plants in Canada and one of the previously large-scale shippers - Brian Moore out of Jonestown, PA - appears to have discontinued shipping altogether. 

In fact, the number of U.S. horses being shipped to Canada for slaughter has drastically decreased, from 16,448 in 2016 (January-June) to 5,683 in 2017 (January-June). That is a total of 10,765 saved.

Further, our review of Eurostat figures has determined that the import of horse meat from Canada into the EU dropped by more than half in 2017 as compared to 2016. 

Bouvry Exports' Bar S feedlot in Shelby, MT

In an apparent attempt to recoup lost revenues, kill buyers in every state are turning to broker programs to sell horses to the general public. These programs, which seem to be springing up everywhere, are gaining more and more importance for kill buyers as their slaughter contracts shrink.
However, it's not just the kill buyers who have been feeling the strain. At the Bouvry feedlot in Shelby, Montana, we have observed dramatically reduced numbers of horses in the lot. During our recent investigation, there were only 750 horses instead of the usual full capacity of 1600

According to paperwork, the horses from Shelby are shipping to Bouvry's Canadian feedlots and require EIA testing prior to shipment, or are destined for the Asian market.  Of particular interest is a Memorandum of Understanding between the Montana Department of Livestock and Bouvry Exports which was just signed in January 2017.

All in all, we are happy to report that where the Shelby feedlot was at one time a bustling hub for Bouvry slaughter horses, it has now apparently become a significantly diminished operation.

Bouvry Exports' Bar S feedlot in Shelby, MT

Even more good news is available from the Canadian side of things. The Les Viandes de La Petite Nation slaughter plant in Quebec has closed, at least temporarily, with management citing the stricter regulations from the EU Commission as the reason. In April 2017, it was reported that the volume of horses to be processed had decreased to the point that the plant had no choice but to shut down operations. As yet, it is unclear if they will ever reopen. This is an extremely positive development as kill buyers Leroy Baker, Scott Kurtenbach, and Brian Moore all shipped to this plant and its closure will no doubt have a drastic effect on their own operations.


At Animals' Angels, we're thrilled and gratified that the evidence we have provided, and continue to provide, to the EU Commission helped to facilitate a change in regulations which in turn has created a positive change for the horses. However, we still believe that a complete ban on horse meat is the only answer. To that end, we have remained in the field, investigating the slaughter pipeline to Canada. We would like to share with you the results of a recent investigation which exemplifies the issues arising out of the slaughter industry, especially as it pertains to Canada.

AA investigators conducted an investigation at the New York - Quebec border crossing in August 2017.  In previous years, multiple truck loads with slaughter horses from the US could be observed every single day. However, during this recent investigation - which spanned four days, just two trucks were seen crossing the border and they were both operated by Capron Trucking. 
The first Capron truck observed, which had a single deck trailer loaded with horses, crossed over the border into Canada the morning of August 14, 2017 and passed the CFIA inspection. The trailer was duly sealed and the truck proceeded straight to the Richelieu plant. 

seal seen in place on Capron transport truck

Driving very erratically and with speeds up to 80 mph, the operator apparently had no concern for his living cargo - although he did appear to be quite concerned about being followed, even going so far as to pull over halfway down the road in order to consult with someone on the phone. When his conversation ended, the driver continued on to the Richelieu plant and the horses were unloaded straight into the plant. USDA slaughter tags were clearly visible on the animals as they exited the truck and moved into the plant.

Confirmation of the decrease in plant operations came the following day, on August 15th when for the second day (August 13th being the first), no activity was witnessed. Despite monitoring the Richelieu plant and their holding pens throughout the day, investigators did not see more than a few horses being kept there and no trucks arriving - in fact, there was no activity whatsoever. Normally, the plant would be bustling with action every single day.

holding pens at Richelieu

Capron Trucking was once again observed crossing the border on August 16, 2017, having passed CFIA inspection and being sealed. Investigators were able to obtain images of the horses inside the trailer and immediately noticed that two animals had extremely enlarged, swollen knees, which makes it highly questionable if these animals were fit for transport. This would not be the first time that CFIA failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

Once again, the driver appeared very upset about being followed, which makes one wonder: what is there to hide? Upon arrival at the plant, there was a "welcome committee" awaiting AA investigators. In a blatant attempt at intimidation, our investigators were followed around by several men in pick-up trucks and vans, going so far as to try and block in the investigators' vehicle. It can only be assumed these were Richelieu workers, and given their openly aggressive and threatening behavior, it begs the question: why would a professional company such as Richelieu engage in such unacceptable tactics? Which brings us back to: is there something to hide?  It certainly appeared that the heightened level of aggression might be a result of pressure felt by the slaughter plant and/or importers.
Not to be put off, investigators maintained their composure, as well as their position, and continued to observe the activity occurring at the plant. Investigators watched, as yet again, the horses were unloaded straight into the plant, which of course makes us question Richelieu's adherence to the 6-month residency rule - if their meat was destined for the European market. 
Capron truck unloading directly into slaughter plant


We are currently in the process of confirming the shipper as well as reviewing the CFIA inspections for these two shipments.  As part of our EU Campaign, our findings and concerns will be shared with the EU Commission as we continue to push for a complete ban of Canadian horse meat imports into the EU. 

We can't imagine that our observations will be taken lightly and we are hopeful it will spur EU legislators to take further steps towards even stricter regulations if not a full-blown ban.

However, we must remain proactive if we want to ensure the protection of the horses we all know and love. To keep our investigators in the field and enable us to take action on behalf of the horses caught in the US to Canada slaughter pipeline we need your support.  By donating any amount today you'll be taking a FIRM STAND against cruelty to animals - and shouting to the world that you demand an end to horse slaughter!  With your help, we ARE going to bring about change.


is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, so ALL donations are tax deductible. 

sonja inspecting trailer

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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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