The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) is a collective of people and national groups that have joined forces in order to ban the slaughter of equines for human consumption in Canada, as well as the export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose. We are currently in the process of establishing a national group of veterinarians and other animal health professionals who are committed to promoting the proper treatment of horses and to educate others about humane options for those horse owners who can no longer care for (or must end the lives of) their animals. This new group is called the Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council (CVEWC).
It is not necessary to be a large animal or equine veterinarian to assist in this new and exciting endeavour! We feel that any veterinarian operating a small animal or mixed animal practice can offer guidance and resources to ensure that horses are treated compassionately and respectfully in all their life stages. The CHDC believes that most veterinarians would be justifiably concerned about misinformation being communicated to the public regarding horse slaughter issues.
The slaughter industry is a predatory one, from the time the horse is acquired by a “kill buyer,” he or she is “meat on the hoof” and treated as a mere commodity. Travel to slaughterhouses may take days without food or water, followed by an often painful and slow death by captive bolt or .22 rifle. The CHDC has reported, in four investigative reports conducted over several years, that rampant cruelty is endemic in Canadian horse slaughter plants.
In addition, the horses that enter the food chain are not guaranteed to be free of prohibited drugs, since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency currently finds the “honour system” an acceptable program for owners and kill buyers when declaring (or not declaring) the presence of drugs in horses. Clearly, allowing horse owners or worse, kill buyers, this kind of input and control over the food supply is unacceptable. Horses are not raised as food animals.
Slaughter simply is not a legitimate form of euthanasia and it is disturbing that a few organizations have manipulated messages about humane euthanasia by veterinarians. We are looking to create relationships with veterinarians who agree that we need more dialogue on horse slaughter that will improve the quality of life for all horses.
This group of concerned veterinarians would be the first of its kind in Canada. Veterinarians by definition are animal advocates, who strive to relieve suffering in any animal. In fact, the views of individual veterinarians should be more respected than any body that represents them. Please consider supporting this professional equine organization to promote the welfare of horses and counter the misinformation transmitted by self-interest groups who disregard equine welfare. We believe that there is no substitute for the end-of-life care by the highly trained veterinarian.
We invite you to respond to our letter by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org and express your interest in this important initiative. Questions are also welcome! Interested veterinarians will receive further information from the CHDC that can be used to create dialogue with other veterinarians and horse owners.
Euthanasia is defined as,
“the intentional causing of a painless and easy death to a patient suffering from an incurable or painful disease.”
Webster’s II University Dictionary, 1996
Statement of Support:
Dr. Nicholas Dodman BVMS, DVA, DACVA, DACVB:
Dr. Nicholas Dodman is a Diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, Head of the Behavior Service and Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. He is certified with the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists (ACVA) and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB). Dr. Dodman is one of the world’s most noted and celebrated veterinary behaviorists, and is the author of four best-selling books on animal behavior as well as two textbooks and more than 100 articles and contributions to scientific books and journals. With his experience in anesthesiology and his intricate knowledge about the anatomy of the brain, Dr. Dodman is a leading specialist, qualified to assess the stunning of horses in a slaughterhouse environment.
“I’m very pleased to learn that Canada is about to have its first equine welfare council of veterinarians. For years, I’ve been closely involved with U.S. based Veterinarians for Equine Welfare. We were established to bring like-minded veterinarians and animal health professionals together in a supportive group – people who are guided by their principles to ensure that the welfare of their patients is above all else.
I have watched hours of footage and analyzed the suffering equines are subjected to when killed in assembly-line slaughter. The suffering so many sustain due to the inability of slaughter plants to ensure a quick and painless death is something no horse should endure. Horses are intelligent, agile, sensitive animals, and killing them in slaughter plants is a difficult task, and impossible to achieve without inflicting immense pain and cruelty. As a dedicated veterinarian, I can’t in good conscience support this industry. I encourage you to do the same and support the Canadian Veterinarian Equine Welfare Council.”
We look forward to hearing from you.
Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
150 First ST., P.O. Box 21079
Orangeville, Ontario L9W 4S7