The Live Transport of 7,000 Draft Horses Annually To Japan

Every year, approximately 7,000 horses are transported by air from Calgary and Winnipeg (Canada) to Japan.  These shipments are often conducted weekly, with up to three to four large horses crammed together in wooden crates with little room to move around, let alone lie down to rest.  No food or water is provided during the gruelling journey to another continent.  Canadian legislation permits horses to be transported without food and water for up to 36 hours.  Sometimes, due to flight delays, the 36-hour period is breached.  During one year alone, six horses died during transport, three perished as a result of a landing accident, and one horse was found upside down and dead in his crate.  Upon arrival in Japan,  the horses are fed to much larger proportions often to the point of laminitis,  and then slaughtered.

Visualize if you will, how large the stall is in the average horse barn, built for the average-sized riding horse. Some are 10 x 10, others are 10 x 12, and so on. We are told that the crate size designed to contain THREE DRAFT HORSES is approximately 9.5ft by 7ft floor space by 7.6ft high. If you think that’s outrageous, imagine cramming FOUR DRAFT HORSES into the same space – a space already smaller than the average horse stall.  Loading three or four 1,500 – 1,700 lb horses in a 66.5 square foot crate does not meet the IATA international standards or Canada’s agreed-upon national standards. This is overcrowding and not compliant with the Health of Animals Regulations.

This is the approximate size of the average horse stall. Now image a space SMALLER than this being used to transport up to 4 large draft horses with no food or water during that flight. In addition to the transport time, horses may be left for long periods on the tarmac subjected to engine noise, ground crews, and de-icing sprays while waiting to be loaded/unloaded.

Canadian legislation prohibits horses over 14 hands high to share a crate with other horses.  The law says they must be singly shipped.  Their heads must not touch the ceiling of the crate.  Horses must not be deprived of food and water for any longer than 36 hours.

The law says all of the above things.  But for reasons of profit, Canada ignores the law.

The carrier responsible for shipping these horses to their deaths is Atlas Air, Inc., based in Purchase, New York.

We invite you to politely request that Atlas Air stop shipments of live horses for slaughter.

Click Here for a link to the the petition

Links to supportive articles:

New footage of shipment of live draft horses arriving in Japan –

Footage from the Calgary, Canada airport from 2013 –

Draft horse hitting the top of crate with his head –

Debate on live horse shipment:

CHDC Issues Press Release –

CHDC files complaint with CFIA:

CFIA Failure to Enforce Regulations:

3 thoughts on “The Live Transport of 7,000 Draft Horses Annually To Japan”

  1. When did anyone think Canada is a decent country in its treatment of animals? Seal cull… Barbarism at its worst. Until that stops I will have little respect for Canada.
    And why is it considered humane to not give animals water for 36 hours? Try that with humans and Se how well it goes down…

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