Dr. Judith Samson-French Discusses Live Export of Horses on Alberta Primetime

Dr Judith Samson French at studioJudith Samson-French, MSc, DVM,  recently appeared on Alberta Primetime,  a feature program of CTV Alberta.  The program focused on the live export of horses to Japan and was presented as a debate over horse treatment between Dr. Samson-French and horse slaughter promoter Bill desBarres.

In the 8 minute program, which is viewable here, Dr. Samson-French outlined the major concerns:

  • Horses over 14.1 HH are not universally segregated
  • Horses are not trained or exposed to transportation
  • Horses have been not been able to hold their heads in their natural upright position
  • Repeated branding is a welfare issue – pain cannot be alleviated using drugs since that would taint the meat
  • In Canada the limit is 36 hours, compared to 24 hours in the EU and 28 in the US. Science has shown us that after 24 hours without water,  horses become compromised.  The business model of transporting horses is not easily accomplished within the 36 hour limit unless those limits are reset/bypassed entirely.

Dr. Samson-French concluded her presentation by offering that Canada was relegated to the position of “janitor” – cleaning up all the unwanted horses in North America, with no traceability of horsemeat.

Mr. desBarres provided little rebuttal to these very specific issues,  other than to say that the regulations are fine the way they are, and that we had no right to interfere with the democratic process of a commercial business, provided that the process is “regulated and enforced by the scientific authorities.”  If Mr. desBarres were attentive to the issues Dr. Samson-French had brought up,  he would realize that the 36 hour transport timeline is not scientifically supported,  and other regulations are not being adhered to.  Furthermore,  the conditions horses experience are regulated by rules that are decades old.

In this study, horses transported for “only” 24 hours showed “changes in muscle metabolism, stress indices, dehydration and immune parameters, and body weight.”

(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10875627)

 

 

Critique of Horse Slaughter Industry by Dr. Maureen Harper Published in Canadian Veterinary Journal

The October 2017 Issue of the Canadian Veterinary Journal features an article written by  Maureen Harper,  DVM, MSc (Epidemiology),  discussing the transport of slaughter-bound horses.

Dr. Harper approaches the problematic issues with the CFIA governance over the horse slaughter industry in Canada from an analytical point of view – citing examples of substandard treatment of horses, inhumane slaughter and transport, and the many procedural violations of Canada’s antiquated 40+ year-old Health of Animals Regulations.

“Canada is a major international supplier of horse meat in the world. In 2016, over 54 000 horses were slaughtered in this country. It is estimated that 65% to 70% of the horses slaughtered in Canada originate from the United States. This is because horse slaughter ceased in the United States in 2007. Also, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, 5839 live horses were shipped to Japan for slaughter in 2016.

Horse slaughter in Canada has become a contentious issue in recent years. There have been numerous undercover recordings showing the improper stunning of horses.”

Please read more here: (scroll to page 1117)

maureen harper veterinary ethical question

Access-To-Information Documents Reveal Horse Death On Atlas Air Flights To Japan

The attached Access-To-Information documents, relating to live shipments from  the Calgary Airport in Alberta in March 2015, describe the conditions under which several horses went down once loaded or prior to being loaded on a flight to Osaka Japan via Atlas Air.

Of the horses that were taken back to be assessed,  one horse was found to be deceased in the crate.  Note that the brand has been obscured.  No explanation was provided for the cause of death,  and it`s unknown whether a necropsy was performed on the deceased horse.