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It seems almost too preposterous to be true: Every year, more than 6,000 live horses in Canada are packed into transport crates and sent on harrowing flights halfway around the world to be slaughtered in Japan.
PETA's video investigation reveals what happens in Japan to horses who are no longer wanted.
PETA went inside Japan's largest horse slaughterhouse and captured footage of the horrifying final minutes of a horse formerly used for racing. PETA's eyewitnesses watched as he was doused with water before being moved onto the kill floor. The terrified horse panicked, slipping out of his halter and escaping, only to be caught—and killed—minutes later.
Now, a recent exposé by Canada's Global News shows that live horses are crammed into wooden shipping crates before being loaded onto cargo planes destined for Japan. Horses are often deprived of food and water and packed so tightly that they're unable to stand naturally for the duration of the 16- to 18-hour flight. Numerous horses have died during landing accidents or "due to a combination of a substantial delay, the large size of the horses, and significant stress levels in the animals." One horse, on a flight out of Calgary, was discovered dead and upside down in a crate.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is supposed to ensure that horses are segregated based on height and compatibility. But Dr. Maureen Harper, a former veterinarian with the CFIA, revealed a different reality: "They're being shipped unsegregated. I was just horrified. They're basically stuffing them in like a can of sardines." She further explained that it's impossible for any veterinarian to separate the horses adequately, stating, "The CFIA is knowingly not enforcing their own regulations. No veterinarian, on the ground, on the spot, can decide which horse is compatible with which horse at the time of loading. There's no way."
Some of these horses may come from the U.S. In 2012, PETA eyewitnesses followed a trailer from a meat buyer's property in Iowa to a slaughterhouse in Québec and observed that the 33 horses onboard endured this 36-hour ordeal in subfreezing conditions and were never given food, water, or a chance to unload.
Your voice is needed today. Join us in urging Atlas Air, Inc., a New York-based company, to stop shipping horses to Japan, where they'll be slaughtered.