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BC SPCA campaigns to stop overseas transport of horses to be slaughtered

BC SPCA says horses are bred for this
Horses on an airport tarmac.

The BC SPCA says that Canada is one of the only countries in the world that breeds, raises and transports horses overseas to be slaughtered.

Now, it is raising awareness to stop this, adding since 2013, more than 40,000 horses have been exported out of Canada.

“Canada recently updated their transport laws, which previously allowed horses to be transported for 36 hours at a time," said BC SPCA's Melissa Speirs, manager of farm animal welfare, in a statement. "Canada’s current animal transport laws are still inadequate. It is currently legal for horses to be transported without feed, water, or rest for up to 28 hours."

Horses are loaded onto trucks and driven to Calgary, Edmonton, or Winnipeg airports where they may sit on the tarmac for hours before being loaded, said to a news release.

According to Speirs, before being loaded on the plane, three to four horses are put into a single shipping crate smaller than the average horse stall. As a result, "With such close quarters, horses can easily injure one another or lose their balance and be unable to get back up.”

The flight is between 10 to 13 hours and may stop to refuel in Alaska, adding two to three hours to their long journey, Speirs said, adding that for international export, the typical time without feed, water, and rest for these horses is 20 to 22 hours.

"The BC SPCA strongly advocates that no animal should be transported without feed, water, or rest for more than eight hours, and that horses should not be shipped by plane under these cramped and stressful conditions," says Speirs.

The BC SPCA said it supports the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition’s work toward ending the live export of horses for slaughter. Most recently, the BC SPCA joined them and other animal protection organizations in sending an open letter to the federal government urging action on this issue.

The BC SPCA also has a survey people can sign: