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Horse Welfare at Processing Plants in Canada

Industry statement

HWAC places the highest priority on the well-being of horses and the humane handling of horses across the Canadian horse industry. The allegations made by the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition give us considerable concern, we encourage and trust that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency will look into this matter as it does for all regulatory issues impacting the humane treatment of horses. In Canada we set the highest standards for complete management of horses and our industry has produced and continues to produce programs and best practices for the handling of horse including the soon to be released “Recommended Handling Guidelines and Horse Welfare Assessment Tool”.

Industry messages

  1. HWAC and partners are very conscious of the humane treatment and handling of horses throughout all life stages and promote the implementation of best codes of practice for all horse owners and industry participants.
  2. The humane euthanasia of horses for processing in Canada is strictly the responsibility of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and their veterinarians and inspectors. A CFIA inspector is present in each federally registered abattoir to conduct routine audits and verify that procedures are appropriate.
  3. The allegations made by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) give us considerable concern. We have been hard at work ensuring the promotion of equine welfare and enhancing public awareness of matters and issues relating to the horse industry.
  4. The HWAC cannot comment on the authenticity of the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition’s footage or the content.
  5. We rely on and encourage the CFIA to undertake any investigations including humane euthanasia with dignity according to law.
  6. HWAC believes the Canadian animal agriculture industry is meeting the demand for horse and other meats in the world economy. We do so through a strong regulatory regime and by producing materials to the industry such as the codes of practice and the Recommended Handling guidelines and Horse Welfare Assessment Tool.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency and Animal Welfare

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) plays an important role in providing protection for animals used in food production. CFIA’s responsibility for farm animal welfare is science-based, seeks to reflect contemporary societal attitudes, and relates to two distinct areas of the CFIA mandate: transportation and slaughter. <read more>