Should Canada Like the United States Ban the Slaughter of Horses?

Should Canada Like the United States Ban the Slaughter of Horses?

The horse slaughter industry in Canada has continued to thrive over the years. The horses slaughtered are usually of different conditions such as healthy, pregnant, sickly, the young, and even the old. Canadians produce the horsemeat primarily for export to European and Asian countries. Horse slaughter has remained to be one of the most crucial issues that need to be addressed. In the United States, a ban was placed against the slaughter of horses. Some individuals refute the ban on the slaughter of these animals citing various advantages accrued from the consumption of the meat. Supporters of horse slaughter also claim that there are ways of conducting slaughter humanely. The slaughter of horses for human consumption is not only inhumane but also poses harm to human beings in several ways. Some of the disadvantages of horse slaughter are; horse meat is toxic, the practice has negative impacts on the environment, there exist unsafe conditions of transport of the horses and the inhumane death that the horses are subjected to. From all these pieces of evidence indicating the negativity of the act, Canada like the United States should ban the slaughter of horses.

The general public opposes the slaughter of horses for human consumption as they are toxic. Since horses aren’t domesticated for food, they are routinely given medications such as steroids and ointments among others (Owers 577). The Food and Drug Administration body prohibits animals given these products to be used as food. An example of such a drug is the Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug known as the Phenylbutazone, which is often administered to horses and is a known carcinogen. The drug can, therefore, lead to the development of various forms of cancer in human beings.  There are also other incidences of toxicity caused by the consumption of horsemeat. According to (Ota et al. 2727), “Sarcocystis spp. are a causative pathogen of food poisoning from horse meat.” Sarcocystis is commonly found in the digestive tract of animals. Humans who become infected with the pathogen experience symptoms such as nausea, abdominal discomfort, and diarrhea (Ota et al. 2729).

Horse slaughter has negative impacts on the environment. Slaughterhouses are crucial elements in the meat industry and therefore its infrastructure should be well planned (Kaynat et al. 1). Several human activities occur inside slaughterhouses that negatively impact the environment. The slaughterhouses emit odors that are a nuisance to the surrounding communities. There are also blood spills that permeate the sewers. Blood from horses does not break since the horses are given antibiotic medications. As such, they cannot be used for dry blood mill as the antibiotics present reacts with the micro-organisms used in the treatment procedure.

Other waste materials from these slaughterhouses clog the sewers and in some cases, they may pile in the environment when not disposed of properly. An example of such an incident occurred in the horse slaughterhouse known as the Natural Valley Farm located in Saskatchewan, Canada that dumped its waste products in nearby water bodies. This act prompted the relevant authorities to shut it down to reduce the negative impacts on the environment. Contaminated water from slaughterhouses also affects the environment. As asserted by (Kaynat et al. 1), “The contaminated water coming out of slaughterhouses basically contains the fats, proteins, and fibers that resulted in over contains organic matters, thereof contaminate the rivers and drainages.” The wastewater also contains pathogens that are often transferred to human beings thus causing diseases such as gastrointestinal problems and liver malfunctions. The pathogens also proliferate the meat due to the unhygienic conditions present at the slaughterhouses. All these effluents from the slaughterhouses are extremely hazardous to human health and also adversely affect the environment.

There exist controversies surrounding the transport of horses for slaughter. Most people have argued that it is impossible to humanely transport horses for slaughter. As asserted by (Caffrey 1), the transport of animals in Canada has been a subject of debate since it affects the welfare of animals. Transportation is usually stressful for the horses since it involves some procedures. First of all, the animals are assembled, loaded onto a vehicle, they are then confined in the vehicle. After confinement, they are transported to the slaughterhouses followed by unloading at the destination. All these stages are associated with several physical and emotional disturbances that affect the animal. Some of the adversities caused by transportation include diseases, injuries, and mortalities. 

According to (Caffrey 5), there are risk factors associated with the transportation of horses in Canada. Animals usually transported for slaughter are usually healthy, but there are cases of unidentified pathologies that may arise during transportation. These cases may affect the welfare of animals since they may be forced to adjust to the physiological conditions of transportation. Unfit animals may not be able to cope with adverse challenges such as lack of water, food, and weather conditions. Stocking density is another risk factor associated with the transportation of animals. As mentioned by (Caffrey 8), “If animals are placed at too high a stocking density then an animal that falls may not be able to get back up, and its struggles to regain footing may cause other animals to fall on top of it.” Thus, drivers must ensure that the stock density allows for lateral movement and proper ventilation to avoid mortalities. Duration of journeys also poses a health risk during transportation especially when the conditions are not favorable. Limited movement, lack of proper ventilation as well as feed can be detrimental to animals in cases of long journeys. According to (Caffrey 12) Canada hasplaced stringent regulations for maximum journey duration for animal transportation.

The slaughter of horses is inhumane. Horses are sensitive creatures as they have increased fight response. They easily regain consciousness after being struck thus, thus are aware that they are being killed. Horses undergo a lot of torture at the slaughterhouses hence they end up injured and emaciated. Horses are usually killed by gunshots that render them unconscious and, in some cases, causes instant death. Since they are usually kept in overcrowded pens, other horses endure the sight of those killed before their turn. As such, there have been incidences of horses trying to escape as these undesirable sights instill panic. Agencies have continually devised a means of reducing the inhumane aspect of horse killing. As stated by (Riley 680), “while the 2008 Horse Plan did not consider that KNP was an appropriate place to preserve the cultural value of wild horses, it also rejected onsite culling and aerial helicopter shooting, replacing these methods with mustering and removal, using low-stress methods.” All these indicate that, horse slaughter cannot be conducted humanely due to the unique nature of the horses.

In conclusion, the thriving horse slaughter in Canada has negatively impacted the horse population. Horses are subjected to abuse and unacceptable conditions that affect their welfare. The government of Canada should, therefore, ban the slaughter of horses as there are valid reasons that support the claim. First of all, horse meat is toxic due to medications administered that are carcinogenic. The pathogens present in the meat also affects human health. The effluents emitted from the slaughterhouses adversely impacts on the environment. Controversies also surround the conditions of transportation of these animals in Canada. The conditions make it impossible to transport the animals humanely. The death of the horses is considered inhumane since the animals are extremely sensitive. The welfare of all horses is therefore threatened if a ban is not placed in Canada to eliminate their slaughter and to preserve the next generation and prevent the extinction of the species.

Works Cited

Caffrey, Niamh. Transportation of animals for slaughter in Canada. Diss. University of Prince     Edward Island, (2016).

Kaynat, Ammara, et al. “Adverse Health and Environmental Impacts of Poor Infrastructure          Management in Local Market Facilities.” Indian Journal of Science and Technology 12        (2019): 28.

Ota, Takayuki, et al. “First case report of possible Sarcocystis truncata-induced food poisoning in venison.” Internal Medicine 58.18 (2019): 2727-2730.

Owers, Roly. “Should we slaughter horses at abattoirs?.” Veterinary Record 185.18 (2019): 577    577.

Riley, Sophie. “Horses, Culure, and Ethics: wildlife Regulation in Kosciusko National       Park.” Environmental and Planning Law Journal (2019).

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