The Ontario Equestrian Federation recognizes that the issue of equine slaughter is a controversial subject for its members, many of whom are closely following the proposed legislation Bill C-571 – An Act to amend the Meat Inspection Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act.
If passed, the legislation would prohibit the movement of horses internationally for slaughter, including between provinces, and would prohibit the movement through import, export and between provinces of horsemeat or horsemeat products intended for human consumption.
The Bill provides an exception to that prohibition if the horse was raised primarily for human consumption, and if the horse is accompanied by a medical record that contains its standardized description and a complete lifetime record in chronological order of medical treatment.
The Ontario Equestrian Federation stands behind Equine Canada’s position that the proposed Bill would not enhance existing food safety legislation in Canada, would not improve the welfare of horses in Canada and could cause serious implications for Canadian horse owners moving horses inter-provincially.
If enacted, the Bill C-571 would effectively end the processing of horses in Canada. The Ontario Equestrian Federation recognizes that our members hold widely varying views on the subject of equine slaughter and we respect their individual opinions and choices. However, we fear that the passage of this Bill could result in abandonment, neglect or inhumane euthanasia practices for unwanted horses.
Furthermore, the Ontario Equestrian Federation is concerned that the proposed Bill, if enacted, could negatively impact the movement of horses within Canada by placing the burden on horse owners to prove why they are moving their animals. With no mechanism in place for horse owners to declare why they are shipping their horses, this could mean horse owners are hindered when attempting to move their animals for training, showing, racing etc.
On behalf of Ontario’s equestrian community, the Ontario Equestrian Federation urges the Government of Canada to review and amend the proposed Bill C-571 in order to achieve its objectives without the negative impacts that could result from the bill in its current form.