January 16, 2008

Veteran actress Bo Derek says Canada needs to update and toughen animal welfare laws in the face of prominent cruelty cases and the push towards a US ban on horse slaughter which could see 100,000 horses horses killed across the border.

Politicians have failed to modernise Canada's 115-year-old animal cruelty laws despite the fact that it has been eight years since new legislation was first tabled.

There is no law specifically protecting wild horses in Canada although the US has offered legal protection for its wild horses since 1971.

The closure of major American slaughter operations in the face of an impending ban has meant an over 40% increase in the number of horses crossing the border to be slaughtered in Canada.

"I was surprised to discover that Canada has cruelty laws that were written a century ago, that there is no protection at all here for wild horses and that 300 horses a day could face death in a trade most Canadians would want no part of," said Derek.

"An opinion survey conducted showed the majority of Canadians opposed to horse slaughter and I believe that it is only a matter of making Canadians aware of what's going on to end this practice."

Derek and Sinikka Crosland of the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition will be in Vancouver to launch the group's campaign to increase protection for Canada's horses.