A majority of Canadians are against the slaughter of horses for human consumption, the findings of a national survey suggest.
The June poll of 1033 Canadians aged 18 and over revealed that 64% had a problem with slaughter for human consumption. Nineteen percent did not have a problem with slaughter and 16 percent were unsure on the issue.
Government statistics show that, in 2016, more than 54,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada for human consumption or shipped out of the country for the same purpose.
A total of 68% of those surveyed described themselves as either uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with the export of horse meat from Canada for human consumption.
Nearly seven in ten Canadians surveyed said they would support stopping the slaughtering of horses in Canada for human consumption rather than continue the policy. Only 17% said they would like to see it continue, while 14% were unsure.
The Canadians surveyed were more than four times more likely to say they would have a more positive impression rather than a more negative impression of a politician that supported a ban on the trade.
Sinikka Crosland, the executive director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, which is working to end the slaughter trade in the country, said her organisation has for 15 years exposed findings of cruelty, neglect and suffering of horses on feedlots, during transportation, and in the abattoirs.
“This evidence, combined with these poll findings, proves that horses cannot be slaughtered humanely on a mass scale, and that the majority of Canadians would like to see it abolished,” she says.
The poll confirms similar findings to another national poll taken in 2004, where 64% of Canadians said they opposed the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The results also mirror polls in the United States, which show a majority oppose the horse slaughter trade.
“Nearly half of all horses are imported from the US where horse slaughter is illegal,” Crosland says of the Canadian trade.
“Neither US nor Canadian horses can be traced effectively. Canada’s Equine Information Document system is highly flawed and does not guarantee truth or accuracy. There are instances in Europe where banned substances, such as a commonly used pain killer for horses called phenylbutazone, have been found in horsemeat exported by Canada, as recently as June 2019.”
Crosland called on lawmakers to ban to trade.