Canadian Slaughter houses

Horses are now shipped to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Hauled animals are not shipped with thought to healthcare. As always the bottom line is money. Many horses show up at the slaughter houses with broken legs, gaping wounds . Can you imagine how they feel? What terror!

Here are some of the highlights from the first half of last year….

The industry is worth an estimated $60-million annually in Canada.

Horse d’oeuvres

Which provinces have

licensed slaughterhouses for horses?

Quebec (two), Alberta (two), British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

How are horses


The process is similar to how cattle are slaughtered: The animal is usually stunned with a captive bolt pistol that drives a spike into its brain and renders it immediately unconscious. Ken Piller, president of Natural Valley Farms, a Saskatchewan-based meat plant that slaughters horses, said compared with other animals the horse “is probably the easiest and cleanest animal to process.”

What’s the history

of horsemeat?

Humans have eaten horsemeat since the beginning of time. However, as with pork and beef, some religions have either discouraged or banned the consumption of it over the centuries. For example, in 732, Pope Gregory III issued an edict to Roman Catholics that forbade them to eat it.

Today, the meat is generally considered to be taboo in most English-speaking countries such as Canada, the United States and Australia. However, many European and Asian diners still regularly enjoy the delicacy. China is the leading producer of horsemeat.

What does it taste like?

The high-protein, low-fat meat is often described as tasting slightly sweet and similar to beef.

How is it usually prepared?

Similar to other meats, horsemeat can be prepared in numerous ways: smoked, salted, grilled, even eaten raw.

Katherine Harding

A foreign delicacy

Almost all the horsemeat processed in Canada by the six licensed horse abattiors is exported.


Quantity, KGM (Kilogram-meter)

Value, $
















Czech Republic






South Africa



United States












*includes horse, ass, mule and hinny (horse/donkey cross)


Westwold, B.C.

Lacombe, Alta.

Fort Macleod, Alta.

Neudorf, Sask.

Massueville, Que.

St.-Andre-Avellin, Que.


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16 thoughts on “Canadian Slaughter houses

  1. This is so wonderful to see. Im proud that canada is stepping up to protect and fight for our horses in this evil world of sellouts. I love reading great stories like this. you Canadian Rescues Rock”””

  2. True North Strong and Free…….well not for the majestic animal that is the symbol of strength and freedom. I’ve bragged about my Canadian heritage but when I travel with in the billion dollar equine world….I never admit Iam Canadian. We are the bottom feeders that live off what the human equivilant of sludge throughs away. There are no words to describe the shame I feel knowing they ship their wounded and unwanted horses across our borders for meat and ultimatly human consumption in other countries.
    We are the pushers and pornographers that expolit and profit off the suffering of other creatures. Canada, reach deep inside and find your spine or resign yourself to the role of the ferryman.

  3. This is funny…..So what are all these horses supposed to sit in retierment homes ? Bahaha there not people there animals, they do know fear and pain, but so do cows and pigs, and chickens. The horse may be one of the noblest creatures, but when It comes down to it there still creatures. There not pets they dont have feelings, and I personaly would rather see a horse shot and processed then handed from owner to owner, man handled or mal nourished because its either to old, had a defect or was untamable…What you need to be looking into is pointless breeding, there are way to many horses in the world now..I say ship them off for meat, at least they will be useful. I love horses as much as the next fanatic and I like to keep them around as long as I can..But if they have given up and are sitting out in the pasture with the just kill me stance…do It up why make them suffer..They are working animals that strain to please..when they cant work any longer push them to there next purpose… And let me guess you people are the type that would rather Up the Ash and vegtables in your dog food then kill your ponies… Save a Dog Kill a Horse…bhahahaha

  4. Actually Nick, I have issues with the slaughter of ALL animals on the basis that the methods used are inhumane.

    My horses are pets , they also have jobs . They do have feelings – not only for their pasture buddies but also for their humans – which you would know if you were open to possibilities. While there is merit to what you have to say about pointless breeding – what are you doing to make more people aware? What are you doing to make a difference? Oh yeah, you commented here. Thanks for helping me show the world how ignorance is bred.

  5. I know there are people out there who think the meat they consume is killed first, but it still amazes me when I come across them.
    Do your homework…any animal slaughtered for human consumption must be processed while still alive. When done correctly, they are unconcious, but make no mistake…they are breathing when they are bled out… its the law. Enforcing the proper kill techniques is nearly impossible and sometimes the steak, lamb chop, chicken leg you are eating was slaughtered while fully conscious. I grew up on a farm and will never forget the sounds coming from the slaughter houses. Don’t tell me they have no feeling, Nick said “they strain to please”, which clearly conflicks with the rest of his rant. So Katie is right on the money. And Nick…not so much…….

  6. To Nick:

    You are an idiot and the perfect example of ignorance. I feel really bad for you. Go pound sand, you just add to the problem.

  7. I think that equine slaughter should not be banned. It is an ugly, but needed option. If we are not satisfied with the standards for equine slaughter plants we can revise them, but banning equine slaughter may be even worse than properly regulating it. If we cannot slaughter horses because it is inhumane, why then are we allowed to slaughter beef, swine, poultry, etc? If there is a difference in the regulations then let’s change them. Exporting the slaughter to another country is the worst option. We have no control over how the horses are treated there, and the transport is much longer/cruel in most cases. That being said, let’s look at what can happen if equine slaughter is banned altogether. Many horses, old and young, sick and healthy alike, will be starved to death…slowly. Others will be set free, and possibly hit by cars. Some owners cannot afford to pay for euthanasia and rendering/creamation. They will come up with their own methods of disposal, none of which are as humane as captive bolt. I have read an approximation of the yearly costs of caring for the unwanted horse population, with euthanasia being around $18 million dollars/year, and caring for them would be around $160 million dollars/year. I think regulating the US slaughter plants is the best option for these unwanted horses.

    • Very true in some ways, but there are organizations like the SPCA and an increasing number of horse rescue organizations. I belong to some, and I have had (and still have) rescued horses at my farm. The first few years of such a ban would indeed be difficult, because of sheer numbers of horses going into slaughter daily in Canada right now, you’re right. Banning horse slaughter should be followed by companion legislation limiting breeding, or taxing breeders to create a fund to support horse rescue/foster organizations. Dog licensing in most municipalities helps fund SPCA or other shelters. Horse licensing could probably be handled similarly. So perhaps Federal legislation like Bill C-322 could be matched with Provincial and Municipal legislation/by-laws to come up with a realistic plan to stop slaughtering an animal that is sensitve, intelligent, and has served mankind for thousands of years in umpteen ways. I for one will continue share my views on this subject with politicians on all levels, and to contribute funds where I can to assist organizations like the Canadian Horse Defence Council and rescue groups. Fortunately with no horse slaughter allowed in the USA, the next nearest place would be Mexico. Likely the cost of such a long haul from Canada would prohibit it. But if not, legislation banning the export of horses for slaughter would be another step. Horse slaughter is not a necessary evil. It is a deplorable practice driven by the need to squeeze a last little bit of profit out of a horse whose working life is over due to injury, age or economics. The reason slaughter facilities are not set up to be truly humane to horses is that it would be very costly. It would take careful planning, design, new procedures and specialized equipment. Let’s not kid ourselves that this abominable practice is about anything more than a few dollars.

  8. I think there should be regulations put on how all animals are slaughtered. regardless of species/breed…and as far as horse slaughter goes i would rather see a horse go to the meat buyer then see them starve to death….any animal that is made to starve to death suffers the most horrible death anyone could ever think of, and if they put a ban on horse slaughter then thats what will happen to a majority of these animals….horses are no different then cows when it comes to meat….the problem comes from the perception people have about it.

    alot of people had a problem with the PMU barns, and now they have focused there attention on the slaughter industry…

    the question that must be asked is what difference does it make…..horses are livestock no different then cattle and chickens or pigs…..they are all farm animals

    • they are not the “same.” horses are companion animals, like cats and dogs. we don’t slaughter them do we, nor do we eat our equine friends. horses are highly intelligent, sensitive creatures who have been by our side in the wild west, wars, and we depended upon them for transportation until the train and car came around. they work hard for us at the racetrack and in the fields. they deserve our loyalty for everything they have done for us.

  9. For all you people who think its cruel to see a horse starving out in the field… or too sick and the owner cant afford to help the horse, and feel that the only easy way out is to kill them for money and food… Thats what horse rehabilitation centers are for… if the owner is that irrisponsible enough to take on the responsibilty of owning a horse. yes I own my own and know it takes quite a bit of money and up keep. But The rehabilitation centers are more than happy to take in a horse in need of help, you just have to get away from your lazyness and make a few phone calls… its not that hard. Do you think its fair to control how long an animals life span is? no… Its not there fault in anyway to die the horrible in humane death because of some irrisponsible owner who thinks they have control over an animal’s life.. they are ment for enjoyment, and yes work, and to show us the real meaning in life, how its not all made out for money and greed… a life doesnt have a price, whether its a horse, cat , dog, fish , or you. This cold, harsh, world ran by greed and money disgusts me personally, I can only wish that people will learn to open up there eyes and learn whats right and wrong.

    • amen…i couldn’t agree more! you are a very compassionate woman and i wish there were more people like you out there.

  10. I agree with Becky. Too many irresponsible people… most people shouldn’t even have a fish; they are too lazy to look after it properly. To send an animal – any animal – to a slaughterhouse is one of the the most inhumane and cruel things to do.
    Now a bit on the “spiritual side” of things…. as humans when we consume meat, we are also ‘consuming’ all the stress, fear, anger and despair that is in the meat – and make no mistake; it is in the meat. Doesn’t it help to explain all the misery, sadness, depression and anger in people now a days? You’ve heard of that old saying “you are what you eat”… think about it. Animals that are raised on farms for meat are ‘happy animals’ and have happy, healthy meat that people will feel nourished from.
    Years ago, I read a comment that compared ‘meat eaters’ to being the graveyard of animals… animals aren’t given an honorable death; we, as people, eat them. What’s left of them are inside of us.
    Now, for the hundreds who disagree ~ look into the eyes of a horse; or any animal who is loved and tell me what you see. Then, go to a slaughterhouse and look into their eyes and tell me what you see.

  11. A sage once wrote:

    “In the gaze of a dumb beast is speech understood by the soul of the wise.”

    Never a true word was spoken.
    God is dead. God never was.

    For all the misery and suffering we inflict upon “farm animals” that never ever even see a farm, there will be a terrible reckoning. The human race is the worst kind of parasite there is, feeding on its host till the bitter end.

    But rest assured the animal virus that will spread across the earth to purge this planet is nigh and truly then “the meek shall inherit the earth.”

    It is of interest to remember that when the Black Death was sweeping across Europe, the people who did not succumb to the disease were those that worked in livery stables and lived with horses, because the flea that was spreading the disease wanted nothing to do with horses.

    A horse , a horse, my kingdom for a horse.

    Never a more nobler beast has existed, with intelligence, loyalty, friendship, and an unwavering work ethic.

    If only man could aspire to be anything like that…but alas…
    we know only greed, suffering and killing. It is our way.

    • wow, that was beautiful and so eloquent. i don’t agree with the god part but couldn’t agree more about everything else you stated. nicely done!

      • Hello Judy,
        Thanks. I understand your comment on the “God” part. I too was raised Catholic and by the Jesuits no less. But this Christian God has only been around for some 2000 years and the Hindus with their Trinity of the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer for 5000 years. So whose God is real?
        God is what exists within us and the ways we show compassion, love and kindness to the least amongst us.

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