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Undercover video puts CFIA in the spotlight
Published Tuesday, October 30, 2012 2:19PM CST
Last Updated Wednesday, October 31, 2012 8:55AM CST
Undercover video released by the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition has put the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in the spotlight. The group says CFIA is not following its own regulations with respect to humane transport of horses.
In a recent undercover video taken at the Calgary International Airport, horses can be seen crowded into pens, unable to stand. From Calgary, they are flown to Japan to be made into sashimi, a Japanese delicacy. It's the job of inspectors from CFIA to check the crates and enforce regulations that ensure humane animal transport.
Shannon Mann, a volunteer with the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition, says the video is shocking. “In this video, it clearly shows these large, large horses, even draft horse-sized horses; 16, 18 hands, are being crated in wooded crates together, so they're not segregated, and they actually don't have sufficient headroom so they're not even able to stand in their natural position."
Mann says the Canadian Food Inspection Agency isn't doing its' job.
“They put these regulations in place and they don't enforce them, because I’m sure this industry makes a lot of money and maybe they want to help protect the industry. But the CFIA is responsible for food safety and also for the welfare of these horses and animals that end up on people's plates."
CFIA emailed a response to CTV Saskatoon. It reads, in part, “In the course of inspection activities, the CFIA would not condone or tolerate any abusive behaviour towards animals, whether it is depicted in video footage or observed on-site."
The agency says foreign authorities aren't obligated to let it know of the condition of horses at the end of transport, but was made aware of a case of a shipment of horses that arrived deceased back in August of this year. It says corrective measures have been taken and the exporter is being monitored. "
Mann says she's glad they have video to show how these animals are transported. She hopes the exposure will tighten regulations or eventually stop horse export overseas altogether.