Press Release: Canadians on Horse Slaughter


Canadians On Horse Slaughter

Two-Thirds Of Canadians Do Not Believe In Slaughter Of Canadian Horses For Human Consumption

Vancouver, BC According to a new Ipsos-Reid poll conducted on behalf of B.C. based TRACS, “The Responsible Animal Care Society”, two-thirds (64%) of adult Canadians “do not believe in the slaughter of Canadian horses for human consumption”.

Poll respondents were told “Government statistics show that in 2003 more than 61,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada for human consumption or shipped out of the country for the same purpose”.

One-in-three (33%) adult Canadians say they “do believe in the slaughter of Canadian horses for human consumption”. Three percent have no opinion on this issue.

Regional and demographic differences included the following:

  • A slight majority of Quebec residents say they “believe” in the slaughter of Canadian horses for human consumption (53% believe vs. 47% do not believe). A majority of residents from other provinces “do not believe” in the slaughter of Canadian horses for human consumption (77% Atlantic, 73% Ontario, 69% British Columbia, 62% Alberta, 56% Manitoba/Saskatchewan).
  • A majority of residents in all other socio-economic and demographic groups “do not believe” in the slaughter of Canadian horses for human consumption. Opposition to the slaughter is higher amongst women (73% vs. 55% men), younger residents (69% 18-34 years vs. 59% 35-54 years), lower income residents (74% vs. 58% higher) and less educated residents (75% less than high school, 69% high school vs. 64% some post-sec, 57% university graduates).

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/TRACS poll conducted between May 18th and 20th, 2004. For the telephone survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 1000 adult Canadians was interviewed. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within regions and for other sub-groupings of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample’s regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data.

For more information on this press release, please contact:

Kyle Braid
Vice-President, Ipsos-Reid
Vancouver, BC

Sinikka Crosland
TRACS (The Responsible Animal Care Society)

Vivian Farrell
The Fund for Horses



According to a national poll conducted by Ipsos-Reid on behalf of B.C.-based TRACS (The Responsible Animal Care Society), 64% of Canadians do not believe in the slaughter of horses for human consumption. On the other side, 33% believe in the practise while 3% remain undecided.

Geographic variations are apparent, with opposition to horse slaughter being most evident in the Atlantic provinces, Ontario, and B.C. (77%, 73%, and 69% respectively). 62% of Alberta respondents, 56% in Saskatchewan/Manitoba, and 47% in Quebec indicate that they are not in favour of butchering horses for meat. Canada has four existing horse slaughter plants, one each in Ontario and Alberta, and two in Quebec.

Women are less likely to believe in the slaughter of horses for human consumption than men. 73% of women express opposition to the practise, whereas only 55% of men are of the same opinion. Young people aged 18-34 are the most inclined to oppose the slaughter of horses (only 29% in favour). People with higher incomes are shown to be generally more supportive of the horsemeat industry–although, in each income bracket, the majority of respondents still oppose horse slaughter.

Government statistics reveal that in 2003, more than 61,000 horses were either slaughtered in Canada or shipped alive to the U.S. and Japan to be made into horsemeat.

Vivian Farrell, President of Texas-based The Fund for Horses states, “We consider the inhumane transportation and what horses are forced to endure once at the slaughter facilities, where they are euphemistically described as ‘processed’, the ultimate act of betrayal. We are optimistic that a federal bill entitled The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act now pending before Congress will be enacted, banning slaughter and export for slaughter once and for all in the United States. Hopefully these poll results indicate that Canadians will support similar legislation in their country.”

Sinikka Crosland of TRACS agrees, adding, “Further, the Canadian public needs to know that not all horses sent for slaughter are old or lame. That’s a fallacy. Many are foals who are by-products of the Premarin (Pregnant Mare Urine) industry. Recently a huge influx of pregnant mares, stallions, and replacement stock from the down-sizing of that industry has flooded the North American market with horses.”

And if horse slaughter were to be banned in Canada, what would become of the thousands of horses on the market? Farrell responds, “There are many alternatives to slaughter. Some include donating them to a rescue or shelter; making arrangements with a retirement farm; donating or leasing them to a therapeutic or handicapped riding organization; selling them privately; or humanely euthanizing the old, sick and lame. Just as important, however, is opposing the callous over-breeding of sport and pleasure horses so that there won’t be so many left without a home.”

Crosland concludes, “It is indeed good news that an impressive majority of younger Canadians are opposed to horse slaughter for human consumption. This places the emphasis on horses as companion and recreational animals rather than on the money that selling their flesh might bring. Such a focus promises a more humane future for horses in our country.”

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