07. February 2021

Canada | Alberta | Feedlots of Bouvry slaughterhouse

No protection from the cold – not even for heavily pregnant mares.

Newborn foals freeze to death at birth.

Horses from the US are kept in these feedlots for six months.

Together with our North American partners, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition and Animals’ Angels USA, we have been documenting the horse feedlots at the Bouvry slaughterhouse in Alberta for many years. Here, thousands of horses are fattened with grain feed to their maximum slaughter weight. Our previous investigations have uncovered tremendous abuse and neglect.

We return to the feedlots in February 2021 to detect if any improvements have been made since our last investigation in 2019. This, however, is obviously not the case. There is still no weather protection for the horses. This week, the temperatures are as low as minus 36° Celsius at night, leading to official cold warnings. Among the horses, we detect several pregnant mares, fully exposed to wind and snow. In the same pen, a dead foal lies on the ground, horses are sniffing at him. Newborn foals have no chances of survival under these conditions and freeze to death at birth.

The horses are kept in dirty and crowded pens, without any retreat possibilities. We notice one horse with extremely long, overgrown hooves. Another horse has deformed front legs and is barely able to walk. Other horses also have neglected hooves and are lame. There is no investment in veterinary or hoof care.

Since 2017, the EU demands a six-month quarantine for US horses sent to slaughter in Canada for the EU market, in order to ensure that there are no drug residues in the meat. However, this rule extends the suffering of the horses in the Canadian fattening farms.

Our new investigation from February 2021 shows that the suffering of horses continues on the same level. The conditions at the feedlots remain unacceptable. We will report our observations to the European Union and reiterate our call to suspend horsemeat imports from Canada.