Laws should be based on facts not feelings
Late last week, Bill C-355 passed the House of Commons.

Bill C-355 is a Private Member's Bill put forward by Liberal MP Tim Louis which would ban the export of meat horses by air for slaughter.
I will stop here for a moment because I recognize that most readers view horses as pets (as do I) and most would naturally object to the slaughter of these beautiful animals.

I love horses. I own horses. That said, I had no issue voting against this legislation because-as with so many pieces of legislation put forward by this
Liberal Government and their NDP enablers-it simply does not reflect reality. It is based on feelings and falsehoods rather than on facts.

To quote Dr. Jennifer Woods the experienced Veterinarian who helped write the current regulations and who supervises the transport and welfare of these specific animals:  "Ultimately, what is contended by the bill is simply and abjectly false...This legislation is based purely on emotion, skewed perception, and a false premise."

As a bit of background, over 1 billion people in the world eat horse meat. Canada raises and exports 2,800 horses to Japan for meat each year. These are not pets. Like other livestock, they are purpose bred for food. Canada is said to have the best horses in the world.

There are numerous issues with his bill and the government has been completely dishonest about it.

First, to be clear, the bill does not ban the slaughter of horses for food, but that did not stop the government from framing this legislation in that light. It merely bans the export/transport by air of horses for food.

Second, doing so will put 347 Canadian producers/ranches out of business. The horses are exported live because in Japan the horse meat can only be served within three days of slaughter. This tight window prevents producers from slaughtering domestically then exporting the meat. As such, like other sectors this government has targeted with their ideological bans, they will be left with a product they cannot sell because this government has taken away their market.
Further to this point, it is worth noting 25% of these ranchers are indigenous families. The government talks a big game on creating economic opportunities for Indigenous Canadians, yet here, when these folks have embraced, invested, and found economic success in a non-government subsidized industry, the government seeks to take away their livelihood.

Third, the bill claims these animals are "mistreated" in numerous ways, none of which is substantiated by the facts or the experts.
Dr. Woods articulated it well:  "The livestock's ends should not be used to define welfare. This bill does just that: that by sheer virtue of being used for food, the animal is automatically being 'treated poorly'."

These animals are raised on ranches, outdoors, in herds with peers. They are better treated than most other livestock raised for food. Likewise, when they arrive in Japan the horses are also well taken care of, living in monitored and humane conditions often for a year or more.

Fourth, the bill ignores or misrepresents the realties and regulations that govern transport.   45 different standards and guidelines govern the transport of these animals. Any failure to comply would result in an immediate shut down by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) or International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Contrary to the what the bill says, these animals are not "crammed" into containers or "cramped". Transport regs require a strict adherence to a safe amount of space both head and floor. Too much floor space the animals can get injured. They are transported, 3 to a crate (think stall), in single level crates with net tops to ensure proper head movement. Loading from truck to crate takes roughly 22 seconds. Dr. Woods stated, contrary to the bill, she is aware of zero examples of animal agitation in flight.  

Moreover, at 0.012%, horses have the lowest mortality rate during transport of any livestock.

It should also be noted, transport regulations for meat horses are stricter than for polo, show jumping, or Olympic horses-whose transport will also now be affected by this legislation.

Fifth, when it comes to oversight, the bill inexplicably mistakes CBSA (Canada Border Services Agency) for CFIA. This creates major jurisdictional and practical regulatory headaches. The bill also, bizarrely, calls for pilots to sign an affidavit stating the animals they are transporting will not be used for meat, something no pilot (or pilot's union) will take on the liability of.

Sixth, and perhaps most significant, the legislation violates the rules for a Private Members Bill (PMB). A PMB cannot cost the Crown (Government of Canada) money. These new regulations will put producers out of business requiring Farm Credit Canada (FCC) to cover their losses, and by extension the federal government to cover FCC's costs, thus costing the Crown money. A similar bill (C-247) was tossed out as non-compliant by the former Speaker in 2022 for this very reason. Sadly, under this new hyper-partisan speaker, the bill was allowed to go forward.

Please be assured, as MP for Provencher, I have always and will always support common sense animal welfare legislation, but Bill C-355 simply isn't that. Hopefully, as it now makes its way through the Senate, they can reject this flawed bill or delay it indefinitely.

This bill is based on feelings and falsehoods, not facts, and that is dangerous ground when creating laws that affect both human and animal lives.