Horses slaughtered for food

"It's encouraging to hear that people like you don't know because I'm convinced that that's the reason to shutting it down is people don't know and when they find out they're going to be outraged." 

Belinda Lyall, a Salmon Arm resident, has been advocating to save horses from slaughter for almost 20 years, but she says not much has changed in the industry. 

"I rescued tons of them over the years using my own money," said Lyall. "I have gone through tens of thousands of my own money which of course isn't sustainable, so I registered as a corporation non-profit in May of 2017." 

Lyall created BC Horse Angels as a way to raise money to provide the public education to put pressure on politicians to shut down the horse slaughter industry in Canada, as well as set up programs in B.C. to care for unwanted and abandoned horses, according to the website. 

"I'm hoping it will open peoples' eyes about this industry because the majority of people have no idea it's even going on," she said. "The goal is to get some billboards up on the Trans-Canada Highway and really create awareness about the issue."

Hundreds of wild and feral horses, which are a major source of slaughter horses shipped from B.C., are captured and then sold as horsemeat to different countries.  

Canada exported 17.7 million kilograms of horse meat, valued at almost $90 million in 2012 to 15 countries, according to the Canadian Meat Council website.  

Most of the horses sold and slaughtered are used for human consumption. 

The major markets, as of 2012, were Switzerland, Japan, France, Belgium and Kazakhstan.

"It's provided an easy out for a lot of irresponsible breeding because they know they always have the safety valve that they can just dump all their mares and babies," Lyall said. 

She estimates between 1,000 and 2,000 horses are shipped from B.C. each year. 

Lyall has found homes for more than 200 horses, saving them from being slaughtered.

The creation of BC Horse Angels, a non-profit organization, is meant to give her and many others the oppportunity to continue to save horses from slaughter. 

Money raised will go towards:

  • Billboards and public awareness campaigns.
  • Funding for sanctuaries.
  • Funding for more rescue and adoption facilities, including training and adoption programs for wild horses and feral horses.
  • Funding and organization of open door shelters for owner surrender.
  • Funding for humane euthanasia programs.
  • Lobbying for regulated breeding.
  • Lobbying for a ban on horse slaughter in B.C.
  • Supporting the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in efforts to permanently ban slaughter in Canada, and export to slaughter.

Lyall says she will continue to spread awareness and educate people on the reality behind horse slaughter. 

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