Almost every week, thousands of horses are being imported across the ocean to Japan. And the reason for it will break thousands of hearts to animal lovers worldwide. They use the horses to make their specialty basashi.
Horses are loaded from Edmonton and Calgary airports in Alberta and the Winnipeg airport in Manitoba. And then right after, they transport them to Japan. Japan imported 6.5 million pounds of horsemeat in 2016 in order to make a famous dish called basashi.
“The meat needs to be consumed within three days after being slaughtered in order to be eaten as sushi,” Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International, told The Dodo.
And besides using horse meat for their specialty called basashi, beauty products are also made. Oils harvested from the horses’ bodies are also used in beauty products which are sold all over Japan and South Korea.
Even though it is illegal to import the horses from the United States, they are being taken from the U.S. to Canada where they can then be flown to Japan.
“It is sad and difficult to understand,” Debby Murtagh, director of research and community outreach for the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), told The Dodo. “Japan relies on the imports to boost production to meet consumer demand.”
What happens to the horses?
The flights are also a torture to the horses. They remain in cramped quarters for more than 18 hours without food or water. This is so due to the fact that the laws enforced by Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) allow horses to go without food, water or rest for up to 36 hours. It’s horrific to even consider putting a horse through these conditions. And it is not like they are going to Japan on a vacation…
During one flight in 2012, three horses died in a landing accident. And six more also died due to the large size of the animals, as well as the stress of the flight and the poor conditions they were put through.
And many of the laws that can protect the animals aren’t enforced because of the high profits of the trade. According to Demianowicz, “If they were to follow regulations, it would not be as lucrative of a business.”
No animal deserves to be tortured just to sit on a dinner plate. We can all make a change together. So if you are interested in saving innocent horses who are being shipped to Japan, you can sign this petition.