Japan is one of the leading importers of horsemeat and horses for consumption. Japanese probably support the slaughter and consumption of horsemeat, and they have imported about 9,000 tons of horsemeat as confirmed by the Humane Society International (HSI) Canada. Most of this meat comes from American horses that were butchered in Canada.
Use of horsemeat in Japan
Japanese import horsemeat to make basashi, a specialty sushi. Ewa Demianowicz, senior campaign manager for HIS Canada, explained that the meat has to be consumed within three days after the horse was slaughtered.
People also use the natural oils in horses in their synthetic beauty products available on markets across Japan and South Korea.
Debby Murtagh, director of research and community outreach for the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), says it’s a sad and unfortunate reality. The import of horsemeat is important for Japan, and they are trying to meet consumers’ demand. Live horses are raised to develop marbling.
The transportation horror
Millions of horses are transported from airports in Alberta and Winnipeg to Japan. The trip is really long, and the business is really huge.
Horse slaughter isn’t legal in the US which is why horses are first shipped to Canada.
To get to Japan, horses travel 16-18 hours, notes the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). Horses usually travel without any food, water and rest for up to 36 hours.
Sources from The Animal Rescue Site note that laws are overlooked in these situations. It’s a big business, and these regulations are ignored. Demianowicz says that if they were to obey the rules, this business wouldn’t be this big.
Horsemeat and public health risk
Horses that make their way to Japan aren’t raised for consumption. They are usually companion, working or sport horses stacked with chemicals and veterinary drugs.
These drugs aren’t safe for humans, and there isn’t always a record of what the horse has been given. US horse owners aren’t required to have treatment records.
Racehorses shouldn’t be consumed. Owners give them illegal performance-enhancing drugs to improve their performance. Yes, these horses may be given cocaine or cobra venom.
Japanese don’t approve the use of veterinary pharmaceuticals that are commonly used in the US. However, Japanese ignore this when it comes to imported meat.