The export of Canadian horses for slaughter and human consumption abroad is rejected by a large majority of Canadians, a new Research Co. poll has found.
In the online survey of a representative national sample, two thirds of Canadians (67%) oppose this practice, while 22% support it and 12% are undecided.
Opposition to the export of Canadian horses for slaughter and human consumption abroad is highest among women (76%). Significant majorities of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (65%), aged 35-to-54 (66%) and aged 55 and over (68%) also hold unfavourable views.
On a regional basis, Alberta posts the highest level of aversion to this practice (74%), followed by Atlantic Canada (73%), Ontario (70%), British Columbia (66%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (also 66%) and Quebec (62%).
Canadians who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2019 federal election are slightly more likely to oppose the export of Canadian horses for slaughter and human consumption abroad (69%) than those who cast ballots for the New Democratic Party (NDP) (66%) and the Liberal Party (63%)
Since 2013, more than 30,000 Canadian horses have been exported for slaughter and human consumption in Japan and South Korea.
More than four-in-five Canadians (84%) were unaware of this fact before taking the survey—a proportion that rises to 86% among women, 88% among Canadians aged 35-to-54 and 88% among Atlantic Canadians.
When asked a separate question about food sources, only 27% of Canadians consider it appropriate for humans to consume horses, while 65% deem this as inappropriate and 8% are undecided.
In stark contrast, at least three-in-four Canadians think chickens (88%), pigs (79%), turkeys (75%) and cattle (also 75%) are suitable food sources for humans.
Majorities of Canadians also think that the consumption of six other animals is appropriate: ducks (71%), sheep (69%), fish (68%), goats (64%), rabbits (58%) and geese (also 58%).
Results are based on an online survey conducted from February 11 to February 13, 2021, among 1,000 adults in Canada. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region in Canada. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.