Campaigners are calling for an end to the transport of live horses for the meat trade in Japan.

Equines are enduring long-haul flights to the country with no food or water to meet the demand for horse meat.

Since 2013, about 40,000 live horses have been flown to Japan from western Canada. Under Canadian regulations, the animals can go without food, water or rest for up to 28 hours during transit.

Campaigners have been protesting the practice and sharing details of the equines’ plight.

Vet Judith Samson-French travelled to the Calgary airport to assess the situation for herself, according to The Guardian.

She saw the horses being loaded in groups of three or four, into wooden crates.

“As a veterinarian, I did not like what I saw,” she said. “You hear them in the crates. There’s a lot of kicking going on there.

“These are big horses. It’s absolutely impossible for a horse to lay down in those crates.”

In 2019 Canada provided 71% of the live horse imports to Japan, followed by France at 21%.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition are among those protesting the practice.

The not-for-profit welfare organisation found that in 2014, a horse described by a handler as “agitated upon loading” kicked through its crate and left a large hole in the aircraft fuselage.

After the plane made an emergency landing in Anchorage, Alaska, it was discovered that the horse had died onboard.

Last year, five horses fell during a flight, including one that died.

The organisation is lobbying for change and has launched a petition calling to end live exports of horses for slaughter.

Find out more about The Canadian Horse Defence’s campaign at