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Horses in crates on the tarmac at Calgary International Airport, from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. Horses are headed to Japan for possible slaughter.Canadian Horse Defence Coalition/Handout

Thousands of Canadians are petitioning the federal Liberals to live up to their election promise to ban the live export of horses for slaughter.

Statistics Canada data show since the promise was made in 2021 more than 2,000 horses have been shipped from Canada to Japan where raw horse meat is a local delicacy.

Canadian singer Jann Arden initiated the petition and says shipping the horses overseas is a cruel practice that has to end.

Jann Arden and Jessica Scott-Reid: Horses are still being exported for slaughter. Will Trudeau take action?

Arden says horses are crammed into wooden crates and sometimes left on the tarmac for hours before the flight takes off where they are clearly stressed and make hideous sounds.

More than 36,000 people have signed the petition which was presented in the House of Commons last week by NDP MP Alistair MacGregor.

A spokesperson for the federal agriculture department says regulations are in place to ensure horses are fit to travel, and that the government is working to find the best way to ban the export of live horses.