Henry’s Gotta Go!

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Henry’s Gotta Go!

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Netflix has a new true crime docuseries out that profiles scandals within the sports industry with first-hand accounts from those involved.  Episode 6 – “Horse Hitman” profiles Tommy Burns, AKA “The Sandman,” who was responsible for the killings of expensive sport horses at the behest of their owners, to perpetrate insurance fraud. The horse killings were discovered by the FBI incidentally while they were investigating the disappearance of Brach candy heiress Helen Brach in the late 1970s. The investigation, which centered on a racketeering scam where wealthy heiresses were convinced to invest in horses worth up to 750,000 (who were later killed for insurance),  led them to Burns, who subsequently made a deal with investigators where he would provide all the horrible details that implicated him, and would only be charged with one crime (but if the FBI discovered he lied about any detail, he would be charged for all the killings). 

Tommy’s intel led to the conviction of many individuals who contracted with him to kill their horses. But Burns was hardly a role model; he was really a deeply/flawed anti-hero, who had literally no empathy for horses when he could enrich himself by killing them. But in watching the Netflix episode, you may find that his dialogue creates the same sense of justice being served that a traditional hero might.   

As a young adult, Burns had a long history of making bad decisions. Starting in the horse industry by doing manual labour at farms, he moved through the ranks of anti-hero archetypes, crossing almost all moral lines. He initially began working for Barney Ward, who owned Castle Hill Farm, and was a former member of the US Equestrian Team and US World Cup team, which gave him close insights to others in the horse industry. He developed a strong loyalty to Ward. Through his connections, he left Barney’s employ and went to work for lawyer Jim Druck, who operated Eagle’s Nest Farm near Ocala Florida, where he bred show horses. Rielle Hunter (formerly Lisa Druck) was his accomplished teenaged equestrian daughter. In 1981, Lisa/Rielle was riding a show horse named Henry The Hawk. Henry had been purchased and insured for $150,000; he was one of the top hunters in the country at the time.

Vintage Photo of Henry the Hawk

Tommy Burns became obligated to Jim Druck when Druck got him off an assault with a deadly weapon charge “You owe me.” Druck confronted Burns about having an affair with his wife, and he now needed money for the divorce settlement. Druck got an offer to sell Henry the Hawk for less than the amount he was insured for. So Druck determined that “Henry’s Gotta Go.” The horse’s fate was thus sealed. 

Very ironically, Druck’s legal practice consisted of defending insurance companies against claims. He knew that if a horse were electrocuted in a certain manner, it would be very difficult for a veterinary pathologist to find signs of foul play, unless the animal was necropsied by someone who knew to look for a burn mark, the death would be chalked up to colic. Electrocuting a horse mimics colic – the twisting of the horse’s gut that comes on very suddenly without symptoms. Druck counselled Burns exactly how to do it – with an extension cord split down the middle, with alligator clips attached to the ear and rectum of the horse. It was the “perfect crime,” from which Druck profited with Burns as the facilitator. 

After the killing of Henry the Hawk, Burns was out-of-control.  He was stealing saddles and credit cards, all centered around horse shows and the horse industry. Druck encouraged him to leave town because the cops were suspicious, so he reached out to his friend Barney Ward, who he claimed had a legitimate interest in helping him.

Around this time, Burns made a connection with horse trainer Paul Valliere (who trained Canadian Olympian showjumper Eric Lamaze). Valliere offered Tommy $5,000 to kill his horse Roseau Plattier. The insurance policy on the horse was about to lapse, so apparently this was the reason he needed the horse dead ASAP. So he was also electrocuted.  Then, horse people started calling Tommy on a weekly basis, and his fee went up considerably.

Tommy Burns’ Tools of the Trade. He traveled the show circuit, visiting stables with his bag full of electrocution equipment, to make “problem” horses go away.

George Lindemann Jr was from of one of the richest families in Palm Beach – his father was a billionaire. To kill George Lindemann Jr’s horse Charisma, he was paid $35,000 plus expenses. For $5,000, Burns had an accomplice break the leg of a horse named Streetwise, whose owner just didn’t like him. Burns, who justified electrocution as “painless,” apparently drew the line at breaking a horse’s leg with a crowbar, so he subcontracted that one out, knowing that a veterinarian would have to euthanize the horse.  Streetwise had had a colic operation previously, and as colic was excluded from his insurance policy, the jumper cables couldn’t be used.

“Break his fucking leg.”  She was heartless. ~Tommy Burns

By 1991, Tommy was under surveillance, and he and his accomplice were arrested at the conclusion of the beating of Streetwise. Police took his confession and reported the killings to the Insurance Crime Bureau. Paul Valliere admitted to the crime of contracting with Burns to electrocute Roseau Plattier and defraud the insurance company of $75,000. In his deal with prosecutors, Valliere agreed to wear a wire for over a year, gathering information for the federal authorities, which revealed an astonishing plot twist in the docuseries.

Plot Twist

Tommy Burns claimed in the documentary that he was always forthcoming with the FBI, but in truth, he held back a significant piece of information. If you haven’t watched the Netflix episode, and you don’t want a major plot twist revealed, I suggest you skip down to the epilogue. 

The FBI knew that Tommy must have had a connection who was facilitating these contract killings throughout the US.  They knew that he was not sufficiently resourceful to establish these connections of his own volition.  After Paul Valliere recorded a conversation for the federal agents, they confronted Burns with their discovery of the identity of this “facilitator.” In the recorded conversation made by Valliere, it was Barney Ward who revealed that he would have Tommy killed so that he could not take the stand against them.  Since he idolized Ward and took great pains to protect him, Tommy was forced to come to the powerful realization that, not only was the loyalty not reciprocated, he was completely expendable.   In no way had Tommy planned to implicate Barney. 

Epilogue

Tommy confessed to killing between 15-20 horses.  18 people were charged with revolving insurance fraud. The uber-wealthy George Lindemann Jr was sentenced to 33 months and was ordered to pay a $500,000 fine and restitution to the insurance company.  Paul Valliere was put on probation for 4 years and had to pay a $5,000 fine.  Tommy’s accomplice in the killing of Streetwise was sentenced to 18 months.  Jim Druck collected on a $150,000 insurance policy for arranging the killing of his daughter’s horse in 1982, but he was under investigation by the FBI when he died of cancer in 1990. He never suffered any legal consequences.

Valliere, a former coach for Canadian Olympic showjumper Eric Lamaze, is still giving clinics

Barney Ward was sentenced to 33 months in prison, followed by three years of probation, and was ordered to make restitution of $200,000 to one of the defrauded insurance companies.

Tommy himself was given leniency for his cooperation; he received a sentence of one year in prison.

No one was ever convicted for the conspiracy to murder heiress Helen Brach.  Stable owner/conman Richard Bailey was convicted of racketeering and fraud against Helen and other women.

Rielle Hunter (Lisa Druck) was devastated since she loved Henry. She must have wondered how a person could insert himself into her family, have an affair with her mother, and then kill her horse? With her own father killing her beloved horse, whatever family bonds she had must surely have been destroyed.

Why would any super-wealthy person kill a horse when they didn’t need the money?  In Druck’s case, he did need the money for his divorce.  But for others, the horses were “disappointments.” Their lack of performance was a symbol of failure that reflected poorly; if the horse goes away, you collect the insurance, and the embarrassment is removed. In that way, the owners were able to make themselves “financially and reputationally whole.” Charisma (Lindemann Jr’s horse) evidently performed poorly on the show horse circuit which made him look bad. He had the horse killed to save face. It was apparently easier than admitting he made a mistake in buying the horse. His father was worth around 4 billion so it certainly wasn’t an issue of money. But it’s really evidence of poor character when you kill an innocent animal for no other reason than you are embarrassed – with such wealth he could have simply given the horse away to someone who would have been overjoyed with the gift. For the mega-rich, cashing in an insurance policy on a horse is like redeeming a $25 gift certificate to Tim Hortons for the rest of us.

In cases where insurance fraud is never caught and punished, Insurance companies do what they always do when forced to absorb those losses – they increase premiums for everyone else.  But the horses were the biggest losers.

Prof. Jodi Lazare Dissects Unconstitutionality of Canada’s Ag-Gag Laws

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Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Ag-Gag laws are a growing trend in Canada that’s bad for animals and freedom of expression. The agricultural industry, a huge lobbyist to the federal and provincial governments, is largely protected from even the scant animal welfare laws in Canada, a condition referred to as “agricultural exceptionalism.”  There are no statutes that cover what is illegal – only Codes of Practice “suggest” what should be proper treatment and conduct around animals.  

Animal activists have provided valuable information of public importance by entering farming premises and documenting mistreatment and abuse. Journalists often resort to extraordinary techniques, including going undercover when there is no other way to get the story.  These investigations are of great importance since there is really no information that counters misleading industry marketing practices.  In her article entitled “Ag-Gag Laws, Animals Rights Activism, and the Constitution: What is Protected Speech?” Professor Jodi Lazare traces out the analytical framework for evaluating the constitutionality of Ag-Gag legislation in Canada.

Lazare’s article examines the constitutionality of Ag-Gag legislation that has recently been adopted by two Canadian provinces and is on the horizon in others. Ag-Gag laws prohibit activities such as trespass onto agricultural animal operations, gaining entry onto agriculture operations using false pretenses, and interfering with the transport of farmed animals to slaughter. The article contends that Canadian Ag-Gag legislation prevents the communication of messages related to seeking truth, participation in the political system, thus limiting individual freedom of expression. Current legislation restricts or punishes the utterance of specific words or spoken messages. Ag-Gag laws effectively prohibit undercover investigations of agricultural properties, whether by an animal rights activist, an undercover journalist, or anyone else.

Prof. Lazare’s analysis draws on events held at various protests and sit-ins at farms in Canada.

  • September, 2019 – approximately 90 animal rights activists staged a “sit-in” at a southern Alberta turkey farm – by Liberation Lockdown
  • December, 2019 – 11 animal rights activists occupied a pig farm south of Montreal – by Direct Action Everywhere
  • February, 2020 – a main roadway was closed when animal rights activists occupied at King Cole Ducks in Newmarket, Ontario
  • June, 2015 – protests held on a traffic island in Toronto adjacent to Fearman’s Pork slaughterhouse, by the Save Movement, where activist Regan Russell was killed by a transport truck in June 2020, not long after Ontario’s Bill 156 received Royal Assent.
  • June 2014 – CTV Vancouver aired “shocking video” of “horrific animal abuse”23 at “the largest dairy barn in Canada.”24 The video showed “cows being whipped and beaten with chains and canes” – by Mercy for Animals

These laws are unnecessarily financially punitive. Trespassing is already illegal and many activists who have exposed inhumane farm practices and conditions have been charged as trespassers. There is no need to layer more penalties on top of existing laws. It’s very frightening to contemplate that someone in a farming environment could perform a citizen’s arrest and lock someone in a shed on the property.  Furthermore, barns are separate from homes – nobody lives there except the animals. Activists have no interest in trespassing into homes, so there is no legitimacy to the claim that Ag-Gag laws protect individual safety. Transport issues are not private property issues – how can you be prohibited from standing on a traffic island to protest? 

Politicians in Canada have played on the risk of infectious disease risks in pushing Ag-Gag laws. These laws in Alberta, Ontario and Manitoba target individuals protesting on public property near transport trucks or covertly recording conditions while working at farms and slaughterhouses, even though these activities pose no risks to biosecurity. Politicians have promoted the idea that animal activists are implicated in diseases like mad cow, which is spread by feeding pigs and cows contaminated spinal cord tissue from infected cows.  

We know that Ag-Gag laws do nothing to protect biosecurity – a report by Animal Justice shows that of more than 1,000 disease incidents that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has investigated since 2000, and none were caused by an animal activisst or a trespasser on a farm. Prion diseases, biosecurity gaps, infected trailers, insect and wild bird/animal vectors, backfeeding, and ticks, are not the result of contact with activists. Similarly, recent outbreaks of COVID-19 on mink farms in B.C were not caused by protesters or people trespassing, but by transmission from farm personnel to animals.  A FOIA to the CFIA revealed that no shipments of animals of any species been rejected at a slaughterhouse due to “interference” by animal activists from 2016-2020 either.  In Anita Krajnc’s “PigTrial” case, it has already been rejected by the court that activists have threatened the safety of the Canadian food chain.  (Rogues Gallery – Read who voted for Bill 156 – 65 PC and 1 Liberal MPP voted in favour…)

“[A]nti-animal rights and anti-food justice laws, that can be broken down into three distinct waves or eras, going back to the mid-1990s, all of which share a common purpose: incapacitating an increasingly influential movement — the animal rights movement.”

American legal scholar Justin Marceau

In the creation of the various Canadian Ag-Gag laws, legislators have mirrored regulations that have been deemed unconstitutional in the US.  Prof. Lazare has asserted that Ag-Gag laws have caused the public to lose confidence in Canadian farm operations.

So, what is the harm these laws are meant to address?  Neither animals, nor farm residents/staff are being harmed, and it is the very nature of protests that they all involve a hindrance of some sort. Obviously, the harm is the information that would be revealed. Ag-Gag legislation prevents speech that seeks to spread truth about animal agriculture and  disable participation in democratic discourse. Ag-Gag laws protect slaughterhouses and other animal ag industries from anyone who wants to expose their abuses – what other industries wouldn’t love to have these same protections from media exposure? This should not be taken lightly, either by legislators or by courts, as Bill-156 is challenged in court by Animal Justice.

A Pit Bull By Any Other Name….

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Written by: Heather Clemenceau

After Tommy Chang’s dog Blu escaped, bleeding-heart pit bull fanatics, who consistently ignore empirical data on nanny-dog attacks, marched in protest in a show of extreme entitlement and disregard for others. Found running at large with cropped ears, Chang and others claimed that Blu was “not a pit bull,” even though most people would say that he looks exactly like a pit bull with his large brachycephalic head and stout, muscular body. Indeed, the “pocket bully” and other monikers are widely used order to get around breed restrictions in Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA).

“If the dog looks like a pit bull, if it behaves like a pit bull and people recognize it as a pit bull, that’s enough to say that you’re dealing with a pit bull.” —Dr.  Barry Pless, Professor Emeritus at McGill University

Within days of his release by Vaughan Animal Services, amid public lobbying and media exposure, the subject of the intervention went on to bite a Tae Kwon Do student on the face at Chang’s studio. It was as if the dog, who had no business reason to be at the studio, had its own agenda to ensure that BSL advocates would be proven right yet again.

This is the privilege of the vocal few who are insisting on their right to make lousy decisions that imperil the public. They marched to “prove” that this dog and others like him are harmless and misunderstood, and they manipulated politicians and the media to get the dog returned. 

The pit bull advocacy movement can justifiably be compared to obstinate anti-vaxxers – the more you tell them to leash their dog, the more they “need” to take the dog in public, off-leash, encouraging people to interact with them whether they want to or not. And if you are attacked or bitten, it’s your fault because you must have misunderstood them. Blaming the victim (the practice of questioning what a victim could have done differently in order to prevent some undesirable event from happening) in this scenario is exactly what many of them went on to do…

This is where pitbull owners diverge from owners of other types of potentially dangerous dogs. Nobody puts flower crowns on German Shepherds or Akitas and tells people that “anybody can handle them.” Any bad experiences that involve pit bulls are due to “irresponsible,” or “bad owners.”  But why do only pit bulls have bad owners? We rarely hear of serious attacks by the many more popular breeds, even though “bad owners” exist across all demographics of dog ownership. What is it about this phenotype of dog that has created such a monopoly on bad owners? If a particular vehicle caused 70% of all accidents, would we all blame the driver?

The pit bull advocacy group Justice for Bullies promotes “teaching people to read a dog’s body language” in order to avoid or de-escalate bite risks. “Successful communities identify those most at risk of getting into an altercation with a dog – for example, children, mail carriers, meter readers, and delivery people. While it is the responsibility of the owner to contain and manage their dog, you can reduce bite risk by teaching people how to read a dog’s body language, how to approach them safely, and how to de-escalate a confrontation. When there is a serious dog-on-dog injury, it’s fair to report it and the owner of the attacking dog should expect consequences. But the media needs to make an effort to understand dog behaviour and look for sensible quotes rather than sensationalizing the story with the “what if a child is next?” trope.” 

13-year-old Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool attacked by dog
13-year-old Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool. A Facebook message sent to the boy’s family read: “Bans shouldn’t be on these dogs nor should this dog be put down. Your kid should be put down!” Source: https://globalnews.ca/news/8362074/teen-allegedly-attacked-by-dog-released-vaughan-animal-services/ Photo credit: The Toronto Star

It’s not a trope. A child is often next, as was the case with Muhammad Almutaz Alzghool. What pit bull promoters don’t explain is, what will be the pathway to gaining this elusive understanding that will de-escalate dog attacks? What agency or government entity will be responsible for teaching people, especially children, how to read a dog’s mood? And how will it help people or pets who are not only NOT seeking interaction with a dog but are being actively pursued by some random loose dog? It’s really just another form of “soft” victim-blaming – shifting the focus to the dog bite victim instead of lobbing criticism where it belongs. Opponents of Ontario’s BSL were hard at work pushing out theories that Blu had not sufficiently “de-compressed” after being in the Vaughan Animal Shelter for several weeks. As if that were an excuse – no one would be safe adopting ANY dog from a shelter if they consistently attacked people within days after leaving.  And if the dog was “not himself” after his stint at VAS, why wasn’t he just kept at home?  I wonder if Blu was “not himself” after having his ears cropped? Pit bulls are frequently described as dogs that “didn’t have enough training” whenever someone is attacked.  What I consistently hear is that pit bulls not only require special training, but singular accommodation and consideration in order that they behave like practically every other dog that is well-integrated into society and doesn’t pose a serious risk to people and other animals. 

Vaughan Animal Services. Hacktivists became complicit in a boy’s dog bite, only 4 days before this “pocket pit bull” attacked him. I’m sure Muhammad and his family are relieved that this bite was inflicted by a “pocket pit bull” rather than a full-sized pit bull.

The reality is that training can only minimally influence many of the natural breed traits in a dog. So, I usually ignore excuses from people who don’t take genetics into consideration when discussing behaviour and aggression. In an owner assessment of 14,000 dogs, researchers from four American universities observed that for traits such as chasing and aggression, DNA accounts for approximately 60 to 70 per cent of variability between breeds. Most honest dog trainers didn’t need this study to tell them that the pit bull is not only more aggressive, but inflicts greater damage in assaults than other breeds, but as well because of its distinctive, well-documented “kill bite,” which can quickly rend flesh to the bone.

“(A)bout 25 years ago, my colleagues and I started to see disturbingly different types of injuries,” wrote Dr. David Billmore, professor and director of the Division of Craniofacial and Pediatric Plastic Surgery at Cincinnati’s Hospital Medical Center.  “Instead of a warning bite, we saw wounds where the flesh was torn from the victim. There were multiple bite wounds covering many different anatomical sites. The attacks were generally unprovoked, persistent and often involved more than one dog. In every instance the dog involved was a pit bull or a pit-bull mix.”

A dog trainer who “gets it:”

“90% of aggressive dogs are genetically aggressive. There’s a huge misconception that aggressive dogs were mistreated which made them that way. I find that statement to be absolutely false with very few exceptions. The sweetest dog in the world can’t be taught to be aggressive. In fact dog fighters always look for the naturally aggressive dogs because it increases their chances of a successful fighter. Dogs were wolves and have the same aggressive tendencies as them. The dominant male wolves are highly protective of food, females and territory; the three main elements of survival. If you look at it from a numbers standpoint from a litter, it’s basically no different with wolves or domestic dogs. Many litters come with one dominant personality, typically being male. Keep in mind this is very important in a wolf pack because the dominant males are the protectors and lead hunters in the pack. Without these aggressive personalities the wolf pack wouldn’t be as successful. This trait often trickles down into domestic dogs. These dogs are born with aggression but you won’t see it till they hit the adolescent period (around 9 months). Puppies are almost always sweet and get along with everything. But when they hit the adolescent stage things change drastically. 9 times out of 10 when someone comes to me with an aggressive dog the first question I ask them is when did they start noticing the problem. Overwhelmingly most people tell me it started when the dog hit around a year old. I tell them it’s nothing they did wrong, it was in your dog’s genetics. So the big question is how do you fix it? I find most aggression can’t be fixed, just managed. This means making executive decisions. If I know I have an aggressive dog the last thing I want to do is take it to a dog park. It’s risky and not worth the risk. My Chihuahua Lulu is very aggressive with children. For years I tried to acclimate her to kids with little success. When kids come over I simply put her away. It’s an executive decision that to date has gotten no children bitten. Knowing your dog’s personality traits and being realistic with the situation I feel is the most important element of understanding your animal.” Brandon McMillan (3 x Emmy® Winning Television Host, Animal Trainer)

Pit bull phenotypes are a direct result of breeding terriers with bulldogs for their “gameness” characteristic – biting and not releasing like most breeds, and ignoring their own pain when victims try to stop attacks by force. Pit bulls in general, don’t tend to submit to other dogs, they ignore submissive signals, and are therefore are less likely to respond to a submissive animal, including a person. Pit bull owners consistently deny the logic of BSL and are often clouded by their personal feelings. Many keep their dogs under the radar in areas with BSL, but lifting a breed ban turns the radar off. More dogs will run at-large and people start dropping their guard. Only after an attack do they receive legal scrutiny and this will be half-hearted due to the same breed advocates who pushed to lift BSL. Whenever they are reminded that they advocated to “punish the deed,” they find excuses to do anything but.

Without BSL, victims of pit bull attacks must dig into their own pockets to seek legal remedies that they must initiate themselves, while the offending dogs are housed at taxpayers’ expense for months and even years. The province and taxpayers must absorb the cost of treatment for dog injuries, and the victims suffer pain and disfigurement that could otherwise be avoided in many cases. Ontario would no longer have this proactive public safety law – someone has to suffer before action is taken and the harm is already done. Reactive law waits for the creation of a victim instead of preventing one.

Private Members Bills over many years have consistently failed to remove Ontario’s BSL. No one can or will put forth a proposal to “ban bad owners” because no test exists for “responsible dog ownership” and no one knows who the “bad owners” are until their dog attacks someone or another animal.

This Sounds Familiar….Lame Mare Sent to Slaughter From Rimbey Auction

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Written by: Heather Clemenceau

A desperately lame mare was offered for sale at the Rimbey Livestock Auction Mart in Alberta, on June 16th. Video of the mare taken at the auction showed that she could not bear weight comfortably on her forefeet, and still images showed her standing in the classic laminitic stance, and lying down while other horses in the same pen were standing. This was a 13 year old pasture mate, weighing 1,070 lbs, who was described in the owner statement in the FOIA as “arthritic but not diagnosed by a veterinarian,” having suffered some kind of injury at the age of 5.

The mare was sold to a kill buyer and subsequently to Bouvry Exports, after potential rescuers were out-bid at the auction. As video evidence taken at the auction showed that the horse was barely ambulatory, the horse should not have been loaded on a trailer, yet, the mare had been loaded up for the (highly impractical and unnecessary) 4 hour journey to Rimbey and was ultimately slaughtered at Bouvry for the non-EU market on or about July 19, 2021, after being in transit for 3.5 more hours.

From The National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC) Equine Code of Practice:

8.1.1 Fitness for Transport

“Horse owners and persons transporting horses have a primary responsibility for determining if an animal is fit for the expected duration of the trip. While the driver should not be relied upon to determine whether the horse is fit for transport, they have the right and responsibility to refuse to load a horse that they recognize as unfit.

Do not load horses with a reduced capacity to withstand transportation. These animals may show signs of infirmity, illness or injury (31). Never transport a horse unless you are sure it is healthy enough to withstand the stress of the entire expected trip (including intermediate stops). Each case must be judged individually, and the welfare of the horse must be the first consideration. If you are not sure whether a horse is fit for the trip, do not transport – contact a veterinarian.

When animals are unfit for transport, you must provide treatment until the animal is fit for the trip or not transport the animal, and, if necessary, euthanize the animal. Per the Health of Animals Regulations, it is illegal to load or unload a non-ambulatory animal unless the animal is being transported with special provisions for veterinary treatment or diagnosis, upon the recommendation of a veterinarian.”

The National Farm Animal Care Council is comprised of stakeholders primarily made up of farmers and veterinarians. What the NFACC has published are merely “guidelines,” which do not have the force of law behind them, as opposed to regulations, which are directly enforceable. So of course, sellers, auctions, kill buyers, and slaughterhouses thrive in the ambiguity of the language and lack of force in the guidelines.

CFIA Response to Growing Public Discontent

The FOIA response from the CFIA revealed that they received many messages of concern (friends might recognize their own message included in the PDF below). So the the Red Deer district office put on their CSI goggles and went to the auction house and contacted the mare’s owner (the EID is included in the FOIA documentation). The inspector’s report of July 22nd specifically made mention of the owner being asked whether the mare was administered any bute or banamine as a result of being “arthritic.”

It’s also revealing that while the owner admitted the horse was “arthritic,” and had a “slight limp” while getting off the trailer, the Rimbey auction response to the CFIA was that the mare was not lame when she came off the trailer, nor was she lame when she went through the auction (??!?) but because they placed her on a concrete pad over the weekend while the pens were being cleaned. Does anyone else think that the “concrete pad” is a convenient excuse for explaining acute lameness away to dismiss any future complaints about horses that can barely stand? And if concrete pads make horses stiff or lame, why put them there? It seems inconceivable after watching the video that this horse could be “offloaded at Bouvry with no apparent problems.” Has any animal ever been deemed too lame to ship by an auction mart or kill buyer? 

Where this investigation falls down, as it usually does, is in the lack of accountability for transport by everyone involved, and drug testing of the remains of this poor suffering animal. The auction house claimed that the SPCA was also involved; any action taken by them (highly doubtful) is not included for our review. And as always, the CFIA seems to leave any testing up to the discretion of the slaughterhouse.

It’s my own opinion that it’s heartless and generally illegal to deny an animal pain-relieving medication,  especially when a veterinarian or farrier indicates that it is in pain. I can’t decide which is worse – denying an animal medication because it might affect the ability to wring those last few dollars off of it, or “buting” it and sending it to slaughter anyway.  This particular owner confirmed to the CFIA that they did not administer bute to lessen this mare’s pain and did not seek veterinary opinion.

When an animal is in this much discomfort, he or she is now on its own timeline, not ours. We can’t choose to euthanize it or otherwise end its life on our schedule. If your animal is diagnosed by a veterinarian as non-viable/in pain/unrecoverable injury, it is now our responsibility to humanely euthanize him or her to avoid further suffering. Auctions are merely dumping grounds used by many miserly, unfeeling owners.

“The pound of flesh which I demand of him Is deerely bought, ’tis mine, and I will have it. I am sorry for thee: thou art come to answer
A stony adversary, an inhuman wretch
uncapable of pity, void and empty
From any dram of mercy.”

Read the FOIA Documentation:

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Short Hills Hunt Makes Mockery of Social Sacrifices By Others

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

(Please note that this blog includes graphic images)

Doe teats tacked onto a tree, for reasons known only to the hunters.

Now, more than ever, the Short Hills Hunting Protocol is revealed as a useless, non-binding document whereby neither party to the protocol have  the means nor the will to adhere to or enforce it. It makes no effort to address the current COVID pandemic as do other government health advisories for hunters. Restaurants in Niagara had previously required ID to prove that patrons were local, but anyone can attend this hunt without concern for coronavirus restrictions.  Occupants of parked cars mingled freely with each other, while the Six Nations have declared an outbreak crisis after an upsurge of cases

The Quebec government, published a guideline specifically to be used by hunters during the pandemic:

  • Follow physical distancing measures by keeping a two-metre distance with people who do not live at the same address as you;
  • Favour practicing your activity close to your main residence or in your administrative region;
  • Travel with people living at the same address as you. Otherwise, plan on using more than one vehicle (car, ATV, etc.);

The Government of Canada also created a risk-mitigation tool that addresses outdoor activities, including hunting:

If there is known COVID-19 activity in the community, the likelihood that it could be introduced into an outdoor space or recreational activity is higher. The risk of COVID-19 introduction and spread is also presumed to be greater if a higher proportion of individuals visiting the outdoor spaces or participating in the activity comes from outside of the community.”

In previous hunts, cars from out-of-province have been observed, and the staff of Ontario Parks who host the hunt also drive in from outside of the area. The hunters own published videos show that inside the hunt zone they don’t bother to observe reasonable social distancing precautions.  Hunting in Short Hills is possibly the only place hunting occurs without any references to precautionary principles in the time of COVID.

Every year dead or dying animals are found on or close to property lines, whether private homes or the Scout camp.  A study conducted by the Oklahoma Fish and Wildlife Agencies  found that approximately 50% of deer that were shot were never recovered. Some deer survived for up to 5–7 days before succumbing to their wounds. The protocol doesn’t address the issue that hunters are therefore often shooting towards a boundary (as evidenced by the number of animals found on or near property lines). Homeowners were forced to confront the gruesome remains of this doe, who was partially consumed by coyotes after a botched kill shot (doe evidently shot while fleeing).

After each hunt, the users of the park inevitably discover sickening blood trails and guts left near or on main trails. Perhaps the hunters would like to reposition this bio-mess to an area off the main trails? Leaving a gut pile in close proximity to a multi-use public trail is not the least bit respectful to other users but is hardly surprising. There is a culture of intolerance in the hunting community in general towards others user of wildlife areas and this is a prime example. It IS distressing that this is left in an area with high foot/recreational traffic and it attracts predators to the area where people are often walking with dogs. You can argue that scavengers will clean it up quickly, but that offers no protection to anyone walking their dog who happens to end up in the wrong place at the wrong time – it is currently coyote breeding season.  People also don’t want to drag their dogs out of the gut pile. This is no different than leaving garbage behind in the park.  Short Hills is a park and not an area set aside for hunting.  Biking, walking, and skiing (and not hunting) are why the park exists!

One of the gut piles revealed disturbing remnants of the kill, left for the casual park user to discover at their leisure.  The two fetuses discarded in the snow are evidence that the deer have good availability of food resources, that there have been good weather conditions for plant growth, and they are likely in better-than-average body condition.  Reproduction rates are linked to the plane of nutrition (defined as the quantity and quality of food intake).  Because of the high metabolic cost of pregnancy, it is reasonable to expect females with larger body size (i.e., more fat) to be better suited to tolerate body fat loss, and thus produce multiple fetuses per pregnancy, thereby going a long way towards refuting the oft-claimed opinion that the deer feeding requirements have eclipsed the ability of the park to provide. 

Mature evergreens are also being heavily damaged for the purpose of creating hunt blinds. Ontario Trails has rules for a minimal impact approach – because this is a park and not a raw forest.  At least one hunt in Ottawa Hills (Ohio) that was otherwise not opposed by nearby residents, was ended in part due to the forest damage caused by the hunters. 

Within one hour of the commencement of the hunt on November 3rd, a hunter was observed moving through the Hydro corridor in the area of several private properties. Ontario Parks staff attended and removed him.  Hunt blinds are also being set up outside the hunt zone.  The difference between poaching and hunting is one of permission. 

Hunting accidents occur between hunters all the time. Add any park visitors who aren’t hunters, and you have a recipe for disaster. Two non-hunters (one with a dog) were able to gain access to the park during an active hunt despite assurances in The Protocol that the entry points would be virtually impregnable due to the vigilance of MERC and the MNRF. Was the hunt stopped under the circumstances? Nobody can/will say.

Opening the parks to hunting is unnecessary, unsafe, and introduces whole new layers of bureaucracy and expense. Leave the parks alone so that they can function as they were intended: to preserve the land and wildlife for future generations to enjoy.

The protocol for the 2020/2021 hunt makes absolutely no mention of coronavirus precautions, even though the Government of Canada published a risk mitigation tool for outdoor spaces.

Click to access short-hills-harvest-protocol-2020.pdf

Bill 156 – Nothing Strengthens Authority As Much As Silence

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Artwork in support of Animals in the Anthropocene, by We Animals Media, Jo-Anne McArthur, and Keith Wilson.

There’s no doubt that, in the defence of animal agriculture, Canadian legislators and politicians are becoming more and more oppressive. They’d have us live in a place where we all wear blindfolds. Bill 156 has outlawed picketing, protests, and any watering of animals that interacts with animal transport. It has empowered farmers to arrest anyone on their premises, using a degree of force that is vague and undefined. To that end, Bill 156 is designed, in part, to make sure nobody will be acquitted under the “thirsty pig defence” in future.

Whistleblowers make disclosures that are in the public interest. They should be applauded, not punished.  Thank you to everyone who has put their life on the line in the defence of animals.  

Please know what MPPs voted for this legislation. Their emails and party affiliation are included.  Most “aye” votes were registered by the PC Party, while most “nayes” were recorded by the NDP.

“Having unannounced inspections and external monitoring on large commercial farms would seem to be the right way forward to increase safety and public confidence – and that is the legislation that should be pushed forward.”  ~ Jan Hajek is an infectious diseases doctor, who has worked in Ontario for SARS, in Newfoundland in 2009 for H1N1, in Sierra Leone for Ebola, and is now working on the COVID-19 ward at Vancouver General Hospital.

 

 

AYES / POUR – 68 (65 PC/3 Liberal)

Anand – Mississauga—Malton – deepak.anand@pc.ola.org

Baber – York Centre – roman.baber@pc.ola.org

Babikian – ScarboroughAgincourt – aris.babikian@pc.ola.org

Bailey – Sarnia—Lambton – bob.bailey@pc.ola.org

Barrett – Haldimand—Norfolk – toby.barrett@pc.ola.org

Bethlenfalvy -Pickering—Uxbridge – peter.bethlenfalvy@pc.ola.org

Blais – Orléans – sblais.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Bouma – Brantford—Brant – will.bouma@pc.ola.org

Calandra – Markham—Stouffville – paul.calandra@pc.ola.org

Cho – Willowdale – stan.cho@pc.ola.org

Clark – Leeds—Grenville—Thousand Islands and Rideau Lakes – steve.clark@pc.ola.org

Coe – Whitby – lorne.coe@pc.ola.org

Crawford – Oakville – stephen.crawford@pc.ola.org

Cuzzeto – Mississauga—Lakeshore – rudy.cuzzetto@pc.ola.org

Downey – Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte – doug.downey@pc.ola.org

Dunlop – Simcoe North – jill.dunlop@pc.ola.org

Elliott– Newmarket—Aurora – christine.elliott@pc.ola.org

Fedeli – Nipissing – vic.fedeli@pc.ola.org

Fee – Kitchener South—Hespeler – amy.fee@pc.ola.org

Fraser – Ottawa South – Jfraser.mpp.co@liberal.ola.org

Fullerton – Kanata—Carleton – merrilee.fullerton@pc.ola.org

Ghamari – Carleton – goldie.ghamari@pc.ola.org

Gill – Milton – parm.gill@pc.ola.org

Harris – Kitchener—Conestoga – mike.harris@pc.ola.org

Hogarth – Etobicoke—Lakeshore – christine.hogarth@pc.ola.org

Jones – Dufferin—Caledon – sylvia.jones@pc.ola.org

Karahalios – Cambridge – belinda.karahalios@pc.ola.org

Ke – Don Valley North – vincent.ke@pc.ola.org

Khanjin – Barrie—Innisfil – andrea.khanjin@pc.ola.org

Kramp – Hastings—Lennox and Addington – daryl.kramp@pc.ola.org

Kusendova – Mississauga Centre – natalia.kusendova@pc.ola.org

MacLeod – Nepean – Lisa.macleodco@pc.ola.org

Martin – Eglinton—Lawrence – robin.martin@pc.ola.org

Martow – Thornhill – gila.martow@pc.ola.org

McDonell – Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry – jim.mcdonell@pc.ola.org

McKenna – Burlington – jane.mckenna@pc.ola.org

McNaughton – Lambton—Kent—Middlesex – monte.mcnaughtonco@pc.ola.org

Miller –  Parry Sound—Muskoka – norm.miller@pc.ola.org

Mitas – Scarborough Centre – christina.mitas@pc.ola.org

Mulroney – York—Simcoe – caroline.mulroney@pc.ola.org

Nicholls – Chatham-Kent—Leamington – rick.nicholls@pc.ola.org

Oosterhoff – Niagara West – sam.oosterhoff@pc.ola.org

Pang – Markham—Unionville – billy.pang@pc.ola.org

Park – Durham – lindsey.park@pc.ola.org

Parsa – Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill – michael.parsaco@pc.ola.org

Pettapiece – Perth—Wellington – randy.pettapiece@pc.ola.org

Phillips – Ajax – rod.phillips@pc.ola.org

Piccini – Northumberland—Peterborough South – david.piccini@pc.ola.org

Rasheed – Mississauga East—Cooksville – kaleed.rasheed@pc.ola.org

Roberts – Ottawa West—Nepean – jeremy.roberts@pc.ola.org

Romano – Sault Ste. Marie – ross.romano@pc.ola.org

Sabawy – Mississauga—Erin Mills – sheref.sabawy@pc.ola.org

Sandhu – Brampton West – amarjot.sandhu@pc.ola.org

Scott – Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock – laurie.scott@pc.ola.org

Simard – Glengarry—Prescott—Russell – asimard.mpp@liberal.ola.org

Skelly – Flamborough—Glanbrook – donna.skelly@pc.ola.org

Smith  – Bay of Quinte – todd.smithco@pc.ola.org

Smith – Peterborough—Kawartha – dave.smith@pc.ola.org

Surma – Etobicoke Centre – kinga.surma@pc.ola.org

Tangri – Mississauga—Streetsville – nina.tangri@pc.ola.org

Thanigasalam – Scarborough—Rouge Park – vijay.thanigasalam@pc.ola.org

Thompson – Huron—Bruce – lisa.thompson@pc.ola.org

Tibollo – Vaughan—Woodbridge – michael.tibollo@pc.ola.org

Triantafilopoulos – Oakville North—Burlington – effie.triantafilopoulos@pc.ola.org

Wai – Richmond Hill – daisy.wai@pc.ola.org

Walker – Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound – bill.walker@pc.ola.org

Yakabuski – Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke – john.yakabuski@pc.ola.org

Yurek – Elgin—Middlesex—London – jeff.yurek@pc.ola.org

 

NAYS / CONTRE – 22 (21 NDP/1 PC)

Arthur – Kingston and the Islands – IArthur-QP@ndp.on.ca

Begum – Scarborough Southwest – DBegum-QP@ndp.on.ca

Bell – University—Rosedale – JBell-QP@ndp.on.ca

Berns-McGown – Beaches—East York – RBerns-McGown-QP@ndp.on.ca

Bisson – Timmons – gbisson@ndp.on.ca

Bourgouin – Mushkegowuk—James Bay – GBourgouin-QP@ndp.on.ca

Fife – Waterloo – cfife-qp@ndp.on.ca

Glover – Spadina—Fort York – CGlover-CO@ndp.on.ca

Hassan – York South—Weston – FHassan-QP@ndp.on.ca

Hatfield – Windsor—Tecumseh – PHatfield-QP@ndp.on.ca

Horwath – Hamilton Centre – horwatha-qp@ndp.on.ca

Karpoche – Parkdale—High Park – BKarpoche-QP@ndp.on.ca

Kernaghan – London North Centre – TKernaghan-QP@ndp.on.ca

Mantha – Algoma—Manitoulin – mmantha-qp@ndp.on.ca

Rakocevic – Humber River—Black Creek – TRakocevic-QP@ndp.on.ca

Schreiner – Guelph – Mschreiner@ola.org

Stevens – St. Catharines – JStevens-QP@ndp.on.ca

Stiles – Davenport – MStiles-QP@ndp.on.ca

Taylor – Hamilton Mountain – mtaylor-qp@ndp.on.ca

Vanthof – Timiskaming—Cochrane – jvanthof-qp@ndp.on.ca

West – Sudbury – JWest-QP@ndp.on.ca

Yarde – Brampton North – KYarde-QP@ndp.on.ca

 

Richelieu Slaughterhouse – Breaking Bad Again!

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

How often do you hear or see an ad that leaves you questioning the claims being made? Anyone who knows me knows that both online and IRL, I am a “super-complainer.” You really have no choice anymore, because “fake news” permeates literally every subject.

A few months ago I visited the Richelieu horse slaughterhouse website as I am wont to do every few months,  just to see what nonsense they are purporting.  There’s usually always something that can be used to launch an official complaint, and they didn’t disappoint.  Claims about horsemeat for pregnant women and for those prone to infection really drew my ire.  It’s not very smart to put out information that is so easily discredited. But nobody said horse killers are smart.

It took complaints to Ad Standards, Health Canada, and finally the CFIA (who acted upon the complaint) to do something about it.  The CFIA didn’t say exactly what they did or what they counselled Richelieu to remove or stop posting on their website, but I was very pleased that they looked at my materials and saw that the horse killers were using language that amounted to a murky sea of nutritional “advice.”

Our community of anti-slaughter advocates is strong and engaged! If you see questionable or false claims being made about the quality or nutritional value of horsemeat or indeed any animal product, please contact:

Ad Standards

The CFIA

Health Canada

Competition Bureau of Canada

READ THE CFIA Letter 

New Studies Confirm – Kitty Is A Predator Who Is On A Lifetime Atkins Diet

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Cats have evolved into a highly specialized hunter, who has been more lightly impacted by domestication relative to dogs.  As an obligate carnivore, they rely on their prey to supply most of their nutritional needs as they lack sufficient enzymes to synthesize their metabolic requirements. Cats are designed to extract their nutrients from meat, not from plants, and any nutritional deficiencies that may result from an inadequate diet often take months or years to manifest themselves, by which time a disease condition may be irreversible. This is why it’s important for cat owners to mimic the high-protein, low-carb diet cats would source for themselves (rather like the high protein,low-carb diet developed by cardiologist Dr. Atkins).

Cats – Evolutionarily Positioned To Eat Meat

What evidence do we have that cats are strictly meat eaters?  Cats are obvious hunters – they have high visual acuity and an acute sense of hearing.  Like all predator species, their ears and eyes face forward to detect prey.  Their claws are normally retracted while stalking, to mask their movements as much as possible. Cats teeth are ideal for immobilizing the spinal column of the small prey animals they would typically hunt in the wild, and their small stomachs are adapted for smaller meals, approximately the size of mice. They also prefer their food at roughly the same temperature as that of freshly killed prey.  Feeding behaviours evolved in cats include searching for food during both day and night, which corresponds with the activity of their traditional prey animals.

A wild or feral cat WILL eat some plant matter in the G.I. tract of smaller animals they kill and swallow mostly intact.  If they catch larger prey, like baby rabbits, they would likely not eat the grassy stomach contents.  The plant material in the guts of prey animals is a very small amount of their food intake and in any case, these plant materials are very different from the metabolically high-glycemic carbs offered in vegan cat food.

What It Means To Be An “Obligate Carnivore”

All protein is made from only 21 different amino acids. Cats are able to synthesize only 12 amino acids, so there are 9 amino acids that must be obtained directly directly from their diet. In the case of vegetarian and vegan diets, the amino acids, vitamins and minerals must be heavily supplemented, and thus come from synthetic or lab-created sources (because otherwise most would not be vegan). This is not ideal, since the food must be more highly processed than foods that naturally contain these amino acid requirements.  While dogs have evolved (thanks to living closely with humans for 10,000+ years) the ability to eat a more starchy diet comprised of about 30% from protein, cats require that their diet consist of about 52% from protein.  This requirement is similar to that of wild exotic cats.

A meat-based diet supplies abundant taurine; cereals and grains supply only marginal or inadequate levels of taurine for cats. Therefore, diets based on these types of protein sources will need supplementation. Three disease states have been identified related strictly to taurine deficiency; feline central retinal degeneration, reproductive failure and impaired fetal development and feline dilated cardiomyopathy. Clinical signs of taurine deficiency occur only after prolonged periods of depletion (from 5 months to 2 years).

Cats do not possess salivary amylase, which begins digestion of carbohydrates and starches in the mouth while chewing.  If they are forced to consume carbohydrates this places the burden on their pancreas, which can only produce amylase comparable to about 5% of that of dogs. Cats have very low liver glucokinase activity and therefore limited ability to metabolize carbs by this route either.

The cat is unable to convert beta-carotene to vitamin A due to a lack of intestinal enzymes necessary for the conversion, and therefore cats requires a dietary source of vitamin A. Because vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin and is stored in the liver, any deficiencies are slow to develop, and are only seen in cats with severe liver failure. Cats also lack sufficient enzymes to meet the metabolic requirements for vitamin D photosynthesis in the skin; therefore they require a dietary source of vitamin D. Cats need increased amounts of many dietary water-soluble B vitamins, including thiamin, niacin, and other B vitamins.  The requirement for niacin and pyridoxine is four times higher than that for dogs.

Sweet Taste Receptors

Taste receptors reflect a species’ food choices.  Cats are missing the genes that code for part of the “sweet” taste receptors that recognize carbohydrates. This explains the indifference that domestic cats and their wild relatives lions and tigers, etc. show towards sweet foods. And it may also explain why they have evolved into such accomplished hunters. It makes sense that their taste preferences evolved to ensure they consume an appropriate source of the right calories and that they avoid unsuitable foods.

Nutritional Inadequacies in Vegan Cat Foods

When I first began blogging about vegan cat diets, there was a dearth of information about the long-term effects of carb diets for cats. But now, studies are being carried out as vegan diets increase in popularity. A study published in January 2020 tested several vegan pet foods for dogs and cats available in the Brazilian marketplace, for the purposes of evaluating the macronutrient composition, fatty acid and amino acid profiles, and essential mineral content. The results were then compared with FEDIAF (2019) and AAFCO (2019) recommendations.

“The cat food presented potassium content lower than recommended. The Ca:P ratio did not meet the minimum recommendation of FEDIAF (2019) and AAFCO (2019) in any of the dog’s foods analyzed, and the cat food also did not present the minimum recommendation based on FEDIAF (2019). Copper concentrations exceeded the legal limit in all foods. Zinc concentrations exceeded this limit in two foods (one for dogs and one for cats). the cat food did not meet the minimum recommendation for arginine. In addition, when the amount of nutrients consumed by animals with low energy requirements was simulated, in addition to the same non-conformities described above, it was observed that the cat food does not meet the minimum recommended of protein and taurine in unit/Kg0.67. therefore, these foods should not be recommended for dogs and cats, because dietary deficiencies found may lead to health risks for dogs and cats. Furthermore, manufacturers should review their formulations to ensure the nutritional adequacy of these foods.”

And Some Vegan Cat Foods Are Not Truly Vegan At All….

This 2016 study found that half of the vegan dog and cat foods tested (7/14) were positive for the undeclared DNA of cows, pigs,  and sheep.  Not only should this raise concern for vegans who believe they are feeding an entirely vegan diet, it tells us that food manufacturers have issues with quality control and adherence to diet profiles.  And this was not a one-off occurrence either – the tests were repeated some months apart and the same observations about unintentional adulteration were found.

So the lessons learned here are that vegan or supposedly vegan cat foods are a somewhat of a wildcard – food processing lacks control and food manufacturers evidently do not review their own products for compliance with recommendations for nutrition/protein.  Maybe cats are getting a subsistence level of nutrients from these not-vegan foods which is why more cats do not appear to be unhealthier, at least not initially.  But even so, it’s very doubtful that the cats can truly appreciate the carbohydrate-derived foods because they don’t have taste receptors for it.  To them, it might taste only marginally better than eating flavourless cardboard, which might be why Evolution Pet Food’s founder Eris Weisman advises that cats may need to be “starved” for a few days in order to appreciate his company’s food.  I hope that if you were considering giving your cat vegan foods that you at least read that statement and give it some serious reconsideration.

As a vegan, I can completely relate to the desire to minimize the environmental impacts of dog and cat food diets. While feeding a vegan diet to a carnivore is ethically consistent with animal rights philosophy, the specific physiological and behavioural requirements of cats mean that such long-term diets are really an uncontrolled experiment, with our cats as the test subjects.   Despite the dramatic anecdotal claims made by some proponents of these diets, there is STILL insufficient evidence showing a benefit (or lack of harm) in feeding vegan diets.

Smoke and Mirrors Campaigns Attempt To Demonize Short Hills Park Activists

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Please note that this blog contains graphic images

At one time an individual had to do something explicitly racist to be declared one. Now, anyone who chooses not to fall in line with prevailing “social justice” opinion about the Short Hills Park deer hunt can be smeared with this horrible epithet.  Agitators on Twitter and Facebook have attempted to silence the anti-hunt sentiment by doxxing posters, contacting their employers, sending threatening private messages, while simultaneously wasting the time and resources of the police by demanding that they investigate Facebook posts because they are tasteless, offensive, or demeaning.  While it is pretty clear when speech threatens violence to a specific person, it is less apparent that random offensive statements should be something the police should investigate.

In addition to amplified outbursts of hostility from “social justice warriors,” journalists and other media outlets now share increasingly diverse forms of disinformation with ease.  Additionally, there are few avenues to demand accountability, and there is a lack of skepticism about what is read and watched.  Inflammatory accusations about the anti-hunt demonstrators have long been deemed credible by people who have no first-hand knowledge of the hunts. It is therefore important to have a toolbox to evaluate claims independently.

The Freedom-Of-Information Requests Prove Police Conducted No Investigation Into Facebook Posters:

In response to several demeaning social media posts opposing the hunters, Grant LaFleche of the St. Catharines Standard wrote in November 2019 that:

“The Ontario Provincial Police are investigating racist and violent social media comments directed at Indigenous hunters in Niagara to determine if they break hate crime or other laws, The Standard has learned.

The OPP decided Wednesday to look into the Facebook comments posted on the page of the Niagara Action for Animals that directed racist slurs at hunters taking part in the annual deer hunt at Short Hills Provincial Park. Some of the comments also called for the deaths of the hunters, asking them to kill themselves, shoot each other or for them to be murdered.”

According to FOIA documents from both the OPP and the NRP, only one social media post was ever reviewed and it was dismissed straight-away as a non-issue.  These social media posts are not actionable – there are no credible, direct threats to any individual.  The OPP by their own admission, did not even open a case.  There was nothing to document.  Not even Facebook removed the posts (Niagara Action for Animals voluntarily removed them).

 

The Academic Paper that Accuses Police and Demonstrators of Assault (but fails to provide evidence):

In a paper titled “Fake Vegans,” Authors Legge and Taha make numerous claims about a Short Hills Park hunt and protest they observed, but without substantiation – namely that both police and protesters were assaulting the pro-hunt group.  When approached for a comment about this paper’s claims, St. Catharines Mayor Walter Sendzik’s office could not find any evidence of police harassment or assault. The Mayor’s office even stated that the Haudensaunee hunters and their supporters have a dedicated police liaison with which to discuss pertinent issues related to the Short Hills hunt.  Anti-hunt demonstrators are quite used to being accused of assaulting people by now, but I’m sure the police were very interested to learn that they had been accused, in an academic paper of all things, of assaulting protesters.  Where is the proof?  If it’s as you say in your paper – you directly observed it first-hand – why can you not provide evidence?

 

 

 

Response from the Mayor Sendzik’s office when asked by email whether the NRP were aware that they had been accused of assaulting the hunt supporters.

Sea Shepherd’s Opposition To Hunting As a Philosophical Stance Against Anthropocentrism:

Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, is frequently accused of racism since some of that group’s anti-whaling campaigns target ethnic groups in various countries.  He recently addressed the proposal by the Makah to resume whaling.

“Sea Shepherd opposes the killing of whales by anyone, anywhere, for any reason.

The Makah have a treaty with the United States that they say allows them to kill whales.

Elizabeth Warren has stated that she supports to resumption of whaling in the United States by the Makah. These whales do not belong to Elizabeth Warren nor do they belong to the United States or the Makah. The whales belong to the Cetacean Nations, they belong to themselves, independent of any claims by any hominid population.

Killing a self- aware, highly intelligent, socially complex sentient being, is murder.

Sea Shepherd’s position has never been anti-Makah, our position has been and always will be pro-life for all species of whales.

Sea Shepherd presently opposes illegal whaling by Norway, Japan, Iceland, Denmark, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in the United States We have never discriminated on the basis of nationality, race or culture.”

Now clearly there is an obligation to protect vulnerable populations of whales, while deer are not endangered animals.  The best available science, which is available to the Haudenosaunee as it is to everyone else, is that hunting only temporarily decreases deer population, leading to an increase within a year or two, due to the compensatory rebound effect. Watson’s objection to whaling (or for our purposes, deer hunting) is completely agnostic – it includes opposition to all forms of whaling, whether committed by commercial whalers or tribal interests.  Sea Shepherd has undertaken campaigns against the Soviet Union, Iceland, Norway, pirate whalers in Portugal and Spain, the Faroe Islands, Canadian seal hunters, as well as the Makah.  It is a fact that Watson consistently insults all groups partaking in whale hunting with equal opportunity, regardless of race or origin.  Antagonists that aim to demonize both Sea Shepherd and other animal activists must invent non-existent emotionally charged accusations of racism and hate crimes where in fact none exists.

Video Footage of the Barricade at the Pelham Rd. Entrance to Short Hills:

Variously we’ve heard that the “stalls” that happen at the entrance to the park are 20 minutes, 30 minutes, or even that they are some kind of permanent blockade, as part of an effort to have those opposed to the hunt undemocratically removed from the protest. The “Fake Vegans” paper also claims that the stalls occur anywhere from “5 to 15 minutes.” The best evidence that these claims are exaggerations for effect comes from the pro-hunting faction themselves.  Their own video evidence from 2015 shows that the stalls are barely even 5 minutes, and sometimes hunters’ vehicles aren’t stalled at all. The video does not support any claims of foul, demeaning, or racist taunts levied at the pro-hunting group either.

The video clearly provides that the stalls are 5 minutes or less, and the helpful narrators even acknowledge this throughout this 29 minute video:

6:12 mark – “It’s been 5 minutes.”

8:00 mark – Vehicle arrives – is waived through at the 11:30 mark

11:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at the 12:43 mark

13:00 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through at 14:11

14:30 mark – Vehicle arrives on camera – is waived through immediately

14:50 mark – Vehicles arrive 14:50 – are waived through at 16:50 mark

17:00 mark – Vehicle Arrives 17:00 – Helpful narrator announces at the 19:32 mark that “it’s been 5 minutes.” The vehicle waived through at 21:58

23:00 mark – Two trucks arrive simultaneously – they are waived through at 23:23.

23:40 mark – Truck arrives at 23:40 – It is waived through at the 24:20 mark on the video.

24:30 mark – Another truck arrives at 24:30 – it is waived through at the 27:40 mark.

 

As debunker Chris Hitchens’ famously wrote, “that which can be asserted without evidence, can be dismissed without evidence.”  With all the available smart phones recording every protest at Short Hills for 7+ years, why has no unequivocal and undeniable video evidence emerged of these alleged assaults? Several years’ worth of FOIA requests I ordered from the NRP and OPP have not revealed any assault charges levied against anyone.

We don’t own this rock. The choice is between endorsing suffering and death or opposing it – for all species. People have the freedom to object to the Short Hills deer hunt without being branded racists – hunting in the park is not an activity that’s traditionally been granted to ANYONE, therefore, no one is purporting that indigenous people should be denied an activity in which others are legally partaking. All concerns have been addressed not towards “who” is doing the hunting, but that it is occurring at all in a “No Hunt Park.” There is an urgent need to protect the integrity of the park; this cannot and does not always look like politeness.

Journalists are supposed to work in the service of truth.  Instead, they often promulgate disinformation. It’s unfortunate that some social media commenters chose to express themselves inappropriately and with poor impulse control, but these were deemed not criminally-actionable.  The hunt supports and media do not have any legitimate indictments against the anti-hunt demonstrators without hyper-partisan selection of “facts” at the expense of fairness. What their disinformation and doxxing campaigns seek is to impact agenda setting, muddy the informational waters, and intimidate critics of the hunt into silence.

 

 

The Meat You Eat in Canada May Have Been Produced By Torturing Horses

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Photo via Animal Welfare Foundation

Photo of horse with severely atrophied hind limb via Animal Welfare Foundation – https://www.pferderevue.at/aktuelles/sonstiges/2017/12/stutenblutfarmenstrafantraggegendeutschespharmaunternehmeneinger.html

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Many horse advocates were as horrified as I was to discover that live pregnant mares were being used as hosts for Pregnant Mare’s Serum Gonadotropin (PMSG), extracted on blood farms in Argentina and Uruguay. PMSG, which is used in Canada to stimulate oestrus in livestock, creates many strange bedfellows in the agricultural industry, spanning species, supply chains, and nations.  Horses are once again are being commoditized, this time by biopharmaceutical supply chains, and these raw resources are obscured in the final product – primarily pigs, but also sheep, and cattle, farmed deer and elk, and even captive fur-bearing animals. PMSG is a compound designed to produce hyper-fertility in livestock for profit.

Trade in Animal Blood Products Heightens Risk of Disease

According to the World Health Organization, products derived from the international trade in animal products amplify the risk of pathogenic, harmful, or even zoonotic (transferrable to humans from animals and vice versa) disease. PED (porcine epidemic diarrhea) is considered to be epidemic in the U.S. Porcine blood plasma which originated from 10 different countries is generally considered to be the culprit that brought PED to Canada in 2014, via animal feed. And we have apparently learned nothing from the 2003 BSE crisis that arose when cattle were back-fed ground meat and bone from cows infected with the prion disease (or sheep infected with scrapie).  When the infected meat is eaten, it can lead to Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease in humans – psychiatric symptoms, immobility and death follow months or years afterwards.

2019 Study Found Horse Blood Supplies May Be Contaminated with Equine-Parvovirus-Hepatitis

A new study published in May 2019 found that Equine-Parvovirus-Hepatitis (EqPV-H) viral genomes were found in commercial equine serum pools in the US, Canada, New Zealand, Italy, and

PMSG is sold in Canada by Partner Animal Health under the name “Novormon.” https://partnaranimalhealth.ca/pages/novormon

Germany,”suggesting a worldwide distribution,” and urged that requirements for diagnostic tests be implemented immediately to prevent transmission of the disease. Quite apart from the suffering inflicted on blood donor mares, it seems obvious that the international trade of animals and animal products is responsible for the spread of zoonoses and other infectious diseases, creating permanent threats, particularly in developing countries with their organizational weaknesses. The USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics has also proposed that all licensed equine blood products be tested for Equine-Parvovirus-Hepatitis.  Equine blood from Argentina and Uruguay is being used to produce PMSG in Canada it’s unknown whether manufacturers of PMSG test for this virus or to what extent. Testing is important also because blood serum is also used for other applications within the equine veterinary field.

This Animal Welfare Foundation / Tierschutzbund Zürich video reveals that mares farmed for their blood are beaten, many are starved, suffer from untreated injuries, lack of shelter, may suffer from anaemia or hypovolemic shock, endure systematic abortions, and often death.

 

 

The breeding of pigs, sheep, and cattle in Canada have their own welfare issues, which are being negatively affected by the increase in productivity caused by PMSG-derived hormone treatments.  Since this virus exists in established equine blood serum pools, it is suggestive that the practice of blood collection itself may be advancing the spread of the disease.  Many pathogens stay on the farm/ranch, remain in manure, contaminate transport routes and vehicles, as well as in soil and water. This creates risk factors not only for horses and other livestock, but for wildlife as well.  Further evidence, if any were needed, that the animal agricultural industry casts a larger footprint than previously imagined – it increases the frequency and duration of suffering in other species in addition to traditional “food” animals – in this case, horses.

These practices give us deceptively cheap food that comes at a high price.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is running an active petition with approximately 117,000 signatories  – the respondents – Partnar Animal Health in Canada, the Canadian Animal Health Institute, and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association remain utterly mute on this cruel practice.

This issue should be paramount to all of us, so please sign the petition and send a polite, fact-based email to the Canadian Animal Health Institute and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association to register your disapproval. Ask that synthetic analogs to PMSG be used to eliminate equine suffering in the PMSG industry (unfortunately, this will not end all suffering inflicted on other species via the industry standard of invoking hyper-fertility in other livestock).

Jean Szkotnicki, President, Canadian Animal Health Institute (CAHI), jszk@cahi-icsa.ca,

The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association https://www.canadianveterinarians.net/contact/default.aspx

Mr. Greg Shewfelt, President, Partnar Animal Health, greg@partnaranimalhealth.com