Monthly Archives: April 2012

La Palette Protest – April 27, 2012

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"La Palette",  protest,  toronto,  "Queen Street West" , "french restaurant", horse,  horsemeat

Some members of our group, relaxed and chatting prior to the shitstorm soon to follow.

Written by : Heather Clemenceau

(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)

On Friday, April 27th, I attended the protest rally in support of Canadian and American horses, held at La Palette restaurant in Queen West, where many conscience-driven protesters have maintained vigil for about two months now.

"La Palette" , "horse slaughter",  "animal cruelty"

While we love and enjoy horses, there are many irrefutable facts surrounding the inhumanity of their slaughter, and their status as a “non-food” animal.

La Palette, co-owned by bike-culture enthusiast Shamez Amlani, is one of the few holdouts in Toronto still serving horsemeat, other restaurants having capitulated long ago that horsemeat was at best, of “indeterminate origin,” and at worst, a chemical cocktail of cruelly-derived meat that by Shamez’ own description is “offensive to the English population.” Having encouraged other French restauranteurs to boycott American booze, Shamez now finds himself on the receiving end of this very effective form of expression, which now includes the Humane Society groups of Canada.

"Toronto Police,"  "Mounted Unit" "La Palette Protest,  horse,  horsemeat

We’re pretty sure this guy is pro-horse…..

While we’re unsure of La Palette’s customer demographics, Queen West itself is home to an eclectic mix of dodgy and/or unique retail shops, and the occasional art gallery and vintage clothes stores, primarily patronized by aging skinny-jeaned hipsters who have not quite retired from the 80s punk sub-culture scene. Most patrons tonight are sitting at the bar rather than eating, and appear to be made up of the local community rather than epicureans from old-world horse-eating countries.

"la Palette",  vegan,  protest,  horsemeat

Tonight we’re joined by vegan protesters….bringing our group headcount to about 15.

"la palette" horsmeat,  protest

Pro-Horse Supporter stops by and shows pics of horses he has rescued.

I’d been forewarned that tensions had flared recently. While Shamez and some staff members were primarily confined to making sarcastic remarks or occasional outbursts, the worst invective actually came from their customers, who had in the past tried to taunt the protesters with horsemeat or stories of their own animal cruelty. Peaceful protesters were taunted about their weight and appearance etc. and on the 27th, these taunts reached critical mass.

"La Palette" , horsemeat,  "Queen West" , confrontation

What starts as a heated discussion…….

The first 2 hours of a 3 hour planned protest (all protest-related paperwork is duly prepared by the organizers and forwarded to the proper authorities) were uneventful – protesters politely engaged various passersby who expressed a mix of curiosity, skepticism, and often outright endorsement of our cause. We’ve even attracted a few “groupies.” At the start of hour 3 the ad hominem attacks went positively nuclear when two regular patrons, not known for swimming in the sane side of the pool, left the restaurant, walked directly and purposefully towards a group of vegan supporters and uttered a loud “Fuck You.”

“On second thought, I wouldn’t fuck you, because you are un-fuckable.” “I would rather fuck your dog.” This declared by an aging, pot-bellied misogynist asshat known for making these drive-by slurs, to a young woman, who didn’t even engage him verbally. Hell no – like any of us would waste our womanly charms on this sleazeball – not even if we’re faced with a fucking apocalypse.  Anyway, while we’re accustomed to opposition or disagreement (which we handle with a quiet dignity), we stood by in astonishment while he continued his expletive-filled tirade, and his red-haired companion deciding to make her argument more emphatic by grasping a protester’s arm while arguing with her. And that folks, is an assault. In contrast, and with palpable coolness, the accosted protester did not react.

"La Palette",  CHDC,  "Canadian Horse Defence Coalition" ,  protesters,  Toronto,  "Queen Street West" ,

We Serve Horsemeat Steaks This Big……..

How far down the rabbit hole will we go tonight? Batten down the hatches folks, because it ain’t over yet – the shoutdowns now going nuclear, Shamez makes a dash outside just as the customers beat a hasty retreat (note to Shamez – you’d be proud, at least they left on foot and didn’t get into a gas-guzzling car). According to Shamez, the protesters have all increased his business three-fold via our “marketing efforts,” so he very theatrically pulls out his wallet and with a flourish, starts handing out money (one protester scores a $20) before he abruptly stops. Shamez, you had a $50 bill in that stash – where is the love?

provocateurs,  "La Palette",  horsemeat,  CHDC,  protest,  horse,

After a seriously misogynist rant, these provocateurs retreat on foot. Protesters are regularly harassed by this couple.

At times raising his fist close to a protester’s face, Shamez completely abandoned any past pretense of politeness; he attempted to shout down our $20 recipient, invaded his space, and made many of us fearful that he was about to either pop a blood vessel or pop the protester. I’m left wondering if his protest against American booze went down like this?

"La Palette" , horsemeat,  protest,  "Queen Street West,  "French Restaurant"

From here it’s all downhill….

"La Palette",  protest,  horsemeat,  CHDC,  "Canadian Horse Defence Coalition" , Toronto

Rock, Paper, Scissors…..

"La Palette" , protest,  horse,  horsemeat,  Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, CHDC,  "french cuisine"

Lines are being crossed and boundaries are being breached here…..for some unknown reason, the dude at left, a friend or associate of Amlani, finds some hilarity in the confrontation.

chdc,  "La Palette", "french cuisine" , toronto, horse, horsemeat,  protest,  CHDC

Cause for Concern

After we make it plain that the customer started the incident, Shamez broke down and apologized on behalf of his clientele – “that should not have happened.” Of course it shouldn’t, but he needs a better class of customer. In the interim, the rest of us will be committed to getting in our six-cylinder SUVs to drive down to La Palette instead of riding our environmentally low-impact equines – those same ones he would like to serve up with a side of oats and carrots, under the guise of “multiculturalism.” Which of course begs the question, since horsemeat is purported by Shamez to be an ethnic dish, is this something that the ethnically-diverse Toronto should embrace?

"La Palette"  ,  CHDC,  horsemeat,  protest,  horse

First He Argues, Then Shamez Apologizes for Customer’s Behaviour

Personally, I think this is a red-herring, because this is not what mutlculturalism means to me. While a lot of vegetarians, vegans, and horse lovers would not want to contemplate it, why not open a restaurant in any of the European countries that serve horse, because the vast majority of Canadians won’t eat it. Sure Shamez, we know your Canada includes Quebec, where horsemeat is popular in certain regions, but you’re not in Quebec.

cfia,  "La Palette" , horsemeat,  horse,  "Toronto french restaurant", foodies, "Canadian Food Inspection Agency"

The CFIA is Not Transparent About Testing Horsemeat

And please, let’s be honest about what multiculturalism is not – it is not a defense of ethnic narcissism – whereby some groups appear to hold the opinion that they possess exclusive identities that are superior to other cultures. Multiculturalism is NOT an apology for limiting human rights or excusing cruel practices to either humans or animals. Canadians have universally shown that we do not accept Sharia law in our country, nor do we tolerate practices brought to our country that promote oppression, sexual harassment, genital mutilation, or oppression of those who express their sexuality or orientation differently than the majority. There are many viewpoints imported into Canada which should be left in the “old country” as they only serve to reinforce popular prejudice.

While I’m not suggesting that eating horsemeat is on a par with these crimes, I am making a point about multiculturalism and incrementalism as it applies to food handling and consumption, and the practice of desensitizing people to the eating of unusual foods without regard for how they are raised, obtained, or killed.  Should Canadians be willing to accept the eating of dogs and cats in Canada,  merely because it is accepted practice in some other locales in the world?  Should we be afraid to critique the eating of Bear Paw soup because to do so  might subject us to cries of “racism?”  Witness the deluge of horsemeat-related opinion pieces coming out of the Toronto Sun (also noteworthy for it’s “Sunshine Girl” – another cultural anachronism). In the past few months we’ve observed numerous horsemeat articles by Toronto based newspapers, seemingly intent on softening up the market for horsemeat. Is it a mere coincidence that they are timed to coincide with the re-introduction of horsemeat to the La Palette menu? In my opinion, these articles have been published to attract attention. The authors of these opinion pieces have likely never spent a single day with a living horse, which is regrettable.

horses,  horsemeat,  "La Palette" , protest,  democracy.  "Occupy Toronto" , CFIA,  CHDC

Horses Deserve Respect – They Are Not Food Animals

If they had, they would perhaps “get” much of the message we have been getting out to the public – that not only is horsemeat cruelly derived, it is not safe to consume non-food animals who have received drugs not intended for food animals, despite what the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has asserted. That they do receive such drugs, not exclusive of Phenylbutazone (horse anti-inflammatory) is not in dispute. Claude Boissoneault, CFIA National Specialist, Red Meat Program, indicated to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) in October 2010 that in the past 5 years, 698 samples of equine meat was submitted for phenylbutazone testing. According to Agriculture Canada slaughter numbers, that is 0.18% of 385,339 horses slaughtered in 5 years – an abysmally weak cross section of testing. If the CFIA hasn’t had a single positive in eight years it doesn’t say much for the accuracy of their test. You can’t find a substance you’re not looking for.

On the other hand,  the EU is doing a better job finding Phenylbutazone in their horsemeat supplies,  a finding which is made all the more striking and relevant due to the “passporting” system in place in some EU countries.  The passport system is intended to keep horses that have been given non-permissable drugs out of the food chain entirely,  however as we can see from this link,  even that system doesn’t work  perfectly.  Not only has drug-tainted horsemeat entered the food chain in Europe,  it has been recalled long AFTER reaching consumers.  What do these incidents in the EU suggest to you about the horsemeat supply in Canada,  which uses the deeply-flawed EID document to “track” horses?

The writers of these articles may choose to consume meat that is not properly tested for safe consumption, but they are wrong to advise their readers to do the same, and the Toronto Sun and other papers should conduct better research. And of course, it goes without saying that we believe that Shamez is wrong to serve it.

"La Palette"  ,  horsemeat,  horse,  CHDC,  Toronto,  multiculturalism,  protest, "French Restaurant"

In Speaking with Onlookers, We Provide Factual Information

Disagreement on this subject matter is unavoidable. This post is not about where you live or what you prefer to eat. Incrementalists and foodie-freaks equate strong criticism of their ideas with the idea that such criticism is a move to stifle their rights to eat whatever they wish. But the majority of people polled in Canada are opposed to horse slaughter – that’s where La Palette chooses to serve its horsemeat. So we will be there, asserting our right to peaceful assembly, until such time that reason prevails and perpetual hypocrite Shamez Amlani realises that our position on horsemeat is not much different from his position on cars or American liquor. Except of course, when you consider that horses are sensitive, sentient animals who generally start their lives as private pets, carriage horses, performance horses, children’s ponies, and cowboy steeds. So why is he still serving this product to his clientele?

(All images copyright Heather Clemenceau – use with permission only)

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“Celebrity Chefs” and Jejune Gourmands Are a Sign of Cultural Decline

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"celebrity chef"

Gordon Ramsay thinks Britons should eat horsemeat.  Winners of his show “Hell’s Kitchen,”  virtually never receive their promised Head Chef position either!

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

I’m tired of reading about the vanity and cruelty of so-called “Celebrity Chefs.”

My disdain for these people initially began with an eposide of “Top Chef” whereby chefs were challenged to create an authentic french cuisine featuring horse meat.  Shows and articles on borderline bizarre culinary practices are part of a seemingly endless series that is truly the sign of a culture in decline. A culture whereby, under the guise of “multiculturalism,” bizarre and foreign food customs serve to desensitize us to the food we eat. A culture where there is no value to anything that we cannot compulsively eat and later shit out of our colon and into the toilet.

Anthony Bourdain - proof that the Zombie Apocalypse is real

Anthony Bourdain – in a completely un-retouched pic that proves that the Zombie Apocalypse is real

Of course, it’s critical to the jejune gourmand that he/she be able to eat not only in an elitist fashion that may be cruel, but one that he also cannot truly afford. These foodies and their priests, the “celebrity chefs,” rationalize consuming foods that must be acquired and slaughtered in the most brutal fashion, almost to a sadistic degree. Apparently greed and indifference to suffering are secondary values over the rightness of being able to gorge oneself. It truly leads one to beg the question, what is to be the next oral fixation?

Although I doubt any foodies reading this will be tangentially distracted by the concept of any suffering they might inflict, I’ll bring it up anyway, as it affects horses,  variously served on menus in Quebec and Toronto. Of course, horses in Canada and the US that end up on dinner tables in French restaurants are almost exclusively former racehorses, carriage horses, private pets, and children’s pets. Not raised for food and medicated accordingly by their former owners.

There have been many reported cases of animal welfare violations in Canadian horse slaughterhouses including failure to provide food and water, illegal unloading of animals, animals left for extended periods in kill pens and sick or injured animals denied veterinary care. Not surprisingly, veterinary experts around the world and leading animal protection groups have denounced horse slaughter as inhumane. Additionally, a CBC probe reveals that inspectors from CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) have typically not intervened when inhumane incidents have occurred, or a CFIA inspector was never present at the kill pen, despite government regulations that require a vet from the agency be present to oversee the slaughter process at the plant.

Nicholas H. Dodman, D.V.M., one of the world’s most noted and celebrated veterinary behaviourists, a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, and Tufts University School of

Mark McEwan and  Thea Andrews ot Top Chef notoriety

Mark McEwan and Thea Andrews of Top Chef notoriety.  Mark obliges us with his best bitch-face.

Veterinary Medicine professor, stated: “Noise, blood and suffering is what you get at the Bouvry equine slaughter plant: Horses kicking after they have been shot, sinking down and rising up; sometimes periods of struggling or paddling before a second or third shot has to be administered. This atrocity goes against all veterinary guidelines for humane euthanasia. Terror and suffering is the rule at this equine house of horrors … and all in the name of the gourmet meat market.”

Now let me say that if you personally find any of this acceptable then you deserve to be ground up and served as the next main ingredient on Top Chef.

Once we conduct ourselves as if we have the right to inflict unnecessary suffering, we have destroyed the very basis of human society. But Francis Bacon said it better than I ever could:

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver’s food prep has also been called into question…

“Nature has endowed man with a noble and excellent principle of compassion, which extends itself also to the dumb animals—whence this compassion has some resemblance to that of a prince toward his subjects. And it is certain that the noble souls are the most extensively compassionate, for narrow and degenerate minds think that compassion belongs not to them; but a great soul, the noblest part of creation, is ever compassionate.”

The Top Chef episode featuring horse meat in an authentic french presentation is what started it all for moi.

The Top Chef episode featuring horse meat in an authentic french presentation is what started it all for moi. (click to follow-through to the original poll)