Monthly Archives: July 2012

“Orange” You Glad To See More Calgary Billboard Pics?

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Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

Despite the fact that the colour orange is associated with the NDP party in Canada,  horse slaughter is a non-partisan issue with national importance.  Yes,  many of us have an “Orange” crush on Alex Atamanenko – here’s his blog post summarizing his position on horse slaughter in Canada:

NDP – Atamanenko Rallies Crowd at Calgary ‘Stop Slaughtering Us’ Billboard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2012

BC MP wants predatory horse meat business shut down

Calgary, AB – Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC Southern Interior), along with expert horse advocates, addressed a crowd today at the anti-horse slaughter billboard recently erected on Barlow Street SE with sponsorship from the US based Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue (AAHHR).

According to the BC MP, all kinds of horses that are raised and medicated for every purpose other than the food supply are bought up at random by kill-buyers at auctions throughout Canada and the United States.  Since horse slaughter is prohibited in the US, they are transported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses and their meat then sold for human consumption to European and domestic markets.

Atamanenko has championed the cause with his private members bill C-322, which has brought about the introduction of thousands of petitions in the House of Commons calling for an end to the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

“It seems very clear that the horsemeat industry has been exempted from the same production standards required for beef and other food animals,” noted Atamanenko.  “Cattle farmers especially would be right to start questioning such an obvious double standard.”

“Phenylbutazone, a drug commonly prescribed to horses, is not permitted to enter the food chain as it has been associated with serious health issues in humans,” advises Dr. Sandie G. Hucal, a medical doctor who provides sanctuary for equines.  “But with horses entering the slaughter pipeline from many different sources, there is no guarantee that all horsemeat is free of this drug.  This presents a definite food safety risk.”

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director for CHDC pointed out that covert video footage captured at four separate equine slaughterhouses and released through her organization have repeatedly revealed unacceptable levels of suffering when horses are stunned.“This has led us to conclude that the humane slaughter of ‘flight’ animals such as horses is simply not possible,” said Crosland.

Bunnie Harasym, owner of Paradise Stable Horse Rescue in Saskatoon noted that she has often seen the enormous capacity of horses to change people’s lives. “Horses provide security and self worth to the person who sees no future and they give hope and confidence to troubled teens, beaten women, and others lacking in self esteem – it is unacceptable that any horse should meet such a fate”.

“Clearly there are more reasons than not to shut down this predatory, cruel and inhumane industry which enables the inappropriate slaughter of 100,000 or more horses per year in Canada,” concluded Atamanenko.

Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

Charlotte Uhrich, board sponsor states, “We are pleased to put this anti-horse-slaughter billboard up in support of NDP MP Alex Atamanenko and his Bill C-322, a Bill to end horse slaughter in Canada. Horse slaughter is inhumane and barbaric; we do not slaughter and eat our companion animals in Canada. The closet door has been opened to Canada’s dirty little secret and it is time to end this practice.”

“The campaign to end horse slaughter recognizes no borders,” states Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the CHDC.  “Most U.S. citizens are adamantly opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, as are many Canadians.  Horses are our companions and working partners – not food for overseas diners.  Many have received drugs in their lifetimes that are not permitted to enter the food chain.”

The CHDC calls upon the Canadian government to pay heed to the concerns of citizens in both Canada and the U.S., and end the slaughter of horses on Canadian soil immediately.

 For more information, please contact Sinikka Crosland at: info@defendhorsescanada.org

CTV Calgary Interview with Dr. Hucal

CTV Calgary Interview with Dr. Hucal – please click to see video

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Calgary Anti-Slaughter Billboard – If You Were Waiting for a Sign, This Is it!

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guitar player watches centaur ladyWritten by Heather Clemenceau

On July 23rd,   the hue and cry for a group of anti horse-slaughter supporters, after months of planning, was “Wagons Ho” to Calgary, Alberta.  They arranged,  along with the assistance of Jo Deibel and Angel Acres’  to erect Canada’s second anti-horse slaughter billboard (the first having been erected in Ottawa),  and followed-up with a billboard launch party that rocked the old-school Calgarians like they’d never experienced before.  The team would also like to give an extra loud  shout-out of gratitude to all our supporters who contributed financially to the rental of the billboard.

The billboard team was led by Charlotte Uhrich,  and consisted of Joanne Clay,  Laurie Neilio, Geri Ramsay,  Alex Atamanenko’s assistant Gina,  Dr. Sandie Hucal, and many others who worked

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals' Angels Billboard

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals’ Angels Billboard

behind the scenes on Facebook,  contacting media,  preparing signs,  and networking before,  during, and after the billboard went up in early July during Calgary Stampede.  Laurie Neilio and Joanne Clay put considerable energy into sourcing a damning 2005 film of the notorious Calgary Stampede bridge accident (9 horses fell off a bridge and died) that seems to have been suppressed,  even though it was produced with taxpayer funds!  Grab your tinfoil hats – conspiracy theory coming up!

Most of the planning and prep work was done without setting foot in Calgary until the day of the event!  Sinikka Crosland of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was also in attendance to ensure that Canada’s national horse protection association had a strong presence.  Together,  everyone took a bold public step Monday towards exposing an industry that horse advocates describe as Canada’s secret shame. Alex Atamanenko,  MP for BC Southern Interior and the author of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada,  along with  more than two dozen supporters , rallied underneath the new billboard on the corner of Barlow Trail and Memorial Drive S.E. And the billboard is a success,  having sparked controversy and created dialogue,  if the number of news reports featuring it are any indication.

Billboard protesters

Billboard protesters

The decision to place a billboard during the 100th Anniversary of the Stampede was ballsy.  In 2011,  Canada slaughtered 89,348 horses and exported nearly 13,500 tonnes of horse meat to Belgium, France, Switzerland and other countries, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Alberta is the horse slaughter capital of Canada,  being home to the Bouvry slaughterhouse and Bouvry Exports which serves both an export and smaller domestic market,  mainly in Quebec.

While the overall message is one of anti-slaughter for all horses,  the group also called attention to the continual death of horses for human amusement at the Stampede,  which many Canadians (outside of Alberta,  that is)  consider to be about as cool as Grandma’s Corolla.  Many will tell you that the Stampede celebrates our Western heritage. However, the modern rodeo is actually a departure from tradition.  Attendance figures actually indicate that,  when expressed as a percentage of city population,  attendance is actually flatlining.

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede,  while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede, while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Traditionally, it was vitally important to preserve the safety and well-being of horses: For those who depended on their animals, jeopardizing their life could result in dire consequences  to their livelihood as a result of poor management. Rodeos reflect a shift in tradition from protecting the welfare of horses to profiting from their stress and suffering.

Each year, as recent statistics demonstrate, there is a high likelihood that horses will be injured or die when they are driven beyond their capacity in excessive heat. Most horses participating in the chuckwagon races are older or retired thoroughbred racehorses,  who are no longer fit for such exertion,  especially in the dead heat of summer.  Not only is racing chuckwagons not an everyday ranch event, it’s not even an officially recognized event of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. Its sole purpose is excitement, show and entertainment.

In events that pack horses and riders tightly together and where racers vie for  over $1 million in prize money, is it any surprise that horses are pushed to the limit and that this stress would cause severe collateral injury and death?  More than 50 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede since 1986.

In addition,  the Stampede organizers recently admitted that each year, about 20 horses bred at the Calgary Stampede ranch aren’t angry enough to entertain spectators at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” or at lesser outdoor shows, are sent to slaughter.  Many people are of the opinion that these horses could be re-homed,  since they are a failure at what would be their primary job – bucking – a characteristic that,  when done “professionally” for the Stampede,  makes horses poor candidates for new careers.

Opposition in the  media was expected and it consisted of the usual poorly researched articles,  often written by people who

Sometimes Cowboys do cry.....when they lose out on the prize.  Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses.

Sometimes Cowboys do cry…..when they lose out on the prize. Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses. I’ll light my Lady of Guadalupe candle for him later..

had no idea there was a horsemeat industry in Canada (and still don’t) .  They are busy perpetuating illogical arguments  that “some” suffering is acceptable, or even expected, and that these horses are incredibly well treated off the track.  Incredibly,  one news broadcast even neglected to feature MP Atamanenko at all,  and instead relied upon old video of a kill buyer,  who was so proud of himself that he refused to face the camera.

Association manager Robyn Moore said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has veterinarians on site at slaughterhouses to ensure the process is “100 per cent humane.”  Clearly the CFIA has forgotten that the  footage publicized by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was authenticated by the Canadian government. She also  forgot to mention that state-of-the-art plant that was retrofitted to use designs by Dr. Temple Grandin was shut down by the government after the undercover investigation  videos were released. Her memory eludes her yet again when she forgets to mention that Canada’s two largest plants will no longer accept Thoroughbred racehorses. I’m sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the banned drugs (most notably Phenylbutazone) given to racehorses,  which renders them ineligible for food sources.

“Something is quite wrong, we’re not getting the response from the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) that’d we’d like,” he says. “We don’t allow cattle into the human food chain if they’ve been given prohibited drugs, but we are allowing it to happen with horses.” – Alex Atamanenko.  View the CHDC publication “The Art of Evasion,”  which documents the clear sense of apathy within the Agency.

Calgarians in general are not getting the message either,  if the rash of poorly formulated ideas and thoughts posted on news sites are any indication.

Comments from the Calgary Herald article

Comments from the Calgary Herald article (any spelling/grammar errors belong to the authors and not me!)

Chef Shawn Greenwood of Calgary’s Taste Restaurant is serving  horse tartare on the menu. Greenwood said he buys the horse meat from a local supplier, who raised the animals specifically for slaughter, so he was not concerned that the meat contained Phenylbutazone.  I wonder how this was confirmed?  I suspect,  as I do with La Palette in Toronto,  that restaurants are getting the “pharmaceutical grade” of horsemeat,  while Claude Bouvry sends the purpose-bred, medication-free horses live to Japan several times a week.

Of course,  American horse-hater,  part-time Wyoming State Rep and cowboy poet “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis felt compelled to weigh-in (pun intended) on the news stories,  since she has Canadian representation in the International Equine Business Association.

IEBA Gang of Five

IEBA Gang of Five

She writes on the United Horsemen’s Facebook page:

“In spite of the headlines, solely designed to add drama and sell papers, there are actually some very good comments made in this article by our International Equine Business Association partners in Canada.”

And the Canadian contingent of the IEBA,   Canadian horsemeat pimp  Bill DesBarres, chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, criticized the demonstrators’ argument that slaughtering horses is inhumane.  This is because DesBarres can provide proof that all horse-slaughter abuse videos are misleading because they’ve been filmed by angry vegans using Photoshop wizardry and bad lighting.

“There’s absolutely no science behind it,” said DesBarres. “It’s strictly based on emotion. The end of life option of processing is a very real and wonderful option to have for the humane handling and the welfare of all animals. The more these people promote their choice of not slaughtering horses, the more they promote people to try it as a consumptive food,” he said.  Clearly,  he hasn’t been speaking with Wallis lately,  who has been inundated with bad press for yet another failed attempt at establishing a slaughterhouse,  this time in Rockville,  Missouri.

Does anyone else find DesBarres comment that horse slaughter is “wonderful”  to be,  ok,  I’ll just say it – almost fetishistic in its fiendishness?  Who the fvck claims slaughter is “wonderful?”  I daresay that this comment in particular suggests to me that DesBarres thinks horse slaughter is a form of snuff porn.   In that,  he is at least consistent with his compatriot Slaughterhouse Sue,  who has no problem endorsing creepy post-mortem activities with animals.

By the way Bill,  do you know what “consumptive” means?  Courtesy of the Free Dictionary:

con·sump·tive  (kn-smptv)adj.1. Consuming or tending to consume.2. Of, relating to, or afflicted with consumption.n.A person afflicted with consumption.con·sumptive·ly adv.

consumptive [kənˈsʌmptɪv]

adj

1. causing consumption; wasteful; destructive

2. (Medicine / Pathology) Pathol relating to or affected with consumption, esp tuberculosis of the lungs

n

(Medicine / Pathology) Pathol a person who suffers from consumption

consumptively  adv

consumptiveness  n

Thesaurus:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

Noun 1. consumptive– a person with pulmonary tuberculosis – tubercular, lunger diseased person, sick person, sufferer – a person suffering from an illness
Adj. 1. consumptive– tending to consume or use often wastefully; “water suitable for beneficial consumptive uses”; “duties consumptive of time and energy”; “consumptive fires”generative, productive – having the ability to produce or originate; “generative power”; “generative forces”
2. consumptive– afflicted with or associated with pulmonary tuberculosis; “a consumptive patient”; “a consumptive cough”ill, sick – affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function; “ill from the monotony of his suffering”

Somebody wake DesBarres up from his nap in the crypt and let him know that,  for once,  I agree with him!  Eat North American horsemeat and you could indeed find yourself “consumptive.”  Please take a moment to email Bill and tell him how happy you are with his comments – lazydbar@telusplanet.net

Bill C-322 seeks to end the import and export of horses for slaughter for human consumption.  One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem and take action to rectify it. It only takes one person to be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Many private citizens and supporters of integrity and transparency in Canada’s food supply are regularly issuing challenges to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  to act immediately to correct the serious problems of horse cruelty and non-food horsemeat entering the food chain. We are all consumers and advocates – not one of us is any less responsible for tasking the government with ensuring that our food supply is as safe as it can possibly be.

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Survey Says……The Lake Research Partners Survey on Horse Slaughter is Righteous!

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Written by Heather Clemenceau

The now infamous Lake Research Partners survey on horse slaughter in the United States, conducted on behalf of the ASPCA, shows that voters oppose the slaughter of American horses for human consumption overwhelmingly. The opposition is strong among those who own horses and those who do not, as well as across every key demographic and geographic group, and across political party lines.

Check the survey itself to see how it is stratified across the various demographics.  What does it really mean?  Well,  to start off,  it should be known that surveys conducted by professional research firms are designed and interpreted by statisticians and social scientists,  and unless we’re talking about a complete census,  they all use some form of random sampling.

1)  What makes a survey such as this more valuable than one by Survey Monkey installed on a website?

The fact that it is randomized and not placed on a website where only people visiting the website can see it and vote.  The ability to vote multiple types is eliminated because only one phone call is made and only one vote can be cast.  Survey Monkey is simply a “quick and dirty” way for marketers to ask questions,  often in direct mail campaigns.  They are only as accurate as their distribution methods.  On the other hand,  surveys conducted by professional research firms are used to:

  • Help TV networks decide what people are watching particular shows,  and therefore where they can charge the most advertising
  • Help Statistics Canada study educational and other needs
  • Assist Auto manufacturers in finding out out how satisfied people are with their cars
  • Aid Census groups to obtain information on employment and unemployment
  • Provide information for new businesses who purchase aggregate data,  to decide where to locate their business based on where their markets lie.

2)  Why do research firms limit themselves to samples of around 1,000 people?

They don’t – they will conduct as elaborate and expensive a survey as their client wishes to pay for.  So unless that client is the government,  which has very deep pockets,  there is going to be a budgetted expenditure.  Included in the survey cost will be such things as the labour and material costs for designing,  testing,  meeting with the client to define needs,  printing the questionnaire,  providing pre-stamped return envelopes or budget for phone costs (in the case of this survey,  which was a phone survey of registered voters).

Once the information is returned or collected if a phone survey,  it must be recorded and analyzed by qualified individuals.  A survey of around 1,000 people is both quick and economical – the well-known national polls frequently use samples of about 1,000 persons to get reasonable information about national attitudes and opinions.

3)  How can a survey of 1,000 people provide a true representation of an entire country’s view?

No survey,  unless it is  a complete census (a complete survey of 100% of the population – EXPENSIVE and TIME CONSUMING)  can depict the true population sentiment.  Analysts find that a properly randomized survey with  a moderate sample size is statistically significant. The sample size required for a survey partly depends on the statistical quality needed for survey findings; this, in turn, relates to how the results will be used.

4)  How can I be sure the question isn’t leading people to the answer?

In this case,  the question is straight-forward – “Would you say you approve or disapprove of ALLOWING American horses to be slaughtered for human consumption? [IF APPROVE/DISAPPROVE]: Do you feel that way strongly or just somewhat strongly?[IF UNDECIDED]: Well, which way do you lean?”

The question doesn’t ask you if you “…..approve or disapprove of allowing American horses to be shipped long distances and slaughtered inhumanely….,”  or “wouldn’t you say it’s about time we ended slaughter?” which would also be a leading question.  Phrasing an opinion question this way leads the respondent to a “yes” answer and a distorted or biased perspective of the public’s views on the issue.  Also note that the question is fairly short and uncomplicated.   People are more likely to cooperate if the questions are simple, clear, easy to answer, and personally relevant to them.  Most surveys are written at a grade-school level as well, for simplicity’s sake.

5)  How are the survey respondents selected?

In a bona fide survey (which is not a Survey Monkey offering), the sample is not selected haphazardly or only from persons who volunteer to participate. It is scientifically chosen so that each person in the population will have a measurable chance of selection.   This way, the results can be reliably projected from the sample to the larger population.  This survey started with registered voters as its base,  so if a lot of either pro or anti-slaughter advocates are unregistered,  they would never be contacted.  Quite possibly a random dialer was used to reach the respondents.

6)  What errors can confound (produce false results) in a survey?

This survey had a 3.09% margin of error (MOE). That means that if you asked a question from this poll 100 times, 95 (or whatever the degree of confidence calculated for a survey,  usually 95-97%) of those times the percentage of people giving a particular answer would be within 3.09 points of the percentage who gave that same answer in this poll – so the poll is likely to only vary either upwards or downwards of the 80% by 3.09 percentage points.   If you conduct the same poll 100 times you are not going to see a complete reversal in the trend either.   In other words,   there would be relatively little variation no matter how many times you conducted the same survey,  because it has been effectively randomized to include people from various socio-economic climates,  political affiliations, etc. etc.  Why 95 times out of 100? In reality, the margin of error is what statisticians referred to as a confidence interval. The math behind it is much like the math behind the standard deviation. So you can think of the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence interval as being equal to two standard deviations in your polling sample.

7)  What effects the Margin of Error?

  • Sample size
  • Type of Sampling
  • Size of the Sample Population

Sample size is important to avoid negatively impacting the margin of error. In sampling,  a sample of 100 will produce a margin of error of around 10 percent, a sample of error of 500 will produce a margin of error of no more than about 4.5 percent, and a sample of size 1,000 will produce a margin of error of no more than about 3.2 percent.  Of course, this observation is consistent with the MOE we see in the Lake Research sample – 3.09%.  This illustrates that there are diminishing returns when trying to reduce the margin of error by increasing the sample size.  In order to  reduce the margin of error to 1.5%,  the research firm would require a sample size of well over 4,000,  which of course increases time and cost to the client.

The type of sampling affects the MOE because the survey designer can control the design or the survey.  For example,  if the phone respondents were not adequately randomized,  or the survey designer elected to call people only from his or her regional phone directory,  that would be consistent with a poorly designed survey because it wouldn’t be random, and it would exclude people with unpublished or unlisted phone numbers.  By randomizing the phone numbers,  you can still contact people with unlisted phone numbers,  but not people without phones of course!

The sample population is merely the total number of individuals from whom to choose for your survey or poll.  Proper sampling designs involve defining groups, or strata, based on characteristics known for everyone in the population, and then taking independent samples within each stratum.

Another type of statistical error that can confound a survey is “non-sampling error.”  Not everyone will respond to a survey,  or sometimes they won’t tell the truth.  But the estimate will probably still differ from the true value to some degree,  even if all non-sampling errors could be omitted. Unless a large number of respondents decided to lie,  this would not substantially affect the survey.

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA - Page 1

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA – Page 1

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA - Page 2

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA – Page 2

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA - Page 3

Lake Research Partners Poll for ASPCA – Page 3

Shut Up and Let Me Eat My Pony in Peace! – La Palette Protest – July 13th

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La Palette protest - July 13th - Summerlicious

La Palette Protest – July 13th – the Toronto Summerlicious dining festival

Written by Heather Clemenceau ©;  all artwork ©

PISS OFF - is this a Urologist's office or what?

PISS OFF – is this a Urologist’s office or a message to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Just a shopfront I saw while making my way to La Palette,  which also seems to foreshadow the prevailing sentiment for the evening.

We’re part way through the Summerlicious dining event in the city of Toronto.  It’s hot as Hades,  and in typical Toronto style,  streets are closed-off for no apparent reason,  other than to inconvenience drivers.   You really cannot go downtown without a functioning GPS system of some sort,  because you are forced to weave through one-way arterial streets,  driving several kms out of the way and then doubling back,  and coping with other drivers who see well in advance that their lane is closing, but wait until the last second to butt in front of you.  And don’t even think about attempting a right-hand turn without checking in your mirrors and blindspots because cyclists shoot up on the right side of your car while on their iPhones.

It seems that co-owner Shamez Amlani has taken a pass on participating in Summerlicious this year,  which is probably a good idea considering that the resto only received a conditional pass in the Dine Safe program,  and there are anywhere from 5-15 protesters in front of the place each week.  It also might not be a good idea to feature raw meat dishes in Toronto as they’ve done in the past,  since it’s become apparent that the CFIA is cracking down on restaurants serving raw meat.

Toronto Public Health Report - obscured behind a plant

Toronto Public Health Report – obscured behind a plant

With the street closed-off in front of La Palette (again,  for no apparent reason),  we have much less street traffic than usual,  and less honking.   In the last few weeks we’ve seen that La Palette has a new “strategy,”  which consists of  sending out trolls to either confront us or try to get us to make damaging statements of opinion about the food at the resto.  We’re totally onto the practice of sending a troll out to talk to us under the guise of seeing if we will tell potential customers to eat elsewhere.  This can only mean that,  contrary to Shamez’ earlier statements that he loves our “marketing” efforts,  he is quite desperate to find a way to incriminate us.

Here’s how it works in practice:  a “covert agent” prodded into duty by Shamez,  walks up to the restaurant and expresses consternation about eating there in light of the protest.  After a quick minute,  that person approaches one of the protesters and asks for information.  We duly oblige.  Then the prospective diner (tonight it was an older gentleman) says he is meeting a date here for the first time and doesn’t know her very well.  “How can I explain to her?”  “What should I tell her about eating here?”  Sorry,  we’re NOT falling for THAT!  One thing we are very cognizant of not doing while on protest duty is telling anyone not to eat at the restaurant.  A few weeks ago it was a woman walking down the street, who suddenly flew into a rage at the site of the protest,  and was compelled to call the police.  Sadly,  she had no cell phone,  so she had to go INTO the restaurant to call the police.

It is not our place to render our opinion on whether the staff is friendly,  the food is good, or safe to eat.  We have NO opinion on that – patrons are free to eat there of their own free-will and we are not there to encumber them in their decision.  If you want to know whether it’s SAFE to eat at the restaurant,  check out the Dine Safe review and form your own opinion.  Of course,  it’s a dead giveaway that the person isn’t asking legit questions when he goes  inside the restaurant “to check and see if his date has arrived,”  and doesn’t emerge while we’re there.  I guess he found his dinner companion inside where he left her.

Is Shamez bribing these people to come out of the “dark, dusty” establishment to start arguments with us?  It sure seems that way. Which leads us to the Toronto Public Health report…………..where has that report been hiding?  It’s on the window where it’s supposed to be,  but it’s now somewhat obscured by a flowering plant,  which is a no-no.  To help patrons out,  one of our protesters holds an actual picture of the Dine Safe report so that passers-by can actually see it.  See how courteous and helpful we are?
La Palette Yelp Review

Yelp Review of La Palette – to be fair, the resto has many positive reviews, along with this and other negatives. Yelp throws out the highest and lowest ratings and those made by Yelp reviewers who made only this one review, as they deem them “statistically irrelevant.”

Confrontation at La Palette

Confrontation at La Palette – notice that the patron has gotten all grabby with Bob’s sign.

Tonight we’re plagued by an insufferable troll who moves from person to person trying to incite us,  under the guise of wanting to know why we’re here,  why we’ve chosen La Palette,  and what else we like to do on Friday nights, etc.  After listening to this guy for 15 minutes,  his “voice” sure sounds like one of the familiar trolls I’ve seen appear in the comments section of various Toronto newspapers for a while now.  He’s been eating horse all his life (explains a lot) and he wants facts.  Well actually,  he doesn’t,  he just wants to argue,  and he sets upon poor Bob again.  Another faux-pas is committed tonight when he grabs Bob’s sign and tries to wrench it away.  Bob,  we don’t know why everybody wants to start sumthin’ with you,  but we’re there for you buddy! Abuse of signs is not going to be tolerated. 
.

Everybody seems to be getting a turn in the cage with this guy.  When he demands that I explain my position,  I just tell him to read this blog.  But that isn’t good enough,  which is surprising since he claims to have a PhD in journalism – one would think that he would have enough education to realize that War Horse was not a cooking show.   Because he leans forward towards me to argue,  and I interpret this as a Defcon 3-type threat,  I raise my camera to take a pic (little does he know I already got one of him grabbing Bob’s sign) and he sticks his hand in front of the camera, as if he’s Sean Penn and I’m a papp at TMZ.  This troll hung out with us so long that he probably needs his own protest permit!  We ignore him for as long as possible,  but can’t resist an

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

occasional poke at the bear,  who paces up and down in front of La Palette chain-smoking and just generally being a douche.  Shamez comes outside to observe the scuffle and stays long enough to make some oblique comment about “negros and plantations.”   Finally our journalist skulks back inside after demanding that we all 1) shut-up and 2) leave.  I hate to point out the obvious but we have a legitimate right to protest on the street and we don’t have to go home because you don’t like it.  You’d think a journalist would know that.  You’d also think a journalist or any other person possessing common sense would realize that if he weren’t out on the street arguing with us,  we wouldn’t be “talking.”  Cause and Effect – they don’t teach that in the Perez Hilton School of Journalism.

Some of us did have an exchange with a young woman who apparently works at La Palette.  She was overheard asking what many people ask – “Why horses?”  “Why not GMO foods?” etc. etc.  This young woman wasn’t offensive and did seem to be genuine,  even if not convinced based on her employer’s stance,  so I handed her an information sheet that explained that about 30% of horses slaughtered for food in Canada were racehorses who were likely to have received a compendium of drugs in their racing career.  Here’s what was on the list:

Table 1.  Therapeutic Medications Routinely Used and Identified as Necessary by the Veterinary Advisory Committee — (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium [RMTC] draft list of therapeutic medications, 2005) 

1. Acepromazine 17. Dipyrone  33. Omeprazole 
2. Albuterol 18. Flunixin  34. Pentoxifylline
3. Aminocaproic Acid 19. Fluprednisolone 35. Phenylbutazone
4. Atropine 20. Fluphenazine 36. Phenytoin
5. Beclomethasone 21. Furosemide 37. Prednisolone
6. Betamethasone 22. Glycopyrrolate  38. Prednisone
7. Boldenone 23. Guaifenesin 39. Procaine Penicillin
8. Butorphanol  24. Hydroxyzine 40. Pyrilamine
9. Cimetidine 25. Isoflupredone 41. Ranitidine
10. Clenbuterol 26. Isoxsuprine 42. Reserpine
11. Cromolyn 27. Ketoprofen 43. Stanozolol
12. Dantrolene 28. Lidocaine  44. Testosterone
13. Detomidine  29. Mepivacaine  45. Triamcinolone
14. Dexamethasone 30. Methocarbamol  46. Trichlomethiazide
15. Diazepam 31. Methylprednisolone
16. DMSO 32. Nandrolone 
 
Keep Calm and Stay Classy La Palette

Keep Calm and Stay Classy La Palette

The above list is not even inclusive – there are documented cases of racehorses being dosed with Viagra, cocaine,  cobra venom,  and Dermorphin (pharmacologically similar to morphine and derived from South American frogs).  Not only are these drugs an abuse of horses,  there is no way to confidently assert that these drugs and their metabolites do not enter the food chain.  Obviously,  the most commonly cited drug is Phenylbutazone.  On Pubmed,  there are over 8500 references to phenylbutazone,  so it has been frequently tested in case-controlled,  cohorted studies for many years.  It is a documented fact that even oxyphenbutazone residues,  the metabolite of bute,  can cause aplastic anemia,  and this fact is not in dispute.  Note to Shamez – slaughterhouse veterinarians and managers are in no way qualified to render an opinion whether horsemeat is safe to eat because they are not versed in toxicology or xenobiotics.

There is no incentive at this point in time to test bute any further since the FDA has removed approval for its use in humans,  it is no longer protected by patents,  if indeed it ever was,  and therefore,  no monetary value could be accrued to the patent-holder after roughly 40-50 years on the market.  We likely know as much as we ever will about the effects of bute on horses as well as humans.

Horses in Canada received at slaughterhouses are held for a maximum of 4 days only, and in mosts cases not even that,  so even if they were given bute the day before and this was not disclosed on the EID,  this is insufficient withdrawal time by even the most lax (Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis) standards.

In addition to ALL that, bute has been found in meat shipped to the EU, and has been withdrawn long AFTER it has reached the consumer, further evidence that EIDs and passporting do not work when you are trying to jury-rig a system of slaughtering and consuming non-food animals for food consumption.

Yes,  many horses are treated very poorly,  and as you can read,  they are hardly “organic.”  To regard them with reverence or sentiment is not simply a matter of emotional response.   I contend that horses merit better than to be mass slaughtered and served-up to grab-happy journalists who have not informed themselves as to history, civil liberties,  the right to freedom of association, and especially the sciences.

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Slaughterhouse Sue – “We’re Losing Horses in Our Lives,” So Let’s Slaughter More of Them!

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Where have all the Arabian horses gone?
Where have all the Arabian horses gone?

Written by Heather Clemenceau ©

There’s a chart posted on the United Horsemen’s page that is causing great consternation amongst the pro-slaughter posse.  They’re in a lather over the belief that horses might be going extinct, which is highly ironic considering the line of business they’re in.  There’s nothing misleading about the chart – it does depict a very obvious decline in Arabian registrations, but what does this actually mean for Arabian horses?  Well,  don’t ask Slaughterhouse Sue (occasionally known as a State Rep for Wyoming) for an explanation;  when she hears mention of horses,  she comes a-charging with a fork and a nappy.  It’s her belief that we need more of these horses because we need to slaughter them, er, or there aren’t enough of them because there’ve been no slaughterhouses in the US for six years………no…..wait……..maybe most of them have been already been slaughtered!  Dayum,  that might just be a contributing cause,  don’t you know……..

In 1908, when Henry Ford rolled out his first car, there were more than 21 million horses of all breeds in the United States.  The first Arabian horse was registered in 1908 as well.  That 21 million eventually shrank, as horses were no longer needed to plow fields, pull canons in the military, or haul freight. By comparing the number of horses at a time when the population of the US was much smaller,  we can see that horses had a much more utilitarian use.  The current horse population in the US has been estimated at about 9.2 million.

Arabians were originally quite scarce in the US,  but thanks to breeders and preservationists such as W.R. Brown,  Spencer Borden,  Albert Harris,  W.K. Kellogg and Roger Selby,  many scarce bloodlines were restored.  Even though I’m anti-slaughter,  I’m not at all opposed to breeding horses for which there is a good price point, profitable market and demand.  By  1973,  the number of registered Arabians had jumped to 100,000 and by 1980 that figure had doubled.  Arabs that were once in short supply, were now being mass-produced as status symbols, and early breeders couldn’t produce them fast enough to supply the market.

Patrick Swayze and Tammen

Arabians were often owned by wealthy people who liked plenty of chrome on their horses – Patrick Swayze, Wayne Newton, porn star Jenna Jameson (who owned my mare’s half-sister), and William Shatner

Under these conditions, it isn’t surprising that every Arabian mare became a broodmare and almost every colt was used for breeding.  By 1986, 300,000 purebred Arabian horses had been registered.  If this fantastic growth rate had continued (it didn’t), an additional 100,000 Arabs could be produced every two years.  The Arabian market ultimately became over-saturated (hello AQHA?) and along with the artificially-inflated prices,  the market collapsed,  which ultimately forced many breeders into bankruptcy and sent many purebred Arabians to slaughter.  What does Sue Wallis think happened to these horses?  It almost seems like she is lamenting the decrease in numbers,  but then again,  she hasn’t made the logical connection that when the hyped-up market crashed,  so many of these well-bred horses would have gone to slaughter.  No doubt about it – she would salivate with glee were this scenario to unfold in today’s market,  especially if it happened anywhere in the vicinity of Rockville,  MO.

© H. Clemenceau

The boom years of Arabian breeding came to a halt as a result of the US tax law changes of 1986 and later in Canada  (when the graph really starts to take a tumble). Because it’s difficult to make a profit with a horse business,  wealthy individuals sometimes invest in a horse breeding farm to reduce the amount of income taxes they must pay by writing off the horse expenses against their other income.  Because a business must be operated with the intent of making a profit,  rather than just as a tax shelter,  the IRS and Revenue Canada tend to view horse businesses with

© H. Clemenceau

suspicion,  especially when an individual with a large income from other sources declares large losses from horse ventures.  Tax laws in the US and Canada allowed the horses be depreciated for their full value in three to five years, depending on their age. The expense of keeping Arabians could be written off dollar for dollar, and any profit from their resale was taxed, not as income, but as a capital gain, provided one had owned a horse for at least two years.  Russian-bred stallion Padron was syndicated for a record-breaking $11 million.  These syndicates weren’t riding these horses,  and as far as I could tell,  they had no vested interest in them beyond the tax write-off and breeding more of them.  That’s how I came to acquire my own Egyptian Arab,  who was originally owned by a syndicate that no longer wanted her once Revenue Canada denied them the tax write-off.  My horse was lucky;  I wonder how many of these syndicate-owned Arabians were slaughtered when they couldn’t find homes?

In the last 5 years or so,  the horse industry has been struggling through a recession that has reduced consumers’ disposable income.  Of course to most people now,  horses are considered a “luxury” item. Today, the demand isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with the increase in Arabs and most other breeds.  In austere financial times,  there is less of a market for purebred (more expensive) horses than half-breds (less expensive) which is further driven down over time due to lack of demand.  Obviously,  this is bad for breeders, because not all horses will have buyers, and breeders must now compete with a large number of rivals for sales.  Of course then prices drop and fewer horses are produced.  Hence the resulting numbers in the graph.

© H. Clemenceau

Thanks also to the false image of the Arabian horse that has too long been presented to other breed horse people by the IAHA shows, and now by AHA,  the Arabian horse has dramatically fallen in popularity, and thus in marketability. There is also a failure on the part of the breed association to promote purebred Arabs over half-Arabs.   In my opinion,  half-bred horses are just as worthy as purebreds,  but when the breed association puts more emphasis on half-Arabs than Purebreds,  it is really emphasizing a genetic dead-end for many Arabian lines.

But what’s Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis’ suggestion for improving the breed or increasing the numbers of purebred Arabians?  In all likelihood she has no suggestions at all,  because she can’t buy herself a vowel.  Surely she doesn’t suggest slaughter?  If  Sue Wallis was suggesting that slaughter could revive purebred Arab numbers somehow,  well,  I’d have to drop some serious shade on that.  I’m sure a very high number of those 300,000 horses actually were slaughtered,  and where does that leave the breed now?  Can she say that the breed is better for it? Certainly any individual horses who were slaughtered would not be better off.  Can she say anything that makes any sense at all?  I know, that’s a rhetorical question,  isn’t it?

Canter Pirouette by my friend Les Wagschal (RIP) and Anglo-Arab Mishkoh ++// Photo by Polly Knoll

Canter Pirouette by my friend Les Wagschal (RIP) and Anglo-Arab Mishkoh ++// Photo by Polly Knoll

Here’s some facts for Sue;  despite the over-breeding,  slaughter,  and now a decline in registrations,  the Arabian breed is not yet about to become extinct:

Fact:  The US is home to more Arabians than all other countries of the world combined.

Fact:  There are 650,000 registered purebred and half-bred Arabians in the US (the AHA number will also include some horses who are deceased but unreported as such)

Fact:  There are 47,000 registered purebred and half-bred Arabians in Canada.

Fact:  The registry does not include unregistered but eligible horses.

Fact:   The chart lists NEW registrations each year,  and does not identify the total number of horses in the population.

Fact:   REGISTERED purebred and half-bred Arabians actually represent 7.1% of the US horse population,  650,000 horses of an estimated at 9.2 million total horses.

Fact:  There are far more cross-bred registered Arabians in the US and Canada now than purebreds. Arabians are represented in different breed associations as well:

  • Quarab (Quarter Horse or Paint/Arab)
  • Pintabian horse association (Pinto/Arab with 99% Arab blood and tobiano coat coloration)
  • Morab horse association (Morgan/Arab)
  • Welara pony registration (Welsh Pony/Arab)
  • Anglo Arabians (Thoroughbred/Arab)
  • National Show Horse – (American Saddlebred/Arab)
Arab horses in the US and Canada

Registered Arab horses in the US and Canada (click through to see all the data)

The only saving grace for many of the old Arabian lines is that most preser­va­tionist breeders were not moti­vated by the same concepts (greed) as those who drove the prices to astro­nom­ical levels in the mid-1980s. Conse­quently, preser­va­tion­ists as a whole were not hurt when the prices plum­meted. There are lessons to be learned here – not the least of which is the fact that many of those breeders who were motivated by money crashed and burned because they contributed to unsustainable growth of the breed.   I’m not exactly sure what Slaughterhouse Sue is suggesting in the case of Arabian horses – is she suggesting more should be produced,  even without buyers?  Probably,  because then they could be used to further her slaughter empire – further evidence that the presence of slaughter encourages over-breeding.  Wouldn’t we question the logic of any business that produced more “product” than there were buyers for that product?  Maybe Sue should stick to rendering an opinion on

Stock market trends suggest a resurgence in Unicorns?

Stock market trends suggest a resurgence in Unicorns?

her astrological birth chart or a cross-stitch chart.  We know that she doesn’t understand supply and demand or rates of change,  and that she’s seriously handicapped because she doesn’t even own a horse,  much less an Arabian horse.

~Tribute~

By Deborah Parks

 

In his liquid eye is the blackness of desert night

Strewn with flickering campfires.

His two ears,  pinnacles on an ivory mosque,

Are formed in graceful symmetry.

The cavernous nostrils convert *Kansas breeze

Into hot desert wind.

His voice can be a trumpeted call to war

Or a soft, meandering tune of mystery.

The whole quicksilver image of him

Shimmers like heat waves over scorching dunes.

He is molded of morning mist and rifle smoke –

Of soft, cold ashes and boiling clouds,

He hallows the earth where he stands.

He is mine and I am his.

But I know the Prophet’s Thumb cannot save him;

It has no power in *Kansas.

When he is gone,  the tapestry of my life

Will be torn – a void shall exist –

Where once was an awkward baby,

A willing companion,

A happy friend.

*I would substitute “Rockville” for Kansas and the poem has even more meaning.  This is what Arabians,  or indeed any horse, means to someone who can truly appreciate them – alive.  Cowboy poetesses – you ain’t all that.

Pro-Slaughter Ethics and That Last Pound of Flesh

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Pro-Slaughter Heart - A Scientific Anomaly

Observe the Pro-Slaughter Heart – A Scientific Anomaly

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Pro-slaughters are free to believe whatever nonsense they wish about veterinary drug contamination in horsemeat.  In the US and Canada,  they have the freedom to remain uninformed and unenlightened.  In fact,  if they’d like to do a few lines of bute directly off a horse’s ass,  it’s hardly my concern.  But  time and time again,  Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis and her band of buffoons have shown us that we cannot allow them to have any input or control over the food supply. What I can’t wrap my head around is the fact that so many pro-slaughters claim that they won’t euthanize because they don’t want to contaminate the water supply (got any proof of that, BTW?) but they have no problem contaminating the food supply!

Pound of Flesh

Pound of Flesh

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.  We’ve just met an individual who has no qualms about doing either – she will let her animal suffer in pain because she doesn’t believe in lessening pain,  but she will or has already “buted” him as a sort of last resort,  or perhaps it’s a final insult to horsemeat eaters.

The opinion of this particular horse-owner appears to echo that of Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis of Unified Equine and the International Equine Business Association.  That is,  denial that veterinary drugs are harmful in the food supply, along with the accusation, thrown in for good measure, that the FDA stipulations about veterinary drugs are “made-up” and “mostly a joke” manufactured by anti-slaughter welfare advocates.

This pro-slaughter owner is proposing that she will drive her horse,  suffering from ringbone for a few years now,  to Fort MacLeod Alberta to be slaughtered at the Bouvry plant.  This highly impractical and unnecessary journey will purportedly be undertaken so that he “won’t be wasted.”  Instead of being euthanized or shot at home where he has apparently lived  for many years with one owner,  she will load him up in a trailer,  (after having a vet pull a negative Coggins and providing an Export Certificate issued by the USDA) and deliver him,  after a 1.500 mile/16 hour drive, to the slaughterhouse personally.  The owner also operates under the belief that she may actually be able to be with him during his final moments on the kill floor.

Naive Assumptions of Pro-Slaughters

Naive Assumptions of Pro-Slaughters

I’m really struggling to be diplomatic here.   How is it possible to believe that you will be allowed on the production (kill) floor of a slaughterhouse,  moving along at a fast pace,  whilst spending a few quiet, reflective moments with your horse in the kill box before he is stunned?  Does she have any comprehension of what actually happens on a kill floor?  The irony (you know pro-slaughters are destroying my irony meters – I’m going to have to send them a bill) is this – pro-slaughters accuse animal welfare advocates of being all caught up with unicorns and such;  meanwhile,  this woman herself seems to be living in a fantasy world where the kill floors are inhabited with smiling dolphins,  frolicking golden retrievers and top-hatted pandas who will escort her horse across the Rainbow Bridge.  Furthermore,  when an animal nears death,  it’s 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.  This particular person wants to squeeze in this disposal of her horse at a slaughterhouse when it’s convenient for HER (perhaps she’s got a plan to come up here with a trailer of horses anyway),  based on some schedule she has for coming to Canada.

On a very serious note,  please check out these undercover videos of Bouvry,  submitted to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (and verified by the Canadian government) – CAUTION – GRAPHIC.  This whole escapade is pretty fvcking insensitive.  Aside from the fact that this won’t happen for a gazillion reasons, one of which is liability,  and there are serious fines,  so the CFIA tells us anyway,  that can be levied against you if you make false declarations on the EID,  which is exactly what she would have to do in order that he be slaughtered in Canada.  So please don’t mess with the food supply,  K?  We Canadians don’t say “eh” we say “fvckin’ eh!” and we will throw a beaver at you.  But not a real beaver,  that’s cruel.

What are the current fines? What will the new fines and penalties be under the Safe Food for Canadians Act?

Welcome to Canada!

The Act will implement tougher fines and penalties for activities that put the health and safety of Canadians at risk. Anyone convicted of an offence by way of summary conviction under the Act would face a penalty of up to $250,000 and/or 6 months imprisonment for a first offence, or more for subsequent offences.

When the offence is serious or knowingly or recklessly puts Canadians lives in danger, such as tampering, penalties are up to $500,000 and/or 18 months imprisonment for a first offence proceeded by way of summary conviction, or more for subsequent offences.  Anyone convicted of an offence by way of indictment will face even higher fines and penalties.

Current Legislation

Current Penalties

Safe Food for Canadians Act

Canada Agricultural Products Act Summary Conviction– $50,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonment Indictable Offence– $250,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment(Amount of the fine for an subsequent offence could be higher if designated by regulation) For most offences:Summary Conviction (First offence)– $250,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonmentSummary Conviction  (Subsequent offence)– $500,000 fine and/or 18 months imprisonmentIndictable Offence– $5,000,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonmentFor certain serious offences*:Summary Conviction (First offence)– $500,000 fine and/or 18 months imprisonmentSummary Conviction (Subsequent offence)– $1,000,000 fine and/or 2 year imprisonmentIndictable Offence– Unlimited fine and/or 5 year imprisonment*: Tampering, providing false information, failing to comply with an order, or knowingly or recklessly causing a risk
Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act Summary Conviction– $50,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonmentIndictable Offence – $250,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonment
Fish Inspection Act Summary Conviction (First offence)– $20,000 fine and/or 3 months imprisonment  Summary Conviction  (Subsequent offence)– $50,000 fine and/or 2 years imprisonmentIndictable Offence (Corporation)– $250,000 fineIndictable Offence (Individual) – $100,000 fine and/or 5 years imprisonment
Meat Inspection Act Most offencesSummary Conviction– $50,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonmentCertain serious offencesIndictable Offence – $250,000 fine and /or 2 years imprisonment
Food and Drugs Act Summary Conviction– $50,000 fine and/or 6 months imprisonmentIndictable Offence – $250,000 fine and/or 3 years imprisonment

Dr. Richard Arsenault, director of the meat programs division for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),  thinks that the regulations are working.  “It’s extremely well respected in terms of compliance,” he says.  Obviously,  he hasn’t met our little case-study!  His statements are alarming from a food safety perspective due to drugs that are banned in animals raised for slaughter but are regularly administered by horse owners and veterinarians, including common wormers, vaccines, diuretics, NSAIDS,  and analgesics.  It is because of these very drugs that Bouvry and Richelieu slaughterhouses in Canada previously issued a statement that they would no longer accept Thoroughbreds for slaughter.

EID Disclosure - Horse cannot be slaughtered if this form is honestly completed

EID Disclosure – Horse cannot be slaughtered if this form is honestly completed

“This includes the non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, Phenylbutazone (also known as “bute”), a painkiller given to 90% of U.S. horses and nearly all racehorses on and before race day. Bute is a known human carcinogen. With no acceptable withdrawal period, even a single dose in any animal sold for meat is banned by the EU, FDA and USDA.”

In conclusion,  there is no way this horse can ethically be slaughtered in Canada (not that horse slaughter is ethical to begin with).  If the owner is honest with respect to the EID,  and if Bouvry is acting in accordance with the CFIA’s own regulations regarding prohibited drugs such as Bute,  the horse would presumably be declined.  Then what could conceivably happen?  She would drive him all the way back to the States after completing even more paperwork?  It is my sincere hope that someone on the pro-slaughter side will rise to the occasion and educate this poorly-informed woman before she makes a series of mistakes and presuppositions that will prolong the pain and anxiety for this horse,  a pet she has apparently had since childhood.  Driving your horse to a different country when you could simply euthanize him at home and render him (if that service is available and that’s what you want) is the nadir of foolhardiness.

“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.”

Pro-slaughters,  you are now free to  go back to your lives as usual – unresponsive,  uninvolved, and uninformed.  Call the paramedics,  and charge the defibrillator, because……….

You have just flatlined

……..you have just flatlined

Activism – The Measure Of Our Success

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Written by: Heather Clemenceau ©

How can we gauge success in our activist efforts? Obviously,  there are the public successes,  as we’ve seen with the Dorian Ayache/Three Angels Farm case – where three private citizens provided evidence and filed a formal complaint with the USDA OfficeKeep Calm of the Inspector General that he had violated the 28 hour USDA regulations. The regulations prevent horses intended for slaughter from “being on a conveyance for transport” for over 28 hours. These are the regulations that exist and are intended to provide a minimum acceptable standard for transporting animals,  but never seem to be enforced.  As a result of this citizen effort,  Ayache has now been hit with fines for violation of the 28 hour rule,  which  amounts to $5,000 per horse, or $185,000 for 37 horses.  One can only speculate how long this operation has flouted the law and caused terrible suffering to horses while perpetuating this cruelty at the expense of the taxpayer.

Obviously,  the citizen activism in this example required a significant investment of time coupled with the element of risk – what might have happened had they been discovered? To end the mistreatment of horses,  and indeed all animals,  we must inform people that is is happening AND ensure that reporting in the news is fair,  accurate,  and given the priority it deserves.  Handing out leaflets, flyers, brochures and booklets in public is one way to have a powerful impact and reach people who might otherwise never know about these issues – this happens every week in front of La Palette in Toronto, as part of the ongoing protest against the restaurant’s decision to serve horsemeat.

Through this form of direct activism, advocates can expose masses of people to challenging new information and perspectives. However,  not everyone can make a commitment of several hours per day or week,  nor may they be able to travel long distances doing field-work.  But we can all help prevent injustices against horses (or people, the environment etc.) by taking action on the internet and ensuring that what is published and reported is accurate.  It’s a daily challenge.I can't believe we still have to protest horse slaughter

We know  is that success is not measured only in large-scale social reform but is also found in moments of connection — in building relationships and raising awareness,  in correcting information and assumptions that we know are wrong. We have seen the power of  social media coverage that has been devoted to the Boneless Lean Beef Trimmings (BLBT), better known as “pink slime,” which can be chalked up almost entirely to the attention of countless activists across the United States. The phrase “pink slime” was first used by a former USDA microbiologist, Gerald Zirnstein.  The current debate began after celebrity chef Jamie Oliver drew attention to the product. This ultimately pushed a few hundred thousand Americans to sign a petition online which demanded a complete stop to the use of pink slime in school food. AFA Foods, a leading American processor of ground beef, has filed for bankruptcy, citing the wave of negative media coverage surrounding their so-called “pink slime” product.

Haters Gonna HateWe need to take the lessons-learned from the “pink slime” debacle and transfer them to the horsemeat issues. There are certainly some corollaries – Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis has also proposed that horsemeat be used in schools.   The “pink slime” issue is an example of what happens when “clicktivists” are galvanized into action without the necessity of leaving their homes.  I have a few recent examples of how this works on the small-scale,  and how a small number of people,  even one person,  can elicit change and create awareness without a significant investment of time.

Bates County Horse Slaughter Poll Cancelled due to "ballot stuffing"

Bates County Horse Slaughter Poll Cancelled due to “ballot stuffing”

The Internet is at its best when communities develop based on a vigorous and open exchange of views. While robust disagreement is generally accepted (or perhaps just tolerated),  deceptive behaviour is not. The Bates County Blog (Missouri),  which normally features news articles such as “Employee of the Month”  and “Circuit Court News,” decided to host a poll about horse slaughter.  They probably never had so much traffic at their blog site after it was discovered by pro’s and anti’s!  The poll apparently passed cookie and IP information from the user’s computer to the polling application server-side as a way to ensure authentication,  but it was subject to abuse and multiple voting by some.

To that end,  a couple of anti-slaughter advocates decided to enlighten the editors of the Bates County blog by simply forwarding the postings from that “petulant pony “ blog,  where the author gloated (a little prematurely,  I might add) at the duplication of the votes by the pro-slaughters,  who deleted cookies,  used IP-concealing proxies and who knows what other “black hat” techniques in order to vote multiple times.  Clearly  the editors had no choice but to suspend the  poll after relaunching it late last week.   Of course,  the pro-slaughters will rationalize the closure of the poll any way they like, but the posting on the website speaks for itself – what are the chances that they will take a breather from the hysterical responses and read what was actually written? “We have investigated and found that the poll received multiple votes from the exact same locations,  indicating that the overall results will not be accurate.” Please take a moment to thank the editor for his honesty.  Spin it any way you like, pros,  because we know that you live in a world where verifiable facts are considered mere opinion.  It was a hot mess and you got caught confessing to stuffing the ballot box.  Pwned.

ActivismMy second example involves the Viandes Richelieu slaughter plant website.  Some months ago it was noticed that the  Massueville Quebec slaughterhouse had been taking liberties and running with the truth about the horses they slaughter.  Their stock of horses was,  according to them,  bred in beautiful surroundings and fed natural products.  Of course Richelieu is not a breeding farm, but a slaughterhouse,  so they don’t do any horse breeding,  much less in pastoral surroundings (you only have to look at a Google map image of the plant to see this).

To investigate their claims of organic horses frolicking in bountiful pastures, I wrote to Advertising Standards Canada,  a non-governmental body made up of advertisers, representatives from advertising agencies and the media, and consumers. It discourages false or misleading advertising by its members through codes of conduct. While they do breed horses, elk and bison at Bouvry in Alberta,  they certainly aren’t breeding horses at Richelieu,  and can hardly attest to what the horses have been fed in their previous incarnations as privately owned pets and performance animals.  I asked Advertising Standards Canada to help me understand exactly what “breeding” was going on in this “happy-horse” slaughterhouse,  and where they kept these horses that they bred specifically for slaughter,  you know,  the ones where they had evidence of traceability ::rollseyes::.  Here’s the original website:

Viande Richelieu False Advertising about horse slaughter

Not too long after sending the letter in 2011,  I received a response from ASC,  and I was advised that Viandes Richelieu had revamped their website to remove the misleading claims.  Perhaps it was as a result of the inquiry,  or perhaps they decided that their generally sucky website needed an update.  In any case,  a few minutes of writing likely lead to the removal of misleading language that has given life to the verbiage we hear over and over again from restauranteurs in Toronto serving horsemeat – “our horsemeat is organic.”  Here’s the response from Advertising Standards Canada:

Letter from Advertising Standards Canada/Les normes canadiennes de la publicité

Letter from Advertising Standards Canada/Les normes canadiennes de la publicité

OK,  so that’s one problem solved,  more on Richelieu and their new website later in the blog.  In our internet travels we also come across more examples of either accidental errors or deliberate attempts to mislead the public.  It’s important to take time to EDUCATE editors, bloggers,  and writers whenever we notice that they have either misunderstood information provided,  or have been deliberately mislead.  There seems to be a lot of this happening with Big-Ag E-zines for some reason.  Case in point – the US has not,  in any given year,  slaughtered anywhere near 9.2  million horses,  nor has the slaughter industry provided 400,000 jobs, as evidenced in this next example.  And what’s up with the comment about beef, pork, and poultry etc?

I wish someone would ask Charlie Stenholm if he has monsters under his bed,  what with all this fear-mongering.  It’s more than a touch unreasonable.   The people prepping these PR pieces should be giving a side-eye to these numbers,  because,  while I don’t live in the US,  they sure made me do a double-take.  400,000 people working in three slaughterhouses?  That would make horse slaughter a larger industry than health care!  Those numbers actually refer to the TOTAL number of living horses in the US and the TOTAL number of jobs in all equine related businesses.  So that leaves us to wonder – who’s responsible for these grievous errors?  Meat spokes-whore Charlie Stenholm?  The E-zines?  Or someone working in Charlie’s office?  Is it accidental or deliberate?  And how many more are out there waiting to be discovered?  And who might be reading all this bogus information and making decisions based on it?  We saw more than one example of these exact same numbers provided to other Pro-Ag websites,  and asked the editors of one such site to correct their information.  Looks like groups on the receiving-end of Charlie Stenholm’s PR machine need to run all his comments through FactCheck.org before publishing.  Just sayin’

To put that into perspective,  it took only a handful of activists who sought to correct this misnomer in a polite and diplomatic fashion,  and it was accepted and corrected.   The resulting post was a mere shadow of its formal self.

False Information Charlie Stenholm horse slaughter

And below is a very similar proclamation from another Big-Ag website,  that started out with almost the exact same wording as above,  but with the inaccurate information removed,  which pretty much eliminates half the text in the article.

False information Charlie Stenholm horse slaughter

And then,  there’s this,  for which I have few words.  But it’s the “Beat our Meat Trade News Daily,”  where you can read about masturbation, homophobia,  and America-bashing along with industry news and food safety issues.   I guess the editor must like Canadians though,  because we will slaughter anything that can’t outrun us.  I almost feel sexually harrassed just by reading this.  This is not a blog,  but a supposedly professional publication catering to several countries.

I’ve written to this wanker,  oh s’cuse me, editor before,  and in response to one polite email,  received 5 or 6 pervy responses back before blocking his ass.  Is this the way  professional editors govern themselves?  Can you not make reference to your trade without calling your readers wankers or bastards or referencing an act of sexual gratification?  And can you think of any reason why you’d want to read this E-zine in future or believe anything they publish?  Rather than complain about this,  I think it’s funnier and more damaging to the organization to leave it up.  No doubt someone other than myself will see fit to give it a well-deserved mocking.  Soppy wanker!

meat trade news daily - false information horse slaughter

So now we come back almost full-circle to Viandes Richelieu and the latest incarnation of their website.  Of course,  their new website is a whole new breed of offensive,  what with the recommendation that pregnant women eat their untraceable horsemeat – am I the only one that thinks that they are tiptoeing dangerously around giving health advice to pregnant women?  Pregnant women of all people should NEVER consume raw meat,  which is often how horsemeat is consumed.  When you think of it,  what other products can you buy at a grocery store that come with the recommendation that they should be eaten by pregnant women (aside from vitamins)?  And what’s with the comment that customers enjoy “thoroughbreds and half-breeds?”  Aren’t they supposed to be declining thoroughbreds?  And what’s the point of emphasizing any breed of horse?  Once they’re dis-assembled and converted into slabs of meat,  an appaloosa is indistinguishable from an arab.

Truly,  I think that the business of slaughtering horses is governed by people possessing a degree of intelligence that is far below the mean for the rest of the population.  We can’t by shy about going after these purveyors of dis-information.  So with the launch of their new website comes the re-launch of my old complaints about their providing misleading information.

new Viandes Richelieu site - questionable information

easy buttonWe do need to be careful that social media doesn’t foster “Clicktivism,” which may also create a “diffusion of responsibility.”  Many legitimate causes get lost in cyberspace because in this age of information, because someone is wrong on the internetwe sometimes feel that all we need to do to “get involved” is join a fan page, or “like” something our friend has posted. Certainly people are more informed, but what are they doing with that information? I have seen several on-line petitions that absolutely did achieve their end result – 100% verifiable success (not related to horses though),  but by signing on-line petitions or forwarding links we must always ask ourselves what exactly are we accomplishing? It’s sometimes misleading us because it lets us off the hook from actually doing something that we can see or measure directly.  Be authentic – be a real voice for horses.  Personally,  I always make comments elsewhere on the internet using my own name because I want pro-slaughter advocates to know that I am always “on” for horses.  It can be very gratifying to follow-up and  see what became of our on-line efforts,  which sometimes takes as little as one email or phone call. As long as someone is spouting bullshit about horse slaughter, someone else should point it out.  And I’d love to hear other examples!

You just need to be a flea against injustice. Enough committed fleas biting strategically can make even the biggest dog uncomfortable” – Marian Wright Edelman