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 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
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?
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!
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
| 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
|| 44. Testosterone
| 13. Detomidine
|| 29. Mepivacaine
|| 45. Triamcinolone
| 14. Dexamethasone
|| 46. Trichlomethiazide
| 15. Diazepam
|| 31. Methylprednisolone
| 16. DMSO
|| 32. Nandrolone
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