Monthly Archives: July 2013

Chevideco’s Diabolical Plan to Slaughter 100,000 Belgian Horses

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donteathorse_0Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Thousands of horses are slaughtered in Belgium each year.  Not all these horses were raised in that country either – many were transported across the borders from the Netherlands and France for slaughter.  While horsemeat is readily available in Belgium, this  doesn’t necessarily translate into across-the-board social acceptance of eating horses, nor does it mean that the entire population of Belgium enthusiastically engages in the practice.  The results of an Ipsos survey in Belgium revealed that while 67% of respondents had eaten horsemeat at some point in their lives,  a mere 4% actually claimed to eat it frequently.

Belgium slaughters a relatively small number of horses (relative to North America, that is). The last available stats courtesy of HSI (Humane Society International) explains why Belgium also imports large amounts of horsemeat from other countries.

Horses Slaughtered Within Belgium

2007 –      10,149

 2010 –        8,926

  2011 –        9,613 

horsemeat exported to Belgium

Source: An investigation into the availability of horsemeat in Belgium, France, and the Netherlands – http://www.hsi.org/assets/pdfs/horses_EU_horsemeat_retail_investigation_Oct2012.pdf

Chevideco and all horse slaughterhouses treat horses as an agricultural product – a mere commodity. Olivier Kemseke, the General Manager, also slaughters local horses too, in a slaughterhouse located in a run-down neighbourhood (would you expect any other kind?) in central Brussels.  Kemseke sometimes personally inspects the horses at the abattoirs while wearing a butcher’s robe.

Chevideco General Manager - Olivier Kemseke

Chevideco General Manager – Olivier Kemseke

As most followers of the horse slaughter issues know, Chevideco was forced to close a profitable slaughterhouse in Texas.  That company owned the former Dallas Crown slaughterhouse that former Mayor Paula Bacon and others so carefully documented and chronicled.  From a US perspective, one of the best “go-to” persons is obviously Paula Bacon, who has always been more than willing to provide documentation from the Public Works Director, former Kaufman City Manager, Presbyterian Hospital, the daycare center, and the Police Chief, to support her claims about Dallas Crown,  which had a very long history of violations to their waste permit.   The city was even fined by the TCEQ for the plant’s failure to comply with backflow regulations that meant horse blood and waste backed up into sinks, toilets and tubs. When the plant finally closed, the city was left with nearly $100,000 in unpaid fines.

Dallas Crown consistently denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order. City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015. There were numerous examples of offal and hides being transported through main thoroughfares in containers without covers, as well as problems with bones and other body parts in neighbouring yards, resulting in the attraction of “dogs and other animals.”

In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City’s budget. The cost to litigate against Dallas Crown consisted of the entire legal budget for the fiscal year. During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.  Dallas Crown was completely adversarial in Kaufman Texas.  Only the 1949 Texas law banning horse slaughter for human consumption finally got rid of them after a protracted battle in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.

So, Dallas Crown and therefore its parent company, Chevideco, were hardly the most upstanding corporate citizens.  Not atypically though, horse slaughter interests are arrogant and not accustomed to being challenged.  Dallas Crown and the rest of the foreign-owned US slaughterhouses seemed to think that laws and communities can be ignored with impunity.

France Horsemeat ScandalDespite the fact that Belgium is importing large amounts of horsemeat from other countries, Kemseke has set his gaze on slaughtering the large percentage of horses that are not incorporated into the Belgian passporting system.  He basically wants to slaughter as if there is no passporting system of horses at all.  This continues Chevideco’s conscious policy and practice of taking selfish advantage of circumstances with little regard for principles or for the consequences of these horses and the people that own them.  He views this as a monumental cash grab (he estimates these horses are worth 60 million €) and couches the whole sordid, self-interested mess as one driven by his humanity for horses.  That’s right – slaughter them for food – BEFORE they can be abused and neglected.

Please read through this and tell me you don’t see right through it just as if you were looking through a fishtank (original here):

Horse Vendor

There’s much in his proposal that deserves commenting.  First of all, note the high percentage of noncompliant horses and owners – Kemseke tells us it’s 41%.  To me this is evidence that the Belgians probably aren’t much different from North Americans in that they don’t want the tracking system either.

Secondly, note that Kemseke’s work document tells us that it is really out of concern for FUTURE neglect that he bases this entire premise (the slaughter of 100,000 undocumented horses) on.  How did 100,000 un-passported horses suddenly become a “welfare timebomb?”

Of course, the “humane” aspect in this document seems like an afterthought, because Kemseke immediately announces at the start of his work document  that the opportunity for capturing this market is potentially 60 million €.  What indications does he have that unregistered horses are or will be neglected?  Aren’t they currently owned by someone?  How will the current owners be forced to enroll in the passport system if they haven’t already?  Interesting that Kemseke seems to want the Belgian/EU authorities to enforce passporting or accept his work-around so that it can ultimately enrich his pocketbook.

He goes on to list the industries that will benefit by slaughtering these horses,  suggesting that these industries can only exist by the grace and favour of the horse slaughter industry.  One of these is apparently the leather industry.  Please someone,  for God’s sake,  think of the cordovan leather industry!

Kemseke includes Pharma as one of the beneficiaries of horse slaughter.  Apparently he has found other means by which to capitalize on some of the inedible byproducts of horse slaughter – the lower legs of horses which yield tendons that Metal horse heads are seen above a closed horsemeat butcher shop in ParisChevideco has multi-purposed off to the medical products industry.  The horse tendons are being reclaimed to be used in a product called Tachocomb®, used to stop bleeding during surgery.  It’s basically a biological sponge that absorbs blood during surgery, and like Premarin® and Prempro®, there are probably non-biologic alternatives to using it too.

He goes on to state that it is morally wrong to disregard a good source of protein with people in the world starving. But that statement begs the question – what is Kemseke’s plan for feeding the poor?  What is he currently doing to feed the poor with the horses he does slaughter?  Another Trojan Horse.  And he presents us with the false dilemma of finding more horses to eat rather than resorting to eating bugs as protein!

He also complains that the feeding and basic maintenance of these horses costs 145 million €.  This is a recurring annual cost, additional costs of veterinary and farrier attention has not been considered.  Well, who gives a shit?  Are these costs coming out of his own pocket?  Horses are not on welfare – their owners are paying for this, and it’s driving the economy.  If these 100,000 horses were all suddenly slaughtered, regardless of whether they are wanted or not, none of the aforementioned people or businesses are going to get any money!

horsemeat_0Most worrisome of all is that this work document is intended to set a precedent for other EU countries and probably Canada and the US, where Sue Wallis and Bill DesBarres must be salivating out of every orifice at the thought. However, even if enforcement did happen, that’s no guarantee that he’d get 60 million € from that as he anticipates.  It’s likely that those 100,000 horses are all privately owned and nobody is giving them up anytime soon.  How many of them would declare that their horses had had drugs?  That leaves an even smaller number out of the 100,000 that he would also have to share amongst the other Belgian slaughter organizations such as Velda N.V. and Multimeat N.V.

The lesson learned here is that even with a passporting or traceability system, sleazy operators will always try to find a work-around to line their pockets.  Will it eventually come down to someone in authority agreeing that,  despite every procedural mechanism being undertaken to prevent it,  even horses with documented bute treatment will eventually all be deemed “slaughter-able”  after the passage of six months?  Inintended consequences indeed.   “Follow the money trail” sounds like such an old Hollywood cliché but it really is true when speaking of corporate corruption.

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Down To The Wire

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horse out of timeWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Last October slaughterphiles in the US and Canada watched in horror as all their latent fears came true.  Despite holding on to the promise of horse slaughter as tight as a tick on a long-tailed mare, they watched and listened in disbelief as Claude Bouvry inexplicably ceased to accept American horses for slaughter for a weekend.  No one had any notice and certainly no clear explanation, despite lots of theories about residues and EU audits.  If they were following the plot,  these slaughterphiles would really be losing control of their sphincter muscle right about now because that temporary panic was just practice.  We’re now less than two weeks ago from the July 31st deadline, as originally identified in the GAO report.  But.  since many pros are notoriously unprepared and unaware of issues surrounding horse slaughter (they blithely ignore most evidence of cruelty),  most of them refuse to believe that horse slaughter might someday go away.

Nobody in the horse industry had ever heard of July 31,2013 as some sort of drop-dead date.  That is until it was included in the GAO report, which declared July 31st as the date that the EU would require lifetime medication records for all horses slaughtered outside of the EU.  While there’s a big rush to launch traceability for horses in Canada,  no one knows or will elaborate on what,  if anything,  this date means to horse slaughter in Canada.

A few months back I contacted Equine Canada asked them pointedly whether there was a big rush to get traceability implemented in Canada, and asked them specifically about that magic date.  They told me they had no idea to what I was referring, and asked me to contact some soulless minion at the CFIA, who of course never responded.

A few weeks ago I wrote to Dr. Ian Alexander in the hopes that he might let me know if I had to run to out and get a Premise ID for my “farm,” or whether we might be able to look forward to a seriously diminished Canadian horse slaughter enterprise in less than 2 weeks.

passing-of-timeOf course, I don’t have an answer yet, and maybe I never will.  Or maybe I’ll get the standard form letter that assures me that the CFIA has everything under control.  But in addition to the temporary slaughter shut-down in October, there’s more foreshadowing of what might come down the pipeline,  if not in two weeks,  but eventually.  Like the hammer of an auctioneer at the end of an auction or a judge at the end of a trial, said hammer will also fall on us.

There are many hints that food adulteration is becoming increasingly intolerable to our trading partners:

Ractopamine,  a growth promoter,   is given to beef cattle during their last 4-6 weeks, to pigs in their last 4 weeks, and turkeys for their last 1-2 weeks.  The Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, Health Protection Branch of the Health and Welfare Department of Ottawa here in Canada found that rats fed ractopamine experienced a cluster of birth defects such as cleft palate, open eyelids, shortened limbs, missing digits, enlarged heart, and protruding tongue.

In 2002, the FDA accused Eli Lilly. the manufacturer of Paylean, the brand name for ractopamine for pigs, of a cover-up on the dangers of the drug in animals.    There was no mention in documents submitted during Paylean’s approval process of numerous phone calls from farmers reporting that their animals vomited after consuming feed containing Paylean or that they had become hyperactive or had died as a result of exposure to the drug.

Inexplicably, the FDA went on to approve ractopamine for cattle the following year even after sending a warning letter to Elanco (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly) on its deception and abuse of the approval process of Paylean for pigs.

Even though the FDA rolled over on ractopamine, other countries paid attention to the scandal with the growth enhancing drug banned in Russia, Europe, Taiwan and China where an estimated 1,700 people were “poisoned” from eating Paylean-fed pigs.  You know that the industrial food system is fucked-up when the Russians know more about our food system than we do.

South Korea has banned and then un-banned US wheat.  This comes after the announcement about the contamination of US commercially grown wheat with Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat.  It was un-banned earlier this month after Ian Alexander dunce caption1samples showed all were free of the unapproved genetically-modified wheat strain.

Meanwhile, Canada is renovating our parliamentary buildings to cleanse them of asbestos, which of course causes cancer. While doing so, the Canadian government is still pushing exports of asbestos to third-world countries. Canada has even gone so far as to argue a challenge at the World Trade Organization that a proposed French ban on asbestos imports would be an illegal trade practice. Despite recent warnings that asbestos was the cause of hundreds of thousands of cancer victims in Europe, Canadian asbestos producers continue to promote and sell it worldwide to developing nations.  It’s the new tobacco – find a market for toxic goods and pawn it off on the poor brown people of the world.  It’s really embarrassing to be a Canadian when you know that your government is implicated in shit like this,  but what would you expect from a country that hasn’t revised its animal protection laws significantly for 200 years and still promotes the seal hunt and ignores the issues with horse slaughter?

So the point is that our trading partners are fickle groups, and at any point in time we can become the recipient of the fickle finger of fate.  The world is becoming more aware of the health hazards of food contamination through animal rearing activities.  Which is really ironic since most horses aren’t actually “reared” for food.  There is no such thing as an animal that is duel purpose – meaning an animal that is a pet to most AND also one that is used as a food source.   We have pet animals and food animals – not both.

You can read the letter to Dr. Alexander below:

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“Dear Dr. Alexander,

Under regulations of the Health of Animals Act, Canada has a mandatory identification program for cattle, bison and sheep. Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have expanded that program to include horses.  According to AAFC, horses are functional livestock and are part of the national ID and traceability strategy for animal health and food safety reasons.

Equine Canada, the comprehensive national governing body for equestrianism, is responsible for developing a national equine-specific program (CanEQUID) to satisfy federal government requirements for identification and traceability for equines.  This program would somehow have to be imposed upon US horses coming to Canada as well,  since, after spending several years and millions on the National Animal Identification System , (NAIS) the U.S. Department  of Agriculture (USDA) apparently scrapped the effort and turned responsibility for livestock identification over to the 50 states and various tribal nations.  But for horses sent to Canada for slaughter,  Americans would also have to adopt the UELN, which may result in greater scrutiny for premises ID than that currently experienced for gun control.

Also simultaneously moving forward are the new CFIA meat hygiene directives that affect horsemeat – as of July 31st this year, Canadian slaughter facilities will require complete health records dating back six months.  This would apparently phase-out the often fallaciously completed Equine Information Document (EID), which has failed to assure EU members that drugs are not entering the food chain.   The deadline (July 2013) was created in an exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and SANGO, which is the EU’s version of the CFIA. The working group which includes the CFIA,  Agri-Food Canada,  Health Canada,  the slaughterhouses,  provincial horse groups and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.  You can also read the reference to the July 31, 2013 date in the GAO report – (page 13)  It states:

Ian Alexander kool-aid“Furthermore, effective July 31, 2013, the European Union will require lifetime medication records for all horses slaughtered in non-European Union countries before accepting imports of horsemeat from those countries. According to APHIS and horse industry sources, these requirements could result in shippers certifying that their horses are free of medication residues without having first-hand knowledge or documentation of the horses’ status for the previous 180 days.”

What action is supposed to be undertaken by the EU on July 31, 2013?    It seems clear that the EU is referring to traceability here, which would seemingly eliminate the EID.  Would you be able to explain what action Canada will be taking with regard to horsemeat shipments after this date?

Here’s the CanEquid  Strategy document.

The CanEQUID model is based on an electronic passport system with an individual record for each horse. The electronic passport record will include:

  • Unique identification information, including a unique lifetime number
  • Horse ownership information
  • Home farm premises information
  • Premises date and location where horses co-mingle for industry activities
  • Horse health records related to a horse’s status for processing
  • Traceability events – health certificates issued, transport manifest documents issued, etc.

Is Canada’s traceability program going to work for U.S. horses?  It doesn’t seem possible,  since no one in Canada can attest to an individual horse’s status for slaughter.

If a traceability system is not in place by July 31st, what does Ag-Canada anticipate will happen to horsemeat shipments?  Is it likely that this date will be extended?”

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

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

Spectacle of Cruelty – “Bloodless” Bullfighting Comes to Toronto

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Horses are at grave risk in bullfightsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

I was recently shocked to discover that Portuguese “bloodless” bullfighting (corrida incruenta) was occurring in Toronto a few weeks ago, and was sanctioned by the Ontario government.  You may think that a “bloodless” bullfight is comparable to teasing the angry neighbourhood dog, but such is not the case.  Bullfights, whether traditional or “bloodless” all have the same narrative of dominance over the “beast.”

“Bloodless” bullfights are actually something of a misnomer – anyone – human or animal, can still be maimed or killed at this event.  And the bull still dies at the end.  Furthermore, bullfights inhibit bulls and horses from enjoying all of The Five Animal Welfare Freedoms: (The concept of Five Freedoms originated with the Report of the Technical Committee to Enquire into the Welfare of Animals kept under Intensive Livestock Husbandry Systems, the Brambell Report, December 1965 HMSO London, ISBN 0 10 850286 4).  They are:

  • To be free from thirst and hunger (bulls are frequently denied food the day before a bullfight)

  • To be free from discomfort

  • To be free from pain, injury and disease

  • To be free to express normal behaviour

  • To be free from fear and distress that may be caused when a person fails to give some of these freedoms

flyer

Who here will be the recipient of the next Darwin award?

The fact that bullfighting spectacles are public (although in the Toronto area fairly secretive as they are advertised only in Portuguese) has made the practices of animal abuse difficult to hide.  It’s important to distinguish between traditional (Spanish-style) bullfights and the Portuguese –style that took place in Toronto.

This style of bullfighting began in California in the 1980s, launched by the Portuguese since traditional bullfights were not allowed in that state (and probably not in others either).  Growing intolerance towards animal abuse  has forced the bullfighting industry to reform its image and redefine its activities to attempt to dispense with the cruelty label and appear more politically correct.

For years, bullfights of this type happened without the animal welfare movement complaining … because the anti-bullfighting movement had no idea that these “bloodless” events existed, considering the lack of publicity about them.

The main (human) characters in a any style of bullfight, probably require some explanation.  They are:

  • Cavaleiros – A horseman or woman (rider), dressed in traditional 18th century costumes fights the bull from horseback.

  • The Forcados are a group of eight men who challenge the bull directly, without any protection or weapon of defense. The front man provokes the bull into a charge to perform a face catch (these guys are otherwise known as the suicide squad).

  • Matadores – The unmounted killer of bulls.

  • Bandarilheiros – These men are the matador’s and/or cavaleiro’s helpers in the arena. While in the arena, they are holding the cape to distract or position the bull.

bullfight

Downsview Park, Toronto

In a typical (Spanish) bullfight the tools of the trade are all sharp spear-like implements designed to cause great injury and blood loss.  The banderillas (speared flags) have sharp pronged spikes that penetrate the bull’s withers.  Another tool of the Spanish bullfight is the pica, a long spear that is stabbed in the bull’s back by the picador on horseback.  The pica is used to produce pain and to cut the bull’s muscles. This dagger remains deeply embedded in the bull’s back during the remainder of the fight. Finally, the bull is killed with a verdugo while he is either still standing or lying prostrate on the ground or while engaged in mounted pursuit.  The verdugo is aimed at the heart, but sometimes (or usually) the bull does not die instantaneously, so the onslaught may be continued to paralyze him, before cutting off his ears and tail.   The Portuguese bullfight scenario uses all the same methods of torture for bull and horse, but the sharp tools are replaced by Velcro attachments, including a Velcro “saddle” as a means of affixing the banderillas.  The horns of the bull are capped with leather or brass fittings, and the bull is not killed afterwards within public view (but god only knows what happens afterwards).

A non-bloodless bullfight includes the showstopping drama of a gored and maimed matador.

A non-bloodless bullfight includes the showstopping drama of a gored and maimed matador. Bull – 1, Julio Aparicio – 0

The Toronto bullfight is touted as “bloodless” since the bull wears the saddle pad attached to its large withers, and he is “stabbed” with the banderillas that have Velcro tips.  The bull isn’t killed in the arena, but apparently killed later, and his ears and tail are not cut off.  That the bull is still eventually killed seems to be reinforced by the presence of a “bull handler” in at the Toronto event, who bore the name of the the Nosso Talho butcher in Toronto on his T-shirt.

The horses used in Portuguese bullfighting suffer less than traditional corrida, but they are still terrorized and the possibility of injury or death is always present, even though the bulls have capped horns.  The horses also endure a severe and painful training regime, which includes the continuous and heavy use of the rider’s spurs.  Riding a horse in an arena towards a bull requires the use of heavy spurring, which often leaves patches of blood on the horses’ sides.  Anyone who rides or interacts with horses will know that they are not the most courageous animals, hence the use of sharp spurs.

Unlike the horses in a Spanish bullfight, who are there primarily to be gored by the bull, these horses are beautiful and well-trained.  They are usually Portuguese Lusitanos, who are skilled in dressage and truly exhibit their art in the arena.  If you take the bullfight out of the equation, you would very much enjoy their graceful movements.

petos horse protection garment

The Petos – cloth horse protection “armor.”

The purpose for including many horses in the Spanish bullfights is to wear out the bull by continually presenting opportunities for him to have to lift and throw the blindfolded animals into the air.  In this way the bullfighters make the fight somewhat safer for themselves (at the terrible expense of the innocent horses) while they execute their passes and/or twirls.  By being presented with these “obstacles,” the bull is weakened to reduce the risk of accident.

Although the horses used in the Spanish fights have cloth armour, this “protection” is insufficient, and the bull can easily knock the horse down and gore it in the unprotected parts of the body, adding real wounds (sometimes fatal) to the terror horses endure from the moment that an invisible being – since the horse is blindfolded – charges against it with all its force.  The horses used for this type of bullfight are old ones, and after they have served all their lives in a faithful way to mankind, they are sold for few coins to the bullfighters when they should have earned their retirement.

Before the fight, their vocal cords are mutilated without any anaesthetic, so when the bulls approach them, they cannot neigh in fear or pain if already gored. This is so that the audience is not aware that the horse is suffering,  which must prompt you to wonder what kind of “special” person could not be aware that the horses are terrified or in agony.  Even where there is no accident to the horses, they are occasionally seen to be bleeding, since the riders use the spurs with so much intensity to make the horse react quickly to their instructions, that these cause visible injuries.

butcher

This butcher shop on Bloor Street W. in Toronto might be a good place to watch for the announcement of the 2014 bullfight! And they’re on Facebook!

Another aspect that makes the bloodless bullfight cruel for the bull is due to the fact that the bulls have high mass and a not very efficient mechanism to control the excess of body temperature (they neither sweat profusely like the equines or human beings, nor do they have very long tongues to eliminate heat like dogs).  As a result, after fairly limited exercise they are easily exhausted and at risk of suffering hyperthermia. This can be verified simply observing their facial expressions – the open mouth and the tongue out, while breathing intensely.

Nevertheless, the dangers to horses in Portuguese bullfights are similar to the dangers of the horses in Spanish bullfights, despite the capped horns of the bulls. This GRAPHIC and disturbing film shows what may happen to them.  I’m sure everyone can anticipate what can happen in a mounted bullfight, so unless your imagination isn’t very good or you “need” to see, I’d suggest you don’t watch it. It’s here in case anyone needs any further persuading only.  And even though the bull’s horns are capped at the “bloodless” event,  a horse can still be seriously or fatally injured.

inside the stadium

Fun for the entire family at Downsview Park. Check your compassion at the gate.

Bullfighting has surely reached its lengthy final phase.  The desperate search for “less cruel” bullfight will never end, because the bullfighting industry is trying to create something that cannot exist, like “humane horse slaughter.”  It will ultimately fail, since with the passage of every generation, we are more sensitive to animal suffering and more sophisticated in detecting it.  And anything that the bullfighting industry does to get rid of the cruel label will ultimately fail is because its activities are absolutely cruel, and this fact can easily be documented.

For cruelty to occur two elements are needed: that unnecessary suffering is caused to an animal, and that those who cause it keep on causing it even though they are free to stop doing it. To deliberately and repeatedly cause suffering, even psychological suffering in the case of “bloodless” bullfights – for entertainment, while ignoring pain of the victim, is an act not only of cruelty but of torture.

Also disturbing at the Toronto event, bullfighting aficionados have brought teenagers so that they can also become fans, through desensitizing and “tribal cohesion” (you can see teens with adults in one of the arena pics).  You end up with a younger culture that continues to be desensitized to the suffering of animals.  There are already well-known studies that relate the abuse of animals to the abuse to human beings, and there are more scholars and welfare advocates who join the rejection of bullfighting not only for animal protection reasons, but to create awareness of the human cost as well.

Even “bloodless” bullfights infringe on The Five Animal Welfare Freedoms. Therefore, the bullfighting industry, in charge of the well-being of its animals, is in breach of those five blood spursanimal freedoms, and it is therefore also guilty of animal abuse.  In the 21st century there is no room for cruel spectacles that cause suffering to other sentient beings, (not that there ever was such a reason) and changing the name, the form or intensity of such cruelty does not give them the right to continue existing.

Torontonians made a valiant effort and in a scant few days amassed over 1,700 signatures on a petition, in an attempt to stop this event.  The OSPCA and Toronto Animal Services were present to examine the bulls and the Velcro saddles they wore.  Unfortunately, we were disadvantaged by not hearing about it soon enough, and the event not being widely advertised.  But we will be ready in 2014.

Ernest Hemingway aspired to be a matador. His novel The Sun Also Rises has autobiographical elements and includes bullfighting themes, as do his short stories.  He also wrote two non-fiction books on bullfighting – Death in the Afternoon and The Dangerous Summer.  However, Hemingway was clear about one thing:

“Bullfighting is not a sport. It was never supposed to be. It is a tragedy. A very great tragedy.”

feature of humane bullfight

Somehow, there is dignity in this?