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:

***********************************************************************************************************************************

“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

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About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out http://boinc.berkeley.edu/ if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - http://iwl.me/ Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

13 responses »

  1. Pingback: Down to the Wire | Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Blog

  2. Thank You also!!! But what I am reading we really have no idea what is going to happen with the US & Canada’s horses as far as legalities of traceability’s of drugs in them, you know are they going to continue? Can they still lie and continue, are we cut off completely which I hope??? NO solid facts of what is going to happen, cause we all in the US keep saying WHERE are they going to ship the meat???? Oh god I wish it would finally stop finally needs to stop…..

    • Debbie, we really don’t know what will happen, if anything. Both Bill DesBarres of HWAC and Equine Canada are pushing to get their system implemented and recognized. Apparently Ag-Canada will be providing funding to Equine Canada. But they will be nowhere near ready with a system, and it will take years to accumulate the required amount of data.

  3. Given that desBarres and Slaughterhouse Sue are partners with Kemseke, I would have to hazard a guess that this little `paper’ of his, recently released, tips their hand at how they are going to attempt to get around traceability issues in the future. If they can get this pushed through in Belgium they will use it as a precedent elsewhere. Naturally, they frame it as being all about the welfare of horses….
    http://library.constantcontact.com/download/get/file/1103685263837-161/horse+welfare+Belgium.pdf

    • Well that’s interesting on several fronts. I’m surprised that 41% of horses are NOT part of Belgium’s passporting system. It’s also extremely sleazy IMO that Kemseke wants to glom onto these horses. If they’re excluded for any of those reasons, they’re excluded. My understanding was that if the owner did not register them, the slaughter industry cannot redeem them for themselves. What a sleazy douche. Is this a subsequent blog post for Shedrow? LOL If not, I will take it…….

      • I already touched on it last week. Go ahead and take it. It probably needs more attention than I gave it as people don’t seem to be worried enough about what this could mean for horses over here. I think the original link was from the IEBA press release last week.

      • All of these horses must still have a passport, movement documentation must be tracked during the 6 month the horse is on “probation,” the Official Veterinarian Authority must know at all times what the horse’s status is – with regard to being given any medications during the 6 month period.

        Even if the EU agrees to this, which might be a hard sell considering public anger over the horse meat scandal, our horses are not going to have passports.Wallis and desBarres certainly can’t hand them out.

  4. Heather AG Canada has provided EC with $478,766 to implement this system but as of December 2012 EC has not. “Equine Canada has not developed a system they think will work.” From the articles I have read, I get the feeling that EC is either procrastinating or very cautious at being the developers of a system of sending horses to slaughter. They know that there will be a very big back-lash from all their members. Charging fees to their members that supports the slaughter industry will not go over well with the members either. And they know this very well. However, as at December 2012 Desbarres says he has implemented a system and they did not get a “dime” from the government. Not sure where this is at, July 2013.

    • Hi MJ, that’s correct, and they don’t have a usable system. But they did apparently get funding in March as they announced on Equine Canada website that it was all back on. DesBarres has a workable system but apparently does not have the funding. Your theories about EC could very well be correct. DesBarres on the other hand is so synonymous with slaughter that no one would suspect anything different from him.

  5. VERY WELL put ! Incase someone dose not know , sphincter muscle is the a-hole .We will all suffer greatly on our population as well so long as these people are lax or corrupt .Food , we need it to be clean & non poisoned

  6. Pingback: Silence of the CFIA Lambs…. | heatherclemenceau

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