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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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 (but not crazy) vegetarian, 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. forgive me if i am ignorant, but is kemseke the source for all of sue wallis’ and her cronies “factoids” on why we need horse slaughter? is she just parroting him or is it the other way around?

    • I think that DesBarres and Wallis come up with a lot of their own stuff, but Olivier Kemseke, as part of the “unholy trilogy,” has the advantage of running an actual slaughter enterprise. As part of the IEBA, they have other partners as well, political lobbyists in Canada and the US that help them foist their ideology upon others – Senators, Congressmen etc.

  2. Well done, Heather. Thank you for your efforts and expertise. Gandhi listed commerce without morality as one of the Seven Social Sins. Surely horse slaughter fits that definition as it bodes ill for society and the environment. And, most of all, it is a tragedy for horses. Sharing.

  3. It is a really informative piece…. We all have been saying IF slaughter happens in the U.S. WHERE are they going to sell this meat, with no traceability of drugs?? AND I have read somewhere that this plant that was in Texas that company is also financing the plants here in Roswell and Iowa??? Certainly don’t know that for sure but we all know these individuals who own these plants could never have been able to pay what it has costs to set them up to torture horses??? SO TWO big questions, with no answers……. OMG I hope and pray this does not happen, can’t BELEIVE it has gotten this far?????

  4. Yes very good article.. Olivier has two other brother’s and they are supported by their FAT ASS hateful father and Uncle.

  5. Pingback: Chevideco’s Diabolical Plan to Slaughter 100,000 Belgian Horses | Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Blog

  6. Even the mention of starving people sounds like Wallis. Wallis must have either talked to this guy or someone else that knows him and passed on to her about things he has said. As far as I know there is no way to rule out the use of Bute by a blood test or urine test. This horse killer is trying to peddle the same welfare crapola they all try to peddle. Starving horses everywhere, which has been proven time and again to be a lie. None of us really know just how far down the eating of horse meat has fallen in the EU since horse meat was found in just about every food item. From what I read last year that most of the younger generation in France does not eat horse meat. It seems its mostly the older people that ate it during WW2 when there were food shortages. That could very well be what this Kemseke wants to try to overcome by pushing horse meat at people that refuse to eat it to help his bottom line.

  7. I don’t think they can force a passport system in the US because the USDA simply does not have the funds to implement such a thing. I don’t think Americans would stand for it, and I don’t think Vilsack even WANTS to do it.

    The reason we can’t sell meat directly to the EU is because the USDA didn’t send the EU a passport-equivalent traceability plan for their approval in 2011. He still hasn’t because he doesn’t have one and doesn’t have the funds to construct a plan that would satisfy the EU. And, of course, the EU passport – and I suppose others would follow suit – has a place to sign your horse out of the human food chain. You can do it voluntarily, or your veterinarian is supposed to see to it that you do it if he/she has administered/prescribed a banned substance to your horse. How many Americans do you think would make that sign-out the very first thing they did? That was always MY plan, and others I know as well.

    Kemseke is of course one sorry s.o.b. and Chevidico told the Kaufman people a bunch of total lies in order to be able to set up shop there. I agree that the horse slaughter kings and queen do seem to think they can do anything and no one can do anything about it. And they’re close to being right, at least here in the US.

    With 80% – and maybe a lot more now – dead set against this crap, WHY are we still discussing it at all. WHY doesn’t Congress ever consider passing one of the many horse slaughter bills that have been submitted? The really maddening part is that the bills would almost certainly pass it they could ever make it to the floor for a vote. IF those idiots in Congress EVER pass the Budget, there is the defunding language in both the House AND Senate proposed Budgets – BUT, there is no guarantee that enough of them will scrape up enough ability to reason, solve their differences and pass the darned thing. If not, we will go with yet another Continuing Resolution which may or may not contain the defunding.

    If the people in the US don’t scrape up some reasoning power themselves and boot these lunatics OUT and soon, I’m gonna go nuts myself.

    Oh yeah – the six month thing. Yes, after six months according to the EU laws any horse can be slaughtered as long as there is certification that the horse didn’t receive anything DURING the six months. That’s how our kill buyers get away with selling our undocumented horses to Canada and Mexico. They simply sign an affidavit stating that “to their knowledge” the horse hasn’t been given anything in the last six months. But, not every EU Member State has EXACTLY the same regulations, and I’ve read that many don’t agree with the six month thing – who would? Just because it’s worthless….

  8. Pingback: Chevideco’s Diabolical Plan to Slaughter 100,000 Belgian Horses | Wind Wild Horse

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