Monthly Archives: May 2015

Belts, Buckets, And Bridles – At The Claremont Horse Auction


horses in pens at Claremont

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

In the countryside north of Toronto one is never too far from a livestock auction yard that sells horses. The horse auctions at these yards have changed little over the years, except perhaps to shrink a little as the way people shop for horses and tack continues to evolve. The Claremont auction is a small country auction in Kawartha Lakes, north-east of Toronto, where horses aren’t sold by the pound. I’ve been to this auction previously, but never with tack to sell – I was here to test the auction as a potential place to sell a few pricier bridles and bits, so I brought some show pads, boots, and a quarter sheet, all in great lightly used condition.

Tack sales are really just rummage sales for horse people, and a tack hoarder’s paradise. Stay for a while and you’ll see desperate people selling desperate things. There was the occasional item

This is the type of item you might regret not buying once you get home - if you can get past the "no questions asked" stipulation of the sale!

This is the type of item you might regret not buying once you get home – if you can get past the “no questions asked” stipulation of the sale!

held up that caused me to wonder, “What the hell is it? And before I could identify what it was, someone had bid on it. A lot of useless crap had been auctioned off before they even got to my stuff at the end, at which point people were fed up with the nearly 4 hours long tack auction that started 45 minutes later than advertised, and they were probably out of money. Even the auctioneer couldn’t summon much enthusiasm by the time he got to my stuff, holding up one of my Italian saddle pads half-heartedly. I only sold one saddle pad, and literally gave away a $50 quarter sheet, so I doubt that I’d return to try to sell anything else in future.

The auctioneer expressed serious disappointment in the bidding on the horses – half of the horses were “no-saled” since reserves were not met.  Today, I suppose it’s a hard lesson for the auction house – don’t take on more tack than can reasonably be sold in an hour or so. Horse prices were probably lower than normal and quite a few people had left hours ago. Only a couple of horses sold for decent amounts of money, and probably could have brought more under more favourable circumstances. Fortunately no kill buyers in sight, but horses that didn’t sell on this day might be one step closer to an auction like OLEX where the majority of horses are sold to kill buyers (current meat horse prices this week are hovering around $.70 per lb.).  With meat prices creeping higher it’s more challenging to set a reserve price on a horse that facilitates a sale yet discourages kill buyers from bidding.

This cute pony was a no-sale

This cute pony was a no-sale

All horses were clean, good weight, appeared to have been cared-for, no long hooves, cuts or abrasions, and were presented with clean tack where noted below. An auction determines the market value of a horse on any given day. Sometimes, a seller may have difficulty selling a horse, because it’s priced higher than the market will bear.

  • 2 paint yearlings, relatively unhandled, nervous, not halter broke – no sale
  • 14 year old gelding under saddle, rides, drives, quiet in the ring, appeared to be a draft cross – $1,150
  • 4 year old QH mare under saddle, nervous – no sale
  • 7 year old paint pony in hand, very flighty in ring, Mennonite origins, it was claimed that she was broke but auction staff declared that questionable – no sale
  • 14 year old gelding under saddle, QH/Arab cross, 4H and lesson horse, touted as an easy keeper, lives in/out, very nice good weight – $1,200
  • 12 year old Black Morgan gelding under saddle, 14.1, camp horse, lesson pony – no sale
  • 13 year old mare under saddle, also drives, quiet in ring, apparently owned by Mennonites – no sale
  • 14 year old pony, 11.2 WTC, jumps, lessons – no sale
  • 9 year old QH gelding under saddle, professionally trained, ground ties – $800
  • 15 year old 14.1 pony, WTC, jumps, camp horse, very resistant to going in ring – $375
  • 7 year old green broke, palomino mare in hand, nice weight and conformation – $650
  • 13 year old TB mare, never raced, hunter, jumps 3 foot – $500
  • 12 year old QH mare under saddle, described as being rideable by anyone, quiet and nice, good weight – high seller of the day – $2,000

When auctions drag on for hours it drives the price of all the items down. While there were some bargains to be had from tack store closures,  I was disappointed in the bidding on the quality items that were offered on this day.  A beautiful new and unused western saddle selling for about $3,000 retail only received offers of $300. At those prices it would be better to just display the saddle in your house or turn it into a very expensive bar stool. Yet lots of dried out crap indistinguishable from other lots of dried out crap were bid on a bit more aggressively.  At least 40 western saddles offered for sale today so there was very little variety. There were a couple of good lessons for me as well:

  • English show tack does not do well at western auctions

    Horses don’t sell themselves—people have to sell them.  This horse was the high seller of the day

    Horses don’t sell themselves—people have to sell them. This horse was the high seller of the day

  • If you have an item that you have been told has a certain value, don’t try to sell it at the equivalent of an equine garage sale.  Pawn stars come looking for bargains. They will be more interested in a box of busted halters and sinewy tie-downs from the civil war era even if they have to soak it for months in neatsfoot oil – they will not care about your lightly used Stubben bridle because they know you will have a reserve on it. If you really think you have something worth money, sell it on eBay.  There you will get something closer to fair market value
  • If you arrive at a tack auction and there’s enough tack to outfit every horse that served in the Boer War, you should probably turn around and come back on another day

Here’s one last point I think is very important.  When attending local auctions,  please keep an eye out for stolen horses.  I know that it’s virtually impossible to remember the physical details of the numerous missing horses on Net Posse and circulated through Facebook,  but if you have a smartphone,  it makes the job a little easier.  Eyes on the ground can help find horses.  Perhaps a good conversation to have with the auction staff is one where you ask them to post pictures from Net Posse to increase awareness.

When asking about this thin yearling in arena (not part of the sale), I was told that he was a camp horse. Seriously?

When asking about this thin yearling in arena (not part of the sale), I was told that he was a camp horse. Seriously?




Captain Paul Watson – Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid Of The Week



Written by: Heather Clemenceau

Usually, I write my own text for a blog. But this time I feel that the message presented by Captain Paul Watson is so on-point and so precisely echoes what I am feeling now that I know that despite intense lobbying, Corey Knowlton has killed his Namibian black rhino. So I’m quoting Captain Watson’s excellent commentary directly. But before I do I want to say that there is absolutely no proof that hunting provides any positive conservation value nor does it enhance an ecosystem. Conservation success stories, like the Yellowstone National Park wolf recovery program, support the contention that ecosystems are highly complex and unpredictable by mankind. Hunting disrupts the natural equilibrium produced by nature when left to its own devices without interference from mankind.

Instead of true conservation, the hunting industry and conservation officials have an incestuous relationship where unacceptable practices are being enabled by the very official agencies that should be playing an independent monitoring or watchdog role. During an undercover League Against Cruel Sports investigation in spring 2004, Sir Edward Dashwood, director of the E J Churchill Sporting Agency, admitted to investigators that “90% of the trophy fee goes straight into some Nigerian’s pocket or African politician or whatever it is.”

Corey Knowlton – The Most Despicable Hominid of the Week

Lord of the FliesBy Captain Paul Watson

With one of the most delusional rationalizations of an ecological crime that anyone has ever attempted to present to the public, Corey Knowlton says that his killing of an endangered rhino was meant to bring awareness to the plight of the Black Rhino

When asked if he feels that killing this black Rhino was the right thing to do Knowlton replied:

“I felt like from day one it was something benefiting the black rhino, being on this hunt, with the amount of criticism it brought and the amount of praise it brought from both sides, I don’t think it could have brought more awareness to the black Rhino.”

This despicable excuse for a human being paid $350,000 for a permit to kill a Rhino issued by the corrupt government of Namibia, a country that licenses the slaughter of seals, giraffe, elephants and anything else that the world’s psychopaths have a lust to murder. He then has the audacity to describe the killing of an endangered species as an act of conservation.

If he really cared about conserving the Rhino he would have given the $350K to the underpaid rangers who risk their lives to protect the animals.

The rangers are the truly heroic men, not cowardly white hunters like Knowlton who simply pull a trigger to extinguish the life of a noble sentient being for no other reason than to stain the crotch of their pants.

“I think people have a problem just with the fact that I like to hunt,” Knowlton said. “I want to see the black rhino as abundant as it can be. I believe in the survival of the species.”

Right, and the way to increase the numbers of a rapidly diminishing small population of Rhinos is to kill one. The logic is so peversely bizarre that it could only come from a man who has more money than heart, who not only lacks empathy but seems to be completely devoid of common sense.

Knowlton actually is bragging that he has done more to defend the Rhino than all of his critics. This statement is simply nonsensical. This man clearly loves to kill and it has become a common justification for these psychopaths to justify their dark lethal passions with foolish pronouncements of pretentious conservation.

When poor Black Africans kill a Rhino the world is outraged and they are rightfully labeled as poachers. When a rich White person slaughters a Rhino, they call themselves conservationists.Animal Farm Four Legs Good

Men like Knowlton are a disgrace to humanity and they are very much a part of the problem.

Knowlton’s Namibian guide is named Hentie van Heerden. Another White man posing as a conservationist. His name reminds me of the evil Van Pelt in the movie Jumanji.

Van Heerden thinks that if the older and stronger Rhinos are not culled they will kill younger and healthier Rhinos and that will be bad for the species. You have to wonder how nature got by without White hunters to keep things under control.
According to van Heerden. “There will always be activists and that’s how they make their money,” he said. “They have no clout here in Namibia, because people understand hunting.”

No Hentie, the people in charge of conservation in Namibia understand money. And there is a reason for conservationists not having any clout there. I found out myself when we were working to stop the brutal slaughter of fur seals. It’s called corruption.

According to Knowlton, the Rhino he killed was one of four black Rhinos at the top of the government hit list, the ones considered “high priority threats to the herd.” They can also be classified as the one with the highest marketability in the murder market.

You see it’s not big White hunters like Know-It-All-Knowlton that that are the problem for the survival of the Rhino. It is the Rhinos themselves who are the greatest threats to the survival of the Rhinos.

Humans seemingly have an infinite capacity to justify their cruelty and their destruction.

To bolster his image as a great White nimrod, Knowlton states, “I think people think of it as this docile thing, but you are dealing with an extremely athletic animal that can do whatever it wants to you very quickly.”

The truth is that the Rhino is dealing with an extremely ruthless yet cowardly animal armed with an extremely lethal rifle.

Last year, one of Knowlton’s critics suggested the trophy hunting of a black Rhino was like shooting a couch in a living room.

This criticism annoys Knowlton. He’s always quick to bring it up with a heavy dose of sarcasm.

“So this is just like hunting a couch? Give me a break,” he said. “This isn’t easy. It’s brutal.”

lord-of-the-fliesSo brutal that they have to hike through thick shrub for hours during the day and actually sweat. It’s unlike the canned hunts these posers are used to, so I can understand his frustrations. In the evening instead of a comfortable luxury hotel, they have to endure the night in a tent with a staff to cook and serve drinks in plastic cups. The steaks are never done to perfection, and the night sounds of irritating wildlife, make sleeping a challenge.

It could be more accurately described as hunting a couch being towed through the brush with sleep-overs with the boys and an opportunity to compare the size of their guns.

Knowlton found his victim thanks to cameras set up near watering holes and a gashed ear inflicted by the government to the animal, as a sign that it can be “legally” murdered.

Four shots, a roar of pain and the animal runs. A half an hour later the Rhino lies on the ground. Three more shots and Knowlton gets to kneel over his victim. He says, “Any time you take an animal’s life it’s an emotional thing.”

You can see the self-satisfied emotion in his smug grin as he straddles the corpse, his crotch wet, his fingers encircling the barrel of his high-powered 500 Nitro Express rifle as the smoke still oozes from the muzzle.

Beneath lies a creature far more noble than it’s killer, an animal that a few moments ago was intensely alive in it’s home environment, an animal that was respected amongst his own kind, a vibrant, sentient, self aware member of a diminishing species.

Knowlton will decapitate the Rhino, the head to be shipped off to a taxidermist and transported back to Texas where this notoriously craven nimrod can mount it on his wall as a trophy like any other psychopath.

The memory will suffice for a time but Knowlton will soon feel the urge to kill like any other serial killer and yet another trophy will be placed on his wall in his never ending quest for sado–erotic satisfaction to sustain his disturbing addiction.



Godbout Express Observed Shipping Horses To Canada On Long Holiday Weekend

Gadbout Express

It is permissible for horses to travel up to 36 hours enroute to slaughter


Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos and video credit:  Rob Boisvert

On Friday, May 15th, two Godbout Express transports of horses were observed at an out-of-the-way truck stop in Marysville, Ontario by animal activist Rob Boisvert of Refuge RR in Alexandria Ontario. In listening to the video, it is evident that the drivers appear to be trying to mislead Boisvert and his friend, by telling them that they are enroute from Ohio (probably Sugarcreek Auction) to New Brunswick. They are actually headed to Quebec, and this is proven by a photo taken of one of the trailers which shows a CFIA seal – meaning that the truck cannot be opened until it reaches its destination at one of the two slaughter plants in that province. There are no provincially-registered horse slaughter facilities in New Brunswick.





Monday is a statutory holiday throughout most of Canada. The video was taken about 7 pm Friday. From Marysville (near Belleville, ON), it is possibly 5 hours drive or longer (with holiday weekend traffic) to either Les Petite Nations (in St. Andre-Avellin, PQ) or Richelieu ( in Massueville, PQ) slaughterhouses.  The horses would arrive very late the same day or possibly the next day.  We can only wonder what time they expected to get there?  Were the horses to be unloaded somewhere and rested?  According to a 2011 article in Better Farming,  “slaughter-bound shipments will be accepted only during the CFIA’s regular hours of operation…”  Therefore,  we can only take that to mean that unless arrangements were made to offload horses on Friday night, there would be no CFIA inspectors at the plant until TUESDAY, May 19th – more than three full days later!  The horses, unless unloaded somewhere (and by necessity breaking the CFIA seal), would have to stay on the trailer until that time – a horrifying possibility.  Would they be watered or fed? Already many of the horses are standing in the trailers with heads hanging low…

CFIA seal


Godbout Express is a repeat offender with the CFIA. The CFIA has most recently issued the company Notices of Violation  of Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations for $7,800 during the period of October to December 2014, with total fines of $45,600 in both current and past reporting periods.

A check of US DOT #648752 reveals that Godbout Express has incurred two violations already in 2015 in the United States, with similar violations in 2014.

 2015 Violations:

HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A3-PROP Driving beyond 11 hour driving limit in a 14 hour period. (Property Carrying Vehicle)
HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A2-PROP Driving beyond 14 hour duty period (Property carrying vehicle)

Given the company’s propensity to incur violations,  further investigation with the CFIA will be necessary to determine when these horses arrived and were actually offloaded.


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CFIA Report

The CFIA site does not explain what species have been involved in these transport violations.


Richelieu EID Exposes Profound Shortcomings Of Food Chain


meat with horseshoeWritten by: Heather Clemenceau

We picked up a copy of the EID currently being used at the Ontario Livestock Exchange (OLEX) in Waterloo, Ontario. For a document that supposedly exerts “quality control” over horsemeat, notice that there are no CFIA headers or logos; it is however, “branded” with the name Richelieu and replete with embarrassing spelling errors and typos in both English and French.  It is missing a fair bit of information that is present on the sample EID in the CFIA Meat Hygiene Manual for equines as well,  including an indicator of the primary use of the horse (recreation/companion animal/ pleasure riding, breeding, ranch/farm work, public work, private industry work, performance/sport/show, racing, rodeo, urine production, food production.)  I guess they don’t want high risk animals to be unnecessarily flagged for drugs.  Note that on the first page, Richelieu refers to the document itself, not unironically, as “DIE.” It is due to moments like these perhaps, that humorists were born.

As with any other paper version of the EID, the owner is expected to complete the column “withdrawal period.”  There is little likelihood

that anyone will follow the obscenely long URL at the bottom of the page,  and if they did,  they wouldn’t likely understand it since it directs the form user to the French version of the CFIA’s Meat Hygiene Manual – on an English form.  It’s completely misleading to provide a link to French guidelines on an English form that is mostly used by english-speaking horse people.  So under the circumstances, how would anyone find the withdrawal time for a specific drug even if they knew what it was?

Withdrawal times also vary depending on drug delivery methods – whether oral/IV/IM and whether used in combination with other drugs. The dose itself along with the frequency of use (repeated oral administrations can greatly extend withdrawal times) are two of the most important factors.  Compounded drugs (as opposed to generic or branded drugs sold OTC or through veterinarians) can vary widely in potency as well.  The amount of body fat,  the breed,  gender and health of the horse are also factors that affect kinetic decay of drugs.  Lastly,  the amount of stress that the horse is subject to may also affect withdrawal times.  And even though a pharmacological effect on the animal may be over, the drug and its metabolites may still be detectable, and those metabolites may also be prohibited. The CFIA manual doesn’t tell anyone this,  nor could they expect the lay horse person to understand any of the factors that also affect withdrawal times and drug tests,  so the person completing the form,  even if honest,  is never provided with the appropriate information.



Of course, the system isn’t designed to encourage former owners to give too much thought to what drugs a horse may have been given on or off-label during the course of its life. It’s to the benefit of the slaughterhouses that short-term owners will be unaware of the existence of a list of prohibited drugs or drugs that must be withdrawn for days or months, since this means fewer declarations of drug administrations,  and allows the CFIA to crow about a “98% compliance rate for drugs.” If there were adherence to the Meat Hygiene manual, the majority of horses would be disqualified outright because of Phenylbutazone and other drug usage, including virtually all former race horses. Those that were not disqualified outright would probably need to be held for six months for withdrawal.  You couldn’t even immediately slaughter a horse that had recently been wormed.

We saw how corruptible and falsifiable equine passports were during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal two years ago, where meat has for years been extruded through a supply system that could hardly be more opaque, and foreign gangsters and mafia were secretly adulterating the food supply with profit as the main incentive.  This is hardly much different than what happens currently In Canada, (minus the organized crime connection) where the EID system provides as much traceability and drug-free conclusiveness as does buying meat off the street from a stranger – because official ID isn’t required in order to complete an EID.  Yet the CFIA perversely insists that the paper EID is just as good as the falsifiable passports that allowed the EU horsemeat scandal to happen.

Henry Skjerven, former director of Natural Valley Farms in Saskatchewan, said:

“US and Canada were never geared for raising horses for food consumption. The system as it stood when we were killing horses was in no way, shape or form, safe, in my opinion.

We did not know where those horses were coming from, what might be in them or what they were treated with. I was always in fear – I think that it was very valid – that we were going to send something across there [to the EU] and we were simply going to get our doors locked after we had some kind of issue with the product.”


An Important Message About Online Petitions – They Are Not All Created Equal!


pen-signatureI’ve been frustrated and annoyed by many of the Petitionhub and Yousign petitions crossing my Facebook timeline.  Many images look like they were captured with ancient technology,  and while some or most of the images were clearly real,  the incidents themselves are usually very dodgy and “targets” are often vague or entirely absent.  Sometimes there are few clues as to who the perpetrator is either.  When did they happen?  Who is going to send signatures to the target?

Recently, a petition criticizing something Madonna did to her chihuahua dogs in the 90’s was being circulated.  I wondered,  how is this actionable?  Even if true,  why is it being circulated now,  and what possible action could be taken 25 or so years after the alleged incident?  It seems there are many more worthwhile and articulate petitions upon which we can focus,  and I have personally seen that informative,  well-written petitions do get attention.  So I blocked these two apps on Facebook because they were sensationalist,  the incidents were often undated,  they were without targets,  and often written in bizarre language as if the user’s only exposure to English was via Bing Translate.  So please read on,  and please don’t stop writing petitions or letters!  Also noteworthy is the fact that Canadians will be able to submit digital petitions to the House of Commons after the election later this year.

Written by:  Susan Davis

You have heard activists dismiss petitions with a wave of the hand, and frankly when I first opened an account with Facebook I wasn’t so sure about petitions myself and initially veered away from them.  I have witnessed petitions on social media long enough now to know that they have validity…


YES they do often work!

I have witnessed petitions work, and the majority of times they work in conjunction with other types of advocacy, but I have been surprised at how often they also work singularly.  Here are some examples of recent victories where petitions either worked in conjunction with direct outreach/demos or were successful as the primary method of advocacy:

1.  Mattel, makers of Barbie ends production of all SeaWorld branded merchandise

2. Global Conservation Group, headed by Jordan Turner were the key players in stopping St. Patrick’s Parish of Wisconsin from hosting anymore pig fighting contests.  However GCG used petitions as part of their endeavor, and numerous signatures played a part in their success.

3. New bills are being introduced in several states to crack down on animal abuse, of particular interest is the one in Las Vegas that is picking up steam thanks to activists there and their use of petitions.

4. Colorado’s Ag Gag bill was defeated.  Obviously this wasn’t petitions alone, but again numerous signatures helped legislators see what the public was demanding!

There are many other examples of successes brought about with the help of petitions or petitions alone.  A great facebook group for activists who have a half hour to sign a slew of petitions is the “ANIMAL ADVOCATE CORNER“.  This group founded by Annoula Wylderich, is strictly for action, no social stuff, and as a result the numbers of signatures are tripled in far less time than relying on the news feed alone!


Nobody is saying to sign petitions in lieu of writing letters.  Letters are far more effective, especially if they are unique and personal.  But none of us has time to write letters covering every aspect of online_petition_0animal abuse.  So the user-friendliness of petitions comes in very handy.  Really, unless you are the author of the petition, there is very little work to do.  Comments help but sometimes we can’t find the words, so a signature will do.  Signing anonymous is just ridiculous, you may as well not sign if that is how you are going to do it, most legislators dismiss anonymous signatures, they don’t count them, and in some cases an entire petition will be thrown out due to one anonymous signature.

I happen to love the petitions by, I have never had a problem with them.  What I would like to see by ALL the authors of petitions is to let us know sometimes when you deliver them and who you delivered them to, and of course let us know if they had an impact, PLEASE!


I was just informed by a very trustworthy source that Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions are indeed fake. What “they” are doing is using OLD abuse cases (the most horrific sounding ones) and selling OUR NAMES to SCAMMERS!  I was told this before and I didn’t take it very seriously. NOW I believe it, you can verify what I’m saying yourself by looking at “Nigel Cameron’s” facebook page.  Nigel is no doubt an American name for the Romanian person who is behind this scheme.  My sources are VERY trustworthy – you can see for yourself the type of Petitions he has posted.

scamPlease let everyone know so that we can put a stop to this scam once and for all.  AND, please do NOT stop signing other petitions, this only applies to Petition Hub and You Sign Petitions.  If you are convinced like I am, that Nigel is a fake name, then please report his page to facebook, thank you!  AND to remove all problems and access to Petition Hub and You Sign, do the following please:

Please remove the Yousign and Petitionhub apps in your browser:

Go to your facebook profile –> click on the three points (…) next to ‘View Activity Log’

–> Select ‘Timeline Settings’. Click on ‘Apps’ (on the left)

–> Select ‘Apps, Websites and Plugins’ (on the right)

–> Show all. Select the ‘‘ app (alphabetical order of the apps)

–> Highlight the app with your mouse, you can see a cross sign

–> click on the cross (remove).

–> a pop-up appears: Select: “Delete all your activity on Facebook. This may take a few minutes.”

–> Click ‘remove’

Do the same with the app

PLEASE DON’T BE DISCOURAGED BY THE FAKES, There are many valid petition sites like:,,, popvox, securepeta and others.  Let’s be glad we KNOW about the fakes so that our work will be even MORE effective!

Thank you for reading this, and your comments are always welcome!  – Susan Davis