Can I See Some ID? Bill DesBarres’ Desperate Attempt To Make Equine Traceability Work in Canada

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Horse USDA TagsWith the abandonment of the CanEquid program by Equine Canada,  which has determined that it’s not a workable solution, Bill DesBarres has taken up the cause,   bombarding horse associations with pro-chip marketing diatribe,  attempting to lay the infrastructure to satisfy EU demands for horsemeat,  all under the guise of isolating disease.  He has partnered with Animal ID Systems,  which has been heavily promoted by Cargill Meat Solutions, Monsanto and Schering-Plough – Big Ag intensive production systems, and this initiative was partially funded by the AgriMarketing Program of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.  Read the Equine Canada report – Equine Canada – Summary Report to Industry

DesBarres,  who has steadfastly maintained that a $200 slaughter horse stubbornly clinging to life is what’s preventing you from buying a $2,500 horse,  makes his appeal here – http://www.horsewelfare.ca/images/stories/traceability/equine_id_traceability_letter_21sept2012.pdf.   Please take the time to read the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s response and Call To Action here.

In DesBarres own words:

“As you are aware,  identification,  tracking and communication related to diseases is becoming more critical,  as well as the European Union has a timetable for the adoption of

DesBarres "pays back" his horses by slaughtering them

DesBarres “pays back” his horses by slaughtering them

standards for the export of all equine products.  It is imperative for the welfare of Canada`s equine herd we move forward with ETC.  our industry can no longer afford more lengthy delays,  decisions must be made and action taken. 

Once implemented,  the system will be available to all members of the Equine Industry in Canada regardless of their affiliation with other existing associations and registries.  There is no requirement to be a member of HWAC and HWAC will invite all industry members to work with them in order to create a single equine identification and tracking system.  Part of the implementation process is to work with other organizations to integrate,  at an appropriate level,  data between existing databases and ETC. “

The chip for horses is not about disease-tracking,  as Bill DesBarres and HWAC would have the various horse owners and associations believe – it is not about science either – it’s about satisfying requirements to make horsemeat a world-wide commodity.  Here’s a very good example of why that is the case – when a single atypical case BSE was found in the US a few months ago,  all trade to South Korea stopped immediately – this was based on trade and politics – not science,  since the cause of the BSE in this example was mutagenic and posed no risk to any other animals.  Random genetic mutations happen all the time in nature, so once in a while a cow will be born with a mutation that makes the BSE prion.

Would it be acceptable to you if your own personal home/premises/farm were registered with the government and monitored as if you were a food producer?  These commodities traceability programs require every farm or “premises” be registered with government agencies, even if that premises houses a single animal. While the purported goal of disease containment appears to be beneficial, the requirement for  citizens to register privately-owned property for tracking and monitoring purposes has very serious implications for our privacy, rights and freedoms – even more so because we are not raising food animals. As designed, traceability systems will be no more effective in stopping the spread of mass-level outbreaks than the current policies are,  which rely on the owner to communicate federally reportable diseases – EIA (swamp fever), contagious equine metritisequine piroplasmosis, rabies, anthrax,  and provincially reported diseases – salmonella,  WNV.

BiohazardSince Americans in particular avoid eating horsemeat,  the official explanation for including horses shifts to their ability to serve transmission vehicles for diseases affecting other types of livestock. If that is the concern, then what is to be done about the dogs that live on most places that have livestock present? What about the wild horses on the open range? How about the other ever-present species, such as wolves, coyotes, deer, elk, cats, mice, or prairie dogs? What about humans, for that matter? It is, after all, possible to transmit disease should I go from one farm to another, via human contact.  Traceability programs ONLY benefit corporate agriculture and factory farming so they can sell their product on the global level. If animal disease is even suspected in an area, the USDA or the CFIA could go in and kill all the animals. That is supposed to show the world market that buys the factory farmed meat how safe it is.  I am assuming that insurance will not cover the loss of your horse if it is killed because of a disease containment program,  when your horse is not ill.

I like this summation  here – written by an American veterinarian and farm owner who has obviously given this considerable thought – please read the statement of Dr. R. M. Thornsberry, DVM, MBA, President of R-CALF USA, who writes:

“It is important for horse owners to know why NAIS is being forced on the equine industry within the United States.

The United States and many other countries signed a World Trade Organization (WTO) treaty in the 1990’s which obligated the first world countries, which had spent literally millions and millions of taxpayer dollars to eradicate contagious animal diseases, to develop a system of individual animal identification.

The individual animal identification was demanded by the Organization of International Epizootics (OIE), a WTO world wide governmental agency, tasked with developing trade rules and internationally obligated trade regulations that would force animal and meat trade between countries that had eradicated contagious diseases with those that had not eradicated contagious animal diseases.

QuarantineIn other words, the United States, which had eradicated Equine Piroplasmosis in the 1980’s, a tick borne protozoal infection, would, by identifying all equines, be forced to trade with countries that had not eradicated Equine Piroplasmosis.

In general, the argument goes something like this: Once you can identify every equine at birth and trace their every movement off the farm from birth to death, a first world country that has spent millions of taxpayer dollars to eradicate Equine Piroplasmosis, can no longer prevent trade with those countries who have refused to spend the necessary resources to eradicate Equine Piroplasmosis.

The United States Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (USDA-APHIS) no longer seeks to carry out their mandate to prevent the introduction of foreign animal and plant diseases into the United States. Currently, USDA-APHIS in supporting NAIS, spending millions of tax payer dollars to entice livestock and equine owners into the system by promoting the acquisition of a free Premises Identification Number (PIN) from their respective state departments of agriculture.

Producers of cattle, and equine owners, are the two classes of livestock owners who have overwhelmingly refused to receive an internationally sanctioned encumbrance to their private property. The USDA says a PIN is the first step to a painless process of identification of all livestock owners’ physical locations, and that this PIN number is essential for the USDA to find a farm and quickly trace the movement of animals in the face of a contagious animal disease outbreak.

Yet, in any location within the state of Missouri, and I am sure in most states, you can simply punch 911 into your phone, and in a matter of 15 to 20 prohibited drugsminutes, the police, the fire department, the ambulance, the sheriff, and usually the Conservation Commission Agent will be at your doorstep, but the USDA says they cannot find you? At every Agricultural Services-USDA office in the United States, you may obtain a description of your farm or ranch, including a current aerial photograph.

You can go on Google Earth, type in your physical address, and privately obtain a detailed satellite photograph of your farm or ranch, providing such detail, that you can actually count individual cattle or horses in your pasture, and the USDA says it cannot find your farm or ranch in a contagious animal disease outbreak? The reasons the USDA want you to obtain a Premises Identification Number have nothing whatever to do with the USDA’s ability to find your farm or your cattle or your horses. My 10 year old grandson can find my farm, a detailed satellite photograph of my farm, my telephone number, my mailing address, and my physical address on his computer in a matter of seconds. It’s called Google!!!

The USDA-APHIS has testified before the United States Department of Agriculture, House of Representatives, Committee on Agriculture, Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, Poultry, March 11, 2009 that the NAIS would have to be electronic in nature to function as envisioned by the WTO. This simply means no visual tags, hot or cold brands, tattoos, ear notches, or individual color markings or descriptions will be allowed for individual animal identification.

While this is a problem for other types of livestock, for the equine industry, it becomes a major hurdle to overcome. For equines, dogs, cats, fish, poultry, and many exotic animals, the only acceptable means of electronic individual animal identification is a surgically implanted glass enclosed electronic microchip. This implant is not nearly as simple to surgically implant within an animal as some are led to believe.

syringesWhen I implant a chip into an animal, I clip or shave the area. I scrub the area with surgical preparation soap containing iodine, and I finish by spraying the area with a surgical site disinfection iodine-alcohol solution. Lastly, I inject the area over the site of implantation with lidocaine to render the skin and underlying tissues devoid of sensation. The chips come individually packaged in a sterile container. To maintain this sterility, I must be sterile, which requires a surgical scrubbing of my hands, and the donning of a pair of sterile surgical latex gloves. Only after this extensive preparation, am I ready to actually implant the chip in the nuchal ligament of the mid neck area of my equine patient. Compare this process to the cattle producer who simply places a small eartag in his cattle.

The glass enclosed chips do not always stay put.

Like a splinter in your finger, the body often mounts a response to a foreign body, even one as innocuous as a piece of sterile glass. The response may include the formation of a sterile abscess around the chip, or it may simply be painful and generate a negative response from the horse as it turns its neck or tries to graze, or attempts a performance endeavor at a race, show, or event. Chips have been known to migrate quite extensive distances within the body of an animal. Ask any veterinarian that works in this area of interest.

Simply finding a chip to make a reading in some animals becomes a major undertaking. Only recently, has another side effect of chipping become known. A small percentage of veterinary patients have developed a cancerous growth at the site of implantation. While the incidence is low in animals whose lives are relatively short, an equine patient, living to thezenobiotics age of 20 to 35 years, has much more time to develop a cancerous growth around the implanted chip, than does a dog or cat, whose lifetime is closer 12 to 15 years.

For a very complete summary and analysis of the scientific literature on microchips and cancer, see Katharine Albrecht, Ed.D., “Microchip Induced Tumors in Laboratory Rodents and Dogs: A Review of the Literature, 1990 to 2006,” available at www.antichips. com/cancer .

RFID chip

RFID chip

With all that being evaluated, the primary reason the USDA-APHIS desires to force the NAIS system onto the livestock sectors of the United States is simple: Bruce Knight told a large group of bovine practitioners at our annual meeting in Vancouver, Canada in September 2007, when asked why the USDA was pushing so hard for NAIS, and I quote, “It is quite simple. We want to be in compliance with OIE regulations by 2010.”

Now I don’t know about all you equine owners, but we cattle producers do not look kindly on an international agency in Belgium telling us what we can and cannot do with our livestock in the United States. Our grandfathers and fathers spend untold millions of dollars to assist the USDA in eradicating many serious contagious animal diseases during the last 75 years. Why would we now acquiesce to a system that will open up our privately owned animals to contagious animal diseases that we whipped and wiped out many years ago, for access to our marketplace to animals and meat from countries who have chosen in that same time period to ignore eradication of contagious animal diseases? No way!!!

We live in the United States, not the WTO. We have a Constitution that directs our legal system, not the OIE. We have a government by the people, for the people, and of the people. It is time for the people to stand up and say, “Enough with the one world government junk!!!”

If equine owners do not stand up and unite their voices with other livestock producers, NAIS will become mandatory in the United States. It will cost the equine owner in excess of $50.00 a head to implant the electronic microchip desired by the USDA and the WTO. You will then be required to report any movement of your horse or horses off your property, and for any reason.

Imagine the bureaucratic nightmare and the paperwork requirements of reporting to your government every time you go on a trail ride, every time you go to a show or an event, and every time you trailer a mare to go to the stud. There will have to be an NAIS office in every county seat to process all this data, keep track of your information, and report any violations to the USDA.

Just imagine the fines and enforcement actions that will be carried out to enforce this NAIS system on the livestock industry of the United States of America, including equine owners.”

R. M. Thornsberry, D.V.M., M.B.A.
March 28, 2009

People who want to move sick and diseased animals will unfortunately do so anyway in violation of any program purported to exist to prevent it.  They simply won`t report it.  And they are more than likely to be affiliated with slaughter to

I'm from the government, and I'm here to help

I’m from the government, and I’m here to help

begin with.  There are more than enough examples of injured and ill animals standing on feedlots in the US and Canada,  or injured in shipment,  or transferred across borders without Coggins-ing.

Send DesBarres a strong message – Our horses are not “products.”

Please be aware that the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada is allied with the following business partners – please let them know that you hold them all to a higher standard than that maintained by an alliance with the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada,  the International Equine Business Association, and Sue Wallis:

Provincial Organizations

British Columbia
Horse Council
Orville Smith
President
Lisa Laycock
Executive Director
27336 Fraser Highway
Aldergrove, BC
V4W 3N5
Phone: 604-856-4304
Fax: 604-856-4302
Toll Free: 1-800-345-8055
Email
Alberta
Equestrian Federation
Dixie Crowson
President
Sonia Dantu
Executive Director
100, 251 Midpark Blvd S.E.
Calgary, AB
T2X 1S3
Phone: 403-253-4411
Fax: 403-252-5260
Toll Free: 1-877-463-6233
Email
Saskatchewan
Horse Federation
Terry Fagrie
President
Mae Smith
Executive Director
2205 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK
S4P 0S4
Phone: 306-780-9244
Fax: 306-525-4009
Email
Manitoba
Horse Council
Geri Sweet
President
Bruce Rose
Executive Director
145 Pacific Avenue
Winnipeg, MB
R3B 2Z6
Phone: 204-925-5718
Fax: 204-925-5703
Email
Ontario
Equestrian Federation
Allan Ehrlick
President
Deborah Thompsen
Executive Director
Suite 203
9120 Leslie Street
Richmond Hill, ON
L4B 3J9
Phone: 905-854-0762
Fax: 905-709-1867EmailToll Free: 1-877-441-7112
Email
Quebec
Fédération équestre du Québec
Dominique Chagnon
President
Richard Mongeau
Executive Director
4545 Ave Pierre de
Coubertic CP 1000
Succursale M
Montreal, PQ
H1V 3R2
Phone: 514-252-3053
Fax: 514-252-3165
Email
New Brunswick
Equestrian Association
Deanna Phalen
President
Suite 13
900 Hanwell Road
Fredericton, NB
E3B 6A2
Phone: 506-454-2353
Fax: 506-454-2363
Email
Nova Scotia
Equestrian Federation
Helen Smith
President
Heather Myrer
Executive Director
5516 Spring Garden Road
4th Floor
Halifax, NS
B3J 1G6
Phone: 902-425-5450 Ext 333
Fax: 902-425-5606
Email
PEI
Horse Council
Ken Smith
President
Joy MacDonald
EC Representative
POB 1887
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N5
Phone: 902-964-2379
Email
Newfoundland
Equestrian Federation
Chris Gallant
President
34 Circular Road
St. John’s, NF
A1C 2Z1
Phone:709-726-0826
Fax: 709-777-4558
Email

Mailing address:
Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada
Box 785, Cochrane, Alberta
T4C 1A9

Bill DesBarres: Tel: 403-526-1070 Cell: 403-529-7237
http://horsewelfare.ca/contact

Email – gordmack@xplornet.ca

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada 1341 Baseline Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C5
Tel – 613-773-1000
Toll-free – 1-855-773-0241
Email – info@agr.gc.ca

The Irony; It Burns! Bill DesBarres Still Busy Whitewashing Horse Slaughter

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BullshitToday’s rock bottom Bill DesBarres moment is brought to you the letters “B and S.”  Yes,  since this is a post about DesBarres there is always going to be some conventional “BS” involved,  but coincidentally or not,  that’s the name given to Bill’s appaloosa breeding operation in Alberta – “BS Appaloosa Partners. “ Looking at this page is like looking at the interwebs circa 1995 via the Wayback Machine – it’s that outdated.  Bill asks “where did 2008 go?”  I too can’t believe it has come and gone.  So have 2009, 2010,  and 2011.

I know nothing about appy lines,  but Bill is probably another one of those breeders who needs a “floor” in order to move his merchandise.   Oh wait,  we in Canada have a “floor,”  and the current meat prices at OLEX (Ontario Livestock Exchange) the week this blog post was written varied from $.05 per pound to $.58 per pound.   So that means your average 1,000 lb horse is currently selling for anywhere from $50 to $580.

If you’re selling a horse you bred  for less than $1,000,  you’re probably not recovering what you spent on breeding and raising that horse to a young age,  excluding any training you’ve put on your animal,  and therefore your “operation” is unsustainable.  Pro-slaughter proponents in the US conveniently forget that everything costs more in Canada too – it costs more to produce,  pay for supplies,  pay for veterinary services,  etc.  Few breeders calculate in advance what it will cost them to breed and raise a yearling. As a result,  even yearlings are often sold at a substantial loss or, at best, at a very modest profit.  So while this will give you some beer money for the short term,  it hardly represents this “wonderful option” Bill keeps regurgitating for our listening and reading pleasure.

Anyway,  circling back to DesBarres – that same Equine Resource publication that was the focus of the previous blog has

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

offered up an article on the slaughter debate deeper within the magazine.  In this article,  Bill makes it seem as though happy horses trot directly into the slaughterhouse,  all while complaining that the influx of American horses is hurting our meat prices due to oversupply.  Now while more horses were slaughtered in Canada since the cessation of slaughter in the US,  we have to ask – has the price for horses gone up?  Have irresponsible owners, animal cruelty,  or abandonment disappeared?  And most importantly,  have the prices for Bill’s appys also gone up during that time?  We know he slaughters them too,  because he told us so in the Spooning and Forking radio show.

He claims that a result of the US ban,  more Canadians are eating horsemeat,  which is available in specialty stores.  Of course this is just something he pulled out of the air,  since he doesn’t offer any independent source for his claims – why would Canadians eat more horsemeat BECAUSE OF the cessation of slaughter in the US?.  Bill,  you’ve got some s’plaining to do here.  The vast majority of Canadians don’t consume horsemeat anyway – it’s a regional specialty in Quebec and some other small markets. He’s also butt-hurt since some of the major chain stores in Canada also attempted to provide horsemeat but were discouraged from continuing due to the reaction from the animal activist element.   What about the consumers at the stores?  Is there a chance they just weren’t interested in eating horses? Gotta blame everything on activists though.

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

I’m tired of Bill DesBarres attempting to demonize welfare advocates anyway.  Most people who advocate for animals aren’t actually “activists” as he claims.  Activism is associated with taking a vigorous stand, and surely Bill and Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis would like to convince everyone that activists are also anarchists. This is not the role of most activists, and generally most people would describe activisim of any sort as being synonymous with positive attributes rather than lawlessness.  Without activism,  many people would have lost their rights or been marginalized;  as it is there are not enough activists to uphold all of our current rights.  As a testament to his paranoia,  Bill has his Linkedin profile locked down tight to avoid all those animal activists getting any classified info out of it.  I guess he wouldn’t accept my invitation to connect either.  No worries,  he’s only got two connections,  one is probably Sue Wallis and the other is Olivier Kemseke.  Rather surprising for someone involved in an “international” equine business association.    So that you don’t all rush to look at Bill’s profile and overwhelm him into believing that the animal activists are storming the LinkedIn castle,  I’ve included a snapshot of it here.

Bill DesBarres - LinkedIn profile

Bill DesBarres – LinkedIn profile

Activists exist largely because our civil servants, who are responsible for safeguarding animals and supervising the inputs into the food chain,  do so in a questionable or disrespectful manner towards  their own citizens and those of countries to whom we export foodstuffs.  Alex Atamanenko,  MP for BC Southern Interior,  and author of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada,  has said that “It is irresponsible for Canada to allow the sale of meat from horses as a food item when they have never been raised in accordance with the food safety practices required for all other animals.

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 1

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – Page 1 (click to embiggen)

Bill DesBarres never mentions drugs in this article.  Why would he?  Both he and Sue Wallis don’t want anything to impinge on their slaughter empire.  In the article,  Bill writes that:

  •  “The slaughter business for the purpose of producing meat for human consumption has been subject to increasing regulations,  scrutiny,  technical development,  improved humane handling,  and increased logistical costs since the commencement of the industry.”

In practice however,  little of this is enforced,  so as to make DesBarres claims almost meaningless.  The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses. is not enforced.  The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally.  Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well.  So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta.  Since 2007,  inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety,  since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals,  so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred,  as revealed by a CBC probe?

I am sure most readers of this blog and other writings on abuse of horses in slaughterhouses have been made aware of the

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 2 (click to embiggen)

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – Page 2 (click to embiggen)

undercover investigations inside horse slaughterhouses in Canada,  revealing serious food safety and horse welfare concerns.  These GRAPHIC videos all  prove that the requirements set out by the government for food safety and horse welfare ALL failed disgracefully.  This raises several concerns:

  • Has the worker who stuns horses multiple times in these videos received proper training to render the horses insensible?
  • If he is properly trained and using these international humane assessments then has the employee realized that he needs to administer one or several more stuns to achieve the correct degree of unconsciousness that he has been trained to look for?
  • If this is the case,  it would strongly suggest that there is a problem with the captive bolt gun or this method is not meeting international humane standards.
  • If he has been trained properly to administer the stun and the horse is indeed unconscious then does he just continues to stun the already unconscious horse for some sort of personal pleasure?

None of these scenarios are acceptable, and the position of the camera has no relevance,  as claimed by the CFIA.  It is quite clear that horses are stunned more than once with one horse stunned ELEVEN times making this facility NON-COMPLIANT,  no matter what angle you view it from.

DesBarres also offers this:

  • “In 2011,  the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) introduced the first industry audit for horse processing plants.  The meat industry is subject to audits by the government for food safety,  humane transport and handling, and audits by buyers to assure product quality for their customers. “
The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - page 3 (click to embiggen)

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – page 3 (click to embiggen)

I’ve never heard of this audit,  and he doesn’t tell us where it can be found either.  Is this really the first industry audit?  If so,  I have to ask what the $^@)%*& has the CFIA being doing before DesBarres came up with his own document?  More importantly,  who,  if anyone,  is using it?  The CFIA do have their own audits,  which don’t seem to accomplish anything,  although recently they acted responsibly by playing a role in admonishing a kill buyer from the US who sent a Phenylbutazone/Clenbuterol contaminated horse through the food supply.  Doesn’t matter,  because the reality is that the humanity of slaughter and transport haven’t improved.  To me,  it’s like asking if you can create a more humane rape,  as a transition to “humane rape” (please no one write that I’m trivializing rape either).  There is quite a bit of evidence available that refutes these naive claims.

European Union inspectors will be coming to Canada for an audit of horsemeat facilities if they have not already come and gone. They will be primarily concerned with dangerous levels of Phenylbutazone (PBZ/Bute), an anti-inflammatory commonly used for pain relief on horses, which has shown up in a series of tests over a five-year period. Phenylbutazone is of course banned from use in animals intended for human consumption in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU.  The drug is referenced in the  CFIA’s E.5 List of Veterinary Drugs Not Permitted For Use in Equine Slaughtered for Food with Canadian Brand Name Examples (10 March, 2010)All of the products listed carry an indication for use in equine (but not equine intended to be slaughtered for food).

Of course,  that hasn’t stopped Canada from exporting it and relying on the EU to catch our testing errors and omissions.  Additionally,  a recent Toronto Star Investigation revealed that:

“A 2010 U.S. study on animals sent to slaughter found the presence of a particularly troubling drug commonly administered to horses — Phenylbutazone (PBZ), an anti-inflammatory used for pain relief. The drug is banned for human consumption by the U.S., Canada, U.K. and European Union because of documented health hazards, sometimes fatal, including a blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells and a condition that triggers chronic bacterial infections. The study’s researchers found 9,000 pounds of meat from horses “with known exposure to PBZ sent for human consumption over the five-year study period.”

“There appears to be inadequate testing to ensure that horses given banned substances such as PBZ do not enter the slaughter pipeline,” the study concludes. “The lack of oversight to prevent horses given PBZ from being sent to slaughter for human consumption … indicates a serious gap in food safety and constitutes a significant public health risk.”’  The EU also confirms that  even a miniscule amount of the metabolites of PBZ can cause disease,  including aplastic anemia –  I wonder how HWAC’s “audit” deals with the shipping of drug-laden horsemeat to the EU?

There is no disputing the fact that horses are purchased at auction and often end up at slaughter with in a week’s time, many direct from race tracks. The race horse industry spends upwards of $50 million dollars a year to ensure horses are not over the accepted drug limits on race day the same way they do with human athletes.  It is well known that race horses receive drugs banned from the human food chain, including Phenylbutazone,  Viagra,  Lasix, and even “frog juice” – Dermorphin.  Why is the Canadian government risking the health of humans by accepting these horses for slaughter? Race horses can easily be identified by their lip tattoos. Yet the government turns a blind eye to this tainted meat being sold for human consumption.   However,  everyone else is catching up to the fact that we are shipping tainted meat.

From the article:

  • “In reality,  horse slaughter is an option that could potentially put an end to much abuse and neglect of horses,  and solve the problem of what to do with the unwanted horse.”

Horse Welfare Organizations wonder why breed associations continue to reward millions of dollars in breed incentives each year, while refusing to use some of that money as funds for horse rescues, funds for gelding, and funds for humane euthanasia.  To me,  that would be a logical place to start reducing the numbers of those “unwanted horses. The public is fed up with the lack of action by those in office who could stop this.  Pro-slaughters generally do not want to discuss this,  as it infringes on their right to do what the hell they want.   Their toolbag is full of dirty tricks, doing a total disservice instead of focusing on true solutions.  They do not want to draw attention to the  never-ending vicious cycle of over-breeding and they generally have no input regarding the imminent litigation due to the immoral implementation of toxic meat posing a public health risk.

Bill now winds up the article with a peppering of paranoia for anyone who isn’t yet convinced that activists are going to ban animals in Canada:

  • “We are very fortunate in Canada that our citizens have the opportunity and the right to own animals”
Alberta Equestrian Federation EID

Alberta Equestrian Federation EID – conveniently provided just in case their “Welfare” programs aren’t all that helpful.

Is he serious?  Who does he think is working to remove the rights of Canadians to own animals?  This is more of that “don’t infringe on my right to abuse animals” and “property rights paranoia.”  Canada is a world-leader in equal rights,  and I’m justifiably proud of the constitutional framework we have created to protect equality.  But I’m truly embarrassed to be Canadian when it becomes apparent that we do not have the ability or desire to protect animals from abuse and cruelty.  Animal cruelty elicits a strong response from most Canadians,  and it is time to extend that response to the protection of Canadian and American horses,  who should never be part of the food chain.

HWAC has no real horse welfare programs,  if they were genuinely concerned about horse welfare,  DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence.  That speaks volumes.   What they and the International Equine Business Association (with Sue Wallis) ARE trying to make happen is  a form of permanent identification and traceability for horses and to that end,   has contracted with Animal ID Solutions Inc., a Canadian company with operations in the United States.They also plan to utilize Animal ID Solution’s Global Animal Identification Network.

RFID chip

RFID chip

Microchipping for horses was to be the next step after the EID system.  The chip is supposed to integrate with other national and international traceability programs.    Of course,  Animal ID Solutions are going to have global contacts internationally with other RFID-type programs,  which certainly suggests that the IEBA,  HWAC, Equine Canada,  and DesBarres have got to keep this slaughter machine moving full-speed ahead so they can take it all global and find replacement markets for the EU,  if they are no longer interested in our “product” after 2013.   For United Horsemen’s part,  I wonder where they think they will get the money to do this?  Weren’t they having trouble refunding registration fees for the cancelled Summit of the Horse and the truck raffle for a truck that never existed?

More on the topic of Equine Canada,  export markets,  ID programs in a subsequent blog post……..

Equine Magazine Praises Bill “Slaughter Is A Wonderful Option” DesBarres

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Equine Consumers Guide 2012 Cover

Equine Consumers Guide 2012 Cover

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Bill DesBarres,  horsemeat pimp and paid representative of Claude Bouvry,  has been honoured by the Equine Consumers’ Guide with  “Reader’s Choice” award for “A Lifetime In The Service Of The Horse.”  Of course, the saccharine-sweet article  doesn’t mention anything about slaughter – so if you need a quick sugar rush,  you could always print it out,  chop it into a million pieces and pour it into your morning cuppa – it’s THAT sweet.

How can it be that a group or person who promotes “humane handling of horses throughout all their life stages” can promote horse slaughter?  And are the editors of this mag truly unaware of the raison d’ être of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC)?  HWAC’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC  is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry,  aided by the partnership with the elbows-up, stick-swinging, trash-talking Sue Wallis.  If any of its chairs or board members were TRULY interested in protecting the interests of equines,  this organization would have been set up long beforehand,  and it would NOT include slaughter!

Not only should we be offended by this attempt to whitewash the HWAC in a mainstream horse publication,  but we should let the editors know that DesBarres has made a career out of accusing horse welfare advocates of “vicious, unprincipled campaigns of stalking, harassment, and threats” (in an email campaign sent from “info@ieqbassn.org”) and accuses HSUS,  the Equine Welfare Alliance,  Animals Angels etc.  of “terroristic activities.”  I guess he’s afraid of calling people a “terrorist” outright,  so couches his comments in terms that he thinks he can get away with from a libel perspective.  I see what you did there Bill!

In any case, these terms are used by those who believe “hate” is acceptable in our culture.  If you talk with animal rights activists, you will find that many are also involved with humanitarian causes such as hunger, poverty, sweatshops, feminism, marriage equality, LGBT or civil rights.   I don’t know anyone who’s committed a “terrorist” or “terroristic” activity,  unless you’re including every shout-down that occurs on Facebook as a “terrorist” activity.  If that’s the case,  I’m sure the FBI Division of “Facebook Insults and Butt-hurts” will be eager to take your statements so they can get on the case!

With extreme prejudice,  he goes on to claim that these aforementioned organizations “trample on the rights to life, liberty, and property.”   There’s that recurring theme of property rights we hear so frequently in the discussion of horse slaughter.  I firmly believe that if horse slaughter advocates had been around in the 30s and 40s they would probably be screaming at the top of their lungs over the institution of zoning.    Having an unfettered right to do whatever you want with your property is actually a wrong,  and reasonable people understand why. How many of us would want to live next-door to someone who played mariachi music non-stop,  or someone who burns their garbage in oil drums every week?

DesBarres "pays back" his horses by slaughtering them

All the colleagues who praised him in this article are anonymous! And how come the only pic I ever find of him makes him look like a remedial student of Diane Horner’s school of cowboy hip-hop?

I would assume that these magazines are also unaware that DesBarres has  fought against those who seek protection for horses,  by attempting to repudiate footage from four separate equine slaughter plants has been aired between 2008 and 2011 and all showed appallingly cruel treatment of horses, including in the Bouvry plant in 2010.  The Bouvry video was taken Feb. 19th,  and the CHDC linked a Lethbridge radio station playing in the background to that date.  A song list from that day matches what is heard on the video. The RCMP have already determined that it is authentic and that no changes had been made to the videos,  so that should be good enough for anyone,  including DesBarres.  In a court of law it would stand the test of cross examination as evidence.  However,  Bill insists that the video was fabricated somehow,  perhaps with highly-trained stunt horses as a direct-to-video slasher movie.  He must think that the CHDC has a production budget in the millions!

The videos were extracts from 10 hours of film and were taken on random days, which is fairly good evidence that what was presented went on every single day.  The investigation of Natural Valley Farms took place over half a year.  One could surmise that there is a correlation between the absence of CFIA inspectors from the kill box area and the appalling cruelty evidenced in the videos.  The Inspectors have been absent from the floor for several years now by order of CFIA management. The management. order arose from safety concerns raised by and for  CFIA Inspectors in 2007 when firearms began being used to stun the horses – so you could say their roles are basically administrative at this point,  even though it is their job to supervise and monitor the kill box process.

DesBarres has continually praised the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at every opportunity.  In the Forking and Spooning audio discussion (you couldn’t pay me enough to listen to this dry heave-inducing segment a second time) on the wonders of horse slaughter,  he slaughters all his horses and never considers euthanasia under any circumstances.   DesBarres also partners up with Dr. Martin Appelt of the CFIA,  who is on-hand to promote the deadly Premarin®/Prempro® industry whilst referring to menopause as a “disease”  that requires treatment (apparently,  with Premarin®).  Personally,  I’d rather not get  advice on the function of any of my lady bits from a veterinarian, thank you very much.  Of course the CFIA is not going tell anyone that the conjugated equine estrogen industry originates in the misery of thousands of mares and foals.

By praising DesBarres,  the mag (un)knowingly downplays or ignores:

  • Documented lack of enforcement by the CFIA
  • The pressure placed on workers and veterinarians  to ignore  cruelty violations and to instead keep the slaughter lines going while animals suffer.
  • Undercover surveillance footage that shows horses being repeatedly bludgeoned.
  • DesBarres’ accusations that animal advocates,  a large section of their readership,  are borderline criminals merely for exposing cruelty.  Most countries protect their whistleblowers – but animal activists and those who video cruelty in slaughterhouses are routinely excoriated.
  • Virtually non-existent testing protocols for phenylbutazone and other veterinary drugs – sampling frequency too low to be meaningful for public health purposes.
  • They lend credence and legitimacy to someone who denies factual and legitimate evidence that horses are being inhumanely treated.

Contact the Equine Consumers Guide here

Slaughterhouse Sue and Bill DesBarres – The IEBA Emperors Have No Clothes!

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

For those of you who have forgotten, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about The Emperor’s New Clothes involves an emperor commissioning two tailors to make him a set of clothes. According to the tailors, who set out to dupe the Emperor, the new clothes will be invisible to anyone who is either incompetent or stupid. And so the emperor parades about naked rather than admit to being incompetent or stupid, all the while being applauded on all sides by sycophantic courtiers and subjects. Everyone pretends to see the remarkable clothes. However, a child cries out, “he hasn’t got any clothes on.”

Whether clothing or facts – the invisible and non-existent look very much alike.

Show your compassion - kill horses now!

Show your compassion – beat the rush! kill horses now!

This parable is of course very similar to the viewpoint that Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis and Bill DesBarres,  and the rest of their sycophantic followers in the United Horsemen’s Group and the Horse Welfare Association of Canada maintain – that everyone who cannot see their viewpoint must be an idiot or a knuckle-dragger of single-digit intelligence.

Like the Emperor,  Wallis and DesBarres aren’t wearing any clothes (unfortunately, some visuals you can’t unsee,  but if all else fails,  perhaps a little steel wool and industrial bleach might be in order?) and to that end,  she and Bill DesBarres have aligned themselves with professional lobbyists who will task themselves with the responsibility of convincing the gubbermint that Sue and Bill are indeed  splendid “emperors” for the pro-slaughter cause!  And if they can’t convince everyone,  they’ll just attempt to force through pro-slaughter legislation no matter what the 80% have to say about it………. Wallis’ “brand” is underfire and she’s been publicly shamed on many issues.  Recall that after Sue Wallis was summarily kicked out of Mountain Grove Missouri,  she threw all her toys out of the pram and huffed,  “Discussion’s over. Make all the noise you want.  We’re going into business.”  To that end,  Wallis has apparently contracted with a couple of lobbyists who can pitch horse slaughter in a way that she and DesBarres are apparently unable to do (anyone who has followed my other blog post on Wallis knows that she is suffering from “hoof ‘n’ mouth” disease).

Organization Structure - IEBA Gang of Five

Organization Structure – IEBA Gang of Five

T. Howard Mains, Co-President – Tactix Government Consulting Inc.

Howard Mains is a maple syrup farmer who has made his entire career one of downplaying the risk of pesticides, herbicides, and dioxins in food, promoting Big Ag over organic farming, while making sure that government policies are aligned with the corporate objectives of companies such as Dow and Monsanto.  He has “developed and implemented several product defence strategies,”  which basically means that he makes his living defending the products of Big Ag and Big Chem by lobbying the government to convince them that products like herbicides typically containing dioxin, such as 2,4-d,  otherwise known as Agent Orange,  isn’t really all that bad. Mains is part of a group of American and Canadian lobbyists who assert that reviews by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, confirm that pesticides in approved uses pose no health threat.  Now,  I’m not in a position to claim what exposures to pesticides are or are not “safe,”  but dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals ever made by man;  they are chemically very stable and therefore break down extremely slowly in the environment. Furthermore,  dioxins bioaccumulate – they collect in fatty tissue, and become concentrated in animals higher up the food chain. This fact is not in dispute.

Howard Mains organic food tweet - threatened by organic food?

Howard Mains organic food tweet – threatened by organic food? And who are the “Toxic Terrorists?”

Most people are familiar with the most dangerous form of dioxin used during the Vietnam War – defoliant Agent Orange. War veterans exposed to Agent Orange have developed chronic  lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma and diabetes. Many children of veterans exposed have been affected by their parents’ exposure to the chemical and show a wide range of symptoms.  But one doesn’t need to have been exposed to a massive overdose of dioxin in order to gain the attention of the Canadian Cancer Society;   acting on the precautionary principle, the British Columbia and Yukon branches of the CCS have called for a moratorium on the cosmetic use of pesticides.

howard mains - public scientifically illiterate

Howard Mains – public scientifically illiterate

As a consumer (and a scientifically literate one at that),  I can tell you that I no longer trust any government agency,  particularly the CFIA,  which,  as we know,  has been using the EU as a dumping ground for toxic horsemeat. The CFIA is hardly transparent or accountable as any Canadian horse advocate knows well enough by now, and the knowledge that Mains has or will be lobbying them on his own or on behalf of the IEBA (International Equine Business Association) as a front for Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis is hardly comforting.   Curiously,  Mains appears to be silent on the issue of Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol recently found in horsemeat that originated from Canada,  and the use of non-food animals in the food system.  Perhaps we haven’t heard from him on the issue of horsemeat (yet) so long as payment from the IEBA or Sue Wallis is a prerequisite.  Slaughter Spin-Meister Sue may not actually have any money to pay lobbyists or invest in her slaughter empire,  even though she has maintained that she is actively engaged in renovating slaughter plants that she doesn’t actually own.  What could possibly go wrong?

Explain these canines?

Explain these canines?

Big Ag lobbyists like Howard don’t really seem to like vegetarians/vegans or people who want to live more organically or off the CAFO grid.  That’s not to say that organic foods don’t come with some of their own issues,  because of course they do. But Howard Mains thinks that anyone who doesn’t fall in line with Big Ag, CAFO  thinking must subscribe to repeating scary campfire stories about chemicals and must by default be an anti-technology, anti-business, anti-progress ideologue whose diatribes are not based on science. The science actually proves that dioxin has been found in milk, cheese, beef, pork, fish, chicken, and other animals, as well as soil and sewage sludge.  According to the FDA,  although dioxins are environmental contaminants, most dioxin exposure occurs through the diet, with over 95% coming through dietary intake of animal fats.  Agent Orange was widely used in Ontario on Crown land up until the 70s. 

Howard Mains doesn’t discriminate only in favour of herbicides either.  In a Power Point presentation of his own creation,  Mains states:

“The current scientific evidence indicates that the general public need not be concerned as levels of BPA present in food do

Children's letter writing campaigns exploit children,  but this is OK Howard?

Children’s letter writing campaigns exploit children as “enviro-terror lobbyists?”

not pose a health risk. ”   I’m not sure what “scientific evidence” Mains attributes to this reasoning,  since there is plenty of evidence that Bisphenols exert detectable hormone-like properties  and the Pubmed database contains over 3,000 references to Bisphenols. Endocrine disruptors cause developmental,  neurological,  and immunological effects in both humans and wildlife.

Although Mains appears to be loathe to acknowledge it,  casual use of phenoxy herbicides are directly correlated with environmental hazards.According to the Canadian Environmental Law Association, “Pesticides have been either associated with, or more often, are suspected as contributing to, impaired cognitive development in children, increased rates of cancer, brain tumours, asthma, and immune system problems.” Pesticides have been linked to breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. A study by the Stanford University’s School of Medicine indicates Parkinson’s disease is linked to home pesticide use.

Toronto’s former Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sheela Basrur, states, “The use of lawn care pesticides is a public health issue of growing concern. When risks to human health are unnecessary or uncertain, the wisest course of action is to substitute alternatives rather than incurring risks that may prove unacceptable in the long run.” The World Health Organization estimates that 220,000 people die every year from pesticide poisoning and three million people are poisoned. You have to connect the dots here – when governments are lobbied to accept the use of products that are not in the best interests of its

Gerry Ritz - Most Popular with Lobbyists!

Gerry Ritz – Most Popular with Lobbyists! @lobbywatcher collects and consolidates tweets to see whose doors swing open the widest to people paid to influence government policy.

citizens,  lobbyists have to accept some of the blame!

And although Slaughterhouse Sue and her United Horsemen’s followers are quick to complain about children’s anti-slaughter letter writing campaigns,  Howard Mains has no qualms about employing children in his own Power Point presentations minimizing the impact of pesticide use.

Mains was also involved in a NAFTA Chapter 11 dispute against the former Quebec NDP Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair and the Province of Quebec when it came to banning sales of herbicide 2,4-D.  Mains represented Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto,  who are perpetually concerned about the economic issues surrounding a ban of their products,  against the Province of Quebec.

The Dow AgroSciences case against Quebec was the result of changes to the province’s Pesticide Management Code, first tabled in July 2002, banning the use of several pesticides for residential lawn applications. Mains,  representing Big Chem,  challenged (or bullied?) the government to “prove that 2,4-D did not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment, provided that the instructions on their label are followed, as concluded by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency decision on the re-evaluation of 2,4-D.”  Although the Government of Quebec had the right to regulate the sale and use of 2,4-D,  they were LOBBIED and coerced to back down to Dow and Monsanto in this example.  Mains was also part of a group of people working within the landscaping industry who had lobbied Quebec’s National Assembly to take 2,4-D off of its list of banned products.

For this and other reasons, a recent report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists gave Dow and Monsanto a stern talking-to about what the term “sustainable agriculture”  actually means, and why what they’re doing isn’t it.  Research also suggests that pesticides such as Roundup may also be linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.  Unsurprisingly, Roundup/glycophosate wreaks havoc on beneficial insects, amphibians, and birds who are foolish enough to try to exist in their natural habitats. Take note,  Howard Mains.

Keep Calm..........

Keep Calm……….and try not to lose your shit

Knowing that most disease is idiopathic – without known cause or mechanics,  it behooves governments to utilize the precautionary principle.  Researchers investigating the long-term immune effects of dioxin have found that exposure to dioxin during development or while nursing diminishes the capacity to fight infection later in life. The study, published in Toxicological Sciences, reported that mouse pups born to pregnant mice that were exposed to a small amount of dioxins had fewer white blood cells that normally kill the flu virus and more of a different kind that increases lung inflammation.

The study entitled, “The aryl hydrocarbon receptor affects distinct tissue compartments during ontogeny of the immune system,” aimed to identify the critical windows of exposure where fetuses are most sensitive to dioxin’s harmful effects. Pregnant mice were given a dose of 1,000 ppt dioxin either during pregnancy, lactation, or throughout pregnancy and lactation. After dosing, mothers and pups were kept dioxin-free. Researchers then infected mothers and pups with a non-lethal dose of the influenza virus.

“These results illustrate how dioxin exposure in the womb, and/or during nursing, can permanently impact the development of the immune system. They also reaffirm the significance of the impacts of early exposures to harmful chemicals which can result in long-term changes that affect normal biological responses later in life. One notable aspect of this study was that changes in immune response were observed even though the pups were exposed a few times to a low-level dose of dioxin. This means that short-term exposures (as opposed to long-term, continuous exposures) can have significant long-term impact, especially if these exposures occur during important early developmental stages.”

True to form,  any lobbyist defending 2,4-D,  pesticides,  or even phenylbutazone use, would claim that much of animal research isn’t translational to humans.  I guess that’s why research shows that cell phone microwaves cause long term memory loss in rats or phenylbutazone use can cause serious side-effects in horses,  but neither of these things harms people.  Evidently,  we are of a different,  more bullet-proof mammalian stock.

Thank you Sir,  may I have another?  Certainly,  dear reader;  this brings us to our second IEBA co-conspirator,  Steve Kopperud:

Steve Kopperud, Executive Vice President – Policy Directions Inc.

Steve Kopperud is executive vice president of Policy Directions Inc., a Washington, DC government affairs/specialty communications company specializing in animal production agriculture, nutrition, agribusiness, biotechnology, animal health and welfare, food, farm policy, trade and ag research and human health-related issues.  Kopperud was senior vice president of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), for nearly 18 years prior to joining Policy Directions. Kopperud considers himself an authority on “animal activist assaults on animal agriculture and food technology.”  He coordinates the Washington, DC-based Farm Animal Welfare Coalition (FAWC), a national coalition of farm, ranch and input organizations involved in livestock/poultry production.  Kopperud again continues along the theme of scientifically unenlightened consumers as “liabilities” along with the ever-present threat of animal and environmental activism.  Steve has made it his life’s mission to protect Big Ag and biomedical research from animal rights and environmental “radicals.” I daresay,  if Slaughterhouse Sue ever decides to leave her semi-literate poet hubby for a guy in Washington,  Steve would be the ideal partner – he hates anyone who strives to preserve the environment as much as she does!

From the AFIA's latest propaganda "meating."  They're not referring to human vegetarians either.

From the AFIA’s latest propaganda “meating.” They’re not referring to human vegetarians either.

In his capacity as VP of the AFIA,  Kopperud wrote:

“AFIA’s goal is to ensure this rewrite of programs touching AFIA members most directly is rational and economical, while ensuring basic income protection for farmers, a future for appropriately funded ag-research, a continued priority on  federal programs promoting exports, a rewritten conservation title that puts arable land back into protection, a permanent disaster program that keeps the feed industry in the delivery system and public recognition that the “demands” of animal rights groups are self-serving and out of touch with feeding America and the rest of the planet.”  Holy crap – that’s one sentence – it’s a tragedy when bad things happen to good sentences!  Note to Steve – when the “demands” are made by increasingly larger and better organized groups,  you can be sure that those “out of touch” groups are actually becoming the norm.  Corporate accountability is the way of the future.  Get used to it.

Kopperud is regularly quoted by Humanewatch followers of Rick Berman.  Suffice it to say the Humane Society of the United States has been on his radar screen for many years. He writes:

“The greatest sin of HSUS is its arrogance. The organization and its leaders honestly believe because they deem a practice to be “wrong” or “unacceptable,” the world must stop and embrace that definition.”  Steve is hard at work countering ethical vegetarianism,  because anyone who cares about the planet,  the environment,  and animal cruelty is anathema to the organizations he represents.  So again,  he is the ideal foil to Slaughterhouse Sue in that you can count on him to downplay,  ignore,  and spin any of the well-known issues that animal welfare advocates have about horses and horsemeat.  Assuming that the IEBA truly gets off the ground and doesn’t get spun into some new business entity by Wallis,  it will be Kopperud’s role to oppose and marginalize any persons or any groups who promote horse welfare.  Indeed,  he believes that animal abuse does not exist in any food production system.  As we know,   Big Ag in various States in the US seeks to make it a crime in MN, Iowa and FL to document by camera or video even illegal agricultural activity. These bills supported by Big Ag  (Monsanto specifically in Iowa) and were obviously unconstitutional, self-serving and though thankfully defeated. If Big Ag wants to win the “food movement” back, trying to toss people in jail for documenting even illegal dangerous activity where our food is made is not the way.

What happened to Snow White when she ate the poisoned apple?

What happened to Snow White when she ate the poisoned apple?

Kopperud targeted much of his remarks against HSUS for its work toward the U.S. horse slaughter ban.  “The unintended consequences of this national campaign to ban horse slaughter waged by HSUS is that we now have over 110,000 neglected and abandoned horses in this country. There has not been one word from any activist organization as to how we will care for these  animals,” Kopperud said. “HSUS, with their leader Wayne Pacelle, is a very savvy organization. ” HSUS frustrates the lobbyists because they won’t come out to play.  Kopperud and the rest of the lobbyists want HSUS to be in the shelter business, which is why Rick Berman and Humanewatch constantly rag on them re: shelter donations.  If HSUS would just “know their place,”  the people the lobbyists represent could just continue to breed too many dogs for the market just like the AQHA overbreeds for the market. Not to be out done,  Kopperud also blasted the Quizno’s sandwich shop chain for its recent move to sell products from crate-free pork and free-range eggs as part of a green initiative, saying the firm caved in to pressure from PETA on these issues. Kopperud wants all animal-exploiters to work together.

Lobbyists and the Fortune 500 companies they represent would like to deny you your free speech rights as well.  In a letter to Consumer Reports, Kopperud has defended the industry’s rationale behind food disparagement laws, claiming that they “do not repress free speech, but rather compel a speaker to think twice about opportunistic or false statements and the damage such rhetoric can do. . . . Food disparagement laws, as tools to make more honest our national discussion of food safety, are the ultimate consumer protection.” The AIF speaks more bluntly in literature aimed at farmers: “Animal rights activists . . . threaten the survival of today’s farmers and ranchers. . . . It’s time to fight back! . . . ”

Lead by lobbyists,  the food industry has worked quietly state-by-state while avoiding a controversial national debate. So far, thirteen state legislatures have approved product disparagement laws–Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. Other states are considering similar measures.  Do you believe that,  based on Sue Wallis’ alignment with Kopperud,  she would really implement CCTV in horse slaughterhouses?  I wouldn’t bet a kidney on it and I don’t give a shit what Temple Grandin thinks will happen either.

Further, Steve Kopperud, coordinator for the Food Industry Dioxin Working Group is afraid the media will have a field day with the EPA limits. And then what might happen? “You will have a whole lot of folks running in circles saying there’s nothing safe to eat, it will scare the crap out of people.”  Boy,  it doesn’t take much for the food industry to freak out over potential government action!

Members of the The Food Industry Dioxin Working Group (hint – they will not be advocating on your behalf):

American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Frozen Food Institute
American Meat Institute
Corn Refiners Association
International Dairy Foods Association
National Chicken Council
National Grain & Feed Association
National Meat Association
National Milk Producers Federation
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Renderers Association
National Turkey Federation
Pet Food Institute
United Egg Producers

What do all these individual issues have to do with horse slaughter?  Lobbyists for horse slaughter will do for horse slaughter what they are trying to do for CAFOs – normalize them or portray them as animal-friendly mom and pop establishments,  employing  “best practices,”  animal welfare, and professional business ethics,  while they are nothing whatsoever like that.  Always remember that it costs them money to adhere to standards,  just as it would cost a lot of money to slow down the dis-assembly line of horses or any other animal,  as an attempt to make the process more “humane.”  It costs money to implement and audit CCTV cameras (not that they want anyone to see what’s going on to begin with),  otherwise,  the industry could have done it already!  The horrors of horse slaughter and drug contamination will be downplayed or proclaimed to be non-existent. There is no traceability in Canadian or American horses and no way to guarantee horses are drug free – not that either of those issues matter to lobbyists for Slaughterhouse Sue and Bill DesBarres.  Lastly,  if lobbyists are pitching drug-tainted meat to sell to consumers,  well,  that in my opinion is some pretty dirty lobbying.

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Gerry Ritz – Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Does Canada even take food safety seriously?  Apparently not,  what with Gerry Ritz’ comments at the listeriosis scandal whereby he joked that 22 people had died – On September 17, 2008, Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz made national news when comments he made on an August 2008 conference call with government officials were made public. Ritz was quoted as saying, “This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts.” Then, when told of a death in PEI, Ritz said, “Please tell me it’s (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter.” Ritz apologized for his remarks, but various groups called for his resignation. Jack Layton responded by saying, “Canadians are dying because of the mismanagement of our government… there should absolutely never be that kind of humour…. It illustrates the government is not taking this matter as seriously as they should.” A spokesman for Prime Minister Harper released a statement saying Ritz’s comments were tasteless and completely inappropriate. Stephen Harper refused to seek Ritz’s resignation.

This is a moral and ethical imperative that both Canadians and Americans must address without delay in their respective countries  The Europeans have been well-justified in placing restrictions on Canadian and American-produced meat products, such as hormone-laced beef, Ractopomine-treated pork, and chlorine-washed chickens. It’s time for them to stop imports of drugged-up horses, where the food safety case is even more obvious,  at a time when Canada is cutting back funds for inspections to pre-listeriosis times. Civic action, such as all our efforts-to-date,  has helped to transform the policies of some of the world’s biggest corporations.  Canadians don’t want their horses butchered, shrink-wrapped, and air freighted to Europe.   It’s a barbaric, unsafe, discredited business.

This Is Horse Slaughter In Canada

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bouvry protest

October 2013 protest at the Bouvry horse slaughter plant just outside of Fort Macleod, Alberta

Written by: Brian

I’m not sure which horse is haunting me the most. There was Jack. Big part draft gelding, 23 years old. Skinny as skinny, with large white saddle sore scars. Someone used him hard and threw him away.

Ginger was 26, from the same place as Jack. Friendly and gentle. She came to the fence to say hello.

The Percheron filly was a black beauty. After her trip to Alberta she might be one of the chosen ones to be shipped live from the Calgary airport. If she survives the trip (sometimes all the horses arrive dead), she’ll be slaughtered in Japan and served up raw as a high priced delicacy.

Twenty year old Copper won’t be as tender. He had some hard miles on him.

The dunn mare was in her prime, eleven years old, trained to pull a cart. She came into the sale ring with a rider on her back for the very first time, and handled it like a pro. It wasn’t enough.

The sturdy paint horses and the chunky six year old sorrel were typical slaughter horses, with their whole lives ahead of them. Not any more.

Usually it’s the young ones the kill buyers go for, not the old and feeble, despite what the industry tells you about horse slaughter being a “humane end of life option.” The kill buyers didn’t get as many as usual, but this auction was especially brutal, because most of the ones they did get were older.

Thin horse at OLEX

A thin horse stands alone in the kill pen at OLEX in St. Jacob’s Ontario – even the sweltering July heat cannot dry out the permanent muck

Bucky was the most memorable. His hip bones jutted out from his emaciated body, and a swollen wound on his cannon bone was heading towards proud flesh. He’d spent his 25 years teaching children to ride. But why put him down humanely when you can make a few bucks?

Bucky nickered softly to us as we left the yard after the sale. He was probably hoping we’d give him some hay and water after hours of going without. He’d have to wait for that.

The meat horses would be shunted into a pen together, and Bucky would take a few kicks before being chased from his scrap of hay. If anyone bothered to feed them. Regulations say horses can go 36 hours without food or water.

Who knows how many doses of bute Bucky had in his long life. Like all the horses, he was dropped off with no questions asked. One dose of bute carries a lifetime ban for human consumption.

But Bucky ain’t never had no bute! Even though that festering wound was fresh and he was a jumping horse, Bucky never had no drugs! No wormers, no pain killers, no bute…

He arrived at Bouvry with a fresh, clean EID, filled out by the kill buyer stating that “to the best of my knowledge” Bucky was drug free. Him and all them others that came with no medical information. Hell! They ain’t never had nothin!

Gerry Ritz Flag

Failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture – bureaucratic idiot and exasperating obfuscator. Activists exist largely because our civil servants, who are responsible for safeguarding animals and supervising the inputs into the food chain, do so in a questionable or disrespectful manner towards their own citizens and those of countries to whom we export foodstuffs.

That’s the CFIA’s story and they’re sticking to it. Once at the slaughterhouse the EIDs become the plant’s property and go into cold storage where even a Freedom of Information Request can’t get them out.

I’ve been thinking about Bucky and the others all week. And I still remember Sky from 11 years ago. Pretty young Arab. She was a playful thing, jousting with her pasture mate in the stock pen. After the sale her lifetime friend was led away by a new owner, and Sky was left standing alone in the cold rain, confused. They always know when something’s not right.

The two sleek four year old geldings hid their heads in the corner. The bidding didn’t last long for them. Next.

A teenage girl came in proudly leading her childhood love, and left with a stunned look on her face when he sold for $100. She probably preferred boys now and her parents said, “That horse has to go!”

The sick mare with firehose diarrhea could barely walk. She’d be a downer for sure, but even trampled to death she’d be worth a case of beer.

Of course I’ll never forget the load of full term pregnant wild mares being prodded onto a double decker with 50 other horses, falling and thrashing and banging. The noise was something else! The CFIA sure wanted to shut me up about that illegal shipment.

The auction claims there are no kill buyers at their sales. Only “horse brokers,” who train them ponies up for resale. Ask for yourself. The guy who sits up in the corner with a calculator will tell you where they’re going. “To a friend in Alberta.”

Arriving at Bouvry with their squeaky clean EIDs, the horses were probably unloaded right into the kill line. So much for the six month holding period required by law. They don’t even pretend to follow the rules. I sure wish the EU was paying attention.

I wonder if Bucky’s had his turn yet? I imagine him smelling the fear as he’s driven closer to the stun box, his ears flickering back and forth, the smell of blood overpowering and the noise

Bucky - The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC, headed by Bill DesBarres, is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry.

Here is Bucky. It’s important to acknowledge that the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC, headed by Bill DesBarres, is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry.

deafening. Saws whining and a radio blaring. The humans Bucky grew up trusting shouting and laughing, prodding him with a white stick that sends a jolt through his old bones as he stumbles forward into a blood soaked metal cage, looking frantically for a way out.

He’s a big horse. Maybe the first few shots glanced off his high head, taking out an eye or hitting him in the ear as the shooter casually took his time reloading his gun. I wonder if Bucky has figured out yet that humans are no longer his friend?

Horse “welfare” advocate, Bill DesBarres (HWAC), claims that without slaughter Canada would be overrun with unwanted horses. But almost 70% come from the US. They trickle into the system, one by one, like Bucky and Jack, from owners who are not desperate but just want an easy way out. (By the way, Bill and Claude Bouvry go way back.)

The biggest misconception of all is that banning horse slaughter in the US caused a surge of neglect. The crashed economy, drought and skyrocketed hay prices caused the neglect, not the slaughter ban. The number of horses slaughtered never changed. Owners could ditch them at an auction same as always.

You won’t hear that from Equine Canada. They’ve latched onto the neglect myth and people believe it. They pushed it hard on MPs too, trying to get them to vote against Bill C-571.

Kill Pens at OLEX

The horses are healthy, as are over 90% of all slaughter-bound horses, contrary to statements made by Equine Canada

The horses are healthy, as are over 90% of all slaughter-bound horses, contrary to statements made by Equine Canada

If people would quit breeding so many the numbers would drop pretty quick. Even the responsible breeders don’t break even, driven out of business by everyone who has a mare thinking she should be bred.

All those beautiful babies, in every colour of the rainbow, selling for as little as $100. The breeder brought them from Alberta, knowing that if he sold them there they’d all go for meat. But how many years before they end up back at the auction?

Yesterday a slaughter bound semi carrying 27 horses crashed in Saskatchewan, killing the driver of an SUV and 12 of the horses. How many Jacks and Buckys were on that load?

The CFIA chased reporters away and won’t divulge what happened to the surviving horses. But there are rumors of a Clyde and a pony being reloaded onto a fresh slaughter truck. No matter their terror and broken bones. The production line was waiting.

The ones that died in the crash were the lucky ones. At least their death was kinder than the one they were headed for at Bouvry.

Back at the riding school there’s probably a new horse. The children will stroke him and feed him carrots, and never forget him. Like I’ll never forget Bucky.

Why do I torture myself by going? Because knowledge is power, and maybe when enough people find out the truth about horse slaughter, they’ll care. I hope someone who once knew Bucky sees this post. Or someone in the EU.

Please share.

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Updated – Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences & Enablers 2014

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horsemeat-copy2Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

This infographic (downloadable here),  updated over my original 2012 version, exposes the hand-shaking and back-patting relationships, endorsements, and interconnectivity between the US and Canada. 

We can clearly see the tentacles of the Bill DesBarres’ Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada extending themselves into the breed associations,  farming groups,  Big Pharma, veterinary colleges and associations, and Equine Canada.  By way of the lobbyists in the IEBA,  we are influenced by Big Ag,  Dow and Monsanto,  Humanewatch and other organizations that not only advocate for horse slaughter,  but advocate for GMOs and against the EPA and indeed consumers in general. The Co-Chair position previously held by Sue Wallis is of course vacant, and it’s unknown whether the IEBA itself is actually a going concern., like so many of Wallis’ transitory slaughter groups. We’re unsure whether anyone has or will step into the position, as Sue Wallis was the driving force behind this group. Nevertheless, Bill DesBarres’ connections via the IEBA will no doubt continue to be exploited by HWAC and the horse slaughter industry.

While some of the associations that have been mapped out in the following Canadian infographic do not directly enable horse slaughter,  they are complicit in that they are silent against the practice.  At the very least they seem intent on preserving the status quo and ignoring the very real threats created not only by horse slaughter,  but by the power of Big-Ag lobbyists and governments who are willing to be influenced by them and their client base.

People are waking up to what is being done to horses.  Very few people condone what is being done, but the industry does everything it can to cover it up because they know it is not humane,  no matter what terminology they use.  DesBarres himself likes to refer to slaughter as “humane euthanasia,” and a “wonderful option.”    Please continue to contact the Agriculture critics, in particular – Malcolm Allen, who has endorsed Bill C-322 in the past and now rejects Bill C-571.

Please write to Equine Canada and insist that they take a more global position to promote equestrianism in Canada. Remind them that the GAO report they tout as the rationale for horse slaughter has been debunked.

Contact your breed associations. Many supporters have been lobbying the breed associations and discovering that some appear to be unaware that their names have been added to HWAC’s list of partner organizations. Let them know what they are endorsing when they associate themselves with the Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada and Bill DesBarres. Please ask them to insist that HWAC remove their names and ask them to reject any references to slaughter as “euthanasia.”

 

ieba-chart final copy

Click to Embiggen. Click here for downloadable PDF (large file)

Summary of Changes:

1)      Removed references to IEBA Co-Chair Sue Wallis

2)      Updated Agriculture Critics

3)      Updated flowchart to include KML Meats – new slaughterhouse in Westwold, British Columbia

4)      Updated Chief Food Safety Officer and Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada

5)      Removed Kill Buyer JP Soucy – left the business

6)      Added new Kill Buyers Jonathan Lalonde, Mike Swain, Mark Sneider, Richard Patenaude, and Jeff Grof

Here is the current list of provincial associations from the HWAC website. Note that the Ontario Equestrian Federation, which used to be on the list, has been removed.

Provincial Organizations

British Columbia
Horse Council
Orville Smith
President
Lisa Laycock
Executive Director
27336 Fraser Highway
Aldergrove, BC
V4W 3N5
Phone: 604-856-4304
Toll Free: 1-800-345-8055
Email
Alberta
Equestrian Federation
Tara Gamble
President
Sonia Dantu
Executive Director
100, 251 Midpark Blvd S.E.
Calgary, AB
T2X 1S3
Phone: 403-253-4411
Toll Free: 1-877-463-6233
Email
Saskatchewan
Horse Federation
Shirley Brodsky
President Executive Director
2205 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK
S4P 0S4
Phone: 306-780-9244
Email
Quebec
Fédération équestre du Québec
Rosaire Houde
President
Richard Mongeau
Executive Director
4545 Ave Pierre de
Coubertic CP 1000
Succursale M
Montreal, PQ
H1V 3R2
Phone: 514-252-3053
Email
New Brunswick
Equestrian Association
Deanna Phalen
President
Suite 13, 900 Hanwell Rd
Fredericton, NB
E3B 6A2
Phone: 506-454-2353
Email
Nova Scotia
Equestrian Federation
Barbie Lewis
President
Heather Myrer
Executive Director
5516 Spring Garden Rd
4th Floor
Halifax, NS
B3J 1G6
Phone: 902-425-5450Ext 333
Email
PEI
Horse Council
Wendell Grasse
President
Joy MacDonald
EC Representative
POB 1887
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N5
Phone: 902-964-2379
Email
Newfoundland
Equestrian Federation
Kathie Lane
President
Chris Gallant 
Past President 
17 Seal Cove Road
CBS, NF
A1X 6S5
Phone: 709-489-6166
Email
Yukon Territory Vibeke Coates
President
P.O. Box 20165
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 7A2
Phone: 867-633-3012
Email

 

Additional HWAC “Alliance” Partners

 

HWACKY EID

 

 

Silence of the CFIA Lambs….

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passport medsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

July 31st, the supposed EU deadline for implementing a traceability system for horses in Canada, is a date that has come and gone.  Although many pro-slaughter advocates maintained that we all made up that date, it clearly originated from the GAO report on horse slaughter – Horse Welfare – Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter.

“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.”

cash paid for unwanted horsesEarlier in July I wrote to the CFIA to find out what was going down on July 31st.  While Dr. Alexander, Chief Veterinary Officer for the CFIA’s response did address some of the questions I posed in a letter, it also leaves some other questions completely unanswered or open to interpretation.  The most obvious acknowledgement by the CFIA is that the EU has apparently extended the date two or three years into the future, not that we will be ready by 2015 or 2016 either.  They’re really hedging their bets by including two possible implementation dates too!  Just in case they can’t get it together by 2015, well, there’s always next year!  Lather, rinse and repeat……..

Of course,  restrictions and deadlines hardly bothered the CFIA in the past,  but now they have this passport system with which to contend – a detailed electronic log of a horse’s lifetime veterinary record and the drugs it has been given— including, but not limited to phenylbutazone, which is banned entirely, must not have been given to the horse in at least the last 180 days prior to slaughter or they can not be imported into EU nations.  Canada tried to implement traceability for horses before,  and seemed to give up after spending almost $500,000 to find out that it was unworkable,  no doubt due in part to the fact that many Canadian horse owners just don’t seem to be interested in paying for microchips and barn calls to satisfy third party concerns about the eligibility of our horses for meat.

Click to embiggen and read the entire letter.

Click to embiggen and read the entire letter.

Also of interest is the fact that Dr. Alexander tells us that the horsemeat market in Canada is worth $36 million, while we’ve always known it to generate around $70 million in the recent past.  Exactly what happened to halve the revenue of this industry in 2012?

Put down any beverages you are currently drinking, because you’ll probably  choke when you read that Dr. Alexander believes that the EID system is just as effective as the passporting system!  Well, perhaps he’s not really wrong, since they are both completely falsifiable and corruptable.  We saw this during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal early this year, 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 as does buying meat off the street from a stranger.

missingNotice also that “technical support” is being offered to both Equine Canada and Canada’s #1 slaugherphile Bill DesBarres of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada.  Is that CFIA-speak for throwing money at both groups?  Apparently, Canada can’t learn from the EU’s mistakes – we’re going to have two separate and distinct databases?  The same problems in the EU system – lack of control over the inputs into the database and duplicated records would happen here, and it would be even worse with two systems.  The EU has since realized that there were too many opportunities for unscrupulous people to make changes to the database, and are tightening up controls in that respect.  What gives veterinarians the idea that they should have any business involving themselves in the architecture and implementation of databases anyway?

I love the closing paragraph on Alexander’s correspondence, – they’ve got an “action plan to not stop exporting equine meat products to the EU Market.”  That’s right,  no matter what,  they’ll jury-rig the system and bamboozle the EU in order to maintain the status quo.  Of course they don’t allude to what their plans entail.  Whatever could the CFIA have told the EU to make them think we have a system with any credibility whatsoever?

The CFIA was given the dual and conflicting mandate to promote agri-food trade and sales,  as well as ensure food safety. That agency has a role to play in preventing the crime of allowing adulterated

Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz

Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz.  Live export, horse slaughter, exploding sausages, lavish expenditures, and the downloading of responsibility for our food inspection to the un-elected private sector. Somebody stick a fork in Gerry Ritz. I think he’s done.

horsemeat into the market, but it’s clear that they should not be in charge of food protection whilst simultaneously sending the inexplicably still-employed Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz and others on missions around the world promoting trade.

Food safety in Canada has jumped the shark.  There’s just too much allegiance to old, outdated systems operating purely on faith.  Horses are not living beings exploited by this industry and its participants, but “products” to be exported like lumber.  Oh Canada, what have we got to be proud about when it comes to our treatment of horses?

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.

Mainstream Magazine “Horse-Canada” Wrestles Tough Slaughter Issue

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mom and babyLast year I was interviewed by journalist Liz Brown,  who writes for the Canadian publication Horse-Canada.  Sinikka Crosland,  Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was also interviewed.  This was a months-long writing/research project for Ms. Brown that was temporarily derailed when Canada stopped accepting imports of American horses briefly in October 2012.

I had wondered whether it would ever be published when a couple of people mentioned that they had seen it in the print version of the magazine.  As far as I know,  it’s not available online but I’ve reproduced it here.  It’s a fairly balanced piece that covers feedlot issues,  the ever-present spectre of horsemeat purveyor La Palette Restaurant in Toronto and our protests there,  toxicology issues,  the lack of testing protocols at the CFIA,  and the falsification of EIDs.  Of course,  horsemeat pimp Bill “Slaughter is a Wonderful Option” DesBarres is quoted as well.

You can’t read the article without arriving at the inevitable conclusion that this multi-million dollar industry is incredibly problematic,  quite apart from the actual cruelty involved.  Hopefully this article resonates with the audience of Horse Canada,  which primarily features more “fluff” pieces on topics such as coronary band injuries and dietary supplements.

Please click on the graphic to open the article in PDF format.

Horse Canada's Expose Stable to Table - please click to read the full article in PDF.

Horse Canada’s Expose Stable to Table – please click to read the full article in PDF.

Radio Hosts Eat Horsemeat On Air Despite Facebook Outrage

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horse_butchering_map.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

Today’s post is dedicated to horsemeat propaganda,  courtesy of Canada’s famous slaughterphile Bill DesBarres,  who recently appeared on one of two radio episodes on horsemeat coming out of Saskatoon on the Round Table News Talk 650 CKOM.  DesBarres was interviewed by David Kirton in one podcast,  while Craig Silliphant and David Kirton sampled horsemeat in a second podcast, with Angela Hill representing the “pescatarian” abstainer.  Although their Facebook page was inundated with criticism and countervailing facts about horses, it was only a fraction of the outrage that was reserved for the hosts of “Top Chef Canada” which created a challenge featuring horsemeat in a segment two years ago.

Bill DesBarres - singing the praises of happy horse slaughterhouses

Bill DesBarres – singing the praises of happy horse slaughterhouses

When the show’s producers saw the posts on their Facebook page and realized that there might be humane issues with slaughtering horses, they  apparently mistookthe Horse “Welfare” Alliance of Canada as an actual welfare group advocating for horses and invited DesBarres to participate by providing awkward, one-sided small talk.  Both shows were very formulaic in that they glossed over the real issues and asked “not-so-challenging” questions of DesBarres, who invariably presented horse slaughter as a joyous theme park of happiness where horses willing go to be slaughtered and eaten, not unlike the pig at the Restaurant at the end of the Universe.

DesBarres did not fail to deliver his usual derp for the CFIA either, and steadfastly maintained that he has never heard of any Canadian horsemeat that has tested positive for phenylbutazone.  Unfortunately for the audience, host David Kirton wasn’t aware of any examples either, and so was unable to delve any deeper into the discussion.  And the audience was not served by the lack of commentary from a knowledgeable person or group such as the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, a true horse advocacy group.

DesBarres will NOT tell these radio hosts that his welfare claims of happy slaughterhouses and comfortable travel to them are almost meaningless. The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses. is not enforced. The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally. Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well.

Mark McEwan was criticizied on Top Chef Canada for serving horsemeat

Mark McEwan was criticizied on Top Chef Canada for serving horsemeat

So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta. Since 2007, inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety, since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals, so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred, as revealed by a CBC probe and in undercover video by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition?

He also won’t tell anyone that the HWAC’s solution for the traceability issues in horsemeat will never be accepted by the general population of horse owners,  because we will not pay for any system for our animals just so the Europeans or Japanese can be assured of a bute-free gastronomic experience.  And he did not tell the hosts (at least not on air) that he is a paid representative of Claude Bouvry and his slaughter empire.  Nor will he acknowledge that HWAC has no real horse welfare programs,  and if he or the HWAC board members were genuinely concerned about horse welfare,  DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence produced by the CHDC.  That speaks volumes.

You can listen to the DesBarres Interview here

The eating of horsemeat took place in a second episode, where the hosts generally face-planted onto various issues, never quite getting it right.  For instance, they clung to the false notion that in order to justifiably complain about the philosophy of eating horsemeat, you must be vegan.  They didn’t truly grasp the notion of the “non-food animal” issue, instead choosing to

Anthony Bourdain - the bad boy of overindulgence. and food porn

Anthony Bourdain – the bad boy of overindulgence and food porn

ask why slaughter remains “acceptable” for the traditional food animals.  It’s a fair enough question, but one I’ve grown really weary of attempting to answer.  Indeed, some vegans I know have wondered why it seems to be so wrong to eat horses, because their beloved and much maligned farm animals are already being cruelly treated.  Much of the vegan message is “what about cows and pigs?” as if to advocate for horses somehow invalidates the suffering of other animals or makes us into some sort of animal “racist.” Again, in my opinion, this is the wrong question.  Instead, we should all be asking why it is necessary to add another animal to the food chain?  We must collectively resist the foodie movement, which has played a role in normalizing horsemeat, foie gras, as well as popularizing other non-traditional animals or worse – the consumption of non-inspected meat or live animals, as popularized by Anthony Bourdain and other wanna-be-known-for-sumthin’ chefs (caution – semi-graphic video – start watching at 3:00).

Gordon Ramsay has long promoted horsemeat to Britons

Gordon Ramsay has long promoted horsemeat to Britons

The hosts also assumed that deer and elk are not farmed (Bouvry and others are doing it), that all horses going to slaughter were old, and east Indians don’t eat cows.  They may also have assumed that horse slaughter is only cruel if it DOESN’T use the same process as with cows.  Using a process for cows is one more reason why it IS NOT HUMANE for a horse.   The hosts also bought into the false dilemma that, based on the relationship between predator and prey animals in the wild, the slaughter of an animal by us in a factory setting is humane by comparison. It’s a false dilemma because the horse that became their luncheon meat probably was someone’s pleasure horse at one time, and had no natural enemies to prey upon it.  And why did they assume that you must eat anything that is put in front of you, otherwise you’re being disrespectful of your host?  Is it rude to refuse alcohol if you’re abstaining?  Why then could it be rude for vegetarians or vegans to refuse animal protein provided by a host?  I guess one must never spoil a dinner party for mere religious or ethical reasons.  It was Anthony Bourdain who said, “taking your belief system on the road—or to other people’s houses—makes me angry.” The sight of vegetarian tourists waving away a Vietnamese pho vendor fills him with “spluttering indignation.” That’s right – apparently guests have a greater obligation to please their host, than vice versa. There’s really no civilized value left that foodies  (or radio hosts) cannot destroy.

You can listen to the horse-eating broadcast here

Bute poster august 22-2012