Tag Archives: “Alex Atamanenko”

Horse Welfare 2015 – The Year In Review

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Dream of horses

© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Each year spent fighting horse slaughter is proof enough that we live in a time of war. Although there will always be people and groups with a vested interest in seeing horse populations increase and the convenience of slaughter continue, 80% of Americans and 64% of Canadians say “no” to these injustices:

  • Despite the deterrent of jail terms for several key operatives in the 2013 horsemeat scandal, authorities in France are still investigating new horsemeat trafficking which now includes government officials and veterinarians.
  • There are still no charges against kill buyer Tom Davis or the BLM who sent horses to slaughter. Once again the BLM failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered. $140,000 of taxpayer money was used to transport the horses to Davis, who earned more than $150,000 in profits.
  • Obscene numbers of horses were run through auctions, often with up to 80% of them being bought by kill buyers. Prospective purchasers and bidders of horses hoping to rescue them from slaughter are being harassed at auctions.
  • Unpopular and unnecessary round-ups are still occurring in both the US and Canada.
  • In Great Britain, Dartmoor ponies are now being eaten in an attempt to “save” them.
  • The AQHA continues to be one of our biggest adversaries, and in 2015 they continued to wonder aloud what they could do to increase registration (and breeding). The AQHA braintrust created a super PAC designed to fight against horse owners, defeat the SAFE Act, and keep the breeding (and slaughter) going. To our dismay, Lucas Oil was named Title Sponsor of the AQHA World Championship Show.
  • With the demise of AC4H, which pulled in $800,000 in profit in two years of its operations, other brokered programs have sprung up or been expanded upon. Like a hydra, when one head is cut off, several more appear to take its place. Several markets have emerged as a result of the opportunities gleaned from Facebook, providing a very lucrative business, and kill buyers outbid private buyers at auctions on horses that they think they can flip using “the truck is coming” ploy.  Immense pressure is placed on rescuers,  who are continually told by kill buyers, “hang with me or the horses hang.” People are buying horses at outrageous prices and paying phenomenal amounts of money that could be used for feed and vetting, to ship them halfway across the country only to find that they are sick. In many cases the horses that arrive bear little resemblance to their photographs, may be misrepresented and sometimes must be euthanized upon arrival.
  • There have been several large scale seizures of horses at both rescues and private farms, sometimes occurring too late to benefit many horses. In the US, approximately 80 horses were seized from Peaceable Farm, a charity in Virginia. The owner marketed herself as a charity not to take care of horses, but to breed warmbloods, while letting dozens of other horses starve in the barn. She took in millions in donations. Emaciated horses and carcasses were removed from Larry Browning’s farm in Kentucky – he only had to wait 9 months before he could acquire more horses… Jerry Earls was charged with 100 counts of cruelty in Copiah County but evaded the charges related to injured, starving, and dead horses under his care and control. And in British Columbia, Canada, about 100 of Gary Roberts’ horses were seized by the SPCA and auctioned at Valley Auction – and thanks to rescuers, none went to kill buyers. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition successfully pre-empted the possibility that they would go to kill buyers when they wrote a letter to Donald Raffian (Valley Auction owner) to advise him that the herd had been treated with bute and therefore did not have a drug-free history.

We also saw substantial victories in 2015:

  • Horse slaughter will remain defunded in the U.S. as part of the new $1.1 trillion Omnibus Bill, which is expected to be signed into law in January 2016.
  • At the present time, Americans have 183 sponsors in the House and 28 in the Senate for the SAFE Act S1214/HR1942.
  • Those found guilty this year for their participation in the EU lasagne horsemeat scandal of 2013 are now being jailed.
  • A slaughterhouse was closed in Alès, southeastern France, after video obtained by L214 Éthique & Animaux were released for public viewing, showing scenes of horrible cruelty. The slaughterhouse killed about 3,000 horses per year, in addition to cattle, sheep, and pigs.
  • The EU banned horsemeat from Mexico and Canadian Premium Meats ceased slaughtering horses in Canada.
  • Some two years after the first reports from Animals’ Angels and our European partners at TSB (Tierschutzbund Zurich) exposed the cruel conditions horses face in Canada in feedlots and slaughterhouses, GVFI, which purchased from both Bouvry and Viande Richelieu, scuttled their imports of horsemeat from Canada. This is the second major contractual loss for Bouvry.
  • We also fought back against the PMU industry, and Canadian HRT users were eligible to claim compensation from a $13.6 million dollar fund. A US Summit also called for an end to the Premarin Industry.
  • The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council, to represent the collective voice of veterinarians in Canada who are opposed to horse slaughter, was launched.
  • September 29th was the date of the very well attended Safe Food! Safe Horses! March2DC
  • There were maneuvers to keep the option of horse slaughter open in New Mexico. However, a judge ruled against the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant by expanding a 2014 injunction to include owners of D’Allende Meats, a firm launched by an investment group which purchased the Roswell plant from Valley Meats. The trial in the original 2013 case is slated for August 2016.
  • The Salt River horses received a reprieve. Soon after federal officials announced the imminent capture of 100 or so horses within the boundaries of a national forest near Phoenix — to be sold at auction, “condemned and destroyed, or otherwise disposed of” — horse advocates issued a call for action. They were supported by Arizona officials who joined in the chorus of protests, outlining the boundaries of a dispute that encompasses an old political battle between state and federal governments over the stewardship of public lands in the West.
  • Now that we have a new Liberal government in Canada, we may have more success for anti-slaughter initiatives, since the Liberals were, for the most part, favourably inclined towards the last anti-slaughter Bill C-571.
  • We are fortunate that we have investigative reporters who are willing to write about the injustices meted out to horses in Canada. Journalist Mary Ormsby of the Toronto Star (home of the best investigative reporting in Canada) continued to write about the serious concerns with horsemeat intended for human consumption. W5 and Zoocheck collaborated on an exposé that revealed that Alberta’s previous Progressive Conservative government did not commission its own studies of wild horse populations, preferring instead to take ranchers’ “analysis” at face-value about population levels and claims of damage to grasslands, which were not substantiated.

In 2015 we said farewell to several of our horse advocates. One of our greatest allies in Canada, MP Alex Atamenenko, decided to retire after drafting 3 anti-slaughter bills. A truly great advocate, we can only wish the best for him in his retirement. On a much sadder note, we also lost advocates Marie Dean, Lee Earnshaw, and Dana Lacroix.

 

 

Please read more about these and other headlines from 2015, arranged chronologically, in Storify

 

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Horse Welfare 2014 – The Year In Review

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2014 seasons greetings graphic© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

So we’re concluding the “Year of the Horse,” which technically ends on 02/18/2015, until the next YOTH, in 2026. Will we see the “end times” for horse slaughter before then? While on the subject of the Chinese zodiac, I’m reminded of the phrase “may you live in interesting times,” which according to Wikipedia, is an English expression purporting to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. The nearest related Chinese expression is “宁为太平犬,莫做乱世人” which conveys the sense that it is “better to live as a dog in an era of peace than a man (woman) in times of war.”

Each year spent fighting horse slaughter is proof enough that we live in a time of war – a constant struggle to maintain the de facto ban on domestic horse slaughter in the U.S. With the signing of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill, the U.S. will continue to forbid the domestic slaughter of horses for human consumption. Horse slaughter was effectively blocked via an injunction in New Mexico,  and after exhausting all legal avenues, Valley Meat owner Rick De Los Santos gives up.  As a testament to the durability of the pro-slaughter mindset,  a new owner is still expressing interest in slaughter in that state.

There is continued support for the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, which would ban both the slaughter and export of American horses for human consumption. Despite the support of 308 Representatives and 60 Senators behind the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act to stop the inhumane practice of “soring” show horses, a small group of obstructionists in Congress prevented a vote on the PAST Act, so this must be revisited in 2015. There is increased outrage against the drugging of horses in the racing industry and TWH soring and attendance at “Big Lick” shows is declining.

The mismanagement of wild horses and burros in the west continues to be predominant, as is the BLM continuing to conduct inhumane round-ups and removals while failing to move decisively toward humane on-the-ground population management strategies built around fertility control. Criticism of Premarin® and Prempro® and similar drugs derived from conjugated equine estrogens continues to be made in 2014.possible impossible

Reverberations of the 2013 horsemeat adulteration scandal are still felt – we are occasionally hearing of instances whereby horsemeat has infiltrated the food supply.  The EU is in the process of revising rules on horse passports, and horsemeat was withdrawn various markets in the EU, resulting in the loss of a contract that was of tremendous importance to Claude Bouvry in Alberta.

An unpopular wild horse capture goes ahead in Alberta, and the protest received a celebrity endorsement by singer Jann Arden.  After months of uncertainty for the hardy protesters who were arrested near the capture site,  the charges were later dismissed.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) and its supporters continue to ensure that bad press for the slaughter industry reaches the public. The Global News 16X9 investigation is made with the assistance of the CHDC and supporter/horse rescuer Mindy Lovell and others. The CHDC continues to publish the results of ATI (FOIA) requests, each one revealing grievous departures by the CFIA from established procedures..

Despite intense lobbying, press conferences and huge pushes for Bill C-571, Canadian anti-slaughter advocates were ultimately let down by the NDP party. As a result, the anti-slaughter Bills in Canada ultimately failed.

The poor economic results in the last 6 years helped ensure that all breed organizations experienced a decline in the number of foals, registrations and memberships. If fewer horses are being bred (and ultimately slaughtered), the prospect of turning around the problem of North American horse slaughter is on the horizon. This has not gone unnoticed by those with a vested interest in seeing horse populations increase and the convenience of slaughter continue.  The Ontario Racing Commission recently announced that the province’s standardbred racing industry is about to get a substantial $12 million infusion to its program to encourage breeding, after the cancellation of the Slots at Racetracks Programs resulted in the slaughter of thousands of horses, including foals and broodmares. The declining number of horses (rightsizing?) continues to be a hot topic in the U.S as well, where the American Horse Council wondered aloud at their 45th annual meeting what they could do to increase registration (and breeding) from the various equestrian disciplines. The Jockey Club too, are concerned about the drop in racehorse starts.  And lastly, the American Association of Equine Practitioners and the AVMA suddenly have a problem with the aspect that fewer horses mean less income for veterinarians and other equine practitioners. If these professional groups were more forward-thinking, they might have given greater consideration to building relationships with their clients rather than promoting slaughter at the expense of humane euthanasia…….

Perhaps the most promising news this year though comes in confirmation that the European Commission, after a recent audit, decided to suspend horsemeat imports from Mexico due to food safety concerns. If Canada is not far behind (indeed our slaughter industry presents the same concerns as Mexico), then the loss of these markets could prove devastating to the horse slaughter industry in Canada, preventing plants from achieving economies of scale and therefore continuing to thrive.

Click here to review some of the highlights (and lowlights) on Storify, in chronological order.

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Bill C-571 – Between a Wedge and a Hard Place

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Art by Jody Bergsman - www.bergsma.com

Art by Jody Bergsma – http://www.bergsma.com

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

It’s no secret that anti-slaughter advocates are disappointed to hear that Bill C-322 does not have support in the House, nor did it have support at NDP caucus meetings.  In addition, the new Safe Food for Canadians Act contains some wording that would not have been compatible with Bill C-322 moving forward.

The reality is that few Private Member Bills make their way up the ladder to become law.  We are so fortunate that MP Alex Atamanenko chose this Bill to present to the House,  but to have seen it fail would mean that we would have no hope that, in the foreseeable future, any MP would have picked up the cause.  Alex Atamanenko is retiring in 2015, and at this time we have no other MP who has given us this much support to enact legislation to end horse slaughter.

Our many friends and allies who wrote to their MPs can attest to the fact that Conservatives (who hold the majority of seats in Parliament) did not stand in support of the Bill.  So at the 11th hour, as we all know,  Alex and his staff drafted a new Bill that was more likely to succeed in the House,  yet it included concessions to the industry that no one wanted to see.  The Bill does not allow anyone to send or convey from one province to another, or import or export (a) a horse or other equine for slaughter for human consumption; or (b) horsemeat products – or meat products derived from any other equine – for human consumption.”

The biggest concession was that it allowed for the production of “meat” horses.  From the Bill: In addition to the other requirements of this Act and the Regulations made under this Act, no person shall send to a registered establishment a horse or other equine for slaughter for human consumption unless the horse or other equine was raised primarily for human consumption and unless they submit to the operator of the registered establishment a medical record for that horse or other equine that contains its standardized description and a complete lifetime record, in chronological order, of the medical treatments it has received.”

MP Alex Atamanenko states, We do not have a system that has stringent regulations right now, and in the name of food safety, the bill fits in with the new Safe Food for Canadians Act. It is an expansion of Bill C-322. It conforms with trade regulations and it tightens up the whole aspect of food safety.  I would urge all members of the House to support the bill, especially all of those hundreds of thousands of people who supported Bill C-322.”

With enactment of the new Bill C-571, horses would continue to cross the border but would NOT enter slaughter plants unless they have a vet-signed passport to accompany them.  How many horses coming across the border would have such passports with them, if they’re coming for slaughter from the U.S.?  Probably very few.  There’s always the possibility of fraud, and that’s why the humane groups would continue to remain watchful in the field.

Privately, this development is hugely disappointing to so many of us, especially those who lobbied for support of Bill C-322 and collected so many signatures.  But there are still reasons to support it publicly. Because the

A log splitter is a "wedge" that ultimately fractures or splits the log apart.

A log splitter is a “wedge” that ultimately fractures or splits the log apart.

effect of the Bill would have a negative effect on the economies of scale of the Canadian slaughter plants (by preventing privately owned pet and riding horses from entering the slaughter stream),  it serves to act as a “wedge” that can be used to enact further restrictions on the horse slaughter industry.  The “wedge” is a strategy most famously used as a manifesto by  Discovery Institute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. You’re probably wondering what intelligent design has to do with horse slaughter, and the answer is “nothing.” But the wedge strategy as used by Bill C-571 is a political and social action plan meant to sway public policy makers and ultimately make slaughter for 90% of all horses totally unfeasible, essentially putting kill buyers out of action.  So while privately we have great difficulty with the Bill,  many of us can find a way to support it politically.

The Bill might be more palatable once we understand that not all animal protection initiatives launched by Canadian organizations have protected all species across the country either.  Despite the work done by WSPA, Animal Alliance, Humane Society International, Mercy for Animals, and others, most results are made incrementally by lobbying. For example, some groups have achieved hunting or trapping bans in various municipalities but not others. Sometimes protecting animals in shelters has begun with a ban on the sale of lost pets for experimentation, but only in a select number of provinces.  While protecting some animals, these actions don’t save all the pets, but it’s another example of a wedge that can be used to advance legislation in other provinces.  How long have ethical people all over the world lobbied against the Canadian seal hunt?  A recent campaign resulted in the European Union implementing a European-wide ban that began in 2010.  And the boycott of Canadian seafood will continue until the Canadian government ends the commercial seal hunt. If you can shut down trade in bear galls by 50% by making concessions, is it better to do that than to make no concessions and achieve nothing?  It takes a long time to get bans on spring bear hunts in Ontario,  and they often aren’t permanent bans either – groups must continue to lobby for them. In many ways the new Bill C-571 can be viewed in the same manner.

Art by Jody Bergsma - www.bergsma.com

Art by Jody Bergsma – http://www.bergsma.com

Recently, the Canadian government announced a new program, seeded with $450,000, to “support animal welfare at slaughter.”  Of course this is also an ethical dilemma for many people, especially since it appears that horse slaughterhouses may be able to qualify for funding to better “restrain animals at slaughter.”  This program suggests that slaughterhouses already aren’t doing their jobs correctly or overseeing the slaughter process as well as they should. And improvement or not, perhaps this is an example of tossing money at a situation that cannot be made humane and should just be stopped outright  Only the reader can judge as to whether “improving restraint for slaughter” is ethical.  But it demonstrates that they are feeling the pressure.

It is easier (but not easy, as our American counterparts can attest) to keep an industry from restarting than it is to close an industry that has full government support.  The Americans are somewhat fortunate in that there are at least a greater number of individuals and groups that can impact legislation more easily than can Canadians.  Sadly, the Conservative Canadian government is a government that is beholden to big business, and one that makes every attempt to shape public policy to that end. It is a government that is more interested in keeping its corporate masters happy than in protecting animals or the food chain.

Trot On! New Years Resolutions for Horse Advocates

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horse and fireworksWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

I’m assuming that you,  dear reader,  have already made your New Year’s Resolutions.  Did you know that the average person breaks them after about one month? Yeah, all new year’s resolutions have the specter of failure hanging over them.  Maybe I’m too late and you’ve already broken them?  Hopefully not,  but if you’re like me,  the only thing broken is perhaps your wallet……..However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making resolutions in the first place because apparently people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than the people who don’t.

Of course,  resolutions to ride more outside, take up a new discipline, make horse-keeping safer, or to advocate for horses  are resolutions that may be easier to keep throughout the year than the traditional ones to lose weight.

Steven Covey once said “Begin with the end in mind.”  Of course,  we’re not only discussing the year 2013 but we’re also looking  at the strong possibility of an end to the EU importation of horsemeat in about six months.  Ending slaughter requires that everyone involved in the equine industry work together to create awareness about and rejection of horse slaughter.  It’s also about enjoying our love of horses,  keeping them and us happy and safe, and proactively create awareness and finding solutions.  So here’s a few suggestions to implement,  in case you’ve already ditched your previous resolutions,  or you’re really tardy like me and haven’t gotten around to thinking about it yet!

  1. Scout locations for a Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)  donation box (assuming you’re Canadian of course).  These could be tack shops,  feed stores,  anyplace where you might be a customer who is able to demonstrate the value of LIVE horses to the community.

  2. Get 25 signatures on Bill C-322 Petition – gives provides a good opportunity to have informal discussion with barn mates.  The corresponding Bills in the US are in the process of being re-introduced,  so please go to PopVox and click the re-introduce button for both S-1176 and HR-2966.

  3. Create a disaster recovery plan for your barn.  Whether your facility houses two 199425089719477636_vRb7SrGN_chorses or 20, you should have an evacuation plan for every conceivable emergency, from barn fires to high wind events such as tornadoes. Practice an evacuation drill.  Everyone needs disaster preparedness, which will take care of your barn residents, and business preparedness, which includes resumption/contingency planning if you operate a for-profit business. From where will you source hay if your supply is suddenly wiped out?  Even if your farm is a hobby, it is important to plan for getting the doors open again. Write these plans down and then practice them. In general, one plan can be applied to many scenarios, helping to focus your reactions to the danger. Being proactive will minimize the amount of time and expense to bring your operation back “online” while preserving your sanity,  sourcing new supplies,  and making your animals safer. It’s also helpful to incorporate the disaster preparedness procedures into your daily routine so it becomes habit.

  4. Dispose of sharps and old wormer tubes properly – if you don’t use an actual sharps disposal container,  use a coffee can with a lid and make sure everyone in the barn knows where it is.   There’s nothing scarier or more offputting than reaching into the garbage and getting stuck on a needle.

  5. Create an emergency first-aid kit for your horse – Remember that a first-aid kit is only useful in an emergency if it is right where you need it. You might want to put together more than one kit-one for the barn, one for the trailer and a small kit to take with you on the trails. A well-stocked equine first-aid kit is a major investment. In reality, most horse owners will already have at least some of the required content.  The end result will be a first-aid kit that, one day, may be worth its weight in gold. The peace of mind it provides may prove just as valuable.

  6. Write down your veterinarian’s phone number on all first aid kits too.  And keep veterinarian and emergency numbers attached to your saddle with your horse’s name on it.  Get the info plasticized on a card and attach it with a tie wrap. Extremely valuable if trail riding and in a fanny pack in case you and your horse get separated.  If your horse is found injured – the horse’s name and the veterinarian’s contact info could save their life.

  7. Make sure you have a way to properly identify your horse,  whether by DNA,  freezebrand,  or microchip.  Take a set of current photos showing identifying features.

  8. Make your own hay thermometer and check the temperature of your hay regularly.  Do not use glass thermometers as they can break and shatter inside a square or round bale.

  9. Buy a multi-tool for trail riders – this should contain a hoof pick and wire cutters  – keep it in a fanny pack or saddle bag along with a whistle and phone.

  10. Order a magnetic anti-slaughter statement for your car for $18 plus shipping (Canadian orders only)  – Contact Charlotte Uhrich at charlotteauhrich@gmail.com.  Now go drive everywhere with it!

  11. Speak to your equine veterinarian about horse slaughter if you have not already – veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their list of priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.

  12. Order anti-slaughter postcards from the Postcard Posse (US)

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  13. Get a Twitter account and let the various levels of government know how you feel about horse slaughter.  Americans can tweet Congress,  Canadians can tweet their MPs  and Senators and comment on their blogs.  You can also send private (direct) message on Twitter as well.  Yes, it is very effective in reaching people quickly and directly because the recipient receives an email (or a tweet-text on their phone) for every direct message. Try to tweet during high volume times.

  14. Protect your tack investment – inhibit mold and mildew in your tack room.

  15. We’re about to see Pinterest use among nonprofit organizations explode. Follow animal welfare  groups or individuals on Pinterest, such as Jane Velez Mitchell.  Share photos  and create an album of rescued horses, but don’t post graphic pics.  Pinterest can also be used for calling out a business that abuses animals. Anyone who went to SeaWorld’s Pinterest page a few months ago saw animal advocates’ calls to release orca Tilikum and the other prisoners to a marine sanctuary, which was not quite what SeaWorld was expecting to see when they went to their Pinterest page!

  16. Scan local ads offering free or cheap horses – communicate politely by sending a message advising the seller to be cautious and aware of kill buyers who may manipulate them.

  17. If you suspect or know of illegal activity by killbuyers or the BLM – you can be part of the solution by providing confidential information.  In Canada,  Whistleblowers are invited to confidentially contact the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition regarding violations occurring during horse slaughter or transport to slaughter via email at info@defendhorsescanada.org or via web form.  In the US please contact the Equine Welfare Alliance.

  18. Keep in touch with legislators on Facebook –  give them feedback – positive or negative.

  19. Consider joining a special task force and work on projects with some of your Facebook friends.  Horses need the benefit of more collaboration than ever before if we are to find alternatives to slaughter and placements for horses.

  20. Wear your heart on your sleeve.  Order your CHDC drinkwear or clothing at Cafepress and truly become a walking billboard.  Bumper Stickers and License plate holders are also available.  Download CHDC flyers and use them to engage barnmates in conversation,  or ask to leave them in tack and feed supply stores.

Happy Trails!

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

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

Horse Welfare 2012 – The Year in Review….

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white arab greeting

© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Horse advocates have had a busy year working to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption. Horse protection groups released many damning reports of abuse and drug contamination,  and took aggressive legal action to discourage slaughter.

Undercover footage helped support our position,  and numerous investigations were publicized.  Citizen advocates monitored illegal trucking activities and for the first time,  retrieved horses directly from slaughterhouses. Pro-slaughters proved,  via their own (in)actions,  that slaughter does not prevent starvation.

We were also aided by the improved sensitivity of testing protocols in the EU,  which continued to reveal drug contamination of horsemeat,  a finding which is continually met with silence by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,  although the subject of drug contamination is making its way into the food webs.  We’ve told restaurants in both Canada and the US that we don’t want horses on the menu.

Horse killers,  kill buyers and their enablers did not have a good year – several were charged with felonies.  Slaughterhouse Sue and Dave Duquette were unable to open any of their proposed slaughterhouses, despite performing an endless kabuki dance around the true status of the plants.  Duquette also forgot to send a cheque to renew his own domain name on the web and subsequently lost www.daveduquette.com to a pro-horse HSUS site.

We’ve grown more media  savvy too,  with PSAs and billboards getting the message out.  We are mobilizing via different social media platforms to petition lawmakers. Numerous examples of “horse hoarding” received publicity as well,  with advocates rallying to promote horse adoptions through the increased use of Facebook groups.  We’ve also demanded that horse killers and those who fail to protect horses and humans be justly punished.  However,  despite our best efforts to keep Senate bill 1176 and House resolution 2966 active,  they both died without ever being brought to a vote.

The challenges in 2013 will be even greater,  as the EU moves to ban importation of North American horsemeat and the full force and effect of the ending of the slots program in Ontario are felt.  HWAC,  Equine Canada and the FEI are also launching “prototype” chipping programs,  ostensibly to ensure compliance with 2013 EU regulations.  As we fine-tune all our programs and advocacy efforts,  we look forward to a most challenging year,  but no doubt one filled with hope that we might be seeing the final death throes of the horse slaughter industry.  Happy Holidays indeed!

Read the entire chronological recap on Storify:

horse welfare 2012

 

Happy New Year

Join-Up! New Canadian Anti-Slaughter Billboard in the Air

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Is the National Post Biased in Favour of Horse Slaughter? (Or are they biased against the NDP?)

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Is the National Post biased in favour of horse slaughter?

Some of you may have seen journalist Kelly McParland’s disparaging commentary,  “NDP MP Puts Emotion Ahead of Jobs in Attack on Horse Meat Industry,” in the National Post on July 24, 2012.

Sinikka is interviewed at Calgary Billboard Officlal Launch

CHDC Executive Director Sinikka is interviewed at Calgary Billboard Official Launch on July 23, 2012

Even if we don’t care about McParland’s opinionated drivel and his bashing of the New Democratic Party, what is truly disappointing is the fact that the Post hasn’t bothered to publish an opposing view by way of a letter to the editor. Such a letter was sent to the National Post on July 25, 2012, by Canadian Horse Defence Coalition Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland, who attended the Calgary press conference at the site of the Stop Slaughtering Us billboard. You may read the CHDC letter at the end of this blog post.

Since news coverage is traditionally respected for factual reporting that presents both sides of issues, a simple medium for keeping people up-to-date on happenings, we question why writers like McParland are permitted to prattle on at length, expressing their opinions ad nauseum, while opposite sides of issues that they present may never be raised at all. If this strikes you as poor journalism, please feel free to express your views to the Editor of the National Post.   Please also refer to Vickery Eckhoff’s excellent examination of the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on horse slaughter.

Your message may be something as simple as:

I have read Kelly McParland’s article in Full Comment, NDP MP puts emotion ahead of jobs in attack on horse meat industry, and I would like to ask why the National Post has not published any letters to the editor on the cruelty and human health risks surrounding the issue of horse slaughter. Neither has the Post covered this issue in an in-depth article. To allow Mr. McParland to express his short-sighted views on the subject, without permitting the facts to be aired, presents a very unbalanced picture that is contrary to what many believe news reporting should consist of. Is the National Post actually a Tory publication?

Or you may decide to write your own opinion piece entirely. Please visit www.defendhorsescanada.org for more information on horse slaughter.

Also please feel free to circulate this alert on behalf of the horses.

© Frances Bull

© Frances Bull

CHDC Letter to Editor of National Post:
Dear Editor,

RE: NDP puts emotion ahead of jobs in attack on horsemeat industry, by Kelly McParland

Kelly McParland’s uninformed article begs a response as well as an invitation to seek out the truth for himself rather than relying upon foxes in the henhouse to supply the facts.

There is no point in speculating at length whether horses are treated with “any less care than cows, pigs, sheep, chickens or any of the other animals that humans eat”. Certainly, those deaths are not free of suffering either. But let’s not deviate. We’re talking about horses here, a species of animal that is not easy to kill humanely. Undercover video evidence of stunning practices at four separate equine slaughter plants in Canada speaks for itself, revealing a horrific account of panicked “flight” animals attempting to flee their tormentors and sustaining multiple stun wounds that cause extreme pain but not insensibility. Footage shows one horse being stunned eleven times (www.defendhorsescanada.org, Investigations, Pasture to Plate). This cruelty should rattle the cage of even the most weak-kneed animal welfare laws and principles. Horses have long been regarded our companions and working partners, animals with whom humans have enjoyed a close relationship. Would we tolerate such abuse of our beloved dogs and cats?

If McParland is not concerned about what drugs may be present in horsemeat shipped overseas, surely it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider health risks to Canadian citizens who eat the product. Horsemeat is consumed to some extent in Quebec. McParland notes that the CFIA has a “zero tolerance for phenylbutazone” in horsemeat, and certainly the agency has made that statement. However, when horses enter the slaughter pipeline from many directions, and profit is the driving force for those involved in the horsemeat business, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize what actually happens behind the scenes. The Equine Information Document required by the CFIA invites fraud; undercover photos taken of these documents at a Canadian slaughter plant in 2011 revealed sloppy documentation and missing data. Phenylbutazone is the most commonly prescribed veterinary drug in Canada and the U.S. for injuries and inflammatory conditions in horses. Sellers wishing to offload their lame horses at auctions frequently use “bute” to mask the symptoms, and thoroughbred racehorses run on the drug. Somehow, that “zero tolerance” concept begins to sound like a pipe dream.

Lastly, such a defensive rant from Kelly McParland, as he attempts to discredit the NDP party, can mean only one thing. He’s afraid of change and the effect that new, environmentally sustainable and sensible policies would have on Canada.

Now what was all that rhetoric about emotions?

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

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

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

Letter Writing Campaign to End Horse Slaughter – Email Us Your Letters Now!

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Join the children's letter writing campaign!

Join the children’s letter writing campaign!

  • This campaign began as an effort to help Save North American Horses from slaughter, Equine Welfare Alliance in cooperation with Congressman Jim Moran Letter Writing Campaign to Congress and the President of the United States,  and in Canada Alex Atamanenko,  MP of BC Southern Interior.  We are asking everyone to engage their friends, family and associates in the civic process of affecting positive change through the petitioning of their governments.
  • We now have entered into Phase 2 of the project which is a multifaceted approach which in addition to children writing letters (phase 1), we are also now gathering letters from adults, focusing on a media campaign to help educate the general public on the issue of horse slaughter and how fight to end the slaughter of US horses once and for all.
  • We have a radio PSA which is available, we will be focusing on getting the word out into our local papers as well as national media outlets through; articles, radio interviews, TV coverage, handing out flyers at local events both horse related and non horse related. We are open to new ideas and suggestions and welcome contacts with media.
  • For more information on the horse slaughter issue please visit:
  • These three sites are dedicated solely to eradicating horse slaughter for human consumption in the US and Canada as well as the transport and export of US horses for slaughter.  Our goals are:
  1. The passage of Senate Bill 1176 and House Bill 2966 the American Slaughter Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
  2. Ensuring the defunding of the inspection of horse slaughter by the USDA in the Ag Appropriation Bill by the inclusion of the Moran Amendment
  3. Passing Canadian Bill C-322 An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption)
  • Final date for submission of American letters is September 15th, 2012 with presentation in DC on September 20th, 2012. In addition, the videos being collected by  Saveourhorses.org will be presented as well as the signatures from the Change.org petition.
  • Remember we are also still collecting letters from children at the same address and the Children’s page is located here on Facebook  or on the web at the Equine Welfare Alliance.
  • Address Canadian Letters (one page maximum please)  to:

Click Here to Mail Your Letter!

Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior

(Please remember to include your full name and at least the town/city you live in).

<——– Click the Gmail Icon to send your letter!  I’ll print it and send it on for you!  Easy Peasy!  If you use internet email only – email me @campaigntoendhorseslaughter@gmail.com

In the letters we recommend the following talking points.

    • Taxes/Budget – the food safety budget was cut.taking away money from inspecting animals we raise as food and which we eat, to inspect a meat not raised under food safety guidelines.  Money would be better spent ensuring that better inspection of current food stuffs be completed so that outbreaks of listeria, e coli, salmonella, etc do not occur and lives are not lost as a result.
  • Food Safety – we have strict guidelines under which our food animals must be raised, yet horses are not raised for food under those food safety guidelines.  We give our horses which are banned by the FDA, CFIA and EUFSA from use in ANY animal intended for human consumption at any time in it’s life.  Currently CFIA tests about 600 out of 400,000 animals for Phenylbutazone contamination.  The FDA classifies horses as companion animals.
  • Horse Slaughter was not and is not humane.
  • There are other options to handle horses who’s owners find themselves in financial straights and those options are being expanded all over the country.  It’s time the govt and  the breed registries get behind these options.  Hay banks, shelter in place programs, retraining options, low cost gelding and euthanasia.

In addition if you are physically mailing your letter via the Facebook campaign, please include a copy of it, also if you have a horse, cut off the label on a product you use, de-wormer, Bute, etc… and attach it to the letter and make a copy as well.

“Orange” You Glad To See More Calgary Billboard Pics?

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Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

Despite the fact that the colour orange is associated with the NDP party in Canada,  horse slaughter is a non-partisan issue with national importance.  Yes,  many of us have an “Orange” crush on Alex Atamanenko – here’s his blog post summarizing his position on horse slaughter in Canada:

NDP – Atamanenko Rallies Crowd at Calgary ‘Stop Slaughtering Us’ Billboard

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2012

BC MP wants predatory horse meat business shut down

Calgary, AB – Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC Southern Interior), along with expert horse advocates, addressed a crowd today at the anti-horse slaughter billboard recently erected on Barlow Street SE with sponsorship from the US based Angel Acres Horse Haven Rescue (AAHHR).

According to the BC MP, all kinds of horses that are raised and medicated for every purpose other than the food supply are bought up at random by kill-buyers at auctions throughout Canada and the United States.  Since horse slaughter is prohibited in the US, they are transported to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses and their meat then sold for human consumption to European and domestic markets.

Atamanenko has championed the cause with his private members bill C-322, which has brought about the introduction of thousands of petitions in the House of Commons calling for an end to the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

“It seems very clear that the horsemeat industry has been exempted from the same production standards required for beef and other food animals,” noted Atamanenko.  “Cattle farmers especially would be right to start questioning such an obvious double standard.”

“Phenylbutazone, a drug commonly prescribed to horses, is not permitted to enter the food chain as it has been associated with serious health issues in humans,” advises Dr. Sandie G. Hucal, a medical doctor who provides sanctuary for equines.  “But with horses entering the slaughter pipeline from many different sources, there is no guarantee that all horsemeat is free of this drug.  This presents a definite food safety risk.”

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director for CHDC pointed out that covert video footage captured at four separate equine slaughterhouses and released through her organization have repeatedly revealed unacceptable levels of suffering when horses are stunned.“This has led us to conclude that the humane slaughter of ‘flight’ animals such as horses is simply not possible,” said Crosland.

Bunnie Harasym, owner of Paradise Stable Horse Rescue in Saskatoon noted that she has often seen the enormous capacity of horses to change people’s lives. “Horses provide security and self worth to the person who sees no future and they give hope and confidence to troubled teens, beaten women, and others lacking in self esteem – it is unacceptable that any horse should meet such a fate”.

“Clearly there are more reasons than not to shut down this predatory, cruel and inhumane industry which enables the inappropriate slaughter of 100,000 or more horses per year in Canada,” concluded Atamanenko.

Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

Charlotte Uhrich, board sponsor states, “We are pleased to put this anti-horse-slaughter billboard up in support of NDP MP Alex Atamanenko and his Bill C-322, a Bill to end horse slaughter in Canada. Horse slaughter is inhumane and barbaric; we do not slaughter and eat our companion animals in Canada. The closet door has been opened to Canada’s dirty little secret and it is time to end this practice.”

“The campaign to end horse slaughter recognizes no borders,” states Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the CHDC.  “Most U.S. citizens are adamantly opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption, as are many Canadians.  Horses are our companions and working partners – not food for overseas diners.  Many have received drugs in their lifetimes that are not permitted to enter the food chain.”

The CHDC calls upon the Canadian government to pay heed to the concerns of citizens in both Canada and the U.S., and end the slaughter of horses on Canadian soil immediately.

 For more information, please contact Sinikka Crosland at: info@defendhorsescanada.org

CTV Calgary Interview with Dr. Hucal

CTV Calgary Interview with Dr. Hucal – please click to see video

Calgary Anti-Slaughter Billboard – If You Were Waiting for a Sign, This Is it!

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guitar player watches centaur ladyWritten by Heather Clemenceau

On July 23rd,   the hue and cry for a group of anti horse-slaughter supporters, after months of planning, was “Wagons Ho” to Calgary, Alberta.  They arranged,  along with the assistance of Jo Deibel and Angel Acres’  to erect Canada’s second anti-horse slaughter billboard (the first having been erected in Ottawa),  and followed-up with a billboard launch party that rocked the old-school Calgarians like they’d never experienced before.  The team would also like to give an extra loud  shout-out of gratitude to all our supporters who contributed financially to the rental of the billboard.

The billboard team was led by Charlotte Uhrich,  and consisted of Joanne Clay,  Laurie Neilio, Geri Ramsay,  Alex Atamanenko’s assistant Gina,  Dr. Sandie Hucal, and many others who worked

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals' Angels Billboard

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals’ Angels Billboard

behind the scenes on Facebook,  contacting media,  preparing signs,  and networking before,  during, and after the billboard went up in early July during Calgary Stampede.  Laurie Neilio and Joanne Clay put considerable energy into sourcing a damning 2005 film of the notorious Calgary Stampede bridge accident (9 horses fell off a bridge and died) that seems to have been suppressed,  even though it was produced with taxpayer funds!  Grab your tinfoil hats – conspiracy theory coming up!

Most of the planning and prep work was done without setting foot in Calgary until the day of the event!  Sinikka Crosland of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was also in attendance to ensure that Canada’s national horse protection association had a strong presence.  Together,  everyone took a bold public step Monday towards exposing an industry that horse advocates describe as Canada’s secret shame. Alex Atamanenko,  MP for BC Southern Interior and the author of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada,  along with  more than two dozen supporters , rallied underneath the new billboard on the corner of Barlow Trail and Memorial Drive S.E. And the billboard is a success,  having sparked controversy and created dialogue,  if the number of news reports featuring it are any indication.

Billboard protesters

Billboard protesters

The decision to place a billboard during the 100th Anniversary of the Stampede was ballsy.  In 2011,  Canada slaughtered 89,348 horses and exported nearly 13,500 tonnes of horse meat to Belgium, France, Switzerland and other countries, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Alberta is the horse slaughter capital of Canada,  being home to the Bouvry slaughterhouse and Bouvry Exports which serves both an export and smaller domestic market,  mainly in Quebec.

While the overall message is one of anti-slaughter for all horses,  the group also called attention to the continual death of horses for human amusement at the Stampede,  which many Canadians (outside of Alberta,  that is)  consider to be about as cool as Grandma’s Corolla.  Many will tell you that the Stampede celebrates our Western heritage. However, the modern rodeo is actually a departure from tradition.  Attendance figures actually indicate that,  when expressed as a percentage of city population,  attendance is actually flatlining.

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede,  while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede, while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Traditionally, it was vitally important to preserve the safety and well-being of horses: For those who depended on their animals, jeopardizing their life could result in dire consequences  to their livelihood as a result of poor management. Rodeos reflect a shift in tradition from protecting the welfare of horses to profiting from their stress and suffering.

Each year, as recent statistics demonstrate, there is a high likelihood that horses will be injured or die when they are driven beyond their capacity in excessive heat. Most horses participating in the chuckwagon races are older or retired thoroughbred racehorses,  who are no longer fit for such exertion,  especially in the dead heat of summer.  Not only is racing chuckwagons not an everyday ranch event, it’s not even an officially recognized event of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. Its sole purpose is excitement, show and entertainment.

In events that pack horses and riders tightly together and where racers vie for  over $1 million in prize money, is it any surprise that horses are pushed to the limit and that this stress would cause severe collateral injury and death?  More than 50 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede since 1986.

In addition,  the Stampede organizers recently admitted that each year, about 20 horses bred at the Calgary Stampede ranch aren’t angry enough to entertain spectators at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” or at lesser outdoor shows, are sent to slaughter.  Many people are of the opinion that these horses could be re-homed,  since they are a failure at what would be their primary job – bucking – a characteristic that,  when done “professionally” for the Stampede,  makes horses poor candidates for new careers.

Opposition in the  media was expected and it consisted of the usual poorly researched articles,  often written by people who

Sometimes Cowboys do cry.....when they lose out on the prize.  Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses.

Sometimes Cowboys do cry…..when they lose out on the prize. Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses. I’ll light my Lady of Guadalupe candle for him later..

had no idea there was a horsemeat industry in Canada (and still don’t) .  They are busy perpetuating illogical arguments  that “some” suffering is acceptable, or even expected, and that these horses are incredibly well treated off the track.  Incredibly,  one news broadcast even neglected to feature MP Atamanenko at all,  and instead relied upon old video of a kill buyer,  who was so proud of himself that he refused to face the camera.

Association manager Robyn Moore said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has veterinarians on site at slaughterhouses to ensure the process is “100 per cent humane.”  Clearly the CFIA has forgotten that the  footage publicized by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was authenticated by the Canadian government. She also  forgot to mention that state-of-the-art plant that was retrofitted to use designs by Dr. Temple Grandin was shut down by the government after the undercover investigation  videos were released. Her memory eludes her yet again when she forgets to mention that Canada’s two largest plants will no longer accept Thoroughbred racehorses. I’m sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the banned drugs (most notably Phenylbutazone) given to racehorses,  which renders them ineligible for food sources.

“Something is quite wrong, we’re not getting the response from the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) that’d we’d like,” he says. “We don’t allow cattle into the human food chain if they’ve been given prohibited drugs, but we are allowing it to happen with horses.” – Alex Atamanenko.  View the CHDC publication “The Art of Evasion,”  which documents the clear sense of apathy within the Agency.

Calgarians in general are not getting the message either,  if the rash of poorly formulated ideas and thoughts posted on news sites are any indication.

Comments from the Calgary Herald article

Comments from the Calgary Herald article (any spelling/grammar errors belong to the authors and not me!)

Chef Shawn Greenwood of Calgary’s Taste Restaurant is serving  horse tartare on the menu. Greenwood said he buys the horse meat from a local supplier, who raised the animals specifically for slaughter, so he was not concerned that the meat contained Phenylbutazone.  I wonder how this was confirmed?  I suspect,  as I do with La Palette in Toronto,  that restaurants are getting the “pharmaceutical grade” of horsemeat,  while Claude Bouvry sends the purpose-bred, medication-free horses live to Japan several times a week.

Of course,  American horse-hater,  part-time Wyoming State Rep and cowboy poet “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis felt compelled to weigh-in (pun intended) on the news stories,  since she has Canadian representation in the International Equine Business Association.

IEBA Gang of Five

IEBA Gang of Five

She writes on the United Horsemen’s Facebook page:

“In spite of the headlines, solely designed to add drama and sell papers, there are actually some very good comments made in this article by our International Equine Business Association partners in Canada.”

And the Canadian contingent of the IEBA,   Canadian horsemeat pimp  Bill DesBarres, chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, criticized the demonstrators’ argument that slaughtering horses is inhumane.  This is because DesBarres can provide proof that all horse-slaughter abuse videos are misleading because they’ve been filmed by angry vegans using Photoshop wizardry and bad lighting.

“There’s absolutely no science behind it,” said DesBarres. “It’s strictly based on emotion. The end of life option of processing is a very real and wonderful option to have for the humane handling and the welfare of all animals. The more these people promote their choice of not slaughtering horses, the more they promote people to try it as a consumptive food,” he said.  Clearly,  he hasn’t been speaking with Wallis lately,  who has been inundated with bad press for yet another failed attempt at establishing a slaughterhouse,  this time in Rockville,  Missouri.

Does anyone else find DesBarres comment that horse slaughter is “wonderful”  to be,  ok,  I’ll just say it – almost fetishistic in its fiendishness?  Who the fvck claims slaughter is “wonderful?”  I daresay that this comment in particular suggests to me that DesBarres thinks horse slaughter is a form of snuff porn.   In that,  he is at least consistent with his compatriot Slaughterhouse Sue,  who has no problem endorsing creepy post-mortem activities with animals.

By the way Bill,  do you know what “consumptive” means?  Courtesy of the Free Dictionary:

con·sump·tive  (kn-smptv)adj.1. Consuming or tending to consume.2. Of, relating to, or afflicted with consumption.n.A person afflicted with consumption.con·sumptive·ly adv.

consumptive [kənˈsʌmptɪv]

adj

1. causing consumption; wasteful; destructive

2. (Medicine / Pathology) Pathol relating to or affected with consumption, esp tuberculosis of the lungs

n

(Medicine / Pathology) Pathol a person who suffers from consumption

consumptively  adv

consumptiveness  n

Thesaurus:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

Noun 1. consumptive– a person with pulmonary tuberculosis – tubercular, lunger diseased person, sick person, sufferer – a person suffering from an illness
Adj. 1. consumptive– tending to consume or use often wastefully; “water suitable for beneficial consumptive uses”; “duties consumptive of time and energy”; “consumptive fires”generative, productive – having the ability to produce or originate; “generative power”; “generative forces”
2. consumptive– afflicted with or associated with pulmonary tuberculosis; “a consumptive patient”; “a consumptive cough”ill, sick – affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function; “ill from the monotony of his suffering”

Somebody wake DesBarres up from his nap in the crypt and let him know that,  for once,  I agree with him!  Eat North American horsemeat and you could indeed find yourself “consumptive.”  Please take a moment to email Bill and tell him how happy you are with his comments – lazydbar@telusplanet.net

Bill C-322 seeks to end the import and export of horses for slaughter for human consumption.  One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem and take action to rectify it. It only takes one person to be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Many private citizens and supporters of integrity and transparency in Canada’s food supply are regularly issuing challenges to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA)  to act immediately to correct the serious problems of horse cruelty and non-food horsemeat entering the food chain. We are all consumers and advocates – not one of us is any less responsible for tasking the government with ensuring that our food supply is as safe as it can possibly be.

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

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