Tag Archives: “Bill DesBarres”

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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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

Have the Tentacles of Horse Slaughter Touched the Set of Heartland?

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Horseshoe in the grassWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

After a night of careful deliberation and a rigorous boxing match between each direction of my moral compass, I’ve finally decided to write about this issue.  I’ve written about Alberta a few times before – Canadian slaughterphile and HWAC Chair Bill DesBarres, the Calgary Stampede, and our anti-slaughter billboard have featured predominantly in the past.  DesBarres is also the paid public representative of Claude Bouvry – the owner of Bouvry Exports.  Horse slaughter seems to be almost an entrenched tradition in Alberta, with Bouvry’s two plants and the Stampede setting the tone for institutionalized animal abuse and neglect.

horseshoes

The various feedlots nearby and the Bouvry slaughter plant were part of an investigation by Animals Angels in October 2012; you can read the full report here.   There is also additional footage of the various Alberta feedlots by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition as part of “The True Faces of Horse Slaughter” investigation.

Another staple in Alberta is the television show “Heartland,” a family series based on the Heartland books by Lauren Brooke. The series chronicles the highs and lows of ranch life and it is filmed in Alberta – feedlot capital of Canada.  The Facebook page is filled with perpetually optimistic fans pleading for better love lives for the characters,  and it’s a place where “True Heartlanders” are never bored with reruns.  As far as I know, the closest this series has come to treading on the topic of slaughter is an episode where a dozen wild horses are found in a “feedlot,” which the scriptwriters tell us is a “place where they keep cows before they kill them.”  I’m wondering if the producers have ever seen a real feedlot,  where thousands upon thousands of horses are waiting to be slaughtered,  not a dozen.   They’re not difficult to find in Alberta!  But realistically,  that’s just too much reality for a family show….

A few days ago the television show became embroiled in something of a scandal – it’s the only time I ever saw harsh words exchanged on that Facebook page.  And it was reserved for horse welfare advocates after several individuals recognized one of the trailers photographed at the Bouvry slaughterhouse as belonging to a well-known contractor and animal wrangler for the show.  John Scott Productions supplies horses for this show and others, as well as sets, props,  wagons and buggies.

It’s a working ranch with over 100 horses, as well as buffalo and longhorns,  according to their website. Although the Animals’ Angels investigation took place in October,  the connection wasn’t made until recently and then the Heartland producers were forced to deal with the reality of the incriminating photos and investigation posted on their Facebook wall.  While some threads were left up,  others and comments were quickly deleted.  Finally, it seemed as though the people handling their social media accounts decided that the appropriate response was to cease the heavy-handed deleting and give the impression that the situation was being addressed.

As you can see from the Animals’ Angels investigation, two of John Scott’s trailers were tagged at Bouvry’s on October 18th.

“10/18/12 –  Investigators arrived at 7:30 am.

The parking lot was already crowded. Two pickup trucks with stock trailers were parked at the unloading ramp. At 7:46 am, they both left and investigators followed. On the back of the trailers was written: Movie Horses –John Scott – Longview, Alberta. “

Scott Productions Trailers photographed by Animals' Angels investigators immediately after leaving the Bouvry plant

Scott Productions Trailers photographed by Animals’ Angels investigators immediately after leaving the Bouvry plant

Fans of the show were simultaneously shocked and/or in denial about the possibility that horses were taken to slaughter.  It’s an awkward situation for the producers of the show because the show’s entire premise is based on rescuing horses as an homage to the main character’s deceased mother.  Even though they cannot control what their contractors do outside of their business relationship with the show, it presents as an extreme conflict.  And it’s largely an unresolved conflict, at least to me and a few others, because we’ll never truly know which animals were taken to the plant on that day.

 “John’s horses are not abused.”

“Heartland is not going to stop working with him – he’s the only movie wrangler around.”

Because the investigators arrived at the plant at 7:30, the Scott trailers had already been unloaded.  The show posted a status on Facebook to indicate that these were buffalo that had been dropped off, which isn’t inconsistent since buffalo are present on the ranch according to the website.  But it gets interesting because the investigators have stated that the buffalo seen in the pens at Bouvry werheartland1e there THE DAY BEFORE as well as on the same day that Scott’s trailers were photographed – October 18th.   There was also some speculation as to whether the two trailers, small stock trailers, were large enough to haul buffalo.  Were these also Scott’s buffalo?  Who knows.  Bouvry doesn’t slaughter buffalo every day.

The producers maintain that the entire shipment was a herd of buffalo, and not horses.  Apparently there is a manifest that supports their statement.  I will say that, if these two trailers represent several head of buffalo,  they must have been very tiny indeed.  The producers stipulate that:

“No horse that has appeared on Heartland has ever been sent to a slaughterhouse. Mr. Scott invites visitors and fans of the show alike to stop by his ranch and see how well his horses are cared for. John takes pride in the way his operation trains and cares for his horses, as this has been a lifelong passion for him. Mr. Scott personally owns the horses that play Spartan, Paint, Pegasus, Harley as well as much of the equines appearing on the series.”

Crisis averted?  Perhaps not.  It may be absolutely true that none of the Heartland horse actors have ever been sent to slaughter, and no one accused Scott or his company of abusing animals.  It doesn’t guarantee however, that none of their supplier’s horses have never been shipped to Bouvry;  as we know,  healthy,  young,  viable and trained horses also get sent to slaughter and most of them aren’t abused beforehand either.  HWAC Chair Bill DesBarres,  like a sausage forever sputtering in its own grease,  will be the first person to proclaim that he cares about his horses as well.  He’ll also tell you that he sends each and every horse that is of no use to him directly to slaughter,  because “it’s a wonderful option,”  while simultaneously and inexplicably  describing humane euthanasia as an “awful experience.”

heartland2This entire situation is interesting because it addresses the need for or the appropriateness of industry accountability and governance.  While I personally object to talking heads attempting to direct off-work activities and morals, there is a great need for the horse industry to improve its image and more importantly, share their ideas on what can be done to improve horse welfare.  The racing industry for the most part has tried very hard to improve its image and necessitate aftercare for former racehorses.  Many employers require a minimal degree of off-work behavioural compliance with permits and laws,  and may stipulate that employees must “govern themselves accordingly” outside of work and not attract negative attention to their employers.  What can be required of 3rd party contractors is another matter entirely.  In the end,  the producers quickly squelched the possibility of further discussion, primarily because they are approaching their 100th episode:

“There are 10s of thousands of fans who are unaware of any of this and there is no reason to make this a key post on the blog.  We have a 100th episode to promote this Sunday. :-)”

Yes, it’s transparently clear where their priorities lie, although truthfully, I can’t really blame them under the circumstances.  But I seriously think the show must address the issue of slaughter in an episode,  perhaps in a manner more consistent with the original book.  I think it can be handled sensitively in a manner appropriate to their audience.  Another issue the show management should address is the mysterious phone call placed to a horse advocate from “Alberta Klondike Productions,” seeking contact information for posters on the Heartland Facebook page.heartland response

I sincerely hope that the statements of the TV producers are not part of a campaign of self-deception,  intended to conceal a possible ethical breach in killing animals whilst purporting to save them in a television show.  I hope that Mr. Scott does not send horses to slaughter – any horses, not just the ones performing on this show.  The reality is that we do not know what species of animal was unloaded that day in Fort McLeod  as the investigators did not see them.

Heartland SetSlaughterhouse operations violate nearly every principle of the humane treatment of animal ownership. Unfortunately,  the leadership within the horse industry has grown to lack empathy and compassion for horses that do not meet their expectations.  Horses do not understand why their colour matters, that they are not the correct size or shape, nor do they contemplate their appearance in a television show. In the unfortunate circumstance that a horse’s life does indeed need to be ended, it should be done as humanely as possible by humane euthanasia.

Heartland

Redneck Tales from Wyoming

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silly horseWritten by:  Pageant Queen Honey Candy Mae (Government name:  Heather Clemenceau)

I have to admit that on rare occasions I do indulge in the occasional reality show, if only to remind myself that I am poorer, and more refined  than anyone currently seen on reality TV. But what’s with the preponderance of “southern reality” shows on TV?  The earliest incarnation, I think, would be the regular feature on The Carol Burnett Show with Mama’s loveable but dumb southern family.  We’re just getting rid of Jersey Shore, which of course isn’t southern, but it’s being replaced by Buckwild, which seems to build off of the popularity of Duck Dynasty, Toddlers and Tiaras,  Swamp People,  and Hillbilly Handfishin’.  (I almost typed “handfisting” which is probably a more accurate title because it’s what they actually do on this show).  Anyway, It really looks like redneck TV rules the airwaves.

As far as I can determine, the origins of the term redneck actually go back to the 1930’s in a number of disputes in West Virginia. A large group of unionized miners marched south to Logan horse laughCounty, to pressure the mine owners there to allow their miners to become unionized. To identify themselves, the miners all wore red bandannas around their necks. The publicity associated with the battles and the subsequent court cases created the term red-necks, and at that time they were viewed as the good guys in the conflict. Originally, the term came from the later 1800’s in southern Georgia and Alabama to refer to sharecroppers who worked in the fields thus getting a sunburned neck. They were called ‘rednecks’ as a term meant for hard working people.

If you’re a horse person you may have experienced the feeling that we’ve also been watching  another Wyoming-based reality show that nobody can turn off despite shitty ratings.   Wyoming Rep “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis’ IS a redneckian soap opera, which sometimes bears more than a passing resemblance to southern reality TV.  Recall Sue Wallis’ radio interview on the Sasha Show, the one where she hung up after 10 minutes.  Who watched this same behaviour from Honey Boo Boo Chile on Dr. Drew?  When he started asking her questions that she didn’t like, Honey Boo Boo did what everybody should do when Dr. Drew starts asking you questions: pretend to be asleep!  But eventually, Honey Boo Boo woke up and said that she hates being on TV and hates it when fans come up to her. Sue pulled a very similar tactic on the Sasha Show when she bailed after being asked stuff she didn’t want to answer, and without so much as a goo’bye  to her United Horsemen fangirls and boys.

I  actually have a strong aversion to discrimination and racism, so nowhere am I going to mock racial issues.  While I am mocking perceived cultural differences, I do not, implicitly or explicitly advocate that “rednecks” are inferior to anyone else.  But prominent rural people like Sue Wallis and many of her supporters do act like ignorant rednecks and add fuel to the stereotype.  So nobody write to me that I’m a racist – but I am going to have some fun at the expense of horse eaters using the Redneck Dialectizer, which hilariously converts everyday English to Redneck,  Swedish Chef,  and Elmer Fudd dialects,  and the Honey Boo Boo Name Generator.  I’ve translated specific message points and soundbites made by Sue Wallis,  Dave Duquette,  and our favourite Canadian slaughterphile Bill DesBarres into “Rednedian” speak,  and they make no more sense than they did in their original English.  Unfortunately,  there is no application that can translate “Dumbass” to “Common Sense.”  So grab yerself a glass o’ moonshine and half a laugh at their expense.

Who remembers this one?

horse laugh2“If yo’ had lived in mah shoes on over these last few years yo”d knows thet it don’t matter whut ah say o’ doesn’t say “they” will make sumpin up.It is all a Saul Alinsky style campaign t’make it a varmintal attack on a sin’le indivijool instead of a broader problem effeckin’ ev’ry houn’dog ownin’ fambly an’ business in th’ U.S. ah igno’e it. It is irrelevant. Once yo’ unnerstan’ thet simple corncepp, it is purdy easy t’figger out whut is gwine on, as enny fool kin plainly see.”

“We wanted a state thet was suppo’tive of our effo’ts, an’ th’ folks in Missouri is 100 percent on board wif whut we is tryin’ t’do an’ how we is tryin’ t’do it.”

Train-wreckiness at its finest – a ridiculous comment coming out of Missouri,  being made more ridiculous courtesy of the Dialectizer….

“We haf not spoken t’him direckly, but it is mah unnerstan’in’ thet th’ YMCA direcko’ received death threats t’his fambly, an’ to sponso’s of his o’ganizashun, We haf heard direckly fum other community members thet they have received thrett upin’ letters jest fo’ publicly expressin’ their suppo’t fo’ th’ projeck.”

So many eloquent quotes guaranteed to live on in infamy…..

“Th’ Mo’an amendment does NOT deal wif th’ real issues of starvin’ horse laugh3houn’dogs, o’ th’ demise of th’ houn’dog as a valued domestic animal as indicated by th’ mo’e than 70% drop in numbers of houn’dogs available fo’ pleasure, spo’t, an’ wawk, no’ does it deal wif all of th’ problems thet haf happened t’th’ houn’dog wo’ld as a direck result of HSUS ackshun on account o’ 2007.”

“Ah jest came acrost this hyar on a diffrunt group. Seein’ th’ graph is purdy startlin’. Really makes it hit home how seriously close we is to completely losin’ houn’dogs in our lives.”

Who can forget the Jascha Lottin incident and Wallis’ appeal to her followers to support this horse killer?

“Varmints hoominely kill an old houn’dog, butcher it t’use th’ fine meat, an’ decide t’have some fun wif it, an’ take pitchers.” “Hey yo’ Oregonians…howsabout retchin’ out t’these folks? No doubt they is bein’ hammered by idiots. Let’s give them some suppo’t.”

“Friends, between drought, wildfires, no opshuns, an’ an animal rights driven obstruckive federal ajuncy, we face a mighty grim winter…”

Shooting fish in a barrel…..

horse laugh4“All drugs haf wifdrawal periods, an’ thar is scientifically established time periods which enny meat animals muss be held af’er medicashuns befo’e they kin be processed.  Shet mah mouth! In terms of bute, specifically, ev’ry race houn’dog in th’ country has t’have their blood tested fo’ prohibited drugs. Common smarts on th’ track is thet bute will clear th’ system in two o’ three days an’ thet yo’ kin be purdy much guareenteed thet thar will be absolutely no vestige of th’ drug in seven days.”

Sugar Britches Wonderful (Government Name:  Sue Wallis)

“In 2011, th’ Houn’dog We’fare Alliance of Kinada (HWAC) intrydooced th’ fust indestry audit fo’ houn’dog processin’ plants. Th’ meat indestry is subjeck t’audits by th’ govment fo’ grub safety, hoomine transpo’t an’ han’lin’, an’ audits by buyers t’assure produck quality fo’ their cestomers. We wawk closely wif th’ Kinadian Grub Inspeckshun Ajuncy (CFIA) an’ corntinuously lobby fo’ adharnce t’regulashuns. We provide outretch via th’ web site, articles an’ media releases an’ participate in houn’dog indestry cornferences an’ events t’promote houn’dog we’fare prackices at all levels of houn’dog produckshun.”

Yep – “Slaughter is a wonderful option…….”

“In reality, houn’dog slaughter is an opshun thet c’d potentially put an ind t’much abuse an’ negleck of houn’dogs, an’ solve th’ problem of whut t’do wif th’ unwanted houn’dog.”

Boo Bear Daring (Government Name:  Bill DesBarres)

“No rodeo event in Oregon corndones, o’ cornducks, houn’dog trippin’. redneckOregon has comprehensive laws in place t’proteck animals. This hyar bill was mighty unnecessary. It was nothin’ mo’e than a fust step by HSUS t’ban all ropin’ of all animals in our state.Houn’dogs is livestock, an’ eff’n this hyar bill had become law, it’d haf set th’ precedent fo’ makin’ it illegal t’rope a cow. Af’er all, they’re both livestock — whut’s th’ difference between houn’dogs’ legs an’ cows’ legs?”

Darlin’  Doodle (Government Name:  Dave Duquette)

It all starts to look and sound the same doesn’t it?    And “Darlin’ Doodle?” That’s gonna stick.  You can count on it.

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

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

What We’ve Got Here is Failure To Communicate…..

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Failure to CommunicateIn September,  Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that Dr. Brian Evans,  who was making some sort of lateral move (perhaps closer to the door?) was being replaced by Dr. Martine Dubuc Chief Food Safety Officer and Dr. Ian Alexander Chief Veterinary Officer.   Of course,  no announcement from the CFIA can ever be made without the requisite statements about Canada having a “strong food safety system founded on sound science and aligned with international standards.”  Yawn.

Of course,  statements such as these seem contradictory when it’s realized that,  even though it apparently takes two people to replace Dr. Evans,  the CFIA is slashing jobs and budgets  elsewhere.  In April of this year,  Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair`s website foretold of the impending doom,  when he wrote that Less food inspection could mean another tainted food crisis, more serious illnesses or worse.  Over 100 food inspectors,  hired after the listeriosis outbreak (which Ritz mocked) in 2008 will now be slashed,  which puts us at the pre-listeriosis levels in terms of staffing.  In total,  the CFIA will be jettisoning 308 jobs.

Malcolm Allen, NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food, wrote that “These cuts put Canadians’ lives at risk.  We could have another listeriosis crisis on our hands. People could get sick, or worse, they could lose their lives.”  A new food safety report released by the Conference Board of Canada says rates of food-borne illnesses in Canada are higher than the United States. Canadians suffer more often from salmonella, e. coli, campylobacter and yersinia than Americans, according to the report prepared by the Centre for Food in Canada.

Dr. Brian Evans being interviewed by CBC

Dr. Brian Evans being interviewed by CBC

Horse welfare advocates have no experience with these two replacements for Dr. Evans,  who seems to be perpetually unaware of serious horse cruelty infractions occurring within his purview.  Even though he appeared to be forthright on the CBC video No Country for Horses, he is confronted about cruelty issues and accusations that the inspectors working in Bouvry and Richelieu were ordered to ignore their own rules.  If you`re watching the video – check out the horse at the 1:55 minute mark – this horse is ineligible for slaughtering because it is exhibiting stereotyping behaviour,  – compulsive shaking of its head.

Of course,  now that we have two new people replacing Dr. Evans,  you might think that the organization might be a bit more responsive in issuing food hazard alerts,  yet it was revealed that the CFIA waited nearly two weeksto issue a public health alert after learning that beef from an Alberta plant was contaminated with a potentially deadly bacteria. Even then,  it was not the CFIA that discovered the contamination,  it was the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Agency that made the discovery.  The plant with the contamination problem – XL Foods,  has been suspended from operations for shipping 890,000 pounds of contaminated beef to the US.  Looks to me like this has the potential to become the next listeriosis crisis,  as foretold by Thomas Mulcair and Malcolm Allen.

Unfortunately,  government inability to respond quickly to threats and challenges also doesn`t bode well for our horses.  Most everyone in Ontario is familiar with the backstory here – seeking sources of funding to address a $15-billion deficit, the Ontario government decided to terminate a program that sent $345-million from slot-machine revenues to tracks and horsemen in 2011. The decision will result in the loss of up to 60,000 jobs, according to the draft of a government-commissioned report prepared by McKinsey & Company. By comparison, General Motors announced plans in June to shut down a consolidated line at its plant in Oshawa, Ont., a move expected to cost 2,000 jobs in June of 2013.

A week ago I sent a copy of a CHDC action-alert letter reflecting the concern for up to 13,000 racehorses being slaughtered with prohibited drugs in their system, to both Dr. Martine  Dubuc and Dr. Ian Alexander,  Dr Evans’ replacements.  I figured that if you can’t interest them in the cruelty angle,  at least try to get them to commit to following their own meat hygiene guidelines.  I asked them to clarify how the CFIA intends to ensure that no racehorses enter the slaughter pipeline during this period of crisis when breeders, owners and trainers begin to offload their animals.

These drugs could include:

Table 1.  Therapeutic Medications Routinely Used and Identified as Necessary by the Veterinary Advisory Committee — (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium [RMTC] draft list of therapeutic medications, 2005) 

1. Acepromazine 17. Dipyrone 33. Omeprazole
2. Albuterol 18. Flunixin 34. Pentoxifylline
3. Aminocaproic Acid 19. Fluprednisolone 35. Phenylbutazone
4. Atropine 20. Fluphenazine 36. Phenytoin
5. Beclomethasone 21. Furosemide 37. Prednisolone
6. Betamethasone 22. Glycopyrrolate 38. Prednisone
7. Boldenone 23. Guaifenesin 39. Procaine Penicillin
8. Butorphanol 24. Hydroxyzine 40. Pyrilamine
9. Cimetidine 25. Isoflupredone 41. Ranitidine
10. Clenbuterol 26. Isoxsuprine 42. Reserpine
11. Cromolyn 27. Ketoprofen 43. Stanozolol
12. Dantrolene 28. Lidocaine 44. Testosterone
13. Detomidine 29. Mepivacaine 45. Triamcinolone
14. Dexamethasone 30. Methocarbamol 46. Trichlomethiazide
15. Diazepam 31. Methylprednisolone 47.  Regumate
16. DMSO 32. Nandrolone 48. Dermorphin

Instead,  what I received back from Dr. Alexander was this:

Dr. Ian Alexander letter

Dr. Ian Alexander letter

As you can read,  it completely misses the salient points – those being that racehorses,  the ones who are now being declined by Bouvry and Richelieu for complicated drug issues that do not pass muster with the CFIA`s own meat hygiene manual for horses may be entering the food chain,  and what was the CFIA going to do about it?  As form letters go,  I`ve seen more articulate letters to Santa Claus.  To knowingly send a horse to slaughter for human consumption when that animal has been administered non-permitted drugs is a federal offence.  This concern cannot be over-emphasized, as illustrated in a U.S. study performed on 18 American racehorses who were sent for slaughter after receiving phenylbutazone, Dodman et al, 2010 Association of Phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk.  Food and Chemical Toxicology 48:1270-1274.

Phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, is a carcinogen and even tiny amounts can cause aplastic anemia, particularly in children.  Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that is used in the racing industry not only to enhance breathing but to build muscle, can cause symptoms of acute food poisoning (gross tremors of the extremities, tachycardia, nausea, headaches and dizziness).  Not only that,  but how do the CFIA plan to explain away the existence of dermorphin (frog juice) in horses sent for slaughter in Canada?  And why does it seem as if the racing industry can detect drugs in horses more expediently than can the CFIA?

I swear I would last a maximum of one week in a government job – I couldn’t stand the obfuscation.  “Processing”  is something you do to a roll of Kodak film,  not to horses!  With talk like that,  Dr. Alexander is about as credible as Bill DesBarres and his BFF’s  Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette.

Horse Sense vs. Non-Sense – 10 More Enduring Myths From The Pro-Slaughter Posse

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Art © Heather Clemenceau

© Heather Clemenceau

© Heather Clemenceau

I’ve always had a interest in debunking false lore and hoaxes.  Usually  I’ve spent my time debunking pseudo science,  near-death experiences,  and alien abductions,  but the same flaws in thinking/rationalizing that lead to those belief systems can be found elsewhere.  And the pros don’t disappoint!  They continue to be dogmatic in their approach and persist in their beliefs even after shown evidence to the contrary.  Perception and reality are not the same animal.

1. We don’t have a right to tell other people/nations what to do/eat

When it comes to North American horsemeat,  the EU is certainly going to tell us what to do

– their expectation is that North American horsemeat will fall in line with their protocols,  not ours.  And countries frequently DO tell other countries what to do when it comes to prohibited trade or financial transactions.  Although I’ve heard this argument frequently on Facebook,  I’ve also heard it on the street and seen it in newspapers in Toronto – many of which seem to be linked to the whole La Palette horsemeat “promotion” that seems to be happening in Toronto – many foodies claim they should be able to eat whatever they want.  Frighteningly,  they even claim that if animal is enroute to slaughter,  there is,  accordingly to them,  no reason to treat it humanely.

© Heather Clemenceau

Do we have an obligation to avoid negligence or breach of duty?  Do we have a duty or obligation to protect people,  even if they do not live in North America,  from eating something they shouldn’t eat, or something they don’t know they are eating?  We also have a legal liability in many cases, even if the person assumes harm – these are basic consumer protection laws.  There is a branch of law referred to as “product liability.”  In the US and Canada the claims most commonly associated with product liability are negligence,  liability,  and breach of warranty claims.  Even if there is no negligence, i.e.- insufficient or faulty testing,   public policy demands that responsibility be fixed wherever it will most effectively reduce the hazards.  The CFIA and Agriculture Canada  and their counterparts in the US, can anticipate some hazards in the form of drug or parasitic contamination,  and guard against the recurrence of others,  while the  public cannot.

How many plaintiffs have sued tobacco companies for harm and won, despite the warnings?  Over time,  tobacco companies,  scared of the issue of product liability,  retreated to 2nd and 3rd world countries where they advertised heavily to the brown people who either didn’t understand the dangers or whose governments were not active in protecting them.  Ironically,  this is where some of the Pros suggested the next markets might lie……….and they sound quite a bit like Big Tobacco when they suggest it.

I’m not suggesting that horsemeat is the “new tobacco,”  but despite what many pros claim about people having the “freedom” to eat whatever they want and assume the risk,  that’s a myth,  and we must put the remains of that myth in the shredder once and for all.

2. Rescues are looking for any opportunity to steal horses

There are good and bad rescues out there.  Some rescues need their own rescues,  and others

© Heather Clemenceau

are run by thinly-veiled animal hoarders.   However,  I have honestly never heard of a rescue going onto a property and stealing someone’s horses without the benefit of the law behind them.  Don’t the pro-slaughters realize that rescues operate in conjunction with sheriffs,  who can also seize debtors goods?  Most people believe that animals in need are generally seized too late rather than too early or without merit.  Another oddity I’ve noticed is that if a rescue goes under and its animals are seized,  it’s “just desserts” according to the pro-crowd,  but if a horseowner starves his animals and they get seized,  it becomes a “property rights” issue that must be defended against.  How hypocritical.

When the property rights fanatics at United Horsemen heard about Nancy Skakel and her Shagya arabs,  they looked up long enough from their feedbags to pull some quantum moronics.  They strongly suggested,  or outright claimed that the rescue(s) had stolen Skakel’s horses,  when her neighbours should have made it their civic duty to help her by pulling down her derelict buildings,  even though she was trying to run them off her property.  Then they went on to try and ingratiate themselves in the White Salmon and Goldendale communities.  Skakel had had run-ins with the law since at least 2005 as well as with her neighbours,  who over time,  simply got fed up with her.  She couldn’t  pay her bills but kept breeding more horses,  while letting them run loose on roads for at least 5 years.  She also admitted to letting her prized stallion lay in his stall for four days until he died with no veterinary care or humane intervention after he was kicked by a horse.

Yet Duquette is outraged that  the “animal rights” folks have these horses,  even though she was charged.  This is one of the dumbest public displays of stupidity by Duquette and company ever, and that’s really saying something.   I for one am thankful that they continue to out themselves in yet another display of dumb-fuckery.  I have no idea if Duquette actually went in and repaired Nancy’s property, but if he really wants to make a difference,  why not promote any of the low cost gelding clinics in Washington,  promoted by the National Equine Resource Network?  Oh, never mind.

© Heather Clemenceau

3. Transportation is Heavily Regulated so horse injuries are minimal

The horses photographed by Animals Angels at Dennis Chavez’ feedlot obviously arrived there in terrible condition.  Had Animals Angels not documented the horses flailing on the ground unattended and without humane euthanasia,  how would the laws against such cruelty have been enforced?  Who loaded those animals on the trailers and how long were they there before they collapsed in the dirt on Chavez’ feedlot?

© Heather Clemenceau

The civilians tracking Three Angels and Terri’s Farms did so in order to document their chameleon operations and egregious avoidance of transportation laws.  A mere two months after the FMCSA ordered the closure of Lebanon, TN based Three Angels Farms because of flagrant safety violations, the agency was issuing another notice to Terri’s Farm under charges that it was operating as a chameleon carrier.  Terri’s Farm was shut down before any other serious accidents could occur (thanks to the efforts of private citizens and truckers), but chameleon carriers can go for much longer without being caught, often with serious consequences. If the FMCSA is so concerned with safety, shouldn’t they be doing more to prevent this?

The Animal Law Coalition contends that commercial transportation of Equines to Slaughter Act is unenforceable:

GAO has also confirmed that USDA/APHIS has not – and cannot – enforce transport regulations for equines sent to slaughter. 9 CFR Sections 88.1-88.6. Changing a few words here and there in the regulations will not make transport of equines to slaughter humane.  USDA/APHIS allows the kill buyers and haulers to fill out and provide the documentation – which is routinely missing, incomplete or inaccurate – relied on for enforcement. It is impossible to enforce regulations when the information to determine violations is supplied solely by the kill buyers and haulers, the very people USDA/APHIS is supposed to be regulating.

A 2010 Office of Inspector General report confirmed APHIS lacks the resources and controls to enforce regulations for humane transport of equines to slaughter. Not only is the information relied on for enforcement supplied by the kill buyers and haulers, APHIS continues to approve of new shipments to slaughter by kill buyers or haulers that have outstanding unpaid fines for violations of humane regulations. The current regulations do not give APHIS the authority to refuse approval. 

OIG also found there is no  adequate system for tracking the information, such as it is, that is supplied by the kill buyers and haulers about the horses. It is very difficult to track what happens to the horses, meaning enforcement is virtually non-existent. Also, APHIS often does not receive any information from kill buyers or haulers. OIG noted in 2011 that for the past year or more, APHIS had not received the required paperwork, owner/shipper certificates, from kill buyers or haulers for any horses sent from Texas to Mexico.

On top of that, APHIS only has two agents to try to enforce these regulations. Your agency is hamstrung by its own regulations and cannot assure humane transport of equines to slaughter. There is every reason to think your agency could not even begin to assure humane transport of horses within the U.S. to newly opened slaughter facilities. “

Lastly,  this compilation of both deliberate and accidental injuries to horses in transport was made thirty-six months after making a Freedom of Information Request of the U.S.D.A.  regarding violations of the “Commercial Transportation of Equines to Slaughter Act,” the documents were received. The 906-page FOIA includes almost 500 separate photographs of severe and alarming  cruelty of horses due to the horse slaughter industry that happened on U.S. soil. (EXTREMELY GRAPHIC) http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/favideo/demo_video.flv (EXTREMELY GRAPHIC)

4.  Slaughter operations are a desirable type of employment and anyone should be happy to work in any of them.

I guess your answer depends on what your definition of “desirable employment” is.  I can think of at least 100 different types of work I’d rather do,  some of them possibly not legal either,  which would be preferential to working in a slaughterhouse.  I’ve always wondered why we haven’t seen Mike Rowe (of Dirty Jobs fame) filming a segment in a slaughterhouse.  I’ve seen film of him in a sewer,  but perhaps there are some jobs that are just too dirty for Mike………

The slaughter industry’s effect on physical environment, human health and on the high rate of injuries to workers has been carefully documented by scholars.  Slaughterhouses are also the source of human suffering as well.  The process of killing a living creature day after day creates overwhelming emotional dissonanceThis study – “Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates: An Empirical Analysis of Spillover from ‘The Jungle” into the Surrounding Community, Organization and Environment,” by Amy Fitzgerald PhD,  analyses population/jobs/crime data of 1994-2002 in 581 non-metropolitan counties to analyze the effect of slaughterhouses on the surrounding communities.

The findings of the study indicate that slaughterhouse employment is strongly correlated with an increase in arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, rape, other sex offences, vandalism, arson, robbery, assault and disorderly conduct in comparison with other industries. The study documented increases of 130 per cent increase in violent crimes in Finney County, Kansas and a 63 per cent increase in Lexington, Nebraska. The Canadian town of Brooks, Alberta, witnessed a 70 per cent increase in reported crime. Particularly telling is the fact that the arrests in counties with 7,500 slaughterhouse employees are more than double than in those where there are no slaughterhouse employees. This strongly correlates the existence of a ‘Sinclair effect’ unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor ignored previously in the sociology of violence.  Here’s a bit more about Sinclair,  “The Jungle,”  and Dr. Fitzgerald’s study.

The effects are not explained away by claiming that the workers are immigrants and therefore “undesirable” elements, nor by claiming that the workers are lower class,  hard drinking people,  social disorganization,  poor populations,   etc because people working in low paid, dangerous,  blue collar towns with high unemployment do not show the same patterns in crime.  The study examined towns that focused on ironworks,  metal stamping,  and other industrial operations,  with low pay, dangerous conditions,  and routinized labour as comparables, and found no similar spike.  The unique work of killing and dismembering animals in slaughterhouses has resulted in the types of crime which Upton Sinclair referred to as “the jungle” in the community. Dr. Fitzgerald and her colleagues state that “we believe that this is another of a growing list of social problems that need explicit attention.”  To me,  the answer seems obvious – such employment is likely to lead to the worker removing animals from moral consideration,  as a coping mechanism for what they must do on a daily basis,  which often leads to removing humans from moral consideration as well.

Of course,  there’s also the explanation that slaughter operations attract psychopaths to begin with,  and I think that’s true in some cases.  I’m not a psychiatrist,  and I don’t play one on TV,  but the Rubashkin family,  who ran Agriprocessors,  a former kosher slaughterhouse,  seems to have attracted more than their share of potential psychopaths.  Agriprocessors was cited for issues involving animal treatment, food safety, environmental safety, child labour, and hiring of illegal workers.  In November 2009, Sholom Rubashkin was convicted of 86 counts of financial fraud,  including bank fraud,  mail and wire fraud and money laundering.  In 2010 he was sentenced to 27 years in prison.  I don’t believe that the Rubashkins ever slaughtered horses,  and although slaughter can never be a socially acceptable concept,  there seem to be ever-present trends with slaughterhouses – moreso than with other industries which rely heavily on manual labour.

If anything,  slaughterhouses have been thoroughly studied by a small number of scientists and sociologists.  In the US,  and to some degree in Canada,  like other divisions of agriculture, slaughterhouse workers are typically people living in low-income communities. In recent decades, an influx of Latin American workers has been seen across the country, partially due to active recruiting by the corporations. Today, approximately 38% of slaughterhouse and “meat”-processing workers were born outside of the U.S.

Many employers knowingly hire undocumented workers in an effort to satisfy the extremely high turnover rate of the industry, which often exceeds 100% annually.   In some cases, they provide incentives for current workers to recruit family and friends and even help new workers to create fake social security cards. Undocumented workers are constantly faced with the threat of deportation – either by their employer or by federal raids.

Pity the poor employee who works in at “at-will” state in the US – they can be fired at any time at management discretion. The threat of termination discourages workers from reporting safety concerns, injuries, or other serious issues. Long hours,  repetitive stress and motion,  and under-reported injuries.   As a result, workers are conditioned to accept a hazardous and demeaning work environment if they want to remain employed. How do you like the idea of working in a slaughterhouse so far?

Any mass-production industry that has slim profit margins,  which emphasizes high-speed,  often with dangerous mechanized and manual labour, is never a good outcome for animals or people. An alternative to the slaughter factory,  for people that must eat meat and wish to do so from a position of somewhat greater humanity or ecology – is the mobile slaughterhouse.  We need to see more of them.  Still wouldn’t want to work at one though………..

5.  Every carcass is tested for the presence of drugs

We know that this isn’t true because the CFIA have told us so.  This is the perception by the general public and certainly that of La Palette restaurant in Toronto and possibly other chefs as well,   despite repeatedly being informed to the contrary.  “….the CFIA’s rate of phenylbutazone testing on horse carcasses is an abysmal 0.152%(143 samples taken on 93,812 horses in 2009).  If this is the frequency recommended by United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization, then I am shocked.  I don’t think I’d trust the CFIA to run the “Guess My Weight” game at the local fairgrounds.

According to the CFIA’s own website “In addition to randomly sampling horse meat for chemical residues, the CFIA conducts targetted testing based on clinical observation of animals, before stunning and slaughter.The CFIA employs veterinarians and supervised, trained inspectors in each horse slaughter plant to identify any animal that, based on its appearance or history, may have been treated with phenylbutazone. The meat from these animals may be held until testing is performed and no residues are found. Animals are also examined post-slaughter for signs of conditions such as arthritis, which can indicate they may have been treated with phenylbutazone.“ I wonder what visual inspection protocols they have for clenbuterol,  dermorphin,  and Lasix?

IMO,  the above is not a testing program.  I’ve performed organizational compliance audits that had profoundly higher sample populations, in companies that did not produce foodstuffs.   Canada needs to pay as close a scrutiny to horsemeat testing as the US does with athletes – something is terribly wrong when more runners and cyclists are scrutinized and suspended for positive drug results than is our food.   Now that the CFIA is downloading inspection of food to manufacturers and distributors,  how would this affect horsemeat,  especially in the climate whereby the EU is demanding more accountability and traceability,  not LESS?

Shamez Amlani,  owner of La Palette restaurant in Toronto,   told the Toronto Star he is “confident there will no longer be a glut of horses in Canada that could compromise the safety of the horse meat.”  Note to Shamez – if the product you’re serving in your restaurant has to sit on a feedlot for six months in order that the drugs given to it degrade, then that should give you pause.  Also, a recent Forbes article disagrees with Amlani’s logic, explaining, “Bouvry Exports and Richelieu Meats, two Canadian slaughterhouses, recently stopped accepting U.S. Thoroughbreds—the only breed whose drug records can be traced.”

However, if the 2013 EU regulations put a severe crimp in Canada’s horsemeat exports,  La Palette and other Canadian establishments will be left serving the “pharmacological” variety of horsemeat that simply isn’t good enough for EU consumers.

6.  Horsemeat is organic

This is really a recurring theme amongst chefs who should know better but don’t!  According to the CFIA,  there are stringent requirements (if you can imagine the word “stringent being used in the same sentence as “CFIA”) for suppliers to satisfy before they can call their products “organic.”  This isn’t just a Canadian thing either, we have to have standards that harmonize Canadian provisions for the production, certification, identification and labelling of organic products with international ones such as the Codex Alimentarius Commission.  Since the vast majority of horses are raised by private individuals who don’t ascribe to any of these requirements, it should be self-explanatory that horsemeat doesn’t meet the definition of “organic.”

Also,  if horsemeat and its byproducts are so “organic,”   why was Natural Valley Farms,  a horse slaughterhouse in Saskatchewan, charged with discharging blood into rivers?  Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis,  who occasionally fronts as a Representative of Wyoming,  is constantly chirping about the usefulness of all things horse slaughter-related,  including the blood,  which,  according to her,  is a valuable commodity.  I guess NVF didn’t get the message…….

7.  Environmental damage by horse slaughterhouses is vastly overstated

From a US perspective,  one of the best “go-to” persons is obviously former Kaufman Mayor Paula Bacon,  who is 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 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.

The  Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth’s wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek,  which seems unbelievable given Slaughterhouse Sue’s claims about the value of equine blood.  The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month.  Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.

The US slaughter plants were clearly a nightmare in many respects, but Canada hasn’t escaped scrutiny either.  Even Henry Skjerven,  a board member of Natural Valley Farms Inc., recounts its ultimate decline and fall in the Western Producer in April, 2009.  You can read the complete accounting here.

© Heather Clemenceau

“Most notable was our failure with the CFIA. Natural Valley used precious resources, time, money and people in challenging CFIA staff and regulations. The final result? CFIA removed the company’s operating licence in early 2009. Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses. It took months to implement and hundreds of thousands of dollars of cattle producer’s investment to make that change. But horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”  Even though NVF management were kicked to the curb,  the government didn’t want to see the cessation of the business.  They offered the plant to the Carry the Kettle First Nations with government assistance – this report was prepared for the Carry the Kettle First Nations.  This CHDC report was instrumental in the Band’s rejection of this business offer.

8.  The BLM does not sell horses to slaughter

One thing I can’t figure out is this –  if you have millions of acres of vacant land and there’s 100 miles between towns, why on earth can’t they put all those wild horses out there?  What really happens to wild horses and burros after they “disappear” into the paper chain of a government agency?  And what happens to them after they have been sold once or twice to different buyers who are no longer restricted in whom they may sell the horses to?

In the US,  wild horses and burros are supposedly protected from the slaughter pipeline by the 1971 act of Congress “Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act.” The act states that “wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death.”

The most incriminating evidence against the BLM consists of  a letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, current and former employees of the Federal Bureau of Land Management have accused bureau officials of falsifying financial records, taking part in schemes to sell wild horses to slaughterhouses and obstructing Federal investigations.  Much of the letter sheds new light on published reports that bureau employees took part in schemes to sell federally protected wild horses to slaughterhouses, then tried to obstruct Federal investigations of their involvement.  At least 36,000 formerly wild horses,  adopted through BLM programs,  are unaccounted for.  Also,  under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act (WFRHB) the  BLM can implement the “Final Solution” for the horses:

“[a]ny excess animal or the remains of an excess animal shall be sold if–
(A) the excess animal is more than 10 years of age; or
(B) the excess animal has been offered unsuccessfully for adoption at least 3 times.”

Currently, a wild horse or burro must be offered for adoption at 3 specific satellite or adoption events before qualifying for sale under subsection (B). Wild horses and burros sold in this way are called 3 strikes horses. Animals sold under this provision lose the protections of the WFRHBA. The BLM cannot claim a lack of knowledge in what would happen to the horses.

The BLM has sold pro-slaughter horse trader Tom Davis at least 1,700 wild horses and burros since 2009, agency records show — 70 percent of the animals purchased through its sale program. Like all buyers, Davis signs contracts promising that animals bought from the program will not be slaughtered and insists he finds them good homes. By his own account, he has ducked Colorado law to move animals across state lines and will not say where they end up. He continues to buy wild horses for slaughter from Indian reservations, which are not protected by the same laws. And since 2010, he has been seeking investors for a slaughterhouse of his own.

“Hell, some of the finest meat you will ever eat is a fat yearling colt,” he said. “What is wrong with taking all those BLM horses they got all fat and shiny and setting up a kill plant?”

Some BLM employees say privately that wild horse program officials may not want to look too closely at Davis. The agency has more wild horses than it knows what to do with, they say, and Davis has become a relief valve for a federal program plagued by conflict and cost over-runs.

In the following video,  watch Trent Loos and Bill DesBarres incriminate themselves discuss the semantics with respect to American wild horses coming to Canada for slaughter.  Mustangs end up in Shelby Montana (feedlot) where they go to Canada,  and according to DesBarrres (who says leprechauns are mythological?),  they are no longer BLM horses because they’ve received a new “nationality” once crossing into Canada.  I see what you did there Bill!  So the minute a wild horse crosses from the US into Canada,  it surrenders it’s “nationality” and the problem of disappearing wild horses is solved!  Watch the clusterfuck of confusion at the Horse Slaughter Summit once they realize that they’re engaged in a battle of semantics………

Government organizations can no longer plead ignorance when selling horses under their control to kill buyers.  Earlier this year Big Bend State Park agreed to sell 11 of their park horses to a known slaughter buyer from Presidio, Texas for a total  .25 cents a pound.  Nevada Department of Agriculture has offered estray horses for sale,  before they are taken to auction,  where they are likely to be sold for slaughter.  23 horses that were to be sold for slaughter by the Nevada Department of Agriculture were subsequently rescued.  And the Salt River Horses are classified as “feral” – they are not protected by the government – they can be rounded up and shipped off to slaughter houses for human consumption overseas.  Some of the most highly trained,  “bomb-proof” horses may also have been sent on a one-way ticket to slaughter – 60+ Texas Prison horses  – sold at  a public auction, their most likely destination, a Mexican slaughterhouse notorious for unspeakable cruelty.  The state of Nevada is the legal owner of all wild horses in the state except those on public lands.  Nevada will now be making their horses available at a September livestock auction where they will be sold by the pound.

9.  BSE (Bovine spongiform encephalopathy) was invented by animal activists to distract the government from noticing that extraterrestrials are invading the US!

Did you get all that?  Never in a million years did I think cruising around the United Horsemen’s Facebook page would yield this gem of a declaration!  This poster,  who doesn’t know much about animals,  certainly nothing about horses,   but insists that it’s every man’s right to own an exotic big cat,  must be a member of the Truther Movement.  He really knows how to bring the crazy – that fringe should be on a surrey!  Technically,  this isn’t even a “myth” because not even the other United Horsemen’s posters will let this shit go unchallenged!

Actually,  quite a few UH posters jumped all over this post,  trying to correct the poster,  who believes that prion diseases were “invented” by animal activists,  or that they don’t really exist,  or that Hansel and Gretel was a story about a REAL encounter with a witch……….or something like that.  Too bad the poster can barely take a break from the hysterical responses to read what was written in response to his claims.

Actually,  this claim about BSE isn’t that much different that what you might read from your average garden-variety conspiracy theorist who believes that,  because it’s posted on the intarwebs,  it must be true – it’s all a clandestine government plan created by the Freemasons and the Bilderbergs,  who were responsible for assassinating Lincoln,  poisoning us with chemtrails,  and destroying the World Trade Center.  Our brains have been poisoned by vaccinations for diseases that don’t really exist and fluoride in your water for teeth which were actually implanted before birth by the military-backed Electronic Banking Industry, (in cahoots with HAARP and David Icke) in order to slowly release mind-control substances,  produce schizophrenia,  steal your dreams,  and imprison everyone in Russian thought-control labs where we will be anally probed by Sumerian-speaking alien reptile kings,  who are in league with Big Pharma to invent new diseases such as ADHD,  HSV,  and HPV.  Yeah,  I know the type,  I argued debated with them like forever on the internet.  And you can’t learn ‘em either,  because they don’t use critical thinking skills and cannot recognize or discern facts from fiction!  All you can do is sit back with a bemused expression,  and “watch that fringe and see how it flutters……”

The idea that prion diseases in cattle were caused by insecticide was originally floated by a self-educated farmer by the name of Mark Purdey who is quoted by our conspiracy theorist.  Purdey himself never claimed that animal rights activists had anything to do with BSE,  nor extraterrestrials,  which is just a crazy embellishment on the part of our writer.  Purdey was an intelligent eccentric who claimed that organophosphates contribute to BSE, or in humans,  known as Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease,  or vCJD or nvCJD.  I think Purdey had honest intentions,  but like so many “fringe” ideas,  conspiracy theorists glom onto them and distort them for their own misguided motivations.

A British inquiry into BSE concluded that it was epizoonotic and was caused by cattle,  normally herbivores,  being fed the remains of other cattle in the form of meat and bone meal,  which caused the infectious agent to spread.  One theory is that it may have originated with sheep with scrapie that were processed in the same slaughterhouse.  Prions will not disappear even if the beef containing them is cooked.

10.  I am the Shedrow blogger

As most readers here know,  the Horse Farts Anonymous Facebook page was forced to go undercover because,  turnabout wasn’t fairplay  to them when the Shedrow Confessions blogger exposed them using the very site they originally created to mock the anti-slaughter advocates.  You know what they say about payback.  But don’t worry Pros,  I’m not gonna threaten y’all with lawsuits or anything like that……

"Ana Renza" claims I am shedrow blogger

This is one enduring myth!  As Shedrow herself describes,  the pros’ “logic” in arriving at the conclusion that we’re one and the same person  is based on Shedrow making an initial posting (I think she called it a poke) on the Naughty Mendy blog with a Canadian IP  proxy.  Of course,  I am one of the few Canadians the pros ever heard of who also had a blog (even though I’ve never posted on any of the pro blawgs),  so they proceeded to block me and every other anti-slaughter Canuck they could find on Facebook – just in case their hypothesis was actually wrong.  Just more naivete about Canada – thinking that we all use the same IP!  We’re got more total area than the US too – go here pros to learn more about Canada – a country where there is more than one anti-slaughter blogger!

Anyway,  all this was done on the suggestion of Mendy Tobiano’s “techies.”  I’m not sure how even the stupidest techie could arrive at that conclusion,  unless of course,  they’re also the type of neanderthal that’s still using a stick to scratch a record of their horse kills on the limestone walls of their cave.  Of course,  the mass blocking of my Facebook profile by all six pro-slaughters did absolutely squat because I never write to them or communicate with them except if they show up on my blog,  on a third-party site,  or in a site where pros and antis are posting together with the acknowledgement that both parties will behave with respect towards the other.  And I block non-friends from sending any communications  to me on Facebook,  so it’s not like any of them can write to me either – no drama mama here.

rumours about me and shedrow

Although, by not allowing them to write to me I sometimes feel that I am missing out on a lot of primo blog material!

Whoever Shedrow is,  he or she is able to continue to read their comments unaffected – because the pros don’t know who to block!

On the rare occasion I post comments from pros who are not actually part of the pro-slaughter movement  – Slaughterhouse Sue,  Dave Duquette,  Bill DesBarres,  politicians,  public figures, etc.  I block out their names.  But since I’m being named here,  I’m not going to give them any such courtesy – you’ll understand why I’m sure.  Quid pro quo. Some of these comments are pretty strange,  I’m beginning to suspect somebody slipped Naughty Tobiano an acid tab just before she wrote the comment below.

Lastly,  I’ll leave you all with this,  courtesy of the Humane Society of Canada:

Who profits from the lives of horses destined for recreational markets?

  • • Certain breeders, private horse owners, auction marts and transporters
  • • Manufacturers, distributors and merchants for horse trailers
  • • Fuel companies (we believe that more fuel would be consumed through the widespread and frequent hauling activities of private horse keepers, as opposed to gas consumption by large transport trucks that move many head of horses in one trip to a feedlot, auction, or slaughterhouse)
  • • Hay and straw farmers, grain growers and merchants
  • • Thousands of farriers
  • • Thousands of large animal veterinarians (diagnostics, treatments, hospitalizations, surgeries, transport fees) and the people they employ
  • • Medical supply companies, distributors, and merchants (X-ray machines, centrifuges, etc.)
  • • Laboratories (blood, tissue, and wound samples, etc.)
  • • Equine therapists and acupuncturists
  • • Pharmaceutical companies (dewormers, immunizations, liniments, medications)
  • • Horse supply companies (manufacturers, distributors, and merchants for blankets, tack, fly spray, ointments, fly masks, linament for rubdowns, bandages, wraps, grooming supplies, buckets, feeders, hay nets, etc.)
  • • Manufacturers, distributors, and merchants for fencing and shelter materials
  • • Boarding stables
  • • Horse trainers
  • • Manufacturers, distributors, and merchants for equestrian show jumps & training equipment manufacturers
  • • Bed and Bale (B&B) businesses
  • • Trail riding camps
  • • Trail riding outfitters
  • • The sport horse/eventing industry (upkeep, training, events and entry fees, special bits and bridles, plaiting of manes and tails, advertising, media, food venues)
  • • Creators, publishers and merchants involved in horse books, calendars, magazines, posters, toy horses
  • • Artists, sculptors, photographers, cartoonists, framers, galleries.
  • In addition, huge show jumping events such as those held at Spruce Meadows hold widespread public appeal and attract international competitors. The facility employs over 70 full-time people, and its record attendance on a Sunday in 2002 was over 57,000. More than $5 million in prize money has been awarded toward this horse event by businesses and donors.