Tag Archives: “Bouvry Exports”

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

Canada’s Live Export of Horses For Slaughter – Do Canadians Care?

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Written By:  Terry Stanislow

THIS IS AN INTERACTIVE RANT. IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH TIME TO READ THIS, PLEASE TAKE THE EXTRA THREE SECONDS AT THE END TO REGISTER YOUR RESPONSE TO THE QUESTION.

This video shows Canadian horses – which have been bred and fed for this purpose – being loaded from sterile feed lots onto trucks, brought to Calgary airport, put into enclosed boxes like they are toasters, and onto planes destined for Japan. This is the kind of shameful trade that seemingly inept Canadian legislators, useless bureaucrats at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and a few greedy, wealthy business people are getting away with while we are not looking.  All this is being driven by the demand of rich, gluttonous Japanese people who want to eat our horses on a plate.

I submit that horses are not produce – they are living, feeling, sentient beings and this is WRONG on a few different levels.

No point in writing to the CFIA about it because you will get the same form letter back that I got, basically justifying the jobs of people who work there. They aren’t even doing their jobs to the fullest extent on a daily basis, (evidence in the video) so not likely they will be able to handle any kind of demand for extra or quality work.

No point in communicating with any of the organizations responsible for animal welfare either because they have convinced themselves that they are fine with this. The people who run this business are seemingly so much smarter then them Horse-Meat-Sashimi-Japanthat it looks like they can’t even figure out a way to deal with it – accept to call it normal and avoid the issue as much as possible.

It’s probably also no coincidence that horses are being shipped from Alberta, the province where horses can be raised more easily like livestock and the population is most likely to accept the practice, being the most acclimatized to a livestock paradigm. This business would stand out like a sore thumb in most provinces.

Transport Canada and Canadian Airport Authorities have the power to stop this as well. Good luck with that. They would be as bureaucratic as the CFIA and it would take five years just to strike up a task force to consider the question.

Who you gonna call? I don’t know – the Canadian system, as always, is a wasteland of inaction, mindlessness and reactive bad decision making. Those responsible are like that famous bull who just “goes where he’s pushed” and at the moment, those who are getting rich off of this brutal industry are pushing harder than other Canadians who claim to be “animal lovers” or “horse lovers”.

Horses under pressureIt would appear that these slimy characters are getting away with carrying on this business because, it appears that, although most Canadians love THEIR OWN animals or horses, they are not truly “horse lovers” in the larger sense of the word.  Or perhaps they don’t have a minute or two to consider the plight of the horses in this video or they don’t care to speak out against it, sign a petition, write to a legislator, or anything else. There are many around the world openly opposing and fighting against this kind of activity – apparently not many in Canada, where we slaughter the American horses because their population doesn’t want it – and don’t mind telling their legislators that – over and over again.  Ultimately though,  the business interests just won’t take their mitts and bats and go home. They keep introducing new legislation to re-open slaughterhouses – which we valiantly beat down – it’s a vicious circle and never-ending game, but it CAN be won if enough people care to do something about it.

So, what I am interested in knowing – are there enough Canadians who care enough about this practice to take the first step and admit that they think it is wrong and publicly say that, or is the real problem simply that Canadian “horse lovers” really just don’t give a hoot – or maybe think that this is OK, and not something to get excited about? Is it possible that people just don’t know about it? Really – what is going on here?

If you have three seconds, please select one of the following options in the poll:


Thanks to those who respond – whether or not you play along, I will get my answer, because those who don’t are obviously either 1 or 4.

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.

Fort McLeod is the capital of horse slaughter in Canada. In their white paper “Horse Slaughter – Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession,” the U.S.-based group Veterinarians for Equine Welfare denounces horse slaughter as inhumane and

“an unacceptable way to end a horse’s life under any circumstance.”

The organization also warns against the practice because of the wide assortment of drugs that are prohibited from use in animals “intended” for human consumption, but are given to horses and likely to be present in their flesh after slaughter. The group also outlines its “strong position” that due to these medications,

“…horsemeat derived from any US [or Canadian] horse can never be regarded as safe for human consumption.”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

Horse Welfare 2012 – The Year in Review….

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© 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

Horsemeat – Hiding in Plain Sight

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Butchers_Boy1Written by Heather Clemenceau

In South Florida, 18 horses have been found slaughtered since the beginning of the year – and many more have been stolen – making it obvious that many in our international community don’t view the consumption of horse meat as taboo.  While many countries have no qualms about depersonalizing North American horses and horsemeat, it appears that horsemeat permeates the food chain in ways unimagined.   In fact, European consumers may be eating horse meat without realising it, due to inadequate labelling, a recent survey for the Humane Society International (HIS) revealed.  Not only have Europeans been eating horsemeat without realizing it,  but it can also be found in the most innocuous of places,  including picturesque country bakeries and dog food outlets attempting to capitalize on the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) craze.  Not only is it available at various Italian butchers as I’ve previously identified,  I’ve found that horsemeat is available in Dutch bakeries in southern Ontario,  and offered for sale for dog food on Kijiji and Craigslist.

I think it’s fair to say that the purchasers and consumers of these products believe that the horses are raised locally and humanely and would be surprised to learn that they are not raised for consumption and certainly do not meet European and even Canadian standards in many cases.

“Horse meat imported to Europe from third countries may also pose a risk to human health,” said Joanna Swabe, HSI Europe’s director. “Horses in the US are companion, race or work horses routinely given veterinary drugs banned for use in food-producing animals in Europe. Current measures are failing to stop these drugs from entering the food chain.” Dutch activist group Wakker Dier commissioned a study that shocked international media with the news that up  to one-third of all dutch snacks contain horsemeat (also know as rookvlees).  Although horsem2010-07-20-1butchersstalleat consumption is declining in the Netherlands and the Dutch overall do not have a problem with horsemeat, the activist group maintains that labelling is critical so that people who do not want to eat non-food companion animals are able to distinguish via proper labelling.

As a rash of horse killings plague South Florida, the odds of consumers unknowingly ingesting horse meat increases, especially if purchasing meat from an unlicensed meat vendor selling mystery meat from the back of their vehicle. Purchasers might not be able to tell the difference between horse and cow meat because they look very similar.  The slaughtered horsemeat is said to sell for up to $40 a pound. These horses are not bred for consumption, meaning they have almost certainly been treated with equine medications, resulting in contaminated meat – and that’s 50 shades of toxicity.  Not only that, but the horses have often been stolen from family farms or acquired by duplicitous means and cruelly slaughtered often while conscious.  Horsemeat is also a conduit for trichinosis, where there have been fatal outbreaks in Europe.  The dewormer that is effective against trich is also prohibited in animals used for food consumption.  Wormers are often not effective once a parasite encysts in the horse’s muscle.  So there the parasite waits, waiting to be eaten and colonized by a gourmand.  If that fact alone doesn’t result in late-night visits to WebMD,  I don’t know what will.

siftingthepast_kitchen-with-pieces-cook-and-kitchen-maid_unknown_16th-centuryWe must act to stop illegal slaughter..  Jorge Ortega, who was arrested for selling horsemeat in Florida, has made a plea deal – under this deal he will serve 18 months probation and will pay more than $1,000 in restitution to the USDA. He also must not have any contact with any horses, and after successfully completing probation, the charges will be dropped.

Dropping the charges sends the WRONG message about horse slaughter in Florida, an issue that puts horses and humans lives in danger.  We must send a strong message to law-makers in Florida that these types of lenient sentences are not acceptable! To quote Richard Couto of ARM – “Ortega had his hand in many of those farms, as far as killing the animals and selling their meat.” These slaughter farms are violent places that no one should have to live near.”  Please take action to encourage lawmakers to appropriately punish people who illegally slaughter horses!

Canada K-9

From Kijiji – Canada K-9 sells raw horsemeat for dogs. The proprietor claims that he has a “license” to obtain horsemeat or horses “when available.”

Across Canada, there appear to be a shocking number of potential suppliers of horsemeat.  I have no way to quickly authenticate or vet these links,  and it’s been some time since they were updated,  but this site lists 99 possible suppliers of horsemeat across Canada – far more than I ever imagined if the list is accurate.  A truly heartbreaking compilation of companies. Restaurants serving horsemeat are found in Calgary,  Toronto,  and British Columbia,  the site of the latest “Stop Slaughtering Us” billboard.  Horsemeat is also available variously throughout Quebec as well,  in grocery stores as well as restos.

horsemeat dog food

From Kijiji – Raw horsemeat available “government inspected.”

The Norwich Deli of Norwich, and the Dutch Village Bake Shops in Orono and Whitby sell smoked horsemeat sourced from Roos Meat in Brownsville, Ontario, which is supplied by Claude Bouvry in Alberta.  While that meat will be  legal for resale throughout Canada,  horsemeat is also advertised on Craigslist and Kijiji as dog food,  where it’s origin seems more than a little uncertain.  I wrote to two Kijiji advertisers offering horsemeat for dog food.  I figured there’s no pointing in mentioning the cruelty issue,  so I sent an attachment from a veterinary news article citing Ivermectin residues in horsemeat as being dangerous for collie breeds, with no response from the proprietor, although the ad is still running,  suggesting that the pursuit of profit trumps both science and good business practices.  I also contacted the propsiftingthepast-u_boy-with-sausages-and-dog_pieter-snyers1681e280911752_rietor at Canada K-9 dog foods in Oshawa, to ask where he sources his raw horsemeat supply.  His mysterious response?  “Well its not easy, but I have a licence to be able to get it when available.”  Sounds like someone with occasional access to a secret stash of Zyklon B….Recent discoveries in Ireland also revealed that horsemeat has been found in beef burgers,  in the case of Tesco burgers,  a DNA analysis revealed that the product contained 29% horsemeat.

Please take action in the Jorge Ortega case as outlined in the links above.  Please send a polite,  fact-based message to the delicatessens mentioned (on the web and on Facebook) as well as any horsemeat suppliers you may find on Kijiji or Craigslist.  The EU’s expanded residue testing program will eventually yield worse than anticipated results for North American horsemeat, if it has not already.  Businesses selling North American horsemeat need to be told why more than 100,000 horses slaughtered each year should never be consumed as food for humans or animals.

 

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

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

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

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

In DesBarres own words:

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

DesBarres "pays back" his horses by slaughtering them

DesBarres “pays back” his horses by slaughtering them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The glass enclosed chips do not always stay put.

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

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

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

RFID chip

RFID chip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provincial Organizations

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

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

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

Email – gordmack@xplornet.ca

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

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

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

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

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

Bill DesBarres - LinkedIn profile

Bill DesBarres – LinkedIn profile

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

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DesBarres also offers this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RFID chip

RFID chip

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

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

Putting Horsemeat on the Table – Canadian Influences and Enablers – Infographic

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Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

For some time now,  after seeing the Infographic created by Republic of Horse  – “Slaughter:  Industry Influences on Government,”  I have known that we needed a similar graphic to represent those influencers and enablers in Canada.  While some of the associations that have been mapped out in the following Canadian infographic do not directly enable horse slaughter,  they are complicit in that they are silent against the practice.  At the very least they seem intent on preserving the status quo and ignoring the very real threats created not only by horse slaughter,  but by the power of Big-Ag lobbyists and governments who are willing to be influenced by them and their client base.

In the murky world of government lobbyists,  few resources have been applied to investigating corruption or undue influence. Canada has again been scolded on the international stage for its “lack of progress” in fighting corruption by a watchdog agency that ranks it among the worst of nearly 40 countries. The poor rating places Canada in the embarrassing company of countries like Greece, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia – although New Zealand and Australia are also among the 21 countries in the bottom rung.  Transparency International, a group that monitors global corruption, put Canada in the lowest category of countries with “little or no enforcement” when it comes to applying bribery standards set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.  Apparently,  the punishment in Canada for corruption is that you are given a majority government.

Gerry Ritz Crackers

WARNING: Gerry Ritz Crackers consist of 100% Transfats.  Consuming Gerry Ritz Crackers may cause you to abandon economic principles, bury your head under the sand, and make inappropriate remarks about dead people, while pink-slipping and pink-sliming Canadians

According to the Ottawa Citizen,  Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz is the most lobbied official in Canada,  exceeded only by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Gerry observed that farming ostrich allowed him “the opportunity to get used to working with lesser life forms” much like he sees “sometimes on the floor of the House of Commons.”

"Lesser Life Form" my ass!

“Lesser Life Form” my ass!

This infographic (downloadable here),  along with the one prepared by Republic of Horse,  and Jane Allin’s graphic of the PMU Industry, expose the hand-shaking and back-patting relationships, endorsements, and interconnectivity between the US and Canada.  In Canada,  we can clearly see the tentacles of the Bill DesBarres’ Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada extending themselves into the breed associations,  farming groups,  Big Pharma, veterinary colleges and associations, and Equine Canada.  By way of the lobbyists in the IEBA,  we are influenced by Big Ag,  Dow and Monsanto,  Humanewatch and other organizations that not only advocate for horse slaughter,  but advocate for GMOs and against the EPA and indeed consumers in general.

It was a learning experience for me to create this graphic.  People are waking up to what is being done to horses.  Very few people condone what is being done, but the industry does everything it can to cover it up because they know it is not humane,  no matter terminology they use.  DesBarres likes to refer to slaughter as “humane euthanasia,” and a “wonderful option.”    Contact your breed associations – contact everyone,  and let them know what they are endorsing when they associate themselves with the Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada,  Bill DesBarres,  and Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis.

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers – Click to embiggen.  Want the chart as a stand-alone PDF file?  Click here

US Version - Republic of Horse

US Version – Republic of Horse

"Web of Evil" Graphic by Jane Allin

“Web of Evil” Graphic by Jane Allin – illustrating the connectivity between the Unwanted Horse Coalition, breed associations, and the PMU Industry

Here are the resources that were reviewed in compiling this infographic.  Many thanks to the members of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in the sourcing of many of these resources and their input into the graphic.

  • Kropius Rodeo Stock is based in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada,where Kody Kropius and his father Benny Kropius raise top of the line bucking horses and bulls!http://kropiusbuckingstock.tripod.com/
Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption

Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption

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

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Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

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

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 23, 2012

BC MP wants predatory horse meat business shut down

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Calgary Billboard Project Team Members

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

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

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

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

CTV Calgary Interview with Dr. Hucal

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