Is the National Post biased in favour of horse slaughter?
Some of you may have seen journalist Kelly McParland’s disparaging commentary, “NDP MP Puts Emotion Ahead of Jobs in Attack on Horse Meat Industry,” in the National Post on July 24, 2012.
Even if we don’t care about McParland’s opinionated drivel and his bashing of the New Democratic Party, what is truly disappointing is the fact that the Post hasn’t bothered to publish an opposing view by way of a letter to the editor. Such a letter was sent to the National Post on July 25, 2012, by Canadian Horse Defence Coalition Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland, who attended the Calgary press conference at the site of the Stop Slaughtering Us billboard. You may read the CHDC letter at the end of this blog post.
Since news coverage is traditionally respected for factual reporting that presents both sides of issues, a simple medium for keeping people up-to-date on happenings, we question why writers like McParland are permitted to prattle on at length, expressing their opinions ad nauseum, while opposite sides of issues that they present may never be raised at all. If this strikes you as poor journalism, please feel free to express your views to the Editor of the National Post. Please also refer to Vickery Eckhoff’s excellent examination of the Wall Street Journal’s reporting on horse slaughter.
Your message may be something as simple as:
I have read Kelly McParland’s article in Full Comment, NDP MP puts emotion ahead of jobs in attack on horse meat industry, and I would like to ask why the National Post has not published any letters to the editor on the cruelty and human health risks surrounding the issue of horse slaughter. Neither has the Post covered this issue in an in-depth article. To allow Mr. McParland to express his short-sighted views on the subject, without permitting the facts to be aired, presents a very unbalanced picture that is contrary to what many believe news reporting should consist of. Is the National Post actually a Tory publication?
Or you may decide to write your own opinion piece entirely. Please visit www.defendhorsescanada.org for more information on horse slaughter.
Also please feel free to circulate this alert on behalf of the horses.
CHDC Letter to Editor of National Post:
RE: NDP puts emotion ahead of jobs in attack on horsemeat industry, by Kelly McParland
Kelly McParland’s uninformed article begs a response as well as an invitation to seek out the truth for himself rather than relying upon foxes in the henhouse to supply the facts.
There is no point in speculating at length whether horses are treated with “any less care than cows, pigs, sheep, chickens or any of the other animals that humans eat”. Certainly, those deaths are not free of suffering either. But let’s not deviate. We’re talking about horses here, a species of animal that is not easy to kill humanely. Undercover video evidence of stunning practices at four separate equine slaughter plants in Canada speaks for itself, revealing a horrific account of panicked “flight” animals attempting to flee their tormentors and sustaining multiple stun wounds that cause extreme pain but not insensibility. Footage shows one horse being stunned eleven times (www.defendhorsescanada.org, Investigations, Pasture to Plate). This cruelty should rattle the cage of even the most weak-kneed animal welfare laws and principles. Horses have long been regarded our companions and working partners, animals with whom humans have enjoyed a close relationship. Would we tolerate such abuse of our beloved dogs and cats?
If McParland is not concerned about what drugs may be present in horsemeat shipped overseas, surely it wouldn’t be a stretch to consider health risks to Canadian citizens who eat the product. Horsemeat is consumed to some extent in Quebec. McParland notes that the CFIA has a “zero tolerance for phenylbutazone” in horsemeat, and certainly the agency has made that statement. However, when horses enter the slaughter pipeline from many directions, and profit is the driving force for those involved in the horsemeat business, it doesn’t take a lot of imagination to realize what actually happens behind the scenes. The Equine Information Document required by the CFIA invites fraud; undercover photos taken of these documents at a Canadian slaughter plant in 2011 revealed sloppy documentation and missing data. Phenylbutazone is the most commonly prescribed veterinary drug in Canada and the U.S. for injuries and inflammatory conditions in horses. Sellers wishing to offload their lame horses at auctions frequently use “bute” to mask the symptoms, and thoroughbred racehorses run on the drug. Somehow, that “zero tolerance” concept begins to sound like a pipe dream.
Lastly, such a defensive rant from Kelly McParland, as he attempts to discredit the NDP party, can mean only one thing. He’s afraid of change and the effect that new, environmentally sustainable and sensible policies would have on Canada.
Now what was all that rhetoric about emotions?
Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition