Tag Archives: “Calgary Stampede”

Open Letter to Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal Jann Arden

Standard
Photo Credit: Vancouver Humane Society Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you "want to be a rodeo horse?"

Photo Credit: Vancouver Humane Society
Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you “want to be a rodeo horse?”

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Dear Ms. Arden,

I’m writing this in response to your decision to accept the position of Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal and your various responses to people who remonstrated with you.  Many people are very concerned  about the treatment of animals, including horses,  who are forced to participate in the rodeo circuit.  These are all high-risk activities that often result in disastrous, unrecoverable injuries to the animals.

Many Canadian rodeo aficionados cite tradition, culture and athleticism as justification for events such as steer-riding, chuckwagon racing, and calf-roping.  In the face of increased public critique, animal welfare groups are helping to shed light on the cruelty of these events. Canada’s animal cruelty legislation is a disgrace – the laws have not been substantially changed since 1892.  Grassroots movements of Canadians say things need to change. There have already been at least 25 walks across the country and around the world, trying to bring awareness to Canada’s horrible animal cruelty legislation.

You previously tweeted in 2013 that you wished the Stampede would give the chuckwagon races a hard pass – I wish the entire rodeo itself J-Arden-tweet-against-chuckwagon-race-2would end.  I’m not alone, there are many humane organizations throughout the world who want to see rodeo-style events come to an end everywhere.

The ASPCA “recognizes the cruel treatment inflicted on many additional animals in the process of practicing to compete in rodeo events. Further, the ASPCA is opposed to children’s rodeo events such as goat tying, calf riding and sheep riding (“mutton busting”), which do not promote humane care and respect for animals.”  The Vancouver Humane Society was instrumental in bringing international focus to the issue of rodeos in Canada,  via the League Against Cruel Sports.  This is a first step toward internationalising opposition to rodeos in Canada and making it  harder for rodeos to justify their use of animals as “entertainment.”  The Vancouver Humane Society has had some success targeting rodeo events it considers cruel. It pressured the Cloverdale Rodeo, a major competition staged in the Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, into dropping four events, including calf roping and steer wrestling, in 2007.

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Struggling against many men and a thin rope around his neck before a stadium of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
Struggling against many men and a thin rope around his neck before a stadium of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.

“I treated saddle horses with wounds to their mouths from abusive use of the bit. One horse had half his tongue severed. I saw lots of so-called “minor” injuries, like cuts and abrasions, lameness, and eye injuries. I believe the callous attitude toward the calves added to their injuries; there was no concern for their welfare at all. I’ve seen injuries that ended in death, some resulting in death from euthanasia or a trip to the slaughter plant, broken bones, lameness, and minor scrapes and cuts.” ~ Dr. Peggy Larson, former Vermont State Veterinarian and Chief of Livestock and Meat Inspection, and former rodeo bareback bronco rider/large animal veterinarian

The breeding of bucking horses for entertainment is such an anachronistic practice – the only reason bucking stock exist is for the purposes of inhumane entertainment. They virtually all go to slaughter in the end, with a short stop at the Stampede before heading directly to Bouvry in Fort McLeod. That plant was the subject of an investigation by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in 2010, which found evidence that horses were being killed inhumanely. The CHDC revealed video footage showing horses at the slaughterhouse being shot and then hoisted away by their legs while still fully conscious.

The fate of other horses at the Stampede is often not much better.  Consider that

  • More than 55 chuckwagon horses have died since 1986. This number excludes bucking and show horses.
  • At least nine rodeo horses died after becoming spooked while galloping across a bridge before they even got to the Stampede grounds. They jumped from the bridge and plunged 10 metres into the Bow River in 2005.
  • A post-mortem revealed the cause of the sudden death of a 10 year-old  outrider horse in 2013. Pathologists from the University of Calgary reported that the horse died almost immediately as the result of a pulmonary hemorrhage –  essentially a rupture of an artery in the lung.
  • In 2014, a 12-year-old thoroughbred chuckwagon horse collapsed during a training run. A post-mortem determined he died of a ruptured aorta near one of his kidneys, according to a news release from the Stampede organization. The University of Calgary veterinary school’s Dr. Gord Atkins, who chairs the Stampede’s chuckwagon committee, explained to reporters that the horse was afflicted with a common parasite that can damage blood vessels, creating an aneurysm that is undetectable until it lets go. The ex-race horse died quickly from massive blood loss.

Most thoroughbreds in the chuck races are older ex-racehorses who have already earned their retirement.  They’re retired for a reason – they’re too old to be charging around at

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Post-race bleeding nose. All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing.

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
Post-race bleeding nose. All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing.

breakneck speeds.  Note the age of the horses above who died – they were 10 and 12 years old – relatively young animals in absolute terms,  but far too old for these outdated Roman-style events.  In addition to age working against them, modern thoroughbreds have strongly muscled bodies and delicate legs that suffer stress fractures.  And we know what happens to horses with stress fractures – broken legs are the result.  And please note the veterinary comments about a horse with such a heavy parasite load that it caused an aneurysm.  I thought these horses were “family” to their owners, and worth as much as $50,000?  You know that a tube of wormer costs around $25?

“….the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) controls the camera shots that ESPN can use while filming rodeo. In calf roping, ESPN is not allowed by the PRCA to show the calf actually being dropped. The audience will never see the rope strangling the calf; they will never see the calf jerked off its feet, dragged, and choked. As soon as the loop settles over the calf’s head, the camera moves away from the calf and moves back only after the calf is tied.”  ~ Dr. Peggy Larson

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

Tradition and heritage are two very emotional words, heavy with meaning.  Yet, despite those historical connections, the Catalonians have banned bullfighting, which was intensely tied to their nationhood and heritage.  The British have outlawed foxhunting.  The scarlet coated riders are now gone, even though few things were more “British” than stately homes, country weekends, and The Hunt.  I wonder, with regard to Canadian tradition, how many settlers had to ride or wrestle steers and race chuckwagons at breakneck speeds across the prairie?  I don’t believe that calf roping has ever been a sport but it was made so for entertainment and prize-money, as was bull-riding. Think about it: why would anyone ride a bull? It was created for entertainment and was not something based on culture or tradition.  And what the rodeo industry wants is a way to make every last dime from all the horses they shock, beat, drag, and buck.

You joked that you “want to be a rodeo horse.” You may wish to re-think that, since the PRCA, the largest rodeo-

Nothing more than macho abuse of baby animals. You can see the terror in his eyes...

Nothing more than macho abuse of baby animals. You can see the terror in his eyes…which are rolled back up into his head.

sanctioning organization in the world, has come down unequivocally as pro-horse slaughter.  In any case,  I think we could both agree that none of the horses depicted in this blog post seem to be enjoying their “jobs.”  The 2015 corporate report published by the Calgary Stampede explains that Stampede Park hosted many animal “guests” last July, including 629 chuckwagon horses and 410 bucking horses and bulls that competed during the rodeo. So I honestly wouldn’t say it’s all about the music. I would also be willing to bet my next paycheque that most of those animals aren’t really having their best day while at the Stampede. And I love how the Stampede refers to them as “guests,”  as if they come of their own volition!

“Sometimes tradition and habit are just that, comfortable excuses to leave things be, even when they are unjust and unworthy. Sometimes–not often, but sometimes–the cranks and radicals turn out to be right.”  ~ Matthew Scully:  The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

Jann, in closing, I wish that you could see that these issues aren’t merely being brought forward by “people wearing leather shoes and eating hamburgers.”  Ask yourself though, if these events that focus on livestock do not sufficiently concern you, would you subject your dog to the same treatment?  I’m sure you wouldn’t ever consider it. It would be illegal if you did. Yet you are promoting the Calgary Stampede and the misery of thousands of animals by appearing in their parade.  Therefore, you are giving tacit approval to everything they do, despite saying that you do not like the chuck races. There are many other ways that we can support Calgary,  Fort McMurray, and promote Alberta.

Thank you for the work that you have done for animals in the past.

 

jann arden statement

 

 

From Movie Set To Dinner Plates? Heartland Horses Dispersed In Kill Buyer Attended Auctions

Standard
Kevin Rushworth High River Times QMI Agency photo

Photo – KEVIN RUSHWORTH HIGH RIVER TIMES/QMI AGENCY

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

John Scott has had a year of highs and lows – since starting into the movie business in 1969, he has balanced his own cattle, horse and buffalo ranch with work on Academy Award winning movies such as Unforgiven, Lord of the Rings, Legends of the Fall and Days of Heaven, along with other films and series such as Hell on Wheels, the 13th Warrior, Klondike Gold, and the family TV series Heartland. Earlier in 2014, he was awarded a 75th anniversary ATB Agriculture buckle (awarded to farmers and ranchers), and soon afterwards it was rather abruptly announced in the July/August 2014 issue of Horse-Canada magazine that he was no longer wrangler for the TV show Heartland.

The Heartland show is a series chronicling 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.

In late 2012, Animals Angels photographed a stock trailer belonging to John Scott Productions at the Bouvry Slaughterhouse in Fort MacLeod Alberta. The feedlots nearby and the Bouvry slaughter plant map of albertawere part of an investigation by Animals Angels; 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.

When I wrote my original Heartland blog in March 2013, speculating on whether JSP horses were being sent to slaughter on that day when Scott’s trailer was observed at Bouvry, we didn’t know and still don’t know what species of animal had been taken to the slaughterhouse. Previously, the Heartland show, via their Facebook page, denied that any horses featured in the show had ever gone to slaughter.

But since the announcement that Scott was no longer wrangler for Heartland, it was noticed that horses advertised as being from the series were showing up at various auctions throughout Alberta, in fairly close proximity to the Bouvry slaughterhouse, and usually where kill buyers were present. As well as being a supplier for movies, Scott is also regarded in Alberta as a horse trader.

In addition to the two auctiotop hat tip to Lonin sites mentioned, he also brings horses to the Innisfail auction north of Calgary, where kill buyers are also in attendance. In May and August of this year, John Scott Productions had two partial herd dispersals at Hebson Arena and Irvine Tack and Trailer. The owner of Irvine Tack & Trailer is Scott Irvine – a well known and very active kill buyer in the province. Having auctions of any animal on a kill buyer’s property puts money in their hands and enables them to slaughter more horses in the long run – it’s the same argument some people use for refusing to purchase brokered horses directly from kill buyers.

These two sales, which disposed of dozens of horses and mules, represented a large number of Scott’s usual 150 head of horses. Quarter horses, appys, paints, grade horses, and mules were variously described as having been used as as driving horses (2up, 4up and 6up) reining horses, bucking horses, and used in parades and blacksmith competitions, the Calgary Stampede, various movies including Heartland, and in ranch work. One horse was advertised as being an RCMP horse. Most were in their early to mid-teens, with others being described as “smooth mouth” horses who could no longer take heavy work.

Hebson Arena Sale,  Okotoks,  Alberta

 

 

Irvine Tack and Trailer Sale,  Crossfield, Alberta

 

 

After what appears to have been a lot of hard use, most of these well-broke horses deserved a soft landing  – to new lives as lightly-ridden trail horses for beginner and heartland2intermediate riders. Many of these horses should have been able to bring at least $1,000 each, but obviously Scott would have included some horses who didn’t work out for him or could no longer do heavy ranch work, and therefore aren’t as desirable on the market. Typically the horses described as “best for occasional trail use” don’t do well at auctions because they are often not completely sound.  So it’s unknown how many of these horses went on to new homes and whether any may have been sent on that final trip to Bouvry,  not far from either of the sites.

In any case,  I think it’s wishful thinking to accept the statements of the TV show at face value – “No horse that has ever appeared on Heartland has ever been sent to a slaughterhouse.

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.”

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

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

Gallery

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

Standard

guitar player watches centaur ladyWritten by Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

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

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

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

Billboard protesters

Billboard protesters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comments from the Calgary Herald article

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

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

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

IEBA Gang of Five

IEBA Gang of Five

She writes on the United Horsemen’s Facebook page:

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

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

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

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

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

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

consumptive [kənˈsʌmptɪv]

adj

1. causing consumption; wasteful; destructive

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

n

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

consumptively  adv

consumptiveness  n

Thesaurus:  Synonyms Related Words Antonyms

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

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

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

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

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