Tag Archives: “Canadian Horse Defence Coalition”

Torture for Profit – The Business Model of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency

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red tape

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

As if there wasn’t enough misery in the lives of farm animals…….

By now you’ve probably read about the “Canadian Food Inspection Agency sanctioned” abuse at federally licensed Western Hog Exchange in Alberta, filmed by undercover investigator. The undercover video shows the arrival oftop hat tip dead pigs, lame pigs, pigs being hit with electric prods, and jammed with metal gates. In some instances, CFIA inspectors are present and are videoed providing staff with electric prods which are in violation of Western Hog regulations. All this serves to raise questions about CFIA oversight and investigation and enforcement of anti-cruelty regulations.  Why does it always take an undercover operation to expose something terrible happening on the CFIA’s watch?

The footage, filmed by Mercy For Animals, was given to W5, CTV’s investigative program, as part of their “These Little Piggies” expose. W5 made multiple attempts to interview either Dr. Bruce Archibald, President of the CFIA, or failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture, for this segment. In an incredible feat of bureaucratic idiocy and exasperating obfuscation, the CFIA, who claim to be intolerant of farm animal abuse, side-steps the issue and refuses an interview at least until W5 ambushes Archibald in the parking lot. Too bad the media types at the CFIA never understood the phrase “when you find yourself in a deep hole, stop digging.”

W5’s negotiation process with the CFIA looks like this:

September 3, 2014 – W5 e-mails CFIA providing a synopsis of the video, our initial questions, and seeking an interview with CFIA President Bruce Archibald

W5 is producing a story about the transportation of and handling of pigs in Canada. As part of this investigation, W5 has been provided with hidden camera video inside the Red Deer location of the Western Hog Exchange.

September 11, 2014 – CFIA responds to W5’s request for an interview and responds to some of W5’s written questions

I am responding to your recent requests for an interview with Dr. Bruce Archibald. Dr. Archibald is unavailable for an interview however the information you requested is below. Please contact me if you have further questions.

Thank you,

CFIA Media Relations

Question 1: What are Canada’s animal transport and welfare regulations?

Answer: The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) does not condone or tolerate any abusive behaviour towards animals and investigates all allegations of animal mistreatment.

The CFIA enforces the humane treatment of animals in accordance with the Health of Animals Regulations and the Meat Inspection Regulations. Broadly speaking, these regulations aim to prevent the undue suffering of animals during transport and during slaughter at federally registered facilities. These regulations are enforced through inspections at various locations such as border entry points, livestock auction markets and slaughter plants.

Most Canadian producers, transporters and processors are strongly committed to treating animals humanely. In the cases of non-compliance, the Agency works closely with the provinces, territories and all stakeholders in the animal care community to encourage immediate reporting of any animal welfare concerns to the appropriate regulatory authority. Rapid, detailed reporting places us in the best possible position to take appropriate enforcement actions.

Question 2: What are the current regulations on transport times, limits for feed, water and rest, andtruck conditions on animal welfare, and animal handling during the transportation process?

Answer: Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations defines the conditions for humanely transporting all animals in Canada by all modes of transport. The Health of Animals Regulations require that animals be in good physical condition to travel and that the trip be made under suitable conditions (ventilation, duration, loading density, and proper construction of trailers and conveyances

Question 3: Can the CFIA provide their records of inspection at Western Hog Exchange from May 1,2014 to August 31, 2014?

Answer: There have been no issues of non-compliance identified by the CFIA against the Western Hog Exchange in the past year and, therefore, no enforcement actions taken by the CFIA.

September 12, 2014 – W5 again requests an interview

If Dr. Archibald is unavailable, we request an on-camera interview with the person who oversees CFIA inspectors or someone else from the CFIA who can speak to these issues.

September 12, 2014 – CFIA responds and requests a copy of the hidden camera footage, while not agreeing to any interview

The CFIA takes any allegations of animal mistreatment seriously. In order for us to conduct an appropriate investigation, we request that you forward us the video footage.

September 12, 2014 – W5 responds offering to bring the video to the CFIA office and screen it for them prior to any on-camera interview

We propose the following: our reporter, Victor Malarek, will bring a copy of the video to your offices and show it to the person designated to be interviewed (off-camera). Immediately after he or she has viewed the video, we would expect an on-camera interview.

We have previously enumerated the instances contained in the video in advance of its showing to provide an idea of what the interviewee will see:

  1. a)      Pigs being transported in extreme heat;
  2. b)      Pigs dead on arrival;
  3. c)       Pigs coming off trucks that are too injured to stand or move on their own being forced to move with bats, feet, prodded with electric prods, or pushed with heavy gates;
  1. d)      Boars de-tusked to the gum level,
  2. e)      Questionable euthanasia practices;
  3. f)       Overcrowding.

In some instances, CFIA inspectors appear to be present.

September 17, 2014 – CFIA responds saying an interview is not feasible and responds more of W5’s initial questions

In order for us to initiate a proper and detailed investigation, it is essential that several CFIA animal welfare experts thoroughly view the footage. Typically, this process requires multiple viewings and consultation with other officials in the CFIA. Therefore, it would not be feasible to conduct an interview under the scenario you have proposed.

The CFIA takes allegations of animal mistreatment during transport or slaughter seriously and investigates reports of mistreatment. It is important to re-emphasize that we cannot proceed with a full investigation of this situation until we are provided and can appropriately examine the video footage.

Question 1: Can you provide information on the CFIA records of inspection at Western Hog Exchange (WHE) from May 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014 including inspector compliance verification records and non-compliance reports?

Answer: At this facility, WHE employees identify and exclude from slaughter suspect or unsatisfactory animals. CFIA inspectors then verify that the remaining animals are suitable for slaughter and that proper procedures are followed to produce safe meat. There were379,769 animals presented for CFIA inspection during this period. No animals were condemned based on these inspections.

CFIA inspectors also verify that animals arriving at this facility have been transported in a humane manner. It is important to note that CFIA inspectors are not on site for all arrivals; however, the CFIA did conduct 84 humane transport verifications during this period. No non-compliance reports were issued.

Question 2: Were there any “letters of warning” written to the Western Hog Exchange by the CFIA from May 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014? If so, how many? Can we get copies?

Answer: No letters of warning were issued during this period.

September 17, 2014 – W5 again requests an interview

As we continue our reporting, today we interviewed a representative of Western Hog Exchange who agreed to be interviewed immediately after screening the video with his colleagues. We are prepared to do the same for CFIA.

i.e. to screen the video to as many people as you like, and the opportunity to screen the footage multiple times, in order to allow you to thoroughly view and examine the footage, provided that an interview is granted immediately afterward.

October 1, 2014 – W5’s Senior Reporter Victor Malarek approaches CFIA president Bruce Archibald directly to seek answers and to request an interview. (The exchange is recorded by W5’s cameras and can be seen in our report.)

October 2, 2014 – Following the approach to Archibald, CFIA’s Executive Director of Strategic Communications, James Stott, calls W5:

We are prepared to offer an interview. Our spokesperson is in Western Canada, we would have him available in Calgary.

There would be a condition to the interview, and that is that the footage that was taken today and yesterday at our headquarters not be used. … We’d like an opportunity to be part of a fair and balanced story and I don’t think that’s possible with that footage being used.

October 2, 2014 – W5 responds, accepting their offer of an interview, but declining the CFIA’s conditions

According to CTV News Policy, we cannot undertake to withhold any video that has already been shot.

We have been asking for an interview for more than 4 weeks. We find it very interesting that you come to us now with an offer, after we approached Dr. Archibald yesterday. That said, in the interests of fairness we remain interested in an on-camera interview.

Victor and our crew are available to tape an on-camera interview with a spokesperson or representative from CFIA in Ottawa tomorrow, Friday, October 3, 2014, until 5 pm Eastern Time.

October 3, 2014There is no response from CFIA

mediocrityIt’s hardly surprising that there are so many lame pigs in the video – pigs fed ractopamine are at increased risk for exhibiting downer pig syndrome. Ractopamine, a growth promoter, has been banned in 160 countries as a suspected carcinogen. The Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, Health Protection Branch of the Health and Welfare Department of Ottawa found that rats fed ractopamine experienced a cluster of birth defects such as cleft palate, open eyelids, shortened limbs, missing digits, enlarged heart, and a protruding tongue. In 2002, the FDA accused Eli Lilly. the manufacturer of Paylean, the brand name for ractopamine for pigs, of a cover-up on the dangers of the drug in animals. There was no mention in documents submitted during Paylean’s approval process of numerous phone calls from farmers reporting that their animals vomited after consuming feed containing Paylean or that they had become hyperactive or had died as a result of exposure to the drug. Inexplicably, the FDA approved the drug, although other countries certainly paid attention to the scandal.

The CFIA, in their hatred of both animals and humans, has also simply ignored research that clearly warns of the danger represented by this drug to humans and the inhumanity to pigs. Even China, home of infant formula contamination, aluminum-contaminated dumplings, and glow-in-the-dark pork, has banned ractopamine, which is given to pigs in their last 4 weeks.

Animal abuse by agri-business does not appear to be a blip on CFIA radar, but they have no problem using extreme prejudice against small farmers and businesses. In 2012 the agency notified Wholearth Farm that they intended to destroy an entire herd of rare Shropshire sheep. The order was made under a federal program to eradicate scrapie, an illness that affects the productivity and longevity of sheep but can’t be transmitted to humans. The CFIA went on to waste more taxpayer money in the sheep-napping investigation that followed. The Wholearth farm was raided multiple times by the CFIA, who threatened the farmer with up to 12 years in jail and fines of up to $1.5 million, even though none of the sheep were determined to have scrapie. It is fascinating how a very simple act of civil disobedience (refusing to hand over the rare sheep to be killed) unleashed an investigation worthy of searching for a mass murderer or a drug cartel.

Contrast the decision to eradicate the healthy sheep to one by the CFIA to declare fit for human consumption 240,000 Atlantic salmon with infectious salmon anemia – a disease it says poses no risk to human heath. Because the U.S. won’t import fish with the virus, the salmon will have to find dinner plates to land on somewhere in Canada. A marine biologist says infectious salmon anemia is an influenza-type virus and can mutate in unpredictable ways, especially if it comes into contact with another flu virus in a human being.LIPSTICKONAPIG

While allowing infected fish in the marketplace, the shallow talent pool at the CFIA have chosen to target Field Roast vegetarian “meat” products, for labelling compliance issues, forcing the vegan company to halt Canadian distribution. It looks like we will need a special act of parliament to allow the Field Roast product into the Canadian marketplace, thanks to this misguided ruling by the CFIA. Virus-infected fish = OK , but vegetarian meat replacements = NON-COMPLIANT WITH CFIA LABELLING REGULATIONS.

It’s simply astonishing that industries that torture and abuse animals have been left relatively untouched by the CFIA while they persecute both a small sheep farmer and the manufacturer of a vegan meat replacement product.  The CFIA has set something of a national record for blundering in a single government agency – an agency where lying and bullshitting have also become part of its business model.

In his classic 1986 essay “On Bullshit,” Princeton University professor Harry Frankfurt makes an important distinction between lying and mere “bullshit.” The liar knows and cares about the truth but deliberately sets out to deny or disguise it; the bullshitter doesn’t care about the truth, he is simply trying to impress us or sell us something. The honest man and the liar really care about the facts but the bullshitter isn’t concerned with the facts except insofar as they may be pertinent to his interest in getting away with what he says:  He does not care whether the things he says describe reality correctly. He just picks them up, or makes them up, to suit his purposes.

Please sign the Mercy for Animals petition.

Please also see Canadian Horse Defence Coalition blog posts about CFIA misfeasance.

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Backstreet Bully’s Revenge

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backstreetbully

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

“You can’t kill that horse,” said Stacie Clark, who works for the Adena Springs Retirement Program, as she pleaded with management at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation slaughterhouse, for the return of retired Stronach Farms racehorse Backstreet Bully. It wasn’t just small amounts of prohibited drugs that had been given to the horse and thus meant that he was prohibited from slaughter: 21 doses of nitrofurazone, according to Toronto Star journalists Mary Ormsby and Dale Brazao in their article – “Ottawa refuses to say whether drug-tainted horse meat entered food chain.”

Stacie Clark runs billionaire entrepreneur Frank Stronach’s racehorse retirement program in Aurora, Ontario, the town in which I live. In Aurora, it’s impossible to ignore the presence of Frank Stronach and Magna – as a philanthropist, he has funded many public buildings in this town, he hosts an annual hoedown on the front lawn of the Magna headquarters each year, and there are reminders of his influence everywhere. And the individual with whom Ms Clark was pleading with was  Stephane Giguere, the then-Director of Les Viandes de la Petite Nation  (LPN) in St. Andre-Avellin, Quebec.  Bully was alive when she spoke to him too.  Of course, LPN was temporarily closed after an investigation published by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) in December 2011 entitled “Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada’s Horsemeat Industry.” According to his LinkedIn profile, Giguere was the Director of the plant at that time as well.stephane

Horsepeople, particularly those of us residing in York Region Ontario or those who are “hard core” rescuers of racehorses know exactly who Stronach is. But it’s a fair bet that the collective brain trust who are employed in horse slaughter itself have no clue who the influential people are, and wouldn’t attach any significance to the name of the man who is the 19th wealthiest Canadian even if it were he who called them up personally. So while the management at LPN may have savored a smug satisfaction by denying Stacie Clark (and her exceedingly wealthy employer),  it was a temporary victory.

Stephane Giguere may have been the recipient of a little `quid pro quo`by Frank Stronach. At least,  that’s what I prefer to think. He’s been vanquished for a while now, allegedly fired from LPN a few months after Bully was slaughtered.  I`m sure many people at the plant including the owners and possibly even people at the CFIA had an “oh shit“ moment after they realized what happened,  and especially after the Star article eventually appeared.

For those of us who believe in karma,  or the principal that where the intent and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual,  you may get particular satisfaction from believing that deferred justice was apparently visited upon Stephane Giguere.  While I personally don’t believe in either karma or ghosts, the idea of “cosmic justice” gives me some peace of mind by imagining that the ghost of Backstreet Bully (perhaps aided and abetted by the Stronach empire) waited for the right moment to exact a little schadenfreudian revenge on Stephane.  And that’s what I choose to believe. While the killing goes on, small victories like this give me strength and hope.

fake papers

Backstreet Bully was not eligible for slaughter. In any case, he was not unwanted. But fake papers ensured that he was slaughtered, despite evidence to the contrary. Omission or falsification of information on EIDs of horses presented for slaughter is an offence. It is very evident when reviewing the EIDs that a pattern emerges and it is very clear to see that some EIDs have obviously been “pre-written” across the top with “Drug-free six months”, and the appropriate boxes checked to agree with this information.

“Victory has a hundred fathers and defeat is an orphan.”

[News conference, April 21 1961]
― John F. Kennedy

Updated – Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences & Enablers 2014

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horsemeat-copy2Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

This infographic (downloadable here),  updated over my original 2012 version, exposes the hand-shaking and back-patting relationships, endorsements, and interconnectivity between the US and 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. The Co-Chair position previously held by Sue Wallis is of course vacant, and it’s unknown whether the IEBA itself is actually a going concern., like so many of Wallis’ transitory slaughter groups. We’re unsure whether anyone has or will step into the position, as Sue Wallis was the driving force behind this group. Nevertheless, Bill DesBarres’ connections via the IEBA will no doubt continue to be exploited by HWAC and the horse slaughter industry.

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.

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 what terminology they use.  DesBarres himself likes to refer to slaughter as “humane euthanasia,” and a “wonderful option.”    Please continue to contact the Agriculture critics, in particular – Malcolm Allen, who has endorsed Bill C-322 in the past and now rejects Bill C-571.

Please write to Equine Canada and insist that they take a more global position to promote equestrianism in Canada. Remind them that the GAO report they tout as the rationale for horse slaughter has been debunked.

Contact your breed associations. Many supporters have been lobbying the breed associations and discovering that some appear to be unaware that their names have been added to HWAC’s list of partner organizations. Let them know what they are endorsing when they associate themselves with the Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada and Bill DesBarres. Please ask them to insist that HWAC remove their names and ask them to reject any references to slaughter as “euthanasia.”

 

ieba-chart final copy

Click to Embiggen. Click here for downloadable PDF (large file)

Summary of Changes:

1)      Removed references to IEBA Co-Chair Sue Wallis

2)      Updated Agriculture Critics

3)      Updated flowchart to include KML Meats – new slaughterhouse in Westwold, British Columbia

4)      Updated Chief Food Safety Officer and Chief Veterinary Officer for Canada

5)      Removed Kill Buyer JP Soucy – left the business

6)      Added new Kill Buyers Jonathan Lalonde, Mike Swain, Mark Sneider, Richard Patenaude, and Jeff Grof

Here is the current list of provincial associations from the HWAC website. Note that the Ontario Equestrian Federation, which used to be on the list, has been removed.

Provincial Organizations

British Columbia
Horse Council
Orville Smith
President
Lisa Laycock
Executive Director
27336 Fraser Highway
Aldergrove, BC
V4W 3N5
Phone: 604-856-4304
Toll Free: 1-800-345-8055
Email
Alberta
Equestrian Federation
Tara Gamble
President
Sonia Dantu
Executive Director
100, 251 Midpark Blvd S.E.
Calgary, AB
T2X 1S3
Phone: 403-253-4411
Toll Free: 1-877-463-6233
Email
Saskatchewan
Horse Federation
Shirley Brodsky
President Executive Director
2205 Victoria Avenue
Regina, SK
S4P 0S4
Phone: 306-780-9244
Email
Quebec
Fédération équestre du Québec
Rosaire Houde
President
Richard Mongeau
Executive Director
4545 Ave Pierre de
Coubertic CP 1000
Succursale M
Montreal, PQ
H1V 3R2
Phone: 514-252-3053
Email
New Brunswick
Equestrian Association
Deanna Phalen
President
Suite 13, 900 Hanwell Rd
Fredericton, NB
E3B 6A2
Phone: 506-454-2353
Email
Nova Scotia
Equestrian Federation
Barbie Lewis
President
Heather Myrer
Executive Director
5516 Spring Garden Rd
4th Floor
Halifax, NS
B3J 1G6
Phone: 902-425-5450Ext 333
Email
PEI
Horse Council
Wendell Grasse
President
Joy MacDonald
EC Representative
POB 1887
Charlottetown, PE
C1A 7N5
Phone: 902-964-2379
Email
Newfoundland
Equestrian Federation
Kathie Lane
President
Chris Gallant 
Past President 
17 Seal Cove Road
CBS, NF
A1X 6S5
Phone: 709-489-6166
Email
Yukon Territory Vibeke Coates
President
P.O. Box 20165
Whitehorse, Yukon
Y1A 7A2
Phone: 867-633-3012
Email

 

Additional HWAC “Alliance” Partners

 

HWACKY EID

 

 

Canada’s National Equestrian Federation Continues to Support Slaughter With Invalidated GAO Data

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Head in Hand

Written by :  Heather Clemenceau

Last month, Equine Canada, the comprehensive national governing body for equestrianism, replied to a direct question from Alex Atamanenko on Bill C-571, who asked for confirmation on their stance on the new horse slaughter Bill C-571. Quite frankly, their explanation for not supporting the Bill does not pass the smell test.

They sent this letter to MPs which included a justification for horse slaughter, based on the GAO report on horse slaughterHorse Welfare – Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter. Yet curiously, they did not post or promote this now thoroughly debunked GAO report anywhere else that I can see – not on Facebook or on their website. So why did they only include reference to the GAO report in the letter sent to MPs? Is it because they expected that the horse people who read their Facebook page and website would already know that it had been debunked by John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance? Were they attempting to be duplicitous by doing so? Please take the time to watch John Holland’s in-depth explanation of the machinations behind the official GAO report:

Even though evidence of this debunking has been sent to Equine Canada not only by horse advocates but also in a letter written by MP Alex Atamanenko himself, they will likely never retract the reference or their support for the slaughter industry. Read the text under their banner ad on Facebook – it says, we are “…the industry sector leader and as such is recognized and supported by Agriculture and Agri-food Canada.” They snuck this in after the usual self-promotion about horse sport in Canada.

The justification for horse slaughter using a debunked report is the latest in a laundry list of problems with EC, which includes their inability to retain their leadership or tackle the traceability issue no matter how many people make up their various committees. How many established organizations hire a CEO on a 1 year term anyway? By the time you send a communication to either an Equine Canada President or CEO/CFO, either or both of them have been replaced/left/terminated and there is no continuity carried forward with the next warm body occupying the position. Maybe they should host a reality show, “Who Wants To Be Our Next CEO?”   I’m not surprised (or disappointed) that the traceability/CanEQUID project seems to be floundering either – is it because the Board of Directors cannot commit to moving forward on it, or are they dysfunctional?

Well this was never really a Kijiji ad,  but it might as well have been!  And although this parody was written a while ago,  true to form,  Mr. Gallagher is gone,  and now replaced by Al Patterson.  This parody is almost a real-life representation of Poe’s Law; an observation that is difficult, if not impossible to distinguish between parody and reality, since both seem equally insane.  Originally published In Horse Canada - http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/attention-ceos-ec-wants-you/

Well this was never really a Kijiji ad, but it might as well have been! And although this parody was written a while ago, true to form, Mr. Gallagher is gone, and now replaced by Al Patterson. This parody is almost a real-life representation of Poe’s Law; an observation that is difficult, if not impossible to distinguish between parody and reality, since both seem equally insane. Originally published In Horse Canada – http://www.horse-canada.com/straight-up/attention-ceos-ec-wants-you/

Just under 900,000 people in Canada are active in the horse industry – more of them adults (59 percent) than children (41 percent). If you’re a competitor, you can’t compete nationally without buying a membership in EC, in your provincial association, with a national sport licence for you, a national passport and annual sport licence for your horse, etc . A few already very wealthy elite riders will get their very expensive training and some of their very expensive

If you write to the Board of Directors for Equine Canada,  you may get a polite response,  no response at all,  or something like the above flippant reply.

If you take the time to write to the Board of Directors for Equine Canada,  you may get a polite response,  no response at all,  or something like the above remark.  Board members should always provide respectful responses to letters, even if they don’t agree with the subject matter.  Would you want to belong to a federation with a board member who blows you off like this?

travel costs covered through the lobbying efforts and direct grants available via EC, while the para-equestrians get considerably less. However, the vast majority of horse owners are not professional equestrians and therefore underrepresented by Equine Canada. What has EC done to promote Canada’s Trail Riding and Equestrian Tourism? I think trail riders in particular are unimpressed with EC, as they feel that the only benefit Equine Canada could have offered them was the trail system they were supposed to be putting together…but thus far have not. Non-competitors probably outnumber competitors by orders of magnitude. Who does the EC really represent except elite athletes and Agri-Food Canada?

Anti-slaughter advocates need to take a stand by purchasing an Equine Canada membership for $10 and then attending the AGM, challenging them to adopt a non-slaughter position and to promote horse sport for all equestrians. Equine Canada’s mandate SHOULD be to promote horse sport. Full stop. They were never meant to be dabbling around in the bowels of slaughter and using themselves as a cover for Agriculture Canada’s sordid meat business. Will there ever be an end to the conflict of interest of created by Equine Canada’s mandate to promote horse sport and their entanglement with Agriculture Canada’s horse slaughter enterprise?

Big Mistake Huge Mistake

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

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Art by Jody Bergsman - www.bergsma.com

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

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art by Jody Bergsma - www.bergsma.com

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

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

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

Horse Welfare 2013 – The Year in Review

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2014 Christmas Horse copy© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

2013 certainly became the year of the adulterated horsemeat scandal!  “Filler product,” comprised of horse meat and beef, is believed to have been unwittingly sourced from Poland and Romania, and used in the manufacture of the burgers and other ready-to-eat products.  Millions of products were removed from supermarket shelves in the EU.  The impact on industry trust on consumer confidence and ultimately on ready-meal volumes has been severe, and we are still occasionally hearing of instances whereby horsemeat has infiltrated the food supply.  Promises to tighten up the traceability systems in the UK should serve as foreshadowing to other nations such as Canada,  where it seems likely that some form of traceability will be pushed on the horse owner in the distant future.

There were certainly other big stories centering on animals, and the publicity surrounding the release of “Blackfish” was perhaps the most notable one, generating massive concern over the plight of captive marine mammals. Will any of the movies produced to highlight the plight of wild and slaughterbound horses be able to achieve similar popularity in 2014?  There are “lessons learned” from the success of this movie that can be used to bring horse issues to the mainstream public….

In the U.S., there were maneuvers to open slaughterhouses in Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico, even though these businesses have almost no chance of being profitable and may not even be able to sell their product in the EU. Thus far, they have been staved off in court, but what happens in 2014 is uncertain.  HSUS and other advocates have secured language in the House and Senate 2014 spending bills to bar USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants, but the Congress has not given final approval to the measure.  Sadly, in Canada, a 5th horse slaughter plant opened in British Columbia.  which has become the subject of strenuous protests by horse advocates in that part of the country.  The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition also brought to the forefront the issue of non-compliant transport of live horses to Japan for meat.

In New York, grassroots animal advocates put carriage horses on the media radar screen during the mayoral contest there, and recently a carriage driver was charged with animal abuse after a horse was observed by police to be lame from serious thrush.  Cruelty to Tennessee Walker Horses was brought out of the stable and into the sunlight.  Trainer Jackie McConnell was sentenced for his abuses,  and trainer Larry Wheelon was indicted.  The PAST Act, legislation to upgrade the federal law against soring, received significant support with more than 250 House members signing on to the bill. The former leader of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association came out in favour of the bill, as did other prominent leaders within the industry.

Coins offered by the Royal Canadian Mint celebrate 2014 as the Year of the Horse

Coins offered by the Royal Canadian Mint celebrate 2014 as the Year of the Horse

As most of us know, 2014 is the Year of the HorseA article on Chinese elements describes those born in the Year of the Horse as:

“Those born under the Sign of the Horse are said to be graceful, eager, impetuous, sharp, fashionable, hardworking, intelligent, friendly, cheerful and popular folks. People born in the Year of the Horse are excellent talkers, and can charm just about anyone. They are clever, kind to others, and like adventure. It is easy for them to fall in love. They are cheerful, perceptive, talented, and earthy. They like entertainment and large crowds. Horses are not comfortable with authority; they prefer to be the One in charge. They prefer a constantly changing, challenging environment. They are adventurers, scientists, poets, and politicians.”

Recent Horse Years are: 1906, 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990 and 2002. A few famous people born in the Year of the Horse: Frédéric François Chopin (1810), Davy Crockett (1786), Paul McCartney, Harrison Ford , Aretha Franklin, and Barbara Streisand (1942), Teddy Roosevelt (1858), Sir Isaac Newton (1642)  and Oprah Winfrey (1954)

Click to review highlights of the entire year on Storify:

storify 2013

Human Casualties in the Long War for Horses

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Despite many dedicated people fighting horse slaughter,  horses continue to be dumped at auction by irresponsible breeders/owners, and are trucked for long distances.  Horses endure terrible conditions in feedlots and continue to be inhumanely stunned now at 5 Canadian plants.  They are live shipped 2 or more in a flimsy container to Asia. Years of cruelty investigations have made it absolutely clear: the CFIA and other agencies have largely given a free pass to those who abuse horses and disrespect the food chain. No feeling person could help but be heartbroken.  But in the absence of people who are willing to speak out,  horses would undoubtedly suffer even more at the hands of such people.

The killing goes on. Canadian laws continue to be broken and the CFIA continues to deny or deflect responsibility. We, as Canadians, have an opportunity to speak out against this. MP Alex Atamanenko will be bringing Bill C-322 forward for debate in the House.  This Private Members’ Bill will be added to the Order of Precedence in early 2014. We need all of our supporters in full force lobbying their MPs before the bill is debated.

For those of us who have been involved in speaking out against slaughter for years,  the toll can be great.  Who among us cannot relate to Belinda Lyall’s letter below,  describing the pain many of us feel when trying to understand why,  despite our best efforts and many more people becoming involved in the movement,  slaughter continues in much the same form as it did years ago…..

“I will not repeat myself here about the issues of drugs in horsemeat and the abuse of horses. Rather I would like to discuss the consequences this industry is taking on the health of individual Canadians.

I’m sure you have probably never given thought to how this issue is affecting hundreds of people who have been fighting for years to end horse slaughter in Canada, and are suffering a huge personal toll because of it. I can tell you that I for one am greatly compromised from witnessing firsthand the appalling abuse of horses due to the slaughter industry. But the worst of it is the way the CFIA has dismissed all accountability towards citizens who report animal welfare violations.

When I personally witnessed the illegal loading of a shipment of horses to slaughter, including several full-term, pregnant wild mares, the CFIA gave my name and home phone # to the auction owners. The auction then called me and threatened to sue for defamation, and then sent a registered letter banning me from the property. This is how the CFIA “takes appropriate action” to deal with public complaints about animal welfare. This happened ten years ago, but nothing has changed.

The CFIA has been repeatedly documented being negligent in implementing their own policies over and over again. After each offense they merely respond with a form letter stating that problems have been “taken care of.” Problems have not been taken care of. Due to the nature of the horse it would not be possible for problems to be taken care of, since assembly line commercial horse slaughter and the manner in which the horses are killed could never be humane.

wild stallionsSo I would like to describe to you what it is like to be fighting this issue day in and out, with visions of horses trembling with terror as they approach the stun box; horses being shot multiple times and still not stunned; foals and old blind horses and wild horses being electrically prodded up the steep slippery metal ramp to the second floor of a double decker cattle liner and packed on a truck for a journey that could last 52 hours without food or water, in blistering heat or freezing cold; horses raised to trust people waiting in the slaughter corral at auctions, reaching over the fence to nuzzle people passing by; horses so ill they can barely stand brought into the sale ring at auctions to be purchased by kill buyers while irresponsible owners are monetarily rewarded for dropping them off; mares giving birth in filthy, crowded slaughter feedlots, to be killed soon afterwards, along with their day-old foals; overfed, foundered horses in pain given no care whatsoever; groups of foals weaned too young shivering in the cold and mud of slaughter feedlots with no shelter from the elements. Then the horrors of the killing itself, which you can view for yourself on the links to videos attached below.

Bouvry video summary,  Part I of III

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition Investigation – Chambers of Carnage

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition Investigation – Pasture to Plate

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition Footage Index – Bouvry Exports

This report documents environmental, humane, and food safety violations at Natural Valley Meats, which was eventually shut down.

What’s it like to know and witness this? And to know that the Government funds this industry with taxpayer dollars, only in order to profit a small number of corrupt business owners? And to know that I will never sell my horses for fear that they could end up going to slaughter? And to know that slaughter leads to people holding on to horses they can no longer afford to keep for the same reason? And to know that slaughter does not prevent cases of abuse like the recent one in Kamloops, BC? To know that slaughter perpetuates overbreeding year after year, bringing more unwanted horses into the world and delaying any policies to improve conditions for horses? And to know that the CFIA is lying, falsifying documents, and doing everything in their power to protect the owners of slaughterhouses and prevent the public from knowing what really goes on?

I’ll tell you what it’s like. At least once a day I am suddenly physically overcome with a shaking weakness. My knees buckle and I fall to the floor and sob uncontrollably for five to ten minutes. Some nights I can’t sleep at all. I no longer participate in most activities, because there is too much to do to try to stop this abusive, horrific industry and make people aware of Bill C-322. As I write this tears pour down my cheeks. I’ve been on the computer since 6 AM. It’s now after 12 PM and I’m not dressed yet. There’s too much to do and time for this Bill is running out. My daughter is also suffering, as I’m not able to do as many things with her. I know others who’ve “gone down” for days at a time. They are unable to work, sleep, and they became physically ill. And this fight has been going on for over a decade. When is it going to stop?

I’d like to ask you, is it “healthy” for a person to have a complete emotional breakdown, once, twice, sometimes several times a day? Is it “healthy” to put one’s personal life on hold to try tofighting stallions with grasses copy do the Government’s job? Is it “healthy” to have your valid concerns dismissed over and over again with empty words copied from the CFIA’s webpage, about how “the Government would never tolerate inhumane treatment of animals,” when you have just witnessed video of horses being shot repeatedly in the face scrambling to their feet, desperately fighting for their lives, only to be shot again and again, until finally someone can get a chain around their leg and hang them upside down to begin butchering them alive? Is it healthy to be haunted by these visions, knowing that as I write to you horses are lined up, shaking with fear in the kill line? Is it healthy to be distraught most of the day because no animal deserves to be treated this way? Is it healthy to feel disgust, anger and disrespect for my own country? Mostly I’d like to know, am I going to wake up and still feel this way ten years from now, because the Government cares more about protecting an industry that profits fewer than 50 individuals than listening to the concerns of over 2/3 of the population that wants horse slaughter banned?

I hope you can provide some valid answers to my questions, for the benefit of myself and hundreds of others. If not, I see no other recourse than to launch a class action suit against the CFIA and the Government of Canada for negligence in implementing policy to ensure the humane treatment of horses; for negligence in implementing policy to prevent banned substances from entering the food chain; and for negligence in addressing the suffering this is inflicting on thousands of Canadian citizens.

Regarding the meat issue: please do not reply that random checks ensure that horsemeat is safe. Random checks are designed to test for faults in a system where animals are all raised, fed, housed, and cared for in a uniform environment. Horses don’t have a system, so a “safety” program designed to check a system does not apply to horses.

Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.”

Sincerely,

Belinda Lyall

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

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

Kill Buyers – Whatcha Gonna Do When They Come for You?

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Voltaire, Make my Enemies Ridiculous........

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

This has been a most difficult blog post to write.  I have watched it many times and cried many tears,  especially after adding the Brian Eno soundtrack (from The Lovely Bones) The horses being transported in this video are likely already dead.

You are watching the dash cam of an anti-slaughter advocate, recording the “Roping J” rig with a load of horses heading eastbound on the 401 highway towards Richelieu slaughterhouse in Quebec on November 27, 2013.  The video was taken on the 401 eastbound between London and Woodstock Ontario.  Jeron/Jeroslav Gold is the owner of Roping J Ranch in Fairhaven, Michigan.  He’s a large scale kill buyer who gets many of his horses from traders in Ohio, Minnesota, Louisiana, and Kentucky. Animals Angels reported on the collecting facility in Fairhaven, where the outdoor pen was full of horses and the Roping J truck was backed up to the loading ramp.  Gold typically drives up to Canada through the Port Huron border crossing, which is about 1 1/2 hours west from where this rig was filmed.

The original audio track has been removed to preserve the anonymity of the supporter. It has been replaced by a transcript of the driver’s original comments.  As the supporter’s car approaches Gold’s rig in the centre lane, you can see clearly that he has attached a horse’s tail above the latch.  The trailer has been seen and photographed on previous occasions with this odious “middle finger salute” to animal lovers.  It’s a real tail, and he quite often positions it to appear as though a horse is jammed into the hinge or latch.   What’s new this time is that there appears to be an actual horse tail jammed in the door at the bottom right side above the door hinge.  It is visible from multiple angles in the video.  Also notice from the video that the driver of the rig appears to have noticed that his information is being taken, as he encroaches into the driving lane where our videographer is driving.  The person who mocks horse lovers by flying a horse tail “flag” and who tries to squeeze the videographer in their own lane is the type of person that is going to be signing off on documents stating the horses are drug free, while putting adulterated meat into the food chain. This is the type of person that we allow control and input into the food chain,  someone who is perhaps close to the furthest end of the spectrum of immorality.

Richelieu

vpn

Notice that the video was shot late in the afternoon – we can see this via the long shadows of the vehicles travelling eastbound – it is perhaps after 4 pm.  From somewhere between London and Woodstock Ontario, it’s just il_fullxfull.470063523_ajwjunder 9 hours until the driver reaches Massueville QC (excluding stops) and about 8 hours to St. Andre-Avellin, so the horses would arrive very late the same day or possibly the next day. The earliest he could possibly arrive would be 11 pm if he went to St. Andre-Avellin (Les viands de la petite nations slaughterhouse) and even later if he went to Massueville as expected (Richelieu slaughterhouse).  What time did he expect to get there?

There wouldn’t be an inspector at the plant at this time – they only work regular hours.  And they can no longer unload the trailers without inspectors present, so the horses will have had to spend the night on the trailer until the next morning.

Transcript:

:40   – US DOT 289445

:50   – Got the whole Roping J Ranch Michigan US DOT Number 289445  KYU 243688

Ontario 158517965

Quebec 5841037

1:21  – Michigan Trailer License B675540

2:20 –  Truck begins to encroach into driving lane – driver aware that his information is being taken and is squeezing the driver in their own lane?

2:25  – Truck moves back into its own lane and weaves slightly after doing so

A very comprehensively written article by 13 Investigates followed slaughter bound horses journey from the Shipshewana auction in Indiana,  near the Michigan border, where Gold purchased almost all the horses offered for sale.  He was also quoted in A Toronto Life article about the horsemeat trade in Canada, arguing: “There is an end life for everything. I’d like to know what people want to do with all these horses that nobody wants. I’d like somebody to answer that. [Every day] I see…horses mistreated, skinny, didn’t have proper care and there’s nobody to take care of them. Who’s going to take care of them?”

“I killed every one of those f—ing horses, over 120 of them, if they only knew. I only have five left and the ones that you have. Every one of them is dead. I don’t even know their names and there wasn’t a goddamn thing they could do about it…” ~ Kelsey Lefever

"La Palette", horsemeat, protest, "Toronto restaurant" , "french restaurant" , horse

Circle of Death – This is where some of Gold’s “product” ends up – at La Palette in Toronto,  where horse advocates have held dozens of protests.  Here is co-owner Shamez Amlani (on the left) arguing with protester.

This is not how you do end-of-life.  Can’t you give horses “mistreated, skinny” horses a humane death without eating them? And I bet there are no skinny horses on Gold’s trailer.  The USDA reports 92% of horses going to slaughter are in good condition and able to live healthy and productive lives. The existence of horse slaughter actually hinders rescue efforts, as rescuers are routinely outbid at auctions by people like Jeron Gold, seeking healthy animals that bring the best price per pound.

Gold’s driving is perhaps typical for kill buyers – in the video One Horse’s Last Steps, which has over 50,000 views, you can plainly see the driver run over a curb and swerve into the curb lane a number of time with a load of horses. And yet another tail can be seen caught in the door.

We will fight you until our dying breath is taken, just like Mary Nash did.  Please support these currently active programs:

Final horse postcard

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition – Latest Postcard Campaign (click to follow link)

Animals' Angels - Light the Sky

Animals’ Angels – Light the Sky – December 7th (click to follow link)

CFIA Finally Metes Out (Some) Punishment to Horse Transport Firms

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judgeWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Auditor-General Kenneth Ferguson has been critical of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), and now that Health Minister Rona Ambrose has taken over responsibility from Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz for the CFIA’s food safety programs, she has promised swift action to correct the deficiencies Ferguson has identified.

A few days after the AG report, Ambrose announced that the CFIA would increase fines and expand the compliance program.  This is probably a good thing, since, in my opinion, the Ministry of Agriculture has shown that they are only interested in promoting food and Big-AG interests,  and are not tremendously interested in protecting public health, and it was therefore an obvious conflict of interest.  Food safety obviously has to come first, otherwise there is no market.  When it comes to meting out fines and jail terms, I don’t care who does the regulating and inspection, as long as the action is taken as quickly as possible and the results are available for public scrutiny.

One of the more useful things the CFIA have taken to doing in the last few years is posting the names of individuals and companies against whom a conviction has been obtained for non-compliance with the various Acts and Regulations.  Anyone following horse slaughter issues knows that the transport trade is infested with people of low character who knowingly participate in the inhumane treatment of these animals.

The CFIA has had the power to dispense fines, which they call “administrative monetary penalties” for years.  The penalties were used against truckers who failed to meet standards for humane treatment, or for farmers and feed mills who fail to meet other standards. The CFIA says “every person responsible for transporting animals in Canada must ensure that the entire transportation process including loading, transit and unloading, does not cause injury or undue suffering to the animals.  The federal requirements for animal transport are set out in the Health of Animals Regulations, Part XII.”

In reviewing four years of fines levied as per the CFIA prosecution bulletins website, it becomes apparent that there are lots of smaller companies and individuals fined, varying from animal transport companies right down to olive oil producers.  Fines range from low four figures right up to low 5 figures and occasionally the odd jail sentence, usually to be served on weekends.  I saw only two horse transporters who were convicted for improper or dangerous transport conditions. Many violators may never be effectively penalized because the CFIA has no jurisdiction over transporters from the US.

auditorIn April 2010, veterinary inspectors of the CFIA conducted a routine inspection of a shipment of horses at the Windsor, Ontario port of entry. As a result, Loerzel Farm Transport Inc., operating as Ontario Corporation number 2023424, was inspected at the Windsor crossing. The inspection resulted in company fines totalling $40,000, while operations manager Manfred Loerzel was fined another total of $6,000 and received a six month conditional sentence.  A conviction was finally entered on September 17th, 2013 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor.  Note that it took almost 3 ½ years to secure a conviction against this company after two horses died in transit and others were injured by the sharp interior of the company’s trailer, which they operated from April 2009 – May 2010.

Earlier in September 2012, another conviction was obtained in Manitoba Provincial Court against 5133831 Manitoba Ltd., (doing business as Shadow Creek Transport) which entered a guilty plea for one count of contravening Section 143.(1)(b) of the Health of Animals Regulations.  In accepting a joint recommendation proposed by Crown and the Defence Counsel, the judge imposed a $7,000 fine on the company.

The incident that gave rise to the charge occurred on November 7th, 2007, when a livestock trailer carrying down or dead horses owned by 5133831 Manitoba Ltd. arrived at the Canadian port of entry at Emerson, the clashManitoba.  Again,  please note that it took almost 5 years to get a conviction against this company and the driver.  What were they driving during those five years?

Upon examination of the load, numerous draft horses were found down or dead with blood observed inside and outside the trailer and numerous scrapes and abrasions also noted on the horses.  Fourteen of the 22 draft horses either died during transport or were euthanized by CFIA veterinarians.

A related court case held in Manitoba Provincial Court on June 4th, 2010, resulted in the driver of the load, Geoffrey Giesbrecht, being found guilty of contravening Section 138(4) of the Health of Animals Regulations. This charge related to the transportation of animals that were injured or unfit for transport.  Giesbrecht pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail – on weekends.

Both of the transport companies and their staff were/are Canadian, transporting horses from within Canada.  Possibly some of these were American horses though.  Sadly, we will probably never read about any convictions related to the full-term pregnant mare that delivered in a trailer enroute to slaughter at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation, in a consignment from Leroy Baker.

CFIA officials recommended action be taken against Baker or Sugar Creek auction for this gross transgression,  which occurred in 2011,  but it never appears in any  CFIA prosecution bulletin,  probably because CFIA authorities must rely on the USDA to initiate even more convictions and  fines that Leroy Baker simply won’t pay.  The ATI documentation received and translated by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)  indicates that the foal in this incident was euthanized shortly after his brief life began, and the mare was shot on schedule a few hours after giving birth, at LPN.

Loerzel Transport CFIA fine

Loerzel Farm CFIA fines2

Shadow Creek Transport CFIA fines

Destructive, Damnable, Deceits and Denials

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Newspaper

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Kim Craitor, Ontario Liberal MPP for Niagara Falls, Fort Erie and Niagara-on-the-Lake, came forward recently to applaud the “Stop Slaughtering Us” billboard erected on August 19th in Niagara Falls, Ontario.  The billboard,  located near the US/Canadian border,  informs viewers that horses are being slaughtered in Canada for their meat when they are not raised as food-producing animals.

MPP Craitor stated that “In conversation with the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) and after reviewing materials on horse slaughter in Canada, I was shocked to discover the scope of the issues and concerns within this industry.” He continued, “I fully support NDP MP Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-322 that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption.  It was very troubling to learn that over 80,000 horses were killed for their meat last year in Canada, and that the majority were transported here from the U.S.”

citycouncilToronto City Council has also voted in support of federal Bill C-322 and is calling for the Province of Ontario to prohibit the sale, movement and shipment of horses in Ontario for the purpose of slaughter.  NDP Whip and MP for Hull-Aylmer, Nycole Turmel is onboard and opposed to horse slaughter.  We hope that Liberal MPP Craitor’s support is just the beginning, as more horse advocates continue to promote factual information to their political representatives.

Despite the hard-won advances we’ve made in Canada with various postcard and email campaigns, the scintillating truth of our beliefs doesn’t always mean that it will be obvious to other politicians. I can only wonder why so many Liberal and Conservative politicians continue to hold contrary and downright incorrect viewpoints about horse slaughter.  What could their motivations be? Cognitive limitations? Perhaps they are simply lying to themselves (denial) – that is my gut reaction. Perhaps they’re trying to save their skins after being vested in their belief system for so long that it would be embarrassing to admit that their opinions deserve instantaneous and categorical dismissal.  And what other information have they provided to their constituents that is just plain wrong?

When John Stuart Mill labeled British Conservatives “the Stupid Party” in the 19th century, he apparently started a long-term trend. Ronald Reagan, after all, was an “amiable dunce,” and Vice President Dan Quayle told a student in a spelling bee that potato had an “e” at the end of it.  Numerous commentators questioned George W. Bush’s intellectual capacity, and Sarah Palin has long been criticized as a dim bulb.  And Canadian Prime Minister and Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper has said that he enjoys “twerking” but only does it with close friends and “every now and then with President Obama.”

While the US zoos close, the Congressional zoo remains open.  Prime Minister Stephen Harper has once again shuttered Parliament, proroguing the Commons until mid-October in a move that ensures he won’t face opposition Bruce Stantonquestions on the Senate expenses scandal for an extra month. But of all the Canadian politicians you may have the opportunity to reach out to, there are few more exasperatingly devoid of the facts on horse slaughter than MP Bruce Stanton of Simcoe North, Ontario.  MP Stanton will delete any messages and block you from his FB page if you are not a constituent – no matter what you write.  As a result of posting horse slaughter info on his page, I am now blocked.  I can understand that he won’t have time to address non-constituents, but to BLOCK Canadians from his page is really outlandish behaviour for a politician. However, Facebook isn’t “all that” and we can still reach MP Stanton (and see what he’s up to) via OpenParliament.ca  You can also track MP statements in House debates via this site.  He doesn’t appear to care much for the facts of horse slaughter, but he’s quite enamoured with men’s curling and speaks very eloquently about Valentine’s Day.

As you can read from his communications with horse advocate and constituent Ann Marie, he adamantly insists that “horsemeat producers raise horses for the sole purpose of human consumption.”  And he refuses to respond to her requests for information on these direct-to-market meat horses.  Not only that, Stanton also insists that horsemeat is the “third largest exported meat in Canada,” and provides about $2 billion to the Canadian economy every year.  This is very odd indeed, especially since Dr. Ian Alexander of the CFIA wrote to me in August of this year and specifically indicated that the horsemeat market in Canada is worth $36 million.  Even if you mistakenly assumed that all slaughtered Canadian horses were “farmed,”  you still couldn’t stretch the truth far enough to turn a $36 million dollar industry into a $2 BILLION industry.  Looks to me like MP Stanton has stretched the truth until it’s elliptical in order to further the anti-animal Conservative party agenda.  It’s time to throw MP Stanton under the bus for making these claims.

bruce letter

There appear to be various ways to evaluate Stanton’s statement that horsmeat is Canada’s third largest meat export, but none of them make any sense when compared to beef and pork exports.  For instance,  do we include animals sent for “finishing” to other countries in those export numbers?  Or do we consider only processed meats as part of those numbers?  In any case,  it’s completely unclear to me how horsemeat ranks as a $2 billion dollar export market,  especially when Canadian beef exports to all countries are estimated at $1.21 billion,  with almost 600,000 head of feeder and fed cattle being exported to the US for finishing and slaughter.  Somehow, MP Stanton expects us to believe that horsemeat exports EXCEED those of BEEF?  Additionally, in 2012, 21.1 million pigs went to market in Canadian plants. In addition, 804,000 head went to processing facilities in the United States and 4.79 million head of feeder hogs went for feeding and finishing on United States farms.  In 2012,  Canada exported in excess of 135 million chicken carcasses and parts, and over 19 million turkey carcasses and parts.  These numbers for other species are of course, not even remotely comparable to the roughly 100,000 horses of both American and Canadian origin slaughtered in Canada each year.  And so we continue to whittle away at MP Stanton’s statistics on meat exports.

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

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

Sadly, Stanton’s opinion is only a symptom of what is wrong with Whip politics.  A Whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers,” who typically offer inducements and threaten punishments for party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy. A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in”, i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack.

Votes on Private Members’ bills such as Bill C-322 are supposed to be free votes, thus making “dissent” (or rebellion) impossible since there is nothing to rebel against. The fact that such votes are considered “dissent” only serves to illustrate how pervasive the use of the Whip is in the House of Commons. Simply put, party discipline reigns supreme, and both Conservative and Liberal MPs tow the party line.  So it’s reasonable to assume that MP Stanton’s incorrect statements on horse slaughter and horsemeat exports are probably just an overall symptom of the Conservative party malaise.

We do know that MP Alex Atamanenko will be debating Bill C-322 soon,  once Parliament resumes later this month.  Please join the Facebook campaign to email Canadian City Councillors,  MPPs,  and MP’s.  Ask them for their support, and to put forward a Motion for their cities to support Bill C-322, as was done in Toronto.    And props to Ann Marie for so tenaciously correcting MP Stanton.

“Animals are reliable, many full of love, true in their affections, predictable in their actions, grateful and loyal. Difficult standards for people to live up to.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert

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

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