Tag Archives: “celebrity chef”

“Offal” Foodies Wear Badge of Shame

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French Horse EaterWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

Foodies,  food groupies,  or foodniks.  Quelle horreur!  When I hear these terms, it makes me cringe.  I’ve come to be repulsed by it,  because nowadays it’s associated with “gourmand” or “epicure,”  and while these are not negative terms,  most actual foodies are now clearly associated with foie gras,  pigs feet,  octopus,  sweetbreads (or offal), and of course,  horsemeat.

There’s nothing wrong with enjoying luxurious items or tasteful food.  But people who tend to describe themselves as foodies are usually those same people who label themselves as members of a caste of society that is superior to the others.  “I’m better than you because I’m more open-minded towards my food.  I would never eat instant ramen like you.”

The more lives sacrificed for a dinner, the more impressive the eater. Aside from horsemeat,  some of the cruelest meals consist of thirty duck hearts in curry, or ortolan, endangered songbirds fattened up, in pitch-dark cages, who by tradition, have their eyes put out before being force-fed for weeks and finally drowned in a snifter of brandy. The eating of these animals as well as non-food horses is amoral, callous, and profoundly self-absorbed.  Such machismo coming out of an evening spent sitting in a goddamn chair….

People Magazine 2007 sexiest man alive

Chef Tom Colicchio is one of People’s 2007 “Sexiest Men Alive?”  Why does he deserve this title? Why do chefs in general receive such an unwarranted amount of attention?

The term foodie also implies that you’re dealing with a person who knows a lot about food in general.  And if you’re a chef with a following of chef groupies, you’re going to look extra stupid when it becomes public knowledge that you really don’t know much about food after all.  The attention lavished upon some chefs is unseemly.  It sure doesn’t explain why People magazine dubbed Tom Colicchio one of 2007’s Sexiest Men Alive. (Sorry, but I just don’t see it.)

Chef Danny Mongeon,  of the new horsemeat-serving resto “Hooch,”  shall wear the badge of shame in this blog post.  Mongeon became somewhat infamous (although his groupies claim he was already famous!) by declaring that he was introducing horse tartare at Hooch in an interview with the Ottawa Citizen.

“I did a lot of research on the farm where I’m sourcing from, La Petite Nation. I’ve been there. I’ve seen the horses. A lot of these people are telling me that we’re serving old race horses and all of this bad stuff, but I just ignored it because a lot of their sources were incorrect.” ~ Danny Mongeon

Here’s your meat still on the hoof at LPN,  Chef Mongeon (Caution – Disturbing):

Operating under the assumption that LPN is a “farm” that apparently produces purpose-bred horses has just become problematic for Chef Mongeon.  He  just ran head first into the Canadian and American taboo against hippophagy.  Secondly,  Les Viandes de la Petite Nation is not a “farm,” it is a slaughterhouse which has been cited numerous times for cruelty and not following CFIA mandated slaughter methods. It is also the slaughterhouse that killed Frank Stronach’s racehorse, Backstreet Bully, despite the fact that his vet records were faxed to La Viandes de la Petite Nations showing he had illegal drugs in his system and that his previous owners and Stronach Racing were all willing to take him back. He ended up at LPN courtesy of a kill buyer falsifying his EID (Equine Information Document).

Hooch - Danny Mongeon

Mongeon prepares the awful offal.  And I really hope that’s some kind of food stain rather than dirt on your fingernails, Chef.

Mongeon, despite being informed to the contrary, absolutely refuses to acknowledge that these horses are mostly cast-off pets, discarded standardbred or thoroughbred race horses, mares in foal, summer camp horses, trail horses, Amish/Mennonite work/cart horses that have been worked into the ground.  When facts from independent sources such as the Toronto Star and Latitude News were posted on the restaurant’s Facebook page, he and his indie followers simply repeated the same derp over and over again.  This discussion also moved to an Ottawa Foodie forum where horse advocates were harassed for promoting truthful dialogue.  I wonder how many people would eat horsemeat if they were not lied to about its true origin and the veterinary residues it often contains?

This comment was one of many posted on an Ottawa Foodie forum.  It received no condemnation whatsoever from the group,  yet the horse welfare posters were harassed when we became embracing the meme of "let's censor anyone who is killing our horsemeat-eatin' mood," why they didn't kill the real downer that occurred when someone mentioned cannibalism? Surely the dry-heave factor on that particular post should have prompted some objection, certainly over anything we had posted?

This comment was one of many posted on an Ottawa Foodie forum. It received no condemnation whatsoever from the group, yet the horse welfare posters were harassed because we killed the horsemeat-eatin’ mood. Surely the dry-heave factor on that particular post should have prompted some objection, certainly over anything we had posted?

Yes,  it's true - the Zombie Apocalypse is real.

Yes, it’s true – the Zombie Apocalypse is real.

Mongeon will NOT tell his patrons the truth about the horsemeat he serves.  He and his groupies only respect those customs, traditions, beliefs, cultures—old and new, domestic and foreign—that call on them to eat more, not less, and without regard for where it is sourced.  Mongeon’s claims about the happy LPN “farm” are meaningless. All that’s required to perpetuate his stupid unenlightened remarks are dull-headed food freaks to circulate the dogma.  It’s time to hold chefs accountable for the misinformation they perpetuate about their food sources.

Apparently,  this is the cooked version of the pig's foot shown to the left.  Apparently they use every part of a pig except the oink.

This is the pretty unrecognizable cooked version of the pig’s foot shown to the left.

Part of what makes Mongeon’s claims about horses and LPN so obnoxious is that the Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses, is not enforced. The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally. Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well. So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta.

Since 2007, inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety, since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals, so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred, as revealed by a CBC probe and in undercover video by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition?  I guess Danny Mongeon’s “research” just never uncovered any of these uncomfortable truths……

Apparently, there’s really no civilized value left that foodies or chefs cannot destroy.

horse burger

Not Rah-Rah about Raw – La Palette Protest – September 21, 2012

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Written by Heather Clemenceau

Not Rah-Rah about Raw Meat

Just not feelin’ raw meat…….

Hello dear readers,  and welcome once again to our version of the Occupy movement,  on Queen Street West in Toronto!  A couple of recent protests with a smaller number of advocates in attendance have proven to be about as pleasant and soothing to the nerves as trying to shit in a public bathroom when the stall door lock is broken and you have to keep it shut with your hand.  La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani no doubt  feels that when our attendance is in smaller numbers,  he is free to resort to douchebaggery,  and when the numbers are larger (more witnesses?) he retreats inside where his only offense is to scowl determinedly from behind the bar.

One recent attempt to get under our skin consists of having someone stand out in front

La Palette serves up raw horsemeat on Queen Street West

La Palette serves up raw horsemeat on Queen Street West (photo courtesy of Frances)

of the resto with crackers and a plate of horse tartare – uncooked horsemeat.  While some may not appreciate this tactic,  it personally bothers me very little – you know what they say about “loss leaders.”  Each sample of horsemeat that Shamez hands out free on the street is one that he cannot sell.  If I were going to recommend another tactic that works equally as poorly,  I’d suggest he also start using Groupon,  which has been shown to be an ineffective acquisition tool for customers,  primarily because curious, cost-conscious  people try a service once,  and never return.  IMO,  freebies and deals like Groupon don’t work for restaurants because while you’re devoting your time servicing a discounted customer base,  any people willing to pay top dollar for any service are often left unaccommodated.  I’ve no worries that Shamez would ever follow my business advice,  because if he did he would have gotten out of horsemeat for all the reasons I’ve accounted for in previous blogs.

“I run a small India restaurant and we were busy right after the groupon, but very few of the customers came back to eat. Plus, those that did visit spent the minimum and barely tipped our staff.”

Returning for the moment to the wisdom of offering uncooked meat to anyone who passes by – any meat,  including horsemeat of course.  I wonder how many people were initially aware that they were eating raw meat,  since this information wasn’t being provided to passers-by who took a sample?  This info might have been even more meaningful in the context of La Palette’s failure to achieve an unconditional pass from the Toronto Board of Health – Dine Safe Program.  Toronto Public Health also offers an advisory on food handling,  particularly as it concerns raw meat and cross-contamination.   IMO,  the serving of raw meat should not be allowed anywhere,  and municipalities are beginning to crack down on this practice,  because there will always be people who are determined to treat their bodies as a garbage dump, at least until they come down with a parasitic infection,   as evidenced by this comment from a foodie freak on a food blog:

“Until we fight the battles necessary to establish the fact that what ever we decide to put into our bodies regardless of perceived risk, is our decision and our right, the battles will never end. There will always be a new perceived risk with the psychopaths in government there to save you from yourself. Even if they kill you in the process. If you continue to fight each of these issues as an unique event, and try to argue the unique merits of a practice you will still fighting new battles that the system creates when the end of time arrives. Asserting your rights to what you put into your body and your absolute right to contract, is the only sane tactic and the only way we are going to win in the long run.”

Raw meat glorifies food porn and features terrible food safety.  Caveat emptor,  dumb-ass.  And it’s not a “perceived risk” either,  there is a quantifiable risk on several fronts.  From an expert:

“Raw meats or undercooked foods leave you at risk of infection of parasites or a slew of other illnesses,” says Dr. Michael Mansour of the division of infectious diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital.

According to NYC’s Department of Health, restaurants must notify diners when food isn’t cooked to required temperatures — either verbally or by printing this on the menu. Basically, it’s buyer beware — though the DOH says it will investigate complaints of people getting sick from eating raw food.

Of course,  New York isn’t Toronto,  and despite my trepidation with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),  I give high marks to Toronto Public Health.  Toronto Public Health

"Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are." Brillat-Savarin


“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”
Brillat-Savarin

received the Crumbine Consumer Protection Award, consisting of a bronze Crumbine medallion and engraved plate, at the Annual Educational Conference of the National Environmental Health Association, on June 19 in Columbus, Ohio. This was the first time in its 56 year history that the award was presented to a local food safety jurisdiction outside of the United States. As a Crumbine Award winner, Toronto Public Health joins an elite group of local public health agencies that have demonstrated “unsurpassed achievements in providing outstanding food protection services in the community.”

The selection jury noted that they were particularly impressed by:
➢ Innovative and new ideas in the realm of consumer protection with technically savvy items like a phone application for consumers
➢ Transparency, with daily website posts
➢ Internationally recognized program with strong impacts felt across the United States and elsewhere

Toronto won for its restaurant inspection disclosure system – red, yellow, green signs on the doors.  La Palette is acutely aware of how this system works.

Toronto Public Health - La Palette earns a conditional pass

Toronto Public Health – La Palette earns a conditional pass

And congrats on that, because on the 10th anniversary of its groundbreaking restaurant inspection disclosure program, Toronto Public Health has become the first non-U.S. health department to win a prestigious award for “unsurpassed achievement in providing outstanding food protection.”

The city’s health department will receive the 56-year-old Samuel J. Crumbine Consumer Protection Award for DineSafe, an internationally recognized program that posts inspection results for Toronto eateries online and in their front windows.

So while Shamez is busy handing out the pharmacological version of Canadian horsemeat on the street (the EU will decline to accept American and Canadian sourced horsemeat come August 1, 2013,  but it will still be good enough for his customers)  I’ve been busy promoting this blog and the concept that horseslaughter and horsemeat are poor consumer and humane choices.  Case in point – this blog,  at the time of writing,  has received over 2,000 hits on La Palette related subject matter only,  not including Facebook penetration or hits on the individual images.  Some of my La Palette blogs rank higher in Google than the restaurant website itself,  depending on search terms and the geographical area of the searcher.  It’s the Queen Street West version of the Occupy movement.  Social media plays a huge role in shaping the views of society on a myriad of issues, and those media are also playing a role in shaping people’s opinions of dining establishments.  Social media has dramatically changed the world of protesting.

Weirkick“Things like spreading a message and amplifying a message to lots of people are really effective when done online,” said Matt Stempeck, a research assistant at MIT’s Center for Civic Media.

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

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Art © Heather Clemenceau

© Heather Clemenceau

© Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

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

© Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

2. Rescues are looking for any opportunity to steal horses

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

© Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

© Heather Clemenceau

3. Transportation is Heavily Regulated so horse injuries are minimal

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

© Heather Clemenceau

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5.  Every carcass is tested for the presence of drugs

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

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

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

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

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

6.  Horsemeat is organic

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

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

7.  Environmental damage by horse slaughterhouses is vastly overstated

From a US perspective,  one of the best “go-to” persons is obviously former Kaufman Mayor Paula Bacon,  who is more than willing to provide documentation from the Public Works Director,  former Kaufman City Manager, Presbyterian Hospital,  the daycare center,  and the Police Chief to support her claims about Dallas Crown,  which had a very long history of violations to their waste permit.   The city was even fined by the TCEQ for the plant’s failure to comply with backflow regulations that meant horse blood and waste backed up into sinks, toilets and tubs. When the plant finally closed, the city was left with nearly $100,000 in unpaid fines.

Dallas Crown consistently denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order. City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to the wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015. There were numerous examples of offal and hides being transported through main thoroughfares in containers without covers,  as well as problems with bones and and other body parts in neighbouring yards,  resulting in the attraction of “dogs and other animals.”

In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City’s budget. The cost to litigate against Dallas Crown consisted of the entire legal budget for the fiscal year. During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.

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

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

© Heather Clemenceau

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

8.  The BLM does not sell horses to slaughter

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10.  I am the Shedrow blogger

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

"Ana Renza" claims I am shedrow blogger

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

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

rumours about me and shedrow

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Centaurs” of Attention? La Palette Protest – August 17, 2012

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Tonight is the first night we’ve been back at La Palette  after their self-imposed “holiday” to catch up on repairs and renos,  you know,  just like the french do in France (after they have a humiliating experience with a restaurant inspector).  The announcement on their web page left me wondering exactly what renos they might be undertaking,  given that they’ve had an adversarial relationship with the protesters who have been camped out front almost every week since February 2012.

I can tell you that more than once I glanced upwards towards to the roof of this former horse stable,  to see if co-owner Shamez Amlani was standing up there with a boiling hot cauldron of bacon grease,  rather like those medieval “anti-personnel” fortifications that consisted of incendiary devices  or other flaming projectiles lobbed at enemy combatants during castle sieges.  Alas,  the “renos” did not consist of gunpower, quicklime,   flame throwers,  or napalm,  but Shamez is forever inching those plants out closer towards the sidewalk,  trying to push us further away from the front façade of the restaurant and towards the collection of derelict pre-WWII bicycles,  which he probably believes creates “shabby chic ambiance.”

I’d have to say that,  IMO,  the bikes  offer all the ambiance of  an episode of “American Pickers”  of the “Jersey Shore” meets “Hoarders.” You don’t want to brush up against this rusty junk – there are sharp bicycle fenders pointing

I Want to Ride My Bicycle!  Shabby Chic Elegance or Eyesore?

I Want to Ride My Bicycle! Shabby Chic Elegance or Eyesore?

out at right angles towards pedestrians as they walk by.  The Queen Street West drunks are particularly uncoordinated tonight,  snatching a protest sign  and lurching uncontrollably  into storefronts,  falling into pedestrians,  faceplanting on the sidewalks,  and narrowly avoiding that rusty tangled mass of junk.  I hope anyone coming into contact with these pre-industrial relics has recently had tetanus shots,  although I suppose when you’re drunk and lurching along Queen Street West late at night,  your physical well-being is already a low priority.

Anyway,  our protest group had speculated that at least part of the reason for the temporary shutdown was due to the excitement of the protest immediately prior,  where protest devotee Bob

Mounted Division

A Supporter from the Mounted Divison

was again manhandled by Shamez.  Shamez is really teetering on the precipice of arrest now – that bad boy can’t seem to keep his temper under control,  and Bob’s defenceless sign was mangled once again – now it has a permanent crease down the middle after La Palette’s chief horse-hater struck at Bob through the sign.  You’d expect that a clean air/bicycle activist would be a peaceful sort of person,  no?  I also wouldn’t blame you if you opined that it seemed like a direct conflict for such an activist to turn around and serve non-food animals who have been treated with prohibited drugs and then transported long distances and cruelly slaughtered, to his restaurant patrons.  Shamez seems to confirm,  as recounted in this blog since April,  that he’s hardly the zen-priest of pacifism,  logic,  or reason.

By definition,  assault  and/or battery consists of physical contact with another person without their consent.  An injury need not occur for an assault to be committed, but the force used in the assault must be offensive in nature with an intention to apply force,  which is surely does.  Typically,  people with bad tempers accompanied by poor life skills and/or coping mechanisms find themselves making physical contact with someone  as part of their argument.  Just sayin’


By now,  you may be asking yourself, dear reader,  WWBD  (What Would Bob Do)  after yet another altercation in front of the restaurant?  Bob and the other protesters conferred and in the end,  cops attended the scene,  and had  convo with Shamez that fortunately for him,  did not include a taser, handcuffs,  or a late-night phone call to a sleazy lawyer in a banlon suit.  The cops concluded their visit by advising Shamez that if he causes another physical altercation with a protester,  he will be charged.

Although we have no still pictures of this event,  we do have this incredible,  remastered, eyewitness video:

I guess this means that Shamez will now longer be mistaking the protest as a “Pro- La Palette” event,  as he has claimed in the past?

Modern Marvel?  You be the judge.......

Modern Marvel? You be the judge…….

In case you were thinking that Shamez was always the “Centaur of Attention” at his restaurant,  guess again.  It seems that his chef may also hold delusions of grandeur.  Don’t all chefs have delusions of grandeur though?  It is only food, after all, and chefs are not deities.  So whenever you see those big white plates with microscopic portions on them, you can feel validated for thinking that chefs take themselves far too seriously.  On his Facebook page,  Chef Brook Kavanagh makes the rather unbelievable  claim he is teaching a National Geographic course?  Seriously?  I thought a Discovery show on French topics might discuss the Maginot Line,  the French Revolution,  or Churchill on the Battle of France,  but no,  Brook claims he is TEACHING it.  This is a show about technology.

I know that some of these programs have teaching modules, but how could horsemeat possibly represent the subject matter for this show? Judging by the Facebook pics, it looks more like the History channel featured *something* on horsemeat.  Or perhaps it was a show on trichinosis?  I wonder if it was a segment dealing with the ramifications of leaving meat out at room temperature and consequently barely passing their Public Health inspection?

Try as I might,  I couldn’t find any independent verification of the claim of teaching a Discovery Channel show,  so I’m am throwing shade on this claim,  even though I totally believe that he is telling anyone with a pulse that horsemeat is just fab.  But when Teacher Appreciation Day rolls around,  I’ll have to give you a pass – sorry!

And now,  for a revelation that will give any attention whore pause…………wait for it……….

The last and most interesting development for the evening  is that an anonymous tipster,  who ate at La Palette and saw our protest outside,  reached out  to me via the blog.  One half of

La Palette Receipt

La Palette Receipt

the couple who dined there described Shamez’ demeanor as “perpetually pissed-off” on this evening (weekly jousts with protesters and cops might have that effect).  Ventilation was also terrible – the tipster described the place as being full of greasy smoke – the host apparently discourages patrons from sitting up front where the air is fresher,  because of the protesters!

I guess there’s nothing like greasy smoke for shabby-chic ambiance – but if it were me Shamez,  I would have made “improved ventilation” one of the “renos” that you were going to complete during the shutdown.  Other notable comments were that these diners felt that,  although they enjoyed their entrees,   they were overcharged for tiny portions  (there must be an inverse relationship between the size of the chef’s ego and the portion size – the bigger the ego of the chef – the tinier the portion?) and that the place was generally “underwhelming”  for various reasons. No wonder Amlani feels that he has to rely on the serving of horsemeat to prop up the resto – perhaps $18 for an entree “the size of your fist” isn’t going to cut it.

Shut Up and Let Me Eat My Pony in Peace! – La Palette Protest – July 13th

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La Palette protest - July 13th - Summerlicious

La Palette Protest – July 13th – the Toronto Summerlicious dining festival

Written by Heather Clemenceau ©;  all artwork ©

PISS OFF - is this a Urologist's office or what?

PISS OFF – is this a Urologist’s office or a message to Toronto Mayor Rob Ford? Just a shopfront I saw while making my way to La Palette,  which also seems to foreshadow the prevailing sentiment for the evening.

We’re part way through the Summerlicious dining event in the city of Toronto.  It’s hot as Hades,  and in typical Toronto style,  streets are closed-off for no apparent reason,  other than to inconvenience drivers.   You really cannot go downtown without a functioning GPS system of some sort,  because you are forced to weave through one-way arterial streets,  driving several kms out of the way and then doubling back,  and coping with other drivers who see well in advance that their lane is closing, but wait until the last second to butt in front of you.  And don’t even think about attempting a right-hand turn without checking in your mirrors and blindspots because cyclists shoot up on the right side of your car while on their iPhones.

It seems that co-owner Shamez Amlani has taken a pass on participating in Summerlicious this year,  which is probably a good idea considering that the resto only received a conditional pass in the Dine Safe program,  and there are anywhere from 5-15 protesters in front of the place each week.  It also might not be a good idea to feature raw meat dishes in Toronto as they’ve done in the past,  since it’s become apparent that the CFIA is cracking down on restaurants serving raw meat.

Toronto Public Health Report - obscured behind a plant

Toronto Public Health Report – obscured behind a plant

With the street closed-off in front of La Palette (again,  for no apparent reason),  we have much less street traffic than usual,  and less honking.   In the last few weeks we’ve seen that La Palette has a new “strategy,”  which consists of  sending out trolls to either confront us or try to get us to make damaging statements of opinion about the food at the resto.  We’re totally onto the practice of sending a troll out to talk to us under the guise of seeing if we will tell potential customers to eat elsewhere.  This can only mean that,  contrary to Shamez’ earlier statements that he loves our “marketing” efforts,  he is quite desperate to find a way to incriminate us.

Here’s how it works in practice:  a “covert agent” prodded into duty by Shamez,  walks up to the restaurant and expresses consternation about eating there in light of the protest.  After a quick minute,  that person approaches one of the protesters and asks for information.  We duly oblige.  Then the prospective diner (tonight it was an older gentleman) says he is meeting a date here for the first time and doesn’t know her very well.  “How can I explain to her?”  “What should I tell her about eating here?”  Sorry,  we’re NOT falling for THAT!  One thing we are very cognizant of not doing while on protest duty is telling anyone not to eat at the restaurant.  A few weeks ago it was a woman walking down the street, who suddenly flew into a rage at the site of the protest,  and was compelled to call the police.  Sadly,  she had no cell phone,  so she had to go INTO the restaurant to call the police.

It is not our place to render our opinion on whether the staff is friendly,  the food is good, or safe to eat.  We have NO opinion on that – patrons are free to eat there of their own free-will and we are not there to encumber them in their decision.  If you want to know whether it’s SAFE to eat at the restaurant,  check out the Dine Safe review and form your own opinion.  Of course,  it’s a dead giveaway that the person isn’t asking legit questions when he goes  inside the restaurant “to check and see if his date has arrived,”  and doesn’t emerge while we’re there.  I guess he found his dinner companion inside where he left her.

Is Shamez bribing these people to come out of the “dark, dusty” establishment to start arguments with us?  It sure seems that way. Which leads us to the Toronto Public Health report…………..where has that report been hiding?  It’s on the window where it’s supposed to be,  but it’s now somewhat obscured by a flowering plant,  which is a no-no.  To help patrons out,  one of our protesters holds an actual picture of the Dine Safe report so that passers-by can actually see it.  See how courteous and helpful we are?
La Palette Yelp Review

Yelp Review of La Palette – to be fair, the resto has many positive reviews, along with this and other negatives. Yelp throws out the highest and lowest ratings and those made by Yelp reviewers who made only this one review, as they deem them “statistically irrelevant.”

Confrontation at La Palette

Confrontation at La Palette – notice that the patron has gotten all grabby with Bob’s sign.

Tonight we’re plagued by an insufferable troll who moves from person to person trying to incite us,  under the guise of wanting to know why we’re here,  why we’ve chosen La Palette,  and what else we like to do on Friday nights, etc.  After listening to this guy for 15 minutes,  his “voice” sure sounds like one of the familiar trolls I’ve seen appear in the comments section of various Toronto newspapers for a while now.  He’s been eating horse all his life (explains a lot) and he wants facts.  Well actually,  he doesn’t,  he just wants to argue,  and he sets upon poor Bob again.  Another faux-pas is committed tonight when he grabs Bob’s sign and tries to wrench it away.  Bob,  we don’t know why everybody wants to start sumthin’ with you,  but we’re there for you buddy! Abuse of signs is not going to be tolerated. 
.

Everybody seems to be getting a turn in the cage with this guy.  When he demands that I explain my position,  I just tell him to read this blog.  But that isn’t good enough,  which is surprising since he claims to have a PhD in journalism – one would think that he would have enough education to realize that War Horse was not a cooking show.   Because he leans forward towards me to argue,  and I interpret this as a Defcon 3-type threat,  I raise my camera to take a pic (little does he know I already got one of him grabbing Bob’s sign) and he sticks his hand in front of the camera, as if he’s Sean Penn and I’m a papp at TMZ.  This troll hung out with us so long that he probably needs his own protest permit!  We ignore him for as long as possible,  but can’t resist an

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

Go home and let me eat my pony in peace!

occasional poke at the bear,  who paces up and down in front of La Palette chain-smoking and just generally being a douche.  Shamez comes outside to observe the scuffle and stays long enough to make some oblique comment about “negros and plantations.”   Finally our journalist skulks back inside after demanding that we all 1) shut-up and 2) leave.  I hate to point out the obvious but we have a legitimate right to protest on the street and we don’t have to go home because you don’t like it.  You’d think a journalist would know that.  You’d also think a journalist or any other person possessing common sense would realize that if he weren’t out on the street arguing with us,  we wouldn’t be “talking.”  Cause and Effect – they don’t teach that in the Perez Hilton School of Journalism.

Some of us did have an exchange with a young woman who apparently works at La Palette.  She was overheard asking what many people ask – “Why horses?”  “Why not GMO foods?” etc. etc.  This young woman wasn’t offensive and did seem to be genuine,  even if not convinced based on her employer’s stance,  so I handed her an information sheet that explained that about 30% of horses slaughtered for food in Canada were racehorses who were likely to have received a compendium of drugs in their racing career.  Here’s what was on the list:

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

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

Keep Calm and Stay Classy La Palette

The above list is not even inclusive – there are documented cases of racehorses being dosed with Viagra, cocaine,  cobra venom,  and Dermorphin (pharmacologically similar to morphine and derived from South American frogs).  Not only are these drugs an abuse of horses,  there is no way to confidently assert that these drugs and their metabolites do not enter the food chain.  Obviously,  the most commonly cited drug is Phenylbutazone.  On Pubmed,  there are over 8500 references to phenylbutazone,  so it has been frequently tested in case-controlled,  cohorted studies for many years.  It is a documented fact that even oxyphenbutazone residues,  the metabolite of bute,  can cause aplastic anemia,  and this fact is not in dispute.  Note to Shamez – slaughterhouse veterinarians and managers are in no way qualified to render an opinion whether horsemeat is safe to eat because they are not versed in toxicology or xenobiotics.

There is no incentive at this point in time to test bute any further since the FDA has removed approval for its use in humans,  it is no longer protected by patents,  if indeed it ever was,  and therefore,  no monetary value could be accrued to the patent-holder after roughly 40-50 years on the market.  We likely know as much as we ever will about the effects of bute on horses as well as humans.

Horses in Canada received at slaughterhouses are held for a maximum of 4 days only, and in mosts cases not even that,  so even if they were given bute the day before and this was not disclosed on the EID,  this is insufficient withdrawal time by even the most lax (Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis) standards.

In addition to ALL that, bute has been found in meat shipped to the EU, and has been withdrawn long AFTER it has reached the consumer, further evidence that EIDs and passporting do not work when you are trying to jury-rig a system of slaughtering and consuming non-food animals for food consumption.

Yes,  many horses are treated very poorly,  and as you can read,  they are hardly “organic.”  To regard them with reverence or sentiment is not simply a matter of emotional response.   I contend that horses merit better than to be mass slaughtered and served-up to grab-happy journalists who have not informed themselves as to history, civil liberties,  the right to freedom of association, and especially the sciences.

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

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

“Celebrity Chefs” and Jejune Gourmands Are a Sign of Cultural Decline

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"celebrity chef"

Gordon Ramsay thinks Britons should eat horsemeat.  Winners of his show “Hell’s Kitchen,”  virtually never receive their promised Head Chef position either!

Written by: Heather Clemenceau

I’m tired of reading about the vanity and cruelty of so-called “Celebrity Chefs.”

My disdain for these people initially began with an eposide of “Top Chef” whereby chefs were challenged to create an authentic french cuisine featuring horse meat.  Shows and articles on borderline bizarre culinary practices are part of a seemingly endless series that is truly the sign of a culture in decline. A culture whereby, under the guise of “multiculturalism,” bizarre and foreign food customs serve to desensitize us to the food we eat. A culture where there is no value to anything that we cannot compulsively eat and later shit out of our colon and into the toilet.

Anthony Bourdain - proof that the Zombie Apocalypse is real

Anthony Bourdain – in a completely un-retouched pic that proves that the Zombie Apocalypse is real

Of course, it’s critical to the jejune gourmand that he/she be able to eat not only in an elitist fashion that may be cruel, but one that he also cannot truly afford. These foodies and their priests, the “celebrity chefs,” rationalize consuming foods that must be acquired and slaughtered in the most brutal fashion, almost to a sadistic degree. Apparently greed and indifference to suffering are secondary values over the rightness of being able to gorge oneself. It truly leads one to beg the question, what is to be the next oral fixation?

Although I doubt any foodies reading this will be tangentially distracted by the concept of any suffering they might inflict, I’ll bring it up anyway, as it affects horses,  variously served on menus in Quebec and Toronto. Of course, horses in Canada and the US that end up on dinner tables in French restaurants are almost exclusively former racehorses, carriage horses, private pets, and children’s pets. Not raised for food and medicated accordingly by their former owners.

There have been many reported cases of animal welfare violations in Canadian horse slaughterhouses including failure to provide food and water, illegal unloading of animals, animals left for extended periods in kill pens and sick or injured animals denied veterinary care. Not surprisingly, veterinary experts around the world and leading animal protection groups have denounced horse slaughter as inhumane. Additionally, a CBC probe reveals that inspectors from CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) have typically not intervened when inhumane incidents have occurred, or a CFIA inspector was never present at the kill pen, despite government regulations that require a vet from the agency be present to oversee the slaughter process at the plant.

Nicholas H. Dodman, D.V.M., one of the world’s most noted and celebrated veterinary behaviourists, a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare, and Tufts University School of

Mark McEwan and  Thea Andrews ot Top Chef notoriety

Mark McEwan and Thea Andrews of Top Chef notoriety.  Mark obliges us with his best bitch-face.

Veterinary Medicine professor, stated: “Noise, blood and suffering is what you get at the Bouvry equine slaughter plant: Horses kicking after they have been shot, sinking down and rising up; sometimes periods of struggling or paddling before a second or third shot has to be administered. This atrocity goes against all veterinary guidelines for humane euthanasia. Terror and suffering is the rule at this equine house of horrors … and all in the name of the gourmet meat market.”

Now let me say that if you personally find any of this acceptable then you deserve to be ground up and served as the next main ingredient on Top Chef.

Once we conduct ourselves as if we have the right to inflict unnecessary suffering, we have destroyed the very basis of human society. But Francis Bacon said it better than I ever could:

Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver’s food prep has also been called into question…

“Nature has endowed man with a noble and excellent principle of compassion, which extends itself also to the dumb animals—whence this compassion has some resemblance to that of a prince toward his subjects. And it is certain that the noble souls are the most extensively compassionate, for narrow and degenerate minds think that compassion belongs not to them; but a great soul, the noblest part of creation, is ever compassionate.”

The Top Chef episode featuring horse meat in an authentic french presentation is what started it all for moi.

The Top Chef episode featuring horse meat in an authentic french presentation is what started it all for moi. (click to follow-through to the original poll)