Tag Archives: Equine Canada

Former Equine Canada Employee Caught Dissing Horse Advocates…

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ComplaintsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

I make no apologies concerning my utter disdain for Equine Canada’s pro-slaughter stance. Therefore, I rarely miss an opportunity to drag them for their varnished perspective of the horse slaughter industry.

On the rare occasion when Equine Canada have mentioned horse slaughter at all it is always a pre-rehearsed talking point that’s usually just plain wrong. And while there may be a schism within EC with regard to slaughter, you know on which side the group’s bread is buttered since they are funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

Who does the EC really represent except elite athletes and Agri-Food Canada anyway? Consider that Canada’s dichotomous pro-slaughter “horse welfare” group HWAC, along with the primarily pro-slaughter provincial horse federations, have been recognized by Equine Canada as their partner for horse welfare in Canada.  Of course HWAC makes known their alliance with American extreme pro-slaughter groups United Horsemen, United Organizations of the Horse, and the apparently defunct IEBA, one of many alphabet companies set up by Sue Wallis. EC doesn’t speak for the average rider, and certainly not for horses. So it is a paradox, that, despite the occasional horse welfare cheerleading by EC, they are utterly silent when it comes down to the issue of the dual commodity riding/meat horse.

The comment below was taken from a Facebook group – it was posted by a former Equine Canada employee. For the record, these incendiary comments about Canada’s National Horse Advocacy group are patently false. I wonder if this individual has ever given any consideration to any of the humane and consumer safety and traceability issues that remain unaddressed by their former employer, no matter how many people make up their various committees?

Commercial pressures will always tend to overwhelm safety concerns, unless there are individuals or groups that work to expose abuses – so who are the true radicals here?

Equine Canada radicals

No, if you’re promoting horse slaughter in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, then YOU are not coming from a good place, nor do you care about horses.

Pointing out industry infractions with information obtained through Access-To-Information requests and via government websites is not a personal attack. Publicizing video evidence of horrific feedlot neglect and egregious abuse in slaughter operations is a right-to-know issue. For example, Migros, Switzerland’s largest retail company & supermarket chain terminated its contract with Bouvry Exports – a decision made after Migros was confronted with horrific images from the Bouvry feedlots. The footage obtained by Animals Angels and Tierschutzbund in October of 2013 showed mares left to die and decompose inside the pen area as well as horses with apparent, contagious diseases and severely overgrown hooves. Video evidence obtained at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughterhouse in St. Andre-Avellin QC, resulted in the plant being shut down for several days for retrofitting. The live draft horse shipments from Calgary and Winnipeg airports to Japan where the horses are slaughtered, violates CFIA and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations regarding the live shipping of horses by air by having 3 or more horses unsegregated in wooden crates. Despite receiving many letters of complaint to the CFIA and IATA, horses are still being shipped in violation of regulations. Does Equine Canada speak out against any of this?

CHDC’s slaughter stats are updated at least twice yearly, and are taken directly from Statistics provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Of course, the former EC employee doesn’t give an example that supports their accusations but expects those reading their comments to take them at face value. But if you want to examples of outdated stats and sneaky subterfuge, you can easily point a finger at Equine Canada, who 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 could 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? Whether knowingly or not, EC promoted debunked information  to politicians who were about to vote on Bill C-571 because they likely knew that most politicians are ignorant enough to believe it. However, MP Alex Atamanenko called them out on their incorrect statements:

“I find it troubling that, as an Equine Association concerned with the welfare of horses, you have resorted to the discredited argument that restricting the slaughter industry will result in increased horse neglect and abandonment. The US GAO report you have cited as supporting this argument has been exposed as having misrepresented or omitted relevant data to conclude an increase in abuse and abandonment following the closure of US abattoirs. To state the obvious, since slaughter continued to be available in Canada and Mexico, any rise in reported cases of abuse would necessarily have come from other factors. A critical analysis of the GAO report entitled “How the GAO deceived Congress” makes it glaringly obvious that little credence should be attributed to such a flawed report.”

Equine Canada (via the FEI) has classified approximately 1,000 different drugs as either “Banned” or “Controlled” in the 2015 Equine Prohibited Substances List. Our former employee almost certainly knows that if kill buyers and the owners of slaughter-bound horses had strict liability (as in the world of horse sport), practically no horse would be eligible for slaughter. EC has nothing to say when over 700 horses (450-500 going to slaughter, apparently all are drug-free with clean EIDs) were run through the Dawson Creek auction in British Columbia in September. These horses included registered, sound, very rideable, beautiful, kind, healthy horses. The EID hardly ensures a continuous medical record and certainly does not guarantee food safety, especially when one considers that the drug history of the horse can be completed at the auction and not by the actual owner.

This is a barbaric, unsafe, discredited business – one giant trash heap of cruelty and drugged meat. It’s also a facade of false and incomplete paperwork, concealing incompetence and often outright deceit at the highest levels. Indeed, Equine Canada are utterly silent on this issue of the adulteration of the food chain with undeclared drugs for financial gain,  while it falls upon horse advocates to ensure  that the facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics.

 

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Doping Fail: Performance Drug Prohibitions For Horses Are Stricter Than Slaughter Regs…

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Wilful BlindnessWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

The rule of strict liability, under which athletes have to be solely and legally responsible for what they consume, remains supreme in the world of horse sport. The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES), the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) promote “Clean Sport” for athletic competitions, as does the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI), the international governing body for equestrian sport.

The FEI credits their Clean Sport initiative as being responsible for the completely drug-free 2012 Olympic Games in London, during which no equestrian athlete or horse tested positive for any banned substance. Equine Canada governs Canada’s official relations with the FEI, as well as Canada’s equestrian relations with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee. It also governs relations between the government of Canada and Canadian equestrian athletes, coaches, judges, competition organizers and other professionals. Equine Canada (via the FEI) has classified approximately 1,000 different drugs as either “Banned” or “Controlled” in the 2015 Equine Prohibited Substances List. As of January 1, 2015, any individual who is temporarily suspended for a doping violation is prohibited from participating in the sport in any capacity, both at and away from competition.

Equine sport organizations that govern horse sport always encourage participation in anti-doping measures and fair medication control ostensibly because horse welfare is the principal rationale for a zero tolerance drug policy. This is an admirable achievement surely, since horses in particular should not be drugged in order to mask pain or to enhance performance to the degree that it may entail a risk.

It is a paradox though, that despite horse welfare cheerleading by Equine Canada, they are utterly silent when it comes down to the issue of the dual commodity riding/meat horse. Of course, Equine Canada supports the Canadian horse slaughter industry, causing conflict within its own ranks as well as with Canadian horse welfare advocates.  In 2012, Equine Canada’s then President Michael Gallagher caused outrage when he issued a press release thanking the FEI after it had disqualified Canadian show-jumping rider Tiffany Foster forked tongueunder controversial and unproven circumstances that did not even involve the possibility of drugs. The FEI Veterinary Commission did not even bother to take her horse out of his stall to examine him further or to test his movement for any signs of discomfort. So, a superficial scrape on a horse’s coronet that did not even make him lame (unless poked repeatedly by veterinarians perhaps) was cause for a lot of rah-rah-rahing about horse welfare by Gallagher, who said, This is an important testing procedure for the fairness of our sport and for the welfare of the horse which must always be paramount.” So while there are apparently few ethical conundrums for Equine Canada when it comes to firing a four-inch nail into a horse’s head, they supported the FEI decision to disqualify a horse due to a trivial and totally survivable scrape of indeterminate origin on his foot. The irony – it burns!

I think it’s absurd that suspensions can be levied over scratches or even the use of a topical cream containing capsaicin for a skin injury (which is banned because it can serve as a mild stimulant) whilst ignoring the issues of inhumane transport and slaughter as well as the possibility of potentially harmful drugs in the food chain. While horse sport veterinarians are busy taking skin swabs from horses to test for capsaicin, the CFIA tests less than 1% of horse carcasses for the prohibited drug phenylbutazone. If the CFIA held kill buyers and the owners of slaughter-bound horses with strict liability as done in horse sport, practically no horse would be eligible for slaughter.

Doping is contrary to the spirit of sport. Yet so too should be the betrayal of sending horses to slaughter.

This Is Horse Slaughter In Canada

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bouvry protest

October 2013 protest at the Bouvry horse slaughter plant just outside of Fort Macleod, Alberta

Written by: Brian

I’m not sure which horse is haunting me the most. There was Jack. Big part draft gelding, 23 years old. Skinny as skinny, with large white saddle sore scars. Someone used him hard and threw him away.

Ginger was 26, from the same place as Jack. Friendly and gentle. She came to the fence to say hello.

The Percheron filly was a black beauty. After her trip to Alberta she might be one of the chosen ones to be shipped live from the Calgary airport. If she survives the trip (sometimes all the horses arrive dead), she’ll be slaughtered in Japan and served up raw as a high priced delicacy.

Twenty year old Copper won’t be as tender. He had some hard miles on him.

The dunn mare was in her prime, eleven years old, trained to pull a cart. She came into the sale ring with a rider on her back for the very first time, and handled it like a pro. It wasn’t enough.

The sturdy paint horses and the chunky six year old sorrel were typical slaughter horses, with their whole lives ahead of them. Not any more.

Usually it’s the young ones the kill buyers go for, not the old and feeble, despite what the industry tells you about horse slaughter being a “humane end of life option.” The kill buyers didn’t get as many as usual, but this auction was especially brutal, because most of the ones they did get were older.

Thin horse at OLEX

A thin horse stands alone in the kill pen at OLEX in St. Jacob’s Ontario – even the sweltering July heat cannot dry out the permanent muck

Bucky was the most memorable. His hip bones jutted out from his emaciated body, and a swollen wound on his cannon bone was heading towards proud flesh. He’d spent his 25 years teaching children to ride. But why put him down humanely when you can make a few bucks?

Bucky nickered softly to us as we left the yard after the sale. He was probably hoping we’d give him some hay and water after hours of going without. He’d have to wait for that.

The meat horses would be shunted into a pen together, and Bucky would take a few kicks before being chased from his scrap of hay. If anyone bothered to feed them. Regulations say horses can go 36 hours without food or water.

Who knows how many doses of bute Bucky had in his long life. Like all the horses, he was dropped off with no questions asked. One dose of bute carries a lifetime ban for human consumption.

But Bucky ain’t never had no bute! Even though that festering wound was fresh and he was a jumping horse, Bucky never had no drugs! No wormers, no pain killers, no bute…

He arrived at Bouvry with a fresh, clean EID, filled out by the kill buyer stating that “to the best of my knowledge” Bucky was drug free. Him and all them others that came with no medical information. Hell! They ain’t never had nothin!

Gerry Ritz Flag

Failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz, Minister of Agriculture – bureaucratic idiot and exasperating obfuscator. Activists exist largely because our civil servants, who are responsible for safeguarding animals and supervising the inputs into the food chain, do so in a questionable or disrespectful manner towards their own citizens and those of countries to whom we export foodstuffs.

That’s the CFIA’s story and they’re sticking to it. Once at the slaughterhouse the EIDs become the plant’s property and go into cold storage where even a Freedom of Information Request can’t get them out.

I’ve been thinking about Bucky and the others all week. And I still remember Sky from 11 years ago. Pretty young Arab. She was a playful thing, jousting with her pasture mate in the stock pen. After the sale her lifetime friend was led away by a new owner, and Sky was left standing alone in the cold rain, confused. They always know when something’s not right.

The two sleek four year old geldings hid their heads in the corner. The bidding didn’t last long for them. Next.

A teenage girl came in proudly leading her childhood love, and left with a stunned look on her face when he sold for $100. She probably preferred boys now and her parents said, “That horse has to go!”

The sick mare with firehose diarrhea could barely walk. She’d be a downer for sure, but even trampled to death she’d be worth a case of beer.

Of course I’ll never forget the load of full term pregnant wild mares being prodded onto a double decker with 50 other horses, falling and thrashing and banging. The noise was something else! The CFIA sure wanted to shut me up about that illegal shipment.

The auction claims there are no kill buyers at their sales. Only “horse brokers,” who train them ponies up for resale. Ask for yourself. The guy who sits up in the corner with a calculator will tell you where they’re going. “To a friend in Alberta.”

Arriving at Bouvry with their squeaky clean EIDs, the horses were probably unloaded right into the kill line. So much for the six month holding period required by law. They don’t even pretend to follow the rules. I sure wish the EU was paying attention.

I wonder if Bucky’s had his turn yet? I imagine him smelling the fear as he’s driven closer to the stun box, his ears flickering back and forth, the smell of blood overpowering and the noise

Bucky - The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC, headed by Bill DesBarres, is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry.

Here is Bucky. It’s important to acknowledge that the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC, headed by Bill DesBarres, is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry.

deafening. Saws whining and a radio blaring. The humans Bucky grew up trusting shouting and laughing, prodding him with a white stick that sends a jolt through his old bones as he stumbles forward into a blood soaked metal cage, looking frantically for a way out.

He’s a big horse. Maybe the first few shots glanced off his high head, taking out an eye or hitting him in the ear as the shooter casually took his time reloading his gun. I wonder if Bucky has figured out yet that humans are no longer his friend?

Horse “welfare” advocate, Bill DesBarres (HWAC), claims that without slaughter Canada would be overrun with unwanted horses. But almost 70% come from the US. They trickle into the system, one by one, like Bucky and Jack, from owners who are not desperate but just want an easy way out. (By the way, Bill and Claude Bouvry go way back.)

The biggest misconception of all is that banning horse slaughter in the US caused a surge of neglect. The crashed economy, drought and skyrocketed hay prices caused the neglect, not the slaughter ban. The number of horses slaughtered never changed. Owners could ditch them at an auction same as always.

You won’t hear that from Equine Canada. They’ve latched onto the neglect myth and people believe it. They pushed it hard on MPs too, trying to get them to vote against Bill C-571.

Kill Pens at OLEX

The horses are healthy, as are over 90% of all slaughter-bound horses, contrary to statements made by Equine Canada

The horses are healthy, as are over 90% of all slaughter-bound horses, contrary to statements made by Equine Canada

If people would quit breeding so many the numbers would drop pretty quick. Even the responsible breeders don’t break even, driven out of business by everyone who has a mare thinking she should be bred.

All those beautiful babies, in every colour of the rainbow, selling for as little as $100. The breeder brought them from Alberta, knowing that if he sold them there they’d all go for meat. But how many years before they end up back at the auction?

Yesterday a slaughter bound semi carrying 27 horses crashed in Saskatchewan, killing the driver of an SUV and 12 of the horses. How many Jacks and Buckys were on that load?

The CFIA chased reporters away and won’t divulge what happened to the surviving horses. But there are rumors of a Clyde and a pony being reloaded onto a fresh slaughter truck. No matter their terror and broken bones. The production line was waiting.

The ones that died in the crash were the lucky ones. At least their death was kinder than the one they were headed for at Bouvry.

Back at the riding school there’s probably a new horse. The children will stroke him and feed him carrots, and never forget him. Like I’ll never forget Bucky.

Why do I torture myself by going? Because knowledge is power, and maybe when enough people find out the truth about horse slaughter, they’ll care. I hope someone who once knew Bucky sees this post. Or someone in the EU.

Please share.

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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

Down To The Wire

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horse out of timeWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Last October slaughterphiles in the US and Canada watched in horror as all their latent fears came true.  Despite holding on to the promise of horse slaughter as tight as a tick on a long-tailed mare, they watched and listened in disbelief as Claude Bouvry inexplicably ceased to accept American horses for slaughter for a weekend.  No one had any notice and certainly no clear explanation, despite lots of theories about residues and EU audits.  If they were following the plot,  these slaughterphiles would really be losing control of their sphincter muscle right about now because that temporary panic was just practice.  We’re now less than two weeks ago from the July 31st deadline, as originally identified in the GAO report.  But.  since many pros are notoriously unprepared and unaware of issues surrounding horse slaughter (they blithely ignore most evidence of cruelty),  most of them refuse to believe that horse slaughter might someday go away.

Nobody in the horse industry had ever heard of July 31,2013 as some sort of drop-dead date.  That is until it was included in the GAO report, which declared July 31st as the date that the EU would require lifetime medication records for all horses slaughtered outside of the EU.  While there’s a big rush to launch traceability for horses in Canada,  no one knows or will elaborate on what,  if anything,  this date means to horse slaughter in Canada.

A few months back I contacted Equine Canada asked them pointedly whether there was a big rush to get traceability implemented in Canada, and asked them specifically about that magic date.  They told me they had no idea to what I was referring, and asked me to contact some soulless minion at the CFIA, who of course never responded.

A few weeks ago I wrote to Dr. Ian Alexander in the hopes that he might let me know if I had to run to out and get a Premise ID for my “farm,” or whether we might be able to look forward to a seriously diminished Canadian horse slaughter enterprise in less than 2 weeks.

passing-of-timeOf course, I don’t have an answer yet, and maybe I never will.  Or maybe I’ll get the standard form letter that assures me that the CFIA has everything under control.  But in addition to the temporary slaughter shut-down in October, there’s more foreshadowing of what might come down the pipeline,  if not in two weeks,  but eventually.  Like the hammer of an auctioneer at the end of an auction or a judge at the end of a trial, said hammer will also fall on us.

There are many hints that food adulteration is becoming increasingly intolerable to our trading partners:

Ractopamine,  a growth promoter,   is given to beef cattle during their last 4-6 weeks, to pigs in their last 4 weeks, and turkeys for their last 1-2 weeks.  The Bureau of Veterinary Drugs, Health Protection Branch of the Health and Welfare Department of Ottawa here in Canada found that rats fed ractopamine experienced a cluster of birth defects such as cleft palate, open eyelids, shortened limbs, missing digits, enlarged heart, and 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 went on to approve ractopamine for cattle the following year even after sending a warning letter to Elanco (a subsidiary of Eli Lilly) on its deception and abuse of the approval process of Paylean for pigs.

Even though the FDA rolled over on ractopamine, other countries paid attention to the scandal with the growth enhancing drug banned in Russia, Europe, Taiwan and China where an estimated 1,700 people were “poisoned” from eating Paylean-fed pigs.  You know that the industrial food system is fucked-up when the Russians know more about our food system than we do.

South Korea has banned and then un-banned US wheat.  This comes after the announcement about the contamination of US commercially grown wheat with Monsanto’s genetically modified wheat.  It was un-banned earlier this month after Ian Alexander dunce caption1samples showed all were free of the unapproved genetically-modified wheat strain.

Meanwhile, Canada is renovating our parliamentary buildings to cleanse them of asbestos, which of course causes cancer. While doing so, the Canadian government is still pushing exports of asbestos to third-world countries. Canada has even gone so far as to argue a challenge at the World Trade Organization that a proposed French ban on asbestos imports would be an illegal trade practice. Despite recent warnings that asbestos was the cause of hundreds of thousands of cancer victims in Europe, Canadian asbestos producers continue to promote and sell it worldwide to developing nations.  It’s the new tobacco – find a market for toxic goods and pawn it off on the poor brown people of the world.  It’s really embarrassing to be a Canadian when you know that your government is implicated in shit like this,  but what would you expect from a country that hasn’t revised its animal protection laws significantly for 200 years and still promotes the seal hunt and ignores the issues with horse slaughter?

So the point is that our trading partners are fickle groups, and at any point in time we can become the recipient of the fickle finger of fate.  The world is becoming more aware of the health hazards of food contamination through animal rearing activities.  Which is really ironic since most horses aren’t actually “reared” for food.  There is no such thing as an animal that is duel purpose – meaning an animal that is a pet to most AND also one that is used as a food source.   We have pet animals and food animals – not both.

You can read the letter to Dr. Alexander below:

***********************************************************************************************************************************

“Dear Dr. Alexander,

Under regulations of the Health of Animals Act, Canada has a mandatory identification program for cattle, bison and sheep. Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada (AAFC) have expanded that program to include horses.  According to AAFC, horses are functional livestock and are part of the national ID and traceability strategy for animal health and food safety reasons.

Equine Canada, the comprehensive national governing body for equestrianism, is responsible for developing a national equine-specific program (CanEQUID) to satisfy federal government requirements for identification and traceability for equines.  This program would somehow have to be imposed upon US horses coming to Canada as well,  since, after spending several years and millions on the National Animal Identification System , (NAIS) the U.S. Department  of Agriculture (USDA) apparently scrapped the effort and turned responsibility for livestock identification over to the 50 states and various tribal nations.  But for horses sent to Canada for slaughter,  Americans would also have to adopt the UELN, which may result in greater scrutiny for premises ID than that currently experienced for gun control.

Also simultaneously moving forward are the new CFIA meat hygiene directives that affect horsemeat – as of July 31st this year, Canadian slaughter facilities will require complete health records dating back six months.  This would apparently phase-out the often fallaciously completed Equine Information Document (EID), which has failed to assure EU members that drugs are not entering the food chain.   The deadline (July 2013) was created in an exchange between the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and SANGO, which is the EU’s version of the CFIA. The working group which includes the CFIA,  Agri-Food Canada,  Health Canada,  the slaughterhouses,  provincial horse groups and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association.  You can also read the reference to the July 31, 2013 date in the GAO report – (page 13)  It states:

Ian Alexander kool-aid“Furthermore, effective July 31, 2013, the European Union will require lifetime medication records for all horses slaughtered in non-European Union countries before accepting imports of horsemeat from those countries. According to APHIS and horse industry sources, these requirements could result in shippers certifying that their horses are free of medication residues without having first-hand knowledge or documentation of the horses’ status for the previous 180 days.”

What action is supposed to be undertaken by the EU on July 31, 2013?    It seems clear that the EU is referring to traceability here, which would seemingly eliminate the EID.  Would you be able to explain what action Canada will be taking with regard to horsemeat shipments after this date?

Here’s the CanEquid  Strategy document.

The CanEQUID model is based on an electronic passport system with an individual record for each horse. The electronic passport record will include:

  • Unique identification information, including a unique lifetime number
  • Horse ownership information
  • Home farm premises information
  • Premises date and location where horses co-mingle for industry activities
  • Horse health records related to a horse’s status for processing
  • Traceability events – health certificates issued, transport manifest documents issued, etc.

Is Canada’s traceability program going to work for U.S. horses?  It doesn’t seem possible,  since no one in Canada can attest to an individual horse’s status for slaughter.

If a traceability system is not in place by July 31st, what does Ag-Canada anticipate will happen to horsemeat shipments?  Is it likely that this date will be extended?”

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

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

Survey Results Reveal That Traceability Does Little to Alleviate Concerns About Horsemeat……

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testing horsemeatWritten by Heather Clemenceau

First of all, thanks to everyone for completing the survey I launched in a previous blog,  and for sharing your opinions.  In this survey I don’t claim to provide options for pro-slaughters to render an opinion here, as most people following this blog are vehemently opposed to horse slaughter.  So the questions are mostly open and non-leading, but only if you’re of the anti-slaughter sentiment!

After numerous missed deadlines or the complete absence of functional plans and infrastructure,  we have about two months to go in Canada before we find out what happens with equine traceability.  We know Ag-Canada and Equine Canada won’t be ready, but what will the EU do about it?  They are well aware that the Canadian slaughter system  is  unreliable, dangerous to the global food supply and one to avoid emulating should the U.S. resume slaughtering horses for human consumption, as is being proposed. If the EU decides to continue with the status quo, they are no doubt aware that the EID does not prevent adulterated meat from reaching the consumer. It can’t, because the document doesn’t guarantee anything.   It’s also become more obvious to Canadians that the CFIA is populated with many veterinarians who are quick to respond to news articles to defend food safety practices – but unless they are trained in public health and willing to put public health front and centre, they should refrain from providing false assurances of safety or meddling in food processing operations.  This is certainly true for Dr. Ian Alexander,  who has an Honours B. Sc. degree in Biology and an M. Sc and Ph.D in Veterinary Pharmacology/Toxicology as well as a Doctorate of Veterinary of Medicine from the University of Guelph – but – apparently no public health experiences or epidemiological course of study. It’s absolutely astounding to me that with his education he can blithely dismiss the CFIA testing protocols for horsemeat as remotely accurate.

Traceability is “the ability to systematically identify a unit of production, track its location and describe any treatmenhorse-meatts or transformations at all stages of production,  processing and distribution.”  (Archipelago, 2005)

A takeaway from the food fraud/mislabelling scandal in the EU tells us that no amount of tracking without DNA species analysis at critical junctures would have prevented this fraud.  If all these big chains with their food-safety-is-first traceability schemes don’t know what’s in the products they’re hawking, how are mere mortals and consumers to know?

Equine Life Numbers Liz Brown

Journalist Liz Brown has researched equine traceability for Horse-Canada. Please click on the graphic to embiggen and read the entire article as a PDF.

The concerns with EU horsemeat scandal  and the North American experience have been reflected in the survey.  While 43.9% of the respondents believed that disease-tracking would be an important outcome of such a system,  66.7% of those same individuals would not voluntarily opt-in to a program.  Perhaps related to an earlier statement from Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis regarding slaughterhouses providing 72 hours to claim (and pay associated costs for) a stolen horse  from a plant,  63.2% of those surveyed do not believe a tracking program would significantly prevent horse theft.   I don’t believe attitudes towards traceability for horses result only from cost or other confounding elements of the program, but from past experience with and knowledge of players in the horse slaughter industry itself.  Traceability will do nothing to make slaughter humane,  assure them  food, water, or rest in crowded trucks in which they are often seriously injured or killed in transit.

Recent high profile food recalls and enhanced consumer awareness have made traceability a high level issue across the supply chain, from manufacturer to consumer. Even though I have a philosophical objection to it,  journalist Liz Brown has written extensively about the inevitability of  traceability in Canada – her research on the program is available by clicking on the article to the left.

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Further reading:

Star Investigation:  Ottawa refuses to say whether drug-tainted horsemeat entered food chain

Star Investigation:  Drugged horses slipping through inadequate food system

Saving Holly:  Destined for dinner tables,  Star joins race to rescue drug-filled mare from slaughter

Mainstream Magazine “Horse-Canada” Wrestles Tough Slaughter Issue

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mom and babyLast year I was interviewed by journalist Liz Brown,  who writes for the Canadian publication Horse-Canada.  Sinikka Crosland,  Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was also interviewed.  This was a months-long writing/research project for Ms. Brown that was temporarily derailed when Canada stopped accepting imports of American horses briefly in October 2012.

I had wondered whether it would ever be published when a couple of people mentioned that they had seen it in the print version of the magazine.  As far as I know,  it’s not available online but I’ve reproduced it here.  It’s a fairly balanced piece that covers feedlot issues,  the ever-present spectre of horsemeat purveyor La Palette Restaurant in Toronto and our protests there,  toxicology issues,  the lack of testing protocols at the CFIA,  and the falsification of EIDs.  Of course,  horsemeat pimp Bill “Slaughter is a Wonderful Option” DesBarres is quoted as well.

You can’t read the article without arriving at the inevitable conclusion that this multi-million dollar industry is incredibly problematic,  quite apart from the actual cruelty involved.  Hopefully this article resonates with the audience of Horse Canada,  which primarily features more “fluff” pieces on topics such as coronary band injuries and dietary supplements.

Please click on the graphic to open the article in PDF format.

Horse Canada's Expose Stable to Table - please click to read the full article in PDF.

Horse Canada’s Expose Stable to Table – please click to read the full article in PDF.

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

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

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

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

In DesBarres own words:

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

DesBarres "pays back" his horses by slaughtering them

DesBarres “pays back” his horses by slaughtering them

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The glass enclosed chips do not always stay put.

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

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

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

RFID chip

RFID chip

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Provincial Organizations

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

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

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

Email – gordmack@xplornet.ca

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

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

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

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

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

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

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

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

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

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

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

Bill DesBarres - LinkedIn profile

Bill DesBarres – LinkedIn profile

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

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DesBarres also offers this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the article:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RFID chip

RFID chip

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

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