Written by: Heather Clemenceau
Bill DesBarres, horsemeat pimp and paid representative of Claude Bouvry, has been honoured by the Equine Consumers’ Guide with “Reader’s Choice” award for “A Lifetime In The Service Of The Horse.” Of course, the saccharine-sweet article doesn’t mention anything about slaughter – so if you need a quick sugar rush, you could always print it out, chop it into a million pieces and pour it into your morning cuppa – it’s THAT sweet.
How can it be that a group or person who promotes “humane handling of horses throughout all their life stages” can promote horse slaughter? And are the editors of this mag truly unaware of the raison d’ être of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC)? HWAC’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 is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry, aided by the partnership with the elbows-up, stick-swinging, trash-talking Sue Wallis. If any of its chairs or board members were TRULY interested in protecting the interests of equines, this organization would have been set up long beforehand, and it would NOT include slaughter!
Not only should we be offended by this attempt to whitewash the HWAC in a mainstream horse publication, but we should let the editors know that DesBarres has made a career out of accusing horse welfare advocates of “vicious, unprincipled campaigns of stalking, harassment, and threats” (in an email campaign sent from “firstname.lastname@example.org”) and accuses HSUS, the Equine Welfare Alliance, Animals Angels etc. of “terroristic activities.” I guess he’s afraid of calling people a “terrorist” outright, so couches his comments in terms that he thinks he can get away with from a libel perspective. I see what you did there Bill!
In any case, these terms are used by those who believe “hate” is acceptable in our culture. If you talk with animal rights activists, you will find that many are also involved with humanitarian causes such as hunger, poverty, sweatshops, feminism, marriage equality, LGBT or civil rights. I don’t know anyone who’s committed a “terrorist” or “terroristic” activity, unless you’re including every shout-down that occurs on Facebook as a “terrorist” activity. If that’s the case, I’m sure the FBI Division of “Facebook Insults and Butt-hurts” will be eager to take your statements so they can get on the case!
With extreme prejudice, he goes on to claim that these aforementioned organizations “trample on the rights to life, liberty, and property.” There’s that recurring theme of property rights we hear so frequently in the discussion of horse slaughter. I firmly believe that if horse slaughter advocates had been around in the 30s and 40s they would probably be screaming at the top of their lungs over the institution of zoning. Having an unfettered right to do whatever you want with your property is actually a wrong, and reasonable people understand why. How many of us would want to live next-door to someone who played mariachi music non-stop, or someone who burns their garbage in oil drums every week?
I would assume that these magazines are also unaware that DesBarres has fought against those who seek protection for horses, by attempting to repudiate footage from four separate equine slaughter plants has been aired between 2008 and 2011 and all showed appallingly cruel treatment of horses, including in the Bouvry plant in 2010. The Bouvry video was taken Feb. 19th, and the CHDC linked a Lethbridge radio station playing in the background to that date. A song list from that day matches what is heard on the video. The RCMP have already determined that it is authentic and that no changes had been made to the videos, so that should be good enough for anyone, including DesBarres. In a court of law it would stand the test of cross examination as evidence. However, Bill insists that the video was fabricated somehow, perhaps with highly-trained stunt horses as a direct-to-video slasher movie. He must think that the CHDC has a production budget in the millions!
The videos were extracts from 10 hours of film and were taken on random days, which is fairly good evidence that what was presented went on every single day. The investigation of Natural Valley Farms took place over half a year. One could surmise that there is a correlation between the absence of CFIA inspectors from the kill box area and the appalling cruelty evidenced in the videos. The Inspectors have been absent from the floor for several years now by order of CFIA management. The management. order arose from safety concerns raised by and for CFIA Inspectors in 2007 when firearms began being used to stun the horses – so you could say their roles are basically administrative at this point, even though it is their job to supervise and monitor the kill box process.
By praising DesBarres, the mag (un)knowingly downplays or ignores:
- Documented lack of enforcement by the CFIA
- The pressure placed on workers and veterinarians to ignore cruelty violations and to instead keep the slaughter lines going while animals suffer.
- Undercover surveillance footage that shows horses being repeatedly bludgeoned.
- DesBarres’ accusations that animal advocates, a large section of their readership, are borderline criminals merely for exposing cruelty. Most countries protect their whistleblowers – but animal activists and those who video cruelty in slaughterhouses are routinely excoriated.
- Virtually non-existent testing protocols for phenylbutazone and other veterinary drugs – sampling frequency too low to be meaningful for public health purposes.
- They lend credence and legitimacy to someone who denies factual and legitimate evidence that horses are being inhumanely treated.
Contact the Equine Consumers Guide here