Tag Archives: “Equine Welfare Alliance”

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

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Spontaneous Combustion – A Brief History of the Grassroots Anti-Horse Slaughter Movement

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Cavalcade west frieze Parthenon

I’m a relatively new advocate against horse slaughter.  Although I was an equestrian,  I never frequented auctions and kept my horses well into their retirement years.  I never sold a horse to anyone either. So I was sheltered from the reality that an entire industry existed to brutally kill horses.  I didn’t know of any other method to deal with an unwanted, infirm,  or terminally ill horse other than humane euthanasia,  which I thought everyone partook of. In late 2010 my world view sure changed abruptly when I found out that some could shoot a horse a dozen times in the head with a captive bolt and still call it “humane.”

I launched myself into the issues of horse slaughter when the TV show “Top Chef” featured an episode with horsemeat,  which led to my first blog post and my subsequent adventures protesting against restaurants in Toronto serving horsemeat.  So although I feel I have a fairly good grasp of the lawsuits,  secret deals, and defunding provisions of the present-day American (and Canadian) slaughter industry (at least from late 2010,  when I became active in this issue), I’ve struggled with the historical aspect of horse slaughter,  because I don’t have any reference points earlier than that year.

When I’m faced with an issue that happened pre-2010,  I realize that I don’t know much about the mechanics of the grassroots anti-slaughter movement that preceded this time.  While I know that there have been conscientious objectors to horse slaughter for decades,  I admit to not knowing a lot about the history of horse activism after Wild Horse Annie was active. Velma Bronn Johnston (March 1912 — June 1977)  led a campaign to stop the removal of wild mustangs and burros from public lands. She was instrumental in passing legislation to stop using aircraft and land vehicles to capture wild horses and burros and to cease branding and causing their death.

Wild Horse Annie’s grassroots campaign involved mostly school children, and it outraged the public and ultimately got them fully engaged in the the exploitation of wild horses and burros.  Most slaughterphiles believe that HSUS and PeTA drove the campaign through the 90s and early 2000’s,  (and every other year too, because they automatically attribute every animal welfare advancement to them) but there were other groups and individuals who played key roles and made many inroads,  sometimes with great personal sacrifices.

horse frieze2John Holland  of the Equine Welfare Alliance put together a short perspective,  which he wrote in March 2011,  in attempt to identify those people and groups who had historically been responsible for much  of the anti-slaughter movement and the closure of the US plants.  I’m sure John wanted to dispel the all-too-frequent and biased dialogue from the slaughterphiles that HSUS and PeTA are wholly responsible for launching the anti-slaughter movement in the U.S.  John briefly breaks down the progression of the movement in the US during the 1990s point-by-point, in general chronological order (although it cannot possibly be all-inclusive).

These are John’s words:

“I hate to provide such a brief recounting of the battle, because I will only be able to mention a few folks out of the hundreds who deserve mention. But here goes…

  • The California law was the work of Cathleen Doyle and the California Equine Council who started the “Save the Horses” campaign that eventually led to Proposition 6 and the slaughter ban in California in 1998.
  • Humane Farming did one of the most powerful early videos inside a horse slaughter plant which galvanized a lot of the early opposition to slaughter.
  • Rescues began forming in increasing numbers to try to save horses from slaughter during the late 90s. In time, these became more active in opposing slaughter.
  • The Texas plants were closed largely as the result of a woman named Mary Nash. Mary owned a horse farm adjoining the Dallas Crown plant property and originally started the web site called Kaufmanzoning.net to try to get the plant closed. She watched the beautiful horses being brutally killed every day and it spurred her into action.
  • Mary had friends, including Mayor Paula Bacon, Jerry Finch (Habitat for Horses and Julie Caramante (HfH), now with EWA) who became involved and they teamed up with folks from the Boggy Bottom neighborhood.
  • They studied Texas law trying to find something to use to stop the plant. That is how the 1949 law was discovered. They went to the State Attorney General who took some time to determine that the lhorse friezeaw was in fact still in effect. He ordered the plants to close.
  • Meanwhile, the Kaufman Board of Adjustments ordered the plant to close because of its countless sewer and other health violations. The plant managed to tie that order up in court and to stay open.
  • Mary died of cancer before the plants were closed but she fought them to the very last day she drew breath. Her web site is still the best single repository for information about the struggle.
  • The plants filed a suit against the State of Texas to stay open and got a TRO (temporary restraining order) for a considerable time.
  • During the early 2000’s the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) had worked to introduce the first federal anti-slaughter bills. They also helped start one of the first national anti-slaughter web groups called “Against Slaughter” which is still active today.
  • In Illinois, Gail Vacca (a TB trainer) and her friends worked on Illinois legislation that failed the first time it was introduced. AWI worked relatively closely with Gail and others.
  • HSUS first became significantly involved in 2006 as I recall. In fact, they were a relative late comer to the battle. By then, even I had been in it for 4 years.
  • The two Texas plants had a TRO (pending a Supreme Court appeal) at the time of their closings, but it was us advocates who discovered it did not cover the Airlines hauling the meat and when we passed this to HSUS, horses in art ink drawingthey got the Airlines to stop shipping and the plants closed. Their appeal was eventually refused by the Supreme Court, closing the issue.
  • AWI and DDAL (Doris Day Animal League) also sued the Illinois Cavel plant for its sewage discharge violations. That suit was based on records uncovered by a different group of folks who were working in DeKalb studying plant’s operations. That suit never got to court because the state law closed them first.
  • PETA has never taken an active role, partially because the anti-slaughter community asked them not to (for fear they would bring their enemies to the battle). Of course, pro-slaughter people could not leave them out, so they have continually argued that PETA is behind everything.
  • PETA took an undercover video of horse slaughter in Japan, but that is about their only participation.”

Thank you, John Holland……I’m glad to have some of these gaps filled in for me.  Now, when I see some of these names on the internet,  I’ll be able to better associate the participants with their actions.  The individual people identified in John’s post serve to remind us that anyone can become a champion if they possess tenacity and perseverance. There are dozens of horse advocacy groups I can think of now that probably sprung out of the efforts by these individuals and groups.  And a few “dark-sided” ones emerged that we all wish we could forget…..

Passage of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act will reduce animal suffering, hence its wide support throughout the equestrian and veterinary world, as well as the humane community.  This bill would ban horse slaughter in the United States, while ensuring American horses are not exported to Canada or Mexico for the same purpose. Please take action to get S.A.F.E passed!

safe

© Jolanda Beima

“People lie.  And for so many years they’ve been lying about this horse slaughter plant.  They’ve been saying, ‘Oh, all the horses over there   are old and sick and crippled.’  Well that’s not right.  They’re just saying that so that nobody will question what they do.”   ~ Mary Nash ~ RIP

Trot On! New Years Resolutions for Horse Advocates

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horse and fireworksWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

I’m assuming that you,  dear reader,  have already made your New Year’s Resolutions.  Did you know that the average person breaks them after about one month? Yeah, all new year’s resolutions have the specter of failure hanging over them.  Maybe I’m too late and you’ve already broken them?  Hopefully not,  but if you’re like me,  the only thing broken is perhaps your wallet……..However, that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making resolutions in the first place because apparently people who make resolutions are 10 times more likely to attain their goals than the people who don’t.

Of course,  resolutions to ride more outside, take up a new discipline, make horse-keeping safer, or to advocate for horses  are resolutions that may be easier to keep throughout the year than the traditional ones to lose weight.

Steven Covey once said “Begin with the end in mind.”  Of course,  we’re not only discussing the year 2013 but we’re also looking  at the strong possibility of an end to the EU importation of horsemeat in about six months.  Ending slaughter requires that everyone involved in the equine industry work together to create awareness about and rejection of horse slaughter.  It’s also about enjoying our love of horses,  keeping them and us happy and safe, and proactively create awareness and finding solutions.  So here’s a few suggestions to implement,  in case you’ve already ditched your previous resolutions,  or you’re really tardy like me and haven’t gotten around to thinking about it yet!

  1. Scout locations for a Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)  donation box (assuming you’re Canadian of course).  These could be tack shops,  feed stores,  anyplace where you might be a customer who is able to demonstrate the value of LIVE horses to the community.

  2. Get 25 signatures on Bill C-322 Petition – gives provides a good opportunity to have informal discussion with barn mates.  The corresponding Bills in the US are in the process of being re-introduced,  so please go to PopVox and click the re-introduce button for both S-1176 and HR-2966.

  3. Create a disaster recovery plan for your barn.  Whether your facility houses two 199425089719477636_vRb7SrGN_chorses or 20, you should have an evacuation plan for every conceivable emergency, from barn fires to high wind events such as tornadoes. Practice an evacuation drill.  Everyone needs disaster preparedness, which will take care of your barn residents, and business preparedness, which includes resumption/contingency planning if you operate a for-profit business. From where will you source hay if your supply is suddenly wiped out?  Even if your farm is a hobby, it is important to plan for getting the doors open again. Write these plans down and then practice them. In general, one plan can be applied to many scenarios, helping to focus your reactions to the danger. Being proactive will minimize the amount of time and expense to bring your operation back “online” while preserving your sanity,  sourcing new supplies,  and making your animals safer. It’s also helpful to incorporate the disaster preparedness procedures into your daily routine so it becomes habit.

  4. Dispose of sharps and old wormer tubes properly – if you don’t use an actual sharps disposal container,  use a coffee can with a lid and make sure everyone in the barn knows where it is.   There’s nothing scarier or more offputting than reaching into the garbage and getting stuck on a needle.

  5. Create an emergency first-aid kit for your horse – Remember that a first-aid kit is only useful in an emergency if it is right where you need it. You might want to put together more than one kit-one for the barn, one for the trailer and a small kit to take with you on the trails. A well-stocked equine first-aid kit is a major investment. In reality, most horse owners will already have at least some of the required content.  The end result will be a first-aid kit that, one day, may be worth its weight in gold. The peace of mind it provides may prove just as valuable.

  6. Write down your veterinarian’s phone number on all first aid kits too.  And keep veterinarian and emergency numbers attached to your saddle with your horse’s name on it.  Get the info plasticized on a card and attach it with a tie wrap. Extremely valuable if trail riding and in a fanny pack in case you and your horse get separated.  If your horse is found injured – the horse’s name and the veterinarian’s contact info could save their life.

  7. Make sure you have a way to properly identify your horse,  whether by DNA,  freezebrand,  or microchip.  Take a set of current photos showing identifying features.

  8. Make your own hay thermometer and check the temperature of your hay regularly.  Do not use glass thermometers as they can break and shatter inside a square or round bale.

  9. Buy a multi-tool for trail riders – this should contain a hoof pick and wire cutters  – keep it in a fanny pack or saddle bag along with a whistle and phone.

  10. Order a magnetic anti-slaughter statement for your car for $18 plus shipping (Canadian orders only)  – Contact Charlotte Uhrich at charlotteauhrich@gmail.com.  Now go drive everywhere with it!

  11. Speak to your equine veterinarian about horse slaughter if you have not already – veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their list of priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.

  12. Order anti-slaughter postcards from the Postcard Posse (US)

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  13. Get a Twitter account and let the various levels of government know how you feel about horse slaughter.  Americans can tweet Congress,  Canadians can tweet their MPs  and Senators and comment on their blogs.  You can also send private (direct) message on Twitter as well.  Yes, it is very effective in reaching people quickly and directly because the recipient receives an email (or a tweet-text on their phone) for every direct message. Try to tweet during high volume times.

  14. Protect your tack investment – inhibit mold and mildew in your tack room.

  15. We’re about to see Pinterest use among nonprofit organizations explode. Follow animal welfare  groups or individuals on Pinterest, such as Jane Velez Mitchell.  Share photos  and create an album of rescued horses, but don’t post graphic pics.  Pinterest can also be used for calling out a business that abuses animals. Anyone who went to SeaWorld’s Pinterest page a few months ago saw animal advocates’ calls to release orca Tilikum and the other prisoners to a marine sanctuary, which was not quite what SeaWorld was expecting to see when they went to their Pinterest page!

  16. Scan local ads offering free or cheap horses – communicate politely by sending a message advising the seller to be cautious and aware of kill buyers who may manipulate them.

  17. If you suspect or know of illegal activity by killbuyers or the BLM – you can be part of the solution by providing confidential information.  In Canada,  Whistleblowers are invited to confidentially contact the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition regarding violations occurring during horse slaughter or transport to slaughter via email at info@defendhorsescanada.org or via web form.  In the US please contact the Equine Welfare Alliance.

  18. Keep in touch with legislators on Facebook –  give them feedback – positive or negative.

  19. Consider joining a special task force and work on projects with some of your Facebook friends.  Horses need the benefit of more collaboration than ever before if we are to find alternatives to slaughter and placements for horses.

  20. Wear your heart on your sleeve.  Order your CHDC drinkwear or clothing at Cafepress and truly become a walking billboard.  Bumper Stickers and License plate holders are also available.  Download CHDC flyers and use them to engage barnmates in conversation,  or ask to leave them in tack and feed supply stores.

Happy Trails!

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

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

Horse Welfare 2012 – The Year in Review….

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© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Horse advocates have had a busy year working to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption. Horse protection groups released many damning reports of abuse and drug contamination,  and took aggressive legal action to discourage slaughter.

Undercover footage helped support our position,  and numerous investigations were publicized.  Citizen advocates monitored illegal trucking activities and for the first time,  retrieved horses directly from slaughterhouses. Pro-slaughters proved,  via their own (in)actions,  that slaughter does not prevent starvation.

We were also aided by the improved sensitivity of testing protocols in the EU,  which continued to reveal drug contamination of horsemeat,  a finding which is continually met with silence by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency,  although the subject of drug contamination is making its way into the food webs.  We’ve told restaurants in both Canada and the US that we don’t want horses on the menu.

Horse killers,  kill buyers and their enablers did not have a good year – several were charged with felonies.  Slaughterhouse Sue and Dave Duquette were unable to open any of their proposed slaughterhouses, despite performing an endless kabuki dance around the true status of the plants.  Duquette also forgot to send a cheque to renew his own domain name on the web and subsequently lost www.daveduquette.com to a pro-horse HSUS site.

We’ve grown more media  savvy too,  with PSAs and billboards getting the message out.  We are mobilizing via different social media platforms to petition lawmakers. Numerous examples of “horse hoarding” received publicity as well,  with advocates rallying to promote horse adoptions through the increased use of Facebook groups.  We’ve also demanded that horse killers and those who fail to protect horses and humans be justly punished.  However,  despite our best efforts to keep Senate bill 1176 and House resolution 2966 active,  they both died without ever being brought to a vote.

The challenges in 2013 will be even greater,  as the EU moves to ban importation of North American horsemeat and the full force and effect of the ending of the slots program in Ontario are felt.  HWAC,  Equine Canada and the FEI are also launching “prototype” chipping programs,  ostensibly to ensure compliance with 2013 EU regulations.  As we fine-tune all our programs and advocacy efforts,  we look forward to a most challenging year,  but no doubt one filled with hope that we might be seeing the final death throes of the horse slaughter industry.  Happy Holidays indeed!

Read the entire chronological recap on Storify:

horse welfare 2012

 

Happy New Year