Today’s post is dedicated to horsemeat propaganda, courtesy of Canada’s famous slaughterphile Bill DesBarres, who recently appeared on one of two radio episodes on horsemeat coming out of Saskatoon on the Round Table News Talk 650 CKOM. DesBarres was interviewed by David Kirton in one podcast, while Craig Silliphant and David Kirton sampled horsemeat in a second podcast, with Angela Hill representing the “pescatarian” abstainer. Although their Facebook page was inundated with criticism and countervailing facts about horses, it was only a fraction of the outrage that was reserved for the hosts of “Top Chef Canada” which created a challenge featuring horsemeat in a segment two years ago.
When the show’s producers saw the posts on their Facebook page and realized that there might be humane issues with slaughtering horses, they apparently mistookthe Horse “Welfare” Alliance of Canada as an actual welfare group advocating for horses and invited DesBarres to participate by providing awkward, one-sided small talk. Both shows were very formulaic in that they glossed over the real issues and asked “not-so-challenging” questions of DesBarres, who invariably presented horse slaughter as a joyous theme park of happiness where horses willing go to be slaughtered and eaten, not unlike the pig at the Restaurant at the end of the Universe.
DesBarres did not fail to deliver his usual derp for the CFIA either, and steadfastly maintained that he has never heard of any Canadian horsemeat that has tested positive for phenylbutazone. Unfortunately for the audience, host David Kirton wasn’t aware of any examples either, and so was unable to delve any deeper into the discussion. And the audience was not served by the lack of commentary from a knowledgeable person or group such as the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, a true horse advocacy group.
DesBarres will NOT tell these radio hosts that his welfare claims of happy slaughterhouses and comfortable travel to them are 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 and in undercover video by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition?
He also won’t tell anyone that the HWAC’s solution for the traceability issues in horsemeat will never be accepted by the general population of horse owners, because we will not pay for any system for our animals just so the Europeans or Japanese can be assured of a bute-free gastronomic experience. And he did not tell the hosts (at least not on air) that he is a paid representative of Claude Bouvry and his slaughter empire. Nor will he acknowledge that HWAC has no real horse welfare programs, and if he or the HWAC board members were genuinely concerned about horse welfare, DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence produced by the CHDC. That speaks volumes.
You can listen to the DesBarres Interview here
The eating of horsemeat took place in a second episode, where the hosts generally face-planted onto various issues, never quite getting it right. For instance, they clung to the false notion that in order to justifiably complain about the philosophy of eating horsemeat, you must be vegan. They didn’t truly grasp the notion of the “non-food animal” issue, instead choosing to
ask why slaughter remains “acceptable” for the traditional food animals. It’s a fair enough question, but one I’ve grown really weary of attempting to answer. Indeed, some vegans I know have wondered why it seems to be so wrong to eat horses, because their beloved and much maligned farm animals are already being cruelly treated. Much of the vegan message is “what about cows and pigs?” as if to advocate for horses somehow invalidates the suffering of other animals or makes us into some sort of animal “racist.” Again, in my opinion, this is the wrong question. Instead, we should all be asking why it is necessary to add another animal to the food chain? We must collectively resist the foodie movement, which has played a role in normalizing horsemeat, foie gras, as well as popularizing other non-traditional animals or worse – the consumption of non-inspected meat or live animals, as popularized by Anthony Bourdain and other wanna-be-known-for-sumthin’ chefs (caution – semi-graphic video – start watching at 3:00).
The hosts also assumed that deer and elk are not farmed (Bouvry and others are doing it), that all horses going to slaughter were old, and east Indians don’t eat cows. They may also have assumed that horse slaughter is only cruel if it DOESN’T use the same process as with cows. Using a process for cows is one more reason why it IS NOT HUMANE for a horse. The hosts also bought into the false dilemma that, based on the relationship between predator and prey animals in the wild, the slaughter of an animal by us in a factory setting is humane by comparison. It’s a false dilemma because the horse that became their luncheon meat probably was someone’s pleasure horse at one time, and had no natural enemies to prey upon it. And why did they assume that you must eat anything that is put in front of you, otherwise you’re being disrespectful of your host? Is it rude to refuse alcohol if you’re abstaining? Why then could it be rude for vegetarians or vegans to refuse animal protein provided by a host? I guess one must never spoil a dinner party for mere religious or ethical reasons. It was Anthony Bourdain who said, “taking your belief system on the road—or to other people’s houses—makes me angry.” The sight of vegetarian tourists waving away a Vietnamese pho vendor fills him with “spluttering indignation.” That’s right – apparently guests have a greater obligation to please their host, than vice versa. There’s really no civilized value left that foodies (or radio hosts) cannot destroy.