Tag Archives: “horse meat”

Safe Food! Safe Horses! Join The March2DC – September 29th

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horse drugsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau,  with files from Nancy Watson

Each year spent fighting horse slaughter is proof enough that we live in a time of war – a constant struggle to maintain the de- facto ban on domestic horse slaughter in the U.S. We saw how corruptible and falsifiable equine passports were during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal two years ago, where meat has for years been extruded through a supply system that could hardly be more opaque, and foreign gangsters and mafia were secretly adulterating the food supply with profit as the main incentive.

Henry Skjerven, former director of Natural Valley Farms (defunct horse slaughterhouse) in Saskatchewan, Canada said:

“US and Canada were never geared for raising horses for food consumption. The system as it stood when we were killing horses was in no way, shape or form, safe, in my opinion.

We did not know where those horses were coming from, what might be in them or what they were treated with. I was always in fear – I think that it was very valid – that we were going to send something across there [to the EU] and we were simply going to get our doors locked after we had some kind of issue with the product.”

 

Please join the Grassroots Advocates March to the U.S. Capitol  The march and rally will take place along Independence Ave. to the US Capitol Building on September 29, 2015. The scheduled events on this day are intended to raise public awareness of the grave risks U.S. horse slaughter has created for the U.S. and global food supply, and to call upon Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015 S.1214 / H.R. 1942 to ban the slaughter of U.S. horses. A recent report from Chapman University, published in August 2015, found horsemeat DNA adulterating mislabeled meat samples sold in the United States.

American horses receive any number of highly toxic drugs that are outlawed by the FDA for use in animals intended for consumption. American horses, including wild horses, live in uncontrolled situations for indeterminate periods of time, have inadequate health histories and may not have not been reliably vaccinated and monitored for illnesses such as rabies, brucellosis, anthrax, glanders, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, or ehrlichiosis.

Ann Marini, M.D., Ph.D., a featured speaker at the march, states American horses are not raised for food. The food safety issue that has been created as a result of sending contaminated horse drugs in meatmeat overseas and into the U.S. food supply is a huge liability for the United States, and needs to end immediately.”

The march, titled “SAFE Food, SAFE horses” will end on the west lawn of the Capitol Building where equine advocacy experts and scientists will discuss why U.S. horse meat contamination poses such a grave threat to our food supply, and how passage of the SAFE Act is crucial to keeping the food supply safe from contaminated horse meat and protecting U.S. horses from slaughter.

American horses are slaughtered for human consumption in Canada and Mexico at the rate of 1 every 5 minutes. Horse advocates want to put an end to the U.S. horse slaughter pipeline once and for all in order to stop contaminating the global food supply with meat from horses that have not been raised for human consumption.

Horse slaughter is a particularly cruel and horrendous death for American horses. As prey animals, horses are especially skittish by nature. They will not stand passively while the executioner attempts to hit a dime sized target on their forehead with a captive bolt gun. Multiple attempts with a bolt gun have been administered to horses in slaughterhouses. Horses who are not adequately stunned may be butchered while still alive and conscious. The only safe and humane way to end a horse’s life is through chemical euthanasia with proper disposal of the remains to avoid contamination of the food supply.

Surveys have shown that over 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Yet, in 2011 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a fraudulent report indicating that horse slaughter is needed in order to prevent neglect and abuse. Several animal advocacy groups have debunked the GAO report, stating that “they have irrefutable evidence showing that the Government Accountability Office fraudulently misrepresented horse abuse and neglect data in their report GAO 11-228. There is both a video and white paper available on line debunking the fraudulent GAO report. Quarter horses make up 75% of US horses going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico due to breed associations such as AQHA promoting horse slaughter as a solution to dealing with overbreeding.

bad politiciansIrresponsible breeding is the single biggest contributor to the U.S. slaughter pipeline, with 70% of the annual Thoroughbred foal crop going to slaughter. Breeders are continually attempting to find the next Secretariat or Seattle Slew. Those horses that don’t make the cut are sent into the horse slaughter pipeline.

In light of all this, advocates are booking flights and making arrangements to participate in the march in a concerted plea to Congress to pass the SAFE Act. Bills calling for the ban of horse slaughter and horse slaughter transport have received overwhelming public and legislative support for many years, but have died an unseemly death in Committee, having never been released to the Floor for a vote. In the previous session of Congress, the SAFE Act S541/HR1094 had 183 cosponsors from the House and 29 from the Senate, but yet again it died in Committee.

The SAFE Act of 2015 S.1214/H.R.1942 has been reintroduced to the 114th Congress by Congressman Guinta of New Hampshire and Senator Menendez of New Jersey with the intent of finally passing this critical bill into law. Food Safety is an issue that concerns all governments. The horse meat scandal that rocked the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom in 2013 involved contaminated horses from North America. The EU Food Safety Commission has since banned all horse meat imports from Mexico, as these are known to be American horses. Current U.S. legislation allows contaminated horses to pollute the global food supply. This bill is sorely needed to ensure that our horses remain safe in the U.S. and off of dinner plates.

A preview of the movie “The Kill Pen” by Sharon Boeckle will be featured

 

Date, Time, Place:

September 29, 2015 at 10:00am (Please be on-site by 9:30). The meeting point will be in front of the USDA building at South Building 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9911. The march will be a planned route to the Capitol Building.  Directions to USDA Building.

Agenda:

We will meet promptly at 10:00am in front of the USDA building and have several speakers with opening statements about our mission and the importance of banning horse slaughter and closing our borders to horse slaughter transportation in the US. After opening remarks, we will march to the West Lawn of the Capitol Building.  Additional events will be announced soon. Sorry, no permits have been obtained for horses.  Please bring a sign in support of the SAFE Act S1214/HR1942, but there will be extras for those who cannot. Hand held banners will be placed throughout the march.  There will also be a Flashmob – please sign up here.

We are going to rally on the Capitol Grounds for the remainder of the day (please be on-site at 9:30):

  • 10:00Dr. Lester Friedlander will lead the march from the USDA building to the Capitol after addressing marchers
  • 11:00 – National Anthem on the Capitol grounds
  • 11:30 – Speakers: Jo-Claire Corcoran will discuss the chronology of US horse slaughter pipeline.  Dr. Ann Marini will discuss equine drugs and how harmful they are to humans and the global food supply. Dr. Friedlander will discuss equine diseases and the USDA and the contamination of our global food supply, and finally horse advocate Meghan Dixon will speak about her connection with horses and how they enrich our lives.
  • 12:00 – Our horse-themed playlist will play on our sound system
  • 2:00 –  Screening of Kill Pen trailer for Congress Members inside the Capitol (room CVC217 – refreshments will be served)
  • 2:00 –  Open Mic begins for those at the rally (content must be approved by the march team prior).  Open Mic sign-up here.
  • 5:00 – Rally on the Capitol lawn and closing remarks by Dr. Friedlander

 

For further info,  please contact Nancy or Rita,  or visit the event’s Facebook page:

Nancy Watson 631.742.4167 SAFEMarch2DC@gmail.com

Rita Reik 561.818.9664 SAFEMarch2DC@gmail.com

Safe March

 

The following is credited to Captain Paul Watson (useful message points to consider when preparing signage, writing, and speaking to media):

Media Laws
1.  The Media is not concerned with facts, statistics or scientific reports. The media is interested in drama, scandal, violence and sex.
2.  Without visuals, there is no story on TV, without photos, you have a weak story in the print media.
3.  Learn to use the media or you will be abused by the media. Media manipulation is merely a matter of survival in a media culture.
4.  Always talk in soundbites. Keep it simple. Do not clarify. Never underestimate the intelligence of the viewer, the listener or the reader.
5.  Ignore the question put to you if it does not serve your purpose. Say what you wish to say. Stay in control.
6.  Emotion will always triumph over fact. Emote. Use humor. Make the viewer like you.
7.  In a media culture, the medium is the message. TV and film are the message of the mind.
8.  Objectivity is a myth, an illusion, a con, and a trick. Objectivity in the media does not exist. The illusion of objectivity may work as a strategy but only a fool would believe that it is a reality within the media culture.
9.  The media defines reality. What is real is what is reported. The public believes what is real is what it has been told to believe.
10. Believe nothing that you read, be skeptical about what you hear and question all that you see. All your senses can be manipulated.

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Godbout Express Observed Shipping Horses To Canada On Long Holiday Weekend

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Gadbout Express

It is permissible for horses to travel up to 36 hours enroute to slaughter

 

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Photos and video credit:  Rob Boisvert

On Friday, May 15th, two Godbout Express transports of horses were observed at an out-of-the-way truck stop in Marysville, Ontario by animal activist Rob Boisvert of Refuge RR in Alexandria Ontario. In listening to the video, it is evident that the drivers appear to be trying to mislead Boisvert and his friend, by telling them that they are enroute from Ohio (probably Sugarcreek Auction) to New Brunswick. They are actually headed to Quebec, and this is proven by a photo taken of one of the trailers which shows a CFIA seal – meaning that the truck cannot be opened until it reaches its destination at one of the two slaughter plants in that province. There are no provincially-registered horse slaughter facilities in New Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

Monday is a statutory holiday throughout most of Canada. The video was taken about 7 pm Friday. From Marysville (near Belleville, ON), it is possibly 5 hours drive or longer (with holiday weekend traffic) to either Les Petite Nations (in St. Andre-Avellin, PQ) or Richelieu ( in Massueville, PQ) slaughterhouses.  The horses would arrive very late the same day or possibly the next day.  We can only wonder what time they expected to get there?  Were the horses to be unloaded somewhere and rested?  According to a 2011 article in Better Farming,  “slaughter-bound shipments will be accepted only during the CFIA’s regular hours of operation…”  Therefore,  we can only take that to mean that unless arrangements were made to offload horses on Friday night, there would be no CFIA inspectors at the plant until TUESDAY, May 19th – more than three full days later!  The horses, unless unloaded somewhere (and by necessity breaking the CFIA seal), would have to stay on the trailer until that time – a horrifying possibility.  Would they be watered or fed? Already many of the horses are standing in the trailers with heads hanging low…

CFIA seal

CFIA Seal

Godbout Express is a repeat offender with the CFIA. The CFIA has most recently issued the company Notices of Violation  of Part XII of the Health of Animals Regulations for $7,800 during the period of October to December 2014, with total fines of $45,600 in both current and past reporting periods.

A check of US DOT #648752 reveals that Godbout Express has incurred two violations already in 2015 in the United States, with similar violations in 2014.

 2015 Violations:

HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A3-PROP Driving beyond 11 hour driving limit in a 14 hour period. (Property Carrying Vehicle)
HOS Compliance Violation:  395.3A2-PROP Driving beyond 14 hour duty period (Property carrying vehicle)

Given the company’s propensity to incur violations,  further investigation with the CFIA will be necessary to determine when these horses arrived and were actually offloaded.

 

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CFIA Report

The CFIA site does not explain what species have been involved in these transport violations.

 

Richelieu EID Exposes Profound Shortcomings Of Food Chain

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meat with horseshoeWritten by: Heather Clemenceau

We picked up a copy of the EID currently being used at the Ontario Livestock Exchange (OLEX) in Waterloo, Ontario. For a document that supposedly exerts “quality control” over horsemeat, notice that there are no CFIA headers or logos; it is however, “branded” with the name Richelieu and replete with embarrassing spelling errors and typos in both English and French.  It is missing a fair bit of information that is present on the sample EID in the CFIA Meat Hygiene Manual for equines as well,  including an indicator of the primary use of the horse (recreation/companion animal/ pleasure riding, breeding, ranch/farm work, public work, private industry work, performance/sport/show, racing, rodeo, urine production, food production.)  I guess they don’t want high risk animals to be unnecessarily flagged for drugs.  Note that on the first page, Richelieu refers to the document itself, not unironically, as “DIE.” It is due to moments like these perhaps, that humorists were born.

As with any other paper version of the EID, the owner is expected to complete the column “withdrawal period.”  There is little likelihood

that anyone will follow the obscenely long URL at the bottom of the page,  and if they did,  they wouldn’t likely understand it since it directs the form user to the French version of the CFIA’s Meat Hygiene Manual – on an English form.  It’s completely misleading to provide a link to French guidelines on an English form that is mostly used by english-speaking horse people.  So under the circumstances, how would anyone find the withdrawal time for a specific drug even if they knew what it was?

Withdrawal times also vary depending on drug delivery methods – whether oral/IV/IM and whether used in combination with other drugs. The dose itself along with the frequency of use (repeated oral administrations can greatly extend withdrawal times) are two of the most important factors.  Compounded drugs (as opposed to generic or branded drugs sold OTC or through veterinarians) can vary widely in potency as well.  The amount of body fat,  the breed,  gender and health of the horse are also factors that affect kinetic decay of drugs.  Lastly,  the amount of stress that the horse is subject to may also affect withdrawal times.  And even though a pharmacological effect on the animal may be over, the drug and its metabolites may still be detectable, and those metabolites may also be prohibited. The CFIA manual doesn’t tell anyone this,  nor could they expect the lay horse person to understand any of the factors that also affect withdrawal times and drug tests,  so the person completing the form,  even if honest,  is never provided with the appropriate information.

 

 

Of course, the system isn’t designed to encourage former owners to give too much thought to what drugs a horse may have been given on or off-label during the course of its life. It’s to the benefit of the slaughterhouses that short-term owners will be unaware of the existence of a list of prohibited drugs or drugs that must be withdrawn for days or months, since this means fewer declarations of drug administrations,  and allows the CFIA to crow about a “98% compliance rate for drugs.” If there were adherence to the Meat Hygiene manual, the majority of horses would be disqualified outright because of Phenylbutazone and other drug usage, including virtually all former race horses. Those that were not disqualified outright would probably need to be held for six months for withdrawal.  You couldn’t even immediately slaughter a horse that had recently been wormed.

We saw how corruptible and falsifiable equine passports were during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal two years ago, where meat has for years been extruded through a supply system that could hardly be more opaque, and foreign gangsters and mafia were secretly adulterating the food supply with profit as the main incentive.  This is hardly much different than what happens currently In Canada, (minus the organized crime connection) where the EID system provides as much traceability and drug-free conclusiveness as does buying meat off the street from a stranger – because official ID isn’t required in order to complete an EID.  Yet the CFIA perversely insists that the paper EID is just as good as the falsifiable passports that allowed the EU horsemeat scandal to happen.

Henry Skjerven, former director of Natural Valley Farms in Saskatchewan, said:

“US and Canada were never geared for raising horses for food consumption. The system as it stood when we were killing horses was in no way, shape or form, safe, in my opinion.

We did not know where those horses were coming from, what might be in them or what they were treated with. I was always in fear – I think that it was very valid – that we were going to send something across there [to the EU] and we were simply going to get our doors locked after we had some kind of issue with the product.”

 

Eat Your Words: Toronto Horsemeat Restaurant La Palette Public Health Disclosures

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"La Palette", protest, toronto, "Queen Street West" , "french restaurant", horse, horsemeat

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

The summer of 2012 was one where activists demonstrated almost every week against horsemeat restaurant La Palette on Queen St. West.  During that time we started paying attention to La Palette’s food safety evaluations under the “DineSafe” program operated by Toronto Public Health.  The program features an Interactive map of every restaurant,  grocery,  cafe and take-out joint that’s been closed by Toronto Public Health since 2001. If we hadn’t been watching, we would have missed a wonderful exercise in schadenfraude – partway through our demonstrations we read on the DineSafe website that Palette received a “conditional pass,” results of which are in the public domain. Restaurants are required to prominently display this information on the front of their entrances (known to Torontonians as “Scores on Doors”),  and when arriving one evening to protest, we were amused to see that a potted plant

La Palette Toronto Public Health Report - courtesy of a protester

2012: La Palette Toronto Public Health Report – courtesy of a protester (notice plant partially obscuring the sign on window)

appeared out of nowhere and partially obscured the signage. La Palette appears to be a restaurant that’s now regularly considered to be “medium/high risk” by the Health Department since in 2014, two years after that conditional pass, they are still being audited 3 times a year. That in itself is probably not atypical for a resto serving multiple meat dishes, some of which are served raw,  but the findings are interesting none the less.

Jim Chan, head of Toronto Public Health’s food-safety program, explains that Toronto Public Health uses a risk-assessment system to figure out how frequently to inspect any given establishment, whether it’s a hot dog cart or a hotel kitchen. Here’s how it works:

HIGH-RISK PREMISES (Inspected three times a year or more): “The more complicated the food preparation, the higher the food-safety risk. “Think of a restaurant with multiple items on the menu, with raw food and ready-to-eat food,” says Chan. “Think of a hospital kitchen, or a long-term-care-home kitchen. If these operators are not careful, it increases the risk of food poisoning.”

MEDIUM-RISK PREMISES (Inspected twice a year or more): “Lots of people think McDonald’s would be high-risk, but it’s medium-risk,” says Chan. “Everything is generic: You have frozen patties, and there’s one way to cook them and one way to serve them.” Other medium-risk establishments: most pizza places, bakeries, sub shops and cafés.

LOW-RISK PREMISES (Inspected once a year or more): “When you look at a 7-Eleven, where all they have is a few hot dogs on a rotisserie, or they sell chips, pre-packaged sandwiches, stuff like that, they’ll be low-risk.” Ditto for Starbucks and most convenience stores.”

"La Palette", horsemeat, protest, "Toronto restaurant" , "french restaurant" , horse

Shamez Amlani,  co-owner of La Palette,  engages a protester

A typical tactic of La Palette during protests was to go out into the street and start serving raw horsemeat to passersby.  In some respects this isn’t entirely a bad thing – when they give away food it means they aren’t selling it.  But whenever I think about eating raw meat, I feel an eating disorder coming on.  I get a little panicky when I think that people, perhaps unknowingly, are eating food I’ve been taught to avoid – even moreso because it’s horsemeat. Personally I don’t get it. It is clear that there are absolutely no critical control points to minimize the risk of infection with the consumption of raw horsemeat.

Here’s last year’s summary of audit findings served up online along with an inspection from 2015 (some of which are highlighted as “significant”).  All findings seem confined to washing, sanitizing, preventing contamination of foods/surfaces – all actions you’d want a restaurant to have figured out after years in operation and several previous cautions by Toronto Public Health.

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  •  OPERATE FOOD PREMISE – FAIL TO EQUIP FACILITY WITH WASTE RECEPTACLE O. REG 562/90 SEC. 68(3)(D)
  • Operator fail to properly wash equipment  (mutiple observations)
  • Operator fail to properly wash surfaces in rooms (multiple observations)
  • Operator fail to sanitize garbage containers as required
  • OPERATOR FAIL TO ENSURE CAP WILL PREVENT CONTAMINATION OR ADULTERATION O. REG 562/90 SEC. 59(C)(II)
  • OPERATOR FAIL TO ENSURE SINGLE-SERVICE CONTAINERS KEPT IN MANNER PREVENTING CONTAMINATION O. REG 562/90 SEC. 59(D)
  • OPERATOR FAIL TO ENSURE COVER WILL PREVENT CONTAMINATION OR ADULTERATION O. REG 562/90 SEC. 59(C)(II)
  • FAIL TO PROVIDE THERMOMETER IN STORAGE COMPARTMENT O. REG 562/90 SEC. 21

None of the above issues mean that La Palette will get anything less than a green “Pass” evaluation,  and unless a diner takes the time to look up the last audit on the DineSafe website they will not be aware of the  individual infractions.   Since the inception of the program however, only 4 restaurants in Toronto have actually lost their license.

I doubt that any pretentious,  self-indulgent, horse-eating foodies will be tangentially concerned with food hygiene anyway – chefs are some of the least reliable people to ask about safely cooking food to eliminate bacterial (or parasitic) contamination.  And trendy executive chefs like former heroin addict Anthony Bourdain have long popularized the idea that eating”good” food needs to involve some element of risk.  And raw horsemeat = trichinosis roulette.

Journey’s End: Trinket’s Story

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Trinket 4

Long overgrown hooves and a mane irretrievably matted with burrs were a testament to Trinket’s neglect. Rescuers and other animal advocates will always have to contend with people who neglect their animals despite the availability of slaughter as a “fix” for for the problem of unwanted horses. The availability of horse slaughter DOES NOT improve horses’ standard of living and will not stop passive neglect such as this.

 

 

Trinket’s Story,  by Little Brook Farm

I have been rescuing horses for 43 years. There always have been – and always will be – ponies like Trinket neglected in back yards. The owners would never, ever consider sending these ponies to auction (slaughter).

Pro-slaughter proponents tell you that re-opening slaughter houses in the US will prevent the “Trinkets” from suffering. That’s not how this works – it’s quite the opposite. Horses going to slaughter are typically not the back yard neglect cases unless a dealer posed as a “good home” and then sent them off to slaughter unbeknownst to the owner.

The horses sold for slaughter are often Thoroughbreds who weren’t fast enough, got injured or couldn’t be bred back, Quarter horses, or Paints without color, for example. They were intentionally bred by owners with the financial resources to euthanize their horses if they no longer wanted them (slaughter is NOT euthanasia). Can you imagine poor, little, elderly Trinket, who could barely stand,  crammed for 24 hours in a cold truck with anxious horses driving to Canada and then waiting in a feed lot for the inevitable? It was kinder to quietly put her down with people she had come to know.

Trinket should never have been allowed to suffer. She had an owner who is horse savvy and has the financial resources to properly care for her. There was a girl desperate to provide her with a good home who repeatedly asked for her if the owner decided she didn’t want her. In addition to the discomfort the pony endured, there were neighbors watching her hobble around year after year, including children. What is the message here?

To read more of Trinket’s sad and lengthy tale of neglect,  please visit Little Brook Farm on Facebook.

May I go Now?
Do you think the time is right?
May I say good-bye to pain filled days
And endless lonely nights?

I’ve lived my life and done my best,
an example tried to be.
So can I take that step beyond
and set my spirit free?

I didn’t want to go at first.
I fought with all my might.
But something seems to draw me now
to a warm and loving light.

I want to go. I really do.
It’s difficult to stay.
But I will try as best I can
to live just one more day.

To give you time to care for me
and share your love and fears.
I know you’re sad and afraid,
because I see your tears.

I’ll not be far, I promise that,
and hope you’ll always know
that my spirit will be close to you,
wherever you may go.

Thank you so for loving me.
You know I love you too,
that’s why it’s hard to say good-bye
and end this life with you.

So hold me now, just one more time
and let me hear you say,
because you care so much for me,
you’ll let me go today.

By Susan A. Jackson

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