Tag Archives: “horse Welfare Alliance of Canada”

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.

famous rescues copy

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

Killing, To “Save” Animals?

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unicorn and rhino

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Can you ever kill animals to save them?  That seems to be the premise lately, with both black rhinos and now the juvenile reticulated giraffe from the Copenhagen Zoo, Marius, suddenly being deemed worth more dead than alive.  Just as with horse slaughter, there are a lot of excuses bandied about as to why both animals must die.  But internet commenters have punched through all of the rationalizations and arguments made by both the Safari Club and the Copenhagen Zoo.  Animal advocates know all too well that when commercialization of animals  takes over, ethics  become clouded.

Endangered Newfoundland Pony

Endangered Newfoundland Pony

The powers that be at Copenhagen Zoo saw no alternative but to wield the axe down on the giraffe, since it has been claimed that he was genetically unsuitable for further breeding in the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria program.  Animals in EAZA programs are allowed to breed whether they are needed or not, and the “surplus” animals are usually killed and used as a food source for carnivores.  Accredited American and Canadian zoos tend to breed only when they know where the animal is going, but EAZA zoos believe in breeding as a sort of “self actualization” for animals, since many of their wild behaviours cannot be acted upon in a zoo enviro.  EAZA zoos have got that “puppymill” mentality when it comes to reproducing animals which for the most part, are not even endangered.

An average of only 13% of species kept in European zoos are classified as “globally threatened” and on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species,  which makes you wonder why the zoo is breeding reticulated giraffes in the first place,  since they aren’t endangered,  while several other sub-species are on the critical list. And the young giraffe could only ever be a surplus animal in the program since his “dead-end” genetics would have been anticipated before he was even born. So, Marius’ killing was little more than a canned hunt in the name of animal science. Consistent with the concept of a canned hunt,  we saw that the zoo director and veterinarian were really heartless, and saw their charge as nothing more than a collection of organs to be cut open and put on display.

Both the giraffe killing and the proposed Safari Club rhino hunt in Namibia are predicated on the belief that the killing of these animals differs little from what happens to giraffes and rhinos in the wild on a daily basis. A

The Canadian Horse,  despite a revival in Canada,  is still mostly found only Quebec and Ontario.

The Canadian Horse, despite a revival in Canada, is still mostly found only in Quebec and Ontario.

“natural” life—to use the words of English philosopher Thomas Hobbes is fraught with “continual fear and danger of violent death, and the life of man, solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.”  I just don’t see how it’s possible to kill an animal for a donation that may not be wholly used towards conservation anyway.  It sends the message that trophy hunting — and that’s what this is — is humane and justifiable if it’s offset by some charitable act.

Killing animals who are “surplus” isn’t mercy killing, it’s premeditated killing. Every species must have a purpose to survive – and wild animals all have a purpose.  But does a draft horse have the responsibility of being 1,200 lbs of meat for a chef?  The notorious Ken-L-Ration plant slaughtered massive numbers of draft horses and other breeds, almost insatiably. It canned horse meat for dog food and just about drained the west dry of horses.  In this British Pathé video from 1948, up to 80% of all post-war era horses were slaughtered for meat.  Like current day kill buyers, “agents” scoured the country horse fairs, snatching up horses for meat, squeezing out farmers who also wanted to purchase horses for farm work.

I copied the post below from United Horsemen’s Facebook page.  It’s a post imploring people to keep rare breeds of horses alive by breeding without a market and slaughtering whatever can’t be sold.  Notice how important it is to the author that her “name will be on the pedigrees of some of those horses as the breeder from the past,” even if the majority of horses she produces are slaughtered for food

The endangered Cleveland Bay horse

The endangered Cleveland Bay horse

“I have noticed MANY riding type horse breeders recently announcing the discontinuation and sell-out of their breeding stock, and am deeply saddened by it. Forgive me for another”draft-horse experience” rant, but I hope some will try to hold on a little longer from exiting…to stop breeding devastates ANY breed-and the antis really dont give a crap about that….

ALL belgian drafts, irregardless of the country they are in, descend from this horse. EVERYONE of his foals were in HIGH demand at that time-to think of sending ANY sound one to slaughter would have been unthinkable. At that time, the value of draft horses completely outpaced other types of horses, even that of race horses. It was almost a frenzy-they were extremely valuable.

There is NO use for draft horses now a days-tractors and trucks completely replaced them. There is no demand for them-as I wrote before, the number of horses in this breed has

Rare Sugarbush Draft Horse

Rare Sugarbush Draft Horse

dwindled to far less than 1000 foals per year-and that was 12 years ago. (I am still awaiting current numbers) They are bred by people who are desparately trying to save the breed, and most of these people are in no way wealthy. This horse is dead now, but over half his weanling foals were sold to slaughter, and as yearlings, even more ended up as a delicious steak dinner-not because people bred for meat-but because they know that to stop breeding would be the death to this breed, and just maybe the foal might be exceptional enough to carry on the breed. The money received from the sale of the foal for meat enabled them to afford to breed again and once again hope for an exceptional foal.

Just like draft horse breeders faced in the 1950s, the light horse breeders are facing now. Should they let the breed and important bloodlines be flushed away because they personally didnt like the idea of having to sell foals for meat and/or didnt like others to “gossip” and unfairly degrade someone as a breeder because they sold foals for meat?? You light horse breeders need to think about where you stand…are your HORSES and bloodlines more important, or are the rants of a few “holier-than-thou-art” anti-slaughter trashheaps more important. Forgive me for bringing up the election once again, but it doesnt look like the economy is improving or will be soon. Due to many issues, food animal production is slowing and therefore values will increase, and I highly suspect horse slaughter prices will also increase as breeders cut back.

The Suffolk Punch has become an endangered breed

With the reopening of domestic slaughter soon, any foal of mine that I dont sell privately and send to a sale will have a medication-free paper signed just as my cattle do, and I will have a minimum bid for the registration/pedigree transfer. The value of my foal will be that of the buyer, and if the foal ends up as dinner, it is just part of life. And I will reinvest that money into my breed again….hopefully, in the year 2100, Belgian Heavy Drafts will still be around, and my name will be on the pedigrees of some of those horses as the breeder from the past. And this will be due to doing what I had to to ensure the survival of the breed and a few of the bloodlines within it-embracing the meat market. We draft horse breeders had to face reality-aside from Armaggedon happening, there is little use for horses and it is harder for people to afford them…The light horse industry is now facing this-and the breeders must now decide the fate of their treasured breed..I hope you all think very deeply about this…

The last few years have devastated the breed even more-the cost of everything in Europe is MUCH higher than here-on top of a world-wide depressed economy. The one thing that

breeders can count on there is that they will get a base price for their foals which covers the breeding and a SMALL income-that encourages them to breed, hoping for higher

Hackney Horses have become a rarity in the horse world

Hackney Horses have become a rarity in the horse world

quality foals, but confident they have a market for ALL foals, irregardless of quality (of course, higher quality foals sell for more for breeding/use which of course they would prefer) Having NO slaughter would mean not being able to have a base market and price to sell foals-and would bring nearly ALL breeding to a screeching halt-which would immediately devastate the breeds. We who raise drafts have been use to this for years, but now it is caught up to the saddle breeds-and many breeders are having a hard time accepting this. I have a VERY BIG PROBLEM with people just saying “dont breed”. That is NOT the problem-the problem is our base market has been stripped from us by people who dont even breed or raise horses and dont care about our breeds. WE NEED SLAUGHTER BACK FOR THE SAKE OF KEEPING MANY BREEDS FROM BECOMING “EXTINCT”!!”

I do agree that it’s important to try to save breeds like this, but they should not be “maintained” by slaughter. Can we please neuter the people who believe the only way to save animals is to eat them?  I’m sick of reading that anthropocentrically arrogant and insensitively heartless logic. Slaughtering 80% of horses, especially at the expense of people who wanted to buy them for their own use, is something approaching extermination, not conservation or maintenance of a breed. Industrialization has meant that draft horses are no longer heavily in demand, while other breeds became endangered or even extinct. But why breed something for which there is no market?  Do reputable businesses produce a product first and then figure out how to market and sell it afterwards?  No – they have business plans which they regularly evaluate and modify for market conditions.  The constant breeding and culling has to stop.  All the rationalization for killing surplus animals destroys humanity and declares it absurd.  It would be far better to promote draft breeds for sustainable logging operations and breed them responsibly for those occupations than constantly shout into a gale, blaming others for the decline in your horse market. Or if you can’t sell your horses,  just stop breeding.

Flashpoint incidents like the killing of Marius and the auction to kill a black rhino are clear signs that the information gap is closing on all sorts of cruelty to animals in the world, and that public opinion will eventually signal the end of complacency and superficial rationalization. It’s our hearts that make us humane, not our minds.

Silence of the CFIA Lambs….

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passport medsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

July 31st, the supposed EU deadline for implementing a traceability system for horses in Canada, is a date that has come and gone.  Although many pro-slaughter advocates maintained that we all made up that date, it clearly originated from the GAO report on horse slaughter – Horse Welfare – Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter.

“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.”

cash paid for unwanted horsesEarlier in July I wrote to the CFIA to find out what was going down on July 31st.  While Dr. Alexander, Chief Veterinary Officer for the CFIA’s response did address some of the questions I posed in a letter, it also leaves some other questions completely unanswered or open to interpretation.  The most obvious acknowledgement by the CFIA is that the EU has apparently extended the date two or three years into the future, not that we will be ready by 2015 or 2016 either.  They’re really hedging their bets by including two possible implementation dates too!  Just in case they can’t get it together by 2015, well, there’s always next year!  Lather, rinse and repeat……..

Of course,  restrictions and deadlines hardly bothered the CFIA in the past,  but now they have this passport system with which to contend – a detailed electronic log of a horse’s lifetime veterinary record and the drugs it has been given— including, but not limited to phenylbutazone, which is banned entirely, must not have been given to the horse in at least the last 180 days prior to slaughter or they can not be imported into EU nations.  Canada tried to implement traceability for horses before,  and seemed to give up after spending almost $500,000 to find out that it was unworkable,  no doubt due in part to the fact that many Canadian horse owners just don’t seem to be interested in paying for microchips and barn calls to satisfy third party concerns about the eligibility of our horses for meat.

Click to embiggen and read the entire letter.

Click to embiggen and read the entire letter.

Also of interest is the fact that Dr. Alexander tells us that the horsemeat market in Canada is worth $36 million, while we’ve always known it to generate around $70 million in the recent past.  Exactly what happened to halve the revenue of this industry in 2012?

Put down any beverages you are currently drinking, because you’ll probably  choke when you read that Dr. Alexander believes that the EID system is just as effective as the passporting system!  Well, perhaps he’s not really wrong, since they are both completely falsifiable and corruptable.  We saw this during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal early this year, 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 as does buying meat off the street from a stranger.

missingNotice also that “technical support” is being offered to both Equine Canada and Canada’s #1 slaugherphile Bill DesBarres of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada.  Is that CFIA-speak for throwing money at both groups?  Apparently, Canada can’t learn from the EU’s mistakes – we’re going to have two separate and distinct databases?  The same problems in the EU system – lack of control over the inputs into the database and duplicated records would happen here, and it would be even worse with two systems.  The EU has since realized that there were too many opportunities for unscrupulous people to make changes to the database, and are tightening up controls in that respect.  What gives veterinarians the idea that they should have any business involving themselves in the architecture and implementation of databases anyway?

I love the closing paragraph on Alexander’s correspondence, – they’ve got an “action plan to not stop exporting equine meat products to the EU Market.”  That’s right,  no matter what,  they’ll jury-rig the system and bamboozle the EU in order to maintain the status quo.  Of course they don’t allude to what their plans entail.  Whatever could the CFIA have told the EU to make them think we have a system with any credibility whatsoever?

The CFIA was given the dual and conflicting mandate to promote agri-food trade and sales,  as well as ensure food safety. That agency has a role to play in preventing the crime of allowing adulterated

Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz

Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz.  Live export, horse slaughter, exploding sausages, lavish expenditures, and the downloading of responsibility for our food inspection to the un-elected private sector. Somebody stick a fork in Gerry Ritz. I think he’s done.

horsemeat into the market, but it’s clear that they should not be in charge of food protection whilst simultaneously sending the inexplicably still-employed Minister of Agriculture Gerry Ritz and others on missions around the world promoting trade.

Food safety in Canada has jumped the shark.  There’s just too much allegiance to old, outdated systems operating purely on faith.  Horses are not living beings exploited by this industry and its participants, but “products” to be exported like lumber.  Oh Canada, what have we got to be proud about when it comes to our treatment of horses?

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.

Have the Tentacles of Horse Slaughter Touched the Set of Heartland?

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Horseshoe in the grassWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

After a night of careful deliberation and a rigorous boxing match between each direction of my moral compass, I’ve finally decided to write about this issue.  I’ve written about Alberta a few times before – Canadian slaughterphile and HWAC Chair Bill DesBarres, the Calgary Stampede, and our anti-slaughter billboard have featured predominantly in the past.  DesBarres is also the paid public representative of Claude Bouvry – the owner of Bouvry Exports.  Horse slaughter seems to be almost an entrenched tradition in Alberta, with Bouvry’s two plants and the Stampede setting the tone for institutionalized animal abuse and neglect.

Fort McLeod is the capital of horse slaughter in Canada. In their white paper “Horse Slaughter – Its Ethical Impact and Subsequent Response of the Veterinary Profession,” the U.S.-based group Veterinarians for Equine Welfare denounces horse slaughter as inhumane and

“an unacceptable way to end a horse’s life under any circumstance.”

The organization also warns against the practice because of the wide assortment of drugs that are prohibited from use in animals “intended” for human consumption, but are given to horses and likely to be present in their flesh after slaughter. The group also outlines its “strong position” that due to these medications,

“…horsemeat derived from any US [or Canadian] horse can never be regarded as safe for human consumption.”horseshoes

The various feedlots nearby and the Bouvry slaughter plant were part of an investigation by Animals Angels in October 2012; you can read the full report here.   There is also additional footage of the various Alberta feedlots by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition as part of “The True Faces of Horse Slaughter” investigation.

Another staple in Alberta is the television show “Heartland,” a family series based on the Heartland books by Lauren Brooke. The series chronicles the highs and lows of ranch life and it is filmed in Alberta – feedlot capital of Canada.  The Facebook page is filled with perpetually optimistic fans pleading for better love lives for the characters,  and it’s a place where “True Heartlanders” are never bored with reruns.  As far as I know, the closest this series has come to treading on the topic of slaughter is an episode where a dozen wild horses are found in a “feedlot,” which the scriptwriters tell us is a “place where they keep cows before they kill them.”  I’m wondering if the producers have ever seen a real feedlot,  where thousands upon thousands of horses are waiting to be slaughtered,  not a dozen.   They’re not difficult to find in Alberta!  But realistically,  that’s just too much reality for a family show….

A few days ago the television show became embroiled in something of a scandal – it’s the only time I ever saw harsh words exchanged on that Facebook page.  And it was reserved for horse welfare advocates after several individuals recognized one of the trailers photographed at the Bouvry slaughterhouse as belonging to a well-known contractor and animal wrangler for the show.  John Scott Productions supplies horses for this show and others, as well as sets, props,  wagons and buggies.

It’s a working ranch with over 100 horses, as well as buffalo and longhorns,  according to their website. Although the Animals’ Angels investigation took place in October,  the connection wasn’t made until recently and then the Heartland producers were forced to deal with the reality of the incriminating photos and investigation posted on their Facebook wall.  While some threads were left up,  others and comments were quickly deleted.  Finally, it seemed as though the people handling their social media accounts decided that the appropriate response was to cease the heavy-handed deleting and give the impression that the situation was being addressed.

As you can see from the Animals’ Angels investigation, two of John Scott’s trailers were tagged at Bouvry’s on October 18th.

“10/18/12 –  Investigators arrived at 7:30 am.

The parking lot was already crowded. Two pickup trucks with stock trailers were parked at the unloading ramp. At 7:46 am, they both left and investigators followed. On the back of the trailers was written: Movie Horses –John Scott – Longview, Alberta. “

Scott Productions Trailers photographed by Animals' Angels investigators immediately after leaving the Bouvry plant

Scott Productions Trailers photographed by Animals’ Angels investigators immediately after leaving the Bouvry plant

Fans of the show were simultaneously shocked and/or in denial about the possibility that horses were taken to slaughter.  It’s an awkward situation for the producers of the show because the show’s entire premise is based on rescuing horses as an homage to the main character’s deceased mother.  Even though they cannot control what their contractors do outside of their business relationship with the show, it presents as an extreme conflict.  And it’s largely an unresolved conflict, at least to me and a few others, because we’ll never truly know which animals were taken to the plant on that day.

 “John’s horses are not abused.”

“Heartland is not going to stop working with him – he’s the only movie wrangler around.”

Because the investigators arrived at the plant at 7:30, the Scott trailers had already been unloaded.  The show posted a status on Facebook to indicate that these were buffalo that had been dropped off, which isn’t inconsistent since buffalo are present on the ranch according to the website.  But it gets interesting because the investigators have stated that the buffalo seen in the pens at Bouvry werheartland1e there THE DAY BEFORE as well as on the same day that Scott’s trailers were photographed – October 18th.   There was also some speculation as to whether the two trailers, small stock trailers, were large enough to haul buffalo.  Were these also Scott’s buffalo?  Who knows.  Bouvry doesn’t slaughter buffalo every day.

The producers maintain that the entire shipment was a herd of buffalo, and not horses.  Apparently there is a manifest that supports their statement.  I will say that, if these two trailers represent several head of buffalo,  they must have been very tiny indeed.  The producers stipulate that:

“No horse that has appeared on Heartland has ever been sent to a slaughterhouse. Mr. Scott invites visitors and fans of the show alike to stop by his ranch and see how well his horses are cared for. John takes pride in the way his operation trains and cares for his horses, as this has been a lifelong passion for him. Mr. Scott personally owns the horses that play Spartan, Paint, Pegasus, Harley as well as much of the equines appearing on the series.”

Crisis averted?  Perhaps not.  It may be absolutely true that none of the Heartland horse actors have ever been sent to slaughter, and no one accused Scott or his company of abusing animals.  It doesn’t guarantee however, that none of their supplier’s horses have never been shipped to Bouvry;  as we know,  healthy,  young,  viable and trained horses also get sent to slaughter and most of them aren’t abused beforehand either.  HWAC Chair Bill DesBarres,  like a sausage forever sputtering in its own grease,  will be the first person to proclaim that he cares about his horses as well.  He’ll also tell you that he sends each and every horse that is of no use to him directly to slaughter,  because “it’s a wonderful option,”  while simultaneously and inexplicably  describing humane euthanasia as an “awful experience.”

heartland2This entire situation is interesting because it addresses the need for or the appropriateness of industry accountability and governance.  While I personally object to talking heads attempting to direct off-work activities and morals, there is a great need for the horse industry to improve its image and more importantly, share their ideas on what can be done to improve horse welfare.  The racing industry for the most part has tried very hard to improve its image and necessitate aftercare for former racehorses.  Many employers require a minimal degree of off-work behavioural compliance with permits and laws,  and may stipulate that employees must “govern themselves accordingly” outside of work and not attract negative attention to their employers.  What can be required of 3rd party contractors is another matter entirely.  In the end,  the producers quickly squelched the possibility of further discussion, primarily because they are approaching their 100th episode:

“There are 10s of thousands of fans who are unaware of any of this and there is no reason to make this a key post on the blog.  We have a 100th episode to promote this Sunday. :-)”

Yes, it’s transparently clear where their priorities lie, although truthfully, I can’t really blame them under the circumstances.  But I seriously think the show must address the issue of slaughter in an episode,  perhaps in a manner more consistent with the original book.  I think it can be handled sensitively in a manner appropriate to their audience.  Another issue the show management should address is the mysterious phone call placed to a horse advocate from “Alberta Klondike Productions,” seeking contact information for posters on the Heartland Facebook page.heartland response

I sincerely hope that the statements of the TV producers are not part of a campaign of self-deception,  intended to conceal a possible ethical breach in killing animals whilst purporting to save them in a television show.  I hope that Mr. Scott does not send horses to slaughter – any horses, not just the ones performing on this show.  The reality is that we do not know what species of animal was unloaded that day in Fort McLeod  as the investigators did not see them.

Heartland SetSlaughterhouse operations violate nearly every principle of the humane treatment of animal ownership. Unfortunately,  the leadership within the horse industry has grown to lack empathy and compassion for horses that do not meet their expectations.  Horses do not understand why their colour matters, that they are not the correct size or shape, nor do they contemplate their appearance in a television show. In the unfortunate circumstance that a horse’s life does indeed need to be ended, it should be done as humanely as possible by humane euthanasia.

Heartland

Redneck Tales from Wyoming

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silly horseWritten by:  Pageant Queen Honey Candy Mae (Government name:  Heather Clemenceau)

I have to admit that on rare occasions I do indulge in the occasional reality show, if only to remind myself that I am poorer, and more refined  than anyone currently seen on reality TV. But what’s with the preponderance of “southern reality” shows on TV?  The earliest incarnation, I think, would be the regular feature on The Carol Burnett Show with Mama’s loveable but dumb southern family.  We’re just getting rid of Jersey Shore, which of course isn’t southern, but it’s being replaced by Buckwild, which seems to build off of the popularity of Duck Dynasty, Toddlers and Tiaras,  Swamp People,  and Hillbilly Handfishin’.  (I almost typed “handfisting” which is probably a more accurate title because it’s what they actually do on this show).  Anyway, It really looks like redneck TV rules the airwaves.

As far as I can determine, the origins of the term redneck actually go back to the 1930’s in a number of disputes in West Virginia. A large group of unionized miners marched south to Logan horse laughCounty, to pressure the mine owners there to allow their miners to become unionized. To identify themselves, the miners all wore red bandannas around their necks. The publicity associated with the battles and the subsequent court cases created the term red-necks, and at that time they were viewed as the good guys in the conflict. Originally, the term came from the later 1800’s in southern Georgia and Alabama to refer to sharecroppers who worked in the fields thus getting a sunburned neck. They were called ‘rednecks’ as a term meant for hard working people.

If you’re a horse person you may have experienced the feeling that we’ve also been watching  another Wyoming-based reality show that nobody can turn off despite shitty ratings.   Wyoming Rep “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis’ IS a redneckian soap opera, which sometimes bears more than a passing resemblance to southern reality TV.  Recall Sue Wallis’ radio interview on the Sasha Show, the one where she hung up after 10 minutes.  Who watched this same behaviour from Honey Boo Boo Chile on Dr. Drew?  When he started asking her questions that she didn’t like, Honey Boo Boo did what everybody should do when Dr. Drew starts asking you questions: pretend to be asleep!  But eventually, Honey Boo Boo woke up and said that she hates being on TV and hates it when fans come up to her. Sue pulled a very similar tactic on the Sasha Show when she bailed after being asked stuff she didn’t want to answer, and without so much as a goo’bye  to her United Horsemen fangirls and boys.

I  actually have a strong aversion to discrimination and racism, so nowhere am I going to mock racial issues.  While I am mocking perceived cultural differences, I do not, implicitly or explicitly advocate that “rednecks” are inferior to anyone else.  But prominent rural people like Sue Wallis and many of her supporters do act like ignorant rednecks and add fuel to the stereotype.  So nobody write to me that I’m a racist – but I am going to have some fun at the expense of horse eaters using the Redneck Dialectizer, which hilariously converts everyday English to Redneck,  Swedish Chef,  and Elmer Fudd dialects,  and the Honey Boo Boo Name Generator.  I’ve translated specific message points and soundbites made by Sue Wallis,  Dave Duquette,  and our favourite Canadian slaughterphile Bill DesBarres into “Rednedian” speak,  and they make no more sense than they did in their original English.  Unfortunately,  there is no application that can translate “Dumbass” to “Common Sense.”  So grab yerself a glass o’ moonshine and half a laugh at their expense.

Who remembers this one?

horse laugh2“If yo’ had lived in mah shoes on over these last few years yo”d knows thet it don’t matter whut ah say o’ doesn’t say “they” will make sumpin up.It is all a Saul Alinsky style campaign t’make it a varmintal attack on a sin’le indivijool instead of a broader problem effeckin’ ev’ry houn’dog ownin’ fambly an’ business in th’ U.S. ah igno’e it. It is irrelevant. Once yo’ unnerstan’ thet simple corncepp, it is purdy easy t’figger out whut is gwine on, as enny fool kin plainly see.”

“We wanted a state thet was suppo’tive of our effo’ts, an’ th’ folks in Missouri is 100 percent on board wif whut we is tryin’ t’do an’ how we is tryin’ t’do it.”

Train-wreckiness at its finest – a ridiculous comment coming out of Missouri,  being made more ridiculous courtesy of the Dialectizer….

“We haf not spoken t’him direckly, but it is mah unnerstan’in’ thet th’ YMCA direcko’ received death threats t’his fambly, an’ to sponso’s of his o’ganizashun, We haf heard direckly fum other community members thet they have received thrett upin’ letters jest fo’ publicly expressin’ their suppo’t fo’ th’ projeck.”

So many eloquent quotes guaranteed to live on in infamy…..

“Th’ Mo’an amendment does NOT deal wif th’ real issues of starvin’ horse laugh3houn’dogs, o’ th’ demise of th’ houn’dog as a valued domestic animal as indicated by th’ mo’e than 70% drop in numbers of houn’dogs available fo’ pleasure, spo’t, an’ wawk, no’ does it deal wif all of th’ problems thet haf happened t’th’ houn’dog wo’ld as a direck result of HSUS ackshun on account o’ 2007.”

“Ah jest came acrost this hyar on a diffrunt group. Seein’ th’ graph is purdy startlin’. Really makes it hit home how seriously close we is to completely losin’ houn’dogs in our lives.”

Who can forget the Jascha Lottin incident and Wallis’ appeal to her followers to support this horse killer?

“Varmints hoominely kill an old houn’dog, butcher it t’use th’ fine meat, an’ decide t’have some fun wif it, an’ take pitchers.” “Hey yo’ Oregonians…howsabout retchin’ out t’these folks? No doubt they is bein’ hammered by idiots. Let’s give them some suppo’t.”

“Friends, between drought, wildfires, no opshuns, an’ an animal rights driven obstruckive federal ajuncy, we face a mighty grim winter…”

Shooting fish in a barrel…..

horse laugh4“All drugs haf wifdrawal periods, an’ thar is scientifically established time periods which enny meat animals muss be held af’er medicashuns befo’e they kin be processed.  Shet mah mouth! In terms of bute, specifically, ev’ry race houn’dog in th’ country has t’have their blood tested fo’ prohibited drugs. Common smarts on th’ track is thet bute will clear th’ system in two o’ three days an’ thet yo’ kin be purdy much guareenteed thet thar will be absolutely no vestige of th’ drug in seven days.”

Sugar Britches Wonderful (Government Name:  Sue Wallis)

“In 2011, th’ Houn’dog We’fare Alliance of Kinada (HWAC) intrydooced th’ fust indestry audit fo’ houn’dog processin’ plants. Th’ meat indestry is subjeck t’audits by th’ govment fo’ grub safety, hoomine transpo’t an’ han’lin’, an’ audits by buyers t’assure produck quality fo’ their cestomers. We wawk closely wif th’ Kinadian Grub Inspeckshun Ajuncy (CFIA) an’ corntinuously lobby fo’ adharnce t’regulashuns. We provide outretch via th’ web site, articles an’ media releases an’ participate in houn’dog indestry cornferences an’ events t’promote houn’dog we’fare prackices at all levels of houn’dog produckshun.”

Yep – “Slaughter is a wonderful option…….”

“In reality, houn’dog slaughter is an opshun thet c’d potentially put an ind t’much abuse an’ negleck of houn’dogs, an’ solve th’ problem of whut t’do wif th’ unwanted houn’dog.”

Boo Bear Daring (Government Name:  Bill DesBarres)

“No rodeo event in Oregon corndones, o’ cornducks, houn’dog trippin’. redneckOregon has comprehensive laws in place t’proteck animals. This hyar bill was mighty unnecessary. It was nothin’ mo’e than a fust step by HSUS t’ban all ropin’ of all animals in our state.Houn’dogs is livestock, an’ eff’n this hyar bill had become law, it’d haf set th’ precedent fo’ makin’ it illegal t’rope a cow. Af’er all, they’re both livestock — whut’s th’ difference between houn’dogs’ legs an’ cows’ legs?”

Darlin’  Doodle (Government Name:  Dave Duquette)

It all starts to look and sound the same doesn’t it?    And “Darlin’ Doodle?” That’s gonna stick.  You can count on it.

Horse Welfare 2012 – The Year in Review….

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white arab greeting

© 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

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