Tag Archives: HWAC

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.

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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

 

 

Radio Hosts Eat Horsemeat On Air Despite Facebook Outrage

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horse_butchering_map.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

Today’s post is dedicated to horsemeat propaganda,  courtesy of Canada’s famous slaughterphile Bill DesBarres,  who recently appeared on one of two radio episodes on horsemeat coming out of Saskatoon on the Round Table News Talk 650 CKOM.  DesBarres was interviewed by David Kirton in one podcast,  while Craig Silliphant and David Kirton sampled horsemeat in a second podcast, with Angela Hill representing the “pescatarian” abstainer.  Although their Facebook page was inundated with criticism and countervailing facts about horses, it was only a fraction of the outrage that was reserved for the hosts of “Top Chef Canada” which created a challenge featuring horsemeat in a segment two years ago.

Bill DesBarres - singing the praises of happy horse slaughterhouses

Bill DesBarres – singing the praises of happy horse slaughterhouses

When the show’s producers saw the posts on their Facebook page and realized that there might be humane issues with slaughtering horses, they  apparently mistookthe Horse “Welfare” Alliance of Canada as an actual welfare group advocating for horses and invited DesBarres to participate by providing awkward, one-sided small talk.  Both shows were very formulaic in that they glossed over the real issues and asked “not-so-challenging” questions of DesBarres, who invariably presented horse slaughter as a joyous theme park of happiness where horses willing go to be slaughtered and eaten, not unlike the pig at the Restaurant at the end of the Universe.

DesBarres did not fail to deliver his usual derp for the CFIA either, and steadfastly maintained that he has never heard of any Canadian horsemeat that has tested positive for phenylbutazone.  Unfortunately for the audience, host David Kirton wasn’t aware of any examples either, and so was unable to delve any deeper into the discussion.  And the audience was not served by the lack of commentary from a knowledgeable person or group such as the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, a true horse advocacy group.

DesBarres will NOT tell these radio hosts that his welfare claims of happy slaughterhouses and comfortable travel to them are almost meaningless. The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses. is not enforced. The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally. Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well.

Mark McEwan was criticizied on Top Chef Canada for serving horsemeat

Mark McEwan was criticizied on Top Chef Canada for serving horsemeat

So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta. Since 2007, inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety, since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals, so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred, as revealed by a CBC probe and in undercover video by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition?

He also won’t tell anyone that the HWAC’s solution for the traceability issues in horsemeat will never be accepted by the general population of horse owners,  because we will not pay for any system for our animals just so the Europeans or Japanese can be assured of a bute-free gastronomic experience.  And he did not tell the hosts (at least not on air) that he is a paid representative of Claude Bouvry and his slaughter empire.  Nor will he acknowledge that HWAC has no real horse welfare programs,  and if he or the HWAC board members were genuinely concerned about horse welfare,  DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence produced by the CHDC.  That speaks volumes.

You can listen to the DesBarres Interview here

The eating of horsemeat took place in a second episode, where the hosts generally face-planted onto various issues, never quite getting it right.  For instance, they clung to the false notion that in order to justifiably complain about the philosophy of eating horsemeat, you must be vegan.  They didn’t truly grasp the notion of the “non-food animal” issue, instead choosing to

Anthony Bourdain - the bad boy of overindulgence. and food porn

Anthony Bourdain – the bad boy of overindulgence and food porn

ask why slaughter remains “acceptable” for the traditional food animals.  It’s a fair enough question, but one I’ve grown really weary of attempting to answer.  Indeed, some vegans I know have wondered why it seems to be so wrong to eat horses, because their beloved and much maligned farm animals are already being cruelly treated.  Much of the vegan message is “what about cows and pigs?” as if to advocate for horses somehow invalidates the suffering of other animals or makes us into some sort of animal “racist.” Again, in my opinion, this is the wrong question.  Instead, we should all be asking why it is necessary to add another animal to the food chain?  We must collectively resist the foodie movement, which has played a role in normalizing horsemeat, foie gras, as well as popularizing other non-traditional animals or worse – the consumption of non-inspected meat or live animals, as popularized by Anthony Bourdain and other wanna-be-known-for-sumthin’ chefs (caution – semi-graphic video – start watching at 3:00).

Gordon Ramsay has long promoted horsemeat to Britons

Gordon Ramsay has long promoted horsemeat to Britons

The hosts also assumed that deer and elk are not farmed (Bouvry and others are doing it), that all horses going to slaughter were old, and east Indians don’t eat cows.  They may also have assumed that horse slaughter is only cruel if it DOESN’T use the same process as with cows.  Using a process for cows is one more reason why it IS NOT HUMANE for a horse.   The hosts also bought into the false dilemma that, based on the relationship between predator and prey animals in the wild, the slaughter of an animal by us in a factory setting is humane by comparison. It’s a false dilemma because the horse that became their luncheon meat probably was someone’s pleasure horse at one time, and had no natural enemies to prey upon it.  And why did they assume that you must eat anything that is put in front of you, otherwise you’re being disrespectful of your host?  Is it rude to refuse alcohol if you’re abstaining?  Why then could it be rude for vegetarians or vegans to refuse animal protein provided by a host?  I guess one must never spoil a dinner party for mere religious or ethical reasons.  It was Anthony Bourdain who said, “taking your belief system on the road—or to other people’s houses—makes me angry.” The sight of vegetarian tourists waving away a Vietnamese pho vendor fills him with “spluttering indignation.” That’s right – apparently guests have a greater obligation to please their host, than vice versa. There’s really no civilized value left that foodies  (or radio hosts) cannot destroy.

You can listen to the horse-eating broadcast here

Bute poster august 22-2012

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

We’re Goin’ to the Rodeo Y’All – Protest of the Ram Rodeo Tour

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When it comes to the abuse of animals in entertainment, rodeos rank among the top culprits. While it’s very typical to see many rodeos in Alberta,  there aren’t so many appearing in Ontario,  until the Dodge Ram brand brought it to Newmarket Ontario.  At this event ticket holders can expect to see saddle bronc,  bareback,  bull riding,  steer wrestling, tie down,  and team roping.  Today,  we’re in horse country in York Region Ontario,  home to over 1500 horse farms and more than 20,000 horses,  and during three shifts on Saturday and Sunday – thousands of people,  including horse owners,  will see our signs.

Many Canadian rodeo aficionados cite tradition,  culture and athleticism as justification for events such as steer-riding, chuck wagon racing,  and calf-roping.  In the face of increased public critique,  animal welfare groups are helping to shed light on the cruelty of these events. Canada’s animal cruelty legislation is a disagrace – the laws have not been substantially changed since 1892.  Grassroots movements of Canadians say things need to change. There have already been at least 25 walks across the country and around the world, trying to bring awareness to Canada’s horrible animal cruelty legislation.

Animal welfare groups, including the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), also object to rodeos. The ASPCA calls them “a cruel form of entertainment that involves the painful, stressful and potentially harmful treatment of livestock.”  The Vancouver Humane Society was instrumental in bringing international focus to the issue of rodeos in Canada,  via the League Against Cruel Sports.  This is a first step toward internationalising opposition to rodeos in Canada and making it  harder for rodeos to justify their use of animals as “entertainment.”

“Sometimes tradition and habit are just that, comfortable excuses to leave things be, even when they are unjust and unworthy. Sometimes–not often, but sometimes–the cranks and radicals turn out to be right.”
Matthew Scully, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy

Tradition and heritage are two very emotional words,  heavy with meaning.  Yet,  despite those historical connections,  the Catalonians have banned bullfighting,  which was intensely tied to their nationhood and heritage.  The British have outlawed foxhunting.  The scarlet coated riders are now gone,  even though few things were more “British” than stately homes,  country weekends,  and The Hunt.  I wonder, with regard to Canadian tradition,  how many settlers had to ride or wrestle steers and race chuckwagons at breakneck speeds across the prairie?  I don’t believe that calf roping has ever been a sport but it was made so for entertainment and prize-money, as was bull-riding. Think about it: why would anyone ride a bull? It was created for entertainment and was not something based on culture or tradition.  But despite the fact that their own country outlawed rodeos many years ago,  royal couple Will and Kate visited the Calgary Stampede.  These events are not sports,  but an entertainment spectacle and part of that spectacle are the accidents that inevitably result.  Horse tripping relies on the horse to fall down as part of the spectacle.  Rodeos are a brutish business.

“The less there is to justify a traditional custom, the harder it is to get rid of it” Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

There are many cultural traditions that are not morally acceptable. Think shark finning, whaling and bear bile farming.  If many of these cruel practices against animals were promoted as a brand new form of entertainment,  virtually every animal lover would demand that the practice cease.  Imagine if “horse tripping” were not tied to tradition and parlayed about as a Mexican cultural practice?  The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA), which sanctions about 600 rodeos each year in the United States and Canada, does not even allow horse-tripping,  which is exactly as stupid and dangerous as it sounds.  I sent a message to the account holder of the above video (Randy Janssen – read more about him here).  He sent me a reply, but still didn’t post my statement – coward!   This means that he cannot rebut even the most reasonable arguments against the practice.

“If you have proof of animals being injured in Charreada, send it to me and I will post it. Proof is not unsubstantiated ranting from someone who has never been in a lienzo. It is pictures or videos of injuries in the lienzo. You can see live Charreada on Spanish TV or the decharros (dot) com. You can also see videos of complete Charreada if you google livestreamdecharros. I want you to watch it so you will see that Charros and Charras are good people who would never intentionally hurt animals.Please watch this video.” Looks like I can’t provide any proof unless I’ve been in a “lienzo,”  whatever that is.  Oh,  and he tells you right upfront on the video that he doesn’t allow postings from “animal rights activists,”  and of course ratings are disabled too.  If these people think their “sport” is so harmless,  why don’t they have the courage to allow the general viewership of YouTube to comment and vote on some of these practices?

This truck tried to side-swipe us with the stock trailer

Come at me ‘bro.  This truck tried to side-swipe us with the stock trailer while we stood on Davis Drive.  Stock trailer wheels nearly ran over our feet,  and this was no accident!

Many rodeo participants are sincere when they say that they love their animals.  Recall the chuckwagon driver Chad Harden of the Calgary Stampede, who cried when his horses died in a terrible wreck this year.   But what does the word “love” mean if we are willing to profit from and place in injurious situations those we “love?” Rodeo animals are sent to slaughter, not to retirement and pasture, when they cease to perform at a profit.   Whilst it is a sad fact that many animals sustain severe if not fatal injuries when used for entertainment in rodeos, it is perhaps sadder that one can almost guarantee each and every one of them has felt fear and confusion.

“I ask people why they have deer heads on their walls. They always say because it’s such a beautiful animal. There you go. I think my mother is attractive, but I have photographs of her.”
Ellen DeGeneres

“In riding a horse, we borrow freedom”
Helen Thompson

“When I hear somebody talk about a horse or cow being stupid; I figure it’s a sure sign that the animal has somehow outfoxed them”
Tom Dorrance, True Unity: Willing Communication Between Horse & Human

“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.”
George Bernard Shaw

“If a dog will not come to you after having looked you in the face, you should go home and examine your conscience.”
Woodrow Wilson

“What I want is so simple I almost can’t say it: elementary kindness.”
Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

“There’s nothing more embarrassing than to have earned the disfavor of a perceptive animal.”
Michael Chabon, Wonder Boys

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

Puttin’ on the Ritz (Crackers)

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"There's a good amount of work to be done out on the global stage" - Gerry Ritz

“There’s a good amount of work to be done out on the global stage” – Gerry Ritz

Members and supporters of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition now know why Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz is seldom available to respond to enquiries – he’s been getting busy ratcheting up the travel expenses on the world stage.

According to information on spending by federal cabinet ministers, dating to March of 2010, Ritz has accumulated expenses of about $271,000 – other travel and hospitality expenses for employees of the CFIA are available here.  In 2011 alone,  government chauffeurs earned $600,000 in overtime.  Gerry has recently been part of a delegation working on a free-trade agreement between Canada and Morocco, followed by a trip to Saudi Arabia.  Of course, the failed ostrich farmer defends his expenditures – “there’s a good amount of work to be done out on the global stage.”  I’m not doubting him; everyone knows that it must be a hard-sell for Canadian products in Morocco and Saudi Arabia, but I guess the real test of Ritz Crackers’ skills will come once he starts negotiating to sell maple syrup and seal pelts to North Korea.  You go Minister!

At the same time,  Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Ritz Crackers,  the proverbial foxes in the hen-house,   are privatizing the food industry and handing public services over to a non-elected, non-accountable private sector,  by downloading from government food inspection to inspection by manufacturers and distributors.  As a result of this new paradigm, food companies will, for the most part, inspect themselves and federal inspectors will spend the bulk of their time going through company-generated reports. The Conservative government has already pledged to pull out of federal meat inspection programs in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.  Somehow,  this does not pass the smell test,  and it certainly seems to be an ominous foreshadowing in an industry where management already places great pressure on staff to avoid writing up violations.

Currently,  approximately 1 to 2 per cent of foreign food imports that enter Canada are inspected.  Bob Kingston, the head of the union representing Canada’s federal food inspectors, said inspection programs are under funded and bare-bones compared to what staff request. He  estimated that only “a couple of hundred” of the CFIA’s 4,700 inspection staff focus on foreign food – a figure the agency rejects.  The University of Manitoba’s Dr. Rick Holley,  a food safety expert and CFIA advisor, says a push for traceability is not a priority when there are other problems with food safety, including a lack of comprehensive information on what is making Canadians sick. Gerry Ritz, who manoeuvred to prevent meat processors being forced to open their books during the BSE crisis, tap-dances around the issue with a straight face, “Canadians trust this government to protect the safety of Canada’s food supply and rightly so.”  Puttin’ it on, puttin’ it on,  puttin’ it on………

Since the 2003 case of mad-cow in Canada,  South Korea was the last major beef-importing country to agree to resume imports of Canadian beef.  AG-Canada recently trumpeted the news that our first live shipment of lambs has reached Vietnam,  and Canadian beef producers have gained market access to Kazakhstan – Kazakhstan imported almost $14 million worth of Canadian agricultural food products in 2011.  Perhaps it’s merely a coincidence that Kazakhstan is a huge consumer of horsemeat?

Canada has been plagued with a bad rep for horse slaughter,  and live export typically leaves  hundreds of thousands of animals of various species without government oversight as they are vulnerably slaughtered in 2nd and 3rd world countries after enduring lengthy trips via sea only to be held for weeks or months at port afterwards.  Australians are revolting against live export in their country.  I have the greatest concern for Canadian horses, who are already shipped via air to Japan – will they also suffer this fate on an even larger scale if Ritz sees an opportunity to develop this trade?

Mini mare and her foal at auction this week - pure pathos........

Mini mare and her foal at auction this week – pure pathos……..

It’s widely known by horse welfare advocates that an EU requirement, designed to safeguard horse meat exported to Europe for human consumption, will restrict the sale of meat from horses who have been given specific drugs that are unsafe in the food supply. Effective 2013, the EU will not accept imported horse meat from countries like Canada unless it can prove that certain drugs were not ingested by slaughter-bound horses.

The CFIA has always claimed that the absence of big problems in any of their drug testing protocols show that  the system works.  Lest you think that the CFIA only dumps toxic horsemeat on other countries,  critics say Canada’s ability to safeguard its citizens from the risks of both domestic and imported food is falling behind – charges leveled even as efforts are under way at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to update practices for the 21st-century global marketplace.

Of course,  restrictions 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 – much more difficult to falsify than the current EID. A number of drugs — 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.  At one time Canada seemed determined to institute a comprehensive, national  traceability system for livestock,  but we cannot even launch a gun registry in Canada,  a country where most citizens are already opposed to guns.  Canadian horse owners are simply not interested in paying for microchips and barn calls to satisfy third party concerns about the eligibility of our horses for meat.

Both the Equine Welfare Alliance and the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition have stated that “….we know that 50 percent or more of the horses slaughtered in Canada (from the United States) will not meet the EU standards. … There is no information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) stating how U.S.-based horses will be checked. … Under the current circumstances there appears to be no possible way Canada can continue to receive U.S. horses and still meet the criteria.” Our main horse slaughter proponent in Canada,  Bill DesBarres,  appears to be utterly silent on this issue, as has been his counterpart in the US – “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis.  In a recent article in the Canadian publication – the “Equine Consumers Guide,”  he writes to promote horse slaughter in Canada,  he makes no mention of it whatsoever.  Not even as an after-thought.

Once Canada’s horses are no long acceptable to the EU, what can we expect?  This $70 million dollar industry is not going to go quietly in the night.  Purpose-Bred horses will still find a market, but we can see that simultaneously Ritz is pushing live shipments of animals to countries like Vietnam and Kazakhstan,  who,  as far as we know,  have no such drug stipulations.  Susan Stewart,  of SS Visions,  is currently promoting “Equine Canada Export Market Development Seminars” in an effort to continue to promote Canada as  “the most respected country brand in the world.”   She also lead a “path finding mission to China”  on behalf of pro-slaughter Equine Canada and Ag-Canada.

"Politics is a game of friends" - Jean Chretien

“Politics is a game of friends” – Jean Chretien – formerly the 20th Prime Minister of Canada

Ag-Canada continues to look for solutions without a problem,  while ignoring or downplaying issues of the magnitude that I’ve mentioned earlier in the blog post.  There’s an old saying that it is best to avoid watching sausages being made  – or to ask what’s in them.  It seems that,  according to Ag-Canada,  Canadians have suffered for lack of better “bangers” to go with our mash.  So,  over  800,000 of our tax dollars are going towards developing a safe,  non-exploding variety of sausages. Exploding sausages you ask?  I have never heard of a sausage-related injury. So why is the Conservative government giving Cardinal Meat Specialists Ltd. in Brampton, Ont. a fat cheque in the sum of $826,000?  “The investment… will help the company purchase new manufacturing equipment that will produce a higher quality sausage that is more resistant to splitting or bursting while cooking,” says a government news release.

Once probed,  a representative of Ritz claimed that Cardinal is supposed to pay back the “loan.”  I wonder if the loan to Cardinal is anything like the loan I’m supposed to pay back to my mother?  I also wonder if Canada’s “high tech” slaughterhouse,  Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation, has paid back its loan of $2 million for improving and modernizing slaughter capacity, which resulted in the trademark

Gerry Ritz crackers - tasteless and cheesy

Gerry Ritz crackers – tasteless and cheesy

Temple Grandin designed walkway for cattle,  but did not enable the plant to avoid cruelty charges by the CHDC and a subsequent two day shutdown by the government.

Revelations such as this explain why I have a perpetual WTF looping in my head these days.  There’s just no horse-sense – only non-sense from our government.  We have no problem sending toxic horsemeat to other countries,  but we’ve got our panties in a bunch over the possibility that a sausage might “explode” inside its casing,  causing some sort of grilling horror during the BBQ season.    I honestly thought sausage consumers were managing OK by poking a few holes in the sausage so that nobody would get maimed. I guess that, conversely, this new development will also eliminate a lot of jobs when competing companies fail to take advantage of this new technology and “exploding” sausages fail to find their market (because nobody threw $800,000 bucks at them)?  Or perhaps we could keep the exploding variety and incorporate it as part of our national defence plan, and we could claim that Jimmy Dean is a Canadian defence contractor.

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.

The Irony; It Burns! Bill DesBarres Still Busy Whitewashing Horse Slaughter

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BullshitToday’s rock bottom Bill DesBarres moment is brought to you the letters “B and S.”  Yes,  since this is a post about DesBarres there is always going to be some conventional “BS” involved,  but coincidentally or not,  that’s the name given to Bill’s appaloosa breeding operation in Alberta – “BS Appaloosa Partners. “ Looking at this page is like looking at the interwebs circa 1995 via the Wayback Machine – it’s that outdated.  Bill asks “where did 2008 go?”  I too can’t believe it has come and gone.  So have 2009, 2010,  and 2011.

I know nothing about appy lines,  but Bill is probably another one of those breeders who needs a “floor” in order to move his merchandise.   Oh wait,  we in Canada have a “floor,”  and the current meat prices at OLEX (Ontario Livestock Exchange) the week this blog post was written varied from $.05 per pound to $.58 per pound.   So that means your average 1,000 lb horse is currently selling for anywhere from $50 to $580.

If you’re selling a horse you bred  for less than $1,000,  you’re probably not recovering what you spent on breeding and raising that horse to a young age,  excluding any training you’ve put on your animal,  and therefore your “operation” is unsustainable.  Pro-slaughter proponents in the US conveniently forget that everything costs more in Canada too – it costs more to produce,  pay for supplies,  pay for veterinary services,  etc.  Few breeders calculate in advance what it will cost them to breed and raise a yearling. As a result,  even yearlings are often sold at a substantial loss or, at best, at a very modest profit.  So while this will give you some beer money for the short term,  it hardly represents this “wonderful option” Bill keeps regurgitating for our listening and reading pleasure.

Anyway,  circling back to DesBarres – that same Equine Resource publication that was the focus of the previous blog has

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

Grof Feedlot Gray Percherons

offered up an article on the slaughter debate deeper within the magazine.  In this article,  Bill makes it seem as though happy horses trot directly into the slaughterhouse,  all while complaining that the influx of American horses is hurting our meat prices due to oversupply.  Now while more horses were slaughtered in Canada since the cessation of slaughter in the US,  we have to ask – has the price for horses gone up?  Have irresponsible owners, animal cruelty,  or abandonment disappeared?  And most importantly,  have the prices for Bill’s appys also gone up during that time?  We know he slaughters them too,  because he told us so in the Spooning and Forking radio show.

He claims that a result of the US ban,  more Canadians are eating horsemeat,  which is available in specialty stores.  Of course this is just something he pulled out of the air,  since he doesn’t offer any independent source for his claims – why would Canadians eat more horsemeat BECAUSE OF the cessation of slaughter in the US?.  Bill,  you’ve got some s’plaining to do here.  The vast majority of Canadians don’t consume horsemeat anyway – it’s a regional specialty in Quebec and some other small markets. He’s also butt-hurt since some of the major chain stores in Canada also attempted to provide horsemeat but were discouraged from continuing due to the reaction from the animal activist element.   What about the consumers at the stores?  Is there a chance they just weren’t interested in eating horses? Gotta blame everything on activists though.

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

Bouvry Plant from the main thoroughfare

I’m tired of Bill DesBarres attempting to demonize welfare advocates anyway.  Most people who advocate for animals aren’t actually “activists” as he claims.  Activism is associated with taking a vigorous stand, and surely Bill and Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis would like to convince everyone that activists are also anarchists. This is not the roll of most activists, and generally most people would describe activisim of any sort as being synonymous with positive attributes rather than lawlessness.  Without activism,  many people would have lost their rights or been marginalized;  as it is there are not enough activists to uphold all of our current rights.  As a testament to his paranoia,  Bill has his Linkedin profile locked down tight to avoid all those animal activists getting any classified info out of it.  I guess he wouldn’t accept my invitation to connect either.  No worries,  he’s only got two connections,  one is probably Sue Wallis and the other is Olivier Kemseke.  Rather surprising for someone involved in an “international” equine business association.    So that you don’t all rush to look at Bill’s profile and overwhelm him into believing that the animal activists are storming the LinkedIn castle,  I’ve included a snapshot of it here.

Bill DesBarres - LinkedIn profile

Bill DesBarres – LinkedIn profile

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.  Alex Atamanenko,  MP for BC Southern Interior,  and author of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada,  has said that “It is irresponsible for Canada to allow the sale of meat from horses as a food item when they have never been raised in accordance with the food safety practices required for all other animals.

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 1

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – Page 1 (click to embiggen)

Bill DesBarres never mentions drugs in this article.  Why would he?  Both he and Sue Wallis don’t want anything to impinge on their slaughter empire.  In the article,  Bill writes that:

  •  “The slaughter business for the purpose of producing meat for human consumption has been subject to increasing regulations,  scrutiny,  technical development,  improved humane handling,  and increased logistical costs since the commencement of the industry.”

In practice however,  little of this is enforced,  so as to make DesBarres claims almost meaningless.  The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding; the Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses. is not enforced.  The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double-decker trailers are still allowed in Canada. Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally.  Horses, unlike most livestock, do not travel well.  So, suffice it to say, they don’t always respond well when being transported from kill auctions in the U.S. to federally licensed slaughterhouses in Quebec and Alberta.  Since 2007,  inspectors have been banned from the kill floor for their own safety,  since the adoption of firearms has been implemented to stun animals,  so their role is basically an administrative one now. So how could inspectors intervene when humane incidents have occurred,  as revealed by a CBC probe?

I am sure most readers of this blog and other writings on abuse of horses in slaughterhouses have been made aware of the

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate - Page 2 (click to embiggen)

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – Page 2 (click to embiggen)

undercover investigations inside horse slaughterhouses in Canada,  revealing serious food safety and horse welfare concerns.  These GRAPHIC videos all  prove that the requirements set out by the government for food safety and horse welfare ALL failed disgracefully.  This raises several concerns:

  • Has the worker who stuns horses multiple times in these videos received proper training to render the horses insensible?
  • If he is properly trained and using these international humane assessments then has the employee realized that he needs to administer one or several more stuns to achieve the correct degree of unconsciousness that he has been trained to look for?
  • If this is the case,  it would strongly suggest that there is a problem with the captive bolt gun or this method is not meeting international humane standards.
  • If he has been trained properly to administer the stun and the horse is indeed unconscious then does he just continues to stun the already unconscious horse for some sort of personal pleasure?

None of these scenarios are acceptable, and the position of the camera has no relevance,  as claimed by the CFIA.  It is quite clear that horses are stunned more than once with one horse stunned ELEVEN times making this facility NON-COMPLIANT,  no matter what angle you view it from.

DesBarres also offers this:

  • “In 2011,  the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) introduced the first industry audit for horse processing plants.  The meat industry is subject to audits by the government for food safety,  humane transport and handling, and audits by buyers to assure product quality for their customers. “
The Great Horse Slaughter Debate -  page 3 (click to embiggen)

The Great Horse Slaughter Debate – page 3 (click to embiggen)

I’ve never heard of this audit,  and he doesn’t tell us where it can be found either.  Is this really the first industry audit?  If so,  I have to ask what the $^@)%*& has the CFIA being doing before DesBarres came up with his own document?  More importantly,  who,  if anyone,  is using it?  The CFIA do have their own audits,  which don’t seem to accomplish anything,  although recently they acted responsibly by playing a role in admonishing a kill buyer from the US who sent a Phenylbutazone/Clenbuterol contaminated horse through the food supply.  Doesn’t matter,  because the reality is that the humanity of slaughter and transport haven’t improved.  To me,  it’s like asking if you can create a more humane rape,  as a transition to “humane rape” (please no one write that I’m trivializing rape either).  There is quite a bit of evidence available that refutes these naive claims.

European Union inspectors will be coming to Canada for an audit of horsemeat facilities if they have not already come and gone. They will be primarily concerned with dangerous levels of Phenylbutazone (PBZ/Bute), an anti-inflammatory commonly used for pain relief on horses, which has shown up in a series of tests over a five-year period. Phenylbutazone is of course banned from use in animals intended for human consumption in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and the EU.  The drug is referenced in the  CFIA’s E.5 List of Veterinary Drugs Not Permitted For Use in Equine Slaughtered for Food with Canadian Brand Name Examples (10 March, 2010)All of the products listed carry an indication for use in equine (but not equine intended to be slaughtered for food).

Of course,  that hasn’t stopped Canada from exporting it and relying on the EU to catch our testing errors and omissions.  Additionally,  a recent Toronto Star Investigation revealed that:

“A 2010 U.S. study on animals sent to slaughter found the presence of a particularly troubling drug commonly administered to horses — Phenylbutazone (PBZ), an anti-inflammatory used for pain relief. The drug is banned for human consumption by the U.S., Canada, U.K. and European Union because of documented health hazards, sometimes fatal, including a blood disorder in which the body’s bone marrow doesn’t make enough new blood cells and a condition that triggers chronic bacterial infections. The study’s researchers found 9,000 pounds of meat from horses “with known exposure to PBZ sent for human consumption over the five-year study period.”

“There appears to be inadequate testing to ensure that horses given banned substances such as PBZ do not enter the slaughter pipeline,” the study concludes. “The lack of oversight to prevent horses given PBZ from being sent to slaughter for human consumption … indicates a serious gap in food safety and constitutes a significant public health risk.”’  The EU also confirms that  even a miniscule amount of the metabolites of PBZ can cause disease,  including aplastic anemia –  I wonder how HWAC’s “audit” deals with the shipping of drug-laden horsemeat to the EU?

There is no disputing the fact that horses are purchased at auction and often end up at slaughter with in a week’s time, many direct from race tracks. The race horse industry spends upwards of $50 million dollars a year to ensure horses are not over the accepted drug limits on race day the same way they do with human athletes.  It is well known that race horses receive drugs banned from the human food chain, including Phenylbutazone,  Viagra,  Lasix, and even “frog juice” – Dermorphin.  Why is the Canadian government risking the health of humans by accepting these horses for slaughter? Race horses can easily be identified by their lip tattoos. Yet the government turns a blind eye to this tainted meat being sold for human consumption.   However,  everyone else is catching up to the fact that we are shipping tainted meat.

From the article:

  • “In reality,  horse slaughter is an option that could potentially put an end to much abuse and neglect of horses,  and solve the problem of what to do with the unwanted horse.”

Horse Welfare Organizations wonder why breed associations continue to reward millions of dollars in breed incentives each year, while refusing to use some of that money as funds for horse rescues, funds for gelding, and funds for humane euthanasia.  To me,  that would be a logical place to start reducing the numbers of those “unwanted horses. The public is fed up with the lack of action by those in office who could stop this.  Pro-slaughters generally do not want to discuss this,  as it infringes on their right to do what the hell they want.   Their toolbag is full of dirty tricks, doing a total disservice instead of focusing on true solutions.  They do not want to draw attention to the  never-ending vicious cycle of over-breeding and they generally have no input regarding the imminent litigation due to the immoral implementation of toxic meat posing a public health risk.

Bill now winds up the article with a peppering of paranoia for anyone who isn’t yet convinced that activists are going to ban animals in Canada:

  • “We are very fortunate in Canada that our citizens have the opportunity and the right to own animals”
Alberta Equestrian Federation EID

Alberta Equestrian Federation EID – conveniently provided just in case their “Welfare” programs aren’t all that helpful.

Is he serious?  Who does he think is working to remove the rights of Canadians to own animals?  This is more of that “don’t infringe on my right to abuse animals” and “property rights paranoia.”  Canada is a world-leader in equal rights,  and I’m justifiably proud of the constitutional framework we have created to protect equality.  But I’m truly embarrassed to be Canadian when it becomes apparent that we do not have the ability or desire to protect animals from abuse and cruelty.  Animal cruelty elicits a strong response from most Canadians,  and it is time to extend that response to the protection of Canadian and American horses,  who should never be part of the food chain.

HWAC has no real horse welfare programs,  if they were genuinely concerned about horse welfare,  DesBarres would not try to discredit video evidence.  That speaks volumes.   What they and the International Equine Business Association (with Sue Wallis) ARE trying to make happen is  a form of permanent identification and traceability for horses and to that end,   has contracted with Animal ID Solutions Inc., a Canadian company with operations in the United States.They also plan to utilize Animal ID Solution’s Global Animal Identification Network.

RFID chip

RFID chip

Microchipping for horses was to be the next step after the EID system.  The chip is supposed to integrate with other national and international traceability programs.    Of course,  Animal ID Solutions are going to have global contacts internationally with other RFID-type programs,  which certainly suggests that the IEBA,  HWAC, Equine Canada,  and DesBarres have got to keep this slaughter machine moving full-speed ahead so they can take it all global and find replacement markets for the EU,  if they are no longer interested in our “product” after 2013.   For United Horsemen’s part,  I wonder where they think they will get the money to do this?  Weren’t they having trouble refunding registration fees for the cancelled Summit of the Horse and the truck raffle for a truck that never existed?

More on the topic of Equine Canada,  export markets,  ID programs in a subsequent blog post……..

Equine Magazine Praises Bill “Slaughter Is A Wonderful Option” DesBarres

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Equine Consumers Guide 2012 Cover

Equine Consumers Guide 2012 Cover

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Bill DesBarres,  horsemeat pimp and paid representative of Claude Bouvry,  has been honoured by the Equine Consumers’ Guide with  “Reader’s Choice” award for “A Lifetime In The Service Of The Horse.”  Of course, the saccharine-sweet article  doesn’t mention anything about slaughter – so if you need a quick sugar rush,  you could always print it out,  chop it into a million pieces and pour it into your morning cuppa – it’s THAT sweet.

How can it be that a group or person who promotes “humane handling of horses throughout all their life stages” can promote horse slaughter?  And are the editors of this mag truly unaware of the raison d’ être of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC)?  HWAC’s formation began in response to Canada’s anti-slaughter movement, prompted by the CHDC’s first investigative report, “Black Beauty Betrayed” in 2008. The true purpose of HWAC  is not horse welfare, but the promotion and support of North America’s horse slaughter industry,  aided by the partnership with the elbows-up, stick-swinging, trash-talking Sue Wallis.  If any of its chairs or board members were TRULY interested in protecting the interests of equines,  this organization would have been set up long beforehand,  and it would NOT include slaughter!

Not only should we be offended by this attempt to whitewash the HWAC in a mainstream horse publication,  but we should let the editors know that DesBarres has made a career out of accusing horse welfare advocates of “vicious, unprincipled campaigns of stalking, harassment, and threats” (in an email campaign sent from “info@ieqbassn.org”) and accuses HSUS,  the Equine Welfare Alliance,  Animals Angels etc.  of “terroristic activities.”  I guess he’s afraid of calling people a “terrorist” outright,  so couches his comments in terms that he thinks he can get away with from a libel perspective.  I see what you did there Bill!

In any case, these terms are used by those who believe “hate” is acceptable in our culture.  If you talk with animal rights activists, you will find that many are also involved with humanitarian causes such as hunger, poverty, sweatshops, feminism, marriage equality, LGBT or civil rights.   I don’t know anyone who’s committed a “terrorist” or “terroristic” activity,  unless you’re including every shout-down that occurs on Facebook as a “terrorist” activity.  If that’s the case,  I’m sure the FBI Division of “Facebook Insults and Butt-hurts” will be eager to take your statements so they can get on the case!

With extreme prejudice,  he goes on to claim that these aforementioned organizations “trample on the rights to life, liberty, and property.”   There’s that recurring theme of property rights we hear so frequently in the discussion of horse slaughter.  I firmly believe that if horse slaughter advocates had been around in the 30s and 40s they would probably be screaming at the top of their lungs over the institution of zoning.    Having an unfettered right to do whatever you want with your property is actually a wrong,  and reasonable people understand why. How many of us would want to live next-door to someone who played mariachi music non-stop,  or someone who burns their garbage in oil drums every week?

DesBarres "pays back" his horses by slaughtering them

All the colleagues who praised him in this article are anonymous! And how come the only pic I ever find of him makes him look like a remedial student of Diane Horner’s school of cowboy hip-hop?

I would assume that these magazines are also unaware that DesBarres has  fought against those who seek protection for horses,  by attempting to repudiate footage from four separate equine slaughter plants has been aired between 2008 and 2011 and all showed appallingly cruel treatment of horses, including in the Bouvry plant in 2010.  The Bouvry video was taken Feb. 19th,  and the CHDC linked a Lethbridge radio station playing in the background to that date.  A song list from that day matches what is heard on the video. The RCMP have already determined that it is authentic and that no changes had been made to the videos,  so that should be good enough for anyone,  including DesBarres.  In a court of law it would stand the test of cross examination as evidence.  However,  Bill insists that the video was fabricated somehow,  perhaps with highly-trained stunt horses as a direct-to-video slasher movie.  He must think that the CHDC has a production budget in the millions!

The videos were extracts from 10 hours of film and were taken on random days, which is fairly good evidence that what was presented went on every single day.  The investigation of Natural Valley Farms took place over half a year.  One could surmise that there is a correlation between the absence of CFIA inspectors from the kill box area and the appalling cruelty evidenced in the videos.  The Inspectors have been absent from the floor for several years now by order of CFIA management. The management. order arose from safety concerns raised by and for  CFIA Inspectors in 2007 when firearms began being used to stun the horses – so you could say their roles are basically administrative at this point,  even though it is their job to supervise and monitor the kill box process.

DesBarres has continually praised the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) at every opportunity.  In the Forking and Spooning audio discussion (you couldn’t pay me enough to listen to this dry heave-inducing segment a second time) on the wonders of horse slaughter,  he slaughters all his horses and never considers euthanasia under any circumstances.   DesBarres also partners up with Dr. Martin Appelt of the CFIA,  who is on-hand to promote the deadly Premarin®/Prempro® industry whilst referring to menopause as a “disease”  that requires treatment (apparently,  with Premarin®).  Personally,  I’d rather not get  advice on the function of any of my lady bits from a veterinarian, thank you very much.  Of course the CFIA is not going tell anyone that the conjugated equine estrogen industry originates in the misery of thousands of mares and foals.

By praising DesBarres,  the mag (un)knowingly downplays or ignores:

  • Documented lack of enforcement by the CFIA
  • The pressure placed on workers and veterinarians  to ignore  cruelty violations and to instead keep the slaughter lines going while animals suffer.
  • Undercover surveillance footage that shows horses being repeatedly bludgeoned.
  • DesBarres’ accusations that animal advocates,  a large section of their readership,  are borderline criminals merely for exposing cruelty.  Most countries protect their whistleblowers – but animal activists and those who video cruelty in slaughterhouses are routinely excoriated.
  • Virtually non-existent testing protocols for phenylbutazone and other veterinary drugs – sampling frequency too low to be meaningful for public health purposes.
  • They lend credence and legitimacy to someone who denies factual and legitimate evidence that horses are being inhumanely treated.

Contact the Equine Consumers Guide here

Putting Horsemeat on the Table – Canadian Influences and Enablers – Infographic

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Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

For some time now,  after seeing the Infographic created by Republic of Horse  – “Slaughter:  Industry Influences on Government,”  I have known that we needed a similar graphic to represent those influencers and enablers in Canada.  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.

In the murky world of government lobbyists,  few resources have been applied to investigating corruption or undue influence. Canada has again been scolded on the international stage for its “lack of progress” in fighting corruption by a watchdog agency that ranks it among the worst of nearly 40 countries. The poor rating places Canada in the embarrassing company of countries like Greece, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia – although New Zealand and Australia are also among the 21 countries in the bottom rung.  Transparency International, a group that monitors global corruption, put Canada in the lowest category of countries with “little or no enforcement” when it comes to applying bribery standards set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.  Apparently,  the punishment in Canada for corruption is that you are given a majority government.

Gerry Ritz Crackers

WARNING: Gerry Ritz Crackers consist of 100% Transfats.  Consuming Gerry Ritz Crackers may cause you to abandon economic principles, bury your head under the sand, and make inappropriate remarks about dead people, while pink-slipping and pink-sliming Canadians

According to the Ottawa Citizen,  Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz is the most lobbied official in Canada,  exceeded only by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Gerry observed that farming ostrich allowed him “the opportunity to get used to working with lesser life forms” much like he sees “sometimes on the floor of the House of Commons.”

"Lesser Life Form" my ass!

“Lesser Life Form” my ass!

This infographic (downloadable here),  along with the one prepared by Republic of Horse,  and Jane Allin’s graphic of the PMU Industry, expose the hand-shaking and back-patting relationships, endorsements, and interconnectivity between the US and Canada.  In 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.

It was a learning experience for me to create this graphic.  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 terminology they use.  DesBarres likes to refer to slaughter as “humane euthanasia,” and a “wonderful option.”    Contact your breed associations – contact everyone,  and let them know what they are endorsing when they associate themselves with the Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada,  Bill DesBarres,  and Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis.

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers – Click to embiggen.  Want the chart as a stand-alone PDF file?  Click here

US Version - Republic of Horse

US Version – Republic of Horse

"Web of Evil" Graphic by Jane Allin

“Web of Evil” Graphic by Jane Allin – illustrating the connectivity between the Unwanted Horse Coalition, breed associations, and the PMU Industry

Here are the resources that were reviewed in compiling this infographic.  Many thanks to the members of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in the sourcing of many of these resources and their input into the graphic.

  • Kropius Rodeo Stock is based in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada,where Kody Kropius and his father Benny Kropius raise top of the line bucking horses and bulls!http://kropiusbuckingstock.tripod.com/
Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption

Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption