Tag Archives: “live export”

Canadian Horses Being Served Up In Exclusive, Members-Only “Supper Clubs” in Japan

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Hat Tip:  Lisa

In Japan, “premium consumption,” a philosophy in which consumers do not mind spending large amounts of money on trendy products or services, is on the increase.  The Japanese are embracing “members-only” clubs and resorts to the tune of ¥355 billion ($4,176,200,000 CDN), up 13 percent from 2015.  Horsemeat is increasing in popularity in Japan due in part to a boom in sushi restaurants and exclusive dining clubs, and is sold as sakura nikku (cherry blossom meat) or raw as basashi.

3db52bea97fbff03b135df5fdd9c5da3The English language paper The Japan News, provides a first look at these exclusive and often very secretive restaurants serving what must be our Canadian draft horses, who are live exported almost every week on 16-18 hour flights during which time they are neither fed nor watered, generally by Atlas Air. Prior to shipment to Japan, our “gentle giants” are fattened up to gross proportions, and at risk for laminitis. Each horse is worth approximately $20,000 CDN.

In Tokyo, The Roast Horse is a members-only restaurant that has a set course menu of ¥7,500 ($88.00 CDN). The Roast Horse solicited its clientele via crowdfunding to collect money for a custom-made stone oven. The restaurant was able to generate about ¥6 million ($70,000 CDN). Membership at the restaurant is considered a privilege for the investors.

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Photo from an Acess-To-Information Request by the CHDC. We know that horses are dying while enroute to Japan, where horsemeat is preferred “fresh,”  hence the live export.  These flights are illegal as Canada is in breach of two sections of our own Health of Animals Regulations and IATA Live Animals Regulations.

“As the door opened, all 30 or so seats in the restaurant were occupied. Owner Mineyoshi Hirayama was serving customers a series of horse-based dishes, such as raw and roasted horse meat, while describing the details of the horseflesh he bought and the cooking methods. “What’s great about this restaurant is that it is exclusively members who can book a table. What’s more, we can taste horse meat that can’t be eaten at any other places,” said information technology journalist Masakazu Honda, who is a member. “All the people I have brought here have been delighted. This is a special restaurant.”

Please read more here.

If you’re not familiar with the entire sordid live horse export business to Japan,  please read the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s comprehensive investigative report here.

 

Call To Action:

Please sign and share the active petition to Atlas Air to end the horrid practice of live export to Japan.

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Letter To The Editor: Overseas Markets Drive Horse-Slaughter in B.C.

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This commanding letter on horse slaughter in Canada was written by D. Fisher of Kelowna,  British Columbia. 

It’s simply magisterial in its eloquence! 

Please share…..

 

 

“Industry without ethics, capitalism without conscience – is tortured flesh the flavour of our times?

The Canadian horse slaughter industry is an abomination. Within its harrowing abyss exist the theft of liberty, unpardonable anguish and the dismemberment of a noble icon.

Advocates in favour of this industry present the following arguments for its existence:

  1. Horses are meat – tasty meat for man. I want some.
  2. Slaughterhouses humanely euthanize old, crippled and unwanted horses.
  3. Slaughter controls over-population.
  4. The industry provides employment.

Different perceptions and the high ground we call morality oppose these arguments:

  1. Horses are not meat to do with as we please. Throughout history, beside the footprints of man are the hoof prints of the horse. A pony is a child’s dream, a horse an adult’s treasure. This industry, however, transforms treasures and dreams into nightmares of betrayal.
  2. Slaughterhouses do not humanely euthanize. They orchestrate terror and suffering. Over 90 per cent of their victims are young and healthy. Slaughter is not the answer to solve the aged, infirm, unwanted horse debate. Rescue sanctuaries, veterans working with horses, responsible ownership, tourism co-ops and ethical veterinarian care are a few viable solutions.
  3. The slaughter business actually perpetuates over-population and callous kill buyers and unscrupulous profit mongers love it.
  4. The industry does provide jobs including degrading kill floor work and cash counting corporate accounting. However, we should use ingenuity to crate jobs that save rather than ones that kill.

Bottom line: An industry that is heartless and cruel, and industry without ethics, should be no industry at all.

Advocates for slaughter continue to define death at the slaughterhouse as humane euthanasia.

Propaganda. A load of fiction diction, bogus rhetoric and covertness are cornerstones of their industry.

The shipping of live draft horses to Japan so that their connoisseurs can enjoy freshly butchered horse sashimi is a national disgrace. Transportation to, and imprisonment in, slaughter house corrals is abusive, nefarious activity. And the final stages of the process – kill chutes, stun boxes, captive bolts to the head and dismemberment (of, at time, live horses) far overstep the boundaries of morality.

Our Canadian culture has never embraced the concept of horse meat for human consumption. We should not be part of the foreign-driven “meat-man’s trade” that ships befouled flesh overseas. Our horse is not a commodity to be exploited. This intelligent beast helped First Nations people survive, pulled our plows, laboured in mines, helped build our railroads. The horse stood beside – and died with – our soldiers on countless battlefields including the poppy-coated fields of Ypres and Flanders. Horses have entertained and joined us in recreational pursuits. They are a beloved companion. And, so often, they have provided hope and solace to troubled souls. The horse is the single most influential animal to affect mankind.

To be a nation of dignity we must not turn a blind eye to the actions of the undignified. Our action, or inaction, is a compass for our children and for morality. It is time to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves – time for citizens and our newly elected federal politicians to stare this oppressive industry square in the face and declaim: “Not in our country!” Time to listen with out heart to the desperate call unspoken of our friend – the horse.

It is the horse slaughter industry, not our ethics and our horses that should be in the graveyard.”

The Horse Sushi Sagas – Reblogged From “The Gadabout”

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This is a reblog from “The Gadabout,”  a blog by a pilot who writes of his flying experiences.  In these two blog posts written several years ago,  he gives his personal accounting of live horse shipments from Calgary, Alberta to Japan,  which have been previously documented by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.  You will also notice in the original blog photos that the horses are shipped multiple animals to one container,  which is contrary to IATA regulations,  an issue the CHDC also brought to the attention of Transport Canada and the CFIA in 2012

It’s not possible to confirm or deny the claims made here about incidents with horse shipments at this time,  and some of the transport companies mentioned here may no longer be involved and other participants may have changed.  Atlas Air and Korean Air are the companies that have now been observed doing the shipments – Fedex is no longer involved.  Please do not leave negative comments on his blog,  but instead view it as a very revealing first person accounting of the logistics and tragedy of live horse shipments from Calgary to Japan, preceding a protest of the practice at YYC (Calgary Airport).  If you live in the Calgary area, please plan to attend this peaceful protest on April 16, 2015.

Head ’em Up! Move ’em Out! 

“Me and the boys are settled down around the campfire here in Fukuoka, Japan after a big day out on the range a-bustin’ broncs. (Please recall, gentle reader, a previous email where I informed you that “Fukuoka” is pronounced “Foo Ko Ka”. Let’s not have any frivolous mispronunciations here.)

Loading Horses in Calgary (5)

Loading the Horses in Calgary – From “The Gadabout”

OK, they weren’t doggies and they weren’t broncs. They were Percherons and Belgian Draft Horses. We moved 57 head of them critters from Anchorage to Fukuoka yesterday. That’s an 8 hour flight and let me tell you, pards, being stuck in a closed aluminum tube for 8 hours with 57 one-ton horses is an olifactory event. But I get ahead of myself.

There is evidently a big demand for horsemeat and horsey byproducts here in Mysterious Japan. Mitsui & Co, Ltd, Foodstuffs Division, is making enough money to pay FedEx handsomely to fly these behemoths from a ranch in Calgary, Canada to Fukuoka with a refueling stop in Anchorage. The ranch raises them for their first three years until they are full sized. We’re talking Budweiser Clydesdale size horses, here: they average 2000 lbs a piece on the hoof. Once they’ve achieved full horsey adult status, they go to Japan where they are evidently further fattened up before slaughter.

There were two horse charters flown yesterday for a total of 114 horses which is the maximum limit of the horse quarantine facility in Fukuoka. Fifty seven horses – my weight and balance sheet yesterday said they and their containers weighed 131,600 lbs – produce a lot of byproducts that have to taken into consideration when crammed into a wide body jet for many hours. First, there are the clever “Instone” Horse Containers. These cans keep the horses and the horse emanations from running around all over the back of the jet and the cargo hold. Makes the clean up process much more efficient, pards. Note the can does not have cute little yellow “dixie cup” oxygen masks that drop from the ceilings. If our aircraft “loses cabin pressure” – well, Pilgrim – them horses is screwed.

Please ignore the Atlas 747. FedEx has the charter now. Evidently other charters operators have let the horses get too hot and killed the whole plane load.

The charter comes with a certified “Horse Handler” – ours was from Ireland – and a FedEx loadmaster. The horse handler has a big ol’ syringe full of horsey tranquilizer and happy juice should one of those monsters grow too unruly.

There are several pages of instructions contained in the MD-11 flight manual that pertain to carrying livestock. We needed to take advantage of every one of them yesterday. Normally, we run the air system in the MD-11 on “Econ”, i.e, low air flow since there are at most only 5 people on the jet and running the air conditioners on full uses excess fuel. So I had to be sure to turn Econ off during preflight. Some jets have been modified with extra air lines and valves to be “High Flow” jets. Those airplanes had to be specifically tasked against this charter. Next, some of our jets only have a “Nine-G” cargo net and a flimsy plastic “vapor barrier” separating the courier and cockpit area from the cargo hold. Those won’t do. A horse charter has to have a rigid bulkhead system between the horses and the people. Operating out of Econ and in High Flow require increased fuel burn planning. So I and the dispatcher had to make sure we had enough gas to offset that.

Finally, all jets maintain cabin pressure by opening and closing an “outflow valve”. Conditioned Air from the A/C packs flow into the cabin. The outflow valves open and close automatically to maintain an exact cabin altitude. The problem is that 57 horses produce a lot more humidity than the aircraft designer planned for. That moisture can get in the outflow valves and at stratospheric cold temperatures they will freeze the valve in place. Being unable to control the cabin altitude half way across the Pacific with none or little divert options would be a bad thing. So every 30 minutes we had to go manual on the pressure controller and “exercise” the valve to keep it from freezing. Gotta tell you, pards, that gives the ol’ Eustachian tubes in the ears a work out, guarontee [sic] it.

What the book doesn’t tell you and you really need to know is that it is a really good idea to wrap your bags in plastic. If you don’t, your bag and it’s [sic] contents will smell of horse until you get to a time an place that will allow you to clean them. So, we spent and extra 10 minutes bagging all the stuff we wouldn’t need during the flight. Further, once we leveled off at cruise, the first thing we all did was to take off our uniforms and get into some old clothes. Then we bagged the uniforms too – hermetical seals, baby.

The cockpit wasn’t too bad, although you could tell that you had horses in the jet with you. But once you went back to the courier compartment for “physiological breaks” and to cook your meal, the odor of horse almost knocked you down. I’m sure my grandfather is laughing at me now: “That’s the smell of money, boy.” But, Popper could step out of the barn into the fresh air and we couldn’t.

Finally, we were supposed to hawk the temperature controls back in the cargo bay and keep the temperature right around 60 degrees. The packs were working just as hard as they could – I had them turned full cold – to keep them at 60 degrees.

What I didn’t expect – and I should have – was what happened during the approach and landing. Descent requires you to pull the power back – which significantly impacts the air coming into the packs. I tried to keep the power up a little, but there is only so much you can do and still descend, so the temps in the jet just shot up quickly. Elementary physics says that hotter air can’t hold as much humidity and by the time we landed we had moisture dripping off of the ceiling everywhere inside that jet. Yucky horsey moisture.

I wanted to go back and get some pictures of the horses but there wasn’t time before takeoff……and going past the rigid barrier during flight into the real miasma was counter indicated and I chose not to.

So the only pictures I got were of the unloading process at Fukuoka.

I was surprised at how calm the horses were during this process. It seemed like about every hour or so during the flight, one of the horses would start stamping back there in his can and it literally shook the whole airplane. During approach and landing it felt like they were doing a break dance back there. We tried to brake the minimum necessary and roll out the full length of the runway to keep from tossing them around. One or two really exuberant stomping episodes felt like a serious of small explosions to me.

As you look at these pictures, please note that these horse containers have seen some wear and tear and are not nearly the nice homey stalls that the thoroughbreds get when they travel. Certainly, none of these guys were Mr Ed.

Just a short layover here in FUK – yup, that’s Fukuoka’s identifier, I don’t make ’em up, I just have to live with ’em – but it’s a very nice hotel.

We had a really nice meal at a restaurant around the corner that served American style food: “Cafe George” was the name. All six of the two horse charter crews plus one load master all went together. All of us were ex Air Force and we told lies and swapped war stories for a couple of hours and a good time was had by all. Much better than eatin’ Cookie’s grub out the chuck wagon, I gotta tell you, Pilgrim.”

The Horse Charter Follies

“Howdy All,

About 6 months ago I wrote about flying a horse charter to Fukuoka, Japan. Evidently, there is a big market for horsemeat in Japan. Japanese restaurants evidently think Belgian Draft horses make really good sushi (Basashi) so there are ranches all over the landscape around Calgary and Edmonton that grow thousands of these huge horses. They weigh about 2000 lbs apiece by the time they are two years old and then we haul ‘em to Japan. We ship them three horses to a roll-on-roll-off ‘can’.

Unloading The Horses -

Unloading The Horses – From “The Gadabout”

Since we can not load enough horses and fuel to be profitable and fly non-stop, we fly them in two legs, the first to Anchorage to refuel and then on to Fukuoka where they are quarantined and then fattened for slaughter.

Gentle Reader, yesterday turned into yet another mechanical saga – the worst in fact of this two week stretch of work I’m on. First, 57 horses jammed into the aluminum tube of a widebody jet require some significant life support. You have to keep the air moving in and out for cooling and respiration. That many huge horses can generate a lot of body heat and a lot carbon dioxide. So, when we start loading them, we switch the airplane’s A/C packs to ‘high flow’ and crank the temperature as low as we can get it.

The next piece of information in this comedy of errors I’m relating is that Calgary is served by FedEx Airbus 300’s normally. The mechanic assigned to our flight was – on paper – qualified to work on MD-11’s but the most he’d ever done was top-off the ‘serviceables’ – fuel, oil, hydraulic fluid, oxygen and so forth. He might have changed a light bulb too…….

The airplane had just flown in from Hawaii and when it landed, the crew could not get one of the electrical buses to connect to the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU). The APU is small jet engine turbine that sits in the tail and provided electricity and air to power, cool and start the airplane. If it can’t power the electrical buses, we are ‘hard broke’ – it’s got to be fixed or we can’t fly.

So a discussion occurs between the loadmaster and the mechanic: ‘How long will this take to fix? Can I start loading the horses?’ Without really thinking this through a decision is made to load them up. I am reminded of the scene in Indiana Jones and the Holy Grail where the bad guy drinks from the wrong cup and turns into dust. As the Knight Templar said: “He chose poorly.”

After the horses are loaded, the mechanic discovers that fixing the electrical problem is much more involved than he previously thought. It will require changing an electrical relay down in the electrical compartment between the landing gear. Further, we have to take all the electrical power off the airplane so it will be safe for him to switch out the relay. Since it is a ‘black box’ it shouldn’t be more than 30 minutes to change out.

Gentle Reader, it was a cool rainy day in Calgary – the temperature outside was just below 60 degrees and good strong breeze was blowing. If it had been normal Memorial Day weekend weather those horses would have been in big trouble because it took 5 hours to fix the jet.

First, our intrepid mechanic had to read the manual and follow it step by step. Evidently the compartment involved is very tight and it is tough to get the heavy black box in and out. Secondly, routing the cables involved is very tricky and requires some previous knowledge and this guy has none. He’s on the phone to the Maintenance experts in Memphis and they are talking him through this process.

I must start another aside here to further this tale. Several years ago, FedEx subcontracted one of these charters to Gemini Airlines. Gemini had some old, beat up 747 freighters that had bad air-conditioning systems in them. They were not up to the charter task and in fact they killed all the horses through lack of oxygen and carbon dioxide inhalation. My loadmaster on yesterday’s flight was also the unlucky loadmaster stuck with this tragedy. He’s really sensitive to horse mortality as he does not want his name associated with yet another incident.

So, about an hour into this process, it is getting steamy in the back of our jet. It’s dark, hot and you can’t see but two or three horse cans back. The loadmaster says to me the chilling words: “Geoff, this looks exactly how the Gemini disaster looked. We gotta do something.” So, we go down to the electrical compartment, get the mechanic out of there, put some power back on the jet so we can open up the aft doors on the main deck to let the breeze blow some air through the jet.

At this point a new problem arises. The only way to open the aft doors is to squeeze between the horse cans and the side of the jet all the back by the tail. When they get there, they discover that the wiring to the doors has been disconnected – since we never use those doors – as a security precaution. So, now they have to reassemble the wiring harness. This takes about 30 minutes and they are 100 feet aft of where I am up in the front of the jet and out of communication.

About 20 minutes into this process, I realize that if heat and CO2 inhalation can kill a horse, it can kill a person too. (I’m quick that way.) They did not take any kind of breathing equipment back with them. My imagination begins to work. So, I go back as far as I think I can safely go into the miasma. You can’t see 10 feet back…..and I begin shouting to see if they can hear me.

Gentle Reader, shouting near 57, large, hot, miserable horses is a bad idea. They begin kicking and stomping and generally making a fuss and shaking the whole airplane. If the loadmaster and the mechanic are answering me, I can’t hear it for all the uproar. I do feel somewhat better about the two guys since I’m thinking that if the horses still have energy to kick, then they are getting oxygen. But I’m still wondering if I’m going to have to call the fire department and have them go back there with breathing apparatus to resuscitate and rescue them. Finally, the horses settle down enough that I can hear them shout that they’ve just about got it open.

About the time they get the doors open, some more ground guys show up with an air-conditioning cart and they stick the big hose up in the doors and begin pumping cool air into the airplane. Now the mechanic can shut down the power again and go back to work fixing the jet.

In the meantime, the loadmaster starts working another issue. We have a ‘no later’ than time for the horses to arrive in Fukuoka. After that the airport is closed. If we go to Anchorage but can’t get to Fukuoka, there is no place to stable the horses. The horse handlers specifically state: “If we can’t get the horses to Fukuoka, we’d rather keep them here.’ They do have a temporary stable system in Calgary to get them off the jet. The Global Ops people say they understand this issue.

Finally, we are repaired and ready to go. The loadmaster makes one last call and confirms we are good to go all the way including the refueling stop and crew change in Anchorage and we blast off.

I have some aerodynamic information to share now, gentle reader. If you’ve ever listened closely to the Space Shuttle mission controller talking, he says as the shuttle passes through about 25000’ above sea level “Now entering the region of Max Q.” You can get the fastest subsonic speeds through the atmosphere in the region of Max Q but you burn a lot more gas. In order to expedite the trip up to Anchorage, I call Global Ops and get a new flight plan and fuel burn for staying that low and to make up some more time.

About halfway to Anchorage we discover that the air-conditioning can’t maintain the desired temperatures in the back at 25000 feet and we need to go higher where the air is colder. So we abandon the speed run and climb to 36000 feet.

The nasty weather around Calgary cleared up about 100 miles east of Juneau and we got some fantastic views. We were behind and above a United 777 that was going to Narita and it made a pretty picture.

Fifty miles further west, we saw this:

Juneau is in the little inlet in the upper right corner of this picture. Then north of Juneau we saw:

There is a cruise ship is right in the center of the picture.

About 200 miles north of Juneau is Mt St Elias and the Malaspina Glacier that I’ve written about before.

Just after that, the 777 veered left to continue to the Orient and we kept going to Anchorage.

Letting down into Anchorage we flew right over Prince William Sound where the sun was shining just right on the waves in the water to make a rainbow reflection:

Just after that we passed over Whittier and the harbor that is home to other day cruises and fishing tours.

If you look close, there is a cruise ship moored at the docks. The only way to drive to Whittier from anywhere is through a one lane tunnel that serves both trains and cars. I wrote about it back in September. In this picture you can see where the road disappears into the tunnel. I tried to show the tunnel from both sides here but the clouds obscure some of the view. You can see Whittier in the left side of the picture, the big mountain the tunnel goes under and on the right side of the picture, under the cloud is the road as it exits the mountain and goes next to the Portage glacier and river.

Clouds closed in right after this and we got busy landing. We got permission from the tower to roll the full length of the runway and minimized braking to keep from throwing the horses around and then taxied in.

That’s when we discovered that the next crew couldn’t get to Fukuoka in time before it closed and the horses had to spend last night in the jet parked on the ramp at Anchorage. The horse owner was more than a little miffed.

And that, Gentle Reader, ends this saga. Today is a flight to Fort Worth, Tx. As more fascinating sagas occur, I will share them.

Until then, I remain,”

Dad / Geoff

http://opinhbombay.blogspot.ca/2008_08_01_archive.html

 

 

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.