Tag Archives: Richelieu

Godbout Express Access-To-Information Docs Reveal Horses In Transit 27+ Hours

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Justice

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

The CFIA documents and slaughter records pertaining to the May 15th shipment of two tractor trailers of horses seen near Marysville, ON on a holiday weekend have now been received.  The enquiry was made to ascertain whether or not the horses would have been unloaded in a timely manner on a long holiday weekend in Canada. The paperwork reveals that, as expected,  Godbout Express was driving for Ohio Kill Buyer Fred Bauer and the 56 horses were shipped from Larue Ohio.  The horses were on the trailers for 27+ hours.  Please refer to the previous blog post and video.

Chronology and Summary

  • May 15th @ 5:00 AM  – horses loaded in Larue, Ohio
  • May 15th – border crossing to Canada at Sarnia, Ontario entry point
  • May 15th @7:00 PM – two trailers of horses documented by animal activist Rob Boisvert in Marysville, Ontario,  approximately 5 hours (with traffic) away from Richelieu slaughterhouse
  • May 16th – paperwork completed for Access-To-Information request and mailed to the Office of the Information Commissioner of Canada*
  • May 16th @8:15 AM – horses were unloaded at Richelieu slaughterhouse in Massueville, QC on  – 27+ hours later (the regulation limit for transit time in Canada is 36 hours).
  • May 19th – as soon as the plant opened for operations on the Tuesday following the statutory holiday – Boom! – all 56 horses from the two trailer loads were fastracked to the express lane for slaughter
  • July 28th – ATI Request completed & returned to originator – USDA Form 10-13 lists horses as mostly quarter horses and standardbreds,  with the occasional appy or paint; no non-compliance orders indicated

*information was also requested as to the condition of the horses at the time of unloading, but this information was either withheld or simply not provided.

Although the manifests made note of several lip tattoos and brands, only a few were indicated and were sufficiently legible enough to trace.  Most horses with lip tattoos will be thoroughbreds and not standardbreds,  unless perhaps in their late 20s or 30s since the practice of lip-tattooing a standardbred has long been phased-out.  With a swipe of the pen,  no thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter!  Richelieu supposedly backed away from slaughtering thoroughbreds (at least on paper) as a result of the Cactus Cafe & Canuki fiasco with trainer Mark Wedig.  According to an email from Richelieu administrative technician Geneve Ethier,  the Canuki and Cactus Cafe case “did occur major problems to us and a lot of time, efforts, and money consuming. So to avoid that in the future, the plant advises all his suppliers to not BUY those thoroughbred[s] and overall not have them ship to us. . . . For us, thoroughbred[s] are definitely banned from our premises.”  The likelihood that this shipment of 56 horses, some with lip tattoos, contains no thoroughbreds, is quite improbable.  So of course, the paperwork is virtually without a doubt – not accurate,  or we dare say – FALSE.

In two conversations I had with CFIA veterinarians regarding this shipment, at no time did they tell me that veterinarians/inspectors at slaughterhouses worked any shift other than the standard top hat tip Debbyday shift.  According to a 2011 article in Better Farming,  “slaughter-bound shipments will be accepted only during the CFIA’s regular hours of operation…So miraculously perhaps,  an inspector was either working a Saturday as part of his/her normal job requirements (the day the horses were unloaded) or was called in especially to break the seal.  If the drivers make this trip twice a week (a statement made to Rob Boisvert when he quizzed them in Marysville) then it’s reasonable to assume that the horses are left overnight, packed together in stupefyingly hot July and August weather with no access to water, if the same driving schedule is followed.

Every attempt was made to determine the ID of the horses on these shipments. A few are questionable with more than one possibility due to the illegibility of the writing.  Judging by their ages, most of these STB mares could have been older broodmares whose services were no longer required.  The remaining 50 horses all had names at one time; to us they are unknown and untraceable, but not to be forgotten.

In Memoriam:

T4738 – STB Mare – “Gettinjiggywithit

5B159 – STB Gelding – “Snilloc Three

2B448 – STB Mare – “Spring Hill Mini

8A452? – STB Mare – “BC Firepan

L2415? – STB Mare – “Hawaiian Alumina” could alternatively be L2485? –  STB Mare – “Picupyosocs

6G525 – STB Mare – “Fast Bunny

 

The 9 Ethical Principles of the True Horseman

  1.  Anyone involved with a horse takes over responsibility for the living creature entrusted to him.
  2. The horse must be kept in a way that is in keeping with its natural living requirements.
  3. Highest priority must be accorded to the physical as well as psychological health of the horse, irrespective of the purpose for which it is used.
  4. Man must respect every horse alike, regardless of its breed, age and sex and its use for breeding, for recreation or in sporting competition.
  5. Knowledge of the history of the horse, its needs, and how to handle it are part of our historical-cultural heritage.  This information must be cherished and safeguarded in order to be passed on to the next generation.
  6. Contact and dealings with horses are character-building experiences and of valuable significance to the development of the human being – in particular, the young person.  This aspect must always be respected and promoted.
  7. The human who participates in equestrian sport with his horse must subject himself, as well his horse, to training.  The goal of any training is to bring about the best possible harmony between rider and horse.
  8. The use of the horse in competition as well as in general riding, driving and vaulting must be geared toward the horse’s ability, temperament and willingness to perform.  Manipulating a horses’ capacity to work by means of medication or other “horse-unfriendly” influences should be rejected by all and people engaged in such practices should be prosecuted.
  9. The responsibility a human has for the horse entrusted to him includes the end of the horse’s life.  The human must always assume this responsibility and implement any decisions in the best interest of the horse.

from “Tug of War” by Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, dressage rider and veterinarian

 

 ATI Documentation

What We’ve Got Here is Failure To Communicate…..

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Failure to CommunicateIn September,  Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced that Dr. Brian Evans,  who was making some sort of lateral move (perhaps closer to the door?) was being replaced by Dr. Martine Dubuc Chief Food Safety Officer and Dr. Ian Alexander Chief Veterinary Officer.   Of course,  no announcement from the CFIA can ever be made without the requisite statements about Canada having a “strong food safety system founded on sound science and aligned with international standards.”  Yawn.

Of course,  statements such as these seem contradictory when it’s realized that,  even though it apparently takes two people to replace Dr. Evans,  the CFIA is slashing jobs and budgets  elsewhere.  In April of this year,  Opposition Leader Thomas Mulcair`s website foretold of the impending doom,  when he wrote that Less food inspection could mean another tainted food crisis, more serious illnesses or worse.  Over 100 food inspectors,  hired after the listeriosis outbreak (which Ritz mocked) in 2008 will now be slashed,  which puts us at the pre-listeriosis levels in terms of staffing.  In total,  the CFIA will be jettisoning 308 jobs.

Malcolm Allen, NDP Critic for Agriculture and Agri-Food, wrote that “These cuts put Canadians’ lives at risk.  We could have another listeriosis crisis on our hands. People could get sick, or worse, they could lose their lives.”  A new food safety report released by the Conference Board of Canada says rates of food-borne illnesses in Canada are higher than the United States. Canadians suffer more often from salmonella, e. coli, campylobacter and yersinia than Americans, according to the report prepared by the Centre for Food in Canada.

Dr. Brian Evans being interviewed by CBC

Dr. Brian Evans being interviewed by CBC

Horse welfare advocates have no experience with these two replacements for Dr. Evans,  who seems to be perpetually unaware of serious horse cruelty infractions occurring within his purview.  Even though he appeared to be forthright on the CBC video No Country for Horses, he is confronted about cruelty issues and accusations that the inspectors working in Bouvry and Richelieu were ordered to ignore their own rules.  If you`re watching the video – check out the horse at the 1:55 minute mark – this horse is ineligible for slaughtering because it is exhibiting stereotyping behaviour,  – compulsive shaking of its head.

Of course,  now that we have two new people replacing Dr. Evans,  you might think that the organization might be a bit more responsive in issuing food hazard alerts,  yet it was revealed that the CFIA waited nearly two weeksto issue a public health alert after learning that beef from an Alberta plant was contaminated with a potentially deadly bacteria. Even then,  it was not the CFIA that discovered the contamination,  it was the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Agency that made the discovery.  The plant with the contamination problem – XL Foods,  has been suspended from operations for shipping 890,000 pounds of contaminated beef to the US.  Looks to me like this has the potential to become the next listeriosis crisis,  as foretold by Thomas Mulcair and Malcolm Allen.

Unfortunately,  government inability to respond quickly to threats and challenges also doesn`t bode well for our horses.  Most everyone in Ontario is familiar with the backstory here – seeking sources of funding to address a $15-billion deficit, the Ontario government decided to terminate a program that sent $345-million from slot-machine revenues to tracks and horsemen in 2011. The decision will result in the loss of up to 60,000 jobs, according to the draft of a government-commissioned report prepared by McKinsey & Company. By comparison, General Motors announced plans in June to shut down a consolidated line at its plant in Oshawa, Ont., a move expected to cost 2,000 jobs in June of 2013.

A week ago I sent a copy of a CHDC action-alert letter reflecting the concern for up to 13,000 racehorses being slaughtered with prohibited drugs in their system, to both Dr. Martine  Dubuc and Dr. Ian Alexander,  Dr Evans’ replacements.  I figured that if you can’t interest them in the cruelty angle,  at least try to get them to commit to following their own meat hygiene guidelines.  I asked them to clarify how the CFIA intends to ensure that no racehorses enter the slaughter pipeline during this period of crisis when breeders, owners and trainers begin to offload their animals.

These drugs could include:

Table 1.  Therapeutic Medications Routinely Used and Identified as Necessary by the Veterinary Advisory Committee — (Racing Medication and Testing Consortium [RMTC] draft list of therapeutic medications, 2005) 

1. Acepromazine 17. Dipyrone 33. Omeprazole
2. Albuterol 18. Flunixin 34. Pentoxifylline
3. Aminocaproic Acid 19. Fluprednisolone 35. Phenylbutazone
4. Atropine 20. Fluphenazine 36. Phenytoin
5. Beclomethasone 21. Furosemide 37. Prednisolone
6. Betamethasone 22. Glycopyrrolate 38. Prednisone
7. Boldenone 23. Guaifenesin 39. Procaine Penicillin
8. Butorphanol 24. Hydroxyzine 40. Pyrilamine
9. Cimetidine 25. Isoflupredone 41. Ranitidine
10. Clenbuterol 26. Isoxsuprine 42. Reserpine
11. Cromolyn 27. Ketoprofen 43. Stanozolol
12. Dantrolene 28. Lidocaine 44. Testosterone
13. Detomidine 29. Mepivacaine 45. Triamcinolone
14. Dexamethasone 30. Methocarbamol 46. Trichlomethiazide
15. Diazepam 31. Methylprednisolone 47.  Regumate
16. DMSO 32. Nandrolone 48. Dermorphin

Instead,  what I received back from Dr. Alexander was this:

Dr. Ian Alexander letter

Dr. Ian Alexander letter

As you can read,  it completely misses the salient points – those being that racehorses,  the ones who are now being declined by Bouvry and Richelieu for complicated drug issues that do not pass muster with the CFIA`s own meat hygiene manual for horses may be entering the food chain,  and what was the CFIA going to do about it?  As form letters go,  I`ve seen more articulate letters to Santa Claus.  To knowingly send a horse to slaughter for human consumption when that animal has been administered non-permitted drugs is a federal offence.  This concern cannot be over-emphasized, as illustrated in a U.S. study performed on 18 American racehorses who were sent for slaughter after receiving phenylbutazone, Dodman et al, 2010 Association of Phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk.  Food and Chemical Toxicology 48:1270-1274.

Phenylbutazone, an anti-inflammatory drug, is a carcinogen and even tiny amounts can cause aplastic anemia, particularly in children.  Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator that is used in the racing industry not only to enhance breathing but to build muscle, can cause symptoms of acute food poisoning (gross tremors of the extremities, tachycardia, nausea, headaches and dizziness).  Not only that,  but how do the CFIA plan to explain away the existence of dermorphin (frog juice) in horses sent for slaughter in Canada?  And why does it seem as if the racing industry can detect drugs in horses more expediently than can the CFIA?

I swear I would last a maximum of one week in a government job – I couldn’t stand the obfuscation.  “Processing”  is something you do to a roll of Kodak film,  not to horses!  With talk like that,  Dr. Alexander is about as credible as Bill DesBarres and his BFF’s  Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette.