On July 23rd, the hue and cry for a group of anti horse-slaughter supporters, after months of planning, was “Wagons Ho” to Calgary, Alberta. They arranged, along with the assistance of Jo Deibel and Angel Acres’ to erect Canada’s second anti-horse slaughter billboard (the first having been erected in Ottawa), and followed-up with a billboard launch party that rocked the old-school Calgarians like they’d never experienced before. The team would also like to give an extra loud shout-out of gratitude to all our supporters who contributed financially to the rental of the billboard.
The billboard team was led by Charlotte Uhrich, and consisted of Joanne Clay, Laurie Neilio, Geri Ramsay, Alex Atamanenko’s assistant Gina, Dr. Sandie Hucal, and many others who worked
behind the scenes on Facebook, contacting media, preparing signs, and networking before, during, and after the billboard went up in early July during Calgary Stampede. Laurie Neilio and Joanne Clay put considerable energy into sourcing a damning 2005 film of the notorious Calgary Stampede bridge accident (9 horses fell off a bridge and died) that seems to have been suppressed, even though it was produced with taxpayer funds! Grab your tinfoil hats – conspiracy theory coming up!
Most of the planning and prep work was done without setting foot in Calgary until the day of the event! Sinikka Crosland of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was also in attendance to ensure that Canada’s national horse protection association had a strong presence. Together, everyone took a bold public step Monday towards exposing an industry that horse advocates describe as Canada’s secret shame. Alex Atamanenko, MP for BC Southern Interior and the author of Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada, along with more than two dozen supporters , rallied underneath the new billboard on the corner of Barlow Trail and Memorial Drive S.E. And the billboard is a success, having sparked controversy and created dialogue, if the number of news reports featuring it are any indication.
The decision to place a billboard during the 100th Anniversary of the Stampede was ballsy. In 2011, Canada slaughtered 89,348 horses and exported nearly 13,500 tonnes of horse meat to Belgium, France, Switzerland and other countries, according to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Alberta is the horse slaughter capital of Canada, being home to the Bouvry slaughterhouse and Bouvry Exports which serves both an export and smaller domestic market, mainly in Quebec.
While the overall message is one of anti-slaughter for all horses, the group also called attention to the continual death of horses for human amusement at the Stampede, which many Canadians (outside of Alberta, that is) consider to be about as cool as Grandma’s Corolla. Many will tell you that the Stampede celebrates our Western heritage. However, the modern rodeo is actually a departure from tradition. Attendance figures actually indicate that, when expressed as a percentage of city population, attendance is actually flatlining.
Traditionally, it was vitally important to preserve the safety and well-being of horses: For those who depended on their animals, jeopardizing their life could result in dire consequences to their livelihood as a result of poor management. Rodeos reflect a shift in tradition from protecting the welfare of horses to profiting from their stress and suffering.
Each year, as recent statistics demonstrate, there is a high likelihood that horses will be injured or die when they are driven beyond their capacity in excessive heat. Most horses participating in the chuckwagon races are older or retired thoroughbred racehorses, who are no longer fit for such exertion, especially in the dead heat of summer. Not only is racing chuckwagons not an everyday ranch event, it’s not even an officially recognized event of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. Its sole purpose is excitement, show and entertainment.
In events that pack horses and riders tightly together and where racers vie for over $1 million in prize money, is it any surprise that horses are pushed to the limit and that this stress would cause severe collateral injury and death? More than 50 horses have died at the Calgary Stampede since 1986.
In addition, the Stampede organizers recently admitted that each year, about 20 horses bred at the Calgary Stampede ranch aren’t angry enough to entertain spectators at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” or at lesser outdoor shows, are sent to slaughter. Many people are of the opinion that these horses could be re-homed, since they are a failure at what would be their primary job – bucking – a characteristic that, when done “professionally” for the Stampede, makes horses poor candidates for new careers.
Opposition in the media was expected and it consisted of the usual poorly researched articles, often written by people who
had no idea there was a horsemeat industry in Canada (and still don’t) . They are busy perpetuating illogical arguments that “some” suffering is acceptable, or even expected, and that these horses are incredibly well treated off the track. Incredibly, one news broadcast even neglected to feature MP Atamanenko at all, and instead relied upon old video of a kill buyer, who was so proud of himself that he refused to face the camera.
Association manager Robyn Moore said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency has veterinarians on site at slaughterhouses to ensure the process is “100 per cent humane.” Clearly the CFIA has forgotten that the footage publicized by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition was authenticated by the Canadian government. She also forgot to mention that state-of-the-art plant that was retrofitted to use designs by Dr. Temple Grandin was shut down by the government after the undercover investigation videos were released. Her memory eludes her yet again when she forgets to mention that Canada’s two largest plants will no longer accept Thoroughbred racehorses. I’m sure it has nothing whatsoever to do with the banned drugs (most notably Phenylbutazone) given to racehorses, which renders them ineligible for food sources.
“Something is quite wrong, we’re not getting the response from the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) that’d we’d like,” he says. “We don’t allow cattle into the human food chain if they’ve been given prohibited drugs, but we are allowing it to happen with horses.” – Alex Atamanenko. View the CHDC publication “The Art of Evasion,” which documents the clear sense of apathy within the Agency.
Calgarians in general are not getting the message either, if the rash of poorly formulated ideas and thoughts posted on news sites are any indication.
Chef Shawn Greenwood of Calgary’s Taste Restaurant is serving horse tartare on the menu. Greenwood said he buys the horse meat from a local supplier, who raised the animals specifically for slaughter, so he was not concerned that the meat contained Phenylbutazone. I wonder how this was confirmed? I suspect, as I do with La Palette in Toronto, that restaurants are getting the “pharmaceutical grade” of horsemeat, while Claude Bouvry sends the purpose-bred, medication-free horses live to Japan several times a week.
Of course, American horse-hater, part-time Wyoming State Rep and cowboy poet “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis felt compelled to weigh-in (pun intended) on the news stories, since she has Canadian representation in the International Equine Business Association.
She writes on the United Horsemen’s Facebook page:
“In spite of the headlines, solely designed to add drama and sell papers, there are actually some very good comments made in this article by our International Equine Business Association partners in Canada.”
And the Canadian contingent of the IEBA, Canadian horsemeat pimp Bill DesBarres, chair of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, criticized the demonstrators’ argument that slaughtering horses is inhumane. This is because DesBarres can provide proof that all horse-slaughter abuse videos are misleading because they’ve been filmed by angry vegans using Photoshop wizardry and bad lighting.
“There’s absolutely no science behind it,” said DesBarres. “It’s strictly based on emotion. The end of life option of processing is a very real and wonderful option to have for the humane handling and the welfare of all animals. The more these people promote their choice of not slaughtering horses, the more they promote people to try it as a consumptive food,” he said. Clearly, he hasn’t been speaking with Wallis lately, who has been inundated with bad press for yet another failed attempt at establishing a slaughterhouse, this time in Rockville, Missouri.
Does anyone else find DesBarres comment that horse slaughter is “wonderful” to be, ok, I’ll just say it – almost fetishistic in its fiendishness? Who the fvck claims slaughter is “wonderful?” I daresay that this comment in particular suggests to me that DesBarres thinks horse slaughter is a form of snuff porn. In that, he is at least consistent with his compatriot Slaughterhouse Sue, who has no problem endorsing creepy post-mortem activities with animals.
By the way Bill, do you know what “consumptive” means? Courtesy of the Free Dictionary:
|con·sump·tive (kn-smptv)adj.1. Consuming or tending to consume.2. Of, relating to, or afflicted with consumption.n.A person afflicted with consumption.con·sumptive·ly adv.|
1. causing consumption; wasteful; destructive
2. (Medicine / Pathology) Pathol relating to or affected with consumption, esp tuberculosis of the lungs
(Medicine / Pathology) Pathol a person who suffers from consumption
Thesaurus: Synonyms Related Words Antonyms
|Noun||1.||consumptive– a person with pulmonary tuberculosis – tubercular, lunger diseased person, sick person, sufferer – a person suffering from an illness|
|Adj.||1.||consumptive– tending to consume or use often wastefully; “water suitable for beneficial consumptive uses”; “duties consumptive of time and energy”; “consumptive fires”generative, productive – having the ability to produce or originate; “generative power”; “generative forces”|
|2.||consumptive– afflicted with or associated with pulmonary tuberculosis; “a consumptive patient”; “a consumptive cough”ill, sick – affected by an impairment of normal physical or mental function; “ill from the monotony of his suffering”|
Somebody wake DesBarres up from his nap in the crypt and let him know that, for once, I agree with him! Eat North American horsemeat and you could indeed find yourself “consumptive.” Please take a moment to email Bill and tell him how happy you are with his comments – firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill C-322 seeks to end the import and export of horses for slaughter for human consumption. One of the true tests of leadership is the ability to recognize a problem and take action to rectify it. It only takes one person to be a change catalyst, a “transformer” in any situation, any organization. Many private citizens and supporters of integrity and transparency in Canada’s food supply are regularly issuing challenges to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to act immediately to correct the serious problems of horse cruelty and non-food horsemeat entering the food chain. We are all consumers and advocates – not one of us is any less responsible for tasking the government with ensuring that our food supply is as safe as it can possibly be.