Tag Archives: “United Horsemen”

Myths, Half-Truths, and Lies of the Commercial Carriage Horse Industry

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

In 2007, Bill Thompson, then New York City Comptroller, announced the findings of an audit that cited numerous problems in the carriage horse industry. That same year, Queens councilman Tony Avella introduced a Bill to abolish the carriages outright. Several years later the carriage-horse industry and some of its opponents got together and hammered out a Bill raising carriage fares and mandating larger stable stalls and the five-week vacation for horses. It now became law that the working horses must fall between five and 26 years old, and they have been banned from traversing certain streets and from working from 3 and 7 a.m. But now, the carriage industry, long the subject of controversy, seems poised to end. The deaths and injuries of the horses has prompted New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, to vow to eliminate them completely as part of his campaign promise.

City carriages are romantic

Dense traffic and on a phone

Many people feel that the carriages themselves are at odds with the dense traffic and sounds of the city.  Horses and cars do not mix well and when there is a collision it is always the horse (and passengers) who will be worse off for it.  The carriage trade likes to represent that there have been only three horse deaths due to vehicular traffic since 1985, but there is documentation for many more accidents even in the last few years.  In addition,  several horses died of heatstroke,  and one horse died crashing into a tree,  but the industry typically excludes these from their “death count” because they don’t consider them “traffic related.”  But if a carriage horse dies while in harness and put to a carriage – it is indeed a carriage industry death,  and to parlay it otherwise is just obfuscation on the part of the industry.  There is no law requiring the ASPCA to release the details of carriage accidents and therefore it is impossible to know how many have occurred that have not been directly witnessed or documented by animal advocates such as those working with The Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn CarriagesNYCLASS,  and others.

Since the carriage industry has resisted reform in the past and insists on churning out falsehoods and half-truths, they’re fair game for some myth-busting. Disconcertingly, a small minority of industry supporters are also prepared to malign and harass horsepeople who dare to disagree with their stance.  There seems to be an unwritten rule that carriage drivers in particular MUST support this industry no matter what infractions are observed.  Anti-slaughter proponents will be dismayed to note that the industry, represented by the Teamsters union, have aligned themselves with a few characters from the United Horsemen’s group as well as the anti-animal puppymill promoters and horse-soring defenders, the Cavalry Group.  Working with a group that generally opposes any type of minimal animal protection as a rule will have animal lovers reject your position outright and fail to give you any support whatsoever.

I’ve always had a interest in debunking false lore and hoaxes.  Usually I’ve spent my time debunking pseudo science, near-death experiences, and alien abductions, but the same flaws in thinking/rationalizing that lead to those belief systems can be found elsewhere.  And the carriage horse proponents don’t disappoint!  They continue to be dogmatic in their approach and persist in their beliefs even after shown evidence to the contrary.

1.  Will Bill S5013-2011 Permit the Seizure of the Privately Owned Carriage Horses?

Carriage horse rear

This has the potential to become a bolt by the carriage horse.

Making it so that you cannot operate a carriage in NYC is not seizing your property.  The Bill does not require that horses be sold or donated, but the Bill does define the circumstances under which sale or disposal or the horse shall be deemed humane.  While it does attempt to control what happens to the horses IF they are sold, it does not compel  them to be sold.  The Bill attempts to restrict the sale or donation of a horse to persons or groups who will keep them as “companion” animals and not “work horses,” obviously, in an attempt to keep them from being slaughtered.  It doesn’t seem to bother the fanatical carriage supporters that their new friends in the pro-slaughter Cavalry Group,  who are now handling some questionable public relations for them, would put all their horses in an express lane to the slaughter plants either.

Elsewhere in the Bill the definition of “work horse” is given as one who is presented for paid work as a carriage horse.  “Companion animal” is not defined in the Bill, but there is no restriction given on using the horse personally as a riding or driving horse.  Most animal advocates would understand that a “companion animal” is a horse that is a pet and not considered livestock;  a great many of us will describe our riding horses as companion animals.  There is also a legal definition that describes such an animal as “an animal that serves as a domestic pet,” but goes on to provide examples in case law that may include or exclude horses,  depending on the evidence of the relationship between the animal and its owner.  In any case, there is no need to perpetuate the hue and cry that the carriage horses will be seized,  but it is worth noting that the whole Bill is open to challenge on several issues and is unenforceable outside of New York State.  Although the Bill states that horses would not be “employable” as carriage horses,  I don’t see why a carriage horse could not be subsequently employed as a livery horse outside of high-density city.

Here’s the contentious passages in the Bill:

“B. A horse shall not be  sold  or  disposed  of  except  in  a  humane
manner,  WHICH, FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SUBCHAPTER SHALL MEAN ONE OF
THE FOLLOWING:
  1. THE OWNER SHALL SELL OR DONATE THE HORSE TO  A  PRIVATE  INDIVIDUAL
WHO SIGNS AN ASSURANCE THAT THE HORSE WILL NOT BE SOLD AND SHALL BE KEPT
SOLELY  AS  A  COMPANION  ANIMAL AND NOT EMPLOYED IN ANOTHER HORSE-DRAWN
CARRIAGE BUSINESS OR AS A WORK HORSE AND WILL BE CARED FOR HUMANELY  FOR
THE REMAINDER OF THE HORSE'S NATURAL LIFE; OR
  2.  THE  OWNER  SHALL  SELL OR DONATE THE HORSE TO A DULY INCORPORATED
ANIMAL SANCTUARY OR DULY  INCORPORATED  ANIMAL  PROTECTION  ORGANIZATION
WHOSE  PRESIDENT OR EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SIGNS AN ASSURANCE THAT THE HORSE
WILL NOT BE SOLD AND SHALL BE KEPT SOLELY AS A COMPANION ANIMAL AND  NOT
EMPLOYED IN ANOTHER HORSE-DRAWN CARRIAGE BUSINESS OR AS A WORK HORSE AND
WILL  BE  CARED  FOR  HUMANELY  FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE HORSE'S NATURAL
LIFE.
  3. RECORDS INDICATING THE NAME, ADDRESS AND TELEPHONE  NUMBER  OF  THE
PRIVATE  INDIVIDUAL, DULY INCORPORATED ANIMAL SANCTUARY OR DULY INCORPO-
RATED ANIMAL PROTECTION ORGANIZATION TO  WHOM  THE  HORSE  WAS  SOLD  OR
DONATED TOGETHER WITH THE ASSURANCE SPECIFIED ABOVE SHALL BE SENT BY THE
OWNER  TO THE DEPARTMENT WITHIN FIVE DAYS AFTER SUCH SALE OR DONATION. A
COPY OF SUCH RECORD SHALL ALSO BE MAINTAINED AT THE STABLE.”

2.  Quoting Celebrities Does Not Give One’s Point More Authority

Oreo's acident in NYC - here he has been tranq'd

OREO’s accident in NYC – here he has been tranq’d.

Quite a few celebs have stepped forward to either condemn or praise the NYC carriage horse industry.  Neither side is particularly compelling in my opinion, at least, no more so that the average person.  The carriage supporters all loathe celebs such as  Pamela Anderson,  Lea Michele, Kathy Najimy,  and Alex Baldwin,  but they’ve really embraced Liam Neeson, who apparently counts several carriage drivers among his close personal friends.  “They’ll die, you know, darlin,’ The horses are incredibly well-treated. They’re regulated up the wazoo. They get five weeks’ holiday every year.  Tourists love them.”   Along with former Mayor Bloomberg, Neeson also perpetuates the opinion that they’ll all be slaughtered too, and it’ll be the fault of meddling big city liberals,  according to him.  Well if that were to happen, responsibility for that action would have to lie with the owners of the horses and nobody else.

Of all the celebs peripherally involved in the carriage trade, few are more hypocritical than Neeson. I’m calling out Neeson as a hypocrite since he ate the meat of a trapped wolf  to get in character for a role in the movie “The Grey” and then tried to fearmonger about horse slaughter.  If anything,  maybe he should become an anti-trapping spokesperson?  I didn’t realize that actors had to directly experience something like this to be considered a true method actor.  If he needed help to channel his rage for the movie, somebody should have suggested that he stick his hand in the trap instead.   Eating trapped animals, especially for something as trifling as a movie role is not cool.

And since he’s Irish, I hope he also concerned about the fate of horses in Ireland and elsewhere in Great Britain, where it’s popular to race horses on the M4 highways and evade the garda (police),  often crashing the horses and abandoning them, injured.  What about the huge problems with fly-grazing, where horses are illegally grazed on private property without the knowledge or consent of the owners of the property?  Indeed, Ireland has a huge crisis of horses, with up to 20,000 of the animals currently needing immediate intervention by authorities for abuse and cruelty.  But the next time he’s in town and hanging with his buddies on 59th street, perhaps he can get in-character by eating some oats that have been spilled out into the street amongst the pigeon droppings, just for authenticity’s sake of course.

3.  Is the NYC Carriage Trade Really a 155+ Year-Old Historic Occupation Built by Working Class Heroes?

Disclaimer:  The video below is NSFW (Not Safe for Work – due to language. Well,  it may be SFW if you work in an office where the “eff”word gets spit out more than any other word (examples: Bill O’Reilly’s office, Alec Baldwin’s office,  etc…)) Otherwise it’s headphones material. And we should be clear – it is not a criticism of the Irish or of immigrants in general.  I don’t know what if anything preceded it,  but it is not exactly characteristic of the pastoral charm that tourists envision when they think of Central Park and carriage horses.

But over 100 years ago, everyone was driving a horse and carriage in New York.  By the twenties, the horse-drawn carriage had been almost entirely replaced by the automobile.  So the current industry can hardly say that they harken back to those days,  since the current medallion ownership/licensing scheme is much more recent.  It’s rather analogous to saying that the airline industry is 87 years old as a result of Charles Lindbergh’s  flight from New York to Paris in 1927.  While it’s true that many of the carriage drivers (who are employed by the 68 medallion holders) who drive approximately 220 horses could probably be described as “working class,” the business operators in their primarily cash based business (no one knows exactly how much the industry contributes to NYC tax revenue) are hardly in that category.  They own the stables in which the horses reside in NYC and in my opinion, are living quite well. Several of them own more than one lucrative medallion.

It’s unclear what a medallion (license to operate a carriage business in NYC) is actually worth in present value terms. Some drivers said they paid $30,000 for their medallions 25 years ago. So obviously they are worth a considerable sum of money, given what the average income must be for the 68 medallion holders bringing in an estimated $15-$19 million dollars to the economy – an amount that has been corroborated by the Communications Liaison for the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City.  Therefore, to determine how “working class” the industry is as a whole, a little arithmetic can be applied as follows:

$15,000,000/68 medallions = average gross income of $220,588 per medallion owner (low-balling the industry estimate)

$19,000,000/68 medallions = average gross income of $279,412 per medallion owner (applying the upper limit of the estimate)

Not holding onto the reins while getting out of carriage

Getting in and out of a carriage and hitching the horse to the carriage are the most dangerous times. At least hold onto the “reins” – don’t let them fall onto the wheels either. And don’t let passengers get in the carriage when you don’t actually have control of the horse and are not in the box seat!

That’s per medallion,  so if someone or a corporation owns more than one or half a medallion,  the calculations can be adjusted accordingly.  As a comparison,  the NYC tourism industry as a whole, in 2011, brought in about 34.5 billion dollars  Therefore, statements made in some of the glowing pro-carriage trade articles to the effect that the carriages are the main tourist attraction in NYC would seem to be unsupported.

So, in my opinion, the medallion owners, some of whom appear to be corporations or don’t even reside in the US,  are doing very well for themselves and their incomes are hardly typical of what we would consider “working class.”  I’m hardly opposed to any entrepreneur who can earn a comfortable living, but let’s be honest at least about what a “working class” income really is and what it is not.  The medallion owners are contractors or licensees,  and not actual employees of the city.

4.  How Restorative is the Mandated Five Weeks Vacation for NYC Carriage Horses?

There are many reasons why,  in my opinion, this mandated “vacation” isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Especially if it isn’t actually a holiday if horses are  sent to Amish country for their R&R,  where they are, unbeknownst to the average person,  used as work horses on farms they are loaned to.

Many drafts and draft-crosses, the breeds typically used by the carriage trade, have some heritable muscle problems, such as equine polysaccharide storage myopathy (EPSM),  which has been confirmed or suspected in virtually every draft horse breed, draft cross-bred,  and draft mule.  The disease is responsible for severe muscle wasting and weakness, causing poor performance and abnormal hind limb gaits.  Afflicted horses benefit more greatly from daily turnout and structured breaks at regular intervals, and not all at once.  If they are furloughed, it also becomes more difficult to treat them for this condition as well, and they may tie-up when they come back to work.  Also, since the vast majority of furloughed horses go to New Jersey and Pennsylvania or upstate NY – disease control may not be optimal when they come back. Also consider that these horses have no grass during the majority of the year – transferring them suddenly to any sort of pasture and onto grass that they are not used to eating can have serious consequences such as colic or laminitis.

This study suggests that pastured horses maintained a similar level of fitness as stalled horses after 14 weeks.  However, the research, by Dr. Patty Graham-Thiers of Virginia Intermont College, involved comparing two groups of horses to horses turned out on a hilly 100 acre pasture.  It could be relevant if the carriage horses were turned out on similar circumstances and property and not standing in small paddocks or sent to work on Amish farms, as has often been cited.  And the study doesn’t exactly support ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Corey’s comments about furloughing horses, as she has said that when the horses return from furlough, they often look worse than when they first went on vacation – “We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left.”  If the study concludes that these pastured horses were able to maintain a similar level of fitness as the stalled, exercised horses, in addition to having greater bone mineral content at the end of the study, then why do the carriage horses tend to look worse, in the words of Dr. Corey?  How are they maintained on the “holiday” paddocks?  Or are the draft crosses tendency to have metabolic issues not being addressed?  Or are the paddocks not large enough to facilitate the exercise that was observed in the study? Lots of questions with no answers,  as the horses aren’t monitored while away from the City.

THECAVALRYGROUPimage003-1

5.  How Can an Association With the Cavalry Group Be a Good Thing?

Think “Waterloo” and immediately the phrase,  “catastrophic failure” comes to mind…… On its website, the extreme right-wing Cavalry Group declares that animal rights “extremists” are working to advance a “vegan agenda.”  They have opposed several “animal rights” measures around the U.S., including a ballot question in Missouri to crack down on puppymills and a referendum in North Dakota that would make it a felony to maliciously and intentionally harm dogs, cats or horses. They also oppose the SAFE Act to stop sending American horses to be slaughtered, and they have resisted anti-soring legislation for Big Lick horses, and they resist pretty much any and all efforts to upgrade anti-cruelty laws.  It should come as no surprise that The Cavalry Group is based in Missouri which has the worst puppy mills in the nation. Even the Better Business Bureau refers to Missouri as the “capital of puppy mills in the US.”  Any group that aligns themselves with people who find Big Lick soring in any way acceptable and who mount a charge to OPPOSE the passage of this Bill deserve failure. Here’s a list of what they oppose.

Anti-animal Cavalry Group tweetstorm

Cavalry Group Tweetstorm – where the NYC carriage industry gets infused with Teaparty insanity.

Wayne Pacelle, President of the Humane Society of the United States, added, “It’s a very bad selection by the carriage horse drivers to associate with a group of zealots that oppose the most basic animal welfare standards.”  Utilizing an anti-animal lobbying group shows that they are not the animal lovers that they claim to be and are more interested in promoting the status quo.

The Cavalry group made a laughing stock out of itself the last time it went up to Washington to lobby against HR 1418S  In their “USDA Approved” campaign to resist legislation against horse soring. The Cavalry Group saddled up and put a Big Lick horse, Mr. Heisman, on its poster, and proudly proclaimed he was “USDA APPROVED.” Mr. Heisman is trained by Brandye Mills and he is owned by Randall Baskin. It just so happens that Brandye Mills and owner Randall Baskin have HPA violations! Trainer Mills has been cited numerous times for “foreign substances, scars, unilateral sores, low chains,” etc. on multiple animals.  Violation of the Horse Protection Act is already a crime, so Mills and Baskin are anything but USDA approved.

Just as stupid is the carriage horse association with the various cast-offs from United Horsemen, who live even further away from NYC than I do – several of them parroted false information about colicking Salt Lake City carriage horse Jerry, whose illness and death was concealed for several days/weeks,  unbeknownst to those who personally attested to him being alive,  days after he had died.  This just goes to show that you can’t expect members of the pro-slaughter group United Horsemen to have knowledge of anything that requires them to READ.  If you’re still not sure that the Cavalry Group is anti-animal, check out these ridiculous tweets,  compiled by Buzzfeed and made during their “Tweet Storm” campaign.

6.  Is the Stabling for the NYC Carriage Horses as Adequate as We’ve Been Told?

West Side Livery BEFORE renovation and Clip Clop NYC

West Side Livery BEFORE renovation and Clip Clop NYC

These are NOT pets of the carriage operators – they are tools of a business. By law their stalls must be a minimum of 64 square feet, which is pretty small by most people’s standards unless you own a pony or a couple of minis.  The horses do manage to lie down though, not that they have much room to spare.  But the smaller the stall the greater the risk of getting cast in the stall too.  Prior to conversion,  the West Side Livery stables had standing stalls that made it difficult,  albeit not impossible,  for horses to lie down.  While photographs of the Clinton stables reveal that the operators are very good at managing small spaces,  I don’t believe any of the buildings have sufficiently large enough stalls for these larger breeds of horses.

7.  Are the NYC Carriage Horses Really  “The Most Regulated Horses in the Country, if Not The World?”

This is the same facile argument that pro-slaughter use to justify the continuation of the slaughter industry.  Regulations on the books mean nothing if they are largely unenforced.  Anti-cruelty regulations provide few safeguards for horses, and many humane authorities just don’t have the resources or the time to monitor the carriages in order to ensure that horses are not being overworked and that operators are following regulations.

Furthermore the ASPCA has recently dismantled its Humane Law Enforcement Division in NYC.  Over the past few years, the ASPCA’s humane law enforcement division has handled about 4,000 investigations annually and made about one arrest per week (for all species of animal).  The agents wore uniforms, flashed badges, carried guns, traveled in blue-and-white squad cars, and for years starred in “Animal Precinct,” but now the ASPCA has laid off almost all of its 18 law enforcement agents and is now leaving those responsibilities solely to the New York City Police Department.  Without a team focused on animal abuse, enforcement will almost certainly be given a lower priority by officers dealing with the full spectrum of human crimes.

Horse needs help to riseSince the ASPCA is not obligated to share information about the general health and well-being of the carriage horses in New York, we really have no idea how healthy they are, or are not.  And yet it was not the Teamsters Union, nor the carriage people, or even the ASPCA who spotted a lame horse driven by Saverio Colarusso, but the police, who ultimately charged him with cruelty to animals.  Apparently the horse, who had thrush, had been driven for several days before being spotted struggling.  Now, it’s difficult to keep a horse’s stall entirely dry at the best of times, but thrush is predisposed by moist, damp, dirty stable conditions. But it is treated by scrubbing with anti-fungal/antiseptic and by moving the animal to a DRY stall.  Whoever was cleaning the horse’s feet should have been alerted to the condition by the smell and/or discharge, which makes me wonder how often they all get their feet picked out and how mucky the stalls are.  Several photographs, of the West Side livery in particular, don’t show much of a base of shavings that would absorb a lot of urine.

It’s also not the first time Mr. Colarusso has gotten in trouble either. In 2010, he was charged with drinking while on duty after being spotted with a beer while standing next to his carriage (I guess we should be gratified that a driver was actually standing near their carriage though). Two other bottles of liquor were found inside the carriage. He has also been fined for driving his horse through city streets at unauthorized times, failing to keep a daily log and not turning on the lamps on the side of his carriage after dark.  The urban carriage people sure don’t like to talk about Mr. Colarusso,  because now the fact that he’s been charged is a huge problem for them – they can’t exactly tout that no one in the industry has ever been charged with abuse!  But it was correct procedure to suspend him,  since the horses and tourists both deserve to be driven about by someone who is not likely intoxicated.

What’s also odd is that  Colarusso was arrested by for animal cruelty not by the ASPCA,  but by the police.  It seems probable then that the ASPCA went  easy on the drivers in the past because they had the “protection” of Bloomberg, who is now gone.  Therefore,  it’s not necessarily true that the industry is upholding any great standard,  only that some individuals have never been caught.

Horse looks ready to bite driver

8.  Will a Ban On City Carriage Horses Mean That There Will Ultimately be a Ban on all Privately-Owned Horses?

A classic slippery slope fallacy made by the true property-rights fanatic dedicated to creating a pandemonium that doesn’t exist.  That slippery slope fallacy they love involves constructing a scenario in which one thing leads ultimately to an end so extreme that the first step should never be taken. For example: Eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will cause you to put on weight. Putting on weight will make you overweight. Soon you will weigh 450 pounds and then you will die of heart disease. Therefore,  eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream leads to death. If you want to live,  don’t even try it.  And even though horses were declared a dangerous species in Connecticut, it’s not exactly a foregone conclusion that people will rise up to ban private ownership of horses across the continent.  Just because many people don’t want circuses,  aquariums, zoos, rodeos (there are valid reasons to eliminate many aspects of these things), there is absolutely no sign that pleasure horses will be eliminated as some sort of ever-present vegan conspiracy.

9  How Well Can Two Grain Meals During a Work Shift Suffice for Working Carriage Horses?

With the exception of Przewalski’s horses (who have a different number of chromosomes) domestic horses and wild horses are genetically exactly the same animal. That means that the horse living in your back yard or at a stable somewhere is genetically the same as the horse who evolved in the wild and those still living in the wild. It makes no difference that most horses we have were all born in captivity.  Our horse’s genetics are still the same as those horses who roamed across North America thousands of years ago.

GridlockSome people believe that a few hundred years of selective breeding can change all that, but we know that it takes a few thousand years to even begin to change the genetics of any species. Which means the horses in our back yard have been programmed for hundreds of thousands of years to live in wide open spaces where they can see predators coming, eat grass and other forage for 18 hours a day, move 10 miles a day on unshod feet and spend the day with multiple other horses for safety and security.  Of course, it’s not just the carriage horses who live a lifestyle at odds with their genetics – virtually all companion horses do.

We feed them diets of grain and molasses which are converted to sugars once eaten.  The horse’s gut is programmed to release digestive acid around the clock – not just when two small grain meals are offered. It’s a scientific fact that hay is digested by gut microbes and bacteria which generate heat during the process and actually helps keep horses warm.  The problem is that horses working a shift of 9 hours do not get the opportunity to eat hay and are offered a couple of grain meals instead until they return to the stable where they will be given hay.   A horse needs more forage when the temperature drops, so it follows that two grain meals per shift,  especially in winter weather,  will be insufficient. And when grass or hay is not available, stomach acid has nothing to process but the horse’s gut itself, hence a reason for ulcers.

Things that make horses most at risk for ulcer disease are sporadic feeding with periods of an empty stomach, or irregular feeding with long periods of no intake, high starch diets, exercise at speed, concurrent illness, especially of a gastrointestinal nature, and use of NSAIDS,” notes internal medicine specialist Carol Clark, DVM, Dipl ACVIM, of Peterson & Smith Equine Hospital in Ocala.

Charlie, a middle-aged NYC carriage horse who died enroute to work,  had a cracked tooth and ulceration of the stomach,  as revealed in his necropsy.  Horses need to eat free choice.  And if they drink too little because they’re working a 9 hour shift,  they can be both underfed,  cold,  and susceptible to colic.

Now if you listen to many commercial carriage supporters, they’ll tell you that two grain meals are perfectly fine and natural, and horses probably shouldn’t spend too much time on grass anyway because they will founder.  Of course,  there are exceptions to being on grass,  especially rich spring grass…….already laminitic horses,  overweight horses, certain pony breeds,  cushinoid/pituitary pars intermedia dysfunctional (PPID) or insulin-resistant horses may have to be dry-lotted or dry-lotted part of the time, but these are the exceptions that must be managed.  For more info on horses’ natural diets,  check out the eBooks  Horses Were Born to Be On Grass and Horses Without Grass.

The horse’s body uses food in order of importance.

  • Maintenance for body temperature
  • To renew the body’s tissues
  • Maintaining body condition and weight
  • For energy for movement and life

10.  As an Alternative,  Could the Horses Live And Work Only Within Central Park?

Chris pinned under the carriage

Chris is down and pinned under the carriage.

There are more than 200 carriage horses – stabling them in Central Park,  providing storage for the carriages,  storage for hay,  straw,  and temporary storage for manure, in addition to space for turn-out would require taking at least 100 acres of public green space and turning it over to this small, private industry.   And the horses could not realistically spend all their time in the park either, even spread out over several shifts.  The medallion holders own the 4 stables that the horses currently live in, so who would pay for the land use and the construction of a stable and paddocks? Would they sell their properties in order to finance such an undertaking?

11.  Will a Ban Mean That the Carriage Horses in NYC Will All Go to Slaughter?

We do not have enough rescue space in this country for the horses we have now.” At a press conference that day, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg took the Daily News story and ran with it. “I assume all the horses will go to slaughter,” he said.  Bloomberg fueled the story, and it’s been picked up continuously since, with many news outlets — from TIME to Metro to, most recently, The Daily Beast – claiming that the horses may go to slaughter after the ban.  And so too did Liam Neeson.

Why do they have to go anywhere?  As I stated early on in this blog post, the owners are not compelled to sell them.  But seeing as they are assets of a business that could be eliminated,  most of them probably wouldn’t keep the horses anyway.  Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Carriage Horses, has said that the threat is a scare tactic done to persuade people not to support a ban.  “If any of the horses go to the slaughter auctions, make no mistake – it will be the drivers who bring them there.” The carriage owners claim that they do not send their horses to auctions or kill buyers.  But they certainly do sell them to the Amish on occasion, and the Amish are often middle men or kill buyers themselves who work these horses hard and then send the old and/or unsound horses directly to auction or sell directly to a kill buyer.  The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has in its video library, numerous examples of draft and draft crosses being slaughtered in Canada after being shipped from New Holland auction.

Atlanta Carriage Horse - shoe needs reset

This Atlanta carriage horse needs new shoes or a reset – the toe has grown over the shoe. Of course this can happen with any horse, but working carriage horses must have adequate foot protection due to the number of hours on the pavement.  And this did not happen overnight either – farrier care is overdue

Allie Feldman, Executive Director of NYClass,  said that several organizations, including The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA and her own group, are dedicated to providing homes for the retired horses. In a recent blog post, Wayne Pacelle, President and CEO of HSUS, offered Cleveland Armory Black Beauty Ranch in Texas as a sanctuary for some of the horses. He believes he can reasonably place 40-50 of the horses.  And Matt Bershadker, CEO of ASPCA, did the same in a statement: “We would gladly get involved — including tapping into our network of rescue partners and resources — to help with the transition.” Jackie Beckstead, Director of Accreditation and Field Operations for the Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries has also publicly stated that she has contacted her network of sanctuaries that take draft horses and found space available for horses as well.

And since we know that the horses have regular veterinary care, this will occasionally mean that they are given drugs that make them ineligible for slaughter, such as phenylbutazone.   Apparently former Mayor Bloomberg hasn’t heard about the prohibitions against sending drugged horses into the food chain!

12. Is it True That a “Land Grab” by Real-Estate Tycoons is the Primary Reason to End the Industry?”

Salt Lake City carriage horse Jerry colics while at work and is unable to rise. Later, he became the subject of a "bait and switch" campaign by the owners, who substituted another horse as him, and concealed his death for several weeks until challenged as to his whereabouts.

Salt Lake City carriage horse Jerry colics while at work and is unable to rise. Later, he became the subject of a “bait and switch” campaign by the owners, who substituted another horse as him, and concealed his death for several weeks until challenged as to his whereabouts.

This doesn’t explain why people like myself and others who have no vested interest in NYC real estate would like to see it end.   But this accusation has finally been debunked.  Steve Nislick, president of NYCLASS and a real estate developer, has answered the charges made by the carriage trade and the media that he wants the stable property.  He not only said it is not true but that if the property were  ever to come onto the market, he pledges that he will not bid on it.  He further goes on to say that neither will anyone from his company or organization.

The media has presented the carriage driver as a poor, marginalized, struggling blue collar worker whose business is being taken away by people who know nothing at all about horses and who covet their stable property. While I think that provisions need to be made for any drivers  who are employees of the medallion holders, some of the medallion holders own the buildings that house the horses, and two of the four stables happen to be sitting on prime real estate across from a Convention Center, near the Hudson Yards development.  Under the circumstances, cries that they would be victimized if they are sold ring hollow.  If the owners wanted to sell these properties, they would get market value for them and nothing less,  and they cannot be forced to sell them either.  So there is no “land grab.”

13. Should Mayor De Blasio be More Concerned That Horses are Dying at Aqueduct Racetrack?

Horse racing, like other gaming activities, is under the jurisdiction of the State of New York, not New York City.  I suspect that Mayor de Blasio has very limited, if any, input into the legislative/judicial actions of NY State. That is Governor Cuomo’s domain.

14. Are Most Complaints About the Carriage Horses Made by People Who Don’t Live in NYC or Haven’t Visited the Stables?

I’m sure that this is true,  but social media has made it irrelevant.  First of all, scheduled visits are worthless to see the true conditions for these animals. If you think scheduled inspections look the same as unscheduled inspections, try making a surprise visit to a nursing home.  Photographic evidence is abundantly available to allow others to judge for themselves.  Check out photos of the West Side Livery,  BEFORE the stalls were enlarged and it was added to the Clip Clop NYC Tour in 2013.

15.  There Is An Active Carriage Horse Trade in Toronto

Sorry,  this is just wrong.  We have no urban horses here.  Still,  some people will insist that we do,  and will google and find a half dozen or so carriage companies that provide LIVERY service in the Greater Toronto Area but do not stable horses here.  The horses are all stabled outside Toronto,  in most cases at least an hour’s drive away – in the country.  The fact that people can google “carriage horses Toronto” and find anything at all is a testament to the carriage companies’ use of Google Adwords campaigns driving internet searchers to their businesses.  Also,  some companies advertise their limousine services as “carriage livery” and they actually have no horses at all. 

16. How Safe is the Industry?

Jerry is hoisted back to the barn

Salt Lake City carriage horse Jerry is lifted back to the barn. You knew this was not going to end well when you saw the thin straps under his colicking belly.

The industry and its supporters like to tell us that there have been only 3 horses killed as a result of vehicular accidents in the last 30 years.  But smartphones haven’t existed for 30 years have they?  Most accidents that happened before smart phones and social media platforms existed were cleared before the media could report on them.  But now that we have smart phones, you’ll find there are a lot more accidents being revealed.  In any case,  there have been many injuries to both horses and people in the last 30 years,  and some horses were killed even though other vehicles were not involved.  On September 27, 2013 there was another widely-reported accident where a frightened carriage horse bolted and ran into traffic on heavily trafficked 57th St. Fortunately no one was in the carriage which slammed into a car, flipped and landed on the horse pinning his legs. Pedestrians helped to  lift the carriage off the horse who was not seriously injured.  Prior to this incident, this driver had been cited for over-charging customers in addition to operating the carriage for more than 12 hours within a 20 hour period.  While no horse activity is completely safe,  the potential injury for both horses,  passengers,  as well as property damage to other cars and the carriages themselves is greater due to the density of traffic, the noises of the city, and the number of things that in the city that a horse and carriage can collide with.

Source:  http://www.all-creatures.org/articles/act-c-shdc-acc.html

(Not all incidents occurred in NYC or even in North America)

17.  Some Commercial Carriage Drivers  Get Really Upset When They Perceive That They Don’t Have Support of Other Carriage Drivers or Horse People.

Well this is certainly not a myth!  They will try to convince you that whatever you are doing with your horse, it is more dangerous than what they are doing in NYC.  If you wear a helmet, you should stop that shit because you are a wimp.  Real horse people aren’t afraid of traumatic brain injuries.  If you prefer not to work your horse into a lather after riding or driving, your horse is a pansy.  At the very least they will make personal attacks about people’s character.

If caring for not only my own horse but other horses makes me a “loony” then please throw me in the bin.  Nobody cares if professional bloggers threaten to use the Huffington Post platform to write about us – it’s not news to anyone but a dozen or so harassers.  However,  maybe the people setting up fake Facebook pages pretending to advocacy groups should get some (professional) legal advice before they start interfering with the private business of people who disagree with the concept of urban carriage horses.  Harassment is not a protected form of speech.

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You may recall the scene in Manhattan where Woody Allen and Mariel Hemingway take a romantic, private, horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park, quipping their way through the leafy quiet. We regret to inform you that your carriage ride will be nothing like that experience. The horse will seem tired, the driver’s patter will be even less entertaining than Mia Farrow’s memoirs, and you’ll spend the entire ride crawling along the park’s main drives, staring at the back of another carriage, and enduring dirty looks from locals and animal lovers.—Siobhan Adcock

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This trough is dry and full of crap

“You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

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inigo montoyaWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

Unless you’ve been living in a van down by the river, you already know that United Horsemen’s Group collects donations basically to promote horse slaughter. Somehow, UH president Dave Duquette believes this qualifies as a “charity” with the IRS.  Duquette, along with Wyoming Rep Sue Wallis, maintain that there is a growing market for horsemeat in the U.S. although the only example they can cite is the Harvard University’s Faculty Club which had horsemeat on the menu before 1985.

In this latest Constant Contact email to their faithful horde, Dave Duquette is  wah-wah-wahing  about efforts to stop horse soring and tripping in addition to slaughter,  thus ratcheting their usual foolery all the way up by suggesting that horse advocates are comparable to Nazis.  While not everyone appreciates the deep thoughts that ejaculate unfiltered out of Duquette’s brain, if you need some theatre today, click to read his discussion of Mein Kampf while invoking the “N” word.  I’m starting to feel like Inigo Montoya in The Princess Bride – “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

UH cites the famous “First they came…,” prose, usually attributed to Pastor Martin Niemöller, who goes on to list the groups the Nazis came for, but says he didn’t speak up because he wasn’t part of that group.  Niemöller himself barely made it out of WWII alive, so it’s an appropriate cautionary tale.  But Nazi analogies are almost never acceptable, unless in reference to actual, systematic mass torture, murder or genocide. And in this case, it’s downright asinine, because nothing we advocates have done is remotely comparable to what happened in Auschwitz in 1945. Is Duquette really likening us to Dr. Mengele, who performed experiments on live, fully conscious human beings to determine just how much pressure it would take to crush a skull?Angry mob

It’s not the first time I’ve seen some of the more prominent members of UH compare us to Heinrich Himmler.  One of Duquette’s biggest fangirls, Willing Servants’ Theresa Manzella, is under the impression that everyone around her is a vegetarian or vegan, which is un-godly according to her.  Furthermore,  she cites Hitler as a vegetarian,  perhaps to further her thought process that vegetarians are also Nazis.  People who inject Hitler into conversations about godliness would do well to start by googling the phrase imprinted on the belt buckles worn by the Nazis. It says “Gott mit uns” (God with us).  No, the Nazis were not atheists – one important Nazi slogan was ‘Kinder, Kirche, Kueche” ( Children, Church, Kitchen).  In any case, comparisons to Nazis are irrelevant in this example; it is also similarly fallacious to use the Nazis as an example of what might be wrong with Christianity.

Comparing anything that is not a dictator/mass-murderer to another dictator/mass-murderer is a logical fallacy known as the Reductio ad Hitlerum.   In other words – you don’t get to call people Nazis just because you want to inflame or incite. Hitler’s vegetarianism was not a foregone conclusion but so what if it was? What if he was also left-handed, or a Taurus? Is that somehow a significant or relevant argument? Not eating meat, or being left handed does not contribute to their ideology to slaughter millions. What about Stalin or Pol Pot? Maybe they ate meat?

Reductio ad Hitlerum is also closely associated with Godwin’s Law, which is an internet adage named after Mike Godwin who actually wrote a short article about it for Wired Magazine back in 1994.  Although the article was more about the power and danger of memes, it’s worthnazi-jokes-hitler-memewhile reading for anyone interested in discussions on invalidating an argument or logical fallacies.  The law was derived from the days of Usenet,  which pre-existed the internet as we know it, and states that  “if you mention Adolf Hitler or the Nazis within a discussion thread, you’ve automatically ended whatever discussion you were taking part in.”  It means that, as a discussion gets longer it tends to get more heated; as more heat enters the discussion, tensions get higher and people start to insult each other over anything they can think of.  Godwin’s Law merely notes that those tensions eventually cause someone to find the worst insults that come to mind – which will almost always include a Nazi comparison as a desperate last measure to insult someone before leaving the argument completely.

Hitler and the Nazis have a very special place in the pantheon of monsters. inigo_montoya Duquette doesn’t realize how offensive this massmail is – “Godwinning” your argument just makes you look like a desperate fool, but “invoking the Holocaust” is completely polarizing while also being a deeply offensive comparison.   It’s uber-offensive because while some things might approach it in terms of scale, nothing else is like THE Holocaust in terms of genocide, eugenics, racial superiority or totalitarian regimes. In addition to that,  most Jews are offended when people claim something is as bad as the Holocaust or the Nazis,  because they are justifiably offended when perpetrators of relatively minor evils are compared to Hitler. So, by invoking the Holocaust, perhaps we can assume that Duquette and United Horsemen’s Group are culturally insensitive to these observations about Nazi references and have realized that they are at the end of any factual discussion.  I think they are also quite desperate – you might say that they are begging for money just like those rescues they abhor!  Therefore,  they know that they have nothing germane to add and are now flaming us and flinging shit up against the wall to see what will stick. Anyway,  any person that can go so low as to over breed a sentient living being and then say, the colour is wrong, it’s too slow, it’s too old, and send it off to a horrific death for a pittance probably shouldn’t be dropping the “N” word on others in the first place.

I honestly wonder what the Anti-Defamation League would think of United Horsemen’s analogy.  Sun Tzu once said: “All of warfare is deception. One must pretend to be weak while one is strong, and pretend to be strong while one is weak.”  When your opponents invoke the Holocaust, they would be under the impression that they had won the argument, and lower their defenses. That is when you strike.

United Horsemen’s Members Skewered By News Satire!

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3d-cvr-suckerbait-350Written by :  Heather Clemenceau

I think most of us are familiar with the Onion – a fabulously satirical online news agency – it preceded such great shows as the Colbert Report and the Daily Show.  They’re famous for various spoof polls that people often take seriously, because the people at the Onion are very astute at simulating journalistic style.  On occasion, entire countries have been spoofed by the Onion, including Russia,  Iran, France,  China, and Singapore,  who have often quoted them entirely and published their articles as real news.

Well, closer to the horse slaughter issue, a few of our gullible pro-slaughters have been taken in by a similar report, and it’s hilarious.  It’s a whole other level of entertainment when your adversaries believe implausible stuff!  It really makes you realize why many of them cannot grasp complex issues involving horse slaughter – like the testing of meat for example.  Remember the claim that bute is out of the horse’s system in 21 days? It’s almost pointless explaining why you can’t take a litmus test strip and swab any part of a horse to come up with a positive or negative drug test.   They just seem to lack the critical reasoning skills or a basic scientific education necessary to distinguish fact from fiction or pseudoscience.  Alternatively,  you can also choose to believe that they knew it was fake,  but some of them are just disingenuous pieces of shit who are happy to pretend that actual satire is true just to manipulate their audience.  Which is worse?  Could they be that gullible though?  Oh yes, dear reader, they could be, and they are………Dave Duquette better put on his fire-retardant suit,  because he’s about to get flamed!  I’ve been waiting for an opportunity to exercise my schadenfreude muscle,  and this is the perfect moment!

A few days ago I saw an article pop up in my Google Alerts about horsemeat.  It was published on the UK site “The Daily Squib,” which appears to be an Onion-style parody.  Within seconds of reading it most people will rapidly conclude that it’s a spoof, and a very funny one at that.  However, our friends at United Horsemen have embraced this story,  despite all objective reasoning to the contrary,  as fact.  You can read the article here,  but I’ve included a graphic of the story that has so convinced the UH group that they can still find a market for horsemeat in the US and that Wayne Pacelle of the HSUS has just got his comeuppance………

The Daily Squib

united Horsemen spoof

The most unintentionally hilarious comment accompanying this article!  Yes,  you CAN make this stuff up!  But, 29 People forwarded this? Did they realize it’s satire or is everyone taking it seriously?

Even Dave Duquette has been forwarding this spoof tabloid article around as well, and by reading the comments, you know he really believes it too!  The informationally challenged pro-slaughters are so eager to see horsemeat in the marketplace that their susceptibility to the thought now knows no ideological boundaries.

I mean,  this article is so obviously a parody on the horsemeat adulteration scandal in the UK,  one wonders whether Duquette and some of the others would be as quick to believe that Sarah Palin had joined Al Jazeera, or the White House was installing a retractable dome.Falling for the conspiracy  Judging by the number of people forwarding this herp and commenting on it, there’s a good number of UH members afflicted with brain cells as crispy and burnt as a McDonald’s fry left under a heat lamp.  Here’s one such comment:

“So, it this thing was allegedly “grown”, then how did a horse burger just show up all of a sudden? I mean, wasn’t someone checking it each day to see how much bigger it was? Weren’t tests run on it as it grew? Did someone just plop a small chunk of horse meat down one day and then came in early each morning to add to it to make it look as if it were growing?”

There’s a sucker born every minute, and apparently many of them wind up at United Horsemen’s group.  I bet that Duquette et al believes in everything that suits them about horses because they have lied to themselves so much.  Not only that,  but they are so used to publishing untruths that scrutinizing the source never even occurred to them.

Jeers of a Clown….

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rescued draftI wanted to share a post made in a Facebook group (not saying where or by whom) that I believe is sadly indicative of the way in which most pro-slaughter people approach the concept of horse rescue.  In the last few days we’ve seen many people,  anti-slaughter and pro,  offer assistance to Oklahomans and their animals who have been hurt or displaced by the tornado of May 20th.  I don’t want to belittle this tragedy,  but as we mourn what happened in Oklahoma,  where injuries and deaths of all are in the hundreds and damages may exceed 2 billion,  we should not forget that unwanted horses are displaced every day when they are sent for slaughter.

We also must defend the hard and tireless work of the many people who toil in rescues in all manner of weather and circumstance,  because they have huge hearts.  The timing of this post,  so soon after the tornado seems weird to me,  but I guess since the pros do not have any problem with the timing and seem proud of their disrespectful post,  this is perhaps as good a time as any.

“Dear U’nita Geta’clue,

Thank you for your fervent support of the recent laws that were passed in Illinois and Texas that effectively ended the closely regulated slaughter of horses in the United States. Thank you for pushing the practice past our borders and out of control of the USDAs standards for humane treatment of food animals. We also appreciate your lobbying to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act currently in Congress, which will end the transport of unwanted horses to foreign slaughterhouses and keep each and every one of them within the borders of our beautiful nation alive and well!

You’ll be pleased to learn that the live and well part is where you come in! A new organization has been created through the cooperative effort of the numerous horse industry organizations and the USDA, called Save Horses In Trouble-Help starved horse2End Abandonment & Death, or crap-HEAD for short. In accordance with the guidelines of this new program, and to alleviate the pressure on existing rescue facilities to take in the thousands of unwanted horses, we have decided to place one unwanted horse under the personal care of each and every person that supported banning horse slaughter in the United States.

As you may know, since the slaughter facilities have closed, not only have rescue facilities and shelters been inundated to the point that they have to close their doors to new arrivals, but many horses have also been neglected, starved to death, or abandoned because of the record high hay prices. Therefore, your participation in this program is mandatory.

We understand that it is your feeling that horses are pets, not livestock, and since most people in the United States do not choose to eat them, therefore no one should, and all horses should live out their lives in an idyllic pastoral setting. We also understand that while your relatively large 40 X 40 suburban backyard isn’t exactly Yellowstone, it will just have to do. We are certain you will make the necessary adjustments.

Your unwanted horse is of unknown origin, but is roughly 6 years old (although we can’t get close enough to him to tell for sure), weighs approximately 1500 pounds and has a mean streak a mile wide, and has been known to randomly bite, strike, or kick, especially at small children, elderly people, and house pets. We have decided to call him Satan.

While Satan is capable of physical aggression, unfortunately he is not able to be ridden because of his crooked front legs. He is capable, however, of reproducing, as he is a stallion. This is of special import to you, as your neighbors and fellow members of the Horses Are Humans With Hooves group will also be provided with horses through our program, some of which might be mares.

starved horseFor your information, the $20 you donate annually to the Humane Society of the United States can instead buy you approximately two bales of high-quality hay at the current market rate. Assuming that the bales weigh 100 pounds, and you feed 20 pounds to said beast per day, this will be enough to feed him for ten days. You will be happy to know that the lifespan of a horse averages about 25 years, and therefore Satan can bring you approximately 9,125 days of enjoyment. That is, of course, only if you provide him with the best care possible, which we are absolutely certain that you will. To ensure that Satan is receiving proper care, an inspector will visit your home on a weekly basis.

At your request, we can provide you with contact information for veterinarians, farriers, trainers, equine dental practitioners, whisperers, and tranquilizer gun dealers in your area, as well as the necessary contacts you will need for euthanasia and disposal of Satan’s earthly vessel when he crosses over. We foresee that Satan’s death will be especially traumatic for you, being the enlightened individual that you are, and counselors are already available at 1-900-NO-SENSE. ($3.99 for the first minute, $1.99 for each additional minute).

Unfortunately, there is no government financial assistance for care and maintenance costs of crap-HEAD horses, as all of the funds allocated for such things are dedicated to the Bureau of Land Management’s Wild Horse program.

Sincerely,

Reality”

Rescue

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

Get Your Freak On – Horsemeat Restaurants (And the Companies That Should Sponsor Them)

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hungry enough to eat a horseAs an Anglophone,  it`s sometimes second nature to make fun of the French,  after all,  they awarded Jerry Lewis the Legion of Honor, France’s highest award.  To me,  this is proof of French ridiculousness.  No offense intended to my actual French-Canadian friends though.  It has  also become somewhat second nature for me to make fun of hipster celebrity chefs who not only make endorsements for eating horse in particular,  but also promote other rather disgusting,  gross,  or cruelly derived animal products, in the name of french cuisine.  So many of them claim it`s OK to serve raw meat,  because it`s “grass-fed” (note to insufferable foodies – that`s sarcasm).   It`s widely known that the so-called celebrity chefs are victims themselves of “food fashion”and that they know squat about food safety.  The majority of celebrity chefs are food safety imbeciles and foodie fanaticism  continues unabated,  from Toronto to New York City……….

I`ve taken a sample of such menu offerings from some of these restaurants in Toronto,  not far from where I live,  and paired them with potential corporate sponsors and spokespeople who can benefit mutually by exploiting these opportunities.  And although not located in Toronto,  I`m going to include the now infamous M. Wells (All`s NOT well at M. Wells) who pretty much cover all the bases by offering horse,  marrow,  foie gras and other notably and unapologetically fatty foods.  Wherever possible I’ve used actual pics of the food provided by the restaurant.  Bon Appétit!

Blood Custard at The Black Hoof

Suggested SponsoBlood Custard at The Black Hoofr – United Horsemen`s Group

Suggested Spokesperson –  Author Jennifer McLagan – “Odd Bits: How to Cook the Rest of the Animal”

Since the pro horse-slaughter contingent advocates consuming their own horses,  why wouldn`t they eat blood?  They hate to waste anything,  and they already eat meat and horsemeat,  so what not just add some cream,  egg yolks,  and a little plasma (pick your favourite species) for a little dessert?  Lord knows that Sue Wallis is always preaching that the blood is the most valuable part of the animal.  Maybe Sue knows something that the rest of us don`t – perhaps blood could be the new king of condiments!  Chef Olsen at The Black Hoof certainly isn`t squeamish about it “I enjoy blood.  I think blood is a great vessel for culinary expression. When I look at The Learning Channel, at all those surgery shows, that’s when I get squeamish. But working with animals, no.”   Chef Olsen even tells us that horses don’t get parasites because they don’t graze the part of the grass stalk upon which eggs are laid.   Buy Jennifer McLagan`s book if you`ve ever wondered how to cook bellies, brains, cheeks, combs, gizzards, hearts, hocks, kidneys, lungs, marrow, necks, shanks, spleens, tongues, trotters, and, oh yes, testicles.

Bone Marrow at the Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor – Legal teBone Marrow at The Black Hoofam at Monsanto

Suggested Spokesperson – Fred Flintstone

People who eat bone marrow frequently describe sucking the last bits of marrow out of the bones.  So obviously,  this isn`t a first-date kind of food – much like green salads,  which can get caught in your teeth and embarrass you later in your date.  This is the kind of food that the Monsanto legal department regularly chows down on (and sucks dry),  so  they should wholeheartedly endorse marrow.  However,  I`m not entirely sure  that one shouldn`t be cautious about eating parts of cows that may carry BSE.  FSIS in the US considers these to be the brain,  tonsils,  spinal cord,  parts of the nervous system,  and part of the small intestine.  If oxtails are suspect,  so too is bone marrow.  There is some confusion about bone marrow because it has been reported to potentially carry the infection.  Since bones were certainly around during the Paleolithic period,  and hence,  are available for inclusion into the Paleo diet,  I`ve chosen Fred Flintstone as the spokesperson.  Despite not having any dairy,  grains,  sugar,  legumes,  potatoes, processed oils,  or any other food grown after agriculture started,  Fred is still overweight and at least a 40 on the BMI scale.

Foie Gras and Nutella at The Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor:  TotFoie Gras and Nutella at The Black Hoofal Gym

Suggested Spokesperson:  Paula Deen

I wonder what celebtard chef thought this up?  It seems like a finalist for the “Cruellest Dessert” category.  Just looking at this makes my arteries cry.  Paula Deen,  famous for the Krispy Kreme burger,  should endorse this one.  Therefore,   I suggest also incorporating a Krispy Kreme donut into this lacquered mess so you can have another sweet fat with a savoury fat – it`s a great big blessed matrimony of fat!  Adding mucho expensive (and ethically dubious) fattened duck liver to a dessert isn’t necessarily unusual. But to add some fibre to this meal I`d suggest adding a diamond-encrusted tennis bracelet and perhaps some other country-club condiments that Paula might be familiar with.

batifoleLe Tartare de Cheval Bien Relevé at Batifole

Suggested Sponsor – Merck and Co. Inc.

Suggested Spokesperson – The Geico Caveman

So this is a “well-raised” horse?  I wonder if the staff at Batifole can lay any claims to whether it was “well-killed?”  Excuse me server,  what breed was this horse?  I understand that wine painings with different breeds can be a bit tricky at times.  Perhaps to be safe,  you`d like to recommend a nice Chiati?  What wines are complementary with Trichinosis?  Foodies who embrace the new and the outré, might also embrace a dose of Trichinosis as well,  since it`s an acknowledged fact that horses carry Trichinella spiralis,  the parasite that causes the disease,  which occurs with some commonality in France.  That`s why I`m suggesting this is a sponsorship Merck might be interested in,  since they manufacture Mectizan,  the human version of Ivermectin wormers we are all using on our horses.  You might need some if you’ve eaten a horse with Trich……And our postmodern spokesperson,  the Geico Caveman, would no doubt have eaten some food raw,  at least before the invention of fire.  At least cavemen knew how to progress beyond the Paleozoic era…..

horse heart and tongueEscabeche Chevaline Niçoise at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor – FEI Dressage Rider Patrik Kittel

Suggested Spokesperson – Jasha Lottin

We`re really going to push the boundaries of good taste for this one – all around!  For the uninitiated,  this plate consists of horse heart and tongue,  with quail egg tarted up with  red wine Dijon vinaigrette.  I am presuming it`s cooked, but knowing La Palette,  you can never be too sure.  And if you`re not familiar with Jasha Lottin, she is the infamous Oregon woman who killed her horse,  gutted it,  and crawled inside the carcass, gnawing on various organs for photographs,  who was then endorsed by Wyoming Representative “Slaughterhouse” Sue Wallis.  Apparently Lottin thought she was recreating the scene from The Empire Strikes Back where Luke killed a tauntaun,  to keep from freezing to death.  Bear Grylls did the same with a camel.  Hey Jasha,  want to be “one with your horse?”  Go see Cavalia.   And of course,  even though video is available of  Patrik Kittel`s horse`s blue tongue,  he was cleared by the FEI from actually using rollkur at the Olympics,  since it was really only LDR (Low,  Deep, Round).

Foie Gras at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor –  ThFoie Grase American or Canadian Liver Foundation

Suggested Spokesperson – Anthony Bourdain

Odes to its “butter-soft texture and rich, subtle taste” appear regularly in the New York Times magazine.  Cruelty aside,  there may be another reason to pass on the foie gras. Scientists report that these livers of overstuffed waterfowl contain abnormal proteins that, when fed to laboratory mice, caused them to quickly develop the protein clumps themselves.  Various human diseases – among them Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and rheumatoid arthritis – are associated with these clumps, known as amyloids.  Foie gras is a traditional food in France and throughout Europe – where, interestingly, amyloidosis is more common than in the US. So why is this heavy, fat-rich delicacy also rich in amyloids? Put simply, force-feeding makes animals sick. To produce the succulent livers, tubes are inserted into the birds’ throats and corn mush is pumped in, massively inflating the animals. Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef-author-famous-TV-food-bourbon-swilling guy, should stand up and personally sponsor this entree.  He looks like death warmed-over,  quite frankly,  so it`s a fitting match.  And kudos to Wolfgang Puck for quitting the foie.

Quack “n” Track at La Palette

Suggested Sponsor – SQuack "N" Track at La Palettechering-Plough Animal Health Corp.

Suggested Spokesperson –  Banned Thoroughbred horse trainer Mark Wedig

Mark Wedig has had a symbiotic relationship with La Palette it`s true;  had it not been for the efforts of many individuals,  more Wedig trained horses would have ended up on the menu,  replete with all the usual drugs that racehorses typically run on.  Cactus Café and Canuki,  fresh off the track at Buelah Park,  were practically in the kill box at Richelieu slaughterhouse before they were miraculously retrieved after conscientious individuals presented their DRUG HISTORY to management at the abbatoir.  Not that their drug history is any different from almost any other racehorse.  Does Shamez charge extra for pharmacologically active horsemeat? Schering-Plough is one of the companies that distributes/manufactures phenylbutazone,  one of the major ingredients in horsemeat mains served in restaurants in Quebec,  Toronto,  and the OoogaMooga food festival in New York.

Tongue on Brioche at The Black Hoof

Suggested Sponsor Tongue on Brioche at The Black Hoof– Boston Scientific Corporation

Suggested Spokesperson – Andrew Zimmern,  host of Bizarre Foods

First off let me say that even when I was not a vegetarian,  I could never have overcome the mental barrier involved in eating something that had already been in somebody else`s mouth.  When fat and refined carbs are glued together in blessed matrimony, a heart attack can’t be far behind. Enter the Boston Scientific Corporation: It’s sold over a billion dollars worth of coronary stents since just 2009.  Of course,  Andrew Zimmern`s show includes a precautionary announcement, which explains that some of the foods featured on the show could cause death.  Hearing such an announcement must be the equivalent of a wet dream for Foodie Freaks.

Horse Tartare at M. Wells

Suggested Sponsor –   Horse TartarePfizer Pharmaceuticals Inc.,  makers of Premarin®

Suggested Spokesperson –  Bear Grylls

Thank god I do not have a penis,  therefore,  I`m unconcerned about repeatedly trying to demonstrate how big it is.  Chef and co-owner Hugue Dufour is soon to be spending more time than anyone else apologizing,  well except for Canadian conservative politician Rob Anders perhaps!  The manufacturer of Premarin®, Pfizer, maintains that this drug is “exclusively from natural sources.” Yes, they are correct. Horse urine is natural, but so is manure. Premarin® is so widely used because it was the first product of its kind for estrogen replacement therapy. It continues to be used, not because it is superior to the other available therapy but because it is what doctors are told is the best. They are told by a company with a huge advertising budget who has a lot to lose if doctors begin prescribing other estrogens,  or simply telling women that menopause is not a disease that requires treatment. The mares on these farms are placed in a urine collection harness and rarely taken off the “production line” for exercise or any other reason.  Straps firmly hold a rubber cup on the mare’s urethra to catch every drop of the precious urine. The continuous standing on concrete causes swollen legs and crippling. Urinary tract infections are not uncommon and many of these horses die as a result of the stress, only to be replaced by another “disposable” horse that might soon come up as a menu item at M. Wells.

Bear Grylls is not only notable for eating virtually everything raw,  from spiders to grubs to worms,  but to giving himself an enema with fetid water just to keep himself hydrated.  Dufour may already know his spokesperson Grylls, since as sous chef for Montreal`s Au Pied de Cochon, Dufour appeared in a TV show called “The Wild Chef”a couple of years ago,  travelling through La Belle Province (otherwise known as Quebec) in search of unique food experiences.  Raw oysters on a bed of jellyfish?

m. wells equadorian cuyCuy (Ecuadorian Guinea Pig) At M. Wells

Suggested Sponsor – La Molina University in Lima,  Peru

Suggested Spokesperson – Michael Vick

Here’s a guinea pig fermenting in some sort of curry bath – reminds me of United Horsemen’s “Rescue and Rehabilition” program for horses – only it’s nothing like a spa treatment.  I have to admit I was shocked when I saw this pic on M. Wells Facebook page,  since I consider guinea pigs to be children’s pets.  Secondly,  I am shocked since I strongly suspect that this animal was never USDA inspected,  and since the proprietors imported it from Ecuador,  as per their own comments;  I wonder how they got it here?   Clearly,  since it’s a menu item,  they had more than one.  I know there’s an entire black market industry revolving around the import of animals and I’ve seen many pics of people caught in customs with animals in their suitcases or strapped inside their pant legs,  bound and silenced or even sedated.  Even if it arrived frozen from Ecuador,  how is a small animal such as this “dispatched” in that country?  Any meat that is not state or federally inspected may not be served in restaurants or sold in any way.  Selling uninspected meat is a serious crime.  Even wild meat that is processed by a butcher must be stamped “not for resale.” Our sponsor,  La Molina University, wants to exploit their genetic engineering of guinea pigs,  since they have taken an animal that normally weighs a pound,  and engineered it to weigh 2.5 pounds.  Makes you wonder what they have done to more than double the size of the animal.  Michael Vick is the celebrity face of pet cruelty,  and an appropos spokesperson considering that most people in the west consider that guinea pigs are pets.

How about we just go back to Meat (if you eat it) and plain old white potatoes. Maybe a green salad with a tomato or two.  But if we did that what would happen to the Celebrity Chefs? Oh yeah, they might just go back to cooking decent food instead.  I’m ready for this cruel macho eating to finally go away – along with the restaurants and chefs responsible for it.  Oh,  and another foodie freak habit I hope goes away real soon – taking photos throughout the meal and posting them on Twitter and Facebook – the rest of us don`t need to see your documentation of your food,  OK,  well I did,  at least for this blogpost.  Blackberries and iPhones are not as necessary on a table as are knives and forks.  `Nuff said.

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……..

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

Slaughterhouse Sue and Bill DesBarres – The IEBA Emperors Have No Clothes!

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The Emperor Has No Clothes

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

For those of you who have forgotten, Hans Christian Andersen’s fable about The Emperor’s New Clothes involves an emperor commissioning two tailors to make him a set of clothes. According to the tailors, who set out to dupe the Emperor, the new clothes will be invisible to anyone who is either incompetent or stupid. And so the emperor parades about naked rather than admit to being incompetent or stupid, all the while being applauded on all sides by sycophantic courtiers and subjects. Everyone pretends to see the remarkable clothes. However, a child cries out, “he hasn’t got any clothes on.”

Whether clothing or facts – the invisible and non-existent look very much alike.

Show your compassion - kill horses now!

Show your compassion – beat the rush! kill horses now!

This parable is of course very similar to the viewpoint that Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis and Bill DesBarres,  and the rest of their sycophantic followers in the United Horsemen’s Group and the Horse Welfare Association of Canada maintain – that everyone who cannot see their viewpoint must be an idiot or a knuckle-dragger of single-digit intelligence.

Like the Emperor,  Wallis and DesBarres aren’t wearing any clothes (unfortunately, some visuals you can’t unsee,  but if all else fails,  perhaps a little steel wool and industrial bleach might be in order?) and to that end,  she and Bill DesBarres have aligned themselves with professional lobbyists who will task themselves with the responsibility of convincing the gubbermint that Sue and Bill are indeed  splendid “emperors” for the pro-slaughter cause!  And if they can’t convince everyone,  they’ll just attempt to force through pro-slaughter legislation no matter what the 80% have to say about it………. Wallis’ “brand” is underfire and she’s been publicly shamed on many issues.  Recall that after Sue Wallis was summarily kicked out of Mountain Grove Missouri,  she threw all her toys out of the pram and huffed,  “Discussion’s over. Make all the noise you want.  We’re going into business.”  To that end,  Wallis has apparently contracted with a couple of lobbyists who can pitch horse slaughter in a way that she and DesBarres are apparently unable to do (anyone who has followed my other blog post on Wallis knows that she is suffering from “hoof ‘n’ mouth” disease).

Organization Structure - IEBA Gang of Five

Organization Structure – IEBA Gang of Five

T. Howard Mains, Co-President – Tactix Government Consulting Inc.

Howard Mains is a maple syrup farmer who has made his entire career one of downplaying the risk of pesticides, herbicides, and dioxins in food, promoting Big Ag over organic farming, while making sure that government policies are aligned with the corporate objectives of companies such as Dow and Monsanto.  He has “developed and implemented several product defence strategies,”  which basically means that he makes his living defending the products of Big Ag and Big Chem by lobbying the government to convince them that products like herbicides typically containing dioxin, such as 2,4-d,  otherwise known as Agent Orange,  isn’t really all that bad. Mains is part of a group of American and Canadian lobbyists who assert that reviews by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency, confirm that pesticides in approved uses pose no health threat.  Now,  I’m not in a position to claim what exposures to pesticides are or are not “safe,”  but dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals ever made by man;  they are chemically very stable and therefore break down extremely slowly in the environment. Furthermore,  dioxins bioaccumulate – they collect in fatty tissue, and become concentrated in animals higher up the food chain. This fact is not in dispute.

Howard Mains organic food tweet - threatened by organic food?

Howard Mains organic food tweet – threatened by organic food? And who are the “Toxic Terrorists?”

Most people are familiar with the most dangerous form of dioxin used during the Vietnam War – defoliant Agent Orange. War veterans exposed to Agent Orange have developed chronic  lymphocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s disease and non-Hodgkins lymphoma and diabetes. Many children of veterans exposed have been affected by their parents’ exposure to the chemical and show a wide range of symptoms.  But one doesn’t need to have been exposed to a massive overdose of dioxin in order to gain the attention of the Canadian Cancer Society;   acting on the precautionary principle, the British Columbia and Yukon branches of the CCS have called for a moratorium on the cosmetic use of pesticides.

howard mains - public scientifically illiterate

Howard Mains – public scientifically illiterate

As a consumer (and a scientifically literate one at that),  I can tell you that I no longer trust any government agency,  particularly the CFIA,  which,  as we know,  has been using the EU as a dumping ground for toxic horsemeat. The CFIA is hardly transparent or accountable as any Canadian horse advocate knows well enough by now, and the knowledge that Mains has or will be lobbying them on his own or on behalf of the IEBA (International Equine Business Association) as a front for Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis is hardly comforting.   Curiously,  Mains appears to be silent on the issue of Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol recently found in horsemeat that originated from Canada,  and the use of non-food animals in the food system.  Perhaps we haven’t heard from him on the issue of horsemeat (yet) so long as payment from the IEBA or Sue Wallis is a prerequisite.  Slaughter Spin-Meister Sue may not actually have any money to pay lobbyists or invest in her slaughter empire,  even though she has maintained that she is actively engaged in renovating slaughter plants that she doesn’t actually own.  What could possibly go wrong?

Explain these canines?

Explain these canines?

Big Ag lobbyists like Howard don’t really seem to like vegetarians/vegans or people who want to live more organically or off the CAFO grid.  That’s not to say that organic foods don’t come with some of their own issues,  because of course they do. But Howard Mains thinks that anyone who doesn’t fall in line with Big Ag, CAFO  thinking must subscribe to repeating scary campfire stories about chemicals and must by default be an anti-technology, anti-business, anti-progress ideologue whose diatribes are not based on science. The science actually proves that dioxin has been found in milk, cheese, beef, pork, fish, chicken, and other animals, as well as soil and sewage sludge.  According to the FDA,  although dioxins are environmental contaminants, most dioxin exposure occurs through the diet, with over 95% coming through dietary intake of animal fats.  Agent Orange was widely used in Ontario on Crown land up until the 70s. 

Howard Mains doesn’t discriminate only in favour of herbicides either.  In a Power Point presentation of his own creation,  Mains states:

“The current scientific evidence indicates that the general public need not be concerned as levels of BPA present in food do

Children's letter writing campaigns exploit children,  but this is OK Howard?

Children’s letter writing campaigns exploit children as “enviro-terror lobbyists?”

not pose a health risk. ”   I’m not sure what “scientific evidence” Mains attributes to this reasoning,  since there is plenty of evidence that Bisphenols exert detectable hormone-like properties  and the Pubmed database contains over 3,000 references to Bisphenols. Endocrine disruptors cause developmental,  neurological,  and immunological effects in both humans and wildlife.

Although Mains appears to be loathe to acknowledge it,  casual use of phenoxy herbicides are directly correlated with environmental hazards.According to the Canadian Environmental Law Association, “Pesticides have been either associated with, or more often, are suspected as contributing to, impaired cognitive development in children, increased rates of cancer, brain tumours, asthma, and immune system problems.” Pesticides have been linked to breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphomas. A study by the Stanford University’s School of Medicine indicates Parkinson’s disease is linked to home pesticide use.

Toronto’s former Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Sheela Basrur, states, “The use of lawn care pesticides is a public health issue of growing concern. When risks to human health are unnecessary or uncertain, the wisest course of action is to substitute alternatives rather than incurring risks that may prove unacceptable in the long run.” The World Health Organization estimates that 220,000 people die every year from pesticide poisoning and three million people are poisoned. You have to connect the dots here – when governments are lobbied to accept the use of products that are not in the best interests of its

Gerry Ritz - Most Popular with Lobbyists!

Gerry Ritz – Most Popular with Lobbyists! @lobbywatcher collects and consolidates tweets to see whose doors swing open the widest to people paid to influence government policy.

citizens,  lobbyists have to accept some of the blame!

And although Slaughterhouse Sue and her United Horsemen’s followers are quick to complain about children’s anti-slaughter letter writing campaigns,  Howard Mains has no qualms about employing children in his own Power Point presentations minimizing the impact of pesticide use.

Mains was also involved in a NAFTA Chapter 11 dispute against the former Quebec NDP Environment Minister Thomas Mulcair and the Province of Quebec when it came to banning sales of herbicide 2,4-D.  Mains represented Dow AgroSciences and Monsanto,  who are perpetually concerned about the economic issues surrounding a ban of their products,  against the Province of Quebec.

The Dow AgroSciences case against Quebec was the result of changes to the province’s Pesticide Management Code, first tabled in July 2002, banning the use of several pesticides for residential lawn applications. Mains,  representing Big Chem,  challenged (or bullied?) the government to “prove that 2,4-D did not pose an unacceptable risk to human health or the environment, provided that the instructions on their label are followed, as concluded by Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency decision on the re-evaluation of 2,4-D.”  Although the Government of Quebec had the right to regulate the sale and use of 2,4-D,  they were LOBBIED and coerced to back down to Dow and Monsanto in this example.  Mains was also part of a group of people working within the landscaping industry who had lobbied Quebec’s National Assembly to take 2,4-D off of its list of banned products.

For this and other reasons, a recent report released by the Union of Concerned Scientists gave Dow and Monsanto a stern talking-to about what the term “sustainable agriculture”  actually means, and why what they’re doing isn’t it.  Research also suggests that pesticides such as Roundup may also be linked to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and multiple myeloma.  Unsurprisingly, Roundup/glycophosate wreaks havoc on beneficial insects, amphibians, and birds who are foolish enough to try to exist in their natural habitats. Take note,  Howard Mains.

Keep Calm..........

Keep Calm……….and try not to lose your shit

Knowing that most disease is idiopathic – without known cause or mechanics,  it behooves governments to utilize the precautionary principle.  Researchers investigating the long-term immune effects of dioxin have found that exposure to dioxin during development or while nursing diminishes the capacity to fight infection later in life. The study, published in Toxicological Sciences, reported that mouse pups born to pregnant mice that were exposed to a small amount of dioxins had fewer white blood cells that normally kill the flu virus and more of a different kind that increases lung inflammation.

The study entitled, “The aryl hydrocarbon receptor affects distinct tissue compartments during ontogeny of the immune system,” aimed to identify the critical windows of exposure where fetuses are most sensitive to dioxin’s harmful effects. Pregnant mice were given a dose of 1,000 ppt dioxin either during pregnancy, lactation, or throughout pregnancy and lactation. After dosing, mothers and pups were kept dioxin-free. Researchers then infected mothers and pups with a non-lethal dose of the influenza virus.

“These results illustrate how dioxin exposure in the womb, and/or during nursing, can permanently impact the development of the immune system. They also reaffirm the significance of the impacts of early exposures to harmful chemicals which can result in long-term changes that affect normal biological responses later in life. One notable aspect of this study was that changes in immune response were observed even though the pups were exposed a few times to a low-level dose of dioxin. This means that short-term exposures (as opposed to long-term, continuous exposures) can have significant long-term impact, especially if these exposures occur during important early developmental stages.”

True to form,  any lobbyist defending 2,4-D,  pesticides,  or even phenylbutazone use, would claim that much of animal research isn’t translational to humans.  I guess that’s why research shows that cell phone microwaves cause long term memory loss in rats or phenylbutazone use can cause serious side-effects in horses,  but neither of these things harms people.  Evidently,  we are of a different,  more bullet-proof mammalian stock.

Thank you Sir,  may I have another?  Certainly,  dear reader;  this brings us to our second IEBA co-conspirator,  Steve Kopperud:

Steve Kopperud, Executive Vice President – Policy Directions Inc.

Steve Kopperud is executive vice president of Policy Directions Inc., a Washington, DC government affairs/specialty communications company specializing in animal production agriculture, nutrition, agribusiness, biotechnology, animal health and welfare, food, farm policy, trade and ag research and human health-related issues.  Kopperud was senior vice president of the American Feed Industry Association (AFIA), for nearly 18 years prior to joining Policy Directions. Kopperud considers himself an authority on “animal activist assaults on animal agriculture and food technology.”  He coordinates the Washington, DC-based Farm Animal Welfare Coalition (FAWC), a national coalition of farm, ranch and input organizations involved in livestock/poultry production.  Kopperud again continues along the theme of scientifically unenlightened consumers as “liabilities” along with the ever-present threat of animal and environmental activism.  Steve has made it his life’s mission to protect Big Ag and biomedical research from animal rights and environmental “radicals.” I daresay,  if Slaughterhouse Sue ever decides to leave her semi-literate poet hubby for a guy in Washington,  Steve would be the ideal partner – he hates anyone who strives to preserve the environment as much as she does!

From the AFIA's latest propaganda "meating."  They're not referring to human vegetarians either.

From the AFIA’s latest propaganda “meating.” They’re not referring to human vegetarians either.

In his capacity as VP of the AFIA,  Kopperud wrote:

“AFIA’s goal is to ensure this rewrite of programs touching AFIA members most directly is rational and economical, while ensuring basic income protection for farmers, a future for appropriately funded ag-research, a continued priority on  federal programs promoting exports, a rewritten conservation title that puts arable land back into protection, a permanent disaster program that keeps the feed industry in the delivery system and public recognition that the “demands” of animal rights groups are self-serving and out of touch with feeding America and the rest of the planet.”  Holy crap – that’s one sentence – it’s a tragedy when bad things happen to good sentences!  Note to Steve – when the “demands” are made by increasingly larger and better organized groups,  you can be sure that those “out of touch” groups are actually becoming the norm.  Corporate accountability is the way of the future.  Get used to it.

Kopperud is regularly quoted by Humanewatch followers of Rick Berman.  Suffice it to say the Humane Society of the United States has been on his radar screen for many years. He writes:

“The greatest sin of HSUS is its arrogance. The organization and its leaders honestly believe because they deem a practice to be “wrong” or “unacceptable,” the world must stop and embrace that definition.”  Steve is hard at work countering ethical vegetarianism,  because anyone who cares about the planet,  the environment,  and animal cruelty is anathema to the organizations he represents.  So again,  he is the ideal foil to Slaughterhouse Sue in that you can count on him to downplay,  ignore,  and spin any of the well-known issues that animal welfare advocates have about horses and horsemeat.  Assuming that the IEBA truly gets off the ground and doesn’t get spun into some new business entity by Wallis,  it will be Kopperud’s role to oppose and marginalize any persons or any groups who promote horse welfare.  Indeed,  he believes that animal abuse does not exist in any food production system.  As we know,   Big Ag in various States in the US seeks to make it a crime in MN, Iowa and FL to document by camera or video even illegal agricultural activity. These bills supported by Big Ag  (Monsanto specifically in Iowa) and were obviously unconstitutional, self-serving and though thankfully defeated. If Big Ag wants to win the “food movement” back, trying to toss people in jail for documenting even illegal dangerous activity where our food is made is not the way.

What happened to Snow White when she ate the poisoned apple?

What happened to Snow White when she ate the poisoned apple?

Kopperud targeted much of his remarks against HSUS for its work toward the U.S. horse slaughter ban.  “The unintended consequences of this national campaign to ban horse slaughter waged by HSUS is that we now have over 110,000 neglected and abandoned horses in this country. There has not been one word from any activist organization as to how we will care for these  animals,” Kopperud said. “HSUS, with their leader Wayne Pacelle, is a very savvy organization. ” HSUS frustrates the lobbyists because they won’t come out to play.  Kopperud and the rest of the lobbyists want HSUS to be in the shelter business, which is why Rick Berman and Humanewatch constantly rag on them re: shelter donations.  If HSUS would just “know their place,”  the people the lobbyists represent could just continue to breed too many dogs for the market just like the AQHA overbreeds for the market. Not to be out done,  Kopperud also blasted the Quizno’s sandwich shop chain for its recent move to sell products from crate-free pork and free-range eggs as part of a green initiative, saying the firm caved in to pressure from PETA on these issues. Kopperud wants all animal-exploiters to work together.

Lobbyists and the Fortune 500 companies they represent would like to deny you your free speech rights as well.  In a letter to Consumer Reports, Kopperud has defended the industry’s rationale behind food disparagement laws, claiming that they “do not repress free speech, but rather compel a speaker to think twice about opportunistic or false statements and the damage such rhetoric can do. . . . Food disparagement laws, as tools to make more honest our national discussion of food safety, are the ultimate consumer protection.” The AIF speaks more bluntly in literature aimed at farmers: “Animal rights activists . . . threaten the survival of today’s farmers and ranchers. . . . It’s time to fight back! . . . ”

Lead by lobbyists,  the food industry has worked quietly state-by-state while avoiding a controversial national debate. So far, thirteen state legislatures have approved product disparagement laws–Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Texas. Other states are considering similar measures.  Do you believe that,  based on Sue Wallis’ alignment with Kopperud,  she would really implement CCTV in horse slaughterhouses?  I wouldn’t bet a kidney on it and I don’t give a shit what Temple Grandin thinks will happen either.

Further, Steve Kopperud, coordinator for the Food Industry Dioxin Working Group is afraid the media will have a field day with the EPA limits. And then what might happen? “You will have a whole lot of folks running in circles saying there’s nothing safe to eat, it will scare the crap out of people.”  Boy,  it doesn’t take much for the food industry to freak out over potential government action!

Members of the The Food Industry Dioxin Working Group (hint – they will not be advocating on your behalf):

American Farm Bureau Federation
American Feed Industry Association
American Frozen Food Institute
American Meat Institute
Corn Refiners Association
International Dairy Foods Association
National Chicken Council
National Grain & Feed Association
National Meat Association
National Milk Producers Federation
National Oilseed Processors Association
National Pork Producers Council
National Renderers Association
National Turkey Federation
Pet Food Institute
United Egg Producers

What do all these individual issues have to do with horse slaughter?  Lobbyists for horse slaughter will do for horse slaughter what they are trying to do for CAFOs – normalize them or portray them as animal-friendly mom and pop establishments,  employing  “best practices,”  animal welfare, and professional business ethics,  while they are nothing whatsoever like that.  Always remember that it costs them money to adhere to standards,  just as it would cost a lot of money to slow down the dis-assembly line of horses or any other animal,  as an attempt to make the process more “humane.”  It costs money to implement and audit CCTV cameras (not that they want anyone to see what’s going on to begin with),  otherwise,  the industry could have done it already!  The horrors of horse slaughter and drug contamination will be downplayed or proclaimed to be non-existent. There is no traceability in Canadian or American horses and no way to guarantee horses are drug free – not that either of those issues matter to lobbyists for Slaughterhouse Sue and Bill DesBarres.  Lastly,  if lobbyists are pitching drug-tainted meat to sell to consumers,  well,  that in my opinion is some pretty dirty lobbying.

Gerry Ritz Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Gerry Ritz – Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Does Canada even take food safety seriously?  Apparently not,  what with Gerry Ritz’ comments at the listeriosis scandal whereby he joked that 22 people had died – On September 17, 2008, Agricultural Minister Gerry Ritz made national news when comments he made on an August 2008 conference call with government officials were made public. Ritz was quoted as saying, “This is like a death by a thousand cuts. Or should I say cold cuts.” Then, when told of a death in PEI, Ritz said, “Please tell me it’s (Liberal MP) Wayne Easter.” Ritz apologized for his remarks, but various groups called for his resignation. Jack Layton responded by saying, “Canadians are dying because of the mismanagement of our government… there should absolutely never be that kind of humour…. It illustrates the government is not taking this matter as seriously as they should.” A spokesman for Prime Minister Harper released a statement saying Ritz’s comments were tasteless and completely inappropriate. Stephen Harper refused to seek Ritz’s resignation.

This is a moral and ethical imperative that both Canadians and Americans must address without delay in their respective countries  The Europeans have been well-justified in placing restrictions on Canadian and American-produced meat products, such as hormone-laced beef, Ractopomine-treated pork, and chlorine-washed chickens. It’s time for them to stop imports of drugged-up horses, where the food safety case is even more obvious,  at a time when Canada is cutting back funds for inspections to pre-listeriosis times. Civic action, such as all our efforts-to-date,  has helped to transform the policies of some of the world’s biggest corporations.  Canadians don’t want their horses butchered, shrink-wrapped, and air freighted to Europe.   It’s a barbaric, unsafe, discredited business.

Calgary Anti-Slaughter Billboard – If You Were Waiting for a Sign, This Is it!

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guitar player watches centaur ladyWritten by Heather Clemenceau

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

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals' Angels Billboard

NDP MP Alex Atamanenko in front of Calgary Animals’ Angels Billboard

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.

Billboard protesters

Billboard protesters

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.

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede,  while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

Wear your Canadian Tuxedo with pride at the Stampede, while enjoying confections such as a Bacon-Sundae Funnel Cake, Jack Daniels Fudge, Bacon-Wrapped Wagon Wheels, Deep Fried Kool-Aid, Taco Pizza, Pulled Pork Poutine and Cotton Candy Cupcakes

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

Sometimes Cowboys do cry.....when they lose out on the prize.  Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses.

Sometimes Cowboys do cry…..when they lose out on the prize. Chuck driver Chad Harden lost three of his horses. I’ll light my Lady of Guadalupe candle for him later..

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.

Comments from the Calgary Herald article

Comments from the Calgary Herald article (any spelling/grammar errors belong to the authors and not me!)

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.

IEBA Gang of Five

IEBA Gang of Five

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.

consumptive [kənˈsʌmptɪv]

adj

1. causing consumption; wasteful; destructive

2. (Medicine / Pathology) Pathol relating to or affected with consumption, esp tuberculosis of the lungs

n

(Medicine / Pathology) Pathol a person who suffers from consumption

consumptively  adv

consumptiveness  n

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 – lazydbar@telusplanet.net

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.

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada

Please support Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada