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When Reason goes out the window, Ridicule pulls up a chair

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    The Nevada Legislature is trying to exclude wild horses and burros from the definition of wildlife. That will allow them to also exclude wild horses and burros from water rights.

    The Nevada Legislature is trying to exclude wild horses and burros from the definition of wildlife. That will allow them to also exclude wild horses and burros from water rights.

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    There’s an old saying, It’s better to help a friend a week too early rather than a day too late.” There are different variations on that theme, and I’ve most often seen it used when people are trying to determine when to euthanize a beloved pet. But a few days ago I was reminded of it in the context of the Cold Creek wild horses in Nevada, where at least some of the group are starving,  including mares and foals. An ensuing debate (whether to help the horses or take no action) raises some ethical and philosophical issues about our idyllic view of nature free from human (and BLM) interference. For instance, is it acceptable to feed these wild horses on compassionate and moral grounds, or do we prefer a laissez-faire management policy that would subject horses and burros to starvation by letting Mother Nature work her will?

    You can see from the pics that the worst of these horses would probably rate a 1 or a 2 on the Henneke scale.  Some wild horse advocates have proposed that the starvation death of the horses is preferable to a round-up by the BLM, which they believe may be prompted by a Cold Creek resident’s letter that has been circulating about the condition of the horses. The volunteer-based America’s Wild Horse Advocates have suggested that the original letter writer was intent on creating drama in order that the horses would be removed from Cold Creek. If you read the letter, which is included here, you may agree that the writer of the letter seems hopeful that a roundup will not occur, because the horses are too weak to survive it, and suggests a coordinated effort to help the horses on the ground where they stand. Avoiding the involvement of the BLM seems to be a motivating factor in the decision by the AWHA to wait until fall to determine what, if any action should be taken, while continuing to negotiate for PZP darting.

    The original letter does not strike me as that written by someone determined to remove the horses from the area, so I would not say that AWHA has really made that case successfully. The  initial

    Original email written by a resident of Cold Creek (click to embiggen)

    Original email written by a resident of Cold Creek (click to embiggen)

    response by the group to the letter of concern seems quite dismissive of the horses’ condition, referring to them merely as “thin” and to the initial letter writer as some sort of busybody who wants to get rid of the horses. The wild horse advocate makes several untenable claims about the condition of the horses and admonishes people who have expressed concern about the horses as “bleeding hearts.” Here are some of the claims:

    “The lower bands will fill out in the fall. If they don’t, AWHA will take care of it.”

    Emaciated mares with foals are being fed (at least at the time photos were taken), despite assertions that it is illegal to do so. Being fed by well-meaning people does mean that they will come down to the road for handouts, risking accidents with vehicles. Not only that, abrupt or inappropriate re-feeding can cause metabolic abnormalities leading multi-organ failure and death.

    Emaciated mares with foals are being fed (at least at the time photos were taken), despite assertions that it is illegal to do so. Being fed by well-meaning people does mean that they will come down to the road for handouts, risking accidents with vehicles. Not only that, abrupt or inappropriate re-feeding can cause metabolic abnormalities leading multi-organ failure and death.

    These horses need more than “filling out,” let’s be honest. I have to admit I’m gobsmacked by the suggestion that the horses are not starving, but merely “thin.”  A horse that has lost 50 percent of its body weight has a poor prognosis for survival. How will it be taken care of? If feeding is illegal, how will the situation be resolved? If they can be fed somehow in the fall, why not do it now, since they critically need it and before they decline even further? And it’s already too late for anyone to suggest that we should not interfere with nature, something we’ve done since the very 1st day when we started fencing horses off in pockets of land.  We already hold interventions for wild animals – vaccination programs against diseases such as rabies or tuberculosis have been implemented for decades, and in national parks, starving animals are sometimes provided with additional food so that they may survive.   Proposed growth suppression projects via PZP will all come too late for any horse who is a literal bone rack.

    “It’s called Natural Selection” and “It’s survival of the fittest”

    It’s neither “natural selection” nor “survival of the fittest,” at least not from a biological perspective. Modern society interprets “survival of the fittest” to mean that only the strong survive. We often think of evolution in terms of a winner take all competition between the weak and the strong.  The individuals that survive are not always the strongest, fastest, or smartest – the individuals who survive are those who have variations better suited to their environment and as a result, leave behind more offspring than individuals that are less well adapted. Natural selection is a process that generates or guides adaptations (traits) over evolutionary time. For a trait to be shaped by natural selection it must be genetic and heritable. Natural selection is a mechanism of evolution, and it is not about survival in the short term in a sample population of 250 animals, as longevity in the short term and adaptation over generational time (a really long period of time!) are not the same things. The effects of natural selection are barely perceptible, except over long periods of time, so the starvation of one generation of a herd of horses is not an example of natural selection.

    The majority of wild animals of any species die well before they reach maximum lifespan, but horses are at a greater disadvantage than many other species.

    The majority of wild animals of any species die well before they reach maximum lifespan, but horses are at a greater disadvantage than many other species.

    “All in all, an honourable death…preferable to dying in captivity”

    I agree that the horses should not be gathered, and probably wouldn’t survive it anyway. When the horse is removed as through helicopter roundups, or is killed off by man, it leaves a big gap that upsets the equilibrated life-support system benefiting other wild populations. Wild horses are also a climax species, helping to sustain other ecosystems through the grazing of grass, pruning of vegetation, and consequent bolstering of annual plant productivity. Since wild horses are already being lost to roundups, slaughter, and most recently to fire, why not do more than stand around watching them starve?

    To sum up: there are three possible courses of action for these horses.

    1. No intervention. The horses would either somehow gain weight on their own, or they would be allowed to starve to death
    2. Euthanasia – if they cannot regain weight, or no one is prepared to supplement them, then for some of the worst cases, euthanasia is justifiable on welfare grounds
    3. Feeding – Is welfare better served by feeding rather than doing nothing? It is also justifiable if the horses won’t likely survive otherwise.

    If we believe that appropriate action should be option #3, then intervention should take place immediately before welfare declines even further.

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

    Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.

    I don’t know what the solution is beyond a reasonable doubt. I don’t even know how it is legally or logistically workable.  But I absolutely do not believe that starvation should be the preferred outcome here.

    What is really upsetting about this is that when it comes to an animal’s suffering it seems that supposedly intelligent and highly qualified individuals cannot use their logic and experience gained over the years to show compassion to a suffering animal. How many times do we tell pro-slaughters that starvation and slaughter are not the only two options? From an ethical standpoint, I believe that it is both appropriate and even necessary to intervene to help ensure that the wild horses retain their proper place in the landscape.

     

     

    Letters Explain the Group’s Rationale for their Position on PZP and Feeding:

    Response to original message by AWHA Response to my concerns

    heatherclemenceauThe Nevada Legislature is trying to exclude wild horses and burros from the definition of wildlife. That will allow them to also exclude wild horses and burros from water rights. Original email written by a resident of Cold Creek (click to embiggen)Emaciated mares with foals are being fed (at least at the time photos were taken), despite assertions that it is illegal to do so. Being fed by well-meaning people does mean that they will come down to the road for handouts, risking accidents with vehicles. Not only that, abrupt or inappropriate re-feeding can cause metabolic abnormalities leading multi-organ failure and death.The majority of wild animals of any species die well before they reach maximum lifespan, but horses are at a greater disadvantage than many other species. Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.Response to original message by AWHAResponse to my concernsheatherclemenceauThe Nevada Legislature is trying to exclude wild horses and burros from the definition of wildlife. That will allow them to also exclude wild horses and burros from water rights. Original email written by a resident of Cold Creek (click to embiggen)Emaciated mares with foals are being fed (at least at the time photos were taken), despite assertions that it is illegal to do so. Being fed by well-meaning people does mean that they will come down to the road for handouts, risking accidents with vehicles. Not only that, abrupt or inappropriate re-feeding can cause metabolic abnormalities leading multi-organ failure and death.The majority of wild animals of any species die well before they reach maximum lifespan, but horses are at a greater disadvantage than many other species. Pray for the dead and fight like hell for the living.Response to original message by AWHAResponse to my concerns

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    Suffering in Silence by Jochen SchleeseWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Scenes of whizzing conveyor belts and tool-wielding workers are the reason I love the TV show “How It’s Made.” Usually the show presents a behind-the-scenes look at many products we take for granted from bathtubs to belt buckles and other mass-produced items. It was originally created in 5 minute episodes that were used by broadcasters used to fill gaps in their schedules.

    My favourite episodes are the ones that feature the hand-crafted or artisanal products, like stagecoaches, native drums, and jewelry. I love the back-to-back marathons in particular. I’d seen the episode on the making of english saddles, but I never made the connection that the factory that made the saddles in the episode – Schleese Saddlery, was only a few minutes from my house in York Region, Ontario. I had the opportunity to get a tour of the factory in July, and I was generously given master saddler Jochen Schleese’s book and DVD after the tour.

    Have you ever wondered about the craftsmanship and precision that go into making a saddle? Craftspeople build about 15 custom-made saddles each week at the Holland Landing factory- these saddles are all designed and assembled from patterns using the rider and horse’s personal and often asymmetrical measurements.

    The factory features modern industrial sewing machines and some “old world” craftsman and fabrication tools.  I am walked through the production line where polyurethane saddle trees are matched to individual saddle orders. To reinforce the saddle tree, steel plates are placed underneath the tree from the pommel to the cantle. The steel panels disperse the rider’s weight over a larger surface, thereby protecting the horse from the weight of the rider. The stirrup bars are bolted onto the tree. The stirrup bars are made of two pieces: the bar itself, and a movable piece that works on the premise that it can be opened when the stirrup leather is put in position and should open and release the stirrup leather if the rider should fall.

    Layers of sculpted padding and foam, wool stuffing, girth straps, flaps, and other leather components are attached to the saddle next both by hand and machine sewing. The craftspeople are each working on specific components of the saddles today, but production manager Ben tells me that they are all expected to learn how to craft and attach all the parts of the saddle, as well as perform quality control on both their own work and on the saddle overall before it is ready for the client. On that day, there were also several saddles of different manufacture being re-stuffed or altered to accommodate changes in the horse’s musculature. It is paradoxical to expect to buy one saddle with the anticipation that it will never require adjustments. In a well-fitting saddle the horse should begin to muscle up and change conformation so that at least annual adjustments will be required to accommodate this growth or to simply add additional stuffing after the padding has flattened down due to riding.

    Click to view slideshow.

    I’ve seen some pretty sketchy looking saddles offered for sale on Kijiji, Craigslist, and Facebook – some look like cast-off relics from the civil war era. Even if the saddles are made by a reputable company and the tree is the appropriate size, they will not necessarily fit all horses since the designs themselves vary and horses’ backs, ribs, and withers also vary widely in terms of size, shape, and muscling. I was not able to use my Stubben Roxane saddle on other horses I owned despite its quality and generic size. It still fit me and my high-withered Thoroughbred, but the cantle pitched backwards on my low-withered Arabian, and you only had to look at it to see that no amount of additional stuffing in the cantle area would make it sit flat or rest properly in the skapula area.

    One of my takeaways from the plant tour and the book/video was how critical saddle fit was to a horse’s overall well-being. We should all know how to perform a basic evaluation of saddle fit when considering a new or used saddle, and the book and DVD explained how a poor-fitting saddle impinges on the shoulders, cartilage, skeletal muscles, and spine of the horse, to the animal’s detriment. Not only will the horse not move well, but he/she will be in physical pain.

    Horse owners spend literal fortunes on veterinary attention, farrier work, pharmaceuticals, supplements, and physical therapies, all in an attempt to keep their horses healthy and sound. We invest time and money in finding boots, breeches, helmets, and chaps to ensure what we wear in the saddle is safe, comfortable,  and right for the job at hand. But horse people will often buy saddles without understanding that it is the most fundamental means of connection with the horse and it must have proper fit initially and thereafter.

    Thanks to Sabine Schleese and Ben for generously accommodating me……..

     

     

     



    heatherclemenceauSuffering in Silence by Jochen SchleeseheatherclemenceauSuffering in Silence by Jochen Schleese

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    horse drugsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau,  with files from Nancy Watson

    Each year spent fighting horse slaughter is proof enough that we live in a time of war – a constant struggle to maintain the de- facto ban on domestic horse slaughter in the U.S. We saw how corruptible and falsifiable equine passports were during the EU lasagna adulteration scandal two years ago, where meat has for years been extruded through a supply system that could hardly be more opaque, and foreign gangsters and mafia were secretly adulterating the food supply with profit as the main incentive.

    Henry Skjerven, former director of Natural Valley Farms (defunct horse slaughterhouse) in Saskatchewan, Canada said:

    “US and Canada were never geared for raising horses for food consumption. The system as it stood when we were killing horses was in no way, shape or form, safe, in my opinion.

    We did not know where those horses were coming from, what might be in them or what they were treated with. I was always in fear – I think that it was very valid – that we were going to send something across there [to the EU] and we were simply going to get our doors locked after we had some kind of issue with the product.”

     

    Please join the Grassroots Advocates March to the U.S. Capitol  The march and rally will take place along Independence Ave. to the US Capitol Building on September 29, 2015. The scheduled events on this day are intended to raise public awareness of the grave risks U.S. horse slaughter has created for the U.S. and global food supply, and to call upon Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2015 S.1214 / H.R. 1942 to ban the slaughter of U.S. horses. A recent report from Chapman University, published in August 2015, found horsemeat DNA adulterating mislabeled meat samples sold in the United States.

    American horses receive any number of highly toxic drugs that are outlawed by the FDA for use in animals intended for consumption. American horses, including wild horses, live in uncontrolled situations for indeterminate periods of time, have inadequate health histories and may not have not been reliably vaccinated and monitored for illnesses such as rabies, brucellosis, anthrax, glanders, leptospirosis, Lyme disease, or ehrlichiosis.

    Ann Marini, M.D., Ph.D., a featured speaker at the march, states American horses are not raised for food. The food safety issue that has been created as a result of sending contaminated horse drugs in meatmeat overseas and into the U.S. food supply is a huge liability for the United States, and needs to end immediately.”

    The march, titled “SAFE Food, SAFE horses” will end on the west lawn of the Capitol Building where equine advocacy experts and scientists will discuss why U.S. horse meat contamination poses such a grave threat to our food supply, and how passage of the SAFE Act is crucial to keeping the food supply safe from contaminated horse meat and protecting U.S. horses from slaughter.

    American horses are slaughtered for human consumption in Canada and Mexico at the rate of 1 every 5 minutes. Horse advocates want to put an end to the U.S. horse slaughter pipeline once and for all in order to stop contaminating the global food supply with meat from horses that have not been raised for human consumption.

    Horse slaughter is a particularly cruel and horrendous death for American horses. As prey animals, horses are especially skittish by nature. They will not stand passively while the executioner attempts to hit a dime sized target on their forehead with a captive bolt gun. Multiple attempts with a bolt gun have been administered to horses in slaughterhouses. Horses who are not adequately stunned may be butchered while still alive and conscious. The only safe and humane way to end a horse’s life is through chemical euthanasia with proper disposal of the remains to avoid contamination of the food supply.

    Surveys have shown that over 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Yet, in 2011 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a fraudulent report indicating that horse slaughter is needed in order to prevent neglect and abuse. Several animal advocacy groups have debunked the GAO report, stating that “they have irrefutable evidence showing that the Government Accountability Office fraudulently misrepresented horse abuse and neglect data in their report GAO 11-228. There is both a video and white paper available on line debunking the fraudulent GAO report. Quarter horses make up 75% of US horses going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico due to breed associations such as AQHA promoting horse slaughter as a solution to dealing with overbreeding.

    bad politiciansIrresponsible breeding is the single biggest contributor to the U.S. slaughter pipeline, with 70% of the annual Thoroughbred foal crop going to slaughter. Breeders are continually attempting to find the next Secretariat or Seattle Slew. Those horses that don’t make the cut are sent into the horse slaughter pipeline.

    In light of all this, advocates are booking flights and making arrangements to participate in the march in a concerted plea to Congress to pass the SAFE Act. Bills calling for the ban of horse slaughter and horse slaughter transport have received overwhelming public and legislative support for many years, but have died an unseemly death in Committee, having never been released to the Floor for a vote. In the previous session of Congress, the SAFE Act S541/HR1094 had 183 cosponsors from the House and 29 from the Senate, but yet again it died in Committee.

    The SAFE Act of 2015 S.1214/H.R.1942 has been reintroduced to the 114th Congress by Congressman Guinta of New Hampshire and Senator Menendez of New Jersey with the intent of finally passing this critical bill into law. Food Safety is an issue that concerns all governments. The horse meat scandal that rocked the European Union (EU) and United Kingdom in 2013 involved contaminated horses from North America. The EU Food Safety Commission has since banned all horse meat imports from Mexico, as these are known to be American horses. Current U.S. legislation allows contaminated horses to pollute the global food supply. This bill is sorely needed to ensure that our horses remain safe in the U.S. and off of dinner plates.

    A preview of the movie “The Kill Pen” by Sharon Boeckle will be featured

     

    Date, Time, Place:

    September 29, 2015 at 10:00am (Please be on-site by 9:30). The meeting point will be in front of the USDA building at South Building 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250-9911. The march will be a planned route to the Capitol Building.  Directions to USDA Building.

    Agenda:

    We will meet promptly at 10:00am in front of the USDA building and have several speakers with opening statements about our mission and the importance of banning horse slaughter and closing our borders to horse slaughter transportation in the US. After opening remarks, we will march to the West Lawn of the Capitol Building.  Additional events will be announced soon. Sorry, no permits have been obtained for horses.  Please bring a sign in support of the SAFE Act S1214/HR1942, but there will be extras for those who cannot. Hand held banners will be placed throughout the march.  There will also be a Flashmob – please sign up here.

    We are going to rally on the Capitol Grounds for the remainder of the day (please be on-site at 9:30):

    • 10:00Dr. Lester Friedlander will lead the march from the USDA building to the Capitol after addressing marchers
    • 11:00 – National Anthem on the Capitol grounds
    • 11:30 – Speakers: Jo-Claire Corcoran will discuss the chronology of US horse slaughter pipeline.  Dr. Ann Marini will discuss equine drugs and how harmful they are to humans and the global food supply. Dr. Friedlander will discuss equine diseases and the USDA and the contamination of our global food supply, and finally horse advocate Meghan Dixon will speak about her connection with horses and how they enrich our lives.
    • 12:00 – Our horse-themed playlist will play on our sound system
    • 2:00 –  Screening of Kill Pen trailer for Congress Members inside the Capitol (room CVC217 – refreshments will be served)
    • 2:00 –  Open Mic begins for those at the rally (content must be approved by the march team prior).  Open Mic sign-up here.
    • 5:00 – Rally on the Capitol lawn and closing remarks by Dr. Friedlander

     

    For further info,  please contact Nancy or Rita,  or visit the event’s Facebook page:

    Nancy Watson 631.742.4167 SAFEMarch2DC@gmail.com

    Rita Reik 561.818.9664 SAFEMarch2DC@gmail.com

    Safe March

     

    The following is credited to Captain Paul Watson (useful message points to consider when preparing signage, writing, and speaking to media):

    Media Laws
    1.  The Media is not concerned with facts, statistics or scientific reports. The media is interested in drama, scandal, violence and sex.
    2.  Without visuals, there is no story on TV, without photos, you have a weak story in the print media.
    3.  Learn to use the media or you will be abused by the media. Media manipulation is merely a matter of survival in a media culture.
    4.  Always talk in soundbites. Keep it simple. Do not clarify. Never underestimate the intelligence of the viewer, the listener or the reader.
    5.  Ignore the question put to you if it does not serve your purpose. Say what you wish to say. Stay in control.
    6.  Emotion will always triumph over fact. Emote. Use humor. Make the viewer like you.
    7.  In a media culture, the medium is the message. TV and film are the message of the mind.
    8.  Objectivity is a myth, an illusion, a con, and a trick. Objectivity in the media does not exist. The illusion of objectivity may work as a strategy but only a fool would believe that it is a reality within the media culture.
    9.  The media defines reality. What is real is what is reported. The public believes what is real is what it has been told to believe.
    10. Believe nothing that you read, be skeptical about what you hear and question all that you see. All your senses can be manipulated.



    heatherclemenceauhorse drugsdrugs in meatbad politiciansSafe Marchheatherclemenceauhorse drugsdrugs in meatbad politiciansSafe March

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    ComplaintsWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

    I make no apologies concerning my utter disdain for Equine Canada’s pro-slaughter stance. Therefore, I rarely miss an opportunity to drag them for their varnished perspective of the horse slaughter industry.

    On the rare occasion when Equine Canada have mentioned horse slaughter at all it is always a pre-rehearsed talking point that’s usually just plain wrong. And while there may be a schism within EC with regard to slaughter, you know on which side the group’s bread is buttered since they are funded by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC).

    Who does the EC really represent except elite athletes and Agri-Food Canada anyway? Consider that Canada’s dichotomous pro-slaughter “horse welfare” group HWAC, along with the primarily pro-slaughter provincial horse federations, have been recognized by Equine Canada as their partner for horse welfare in Canada.  Of course HWAC makes known their alliance with American extreme pro-slaughter groups United Horsemen, United Organizations of the Horse, and the apparently defunct IEBA, one of many alphabet companies set up by Sue Wallis. EC doesn’t speak for the average rider, and certainly not for horses. So it is a paradox, that, despite the occasional horse welfare cheerleading by EC, they are utterly silent when it comes down to the issue of the dual commodity riding/meat horse.

    The comment below was taken from a Facebook group – it was posted by a former Equine Canada employee. For the record, these incendiary comments about Canada’s National Horse Advocacy group are patently false. I wonder if this individual has ever given any consideration to any of the humane and consumer safety and traceability issues that remain unaddressed by their former employer, no matter how many people make up their various committees?

    Commercial pressures will always tend to overwhelm safety concerns, unless there are individuals or groups that work to expose abuses – so who are the true radicals here?

    Equine Canada radicals

    No, if you’re promoting horse slaughter in spite of all the evidence to the contrary, then YOU are not coming from a good place, nor do you care about horses.

    Pointing out industry infractions with information obtained through Access-To-Information requests and via government websites is not a personal attack. Publicizing video evidence of horrific feedlot neglect and egregious abuse in slaughter operations is a right-to-know issue. For example, Migros, Switzerland’s largest retail company & supermarket chain terminated its contract with Bouvry Exports – a decision made after Migros was confronted with horrific images from the Bouvry feedlots. The footage obtained by Animals Angels and Tierschutzbund in October of 2013 showed mares left to die and decompose inside the pen area as well as horses with apparent, contagious diseases and severely overgrown hooves. Video evidence obtained at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughterhouse in St. Andre-Avellin QC, resulted in the plant being shut down for several days for retrofitting. The live draft horse shipments from Calgary and Winnipeg airports to Japan where the horses are slaughtered, violates CFIA and International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulations regarding the live shipping of horses by air by having 3 or more horses unsegregated in wooden crates. Despite receiving many letters of complaint to the CFIA and IATA, horses are still being shipped in violation of regulations. Does Equine Canada speak out against any of this?

    CHDC’s slaughter stats are updated at least twice yearly, and are taken directly from Statistics provided by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. Of course, the former EC employee doesn’t give an example that supports their accusations but expects those reading their comments to take them at face value. But if you want to examples of outdated stats and sneaky subterfuge, you can easily point a finger at Equine Canada, who sent this letter to MPs which included a justification for horse slaughter, based on the GAO report on horse slaughterHorse Welfare – Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter. Yet curiously, they did not post or promote this now thoroughly debunked GAO report anywhere else that I could see – not on Facebook or on their website. So why did they only include reference to the GAO report in the letter sent to MPs? Is it because they expected that the horse people who read their Facebook page and website would already know that it had been debunked by John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance? Whether knowingly or not, EC promoted debunked information  to politicians who were about to vote on Bill C-571 because they likely knew that most politicians are ignorant enough to believe it. However, MP Alex Atamanenko called them out on their incorrect statements:

    “I find it troubling that, as an Equine Association concerned with the welfare of horses, you have resorted to the discredited argument that restricting the slaughter industry will result in increased horse neglect and abandonment. The US GAO report you have cited as supporting this argument has been exposed as having misrepresented or omitted relevant data to conclude an increase in abuse and abandonment following the closure of US abattoirs. To state the obvious, since slaughter continued to be available in Canada and Mexico, any rise in reported cases of abuse would necessarily have come from other factors. A critical analysis of the GAO report entitled “How the GAO deceived Congress” makes it glaringly obvious that little credence should be attributed to such a flawed report.”

    Equine Canada (via the FEI) has classified approximately 1,000 different drugs as either “Banned” or “Controlled” in the 2015 Equine Prohibited Substances List. Our former employee almost certainly knows that if kill buyers and the owners of slaughter-bound horses had strict liability (as in the world of horse sport), practically no horse would be eligible for slaughter. EC has nothing to say when over 700 horses (450-500 going to slaughter, and apparently all came to the auction with six months of history, and are drug-free with clean EIDs) were run through the Dawson Creek auction in British Columbia in September. These horses included registered, sound, very rideable, beautiful, kind, healthy horses. The EID hardly ensures a continuous medical record and certainly does not guarantee food safety, especially when one considers that the drug history of the horse can be completed at the auction and not by the actual owner.

    This is a barbaric, unsafe, discredited business – one giant trash heap of cruelty and drugged meat. It’s also a facade of false and incomplete paperwork, concealing incompetence and often outright deceit at the highest levels. Indeed, Equine Canada are utterly silent on this issue of the adulteration of the food chain with undeclared drugs for financial gain,  while it falls upon horse advocates to ensure  that the facts and evidence are never twisted or obscured by politics.

     



    heatherclemenceauComplaintsEquine Canada radicalsheatherclemenceauComplaintsEquine Canada radicals

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    18180927_ml

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

    It’s simply magisterial in its eloquence! 

    Please share…..

     

     

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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    Banksy slaughterhouseWritten By:  Heather Clemenceau

    As an Anglophone from Quebec, it’s sometimes second nature to make fun of Quebecois chefs who not only make endorsements for eating horse in particular, but also promote other rather disgusting, gross, or cruelly derived animal products. Toronto restaurants are well known for flouting food safety regulations for the sake of flavour – raw horse and pork are readily available, even though Ontario’s Health Protection and Promotion Act, frowns on raw meat in general, and requires that pork in particular must be served well-done.

    The Templar Hotel has a new resto – Parcae, serving horse, bone marrow, sea urchin, and other notably and unapologetically cruel foods. The restaurant follows the “nose to tail,” method of preparing their cuisine, which has been said to include “everything but the oink.” Naturally, places such as this appeal to nihilistic gastromaniacs who like to patronize restaurants based on Instagram pics. Somewhat interestingly, the restaurant has a connection to M. Wells in NYC, which became infamous for trying to add horse tartare to its menu in 2012 (but did not do so after a huge outcry that included demonstrations). The chef at M. Wells, Hugue Dufour, is a Quebecker who worked at Au Pied de Cochon, where current Parcae sous chef Joseph Awad also discovered his métier. Just as corporate sponsors love to see their logos on t-shirts, there are potentially great business opportunities for individuals or groups to attach their names to these individual entrees, so I’ve decided to match up some of the most notorious brand owners and celebrities (real or not) for the most appropriate endorsements. Bon Appétit!

    What’s On The Menu:

    Horse Carpaccio

    horse carpaccio duck egg yokSuggested Sponsor – Merck

    Suggested Spokesperson – The Geico Caveman

    Carpaccio is thinly-sliced horsemeat served raw. I wonder if Parcae charges extra for pharmacologically active horsemeat containing veterinary residues that are barely screened-for by the CFIA? What wines are complementary with trichinosis? Cruelty issues aside, we should all refuse to eat any meal where there’s the remotest possibility that we may end up with parasites winding through our viscera (this is why I never get invited out to restaurants anymore – I’ve become a food safety asshole). Foodies who embrace the new and the outré, might also embrace a dose of trich as well, since it’s an acknowledged fact that horses on occasion carry trichinella spiralis, the parasite that causes the disease, which occurs with some commonality in France, where horsemeat is often consumed raw. 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 raw meat, at least before the invention of fire.  At least cavemen knew how to progress beyond the Paleozoic era…..

     Chicken Leg

    chicken legSuggested Sponsor – The TV show “Fear Factor”

    Suggested Spokesperson – “Kill It And Grill It” Author and avid predator, Ted Nugent

    Points for creativity? Cuisine of the foot proves that the zombie apocalypse is real. Please pass the beans… Fear Factor once featured an episode of chicken foot and rat bobbing that resulted in at least a couple of people bowing out, if I recall correctly. The TV show would make a great sponsor, since they regularly featured animal abuse. Nugent, whose most enjoyable experiences in life seem to involve annoying all the right people, is our eloquent spokesperson here – he once slammed a chicken to death on his reality show “Wanted: Dead or Alive.”

    Deep Fried Lamb Brains

    deep fried lamb brainsSuggested Sponsor – Boston Scientific

    Suggested Spokesperson – Heart Attack Grill

    Sorry foodies – eating brains won’t make you smart! Consuming the brain and other nerve tissue of animals may be hazardous to health. Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and other prion diseases aren’t killed by the cooking process either. And too many deep-fried foods and a heart attack can’t be far behind. Enter the Boston Scientific Corporation: It has sold over a billion dollars worth of coronary stents since just 2009. The CPR inducting, defibrillating, Vegas-based Heart Attack Grill makes no bones about the danger its offerings pose to customers – their tagline is “Once you arrive you will have put on a hospital gown….” Better hope that sexy nurse at the next table isn’t just dressed up for Halloween!

    Grilled Branzino

    grilled branzinoSuggested Sponsor – Fergus Henderson – Author of “The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating”

    Suggested Spokesperson – Anthony Bourdain

    This particular offering looks like another a finalist for the “Cruellest Entrée” category. The chef who thought this one up was probably trying to represent it stylistically as ikizukuri, (another tradition that deserves no respect) where fish are seared in a pan and then eaten alive. First off let me say that even when I was a meat eater, I could never have overcome the mental barrier involved in eating something that was looking back at me on the plate. Fergus Henderson’s book suggests recipes with a Sweeney Todd’s list of ingredients including quarts of pigs blood, lamb hearts, lamb tongues and pigs tails, which are all parts which usually go to the pet food plants. Anthony Bourdain, renowned chef-author-famous-TV-bourbon-swilling-former-coke-addict, should stand up and personally endorse this entrée without hesitation. I once read an article where he described eating the still-beating heart from a snake. Bourdain looks like death warmed-over, quite frankly, so it’s a fitting match.

    Braised Octopus with Bone Marrow

    Braised octopus and bone marrow with beef tendon chips and purslaneSuggested Sponsor – Bear Grylls

    Suggested Spokesperson – Fred Flintstone

    What a great big blessed matrimony of cruelty! Cephalopods are such intelligent creatures who use tools and have adaptive behaviours, but it shouldn’t take expressed human-like self-awareness to remove an animal from your menu. 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. 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 (not that anybody should eat it otherwise. IMO).  It also brings out the food preparation OCD in me because I believe that one should be cautious about eating parts of cows that may carry BSE.  FSIS in the US considers these risky body parts to be the brain, tonsils, spinal cord, parts of the nervous system, and part of the small intestine.  In the past oxtails have been suspect, therefore so too is bone marrow.  There is some confusion about bone marrow because it has been reported to potentially carry the infection. Our suggested sponsor Bear Grylls is not only notable for eating virtually anything from spiders to grubs to worms, but to giving himself an enema with fetid water just to keep himself hydrated. No fear.

    Clams Guanciale

    clams guancialeSuggested Sponsor – Flickr’s Food Porn Group

    Suggested Spokesperson – The Journal Obesity

    A hyper-concentration of fat in one dish. Guanciale is pork “cheek” or “jowl,” which gives new meaning to the term “your food has a face.” Bivalves serve as incredibly useful water filtration systems, and we should leave them in the ocean. They are often deployed in lakes where there is heavy pollution and bacterial counts. nutrients, and algae. Depending on where they have been living and what they’ve been filtering, bivalves can cause various toxic reactions in humans eating them. The typical method for cooking claims is to boil or steam them alive – hardly humane since studies have shown that clams, crabs, prawns, lobsters, and other crustaceans remember pain and avoid it in future. It really is time for shellfish, mollusc, and crustacean empathy.

    Urchin with Sturgeon Cartilage

    unit with persimmon puree and a sturgeon cartilage chipSuggested Sponsor – Top Chef star and acid-reflux spokesperson Spike Mendelsohn

    Suggested Spokesperson – Gordon Ramsay

    Whoever decided that sturgeon cartilage was a thing? And I wonder what person looked at a sea urchin and decided to try to eat it? I watched videos of people picking urchins off of the coast at the beach, and cutting them open with scissors, and my heart just sank! Why it is necessary to add two more animals to the food chain?  We must collectively resist the foodie movement, which has played a role in normalizing horsemeat, foie gras, as well as popularizing other non-traditional animals or worse – the consumption of non-inspected meat or live animals, as popularized by wanna-be-known-for-sumthin’ chefs. Sea urchin and urchin roe have been in demand in Japan for many years, partially due to the belief that eating the sex glands makes one sexually potent. Like practically anything else the Japanese over-consume, there is now serious question whether the sea urchin population is being decimated as a result. “F” Word’s Gordon Ramsay is the selected spokesperson since he likes his uni (the Japanese term for urchin) with scrambled eggs.

    Romanesco Guanciale

    Romanesco guanciale with mustard sauceSuggested Sponsor – Total Gym

    Suggested Spokesperson – Paula Deen

    When I first looked at this I was challenged to understand what I was seeing. To me, it looks like a cat had barfed up a few pine cones or marijuana buds. Once again the chefs are using pig cheek.  Apparently pig cheek is very fatty as well, just like other cuts of bacon. This is another recipe that makes my arteries cry. Butter evangelist Paula Deen, famous for the super unhealthy Krispy Kreme burger, should endorse this one, because unhealthy eating has also made her arteries (and pancreas) cry. Total Gym sponsorship,  self-explanatory.

    Food has replaced drugs in the aging food-fancier’s pantheon of pleasure. How about we just go back to 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.

    I doubt any foodies reading this will be tangentially distracted by the concept of any suffering they might inflict. Of course, it’s critical to the jejune gourmand that he/she be able to eat not only in an elitist fashion that may be cruel, but one that he also cannot truly afford. These foodies and their priests rationalize consuming foods that must be acquired and slaughtered in the most brutal fashion, almost to a sadistic degree.  Apparently greed and indifference to suffering are secondary values over the rightness of being able to gorge oneself. It truly leads one to beg the question, what is to be the next oral fixation?

    If you’d like to send a polite,  fact-based communication to Parcae,  you may reach them:

    On Twitter@parcae348

    On FacebookParcae

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     



    heatherclemenceauBanksy slaughterhousehorse carpaccio duck egg yokchicken legdeep fried lamb brainsgrilled branzinoBraised octopus and bone marrow with beef tendon chips and purslaneclams guancialeunit with persimmon puree and a sturgeon cartilage chipRomanesco guanciale with mustard sauceheatherclemenceauBanksy slaughterhousehorse carpaccio duck egg yokchicken legdeep fried lamb brainsgrilled branzinoBraised octopus and bone marrow with beef tendon chips and purslaneclams guancialeunit with persimmon puree and a sturgeon cartilage chipRomanesco guanciale with mustard sauce

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    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    While new registrations and memberships of all pedigree horse breeds have been in decline overall since the 2008 recession,  registrations for the AQHA are possibly the hardest hit, due in part to the dominance of the quarter horse breed. The AQHA’s 2015 membership results have been posted, and following the trend of previous years,  they’re down overall once again.   Canada’s overall membership numbers continue in a decade of decline, so too do Alberta’s numbers, which are typically in the top 10 of almost any AQHA stat.

     

    Membership Change Overall From 2014 – 2015 (2,997) This decline represents a loss of over $100,000 in revenue

    Membership Change for Canada From 2014 – 2015 (655)

    Membership Change for Alberta From 2014 – 2015 (171)

     

    It’s no secret that the largest non-profit breed association in the world takes the most destructive and inhumane approach to horse slaughter of any of the breed groups. On the one hand, they have a Mission Statement to “ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.” However, the AQHA needs a system to make room for the continuing mass production, hence their business model is to breed as many horses as possible (thus maintaining new memberships and registrations thus ensuring that they are a self-perpetuating entity) while discarding older  or surplus horses and horses with undesirable conformation to slaughter plants.

    AQHA  Executive Vice President  Craig Huffhines – (in reference to the S.A.F.E. Act):

    “If we do not like unwanted horses being sent to processing facilities across our northern and southern borders, then perhaps Congress should allow our own USDA-regulated processing plants to reopen. The U.S. plants, with state-of-the-art monitoring technology, will assure humane handling and euthanasia as approved by AAEP and AVMA and a USDA-inspected safe and wholesome end product for export.”

    Can I say how disgusted I am that Huffhines refers to quarter horses as an “end-product?”  I dislike references to the term “foal crop” on the 2015 Executive Summary (or wherever else I see it).  41655994_mlThe term “crop” has pleasant connotations of the nostalgic gathering of a produce that is planted and cultivated by collecting rainwater for irrigation.  Animals are not “crops” that can be ripened like turnips, although sending horses to slaughter does bring to mind the image of a combine harvester and a crop of living animals that are simply mowed down.  Despite what the AQHA claims, the goal of “treating horses humanely and with dignity” is one that’s incompatible with over-breeding and slaughter.

    In addition to encouraging horse owners to dispose of their animals in the slaughter pipeline and strategizing against humane groups,  the AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule also facilitates overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year. Rules about using frozen semen or eggs from long-sterile or dead animals allowed horses to breed from beyond the grave.  Consider that First Prize Dash,  a 1988 quarter horse mare – produced  44 offspring!  Her sire, Dash for Cash, sired 1,233 foals!  Possibly these two horses are not the most obvious examples of this policy either. There were so many lines in the All Breed Pedigree record for Dash for Cash that I had to copy and past them into a spreadsheet in order to count them…

    top hat tip DebbyInstead of trying to fight against animal welfare groups, the AQHA should be setting aside funds to care for unwanted horses that resulted from rampant over-breeding that the horse-riding public cannot absorb.

    Fewer horses produced by responsible breeding practices would result in higher prices at the sale barn and private treaty sales. It’s not all about the membership numbers.

     



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    may-12-percherons

    This photo, original to the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, was used in a presentation critiquing horse advocates. The presenter claimed that criticism against feedlot owners was unjustified, they are really “not that bad.” The only criticism offered was towards the use of barb-wire fencing.

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    In April I attended The National Animal Welfare Conference, offered by The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies.  The CFHS represents all the humane societies and SPCAs across Canada.  So as you would expect, the presentation consisted of a broad range topics related to cat overpopulation, animal shelter stats,  hoarding issues, spay/neuter,  along with some coverage of farm animal issues,  including representation from OMAFRA and the Alberta SPCA on horse slaughter.  I had been looking forward to this event for weeks….

    Within the various humane groups, welfare standards, which vary considerably, are reviewed and debated worldwide. The humane societies and SPCAs do not even agree on the issue of what constitutes good welfare, despite the existence of codes of practice.   This schism was made more obvious by the presence at the conference, of strict vegans juxtaposed against those who still justify eating animals but want to improve their welfare while doing so.

    The treatment of several issues addressed at the conference was wildly inconsistent, IMO.  For instance, we had delicious vegan lunches and snacks, and panel discussions on the importance of developing food policies for animal events.  On the other hand, the conference content was generally delivered with a view to making animal use more comfortable for people rather than the animal.  By offering vegan fare there is the suggestion that perhaps we shouldn’t be eating animals,  and yet we have presentations that malign animal activists as well-meaning but utterly misinformed people who are just “too sensitive?”

    The bulk of horses in Canada are found in Alberta and anti-slaughter advocates have had challenges appealing to many people in that province due to the ranching and Stampede culture. Protesters at the recent Bouvry slaughterhouse in Alberta were subjected to strong negative feedback, to put it politely. There is certainly a notable variation between the principles, opinions, sentiments regarding horse slaughter in Alberta and elsewhere in Canada.  Knowing that at least one of the speakers on horse slaughter was from Alberta, I expected them to graywash the issue of slaughter – I must be psychic because that’s really how it played out. I believe that presenting horse slaughter as acceptable, safe, or humane,  even grudgingly,  is inconsistent with the values of a humane group or SPCA.

    There were two equine vets for this segment, each presenting for about 45 minutes.

    Dr. Marion Anderson – Alberta SPCA, presented first.  She has a practice in Saskatoon and became President of the Alberta ASPCA in 2012.

    The only real issue I had with Dr. Anderson’s presentation was that she depicted slaughterbound horses as generally being geriatric, poorly bred, of poor conformation; with behaviour issues, unrecoverable lameness or injuries – sort of a eugenics program for these horses.  The positives of her presentation were that she did provide valid points when addressing the backstory of horse overpopulation, along with a good breakdown of horse use in Canada:

    • horses are remaining healthier, living longer, and are therefore more difficult to find lifetime homes for;
    • society has an aversion to horse slaughter;
    • US “ban” on horse slaughter;
    • demand for the horses has lessened due to lower rural population, aging baby boomers, economic hardship
    • Indiscriminate and uncontrolled breeding
    • Inadequate and improper training methods lead to behaviour issues
    • Fewer people interested in riding and tend to prefer more sedentary and technological pursuits
    • In 2010 the median age of horse owners was 50- 59 years
    • 24% of all horse owners are over 60
    • Increasing costs associated with horse ownership

    However, Dr. Anderson’s presentation conflicted with statements by the USDA and other groups that found that about 92% of all horses are young and healthy and capable of living longer lives. Her presentation can be viewed online at the CFHS site here and in PDF format here.

    The second presentation was made by Dr. Bettina Bobsien – she’s a vet in private practice who has worked with the BC SPCA on farm animal welfare issues and was a member of the committee that drafted the current Equine Code of Practice.  Dr. Bobsien reminded the attendees that the new equine code of practice went from 25 statements up to about 75 statements which is obviously an improvement in welfare,  albeit one that has no teeth because it’s a recommendation rather than a requirement.

    IMO,  Dr. Bobsien’s presentation was a lot more problematic – probably not just for me but for others in the audience as well.  The Dr. took the approach that horse slaughter is necessary and much maligned by activists who spread “myths.”  She spoke of unintended consequences for the US after the cessation of slaughter including starvation and abandonment, which have largely been debunked, perhaps most famously by John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance in the states.

    deputy broad

    Deputy Broad went from the stable to the table in not 180 days, but in 7 days!

    As the presentation unfolded, I did a double-take when I saw on the projector, images from CHDC’s own website and blog being presented as “myths” about horse slaughter. Dr. Bobsien did not name the CHDC in her presentation though, and implored the audience to refrain from embracing “activist hysteria.” It is perhaps noteworthy that Dr. Bobsien’s conference slides have not been made available for downloading at the conference website.  Perhaps it was due to the pushback from some audience members (myself included) who sought to correct some statements, or maybe the CFHS felt the slides were too controversial.

    So here are a few of Dr. Bobsien’s “Myths” of Horse Slaughter (the “myth” in bold, followed by Dr. Bobsien’s response in red,  and my response in grey italics).

    • Horses are or should be companion animalsWe Have a special relationship with them. “They are livestock.” I think many horse owners have special  relationships with horses just as they do with dogs and cats and other pets.  They happen to live on farms due to their size and range requirements, but we spend thousands on board or on tack that isn’t spent on livestock.  And we have a special relationship with horses historically that we simply don’t have with other animals. 
    • Horses treated with toxic chemicals mean that the meat is tainted – example: phenylbutazone: Horses given bute are clear in 21 days and meat is fine to eat.  The EU put restrictions on imported horse meat because of a claim about toxic meat in horses originating in Canada.” I did challenge Dr. Bobsien on this and she finally said that the science and the regulations don’t match up.  Dr. Bobsien spoke about bute being kinetically withdrawn from the tissues within 21 days, but made no mention of the fact that the CFIA prohibits its use in food horses entirely.  It’s the metabolized compound that can be found in tissues afterwards that can kill you In a survey, 96% of respondents said they used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control the joint pain and inflammation in horses, and 82% administer them without always consulting their veterinarian. More than 1,400 horse owners and trainers were surveyed to better understand attitudes toward NSAIDs.  Additionally, 99 percent of horses that started in California last year raced on bute, according to the Daily Racing Form. The pro-slaughter doctors and veterinarians who attempted to refute Dr. Marini et al’s study a few years back expected everyone to accept their supposition even though it exemplified an argument from ignorancewhich started out as an appeal to authority, (not unlike Dr. Bobsien’s presentation).  Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette (of United Horsemen’s Group and the now-defunct IEBA) asked everyone to accept the word of a veterinarian who is an expert in his own field (Dr. Henneke – body scoring), but who is commenting on a field outside of his area of expertise. Dr. Henneke supports the assertion that bute exits the system completely.  So what?  He’s not a toxicologist.  When you want to discuss the Henneke scale, he is completely qualified to render an opinion.  Similarly, if Einstein makes a suggestion about relativity,  you’d better listen. If he tries to tell you how to ride a horse, you can tell him to keep his day job. In the US, Canada, and the EU, bute is not permitted to be used for food animals. PERIOD. That simple acknowledgement renders any other discussion on toxicology rather moot.  There are no safe levels for known carcinogens, which is why it’s pointless to discuss to what degree bute is or is not eliminated from the tissues. Harm is assumed.  Discussions of toxicity or “safe levels” are reserved for non-carcinogenic effects.  Furthermore, the “precautionary principle is recognized in international law, and it of course stresses that the absence of scientific certainty about a risk should not bar the taking of precautionary measures in the face of possible irreversible harm. First, do no harm.
    • Horses that are sold to slaughter go directly to slaughter. “No they are held for 180 days.” On the larger feedlots in Alberta there are probably situations where some horses are held for a period of time.  But If you look at the Health of Animals Regulations Import reference document, section 5, if imported horses (from the US) are going directly to slaughter they must be slaughtered within 4 days of their arrival.  If you have horses coming up from US auctions when does this drug withdrawal take place?  When horses arrive at LPN or Richelieu in Quebec from auctions in the US, they aren’t holding them for 180 days – they are killing them within days. 
    • Kill buyers, feed lot owners, and transporters are the ‘bad guys’. “Proper blame should be directed towards the persons who overbreed.  5 minutes of terror is better than months of starvation.”  Again, why are there only two choices – slaughter or starvation?  We can certainly cast blame in the direction of people who produce horses in a “puppymill” type of production line.  But everyone is complicit in this sordid business – from sale barn owners,  transporters, slaughterhouses,  and most definitely kill buyers – all have played a role in facilitating fraudulent transactions and abuse against horses.  Many of these individuals and businesses have been fined or packed off to prison for their crimes.
    • Horses should go to rescues instead of slaughter. “Rescues are overfull, unregulated.”  That is true even though some are registered charities, but so too are kill buyers totally unregulated, and they have input into the food chain. Sales barns sometimes fill out EIDs without input from former owners. I agree that rescues cannot possibly absorb upwards of 100,000 unwanted horses per year.  The answer lies in other solutions, including on-farm euthanasia, hay banks, financial support for rescues, and alternative disposal options such as rendering, mortality composting, and biodigestion. Dr. Bobsien herself also pointed this out.

    From the presentation we could see that the Dr. appears to own a very nice dressage horse that is probably very well trained with nice conformation. If slaughter is not a good enough end for Dr. Bobsien’s own horses, why is it acceptable for others to suffer this fate?  This is what anti-slaughter advocates object to – we don’t think it’s an acceptable end for any horse.  Neither of the presentations we saw on this day gave any recognition or discussion to the suffering of non-food animals such as horses.  It’s obvious that most advocacy by humane groups and SPCAs is focused on advancements for the typical “food” animals such as chickens, cows, and pigs, while little effort is expended to the plight of the unwanted horse.  Plenty of criticism is lobbed at the negligent owners and backyard breeders or horses, where it also must lie, but kill buyers seem to get a pass.  Neither presenter touched on transport times, live export deaths, injuries, sickness, or pregnancy.

     



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    Photo Credit: Vancouver Humane Society Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you "want to be a rodeo horse?"

    Photo Credit: Vancouver Humane Society
    Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you “want to be a rodeo horse?”

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Dear Ms. Arden,

    I’m writing this in response to your decision to accept the position of Calgary Stampede Parade Marshal and your various responses to people who remonstrated with you.  Many people are very concerned  about the treatment of animals, including horses,  who are forced to participate in the rodeo circuit.  These are all high-risk activities that often result in disastrous, unrecoverable injuries to the animals.

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

    You previously tweeted in 2013 that you wished the Stampede would give the chuckwagon races a hard pass – I wish the entire rodeo itself J-Arden-tweet-against-chuckwagon-race-2would end.  I’m not alone, there are many humane organizations throughout the world who want to see rodeo-style events come to an end everywhere.

    The ASPCA “recognizes the cruel treatment inflicted on many additional animals in the process of practicing to compete in rodeo events. Further, the ASPCA is opposed to children’s rodeo events such as goat tying, calf riding and sheep riding (“mutton busting”), which do not promote humane care and respect for animals.”  The Vancouver Humane Society was instrumental in bringing international focus to the issue of rodeos in Canada,  via the League Against Cruel Sports.  This is a first step toward internationalising opposition to rodeos in Canada and making it  harder for rodeos to justify their use of animals as “entertainment.”  The Vancouver Humane Society has had some success targeting rodeo events it considers cruel. It pressured the Cloverdale Rodeo, a major competition staged in the Fraser Valley just east of Vancouver, into dropping four events, including calf roping and steer wrestling, in 2007.

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Struggling against many men and a thin rope around his neck before a stadium of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
    Struggling against many men and a thin rope around his neck before a stadium of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.

    “I treated saddle horses with wounds to their mouths from abusive use of the bit. One horse had half his tongue severed. I saw lots of so-called “minor” injuries, like cuts and abrasions, lameness, and eye injuries. I believe the callous attitude toward the calves added to their injuries; there was no concern for their welfare at all. I’ve seen injuries that ended in death, some resulting in death from euthanasia or a trip to the slaughter plant, broken bones, lameness, and minor scrapes and cuts.” ~ Dr. Peggy Larson, former Vermont State Veterinarian and Chief of Livestock and Meat Inspection, and former rodeo bareback bronco rider/large animal veterinarian

    The breeding of bucking horses for entertainment is such an anachronistic practice – the only reason bucking stock exist is for the purposes of inhumane entertainment. They virtually all go to slaughter in the end, with a short stop at the Stampede before heading directly to Bouvry in Fort McLeod. That plant was the subject of an investigation by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in 2010, which found evidence that horses were being killed inhumanely. The CHDC revealed video footage showing horses at the slaughterhouse being shot and then hoisted away by their legs while still fully conscious.

    The fate of other horses at the Stampede is often not much better.  Consider that

    • More than 55 chuckwagon horses have died since 1986. This number excludes bucking and show horses.
    • At least nine rodeo horses died after becoming spooked while galloping across a bridge before they even got to the Stampede grounds. They jumped from the bridge and plunged 10 metres into the Bow River in 2005.
    • A post-mortem revealed the cause of the sudden death of a 10 year-old  outrider horse in 2013. Pathologists from the University of Calgary reported that the horse died almost immediately as the result of a pulmonary hemorrhage –  essentially a rupture of an artery in the lung.
    • In 2014, a 12-year-old thoroughbred chuckwagon horse collapsed during a training run. A post-mortem determined he died of a ruptured aorta near one of his kidneys, according to a news release from the Stampede organization. The University of Calgary veterinary school’s Dr. Gord Atkins, who chairs the Stampede’s chuckwagon committee, explained to reporters that the horse was afflicted with a common parasite that can damage blood vessels, creating an aneurysm that is undetectable until it lets go. The ex-race horse died quickly from massive blood loss.

    Most thoroughbreds in the chuck races are older ex-racehorses who have already earned their retirement.  They’re retired for a reason – they’re too old to be charging around at

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Post-race bleeding nose. All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing.

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
    Post-race bleeding nose. All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing.

    breakneck speeds.  Note the age of the horses above who died – they were 10 and 12 years old – relatively young animals in absolute terms,  but far too old for these outdated Roman-style events.  In addition to age working against them, modern thoroughbreds have strongly muscled bodies and delicate legs that suffer stress fractures.  And we know what happens to horses with stress fractures – broken legs are the result.  And please note the veterinary comments about a horse with such a heavy parasite load that it caused an aneurysm.  I thought these horses were “family” to their owners, and worth as much as $50,000?  You know that a tube of wormer costs around $25?

    “….the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) controls the camera shots that ESPN can use while filming rodeo. In calf roping, ESPN is not allowed by the PRCA to show the calf actually being dropped. The audience will never see the rope strangling the calf; they will never see the calf jerked off its feet, dragged, and choked. As soon as the loop settles over the calf’s head, the camera moves away from the calf and moves back only after the calf is tied.”  ~ Dr. Peggy Larson

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

    Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals

    Tradition and heritage are two very emotional words, heavy with meaning.  Yet, despite those historical connections, the Catalonians have banned bullfighting, which was intensely tied to their nationhood and heritage.  The British have outlawed foxhunting.  The scarlet coated riders are now gone, even though few things were more “British” than stately homes, country weekends, and The Hunt.  I wonder, with regard to Canadian tradition, how many settlers had to ride or wrestle steers and race chuckwagons at breakneck speeds across the prairie?  I don’t believe that calf roping has ever been a sport but it was made so for entertainment and prize-money, as was bull-riding. Think about it: why would anyone ride a bull? It was created for entertainment and was not something based on culture or tradition.  And what the rodeo industry wants is a way to make every last dime from all the horses they shock, beat, drag, and buck.

    You joked that you “want to be a rodeo horse.” You may wish to re-think that, since the PRCA, the largest rodeo-

    Nothing more than macho abuse of baby animals. You can see the terror in his eyes...

    Nothing more than macho abuse of baby animals. You can see the terror in his eyes…which are rolled back up into his head.

    sanctioning organization in the world, has come down unequivocally as pro-horse slaughter.  In any case,  I think we could both agree that none of the horses depicted in this blog post seem to be enjoying their “jobs.”  The 2015 corporate report published by the Calgary Stampede explains that Stampede Park hosted many animal “guests” last July, including 629 chuckwagon horses and 410 bucking horses and bulls that competed during the rodeo. So I honestly wouldn’t say it’s all about the music. I would also be willing to bet my next paycheque that most of those animals aren’t really having their best day while at the Stampede. And I love how the Stampede refers to them as “guests,”  as if they come of their own volition!

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

    Jann, in closing, I wish that you could see that these issues aren’t merely being brought forward by “people wearing leather shoes and eating hamburgers.”  Ask yourself though, if these events that focus on livestock do not sufficiently concern you, would you subject your dog to the same treatment?  I’m sure you wouldn’t ever consider it. It would be illegal if you did. Yet you are promoting the Calgary Stampede and the misery of thousands of animals by appearing in their parade.  Therefore, you are giving tacit approval to everything they do, despite saying that you do not like the chuck races. There are many other ways that we can support Calgary,  Fort McMurray, and promote Alberta.

    Thank you for the work that you have done for animals in the past.

     

    jann arden statement

     

     



    heatherclemenceauPhoto Credit: Vancouver Humane Society Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you heatherclemenceauPhoto Credit: Vancouver Humane Society Is this the horse you were thinking of when you wrote that you "want to be a rodeo horse?"J-Arden-tweet-against-chuckwagon-race-2Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Struggling against many men and a thin rope around his neck before a stadium of thousands of enthusiastic onlookers.Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals Post-race bleeding nose. All chuckwagon horses are required to submit to mandatory drug testing.Photo Credit: Jo-Anne McArthur, We AnimalsNothing more than macho abuse of baby animals. You can see the terror in his eyes...jann arden statement

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  • 08/08/16--13:52: Rescue Reality
  • Vinnie-aka-Executive-ShopperSeveral competitive markets for horses have emerged as a result of the opportunities gleaned from social media sites like Facebook. Kill buyers outbid private buyers at auctions on horses that they think they can flip. People are buying horses at outrageous prices and paying phenomenal amounts of money that could be used for feed and vetting, to ship them halfway across the country only to sometimes find that they are sick. In many cases the horses that arrive bear little resemblance to their photographs, may be misrepresented and sometimes must be euthanized upon arrival. After passionately giving themselves to their previous owners, these horses do not deserve to die.

    We have largely forgotten about the horse rescues who have to confront this competition for resources and face challenges that surpass those of humane societies and shelters.  Most rescues and sanctuaries rely on public donations rather than government funding, and they require commitment, passion and business acumen in order that they be sustainable. Private rescues are often run by a single person or a small group rather than a large board of directors. Most of their expenses cannot be discounted, and veterinarians and farriers usually don’t work for free.

    Many horses waiting for homes at rescues are registered, sound, very rideable, beautiful, kind, and healthy after months of care. Rescues restore horses to good health, evaluate them for a variety of different types of riders, put training on them, and often provide warranties for a price that doesn’t reflect the investment of time.  Yet the perception exists in public realm that rescued horses are devalued or marginalized as old or dangerous, when in fact they are usually quite the opposite.

    I really believe that we need to be careful what we allow, as it is what will continue.  If we choose not to support rescues, they will all go away….

    Tanya Boyd of Kindred Farm Rescue will no longer offer adoptions through her rescue.  In her own words,  she explains why she is decertifying her not-for-profit and her former rescue operations will now operate for-profit.  (We are trying Tanya….)

    **************************

    “I have been running a horse rescue for just over four years. Effective today, that comes to an end. From now on, any horse that I “purchase” will be rehabbed and marketed as for sale for a price that is in line for their true value. I will no longer operate as a rescue, because, for some reason, potential buyers think that these horses/ponies are less than, and are not as valuable as horses of the same quality, advertised on the open market.

    I cannot put in words, just how emotional this is for me…showing my horses to potential buyers…knowing full well the value of any of my “rescues”, on the open market…and I am singing their praises….and offering them up for free or for $500. and still no buyers. I will do this no longer. I am simply not going to give horses away for a song anymore.

    If you were an orphan…or adopted…are you worth any less? Many horse rescues in this area, and beyond, are giving it up. Why? Because there is no funding…because acquiring and maintaining Not for Profit Status or Charitable Status….for horse rescues is extremely time consuming, in terms of the administrative requirements. I know…been there, done that…cannot commit the time required to fill out paperwork. So, I sent off my letter to dissolve my Not for Profit Status. Not worth the time and energy required. Sadly, horses do not rate, in terms of rescue organizations…they are still deemed as livestock…and livestock is butchered…..and that will not change until the public demands that it change.

    Frustrated, yes. Sad, yes. But I do not see a move towards any change of status for horses in sight . They are indeed, the forgotten. Where would we be now without them?. I am truly heartbroken that in the four years I have been doing this, nothing has changed. And the public is no more aware now, than it was then, of the degree to which we subject horses to so much pain and abuse. It seems that it really doesn’t matter. I feel so defeated. What does it take to get people to understand that horses are not meant to be slaughtered so inhumanely….and transported so inhumanely. Along with many other animals that we ship in transport trucks, packed full, in 35 degree weather….for hours and hours.

    What have we become, as a society, that we close our eyes to this abuse….it makes me so very sad. We are allowed to ship animals for 36 hours, without water, without feed….and in this heat. And that is considered to be ok. Again….in 4 years of doing this…this horse rescue…I have seen no change in our approach….no real concern about what we subject both horses, and other farm animals to in terms of humane handling…prior to being butchered for our consumption. Are we really that unfeeling? Or do we really not want to know.

    Time to ask yourself these questions.”



    heatherclemenceauVinnie-aka-Executive-ShopperheatherclemenceauVinnie-aka-Executive-Shopper

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    mare-services

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    We’ve known for many years that farm animals have been exploited to produce more meat, milk, wool etc.  Embryo transfer in horses is another technology that is unrivalled for its inefficiency and costliness.  There’s also some evidence that embryo transfer (ET) is exploitative because it can be painful, requiring analgesics.  We recently read about the cast-off recipient mares (the “gestational” carriers that give birth to foals of a different mare/stallion) from the Arnold Reproduction Center  who were consigned to the Kaufman kill pen/kill buyer Mike McBarron for eventual slaughter.   Once exposed on social media platforms, veterinarian Leea Arnold responded:

    “I recently sent some mares to the Cleburne Horse Sale.  I certainly never intended for them to end up in the slaughter pen. Many of these mares came to me through the sale barn system, were sick, completely unbroken and certainly destined for slaughter at that time (15 or so years ago). As long as these mares are reproductively sound, they stay in my herd – many probably longer than they are useful. My staff and I have taken the time, money, and resources we have to help these mares become useful and give them a viable purpose.

    “I will use another avenue to re-home these mares in the future. If you are a non-profit organization and have your 501(c)3 at hand, I would be more than happy to donate any older or reproductively unsound recipients to your facilities as they become available.”

    Dr. Arnold did not otherwise offer to help the animals that were scheduled to be sent for slaughter.

    gypsyIn addition to horses, mules are also being used in at least one euphemistically named “mule mom” program  using embryo transfers from gypsy vanner mares.  The Gypsy Gold breeding program  in Ocala Florida charges up to $14,000 for a purebred gypsy vanner foal carried by a mule, who is often shipped to and from the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm and the contractor of their service.  They also helpfully offer a service for purchasers of the gypsy foal who are not satisfied with the quality of their new purchase – they will connect you with an “appropriate buyer” – quite possibly the same buyer who will purchase the mule moms once their fertility wanes.  At the moment, this farm offers 11 mares for breeding, so one can only imagine how many times they are being flushed out and the number of “mule moms” that are being used as gestational carriers.

    Currently, most equine breed associations permit embryo transfer. Notable exceptions include the Jockey Club (thoroughbreds), the United States Trotting Association, and the American Miniature Horse Association. Brazil and Argentina are currently the leaders in equine ET, although it’s believed that about 10,000 embryos were collected and transferred in the USA in 2014. The practice seems to have become more widespread in 2015, with more countries reporting embryo transfer activities, including Canada, South Africa, France, Poland, Switzerland, the USA, and Mexico.

    Why is Equine Embryo Transfer Also A Welfare Issue?

    Because veterinarians can only flush fertilized eggs (embryos) from the uterus of a donor mares at specific times the cycles of one or more recipient mares must be synchronized with the donor mare. This is why reproductive vet clinics tend to have a wide selection of recipient mares from which to choose. The number of mares that some vet clinics keep on hand for this purpose varies from dozens of mares to hundreds.   In many cases the donor mare is synchronized with two or more recipient mares in the event that multiple embryos are recovered from the donor mare.  Obviously,  these mares’ “jobs” come with no guarantee of a home placement after their careers are over and may easily fall into the wrong hands.

    There are potential welfare issues for a donor mare, including those associated with the flushing procedure and with repeat injections to attempt to induce ovulation when used. Because more than two mares may be involved, the number of invasive rectal and ultrasound examinations is increased. Where recipient mare numbers are limited, greater pharmacological manipulation (often involving repeated injections) may also be used to achieve ovulatory synchronization between donor and recipient mares.

    While there are apparently no studies on whether ET is painful in mares, it is known to be painful in other species, especially those in which embryo flushing is a surgical procedure. Perhaps because of this it is common practice to sedate mares both during flushing and ET.

    Transvaginal ultrasound-guided follicular aspiration in women is known to be associated with pain, the severity of which is dependent upon needle design. In sheep and goats, repeated surgical egg retrieval has been associated with the development of adhesions. In a study of pony mares who were the subject of invasive follicular procedures, it was observed that heart rates and cortisol levels increased considerably as soon as a needle was introduced into the procedure.

    Lastly, the development of the “super ovulation” protocol and the resulting production of more oocytes (cells that develop into an ovum/egg) will heighten the possibility of more foals using larger herds of recipient mares, greater numbers of horses born that aren’t needed,  and more slaughter after the recip mares are no longer required.

    Drugs/Hormones  Commonly Used in Equine Reproduction Practices and Their Withdrawal Times

    Sources for withdrawal times were the Meat Hygiene Manual of the CFIA or drug datasheets.  It is important to note that withdrawal times are often extended when drug

    Most donor mares are sport horses, Arabians or Quarter Horses. It’s an appealing option for those who can afford it, since it allows the option of the owner taking their mare out of competition for only about a week in order to produce a foal.

    Most donor mares are sport horses, Arabians or Quarter Horses. It’s an appealing option for those who can afford it, since it allows the option of the owner taking their mare out of competition for only about a week in order to produce a foal.

    combinations are used. Drugs used off-label in unapproved species may have differing withdrawal times even though appropriate dosage is given and whether used in combination with other drugs. The dose itself along with the frequency of use (repeated oral administrations can greatly extend withdrawal times) are two of the most important factors.  Compounded drugs (as opposed to generic or branded drugs sold OTC or through veterinarians) can vary widely in potency as well.  The amount of body fat, the breed, gender and health of the horse are also factors that affect kinetic decay of drugs.  Lastly, the amount of stress that the horse is subject to may also affect withdrawal times.  And even though a pharmacological effect on the animal may be over, the drug and its metabolites may still be detectable, and those metabolites may also be prohibited. The CFIA manual doesn’t tell anyone this, nor could they expect the lay horse person to understand any of the factors that also affect withdrawal times and drug tests,

    Altrenogest/Progesterone/ Medroxyprogesterone (synthetic variant of hormone progesterone)

    • Trade name: Regumate®, Depo-Provera® (medroxyprogesterone)
    • Class of Drug: Hormone
    • Use:   Clinical uses include synchronizing the ovulations of a donor mare with a specific recipient mare. It may also be used to alter or manipulate the estrous cycle of a mare for a scheduled breeding due to stallion availability.
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition:  42 days withdrawal

    Flunixin meglumine

    • Trade Name: Banamine®
    • Class of Drug: non-narcotic, nonsteroidal, analgesic agent with anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity
    • Use: Reduces moderate inflammation by stopping the formation of prostaglandins, which are mediators of inflammation.  They also reduce the formation of certain pain-causing products of inflammation.  Embryo recipients may receive flunixin meglumine i.v. at the time of transfer.
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition: IV – 10 days/IM 30 days

    Vedaprofen

    • Trade Name:  Quadrisol, VETRANAL
    • Class of Drug: Analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory agent, Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug, NSAID
    • Use: For the control of inflammation and relief of pain associated with musculo-skeletal disorders and soft tissue injuries in horses
    • CFIA Withdrawal Prohibition: 21 days (oral and IV)

    Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG)

    • Trade Name: Chorulon®
    • Class of Drug: Gonadotropin releasing hormone or GnRH
    • Use: Can also be administered to mares to accelerate ovulation selectively where needed to improve the degree of synchrony between the donor and recipient mares. Induces ovulation in mares. Induction of ovulation is advantageous if a mare is in a timed breeding, shipped semen, frozen semen or embryo transfer program.
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition:  0 days

    Deslorelin Acetate

    • Trade Name: Ovuplant™ SucroMate™
    • Class of Drug: Gonadotropin releasing hormone or GnRH
    • Use: A potent, synthetic form of GnRH. The drug is administered as a subcutaneous implant.The most common use in a breeding program is the induction of a timed ovulation, such as when mares are being bred with cooled-transported semen or frozen semen
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition:  not on CFIA website but listed with a “WARNING: For use in horses (estrous mares) only. Do not use in horses intended for human consumption. For intramuscular (IM) use only. Do not administer intravascularly. Not for use in humans. Keep this and all drugs out of reach of children.”

    Lidocaine Hydrochloride

    • Trade Name: Lidoject, Lidocaine HCI 2% etc.
    • Class of Drug: Local anesthetic and anti-arrhythmic agent.
    • Use:  Skin block for sutures and implants
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition: 7 days

    Prostaglandins

    Domperidone

    • Trade Name:  Equidone®
    • Class of Drug: Dopamine antagonist. Neurotransmitter
    • Use: Modulates or suppresses production of the hormone prolactin from the pituitary.  In breeding programs it stimulates lactation or the induction of lactation in nurse mares or the induction of follicular development. Also used as a preventative for fescue toxicosis.
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition: “no known manufacture for veterinary use in Canada”

    Oxytocin

    • Trade Name: OxoJect™, Oxytocin-S
    • Class of Drug: Hormone
    • Use: Administered to mares for evacuation of uterine fluid and treatment of retained placenta. It may also be used for induction of labor in late term mares and milk let-down.
    • CFIA Withdrawal/Prohibition: not on website: 0 days

    eFSH

     

    The welfare of the animal is always compromised when greed is involved.  The ability for breeders to implant multiple embryos with no limits caters to the wealthy individuals in the industry. Rakhassa Bey While one might argue that ET is less risky than foaling for a mare,  horses should not have litters, especially since there is some question whether it is humane to repeatedly subject both recipient and donor mares to invasive procedures, after which many horses are dumped.  The worst  but hardly the only offender of this practice, the AQHA, allows multiple-embryo-transfer rules that facilitate overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year. Rules about using frozen semen or eggs from long-sterile or dead animals  have allowed horses to breed from beyond the grave.  Consider that First Prize Dash,  a 1988 quarter horse mare – produced  44 offspring!  Her sire, Dash for Cash, sired 1,233 foals!  

    It is also very doubtful  that either Canadian or Mexican slaughterhouses have tested for some of these lesser used or less obvious drugs or hormones.  Since some drugs/hormones are not even line items in the Meat Hygiene Manual, it would be easy for sellers of horses to plead ignorance of the requirement to disclose on an EID. Embryo transfer therefore facilitates  an already unsavory horsemeat industry in novel, previously unanticipated ways.



    heatherclemenceaumare-servicesgypsyMost donor mares are sport horses, Arabians or Quarter Horses. It’s an appealing option for those who can afford it, since it allows the option of the owner taking their mare out of competition for only about a week in order to produce a foal. Rakhassa Beyheatherclemenceaumare-servicesgypsyMost donor mares are sport horses, Arabians or Quarter Horses. It’s an appealing option for those who can afford it, since it allows the option of the owner taking their mare out of competition for only about a week in order to produce a foal. Rakhassa Bey

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    larry_the_cable_guy_health_inspector_xlgWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Hat Tip:  Debby

    The Johnstone Auction Mart in Moose Jaw Saskatchewan sells over 1,000 equines per year  in lots or as riding horses – minis, yearlings, bucking stock, mares and geldings in both “medium” and “good” condition.   Selling prices range from about $25 up to $4,400 (more for lots).  The average prices for horses they advertise as “older” is $200-$400,  which of course are within the realm of slaughter prices.

    Like most auction websites,  they provide a link to the Equine Information Document (EID) which the CFIA has always told us is mandatory for slaughter-bound horses.  But  auction management have a rather unique way of interpreting who needs to fill one out.

    Their website states:

    “Horses sold at Regular Horse Sales must have the following document filled out regarding  and drugs [sic] which may have been given to the horse in the previous 180 days.  Although not mandatory,  it is in the seller’s interest to fill one out for each horse so the price is not discounted.

    Yearlings, and miniatures and donkeys do not need an EID form.”

    johnstone-auction-mart

     

    This statement struck me as extremely odd,  mainly because they touted the EID as a “mandatory,  yet optional” document,  and also because they indicated that it was not required for yearlings, minis, or donkeys.  It is the slaughterhouses’ responsibility to ensure that a valid EID has been submitted for each equine they receive,  but if it is only optional at any auction,  who will collect it if not the sale barn itself?  And why were some equines seemingly exempt?  Both the Meat Hygiene Manual of the CFIA and farming Codes of Practice,  when referring to equines,  consider that the term “horse” refers to all domestic equine species, namely horses, ponies, miniature horses, donkeys, mules and hinnies.

    eid-from-meat-hygiene-manual

    From the CFIAs Meat Hygiene Manual….

    After navigating my way through the CFIA’s new phone system with 78 menu options and 7 levels,  designed to discourage all but the most indefatigible caller,  I was transferred to various people whose mailboxes were all full and there was no way to backtrack.  The whole idea of all the options and levels is to deter you from actually getting anything done. It cuts down on the number of complaints and support that must be provided.  Normally,  to get the fastest service I would press any number that indicates to the organization that I am likely to spend money on more service,  but that clearly won’t work with the CFIA. Ignoring the menu options and sitting on hold waiting for someone to answer won’t work either. When when I finally reached a live person they both grilled me to find out why an Ontarian would have any interest in something happening in Saskatchewan.  How about just answering the question?

    Mini horses are uneconomical to ship long distances to slaughter. But if an opportunity presents itself, they are still considered to be “meat on the hoof.” Photo courtesy of Tierschutzbund (Switzerland) taken on a feedlot in Alberta.

    Mini horses are uneconomical to ship long distances to slaughter. But if an opportunity presents itself, they are still considered to be “meat on the hoof.” Photo courtesy of Tierschutzbund (Switzerland) taken on a feedlot in Alberta.

    I finally spoke with two veterinarians,  neither of whom appears to have any idea what really happens at a horse auction even though both were familiar with this particular business. Dr. Allison Danyluk Ross,  a supervisory veterinarian for the western operations of the CFIA  helpfully reassured me that not all horses at auctions go for slaughter.  She reiterated that it was not the auction mart’s responsibility to collect EIDs at all,  but that somehow,  they must arrive with horses presented for slaughter.  So it’s the owner’s responsibility to fill out the EID,  but it’s not mandatory, and it doesn’t have to be filled out at the actual auction, so by what other means would it arrive at the slaughterhouse if the horse is sold to a kill buyer? (that’s a rhetorical question,  dear readers).

    Once again, any form that only asks for voluntary declaration of drugs is unlikely to be complied with when the seller wishes

    These young mules were photographed by me at the OLEX auction in Waterloo Ontario on July 5, 2016. I was unable to stay to find our whether they went to a private home or were sold to a kill buyer. The fact that they are mules is not an impediment to slaughtering them, despite what the CFIA thinks.

    These young mules were photographed by me at the OLEX auction in Waterloo Ontario on July 5, 2016. I was unable to stay to find our whether they went to a private home or were sold to a kill buyer. The fact that they are mules is not an impediment to slaughtering them, despite what the CFIA thinks.

    to dispose of the horse for profit. I had to ask Dr. Danyluk Ross twice why minis, yearlings,  and donkeys do not require EIDs at this auction before she finally responded that she would pass my concern onto the Red Meat Specialist. Obviously Dr. Danyluk Ross believes everything is fine because the CFIA audits the paperwork – audit reports are only useful if someone in authority at the CFIA  reviews the results, understands the risks addressed by the standards and makes risk-reduction decisions based on the results.  Indeed,  Canada’s food safety system is a patchwork of third-party audits, personal assurances (like Dr. Danyluk Ross’ email), and profit before protection.

    When veterinarian Dr. Harry King was asked why Johnstone Auctions would indicate on their webpage that minis, yearlings and donkeys brought to the auction would not require an EID,  he replied,  “because we don’t slaughter them in Canada.”  He also said that Johnstone Auctions focuses primarily on goats and cows and not horses,  and that they are not a “horse slaughter auction.”  Dr. King is dead wrong,  since the Donkey Sanctuary in Guelph acknowledges rescuing donkeys from slaughter (albeit,  in the province of Ontario) and kill buyer Eddie Kohlman is known to frequent the Saskatchewan horse auctions.

    So much energy is spent on denial rather than enforcing legislation and regulations that already exist. Any belief or

    suggestion that EIDs are consistently completed by owners invites some serious criticism.  In the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s investigation – “Pasture to Plate,” there can be no dispute that, when reviewing the EIDs included in the document, a pattern emerges and it is very clear to see that some EIDs have obviously been “pre-written” across the top with “Drug-free six months,” and the appropriate boxes checked to agree with this information.

    Why did the CFIA inspectors and slaughter plant operators not flag this for concern? What remedial actions have the CFIA taken against auctions and owners that have submitted incomplete, incorrect or falsified EIDs?  In addition, what actions has the CFIA taken to ensure Canadian and American horses sold at auctions have EIDs that are filled in completely, correctly and truthfully by their owners?

    Epiloque – September 21, 2016

    Apparently the CFIA decided to act quickly on this one.  Johnstone’s horse auction page with incorrect EID instructions was quickly modified to remove the references to donkeys, minis, and yearlings.  You can see the change has been made here.  I believe someone at the CFIA intended to let me know of the outcome by phone,  as I had received a call,  but no one left a message.



    heatherclemenceaularry_the_cable_guy_health_inspector_xlgjohnstone-auction-marteid-from-meat-hygiene-manualMini horses are uneconomical to ship long distances to slaughter. But if an opportunity presents itself, they are still considered to be “meat on the hoof.” Photo courtesy of Tierschutzbund (Switzerland) taken on a feedlot in Alberta.These young mules were photographed by me at the OLEX auction in Waterloo Ontario on July 5, 2016. I was unable to stay to find our whether they went to a private home or were sold to a kill buyer. The fact that they are mules is not an impediment to slaughtering them, despite what the CFIA thinks.heatherclemenceaularry_the_cable_guy_health_inspector_xlgjohnstone-auction-marteid-from-meat-hygiene-manualMini horses are uneconomical to ship long distances to slaughter. But if an opportunity presents itself, they are still considered to be “meat on the hoof.” Photo courtesy of Tierschutzbund (Switzerland) taken on a feedlot in Alberta.These young mules were photographed by me at the OLEX auction in Waterloo Ontario on July 5, 2016. I was unable to stay to find our whether they went to a private home or were sold to a kill buyer. The fact that they are mules is not an impediment to slaughtering them, despite what the CFIA thinks.

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    Madame Delphine LaLaurie is a character in American Horror Story: Coven portrayed by Kathy Bates.

    Madame Delphine LaLaurie is a character in American Horror Story: Coven portrayed by Kathy Bates.

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Hat Tip: Paola

    The origin of the word ‘quack’ comes from the Dutch quacksalver, literally meaning “chatter salve” or someone who prattles or boasts about the efficacy of his remedies.

    The next big wave in skincare comes straight from cottage industries in Canada and countries like Korea and Japan.  More paleo than vegan, some of these products are not for the faint of heart.  Instead of plant-based oils such as coconut or argan, oils from the rendered fat of horses and milk from donkeys are the new “natural” alternatives.  Dreams of soft, smooth skin are interrupted by visions of Black Beauty shedding a single tear.

    Shamâne Cosmetics is a company located in Quebec and like another company in British Columbia that used horse milk in 15their skin care products, they are adding donkey milk to their skin care line. Like Spa Creek Ranch (who were forced to remove unsupported claims on their website by Advertising Standards Canada)  Shamâne have made some rather extraordinary claims about the supposed benefits of washing yourself with soaps made with donkey milk. Claims made by Shamâne were referred to ASC, who will referee their statements. I attempted to contact  the company to find out how many donkeys they had and what they did with the foals, but they did not return my phone call and their email is defunct.

    Their website tells us that the product:

    • Contains protein and lactose proportions close to those of woman’s maternal milk (I say so what? Milk is species specific food for infant animals, not for washing your face with)
    • Is hypoallergenic (To determine if a product is hypoallergenic a company usually performs a patch test on 100-200 subjects and records how their skin reacts).
    • Nourishes and regenerates the skin deep down (Where is the proof that the product penetrates the skin or accomplishes “nourishment,” whatever that means?)
    • Slows down the skin aging process (It’s a pretty extraordinary claim to make that donkey milk does this, and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence).

    mam-14-kh0375-01pThe company makes additional claims about the powers of donkey milk, based on testimonials from the 1700s!  Back then microscopes were a very new invention, and the most popular methods of treating patients included bloodletting and blistering.  But the assertion that the product will slow down the aging process is probably the one thing that will get some of the statements removed from Shamâne’s website with prejudice, by Advertising Standards Canada.

    According to the ASC:

    Advertisements must not contain inaccurate, deceptive or otherwise misleading claims, statements, illustrations or representations, either direct or implied, with regard to any identified or identifiable product(s) or service(s).

    Both in principle and practice, all advertising claims and representations must be supportable. If the support on which an advertised claim or representation depends is test or survey data, such data must be reasonably competent and reliable, reflecting accepted principles of research design and execution that characterize the current state of the art. At the same time, however, such research should be economically and technically feasible, with due recognition of the various costs of doing business.”

    Although relatively unknown in Europe and the UK, horse oil is a popular and widely used beauty product in Asian culture. It’s the latest craze in Korean skin care. No, it doesn’t dsc_0001give you long, pony-tail like locks.  It’s rendered horse fat, quite likely made from American and Canadian  horses who were exported for live slaughter.  Horse oil products are sold/marketed by a variety of names – Guerisson 9 Complex Cream with horse oil is readily available at the Pacific Mall in Toronto, along with many other products containing horse oil from Korea. Horse oil is also sold as “Son Bahyu/Sonbahyu” on both Amazon and eBay. Once again,  miraculous claims are made about these products, none of which are substantiated.  There may be little we Canadians can do about products that are not produced in Canada and where claims are made on websites in Korean or Japanese languages.

    dsc_0032There is no reason to assume that donkey milk or horse oil have any beneficial properties other than possibly as emollients,  and we have plenty of cruelty-free products that already accomplish this.  In order to satisfy some of these claims, the constituent ingredients in the milk and oil would have to be absorbed by the skin past the epidermis (the outermost layer).  The rule of thumb is that anything smaller than 500 Daltons can penetrate the skin while anything larger cannot.  A Dalton is the standard unit that is used for indicating mass on an atomic or molecular scale.

    If the milk and oil molecules in question were small and permeable (under 500 Daltons) they would be uptaken into the skin cells and possibly into the bloodstream. If not, the ingredients may just penetrate through the top layer of skin only and will just be sloughed off as part of the dead skin cells. Even if they can be absorbed there is no evidence that they will have any sort of positive impact or that they will suspend the aging process. Myths that your skin absorbs large amounts of chemicals are NOT true.

    Even people who eat animals often realize it’s ridiculous to add them to skin care products.  We already have the option of plant-based products that can be crueltyfreelogo_jpgabsorbed into the skin and may even provide some protection against essential fatty acid deficiency. We don’t need milk or horse oil or other animal products added to soaps or lotions.

    Always remember that oftentimes these claims about skin care in particular have little to no research behind them and they may be based in superstition, popular trends, or “traditional medicine.”  Please buy cruelty-free products wherever possible. And Pubmed is great for advanced reading to help substantiate claims.

     

     

     

     

     

     



    originalheatherclemenceauMadame Delphine LaLaurie is a character in American Horror Story: Coven portrayed by Kathy Bates.15mam-14-kh0375-01pdsc_0001dsc_0032crueltyfreelogo_jpgoriginalheatherclemenceauMadame Delphine LaLaurie is a character in American Horror Story: Coven portrayed by Kathy Bates.15mam-14-kh0375-01pdsc_0001dsc_0032crueltyfreelogo_jpg

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    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    All images:  ECIR Group Inc.

    If you’ve owned a cushinoid or laminitic horse or pony, you may already be familiar with the mission of the Equine Cushing’s and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) Group Inc. The ECIR Group is an all-volunteer organization, founded by Robin Siskel, and born out of a desperate need for solid, scientific information and solutions to help horses with Cushing’s Disease/Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction and other metabolic disorders (metabolic syndrome is characterized by a cluster of disorders, such as reduced glucose tolerance, hyperinsulinemia, hypertension, visceral obesity and lipid disorders) and prevent laminitis.

    Dr. Kellon

    Dr. Kellon

    Halfway measures get halfway results, is a phrase frequently used by Dr. Eleanor Kellon, co-owner of the ECIR outreach group.  An Honours Graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Kellon received special training at the University of Pennsylvania New Bolton Center in Large Animal Medicine and Surgery. Kellon is an established author who has written on the subject of equine podiatry, keeping older horses, drugs and vaccines, radiography, and rehabilitation of laminitic equines.

    The ECIR Group has just completed a short film that will be used to further spread the message of hope for people with cushionoid/PPID equines. The film is the first in a series that the ECIR Group hopes to produce to help people with proven, science-based protocols for caring for equines with metabolic disorders. This first film was made possible because of donations from friends of ECIR and supporters at California Trace, Forageplus, and Uckele Health and Nutrition. In order to fund the future films, ECIR needs to raise more funds.  Their benefactors have agreed to donate $5,000 if the group can raise an additional $5,000 before December 31, 2016.  So – very time sensitive in terms of raising funds!

    The first movie is available here:

     

     

    All research and information provided by the ECIR Group is a direct result of the work of volunteers whose goal is to prevent the suffering caused by laminitis. The most current estimates size_550x415_jack_with_copyare that 10% to 15% of horses will suffer from laminitis every year, with 80% to 90% of the cases caused by endocrine disease. That is, on average, one million horses in the US alone. It can be a death sentence if not diagnosed and managed correctly.

    This group has improved the welfare of equines with metabolic disorders by focusing on prevention and treatment, helping caregivers to learn and recognize the importance of diagnosis, diet, trimming, and exercise. If you’re a “Foot Soldier” or “Hoof Hero” and you’d like to help them reach this goal, you can make a donation and watch the fund-raising progress in real time.  In 2008/2009 I personally benefited from the resources of the ECIR back when the only presence they had on the internet was a Yahoo group.

    Sharing is Caring!  Thank you for helping improve the lives of horses….

     

     



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    2016-rocking-horse-christmas-cardWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Because most efforts at altruism are applied to human suffering, when it comes to horses and other animals, we still face the problem of convincing people that the suffering of horses is worth considering at all. Our legal and legislative efforts can be effective ways to achieve goals for the horses, but most campaigns are lower visibility when compared to shelter pets,  and they may only yield results if completely successful. After observing how horse advocacy functions for a few years now (but I am still a relative newbie compared to the seasoned experts who have been advocating for horses for decades)  I want to make the following observations on the year 2016:

    To be effective, we must continually find the root causes of systemic problems, such as corrupt or indifferent government officials, hoarding issues, and our often reactionary approach to kill buyer sales programs, which are now entrenched methods of adopting horses.  This is no small feat considering how decentralized horse advocates are – each person is often doing their own thing and advocating for horses in their own way.  As a result, preventative approaches are sometimes overlooked within the movement.   Despite exhaustive work by many people, SAFE Act-type legislation, which could provide the best results for horses in the US, hasn’t passed.

    We may best be able to capitalize on shifts in the way people think about all animals and their status in society.  Results in Canada have been achieved when contracts for horsemeat are lost due to the exposing of cruelty and food quality/feedlot issues.  Meat-swapping is also an issue that usually gets a lot of publicity.  The supply of horsemeat already exceeds demand otherwise we would see fewer substitution issues – many people are realizing that they are eating horse unintentionally and this causes them to reconsider buying meat in general.

    Unfortunately, 2016 heralded in new administration that is not friendly to animals.  P-E Trump is known to receive advice from conspiracy theorists and the radical far right – it’s true that we have become a “post-fact” world. Knowing this, how can we best advocate for horses in 2017 and beyond? There mere suggestion that there may be jobs to be found in the horse slaughter industry could be incentive enough to resuscitate it in the US, even though it is a poor investment.

    “Donald Trump…represents perhaps the greatest threat ever to animal protection policy making at the federal level. His campaign surrogates and the names being floated as possible Trump cabinet picks for the very agencies that oversee such policies include the most ardent anti-animal voices in the country. Advocates for puppy mills, factory farming, horse slaughter, and trophy hunting of rare species such as leopards and elephants would be at the steering wheel of a Trump administration.” ~ Michael Markarian, the Human Society Legislative Fund

    Here’s my summation of 2016, with articles arranged in Storify:

    The Chemical Horse:

    • Horsenetwork reported that Pfizer Canada has announced it will increase the amount of pregnant mare urine (PMU) it collects from its facilities in the Canadian provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan in 2016 and 2017. Demand for conjugated equine estrogens declined in recent years following a 2002 Women’s Health Initiative study that PMU drugs were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. (In 2012, the North American Menopause Society released a position statement that continues to support hormone therapy).
    • Horse tendons are now being made into an anti-aging therapy to rival botox. The popularity of horse oil from slaughtered animals has increased exponentially and is sold extensively on Amazon, eBay and elsewhere.
    • A video released in October showed the appalling treatment of horses at antitoxin and antivenom manufacturing facilities in India.  The facilities draw blood from the horses, many of them multiple times a month with heavy gauge needles, to manufacture antitoxin and antivenom drugs.  The horses depicted in the video (link included below) had festering sores and low body weights.

    Live Horse Shipments:

    • Throughout 2016, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition continued to release footage of live horse exports to Japan and petitioned Atlas Air executives to stop the practice, which does not adhere to IATA regulations.

    Anti-Soring Efforts:

    • In August, U.S. Department of Agriculture/APHIS proposed changes to the Horse Protection Act that could stop the soring abuse for good.
    • Anti-soring advocates got the Big Lick kicked out of the North Carolina State Fair

    Food Adulteration:

    • In June, a butcher shop in Montreal was caught adding horsemeat to hamburger patties advertised as being entirely made of beef. An investigation by Radio-Canada found burger patties advertised as being 100 per cent beef from La Maison du Rôti, which supplied meat to many hotels and commercial establishments in Montreal.  This is consistent with a study from 2015 that found that nearly 5% of all ground meat products tested in California had horse meat in the product.
    • In Britain, two Britons and a citizen of Denmark appeared in court over allegations that they passed horsemeat off as beef. It took THREE YEARS after the horsemeat adulteration scandal in to get them this far.
    • Britain’s food-policing unit, which was created in 2014 following the horse meat scandal has still not resulted in any new prosecutions despite costing the taxpayer £4m. The National Food Crime Unit (NFCU)  has not brought any criminal charges against anyone.

    Wild Horses:

    • Aaron Stelkia of the Osoyoos Indian Band, who has apparently provided no care to feral British Columbia horses, decided to claim them and began rounding them up early in the year.  On the heels of this event, the RCMP in Penticton B.C., at the request of the CFIA, began investigating horse rescuer Theresa Nolet after she treated a free-roaming horse with phenylbutazone, making him unfit for human consumption.  If the CFIA, the RCMP, or the SPCA actually had any concern for horses, they would require the Indian Bands to keep their horses contained and properly fed and medicated.  It’s clear the intent was to harass Ms. Nolet, since the CFIA has no problem importing American horses whose drug history is completely unprovable.
    • DNA genotyping of Alberta wild horses showed a connection to the Altai horse from Russia. These genetic markers permitted the placement of the horses on the endangered list by the Equus Survival Trust in North Carolina. 
    • Forty-five years ago the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971 (WFRH&B Act) was signed into law by President Richard Nixon on December 18, 1971. The WFRH&B Act created the sensation that wild horses were to be protected on public land, but as it did not create actual defined parameters it has been left open to interpretation and/or lack of enforcement by the US judicial system.

    Decimation of the Donkeys:

    • Now that the West African black rhino is extinct and the elephant is well on its way, donkey skins are the new rhino horn, and just like the rhino, the Chinese demand is unsustainable. To that end, a $3,000,000 slaughterhouse has just opened in Kenya – dedicated and purpose-built to kill up to 100 donkeys a day. China is presently responsible for slaughtering four million donkeys a year for traditional medicinal products made from their skin. Already, countries in Africa are seeing their donkey populations drop at an alarming rate – the appetite for donkey skins has risen to such a degree that a worldwide crisis is unfolding for donkey populations around the world.  In the United States the population of donkeys is estimated to be between 250,000 and 400,000. The US’ wild burro population ranges between 4,000 to 10,000 total on all BLM public lands.  The entire US population of donkeys could theoretically be wiped out in a matter of weeks at the current rate of slaughter.

    Cruelty Cases, Horse Seizures, Abandonments, and Hoarding:

    • The infamous Stanley Brothers have been shipping horses to slaughter for quite some time and also have a long history of animal welfare offenses, among other questionable activities.  Boots Stanley, the son of one of the Stanley Brothers, who became millionaires selling horses to be killed, was arrested along with his pal Steven Sadler, for aggravated animal cruelty after slitting a defenseless dog’s throat on the family’s kill lot in Bastrop, Louisiana. Someone who enjoys inflicting pain on an animal may well be a danger to their community soon.
    • “Big Lick” supporter Sandra Darlene Wood will be serving jail time for the crime of Animal Cruelty – starving Tennessee Walking Horses that were seized from her farm on April 6, 2015.
    • Logan Allen, a “horse trainer” who won 1st place in the 2013 Iowa Horse Fair found himself under fire after he posted pics to his Facebook wall of a horse with the caption “bad boy…”  The horse lay on the ground, his legs were bound, his tongue hung out of his mouth and he had been sprayed with a hose,  hence the treatment of the horse was referred to as “waterboarding.”  The dismissal of Allen’s case sends the clear message to those in Iowa that abusing animals is acceptable in the state.
    • The story of Lily, the little pony mare who appeared to have been shot up with a paintball gun and then abandoned at New Holland in Pennsylvania, was a simultaneously uplifting and heartbreaking narrative.  The mare, who was rescued and subsequently endured an eye operation for painful uveitis inflammation and days of dental work, was elderly and in poor condition overall.  In May, Philip Price Jr. of Rhode Island, (previously convicted of animal abuse) was convicted on all counts related to transporting her to New Holland.  He was ordered to pay $13,000 in restitution for Lily’s recovery care costs.  Lily was then adopted by former Daily Show Host Jon Stewart and his wife.  Although her quality of life appears to have been quite low for some time, she knew kindness and care before she died a short time later in Stewart’s sanctuary.
    • In June, officials with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture charged trainer Maria Borell and her father, Charles Borell, each with 43 counts of second-degree cruelty to animals in connection with the apparent abandonment of horses at a 121-acre farm in Central Kentucky.
    • 40 deceased and decaying horses were found on a property near Melbourne Australia. Bruce Akers, was charged with 92 counts of animal cruelty and criminal damage.
    • Another 40 horses (and 15 dogs)  owned by a previously convicted mother/daughter team of animal hoarders were seized from a Virginia property.
    • In July, horse rescuers saved from slaughter several horses formerly owned by the Arnold Reproduction Center, which specialized in cutting horse breeding. A herd of horses bearing the brand of center ended up scheduled for shipment to slaughter, according to social media posts, which the business acknowledged in a statement last week, calling the slaughter designation unintended. Photos posted by the Kaufman Kill Pen Facebook page showed show at least a dozen horses bearing the brand and/or distinctive shoulder numbers, with some described as recipient mares.
    • Several horses that had been seized from the Peaceable Farm rescue in 2015 have again been taken by authorities from New Beginnings Horse Rescue, where they had little or no food and water.  Over 80 horses were originally removed from Peaceable Farm and 11 of those horses went to New Beginnings (the other horses were distributed to other rescues).  It’s been a horrible 2 years for some of the rescues in Virginia.
    • Approximately 550-650 “wild” horses of varying ages, some mares with foals, went up for auction in December when approximately 30 were found starving or eviscerated on the bare dirt pastures of the ranch belonging to the International Society for the Protection of Mustangs and Burros in South Dakota. With no plan in place to prevent breeding and insufficient range land for the number of horses, the pastures had been eaten down to dirt. Photos on social media show severely thin horses, some of them dead, with their ribs and hip-bones protruding. Some have grotesque wounds and injuries or wildly overgrown, untrimmed hooves. A few had been eviscerated, presumably by wild animals. Guidestar shows that despite the charity taking in $600 – $700K in donations per year, there were always feed emergencies – this appears to be another hoarding operation with charitable status.  Resources are finite everywhere – uncontrolled breeding with no place to go eventually means there will be a population crash.

    Legislative and Public Relations Issues:

    • Of the most immediate concern to animal advocates may be the virtual certainty that a Trump administration will work to reopen horse slaughter in the U.S., to “dispose” of the 45,000 wild horses who have been removed as “surplus” from the  BLM.  Furthermore, in 2009 VP-Elect Pence voted against protecting wild horses and burros on America’s public lands. He opposed the “Restore Our American Mustangs Act,” which was introduced to amend the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971.  Simply because you see a picture of someone on a horse,  it does not make them an advocate.
    • It has been announced that the European Commission is set to adopt stricter regulations on the import of horsemeat from non-EU countries following its latest audit, which found that Canadian horsemeat may not meet EU food safety standards.  Horses destined for slaughter in non-EU countries but for export to the EU, must undergo a minimum six-month residency requirement. It’s unclear how either the slaughterhouses or the CFIA will control for this requirement.
    • The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition met with MPs in Ottawa in October on the dangers of horse meat consumption. The CHDC was registered to lobby with Aaron Freeman of Pivot Strategic Consulting.  The CHDC continues to consult with legal counsel in a continuing effort to explore legal strategies to stop illegally-conducted live shipments of horses to Japan for slaughter.
    • The Canadian Food Inspection Agency suspended the slaughtering license of KML Meats in British Columbia temporarily,  due to the absence of an effective HACCP program.
    • The CFIA proposed changes to the Health of Animals Act and Regulations, thereby recognizing that the transport of animals in Canada is not aligned with those of other countries (World Organisation for Animal Health – OIE) nor do they align with the National Farm Animal Care Council Codes of Practice (NFACC) or international trading partners such as the US and the EU.  Furthermore, transport guidelines, such as they are, do not reflect current science regarding the handling of animals by land, sea, and air.
    • The March to DC on behalf of the SAFE Act took place September 22nd. Thank you to the dedicated people who were able to attend.  Many SAFE-type bills have now died and alternative approaches are needed to make the rest of the US population  aware of the atrocities of horse slaughter.
    • The tall metal fences, chained gates, and decaying metal buildings that were an embarrassment and constant reminder of horse slaughter in Kaufman Texas are now gone.  The old Dallas Crown slaughterhouse was torn down.
    • In Ontario, “horse rustling” has received new attention after two horses, who were temporarily loaned/boarded, disappeared from the same farm and are presumed sold for slaughter.  Sargon, owned by Kim Wilson, and Apollo, owned by Kayla Whatling were loaned to the same individual, who told police she sold Sargon to a kill buyer for slaughter without permission and with a faked EID.

    EQUUS Film Festival:

    • The EQUUS Film Festival, dedicated to equestrian-themed film, fine art and authors was subject to controversy in 2016. Noted Equine/Human Chiropractor Dr. Jay Komarek,  declined to accept the Equus Film Festival Award for “Best Documentary” Film citing festival organizers for accepting money from two corporate sponsors,  “Protect The Harvest” and “Farm Paint,”  as his reason for doing so.   The sponsor’s principals are Mr. Forrest Lucas (Protect The Harvest and Lucas Cattle Company) and Mr. Duke Thorson (Farm Paint and Thorsport Farm). Slaughtering and soring horses  do not create a better world for them and were therefore incompatible sponsors for the event.  Clant Seay, a reporter for Billygoboy.com, also had the microphone aggressively grabbed out of his hand by former Sue Wallis buddy Dave Duquette at EQUUS. A positive outcome was that the film “Kill Pen” signed a worldwide/international distribution agreement to circulate the film across the US and Canada, into Europe, and beyond.

     Please read more about these and other headlines from 2016, arranged chronologically, in Storify

     

     



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    roast-horse

    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Hat Tip:  Lisa

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

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

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

    down-in-crate-1-300x233

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

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

    Please read more here.

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

     

    Call To Action:

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

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    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Phenylbutazone or “bute” was at one time marketed for humans use under the trade name of Butazolidin.  It was a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) used for arthritis and other inflammatory ailments that worked by inhibiting an enzyme that synthesizes chemical mediators called prostaglandins.  It was ultimately withdrawn by the FDA for causing a wide range of serious side-effects.  It remains however, on the market for treatment for horses and is an effective anti-inflammatory.  It is also prohibited in the food chain as residues of bute and its metabolite, oxyphenbutazone are not known to have safe limits.  None of this is new information to experienced horse advocates.  Therefore, it’s always personally surprising to me when I come across another horse advocate who takes the position that we needn’t be concerned about bute adulteration in food. It’s a pretty rare position to take, IMO, and reaffirms  to me that not all champions of the horse are on the same page when it comes to advocacy. This position not only harms our advocacy,  it’s also scientifically illiterate IMO.

    Writing in a recent blog post, Founder and President of the Equine Rescue Network Janine Jacques goes all-in and on the record as being in doubt that bute is harmful to people.  Jacques also assumes that the only possible toxic result from consuming bute or metabolites can be aplastic anemia.

    How did the consumption of over 16 million pounds of horsemeat impact the health of those who consumed horse meat tainted with bute? ~ If Google search deaths from phenylbutazone you will find no relevant deaths for humans.”  

    While investigation and surveillance of overdoses and poisonings by phenylbutazone are available, there is a tendency to believe that, in order to be hazardous to health, only large amounts of a chemical are needed to cause poisoning. This is not necessarily so. A highly toxic chemical can have a low health hazard if it is used with proper precautions and care. On the other hand, it is possible that a chemical of low toxicity may present a high health hazard if it is used inappropriately, such as in the food supply.  The domain of published works in the field of toxicology contain many presuppositions such as this; regulators have always had difficulty establishing acceptable levels of chemicals and they are expected to show evidence that a level of exposure is harmful before they can ban its use.

    Virtually all evidence we have about harmful dosages of drugs come from animals where extrapolations are made from high doses (LD50, Draize, and ADME – Absorption, Distribution, Metabolism, and Excretion tests for example) .  It is also said that effects found in animals in relatively short-lived species cannot necessarily be used to estimate the effects in a long-lived species such as human.  Humans live much longer than most of the species used for drug testing, so we have a longer period of time in which to manifest disease.  Compounding this, we know that much of human disease is idiopathic in nature – without known causes.  Forensic toxicology testing can detect drugs in the blood stream or urine and overdoses in the emergency room, but it can’t predict the cause of idiopathic disease.

    What makes chemicals poisonous?

    There are several factors which can influence the degree of poisoning caused by a chemical.

    • Route of entry into the body – orally, inhalation, etc
    • Amount or dose entering the body
    • Chemicals that are weakly toxic require large doses to cause poisoning, Strongly toxic chemicals only need small doses to cause poisoning
    • Chemicals that are broken down by the body into sub-products before being excreted may be more or less toxic than the original chemical
    • Biological variation in the person consuming the chemical/drug determines response – slow metabolizers may be affected in addition to those who have susceptibility to phenylbutazone due to different metabolic genes (polymorphisms) that encode enzymes that are involved in the metabolism of drugs.People who are poor metabolizers of a drug may overdose while taking less than the recommended dose. Altered or enhanced drug metabolisms in individuals have been known to cause fatal drug reactions.

    PBZ Molecule

    Another layer of complexity is added when humans are exposed to chemicals at very low doses – the chemicals may reside in certain regions of the body that are more susceptible to organ damage  which is impossible to measure directly.  Studies have shown that many chemicals impact cancer-causing pathways at low doses. Taken directly, phenylbutazone is associated with various hematologic disorders, including aplastic anemia. Bute is also a cause of agranulocytosis, which can also be fatal. Hypersensitivity reactions can include anaphylactic shock, arthralgia, fever, angiitis (polyarteritis), vasculitis, serum sickness, adenitis, hepatotoxicity, allergic alveolitis, lymphadenopathy, Lyell’s syndrome, activation of systemic lupus erythematosus, and aggravation of temporal arteritis in patients with polymyalgia rheumatica. Asthma may be precipitated or aggravated by phenylbutazone, especially in aspirin sensitive patients. We also know that phenylbutazone interacts with many other drugs.  When administered to lactating cows, it was found that phenylbutazone was distributed into their milk.

    When the drug was used therapeutically in humans as Butazolidin, the dose rate would have been around 2 to 6 mg/kg, similar to the current dose for the horse of 4.4 mg/kg. The question is whether the presence of bute in horsemeat can present a risk to human health even in small amounts.  Around the time of the 2013 horse meat adulteration scandal in the EU, the highest amount of bute found in a horse carcass was 1.9 mg.  If a human had been taking Butazolidin in the 50s, they might have taken 200-400 mg a day in total, if we compare it to the current-day dosage of Tylenol or Advil.  Obviously, we would have to consume a significant amount of contaminated horsemeat in order to reach the level of a therapeutic drug dosage. What is not clear, despite reassurances, is the level that is necessary for the average person to consume in order to experience a toxic effect.  If a therapeutic dose of Butazolidin was once considered “safe” at 200-400 mg, then how do we know that some individuals are safe at 1.9 mg?  If Butazolidin was withdrawn from the market as being unsafe for some people at that dosage, we don’t know whether sensitive individuals may have experienced toxicity at lower levels as well.

    If it still seems as though a negligible trace of bute in meat might not be enough to cause harm,  there is an analogous cautionary tale of another NSAID – diclofenac, which was also used in human medicine for decades,  and was recently introduced for veterinary use in India.  Obviously, the dynamics are not the same, but vultures appear to have been exposed to the drug while scavenging livestock carcasses, their main food source, and this has accounted for death by renal failure of many vultures examined in a three-year study by the scientific journal Nature.  Further investigation showed tissue residues in livestock treated at the labelled dose rate were sufficient to cause death in vultures. These findings confirmed that diclofenac is the primary cause of the Asian vulture decline.

    “Diclofenac is toxic to vultures even in small doses, causing kidney failure. That results in uric acid accumulating in the birds’ blood and crystallizing around their internal organs—a condition called visceral gout.”

    Food safety laws are clear.  Companies that produce, trade or sell food or food ingredients are legally obligated to implement a quality assurance system called Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP), which maximizes food safety by minimizing chemical, physical and microbiological hazards.  There is something wrong with a food system whereby the food animal must sit on a feedlot for six months in order that veterinary drugs “degrade” before it can be eaten.

    For years, regulators relied on the old adage “the dose makes the poison, which still holds true for many drugs and chemicals.  But one key message there is that source or origin of a chemical usually tells you very little if anything about its toxicity or ability to cause harm.   We now live in a time where exposure to chemicals is unavoidable and we can’t evaluate these chemicals in isolation.  Having said that, bute is not a chemical that is ubiquitous in the environment like other toxins we are exposed to – we can avoid it by not eating horsemeat and not killing horses for food.  In the final analysis, no one is really in a position to make broad statements about the safety of horse meat.  Conrad Brunk,  the co-chair of the 2001 Royal Society of Canada Expert Panel on the Future of Food Biotechnology, wrote that:

    “When it comes to human and environmental safety there should be clear evidence of the absence of risks;  the mere absence of evidence is not enough.”  This is the essence of the Precautionary Principle, which states that “when an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment,  precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause-and-effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.” The toxicity of a chemical cannot be changed, but the hazard it presents can be controlled.



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    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    Simply offering a horse for sale is no guarantee of finding a suitable home for that animal,  even if young and sound.  The process is even more challenging if the horse is older, untrained, or has behavioural or physical issues, or if the economy is poor.  While most shelters and rescues are likely at capacity,  a study conducted by the Research and Development/Community Outreach arm of the ASPCA found that there do appear to be untapped resources that could be called upon to re-home horses within the general public.

    The question posed by the study is whether there are enough private homes to accommodate the number of unwanted American horses currently being sent to slaughter.  Using Edge Research to conduct a telephone survey, the researchers attempted to pre-qualify people who would be willing to adopt unwanted horses, determine what characteristics were required of horses to be considered “adoptable” in the respondent’s opinion, and whether potential adopters thought they had adequate resources to keep a horse. The criteria for establishing initial interest was that the respondent currently owns a horse,  has owned a horse in the past 5 years, or is interested in acquiring a horse in the near future.

    From the Abstract: “Estimating the Availability of Potential Homes for Unwanted Horses in the United States”

     

    “There are approximately 200,000 unwanted horses annually in the United States. This study aimed to better understand the potential homes for horses that need to be re-homed. Using an independent survey company through an Omnibus telephone (land and cell) survey, we interviewed a nationally projectable sample of 3036 adults (using both landline and cellular phone numbers) to learn of their interest and capacity to adopt a horse.

    Potential adopters with interest in horses with medical and/or behavioral problems and self-assessed perceived capacity to adopt, constituted 0.92% of the total sample. Extrapolating the results of this survey using U.S. Census data, suggests there could be an estimated 1.25 million households who have both the self-reported and perceived resources and desire to house an unwanted horse. This number exceeds the estimated number of unwanted horses living each year in the United States.

    This study points to opportunities and need to increase communication and support between individuals and organizations that have unwanted horses to facilitate re-homing with people in their community willing to adopt them.”

     

    The ASPCA estimates that a more realistic, true count is more likely to be about .72 million households. Still, these numbers may not reflect an objective set of adopters though, since people often overstate or overestimate their ability or available resources to care for a horse properly, or their circumstances change after the survey.  Nevertheless, the study results suggest that new channels of communication between potential horse owners and organizations/rescues are needed to grow the horse industry by engaging new audiences and creatively promoting horse adoption.

     



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    Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

    “…all horse meat producers must obtain the health and medical history – complete with information on all drugs and vaccines used – of each horse for the 180 day period before consumption.”

    – standard form letter response from Conservative MPs – 2016.

    Whenever I read documents obtained through an Access-To-Information request, I think the bar for this industry cannot go lower. The ATI documents included here covered all Equine Lot Inspection Audits for the years 2015-2017 year-to-date, and captured conversations between CFIA veterinarians and feedlot/auction staff.  These Lot Inspections are audits that are carried out approximately once a year, although it appears that our favourite Farmville operators, Bouvry Exports’/Prime lot is being audited more frequently. When you read the audit reports, you’ll understand why – the CFIA appears to be doing a fair bit of manual checking of their record-keeping.

    It should really come as no surprise that feedlots and auctions have a perpetual struggle with the paperwork required to track horses from receipt to slaughter.  Kill buyers are bottom level feeders who travel from auction to auction picking up horses. They have no idea where these horses come from, nor do they care.  Auctions and feedlots typically will complete just enough paperwork so that can scrape by, and they’re going to fill it out in the way that it needs to be filled out so that it meets the CFIA criteria. Sometimes though, they can’t even meet the minimum standard and even the CFIA has to write them up when uncomplicated record management tasks are turned into Sisyphean clusterfucks.

    So what is the Lot Program and how does it work?

    The lot program is used by high volume accumulators of horses for the purpose of slaughter.  It’s really a sort of “express lane” in that these producers use a group declaration (the Lot-EID or LEID) in lieu of individual EIDs. The program requires at least a 180 day recorded history prior to slaughter. Lot inspections review the procedures maintained in Lot Programs for equine feedlots – this covers the control of EIDs (Equine Information Documents), vaccines, medications, movement of horses in and out of each lot and a few other criteria.  Please note that the lot program does not verify the health of any equines or the condition of the feedlot itself. The CFIA describes the process in more detail if you need it.

    If you’re new to the horse slaughter issue, here’s a bit of history on the EID – its implementation  was announced by then-Director of the Meat Programs Division of the CFIA, Dr. Richard Arsenault, in a response letter to the European Commission on October 23, 2009.  Arsenault announced that, in order to meet EC requirements for exporting horsemeat, every equine presented for slaughter as of July 31, 2010 would be accompanied by an Equine Information Document.

    Fast forward to 2014 when the European Commission’s Food and veterinary Office released an audit in 2014 that raised concerns about the tracking process.  In 2011 the same issues were raised, so you could say there’s little evidence of improvement. You can read the final reportthe response, and the CFIA proposed changes.

    The audits reveal that, shockingly, Bouvry Exports/Prime Feedlot holds anywhere from 7,000 – 10,000 horses at any given time.  According to the audit reports,  a total of 52 lots of horses are sent to their deaths each year (1 lot per week).  Additionally, horses who receive any medication while on the lot are subjected to painful branding and re-branding as part of the record-keeping process.

    Forms Are So Hard And Confusing!

    The February 2016 audit of Bouvry’s Prime Feedlot (where the report indicated 10,000+ horses were on-hand) contained some findings flagged as “unacceptable” by the Veterinarian-in-Charge:

    Finding #6 and #7 (see pages 31 and 35): – “…drug list was changed in August but not updated.  CFIA wasn’t informed.  Instead of Derapen (penicillin G Procain) which is no longer available, Biomycin is used since August 2015.  Biomycin is not authorized to be used yet.“ At the time of writing, Biomycin is not even listed on the Meat Hygiene manual for equines.  The manufacturer of Biomycin states that is has a withdrawal time of 28 days (for cattle).

    Finding #20 (see page 32 and 36): – “One of the records reviewed was not transferred from daily vaccine application records (lot records) to a Lot Equine Information Document.  Fluvac vaccine application was missing.  All other records verified during the audit were accurately transcribed.”

    Finding #25 (see page 33 and 36): – “No EIDS on file, none reviewed.  [Redacted] said the horse [kill] buyers did not supply any of EIDS [SIC] along with horses purchased.  This issue was discussed at the previous audit and Prime Equine Lot.”

    So there were no EIDs on file for an entire lot of horses?  What happened to slaughter-bound horses without them?  There is no mention of what became of them, or whether anyone attempted to locate the missing paperwork, although I presume the horses were slaughtered anyway, no matter how laughably incomplete or non-compliant the paperwork was.

    “It is the responsibility of the Lot Program management to request EIDS and verify for non-permitted drugs.”

    Supplemental Export Reports for a May 2016 visit that summarizes communications with regards to an Operational Guidance protocol distributed in February 2016. (page 45-47)

    Perlich Bros. Auction  gets called out for not collecting EIDs:

    “[Redacted] contacted [redacted] of Perlich auction market over the phone in April 2016 (specific date unknown). The purpose of the call was explained, and [redacted] was asked about the creation of EIDs at his auction market.  [Redacted’s] response was that, while [redacted] staff were happy to handle any EIDS that are submitted with equines for sale, no effort is made to ensure that horses enter auction with complete EIDS, that is is [SIC] “not their job,” and that the responsibility for obtaining valid EIDS lies with the buying agent.  Very few are thus processed at [redacted] auction.”  At this late stage (7 years after the implementation of the EID), how is it that the incomprehensibly stubborn auction staff can give the standard disclaimer, “that’s not my department?”

    CFIA resorts to googling kill buyers/plant management for follow-up information:

    “On 12 April [redacted] received a list of buying agents for the Bouvry plant from [redacted] who was, at the time, a CFIA meat hygiene inspector at the plant. When contact information was requested for these individuals, so that upcoming verifications could be discussed, it was requested that an explanation/reasoning for the request be sent directly to plant management.  This was done by [redacted] on 13 April.  Having not received a response by early the next week, a Google search was conducted to find a contact number for [redacted] spoke to [redacted] over the phone on 18 or 19 April.  The potential for CFIA presence at upcoming horse auctions was discussed, as was the method with which he goes about obtaining EIDS for slaughter horses.  [Redacted] reply was that [redacted] no longer buys horses for this purpose (slaughter) at Perlich auction because of the difficulty of obtaining EIDs.  [Redacted] rather focuses on the Innisfail Auction Market (IAM) where all horses enter auction with EID unless explicitly declared by the owner that the animal is not for meat sale. There [redacted] is able to enter the ring and verify that the EID is acceptable before bidding on the horse.”

    So who is “redacted” in this scenario?  Clearly there is more than one person whose name has been concealed.  Either this person is a kill buyer(s) or plant management, in which case, if they didn’t respond to the CFIA enquiry,  that’s pretty inexcusable.

    “[Redacted] encouraged the CFIA to audit [redacted] activities at the IAM.”

    CFIA to Bouvry – EIDs must accompany all horses to the feedlot:

    “It was felt that in order to conduct the verification task correctly, the district needed to be clear on whether or not it was permissible for horses bought in Canada to enter the feedlot system without an EID…”  “The response was that unless there was some other auditable means (on file) of ensuring a history of no non-permitted substances in the horse(s) no horse without a valid EID is allowed to enter the feedlot, despite a six-month waiting period.”

    The CFIA’s attempt to enforce what must seem like an unfathomable bureaucracy apparently perturbed staff at Bouvry’s, who sent an inquiry to the CFIA asking why [redacted] was “asking so many questions.” Due to the difficulties with paperwork at the Perlich auction, the CFIA discussed attending their auction on overtime and it was decided that this was not a valuable use of CFIA resources. Recommendations were passed to the Red Deer CFIA office for a vet inspector presence at Innisfail.

    The confusion that continues to this day over the EID and other paperwork is evidence that inputs into the food chain are not something to be taken casually, yet that is exactly what is happening.  The doubts highlighted in these reports leave another cloud over the already sordid industry – something policymakers need to pay attention to.

    Despite this, Dr. Richard Arsenault, former director of the meat programs division for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), thinks that the regulations are working“It’s extremely well respected in terms of compliance” – a statement that he has continually championed throughout the years. This is basically the same feeble confirmation that is echoed by anyone in charge of any aspect of the meat program at the CFIA. Downstream, MPs may take months before they reply to our complaints about horse slaughter, and if they do it’s usually nothing more than the standard form letter that doesn’t even address the concerns raised by the constituent.  Instead, the response parrots the same impotent reassurances put out by the CFIA.

    The horse slaughter pipeline is one of the most unregulated livestock venues in North America. There is absolutely no desire or motivation on the US side to enforce EID authenticity because Americans do not eat horsemeat. There is no resolve on the Canadian side because they are importing horses for the purpose of (primarily) exporting the meat. Regulating this paperwork would cost everyone money, and no one wants to do that.

    You may also download these documents here.



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