Horse Slaughter

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UPDATE:

Bill C-322 will be up for debate in early March.  So we are calling on all supporters to lobby their MPs as much as possible!

Animal Alliance of Canada is opposed to the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption. Horses, easily-panicked “flight” animals, are extremely difficult to restrain and effectively stun in slaughterhouse situations where assembly-line conditions prevail. Further, most horses have not been raised as food animals and many have been administered drugs that are prohibited from entering the human food supply.

As an alternative to slaughter, AAC supports the re-homing of horses, whether through sale, adoption to good homes, or relinquishment to qualified rescue facilities. It is the view of AAC that humane euthanasia by a veterinarian can be a final option if all other avenues have been duly researched and no other choice remains.

The Issue:

With the ban on horse slaughter in the United States, horses are being shipped into Canada and Mexico to be killed.  Animal Alliance has has begun meeting with MPs to promote support for Bill C-544.  The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has completed a report and released undercover footage of a horse slaughterhouse in Saskatchewan.

“The CBC has obtained internal documents that show Canadian Food Inspection Agency officers were instructed to break their own rules regarding the use of firearms to render horses unconscious before being killed” (Viewer Discretion is advised)

http://www.cbc.ca/video/#/News/TV_Shows/The_National/ID=1512789968

Click here for a 2010 CHDC media release

Click here for a June 2010 Globe and Mail article

Click here for Animal Alliance’s 2009 “Horses Betrayed” report

History:

In April / May 2008, animal welfare investigators documented at a horse slaughter house in Saskatchewan graphic evidence of animal welfare violations.

CBC television’s The National devoted 30 minutes to an investigative report in June 2008 called “No Country for Horses”, exposing the cruelty and suffering experience by the horses.  After much resistance and foot dragging, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) finally responded to pressure and investigated the allegations raised in the CBC report. The slaughter house was eventually shut down, due to “food safety concerns” according to the CFIA.

In September 2008, CHDC Central Region Director, Twyla Francois, filmed horse blood from the slaughter plant being illegally dumped on the banks of a nearby river.

On April 5, 2009, the CHDC reported the following:

Great News for Horses – Natural Meat Company Shuts Down!

According to the Director of Parliamentary Affairs for Canada, Natural Meat Company was shut down by the CFIA for food safety concerns. At this time we are attempting to clarify details surrounding the closure.

Further Good News from the U.S.

On April 3, 2009, the governor of Montana issued an amendatory veto on a bill that had already been passed by the Montana House and the Senate and simply needed an official signature. That bill was intended to stop any citizen from launching a lawsuit that might prevent a horse slaughterhouse from being built in the state. On April 2, 2009, CHDC had assisted U.S. horse defenders by supplying proof of the closure of Natural Meat Company for food safety reasons. This evidence then found its way into the hands of the governor. As a result of the veto, the amended bill will now go back to the legislature for consideration, thus opening up an opportunity for debate. With such strong evidence of food safety and environmental concerns, to say nothing of animal welfare violations that are inherent in the horse slaughter industry, it is clear that step-by-step progress for the horses is being made. We applaud the Equine Welfare Alliance for serving as an intermediary between our efforts and the many wonderful grass roots groups involved in the state and federal initiatives in the U.S.

In April 2010, the CHDC “received and reviewed undercover video footage taken recently at Bouvry Exports in Fort Macleod, Alberta, and Viande Richelieu in Massueville, Quebec. The evidence clearly demonstrates that horses cannot be humanely slaughtered in assembly-line situations.” For more information, visit the CHDC website at http://www.defendhorsescanada.org

Horse slaughter has become national news and the politicians are being forced to act.  We need to keep the pressure on Gerry Ritz, the Minister of Agriculture, to ban this cruel and inhumane practice.  So please, mail and call him. Hand-written letters are best, but you can also e-mail him.  Letters can be mailed postage-free.

The Honourable Gerry Ritz
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
781 Confederation Bldg.
House of Commons
Ottawa, ON  K1A 0A6

Tel: 613-995-7080
Fax: 613-996-8472

Progress:

“EU agencies consider phenylbutazone detected in horsemeat of low concern for consumers; recommend improved horse traceability and monitoring of veterinary medicinal residue”    Read More…

In order to meet the importation requirements of the European Union, Canada will be implementing new policies for equine slaughter. The CFIA website states the following:

Effective July 31, 2010, it is mandatory for all Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspected facilities in Canada engaged in the slaughter of equine for edible purposes to have complete records for all animals (domestic and imported) presented for slaughter. These records will include unique identification for each animal, a record of illness and a record of medical treatments administered to the animal for the six-month period preceding slaughter. The template entitled “Equine Information Document” (EID) of this annex shall be used by equine owners for this purpose.

A completed EID contains a standardized description of the animal or unique lot identification, as well as a comprehensive record of the equine’s medical treatment for at least the preceding six months. (http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/meavia/man/ch17/annexee.shtml)

Some groups believe that these changes will spell the end of horse slaughter in Canada. These rules will be applied to ALL horses destined for slaughter for human consumption, including any horses imported into Canada.

Also…

Canada has its first Bill to ban horse slaughter!  A big thank you to NDP MP Alex Atamanenko and horse supporters everywhere for this huge, historical step toward banning horse slaughter in Canada.Unfortunately, the bill died due to the federal election being called. However, the bill was re-introduced as Bill C-322.

On June 16, 2010, a Private Member’s Bill (C-544) to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption was tabled in Canadian Parliament by MP Alex Atamanenko (NDP Agriculture Critic).  The basis of the bill is the fact that horses are not food-producing animals and many are treated with drugs that are prohibited from entering the human food chain.

This bill is a huge step forward in the movement to abolish a cruel, archaic and unnecessary industry, and we applaud Mr. Atamanenko for his monumental initiative.

What can horse advocates do to ensure that this bill becomes law?

There is a process involved:  All Private Member’s bills must be debated and pass three readings.  In order to move forward, a vote must take place and a bill must have the support of the majority of Members of Parliament.

For more information on this process please click on the link below:

http://www.parl.gc.ca/About/House/compendium/web-content/c_g_legislativeprocess-e.htm. 

To contact MP Alex Atamanenko, click here.  Please thank him for reintroducing the Bill.

Contact your Member of Parliament via this link. Click on his or her name to find their contact information.

Email, send letters, fax or phone our legislators and ask them to support an end to horse slaughter. Remember to personalize your message and include your name and contact information. Key points can include:

  • Horses have not traditionally been raised for human consumption in Canada. In our country, horses are considered sport and companion animals. Many Canadians believe that this industry must be abolished on humane grounds. 64% of Canadians do not support it.
  • There are 4 federally licensed horse slaughter plants that are currently up and running in Canada.
  • Horses are shipped in crowded trailers over long distances, and often arrive injured, sometimes fatally.
  • The CHDC has documented evidence of horse neglect and abuse, as well as severe suffering as a result of poor slaughter practices (see our website).
  • Dr. Nicholas H. Dodman, of the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists, said of our June ’08 report:

    “horses experienced sheer terror”, “some horses were not properly stunned”, “if people knew what was going on they would be up in arms” and “this practice should be banned”

  • The Federal Health of Animals Act is not enforced, which would protect sick, pregnant and unfit horses, and prohibit overcrowding.
  • The Recommended Code of Practice for Care and Handling of Farm Animals: Transportation of Horses is not enforced.
  • The CFIA does not enforce their own weak rules that slaughter bound horses must not be transported for longer than 36 hours straight and must be provided with feed, water and rest at required intervals. Double decker trailers are still allowed.
  • The horse slaughter process itself is not humane euthanasia.

Background Information:

In February 2010, the CHDC received covert footage from two horse slaughter plants, Bouvry Exports in Fort Macleod, Alberta, and Viande Richelieu in Massueville, Quebec.

The evidence of inhumane practices as an industry norm was overwhelming.  For more information from this investigation please click the link below:

http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/chambers-of-carnage.html

It is evident from this investigation that horses cannot be humanely slaughtered in an assembly-line manner.

We have also researched the troubling issue of banned drugs commonly found in horsemeat, as well as new requirements from the European Union stipulating that horsemeat for human consumption must be drug-free.

For more information on what this will mean to North America’s horse industry, visit:

http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/finaldisc100314.pdf.

Read the European Commission “FINAL REPORT OF AN AUDIT
CARRIED OUT IN CANADA FROM 23 NOVEMBER TO 06 DECEMBER 2010
“.

Please visit www.defendhorsescanada.org for additional information.