In Canada, many provincial horse associations have taken the stance that horse slaughter is a viable end-of-life option for horse owners.
The slaughter industry is a predatory one, from the time the horse is acquired by a “kill buyer,” he or she is “meat on the hoof” and treated as a mere commodity. Travel to slaughterhouses may take days without food or water, followed by often, painful and slow death by captive bolt or .22 rifle. Horse slaughter is not a solution for disposing of old, sick and lame horses. In fact, kill buyers prefer young, healthy horses.
In addition, the horses that enter the food chain are not guaranteed to be free of prohibited drugs, since the Canadian Food Inspection Agency currently finds the “honour system” an acceptable program for owners and kill buyers when declaring (or not declaring) the presence of drugs in horses. Clearly, allowing horse owners or worse, kill buyers, this kind of input and control over the food supply is unacceptable. Horses are not raised as food animals.
Slaughter is not a legitimate form of euthanasia and it is disturbing that a few organizations have manipulated messages about humane euthanasia by special interest groups. Dr. Lester Friedlander, former Chief Inspector for the USDA, has concluded that “The use of the penetrating captive bolt is in violation of the Humane Slaughter Act generally, and 7 U.S.C.A. § 1902 (a) specifically. Any other method of slaughter as applied to equines is in violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 generally, and 7 U.S.C.A. §1902 (a) specifically.”
This group of concerned veterinarians is the first of its kind in Canada. Veterinarians by definition are animal advocates, who strive to relieve suffering in any animal.
The group will be structured as an unincorporated association.
The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council (CVEWC) does not consider horse slaughter to be a humane form of euthanasia. Therefore, we will work to establish a greater presence amongst the veterinary community, animal care-givers, the general public, and government, to publicize our stance that Canada’s horse slaughter industry must end. Our group’s mission is to educate other veterinarians, animal health professionals and horse owners about the options available to those who must end the lives of their horses.
The officers will consist of an executive director and board members who are practicing veterinarians within Canada, consisting of a minimum of 3 persons. Other volunteers may participate with the approval of the Board of Directors. There are no dues requirements, nor will the group solicit donations. Board members must be nominated and voted in by the CVEWC. It is the responsibility of the Board members to elect an executive director and amend the by-laws. Any officer can sign on behalf of the group.
Terms of Office
The Board of Directors conducts all the business of the organization that is not specifically assigned to the membership by the by-laws. The executive director role will be voted on by the directors. The executive director and board members may continue to serve in their roles as long as their relationship and interest continues.
Board meetings will be held quarterly or more often if determined to be necessary. The board may wish to create sub-committees who may meet more frequently.
Board meetings must be conducted with a quorum present to transact business. A quorum shall consist of a minimum of 66% of directors. All meetings must also be conducted by the executive director, or another board member assigned to conduct the meeting. Another board member will be responsible for taking minutes. All members are notified of the meeting’s date and time and the purpose for which the meeting is called. In addition, the group will also conduct an annual general meeting, where nominations and voting for board members is conducted.
Amending the Charter
At any time the Charter may be amended by board members who have been members for a minimum of six months, provided that a quorum is reached.
The CVEWC will have an internet website that will be updated with current information, and will be maintained by a person or internet business determined by the board. All content to be posted on the website will be agreed upon by the board.