Is Canada Poisoning The World?

horse-drugsThis letter was sent to us by a CVEWC supporter,  who had plans to submit it to newspapers.  We think it is an excellent assessment of Canada’s involvement in the discredited business of horse slaughter:

“Why, yes, we are. Every year Canada exports thousands of tons of horse meat to Europe and other world countries for human consumption. The latest report from StatsCan shows that in 2014 Canada exported 13 Million tons of horsemeat valued at $78,422.525 million to different countries around the world.

Europe, specifically France, Switzerland, Belgium are the leading importers. Japan is also high on the list importing a little over 3 Million tons in 2014. Canada also live ships draft horses from Calgary and Winnipeg to Japan for human consumption.

Europe and Japan appear to continue to ignore the fact that the majority of horse meat from Canada is contaminated with drugs banned in food animals destined for human consumption.

Horses in North America have never been considered a “food animal”. The US ceased slaughtering horses in 2007 and now export horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

Most horses slaughtered here in Canada originate from US auctions. It’s a well-known fact that horses sold at auctions have virtually no traceability back to previous owners. Most horses will have had many owners over their lifetime with each owner likely giving the horse drugs banned by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the EU.

These banned drugs include dewormers administered to horses about every 8 week or so as horses eat off of the ground and, subsequently, they always have worms. Worms in horses could be passed on to humans who eat the meat.

One type of illness from worms that can be passed on to horses is Trichinosis. The CFIA lists these as symptoms of Trichinosis:

Globally, outbreaks of human trichinellosis associated with pork from abattoirs operating under modern inspection systems rarely occur; however, cases which are associated with the consumption of undercooked meat from wild boars, horses, wildlife species such as walrus and bear, and outdoor-reared and home-processed swine continue to be reported.”

Further, the CFIA states on their web site:

“Clinical signs of trichinellosis in animals are not easily recognized.

The severity of human trichinellosis is dependent upon the number of infected larvae ingested, the species ofTrichinella, and the immune status of the human host. Commonly observed signs, which appear 5 to 15 days after exposure, may include:

  • abnormal fear of light;
  • facial swelling;
  • fever;
  • gastrointestinal upset;
  • headaches;
  • muscle pain; and
  • skin rash.

Inflammation of the heart muscle and the brain, if they occur, are serious and may be life-threatening.”

There have been documented cases in France and Argentina of Trichinosis infection.

Phenylbutazone is high on the list of banned medications but is given to horses as a common, inexpensive pain reliever. It’s also known as “bute”. Bute can cause aplastic anemia in children and cancer in adults. Because cancer can develop slowly, a person may not make the link to horse meat and their current battle with cancer whereas with Trichinosis signs can appear in 5 to 15 days after exposure.

The CFIA has a list of “Veterinary Drugs Not Permitted For Use in Equine Slaughtered for Food with Canadian Brand Name Examples” on their web site.

In their FAQs on the CFIA’s web site regarding horse slaughter one question is

Q7 Is Phenylbutazone is banned?

A7. The use of Phenylbutazone in equine for medical reasons is not currently banned in Canada. However; Phenylbutazone is not permitted to be used in equine animals that may be used for food.”

There are NO exceptions for bute in horses to be slaughtered for human consumption and horse owners continue to use it as horses in North America are not raised for meat.

The CFIA only requires that a horse be drug free for 180 days (6 months). They consider this a good withdrawal time for drugs given but as we’ve seen with dewormers they’re given usually every TWO months or so and bute has NO withdrawal time.

The only medical paperwork a horse bound for slaughter in Canada has is what’s called an Equine Identification Document. This piece of paper, yes, a single piece of paper has one question on it relating to drugs given to horses and that’s “has this horse had any banned drugs in the past 180 days”. That’s it. The EID is an honour system in a business that has no honour.

Created by the CFIA in 2010 who said at the time that   The EID is the first step in the development of a comprehensive food safety and traceability program for the Canadian equine industry – for both domestic and international markets.”

This has not been the case. The EID has proven to be a sham and there is no traceability program either in Canada or the US and the vast majority of horses going to slaughter here in Canada are from US auctions via what’s called kill buyers. These individuals who have contracts with the slaughter plants troll auctions and look for ads for free horses who they then sell to the slaughter plants for profit. The kill buyers do no tracing of a horse’s drug history at all.

The EID is supposed to be a truthful declaration as to what drugs the horse has had but when the kill buyer picks up a horse at an auction he has no idea what drugs the horse has had.   Kill buyers routinely lie on this document which becomes the property of the slaughter plant when the horse is killed and, so, cannot be publically releases under an Access to Information request.

Mark Markarian, who is chief program and policy officer for the Humane Society of the United States and president of The Fund for Animals, said recently that:

“There is currently no system in the US to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption. It’s a free-for-all when this tainted and contaminated meat is dumped on unsuspecting consumers through their dinner plates and supermarket shelves, either overseas or here at home.”

The horses also endure very inhumane treatment until they are shot with either a .22 rifle or a captive bolt gun. There is much documentation available showing that both methods are equally cruel to horses.

The EU continues to ignore the failings of the EID system in Canada, however, in January 2015 the EU banned horse meat from Mexico because their audits of the Mexican slaughter plants revealed serious issues with the traceability of horses coming in from the US as well as horrendous cruelty in the Mexican slaughter pipeline.

Mexico had been audited in the past and were issued warning which they ignored.

Canadian slaughter plants including horse slaughter plants were audited by the EU in early 2014.

Many issues were found including traceability relating to drugs given to horses as well as operating practices that were not up to EU standards. Again, cruelty in the Canadian slaughter pipeline was noted by the EU. Traceability for horses being slaughtered in Canada is non-existent.

To date, the EU has failed to issue sanctions against Canada and the export of known contaminated drugged horse meat continues on unabated.

The Toronto Star’s Mary Ormsby has written several times about this issue with drugs in horse meat, the EU and the barbaric conditions in the slaughter pipeline.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has been working for many years to ban the horse slaughter trade in Canada both on ethical and human health grounds but, still, the government continues to allow and even promote this business overseas.

As noted above the export dollars for Canadian horse meat shows that in 2014 the slaughter business only made a little over $73 Million with most of this going to auction houses, kill buyers and the slaughter plant operators.

What the government ignores is how much the live horse industry contributes to the Canadian economy. In 2010 Equine Canada did a study on the live horse industry in Canada. Their data revealed that “The total economic contribution to the Canadian economy from horses and activities with horses is $19 BILLION.” making this writer wonder why this current Canadian government spends time and money promoting horse slaughter.”

Veterinary Students From Across Canada Visit Alberta To Observe Wild Horses

Photo Credit:  Sandy Bell
Photo Credit: Sandy Bell

“An important aspect of the course is to strive towards taking a leadership role as a veterinarian in the local community, in pulling together community experts required to best address the question or problem at hand and to work towards a solution that is acceptable to as many stakeholders as possible.”

Bob Henderson, president of WHOAS, says, “It’s a valuable experience for the students to be able to come out here and witness the program, and be able to observe the wild horses to get a better understanding of all the issues that surround them.”

Read more here……

New Video Footage Released Showing Live Shipment of Horses at Quarantine Station in Kagoshima, Japan

dyk_yycAs a follow up to our August post on the live draft horse shipments out of Calgary, Alberta, new footage of the Kagoshima quarantine station in Japan is now being released.

This footage was taken in March 2015. In the first segment we see video of horses on a feedlot, followed by footage of horses being unloaded from crates after the long flight to Japan. These crates are smaller than the average horse stall and designed for three (but loaded with up to 4 horses) which is contrary to Canada’s Health of Animals regulations.

Petition Atlas Air to discontinue live shipments

At the quarantine station, the horses are unloaded to the concrete, bunker-like quarantine station where they will stay for a few weeks before being slaughtered. In the background you can hear Atlas Air taking off, no doubt to return with another shipment of horses on their next flight from YYC.

The Live Transport of 7,000 Draft Horses Annually To Japan

Every year, approximately 7,000 horses are transported by air from Calgary and Winnipeg (Canada) to Japan.  These shipments are often conducted weekly, with up to three to four large horses crammed together in wooden crates with little room to move around, let alone lie down to rest.  No food or water is provided during the gruelling journey to another continent.  Canadian legislation permits horses to be transported without food and water for up to 36 hours.  Sometimes, due to flight delays, the 36-hour period is breached.  During one year alone, six horses died during transport, three perished as a result of a landing accident, and one horse was found upside down and dead in his crate.  Upon arrival in Japan,  the horses are fed to much larger proportions often to the point of laminitis,  and then slaughtered.

Visualize if you will, how large the stall is in the average horse barn, built for the average-sized riding horse. Some are 10 x 10, others are 10 x 12, and so on. We are told that the crate size designed to contain THREE DRAFT HORSES is approximately 9.5ft by 7ft floor space by 7.6ft high. If you think that’s outrageous, imagine cramming FOUR DRAFT HORSES into the same space – a space already smaller than the average horse stall.  Loading three or four 1,500 – 1,700 lb horses in a 66.5 square foot crate does not meet the IATA international standards or Canada’s agreed-upon national standards. This is overcrowding and not compliant with the Health of Animals Regulations.

bdk11
This is the approximate size of the average horse stall. Now image a space SMALLER than this being used to transport up to 4 large draft horses with no food or water during that flight. In addition to the transport time, horses may be left for long periods on the tarmac subjected to engine noise, ground crews, and de-icing sprays while waiting to be loaded/unloaded.

Canadian legislation prohibits horses over 14 hands high to share a crate with other horses.  The law says they must be singly shipped.  Their heads must not touch the ceiling of the crate.  Horses must not be deprived of food and water for any longer than 36 hours.

The law says all of the above things.  But for reasons of profit, Canada ignores the law.

The carrier responsible for shipping these horses to their deaths is Atlas Air, Inc., based in Purchase, New York.

We invite you to politely request that Atlas Air stop shipments of live horses for slaughter.

Click Here for a link to the the petition

Links to supportive articles:

New footage of shipment of live draft horses arriving in Japan – https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2015/07/12/never-before-released-video-footage-of-a-shipment-of-live-draft-horses-arriving-in-japan/

Footage from the Calgary, Canada airport from 2013 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04S9Qt_mH5Y

Draft horse hitting the top of crate with his head – https://vimeo.com/130818790

Debate on live horse shipment: https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2015/07/16/debating-the-live-draft-horse-shipments-on-ctvs-alberta-primetime/

CHDC Issues Press Release – https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2015/06/25/chdc-issues-press-release-regarding-violations-with-live-horse-shipments-to-japan/

CHDC files complaint with CFIA:  https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/we-file-a-complaint-with-the-cfia-and-transport-canada-about-the-live-horse-shipments-to-japan/

CFIA Failure to Enforce Regulations: https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/2012/10/18/news-release-cfia-fails-again-at-enforcing-regulations-for-live-horse-exports-to-japan/

CVEWC Supporter Dr. Judith Samson-French Nominated As Petplan’s Veterinarian-of-the-Year

We are very pleased to acknowledge CVEWC’s supporting Veterinarian Dr. Judith Samson-French, who has been nominated as Petplan Insurance’s 2016 Veterinarian of the Year!

In 2013, Dr. Samson-French was awarded by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association for her participation in programs designed to provide contraception, deworming, microchipping, and food for homeless and feral dogs. Dr. Samson-French created a first-of-its-kind program using contraceptive implants to break the reproductive cycle of the female dogs. The implants take a few minutes, they are painless when given with a local freezing, and they present no ill effects. Dr. Judith has also partnered with pet food suppliers to sell her specially designed promotional bookmarks as well as donate a portion of the sale of their dog food to her project.

In addition to her support for anti-slaughter initiatives for horses, she owns and operates Banded Peak Veterinary Hospital and has worked with both the Calgary Zoo and the Honolulu Zoo. Dr. Samson-French has invested several years of her career to pursuing medicine and surgery for ratites (flightless birds such as the kiwi/emu/rhea/ostrich) in North America and Europe, and has experience as an emergency veterinarian. Dr. Judith has even performed fieldwork on green iguanas in Costa Rica, and has included in her practice small ruminants, equine patients and the rehabilitation of sick and injured wildlife.

Congratulations to Dr. Judith – she is truly an overachiever when it comes to caring for animals!