The CFIA Hedges its Bets on Our Health (Revised)
You have to wonder what the CFIA did before now.
|The CFIA is only 10 years old. Canada Border Services is only 8 years old. Prior to that there were several different agencies responsible for several different things at the border. Canada had international agreements with the United States where the U.S. was supposed to inspect loads of slaughter horses BEFORE they crossed the border and then because of both our laws, mutual agreements, and the risk of spreading disease, these loads were to remain sealed until they reached their destination.Obviously, we know that wasn’t a good policy, but it was like that for 50 or so years. Regulations, especially ones made in conjunction with other countries can’t just be changed overnight. So while everyone was raising h+%#, without knowing WHY things were the way they were, and the steps that needed to be taken to change laws, others were quietly going about their business and changing the regulations, And don’t forget you need staff to do all this and that only certain crossings could be designated because there are only facilities to unload horses at certain crossings. They do not inspect horses for drug residue ante-mortem. It is done post mortem.|
[What follows is my original post from November 2011.]
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has just launched a new policy which states that, as of January 1, 2012, all feeder and slaughter-bound horses entering Canada from the US will be permitted only at newly designated ports of entry; and, those horse-bearing transports may only cross during CFIA’s scheduled hours of operation. So does that mean that, before now, Canada accepted horses bound for slaughter, without inspections by the CFIA, even though we knew that meat rendered from those horses contains substances toxic for human consumption? At what point did the CFIA verify these horses’ health to ensure that tainted meat was neither being eaten here in Quebec nor exported abroad to countries like France, Belgium, and Japan? Did they just leave the meat inspections to each abattoir’s discretion?
Another telling point in the CFIA’s own press release is this:
“Feeder horse shipments require customs clearance from the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and may be referred to the CFIA for inspection. All shipments must be presented during CFIA hours of operation in order to allow for inspection if required.”
What nonsense is this? Just because CFIA inspectors are present apparently does not also mean that the shipments will be inspected. That seems to be up to the CBSA, so does it really matter if CFIA inspectors are present if they won’t always and in every case be asked to inspect slaughter-bound horse shipments? Am I missing something here? The very first sentence in the CFIA’s release states: ”The…(CFIA)…is implementing new measures to verify that horses are being humanely transported in accordance with the Health of Animals Regulations.” What is the point of new measures which are not in effect at any time, at all times, every single time a horse-bearing shipment crosses our border? And, as for “humanely transported”–don’t get me started (in fact, just go read my dozens and dozens of prior posts on this subject).
Sonja Meadows of Animals-Angels USA just sent out an alert which provides the most credible reason the CFIA conjured up this lame-duck policy, which has no more effect than plugging a hole in the Hoover Dam with chewing gum. The European Union (EU) finds Canada’s human health and humane horse transport policies completely inadequate. Now, I don’t want this blog post to degenerate into an ad hominem attack on any one person or agency, so just let me say: ”Ohh…Canada.” I refer to the complete report below but I know Sonja won’t mind my quoting from her email alert here:
“[The EU inspection report of October 26, 2011] notes that: ’No statement in the US Health Certificate is required or provided as to the former use of the horses, their treatment with veterinary drugs, in particular with regard to certain substances having a hormonal or thyreostatic action or to beta-agonists.” Sonja goes on to summarize: “Bluntly labeled ‘not satisfactory’ were the ‘identification and movement of horses’, ‘controls of veterinary drugs’, and ‘residue controls and certification….Calling kill buyers’ sworn statements ‘affidavits’, the report admits, ‘horses from the US were accompanied by the signed Affidavit (EID) of the last owner covering the medical treatment during the last six months, which, in many cases, was a horse dealer.”
I just don’t know what more it will take for Canada to stop importing horses for slaughter, to stop selling tainted meat abroad, much less to stop horse slaughter on its own soil altogether. As a sovereign nation, Canada should not have to be told and chastised repeatedly by the European Union that what it is doing is wrong–wrong in so many ways I’ve lost count. We are still one of the most solvent countries in the world: do we really need the income that badly? do we really need to tarnish our global reputation even more than the seal slaughter has? do we really have to show the world that, like our two military planes, our own food agency is also absurdly undermanned? do we really need to alienate horse-lovers all over the world by being known as the “horse slaughter capital”? It’s not rocket science. It’s just plain commonsense.