Where There’s Smoke …
Since the CHDC announced the temporary shut-down of La Petite Nation slaughterhouse, their blog has been afire. Now some time ago, I had heard what I thought were rumours about “drug-free” horse farms in Western Canada; in one case, I knew it wasn’t a rumour because the info came from an excellent source (“where there’s smoke…there is fire). But, with all the other research I was doing, I didn’t delve in to the matter the way I should have. I’ve got a lot of questions about such a practice, but first let me cite Shoshone, one of the commentators, and a link provided by Shelley Grainger, Eastern Region Director of the CHDC.
Farmers and ranchers that have large tracts of land just turn mares out with draft type stallions. As long as there is grass, the mares look after themselves not like cows that have to be fed in winter. They call it “harvesting” horses. The owner of the Fort Mcleod slaughter house owns thousands of acres and grows his own hay and grain.
Every week from Calgary International Air Port and from SeaTec in Seattle, draft type horses are shipped out live, 3 to a crate to Japan. The meat is eaten raw and is very expensive. These are drug free horses bred for meat. [Shoshone]
and here’s a link to the document from Shelley: Horses are purpose bred out west for slaughter. The feedlots and their operators are linked to Bouvry Exports.
There is an AFAC report from 2008 that gives details.http://www.afac.ab.ca/reports/08horsereport.pdf. See page 21 about horses bred for live export to Japan.
That document is 44 pages long so, as soon as I’ve read it, I’ll blog about it here. Here are my questions…for now:
If these horses are completely drug-free, what happens when one falls ill, is injured, is born handicapped, or, in the case of herd contagion? [If no medication or treatment is administered, doesn't that contravene animal health handling laws, and/or animal humane treatment regulations?]
Do they just leave the stallions to it; also, is there any stepping up of the estrus cycles to ensure a constant supply, or do they just tell their salivating overseas clients that they have to wait? [In other words, how natural a state are they really left to...because then they might as well use Mustangs* (never mind...don't repeat that...our Mustangs are in enough peril as it is)?]
What is the ratio of these drug-free breeding operations to the numbers recorded of horses legally slaughtered in Canada? [It must be a drop in the bucket, as one CHDC commentator said, and if so, why bother since the CFIA keeps claiming that legally rendered horsemeat is safe?]
…finally…from what I understand, horses are only considered livestock depending on what they’re used for. So for example, if you own a dressage or event horse, that horse falls under a different tax category. If that’s correct (and do tell me if it isn’t), then what category would purpose-bred horses fall under, since they are neither feedlot nor slaughterhouse horses per se–in terms of the law and especially, the tax laws?
I’ll return to this subject a little later; by then, I will have read the linked document. Feel free to comment or correct but always remember Empire of One rules. (*There are many reasons they cannot and should not use Mustangs, but that’s a horse of a different colour so we’ll talk about that next time.)