To Eat or Not to Eat… your Horse?
If you read my last blog about the CFIA asking to consult the Canadian public on traceability requirements for food animals (which includes horses), you also read Roxanne’s comment. Roxanne sums up everything so well that this blog post is devoted to her comment alone. Please click the link and read the CFIA’s original notice so you can fully appreciate her excellent points.
How different we are here. A national animal identification system was much protested and rejected in the United States. Implementing an NAIS will be much more difficult for horses. Horses rarely stay on the farm like other animals because they are not “like” other animals, or perhaps better said, other food or dairy animals. Horses go out and off the farm, sometimes every weekend, sometimes daily for trail rides, to riding lessons, to clinics, to horse shows, to see the vet. Horses live a long time and often have several owners. Horses often live in urban environments, in boarding stables. How will that be monitored, Will it further push the cost of horse ownership away from the average person? How will it affect rescues? Local horse clubs? 4H? Pony Club? Wild horses? If they choose a microchip, will that mean another chip for breeds that already have microchip identification? What if it’s retinal scanning? Who is going to pay for all the equipment? This is a strategy for food animals, not companion animals. There is no such strategy for dogs and cats. Along with traceability, what is chosen now will formally define the status of the horse in our society and in our country. It was hashed over for years in the U.S. and rejected. I can’t believe how apathetic the horse community in Canada is to all this, but I’m sure they will complain when it happens. My vote is for choice and for a passport system like the U.K. has, that allows the owner to choose if their horse will ever go to slaughter or not, with tracking necessary only for those who choose that possible end. Let those who would permit their horses to go to slaughter pay the costs of supporting the coming requirements for that industry. Leave those of us who don’t choose that end alone.