Are You Eating Beef Laced with Horsemeat?

The purpose of Section 33 of the Meat Inspection Act was to prevent the mixing of horsemeat with other meats rendered, prepared, packaged, labelled and sold to the consumer market.  By repealing this section of the Act, Canada has jeopardized the food safety of its own citizens (see previous post called “Alert!  Horse Apartheid”). This is a life-altering, backwards step by the CFIA which herein caters only to abattoir owners who don’t want to follow country-wide food safety regulations, and want to butcher horses in their own way.  (For those of who read my book, Ground Manners, you’ll recall the part about “l’abattage au bout de la pelle” [slaughter at the end of a backhoe shovel]. This is where Quebec is headed by pandering to an industry which, rather than be left to its own devices, should, at all times, be monitored for food safety.)

Section 33 repealed as of October 2011 in the Meat Inspection Act of 1990 originally read thusly:

33. (1) Subject to subsections (2) and (3), during the time a food animal other than an equine animal is slaughtered at a registered establishment, a carcass of a food animal other than an equine animal is dressed at a registered establishment or a meat product derived from a food animal other than an equine animal is processed, packaged or labelled in a registered establishment, the registered establishment shall not at the same time contain a meat product derived from an equine animal and shall not thereafter be used for the slaughtering of an equine animal, the dressing of the carcass of an equine animal or the processing, packaging or labelling of a meat product derived from an equine animal unless

(aall meat products derived from a food animal other than an equine animal have been removed from the registered establishment;

(b) the registered establishment has facilities that are suitable for handling equine animals and for the slaughtering of equine animals; and

(c) an inspector has certified that the registered establishment meets the requirements of paragraphs (a) and (b).

(2) The meat products required by paragraph (1)(a) to be removed from a registered establishment may be kept in the registered establishment if they are locked in a separate room under the control of an inspector.

(3) Where a meat product derived from an equine animal is processed in a registered establishment, a meat product derived from a food animal other than an equine animal may, for the purpose of being combined with the meat product of an equine animal, be kept in the registered establishment.

For those who haven’t read the text of why Section 33 and other sections were repealed (see link in prior post), the reason the government did this was to accommodate small business owners of abattoirs who cannot afford to meet the requirements of the CFIA’s policies and procedures.  (Well then…why have a CFIA at all?)  

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Alert! Horse Apartheid

A dear friend just sent this to me:  Amendments (as of Nov 9/11) made to the Meat Inspection Act of 1990 include repealing Section 33 which heretofore segregated the rendering of horsemeat from the rendering of other animal meat.  If this is true, then the reason horsemeat had originally been kept separate will return:  it will accidentally or by human error become mixed in with other meat products sold to consumers.  Go here

The meat inspection Act (Canada) has been amended as of October 27, 2011. 
http://gazetteducanada.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2011/2011-11-09/html/sor-dors234-eng.html
Repeal certain obsolete and redundant requirements;
Repeal horse segregation provision section 33, related to segregation of horse meat in registered establishments, providing more flexibility to operators.
If you scroll down to the Analysis, it states that this and the many other amendments listed were made to make life easier for slaughterhouse operators who are generally small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMO’s), and they can’t afford to meet the high standards of the CFIA.   Also, it states that those who produce meat for sale within their own province will no longer need a federal license to operate whereas those who export their products will still require  federal licenses. This opens the door to potential corruption (and deceit…again) because it would be easy to mis-label horsemeat products as having been produced in a federal abattoir when, in fact, they were produced by a non-licensed one.  It will also give free rein to Quebec and Alberta to sell without any federal safeguards at all.
Please write your MP right now and copy the following:
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An Aside to the Primer on Horse Slaughter

ALERT:  Several of the email alerts I received yesterday stated that the US has decided to re-instate monies so that USDA workers can “inspect” horse abattoirs if and when they re-open for business.  Go here http://www.awionline.org/content/handful-legislators-condemn-horses-usda-approved-abuse    or here   http:///horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/12598  for more information.  AMERICANS, go here to learn how your own state can combat this backward thinking: lauraallen@animallawcoalition.com

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A Primer on Horse Slaughter (B)

A few notes before we continue.  Evelyne Villers, horsewoman and Editor-in-Chief of Les Hebdos du Suroît which produces a number of local papers widely read throughout the Vaudreuil-Soulanges riding where I live, wrote an excellent piece on Horse Euthanasia in January 2010.  For those of you who read French, go to Blogue Equin on the Premiere Edition website, and enjoy Evelyne’s comprehensive take on life with horses from natural horse training to events coverage and horse health and husbandry.  I admit it:  I’m a Villers groupie partly because her articles are extremely well-balanced regardless of her personal view of horses, which really is what a good reporter does:  presents the facts without interjecting one’s own opinions.  Very few reporters remain out there in media land of such professional calibre.

It’s because of something I read in that article, almost two years ago, that Q&A, Part B, begins with the fallout in the US after horse slaughter was banned on US soil (now be careful:  there’s a big difference between rumour and fact.  I’ll get to that shortly).  

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A Primer on Horse Slaughter (A)

First published in early November of 2011 – I have put this post up front because it has become buried beneath my more recent posts and readers often have to search for it.  Enjoy and don’t forget to check Primer part B, part B+,  part C (The Last Part – Possibly) and appendices, as well as the ‘Slaughter Stats and Facts’ category for updates. I have also created a ‘Featured Articles’ page to display popular blog posts.

Before I set up the Q&A format, let me say that, at no time, does this primer refer to animals traditionally raised for, and used as, food for human consumption.  Horses fall into a unique category, as North American pets such as dogs and cats fit into their own special category, justified by the place horses have always held in the history of civilisation, the building of nations; service, military and sport roles.  Even if (or especially if) you don’t agree with that statement, stay with me anyway and see if your pro-horse slaughter argument still stands in the face of the facts presented.  So, if you’re clear that we are not, at any time, talking about animals purposely bred for food, and that we are only talking about equines (vegetarians, leave the room and go have a smoke), let’s start with a few questions and then some definitions:

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Easy-peasey Way to Reach Your MP

As an adjunct to the CHDC petition in support of Bill C-322, I’ve had bilingual postcards printed up which constituents can send to their respective MP’s to let them know that support for this Bill is out there.  Download the two sides of this postcard and send a postcard to your own MP (federal); then make more to give to your friends, neighbours, acquaintances, and family.  MP’s pay attention to their own constituents in their own ridings, so the more of these postcards that are sent, the more our MP’s in all ridings across Canada will understand how much support for Bill C-322 (which opposes horse slaughter) is out there.

I can also send you ready-made postcards (between 10 and 25 for now).  Just send me your postal address.  There’s no charge (I’ll pay shipping too if you live in Canada).  If I see that demand is more than expected, I’ll have more printed.  Americans and international horse advocates are also invited to send these postcards.  We need all the help we can get in getting Bill C-322 passed…and if that fails, ANY bill opposing horse slaughter, the import of horses for slaughter and the exportation of (tainted) horsemeat to foreign countries.  Selling tainted meat to foreign countries is not part of Canada’s, nor Quebec’s, culture.  Now…let’s get on with it and save our horses.  If you have a problem accessing or downloading these images, email me at cynthia@cynthiaderrico.com .

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