To Eat or Not to Eat… your Horse?

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.

 

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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,

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Filière cheval du Québec: Bravo

Filière cheval du Québec:  Bravo

Pendant que les organismes hors QC s’associe aux groupes américaines ainsi qu’en Europe, Filière cheval du Québec (FCQ) propose “un mariage moderne et constructif” entre nos chevaux et l’agriculture.  Leur mémoire présenté à la Commission de l’agriculture, des pêcheries, de l’énergie et des ressources naturelles le 24 août 2011 souligne les raisons pour lesquelles l’industrie équine du Québec doit prendre une place intégrale en milieu agricole. Le texte du mémoire n’est pas très long et je vous encourage de le lire.

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from the Stupid to the Sublime

It’s not often I encounter someone whose IQ is so low that I consider their existence to be a waste of space.  My definition of stupidity is:  “Stupidity is the unwillingness to learn” because I didn’t believe in “stupidity” per se.  In this particular case, I’d also add one of my favourite quotes by the poet John Donne:  “No man is an island…ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”  I’ll explain shortly why that last quote is so relevant to this rant by a livestock owner who is only at the top of the food chain by accident of birth or, um species, and certainly not for any other saving grace.  Note that the emotional, almost hysterical, tone adopted by this, um, writer is exactly what the pro slaughterers claim is what horse advocates indulge in…reminiscent of Anita Bryant or Pa Kettle (well, to be fair, Pa was thick but kind-hearted).  Hmm…read on and decide for yourself.  Then go on to read two responses, one from another farmer, and one from Animal Advocates of Michigan.

In answer to a politely written Letter to the Editor of farmanddairy.com located in Salem, Ohio, he writes:

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About Stallions & Women

An ancient Arab saying puts it this way:  “I’d rather face an angry lion than an angry stallion.”  Tornado III was our stallion.  He was taller even than Doc, our 17.5 HH palomino, and, um, broader.  We could ride Toe but, once astride, you had to stay on through his first 15 minutes of bucking and rearing; after that short display, he was a good ride, never gave trouble after that first little bit of show (and, given his size, it was an impressive show).  Lots of chuckling and head-shaking went on (on our parts, not his).  So much for what we knew then, now some forty years ago. Deb Harper has helped me understand, by example and by action, what Toe was trying to tell us all those many years ago:  “I will tell YOU when I am READY to be ridden…and you will not be comfortable on my back until I give the say-so.”  Respect…that’s what we lacked, simple respect.  

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Sloth: the 7th Deadly Sin

A horse owner recently asked me a passel of questions; then, when I took the time to answer them, emailed me back saying that she knew the answers, and had been following the US fight against horse slaughter on the internet.  Well, that’s all well and good, but you know what?  I don’t have the time to answer every individual, especially after I’ve sent them to this blog which answers a lot of their questions, in detail, but I took the time because I thought that everyone was entitled to the facts.   I’m not sure why she bothered:  maybe she wanted to see if I really knew what I was talking about.  G u e s s   w h a t ?  

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