A Continuum of Deceit & Cruelty

The CHDC has released a grim report on the gruesome realities at La Petite Nation’s slaughterhouse in St-Andre-Avellin.  The undercover investigation was conducted in July 2011.  La version française est aussi disponible.  Warning:  the video segments are graphic.

“Beauty in the lap of terror” (The Mysteries of Udolpho, Ann Radcliffe, 1794)

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Primer: the Last Part (possibly)

Next question:

All right…so if all of this is true, what is the CFIA doing about it?  I have cousins in Europe and they’ve told me that there was a spot in the news that the EC (European Commission) put out a not-so-favourable report on Canada’s handling of food animals, especially pigs and horses:  what’s the story there?

Before I answer this question, I do want to caution readers that the government’s (that is, any government’s) private password for “we can’t legally fine, admonish or shut you down, but really this is borderline below-standard” is the word, “adequate”.  I’m not making this up; I did work in our nation’s capital for a short time, and, needless to say, I learned a lot.  “Adequate” saves a government agency from taking action which might give some bigshots’ or lobbyists’ heartburn, and/or might affect the economy in negative ways.  This is what you might call a circumspect view, an all-things-considered, all-things-being-equal position, not unlike the notwithstanding clause in the Meech Accord, or like last year’s redundant declaration by the federal government that ‘Quebec is a nation in its own right’ (as if we didn’t know that)…but I digress.

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A Primer on Horse Slaughter (B+)

Next question:

Doesn’t the Canadian Government oversee slaughterhouses and check for dangerous substances in our food, as well as oversee humane handling of food animals?  If so, the transport of horses and horsemeat must be checked out as well, aren’t they?

 

It is indeed the mandate (job) of the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) to oversee the production of food from the transport of live animals destined for human consumption to their rendering into cellophane-and-styrofoamed packages for our supermarket shelves (see Part A, Definitions).  However, several instances of inadequate and/or insufficient manpower and violations have been brought to public attention in the past ten years.  To begin with, the low-wage positions of abattoir work tend to attract workers with minimal or no education who have had no formal training of any kind in the handling of animals before, during and after slaughter.  This creates a problem for CFIA Inspectors whose job is to observe, and, when called for, intervene with a complaint (which must be written out and formally addressed), when workers are seen to be executing unsanitary, inhumane or any insalubrious behaviour which threatens the food safety of the human consumers of the animals being slaughtered.

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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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