Ohh, Radio-Canada (Mar 1st, 7pm)

I must apologize to Claude Brunet, interviewer/host of the recent Radio-Canada broadcast, Bien dans son assiette (see When Reporters Get it Wrong )–at least, in part, and I’ll tell you why shortly.  First, I’d like to address a few questions that have come my way, especially since so many are sharing this blog in cyberspace (and, it would be nice if some of you new visitors would actually buy or even read my novel because more than half of what I post here already appears in Ground Manners. A Novel …but I digress).

Q:  Why have the numbers of horses slaughtered in Canada decreased between the years 2008 and 2009?

A:  There were seven slaughterhouses killing horses in Canada; then there were five; then there were four.  

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Bear Witness to the Facts

Recently, I’ve received emails saying that I should have been clearer about the non-relationship between abattoir closures in the US in 2007 and the phenomenon of horse abandonment.  (I don’t know about that.  I thought my Primers on Horse Slaughter on this blog and published on The Stablewoman Gazette clearly showed that there was no relationship.  But I tend to live in my head, so I may be wrong about how clear my writing was.)

So, according to the US government’s Government Accountability Office (GAO) report:  “The total number of US horses sent to slaughter in 2006, the last full year of domestic slaughter [the last abattoir closed in late 2007, thus not giving a full year’s numbers. my italics]…(gives) a total of 137,688 horses.  Taken together, the 137,984 US horses that were sent to slaughter in Canada or Mexico in 2010 is approximately equal to the total number of horses slaughtered in 2006.”  GAO Report

Again, look at the numbers:  (2006)  137, 688    (2010) 137,984   A difference of 296 equines. For 2011, go to the EWA site; they always update their stats.  Now the GAO is no friend to horses, which perhaps is as it should be.  It is an agency which, in this case, was mandated by the US government to study the distaff side of the US horse industry, so it must be objective and neutral on the subject under its scrutiny.  We can safely say, then, that its figures are accurate as far as numbers legally recorded by authoritative agencies can be–especially since, if you collate numbers gathered by non-governmental, industry-specific, and advocacy groups, the numbers are readily corroborated (at least on paper).

The report is flawed, however, in other respects, and I invite you to read the Position Paper co-authored by the EWA and the Animal Law Coalition (ALC) called:  An Analysis of the GAO Report on Horse Welfare:  Disturbing Omissions and Cover-up.  (visit the EWA site)

See…a difference of 296 equines.  As a horse advocate, I cry for one just as I do for ten, for tens of thousands.  They are all precious to us.  But in terms of keeping the record straight and arguing from a strong position, the numerical difference is clearly insignificant.  Most importantly, it refutes the pro-slaughter argument that the closing of US abattoirs increased horse abandonment.  It didn’t; there is no such relationship.  People have always abandoned their pets (illegal, to begin with); people have always overbred horses; and those specific pathologies are social phenomena unrelated to food slaughter.

 

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Don’t Take My Word for It: Numbers Don’t Lie

As I’ve said again and again:  don’t take my word for it.  Do the research yourself.  So many Quebeckers are vehemently against horse slaughter but they haven’t got the time to do the research.  So here are a few facts (and, all of these have already been listed under my Primers on Horse Slaughter right here on my blog.  If the link doesn’t work, go to My Categories under Primers for Horse Slaughter).

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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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