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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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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