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Section 33 repealed as of October 2011 in the Meat Inspection Act of 1990 originally read thusly: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

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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Listen up: this is Important

Listen up:  this is Important

Alex Atamanenko, honourable member of Parliament (MP) put forth Bill C-322 to the Parliament of Canada last week.  The Bill proposes to end horse slaughter on Canadian soil and to stop the export of horsemeat to foreign countries.  Why?  One:  horsemeat retains toxic drugs which are deadly to humans, especially children; two, the way in which horses are slaughtered in Canada is not only inhumane but also unsanitary.  Why should you care?  One: we export horsemeat to other countries (France, Belgium, Japan).  Horsemeat has been proven to be toxic to humans, especially children…so while you’ve set up monthly payments to provide for an underprivileged child in a foreign country, have you also ensured that that child is not being fed horsemeat?  Two:  would you put your dog down by bashing him over the head over and over again with a baseball bat?  If not, then go to the websites listed below to see how horses are “put down” before they’re rendered into meat in our country, in our country Canada…Canada, now known as the horse slaughter capital of North America.  

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