April 9, 2010 – CHICAGO (EWA) – The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) recently released hidden camera footage from an investigation that took place at the two largest horse slaughter plants in Canada, Bouvry Exports and Viande Richelieu.
So horrific are the conditions depicted at both plants that they have prompted Bill desBarres, Chairman of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) and a long time proponent of horse slaughter, to declare he believes the footage was fabricated by groups opposed to “any animal agriculture”.
Bill desBarres and his organization have repeatedly praised the CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) and its inspectors for their diligence in assuring that horses are treated humanely at the slaughter plants and his organization lists the CFIA as a “resource partner” on their web site. The Horse Welfare Alliance appears to be nothing more than a front for the horse slaughter industry.
CHDC’s Eastern Region Director, Shelley Grainger said of the footage, “The evidence provided compelling proof that puts into question the effectiveness of the assembly-line slaughter of horses. The evidence demonstrates that both the facilities in Alberta and Quebec fail to meet humane slaughter standards.”
The footage is incontrovertible. In a court of law it would stand the test of cross examination as evidence.
Now, faced with such absolute evidence of the true nature of the slaughter process, desBarres has elected to use the Nixon Gambit and make the outrageous suggestion that the video is somehow fabricated. “One has to wonder,” says EWA’s John Holland, “does desBarres believe the CHDC tortured horses in staged mock-ups of the plants or does he think they hired Steven Spielberg to produce a digital fantasy?”
“The evidence obtained on the footage at both facilities was random – these instances we see of horses suffering terribly happened on those random days, and we can be certain they happen every day. As there are only two government-approved methods of stunning horses in Canada – captive bolt gun and rifle – and both methods have been shown to cause prolonged suffering in horses, it is evident that these animals cannot be slaughtered humanely in today’s slaughterhouse assembly lines” says Grainger.
Grainger’s conclusion is supported by similar under cover footage from a Mexican slaughter plant and appalling photos of horses at a US plant released by the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) under a response to a citizen request through the U.S. Freedom of Information Act.
The revelations are even more problematic for the CFIA who has yet to respond publicly to findings of a study published recently in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology showing that horses given the banned carcinogen Phenylbutazone had routinely slipped through the inspection process and been slaughtered for human consumption.
The CFIA has been more circumspect than the HWAC, indicating only that such actions are unacceptable and that they will investigate the abuse issue.
Shelly Grainger commented, “As of July 31st, all slaughter bound horses in Canada must have an Equine Identification Document (EID) verifying they have not received Phenylbutazone, Clenbuterol, or various other drugs and steroids. As well, there is an extensive list of medications that require a 6-month withdrawal period.”
The dual controversy comes as bills have been introduced into several state legislatures in support of horse slaughter. “They are just ignoring reality,” says EWA’s Vicki Tobin, “They can’t keep ignoring the drug concerns, the horrific conditions at the slaughter plants and the cruelty inherent with the entire slaughter pipeline. The only states that want horse slaughter are those who have never experienced it.”
It is time to take back our horses from the predatory slaughter industry. EWA urges all horse owners to contact their legislators and insist that the federal horse protection legislation be passed immediately.
The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 100 member organizations and hundreds of individuals worldwide. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.