New video from the CHDC

This video was prepared by the CHDC for the Hudson Valley Community College’s anti horse slaughter conference on April 16, 2014.

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Heroic pony shields her two-week-old foal from barn fire

From USA Today

Picture1Some say a mother’s bond with her child is unbreakable, that a mother would go to the ends of the earth to keep her child safe. This was never more evident than in the story of this mother-daughter duo. Meet Bella and Butterscotch, two ponies whose bond saved them from a terrible barn fire. In early April, the barn that Bella and Butterscotch lived in caught fire in Alvarado, Texas. While fighting the flames, firefighters found dead chickens and sheep, but when they came across the ponies, they found something amazing. Bella was blocking her then two-week-old foal, Butterscotch, from the flames. “She actually kind of backed the baby into the corner and stood over her and shielded her from the fire and the debris that was falling,” said Whitney Hanson of the Humane Society of North Texas.

Please view the video of this story here.

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Canada’s Parliament Considers Bill Limiting Horse Slaughter

From Food Safety News


twosnowhorses_406x250The most recent ban on equine inspections by USDA meat inspectors has moved the horse slaughter debate up to Canada’s House of Commons.

A Member of Parliament (MP) from southeastern British Columbia hopes that a final hour of debate next month can persuade the country’s federal lawmakers to pass his bill limiting slaughter only to those horses raised as feed animals with complete medical records. MP Alex Atamanenko’s legislation (C-571) is a private member’s bill, meaning that the government did not request it.

Please continue reading here.

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Equine Canada – Slaughter Promoters?

cropped-grof-feedlot1.jpgIn 2010, Equine Canada released a study on the horse industry in Canada.  Some facts that came out of it are that the live horse industry contributes 375,248 full-time jobs to the economy and the total capital investment in the pleasure riding sector generates$3,727,568,223 to the economy, much more than the minute $90 Million that the slaughter industry generates for a small number of interests.

Also from the Equine Canada 2010 report: Canadian horse owners incur more than $6.5 Billion annually in expenses to maintain their horse operations which is spent supporting other local and national businesses.  More than $4.8 Billion is represented by unpaid labour provided by horse owners, or family members for the care of their horses.

Once a horse is slaughtered then that horse is gone, support for his care no longer contributes to the economy.

In the last debate on March 31st, one MP said that passage of C-571 could cost 600 jobs.  This is not true.  Each slaughter plant is licensed to kill multi-species.  They will turn back to killing beef and other species.  Despite this,  Equine Canada relies on the debunked GAO report to support it’s erroneous conclusions about horse slaughter.  Despite being first and foremost,  an organization to promote horse sport,  they have put themselves into the position of “slaughter apologist” to CHDC’s supporters. 

A staunch supporter of the CHDC recently wrote to Equine Canada about their stance on horse slaughter.  Below is the response from EC and what the horse supporter wrote back:

Subject: Equine Canada
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 19:34:48 +0000

Dear :

Firstly, thank you for taking the time to express your thoughts and opinions on this very important topic with us. I am responding on behalf of Mr. Patterson who is currently travelling. While we do respect our members’ rights to hold differing views, as the national organization representing all sectors of the industry, we must endeavor to take a more global position for the well-being of the industry.

We understand and respect that horse owners have their own personal choices and values to address when the end stages arrive for their horses.  This is why we are implementing an Equine Lifecycle Management Policy — as developed by our national Health and Welfare Committee which is comprised of some of Canada’s leading equine veterinarians — it will assist our industry in maximizing the horse’s quality of life and death in Canada. It can be found on our web site here.

We have been and will continue to advocate for humane handling of horses as they enter the processing system.  We too have been dismayed to learn of incidents and handling procedures that are frightening and sometimes harmful to horses.  This is why we have been involved in developing training programs with the Canadian government, processors and the renowned Dr. Temple Grandin; several of our members represented Equine Canada at these training sessions, and we continue to advocate for proper oversight and staff training.

The reasons we are advocating for the classification of horses as livestock are for the very reasons you state – the taxes our industry pays on feed, bedding and other staples to maintain our horses places a financial burden on owners, already burdened by increased input costs and an oversupply in the marketplace. Unlike owners of cows, chicken and pigs, which are classified as livestock, we pay GST on inputs, these owners do not.

Classifying horses as livestock will, or we believe should accelerate the introduction of a traceability system for our horses. Although conscientious owners such as your self do keep up to date medical records, many do not, and as we know, horses can change ownership several times over in their lifetimes.

In terms of the influx of horses from the United States, we hold that this has been detrimental to our industry in several ways.  Whether this has come about from the closure of processing plants in that country, or as a result of the severe economic downturn a few years ago, the ‘flood of horses’ has served to dramatically drop horses prices in this country. We receive expressions of concern from across the country as people see the bottom drop out of their businesses.

Our industry is a complex one, filled with many views, many struggles, triumphs and passion. We appreciate and support your involvement and hope that you can understand our position on these matters.



Michael Arbour, CMAChief Financial OfficerDirecteur
Tel / Tél : 613.287.1515 x 108Fax / Télec : 613.248.3484Toll Free / Sans frais : 1.866.282.8395 100–308 promenade Legget DriveOttawa, Ontario, Canada  K2K

Subject: RE: Equine Canada
Date: Wed, 9 Apr 2014 14:27:26 -0600

Mr. Arbour, what are you talking about?  “You must take a more global position for the well-being of the industry.”  The only “industry” you have talked about in your letter is the slaughter industry.

Equine Canada’s role is to promote equestrianism…FULL STOP.  Shoveling horses into the Davidson Img 3slaughter pipeline in no way, shape or form, promotes equestrianism.  Instead of trying to kill them in the most horrendously cruel and inhumane way possible, why don’t you instead, require your membership to contribute to an “insurance program” for the humane euthanasia of all horses in Canada.  THAT would promote equestrianism.  THAT would be humane.  THAT would ensure that no horse in Canada suffer, be terrorized, or be tortured at the hands of a money grubbing Government.  This would also stop the over-breeding of all horses if each owner had to contribute accordingly, and could be easily instituted and would be welcomed by at least 80% of the population, because seriously, there is no way in hell you are going to make a traceability system fly in this country.  As stated previously 80% of Canadians are opposed to horse slaughter.

Equine Canada has sold out to Big-Ag and a money-grubbing Government.  You should be deeply ashamed, but I’m pretty sure you aren’t.

No horse slaughter in Canada Mr. Arbour.  If Equine Canada refuses to do what it is supposed to do, then you can expect a fight.

I will continue to encourage equestrians to hand in their memberships to all Provincial (pro-slaughter) organizations.  I will continue to fight to ban horse slaughter in this country.

Equine Canada is a traitor and has no business representing the true equestrians in this country.


Posted in Agriculture, Animal Cruelty, Food Safety, Horse Slaughter, Horse welfare, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Bill C-571 – REMINDER!

Please remember to keep contacting your MP with the facts about horse slaughter.  It will soon be time for MP Atamanenko to have Bill C-571 debated a second time.  The next couple of weeks are crucial  because soon after the second debate, the House will vote on whether  the bill goes forward or dies.

LPN holding pen 11-Jul-11Passing 571 will put an end to slaughter for the vast majority of horses who suffer that fate currently.   With so few being eligible for slaughter this could effectively end the industry in Canada.

With MP Atamanenko retiring next year action now is critical as there hasn’t been any other MP who has come forward to champion for horses at risk.

This is the first and likely the last Canadian legislation going before the House for a very long time that actually addresses this issue!

Once this last hour of debate is over, there will be nothing forthcoming for the horses for possibly years to come!!!

For our friends in the US, you can help too!  Tell the Canadian Ambassador to the US, Gary Doer,  that you will not visit Canada until horse slaughter is history.  You can also send messages to the US Ambassador in Ottawa, Bruce Heyman  and tell him that most of the horses slaughtered in Canada are from the US!

Also, please copy the following with any correspondence that you send to your MP or the Ambassadors.

The horses thank you!

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
Office of the Prime Minister
Ottawa Ontario K1A 0A2

Mr. Gerry Ritz
Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada

Mr. Malcolm Allen
NDP Agriculture Critic

Mark Eyking
Liberal Agriculture Critic

Justin Trudeau

Thomas Mulcair

And please don’t forget HSI’s petition.


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Misguided Agriculture Critic Sticks Hoof in Mouth

Mare with aborted foal being comforted Bouvry feedlotNDP Agriculture Critic, MP Malcolm Allen, lost a lot of credibility on March 31/14 during a House debate on Bill C-571.

Except, of course, amongst Conservatives.  That party is teeming with Mindless Minions who seem to tremble in fear at upsetting the status quo. What stares them in the face, even if it’s a serious risk to human health, is small potatoes compared to the repercussions to be faced from not towing the party line. There are, after all, some pretty big manure-stompin’ boots up at the top.

MP Allen has more guts than the average Conservative, though.  He went with the majority – but wait.  Allen is NDP, and he sided with the Conservatives.  Good move, Malcolm.  There’s power even in Minion numbers.  (Are you thinking about changing parties any time soon, by the way?)

During the meeting, MP Allen used the same tired arguments we have heard for years malcolm allen2from those who benefit from the slaughter of horses.  His attempt to trash MP Alex Atamanenko’s Bill C-571 during the House debate was transparently pro-equine-slaughter.  He quoted the discredited GAO report in an effort to block legislation – a trick used recently by none other than Equine Canada.  Yes, the same equine industry group whose claim to fame is to be “the governing body for all equine and equestrian sporting and recreational activities and interests (except racing) in Canada.”  This illustrious organization has recently sent their notice of non-support of Bill C-571 to all Members of Parliament.  Strangely, at the time of this writing, they appear to have stopped short of sharing the same information with their national membership.  Wonder why?  Is it possible that at least some of those members are anti-slaughter?  It would be a shame to lose them as paying supporters.

Here are some debate gems from MP Malcolm Allen, with CHDC responses:

MA:  There are some folks who may not be complying, and at the end of the day the authorities and the regulatory bodies are supposed to make sure they catch them. They are supposed to look at the industry to make sure that it does not happen.

CHDC:  It’s so reassuring to hear that the regulatory bodies are “supposed to” catch the bad guys.  But what if evidence repeatedly proves that they don’t?  Backstreet Bully, Silky Shark, and numerous other horses had been administered phenylbutazone, a lifetime-prohibited drug, yet they were slaughtered for human consumption because the system failed.  “Supposed to” doesn’t cut it, pal.

MA: The general accounting office in the U.S. did a study in the last while that examined horse welfare across country from the time the slaughterhouses closed until now. The study came to the conclusion that it has gone into decline. There are more horses being abandoned. There are more horses that are simply mistreated and are not being fed as much.

CHDC: Have you been drinking too much pro-slaughter Koolaid, Malcolm?  We’ve heard this argument repeatedly, always from people who have their fingers in the equine-slaughter-pie.  Instead of blindly believing their rhetoric, though, do your homework and try to think with your own mind.  You can start by reading this eye-opening report.  And contact the CHDC if you want further references.

MA: The proponents of the bill, those who defend it, are saying it is a health and safety concern. There is no question that legislation is in place already about health and safety concerns.

CHDC: So why is it that so many horses with a positive phenylbutazone history are slipping through the cracks?  The legislation is sure doing a great job, isn’t it, Malcolm?

MA: The Canadian equine association is the major umbrella group for horse owners, whether their horses are shown in an arena jumping or used for commercial purposes or for horse racing. The Canadian equine association opposes the bill, and I think correctly so.  It does not believe that it enhances the value of existing legislation for food safety. It does not believe that the welfare of horses in Canada will improve, and it thinks there are serious implications for Canadian horse owners who move horses interprovincially. Clearly, the group that is engaged with horse owners and the horse industry across Canada is saying that this is not a helpful bill.

Malcolm Allen

Malcolm Allen clearly states that he supports Bill C-544, the predecessor to Bill C-322 and Bill C-571. He very clearly states that “horses are not a resource for consumption.”  So what happened?  Why is he suddenly so willing to “go rogue” and fail to support not only his peer,  Alex Atamanenko,  but the NDP position as well?

CHDC: What’s the real reason behind a refusal to support a bill that would essentially prohibit animals who have not been raised for food from entering the food chain?  Could it be that horse slaughter is a convenient end-of-life option for those who don’t want to be responsible and do the right thing?  In this case, for some people, maybe it’s just so right to do the wrong thing.  They can use a horse, bute him when he’s lame, and sell him “drug-free” to slaughter when his time is up.  What’s not to like about this plan?  They end up with cash in hand.  Who cares if someone in Europe (or even Quebec) eats him and gets sick?  The CFIA is supposed to test for drugs, right?  Too bad that this animal might be in the 99.58% of horse flesh that doesn’t get random-tested.  Life goes on.

MA: Yes, we can always do better with inspections to make sure that horses in auction houses have correct documentation that is lined up properly so that the CFIA and inspectors can ensure that we do not get another story like the one we saw in the paper, because they are always the one-offs. Thousands of horses go through the system. There is always a one-off, such as a horse being purchased only 24 hours or two or three days earlier, when the owner has attested to a six-month certificate. When those folks are found out, their licences have to be removed. If they are caught egregiously breaking the law and the rules, they have to be dealt with. There are things in place to make sure that actually happens.

CHDC: Yes, you bet your Stetson we can do better, Malcolm.  A lot better. You can do better and stop the white-washing efforts.  Those horses you call “one-offs” happen along more often than you care to admit – according to what we’ve seen in actual practice.  Only .42% of horses entering the slaughter pipeline are randomly checked for drug residue.  Did you watch the excellent Global 16X9 broadcast, by any chance, which clearly illustrated how the laws and rules can be circumvented?  Industry people admitting that food safety is being compromised?  Crap happens, Malcolm.  How sad for those at the receiving end of bute-positive horsemeat.  Maybe some four-year-old in Montreal, or a pregnant single mom in Brussels.  Tell them that the toxic meat they consumed was a one-off.

It would appear that the term "commitment" means something different to MP Allen that it does to most people. One can only wonder how committed he is to any of his previous political positions? Perhaps his commitment to any one issue just depends on the colour of the Kool-Aid he is drinking at the moment.

It would appear that the term “commitment” means something different to MP Allen that it does to most people. One can only wonder how committed he is to any of his previous political positions? Perhaps his commitment to any one issue just depends on the colour of the Kool-Aid he is drinking at the moment.

MA: Therefore the majority of horses that have been used in some sort of commercial activity or recreational activity would be abandoned over time, because folks would say that they do not want that horse anymore. If no one wanted to buy it, they would abandon it.

CHDC:  Let’s use logic here, Malcolm.  Even with the availability of slaughter at this time, some horses are still abandoned, abused and neglected.  Hay prices and the availability of hay have an effect on that situation.  But keep in mind that abandonment of an animal is a federal offense.  As you like to point out, there are laws that cover violations.  And, once more, read about the abandonment myth.

MA: The end result of this bill would be to end horse slaughter. It would not be an unintended consequence. It would be the intended consequence.

CHDC:  What garble is this about unintended and intended consequences, Malcolm?  Does it have something to do with what you said in 2011, when you didn’t think that horses were a resource for consumption?  We’re confused.  Please explain – but don’t forget to take that hoof out of your mouth first.

Malcolm Allen Support of Bill C-322

Once again, Allen assures the writer of this email that, not only does he support Bill C-322, but he was the seconder of the Bill in the House of Commons. His present stance is completely INCONSISTENT with his position in previous years! What happened? Was the issue of cruelty of slaughter to companion animals somehow resolved?

Phenylbutazone, Clenbuterol, and other drugs dangerous to human health carry life-time prohibitions.  The government admits that.  At the same time, it is evidently acceptable to “hold” horses with unknown histories for six months before sending them to slaughter, horses who may well have received those lifetime-prohibited drugs.

We’re thinking that there must be a genius within some branch of the government, someone who has been able to re-write mathematical laws.  “Never” has now become six months.

In our opinion, the government of Canada can’t have it both ways – no matter how MP Malcolm Allen or his Conservative cronies might want to spin that.

Written by Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director, CHDC

Anyone wishing to send their comments to MP Malcolm Allen can e-mail and c.c. MP Alex Atamanenko,


Posted in Agriculture, Animal Cruelty, Food Safety, Horse Slaughter, Horse welfare, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Equine Canada Writes Surprisingly Uninformed Letter to Bill C-571 Author – Relies on Debunked GAO Report

myth vs factFor the first time,  the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is revealing the content of a letter sent from Equine Canada to MP Alex Atamanenko,  author of the Bill C571,  which was recently read in the House of Commons.

In it,  the author of the letter,  EC President Al Patterson,  relies on the now infamous GAO report,  which was effectively debunked by John Holland of the Equine Welfare Alliance, to prop-up their position on horse slaughter in Canada.

Also surprising is the fact that mention of the GAO report was only made in this letter,  and was not referenced anywhere else that we could see,  not on the Equine Canada website or in other communications where horse welfare advocates could see it.  Perhaps it was only sent to MPs since they,  unlike horse advocates,  would be unaware that it had been debunked?

Please read the Equine Canada letter below:


Please read Alex Atamanenko’s reply to Mr. Patterson here.

Please SHARE,  Thank You.

Posted in Animal Cruelty, Food Safety, Horse Slaughter, Horse welfare, Politics, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments