The Silence is Deafening
by Shelley Grainger
When presented with evidence of lies, deceit and corruption, as brought forward in the Toronto Star’s March 30th Star investigation: Ottawa refuses to say whether drug-tainted horse meat entered food chain, not even denial is spoken. Not a, “we’ll get back to you” rebuff – just deafening silence.
This resounding hush is the same that was heard after the CHDC’s damaging investigative report from inside the La Petite Nation slaughter plant in 2011 – the same one implicated in the Toronto Star report. No words of acknowledgement, disavowal, or otherwise were heard from the Ministry of Agriculture, the CFIA, nor the dichotomously named pro-slaughter group representing the industry, the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC), after the CHDC released Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada’s Horsemeat Industry.
In previous years, the CFIA and HWAC made attempts to minimize or even deny the evidence brought forward in the CHDC reports. After Pasture to Plate, only after a concerted effort to communicate with the CFIA, was a response received. In the usual manner, vague explanations were given and promises of improved industry standards were made. Even an absurd statement was provided, that since the video evidence of a horse taken from behind did not show the actual entry of the 11 captive bolt stunning attempts, it was impossible to determine if the horse was actually improperly shot. Video evidence is just that – EVIDENCE. You didn’t have to see the multiple holes in the poor Belgian’s face to see that he was still wavering on his feet as the shooter shot the captive bolt gun again, and again, and again, and again ………..11 times – but that was not conclusive in the CFIA’s eyes.
And what does the pro-slaughter pro-horsemeat eating Bill DesBarres have to say on behalf of HWAC? He’s busy these days giving quotes expounding all the wonderful reasons to eat horsemeat, as in this CBC News article of February 26th, Europe’s horsemeat scandal spurs Canadian consumption. Funny how the supposed horse welfare spokesperson for the horse industry says, “People are inquisitive and they say, Well, what’s wrong with it? Let me try it.” Makes you want to go right out there and get yourself some tasty horsemeat!
Canadian consumers are not fooled, and Canadian horse people are not fooled. The CFIA is not giving off a warm, fuzzy feeling of food industry security here. Perhaps they feel it’s Europe’s problem – they get most of our horsemeat anyways! And horse people are not fooled by the bizarre “horse welfare” policies of HWAC. Policies that are not even thinly veiled – they are outspoken pro-slaughter advocates – AND they are partners with our provincial horse federations and Equine Canada. How can this be? It seems obvious that the Ministry of Agriculture made a deal with the devil – and the horse federations were either complicit or had no say in the matter.
How much does it take to bring acknowledgement from society and industry to the fact that breeding indiscriminately, passing off, killing and eating our horses is cruel to equines, unsafe for human consumption, and is intolerable behaviour in a modern, progressive society?