May Equine Awareness



May 15, 2011

When the concept of recognizing horses for May Equine Awareness arose, it originally stemmed from the Norval Meats closure tribute on April 30th and two Spring Equine Fairs inOntario in May.  We thought, why not create an awareness campaign around these dates and complete the campaign with information, tributes, and promotions celebrating the horse.

One of the many tributes from our supporters that was taken to the Norval Meats tribute

On April 30th, a small group of CHDC members paid tribute to the thousands of horses who suffered cruel deaths at the Norval Meats horse slaughter plant in Proton Station, ON.  While the plant closed over a year ago due to a suspicious fire, it finally was removed recently from the list of federally approved plants, so we attended to pay final respects.  Poems, pictures, tributes and flowers were laid at the entrance gates and roses were left to symbolize beauty (their blooms) and suffering (their thorns).

 With the Kentucky Derby on May 7th, it was an appropriate lead-in to a May tribute.  The CHDC was signed up for booth displays at both the Everything Equine Fair in Uxbridge (May 14): and All About Horses in Lindsay (May 28-29):  Then an unexpected turn of events grew into the biggest equine awareness event we couldn’t have planned any better ourselves, thanks to an erroneous programming decision at Food NetworkCanada.

During the week of May 9th, news began to circulate about the “French Cuisine” episode due to air on May 16th, that features frogs’ legs, foie gras and horsemeat to be prepared on Top Chef Canada. The CHDC responded on our blog:  Outraged citizens and horse welfare supporters alike spoke out quickly against Food Network Canada and the show’s sponsors.  Facebook boycott groups arose and soon thousands of people joined in a huge collective effort to demand this insulting horsemeat episode be pulled from the programming:  Boycott Top Chef – Protect the Horses:!/pages/Boycott-Top-Chef-Protect-the-Horses/182296598489582 and Boycott President’s Choice for Supporting Horse Meat:!/pages/Boycott-Presidents-Choice-for-Supporting-Horse-Meat/216865101666725.

From the President's Choice web site

When last checked, the producers were sticking to their guns, explaining that its traditional fare inFrance, so the show will proceed.  Never mind the majority of Canadians, including French Canadians, who do not eat horsemeat and are appalled at the idea of butchering our horses for foreign palates.

As this raised awareness builds, the CHDC will continue throughout May in honour of our horses.

On May 14th, the CHDC set up for the 3rd time in 4 years at the Everything Equine Fair inUxbridge,Ontario. It was very satisfying to see more support and gather more anti-slaughter legislation petition signatures than any other year.  We realized that most people knew of the CHDC and were also aware that thousands of horses are going to slaughter for human consumption. 

Jessie from the CHDC and Paola

This once hidden industry is now more known in horse circles and in the public mainstream. People know the reasons why it’s wrong (inhumane treatment, transport and slaughter, as well as meat toxicity).  We received many thanks and words of encouragement to keep up the good work.

Alongside the CHDC this year were some very special participants.  Anthea Larke and her daughter Jessica made a presentation in the riding ring, bringing along 3 successful show horses from their Meadowlarke Stables.  What made it extraordinary was that these 3 horses, along with about 47 others, have been saved from slaughter by Anthea.


 Many were bought atOntario’s biggest kill buyer auction, OLEX inWaterloo,ON.  The audience heard Anthea describe the very rewarding experiences she’s had, not only saving all these horses’ lives, but to demonstrate to the crowd that good horses can be found at these auctions and with training they can become successful mounts. 

Anthea arrived with a huge display board, complete with dozens of photos of horses that have all been saved from going to meat.  Many show horses, some pleasure mounts and others spending their retirement years in the field.  People were drawn to the board, and the wonder and amazement could be seen on their faces.

Anthea and her Wall of Fame


 Many, many thanks to Anthea and Jessica for partnering with us at the show and thanks to Meadowlarke Stables for their tireless work helping so many horses.

As the next 2 weeks progress, look for more articles and news from your friends at the CHDC.  In the meantime, we’re asking people to take action during May Equine Awareness.


Download our flyer from the CHDC’s “Do It Now” web page:

Print it, fold in thirds and hand out the flyer.  Easy!

You can distribute just the one flyer but circulate more if you can for just one day or as often as you can!.  Locations where to leave the flyer are endless and only bounded by your imagination. 

Some suggestions: 

–          Tack and feed stores

–          Pet food stores

–          Groceries stores bulletin board

–          MTO licensing offices

–          Chamber of Commerce offices

–          Tourist information centres

–          Post offices

–          Doctors’ and dentists’ offices

–          Veterinarian offices

–          Hair salons

The idea behind this campaign is to encourage people to pick up the flyer out of curiosity and pique their interest.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever does.”  Margaret Mead

One comment

  1. Reisa · ·

    I’m sitting in tears. I really, really needed this good news today after a horrible weekend of coping with the “President’s Choice promotes and sells horse meat” issue. Thanks for the reminder that there is so much good in the world.

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