December 19, 2012
For more information contact: Laura Allen (425) 419-7301 or Allen Warren (360) 692-2851
WASHINGTON COUNTY TAKES PREEMPTIVE ACTION TO PREVENT HORSE SLAUGHTER FROM RETURNING
EVERETT, WA (Dec. 19, 2012) —- Faced with overwhelming evidence that the giant Canadian equine meat processing company Bouvry Exports had a secret plan to reopen the old Florence Packing Company horse slaughterhouse at an isolated location near Stanwood in the northern part of Snohomish County, the county council unanimously passed an ordinance today making the slaughter of a horse for human consumption unlawful and carrying a fine of up to $1,000 and jail time up to 90 days.
“What gives the law real teeth,” one advocate attending the public hearing commented, “Is that each horse slaughtered is a separate offense, and if anyone tries to get into the business of killing horses for human consumption here they now can spend a lot of time in jail and pay huge fines.”
The new law had the combined support of Washington’s leading animal welfare organizations, who were out in mass to speak at a public hearing on the proposed ordinance, as were the vast majority of members of the public in attendance, before Councilman Dave Somers, a horse owner himself, moved that it be adopted.
Although it has been a number of years since horses were butchered at the Florence Packing facility itself, the property has served as a collection point and feedlot for U.S. horses from the region destined for death at Bouvry’s Fort MacLeod, AB, plant. Florence Packing is one of the Bouvry brand names for its horse meat products and is believed to be under the complete control of Canada’s largest horse slaughter operation.
Late last year a source close to Bouvry management in Canada tipped off local horse advocates that the company was planning on reopening the Florence slaughterhouse in order to develop new markets in China and Russia that could easily be serviced from there due to its proximity to SeaTac Airport.
An indepth investigation revealed that the plant required no new local or county approvals to reopen since it’s original Use Permit is still valid, that a certificate of occupancy had recently been acquired for the long vacant buildings and that Bouvry Exports had been suddenly added to the USDA list of bonded meat processors despite having no other slaughter facilities in this country.
The clincher was when a Freedom Of Information Act disclosure was filed with the Denver field office of USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service, revealing that Bouvry Exports has acquired an application for meat inspectors for the plant and could file at anytime. The inside source advised that it held off only because its secret attempt to kill horses in the U.S. had been discovered. The company knew that lagtime due to USDA not having protocols in place for horse meat inspections would give the local community time to mount public resistance to the plant as has happened in other communities around the country, including Oregon, Missouri and New Mexico.
The key factor that made the Bouvry plan feasible was that reopening Florence Packing did not require outside investment by the multi million dollar company as those others did and an exisiting facility, even in need of some retooling, cost far less to go online than starting from scratch.
When presented with this hard evidence of the threat from Bouvry Exports, the County Council opted to to move first to head it off rather than wait and fight a costly legal campaign after the fact.
Councilman Somers said in presenting the ordinance that the evidence made it clear that this could happen and horse slaughter is not something that has a place in Snohomish County, or anywhere in the Untied States as far as he is concerned.
Horse Harbor Foundation
The true mission of any animal welfare organization should be to eliminate the need for itself.