by Carmen Weld | Story: 132381 – Feb 6, 2015 / 3:46 pm
Although interest in the auction has been high, there is concern many of the horses will be bought by so-called kill buyers, those who will have the horses sold for meat.
There are no laws against the practice, but the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition is saying the horses are not safe for consumption.
“We have been probing a little bit further, and the owner cannot attest to the fact the horses have not been given prohibited drugs,” says Sinikka Crosland, executive director of The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. “They can not go to meat buyers; it would be against the law.”
The coalition says it has former owner Gary Roberts on tape, admitting several of the horses have been administered drugs such as Phenylbutazone, which make them unsafe for consumption.
Dr. Ray Kellosalmi with the coalition says he spoke to Roberts himself on his farm and knows many of the horses, if not all, were given these drugs.
“Mr. Roberts told me, number one, that for many of the horses he does not know the history, including the drug history. For the others, he has given those horses one or more drugs that prohibit those horses from legally ever entering the slaughter pipeline.”
He says the rules put in place by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency are meant to protect consumers.
“The CFIA laws clearly state that any horse that has had even one dose of the worse drugs, should prevent that horse from ever ending up on anyone’s dinner plate, because the drugs are so toxic,” says Kellosalmi. “There is evidence in the medical literature that ‘Bute’ is so toxic to humans that it has been linked worldwide to 10,000 human deaths.”
“We have an uncertain history plus a history where we know some horses have had those very toxic drugs,” says Kellosalmi. “Because they have a high risk of being bought by slaughter buyers, they will end up on somebody’s food plate, and that is against the law.”
Kellosalmi says because the owner isn’t even clear on which horses received what treatments, kill buyers must “absent themselves” from the auction.
Earlier this week, Valley Auctions owner Donald J. Raffan told Castanet he did not believe any of the horses would be sold for meat, but Kellosalmi says every auction he has ever been to always ends with leftover horses being sold to meat buyers.
“I have been to hundreds of auctions, and I know that despite the best efforts well-meaning horsey people put in, towards the end of that auction it will be kill buyers picking up those horses. It is almost certain to happen. Except for one thing – that is this the drug connection.”
Kellosalmi says more time should be given to find good homes for the animals.
Horse lovers are expected to crowd into Valley Auctions to buy the horses that formerly belonged to Gary Roberts, who last month was charged with two counts of animal cruelty and one count of uttering threats, after 16 emaciated horses were seized from his property in December.
The auction begins Feb. 7th at 10 a.m.