Theresa Nolet is renowned for her tireless horse rescue efforts in the area of Penticton, B.C. A Good Samaritan for animals, she rehabilitates and cares for horses on her own property. Some of the horses she has looked after have wandered into her yard from First Nations properties. She has fed, groomed, and given necessary medications to those animals needing a helping hand.
But not everyone understands acts of kindness. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently took issue with Theresa’s timely interventions which included, as a first aid response, administering veterinary drugs to suffering free-roaming horses on her own land. To the agency, it’s all about safeguarding the food supply and horses are a part of that lucrative picture. Any threat to profits and some CFIA henchman pulls on his big boots and resorts to intimidation tactics against someone who simply wants to do what is right.
Alleging that Theresa purposely gave the horses phenylbutazone (a drug prohibited from entering the food chain) in order to exempt them from slaughter, the CFIA complained to the RCMP. A member of the force then called to talk it over with Theresa.
So what the CFIA is really trying to say (while seeking the support of law enforcement) is that nothing stands in the way of the slaughter industry. Kindness and animal welfare concerns must take a back seat. Well-meaning people cannot administer drugs to horses who enter their own land and are clearly suffering. Because those horses might someday end up on a dinner plate and that’s what really counts, right?
If the agency truly wanted to keep food safe, they would prohibit horse meat from entering the food supply, period. Horses move into the slaughter pipeline from a myriad of directions, change hands numerous times, are often “covered” by falsified Equine Information Documents (which attempt to track the drug histories of slaughter-bound horses) and their flesh can contain any number of contaminants, including phenylbutazone and other drugs with lifetime prohibitions. The CFIA tests a paltry .42% of horse meat samples for the presence of drugs. Considering all this, the concept of safe horse meat is nothing more than a pipe dream.
Instead of sending an RCMP officer to confront a horse rescuer, why didn’t the CFIA concentrate on the real problem – First Nations horses being permitted to roam free with no guarantee of what they have encountered or consumed during their lifetimes, as no one has been keeping track of their whereabouts?
We feel that the actions taken by the CFIA show a shocking transgression of human rights, an attempt to trample the inherent yearning within each one of us to do the right thing and help alleviate suffering. What the agency has done is unconscionable. They are trying to prevent other caring people from treating horses who need help – so that more can go for slaughter. As documented, they have attempted to bully a compassionate citizen into inaction by using the RCMP as a pawn.
If you feel as violated as we do on behalf of Theresa Nolet and the horses she has tried to protect, please take action now. Send polite e-mails to the following contacts, asking them when Canada is going to ban horse slaughter on the grounds that horse meat will never be safe. Horses have not been raised as food animals.
The CFIA can threaten, bully and call the RCMP any time they want to. But the Good Samaritans of our country are not likely to go away any time soon. They will continue to do what is right and it is up to the government to recognize and accept the fact that kindness and compassion will always prevail.
Dr. Harpreet Kochhar, Chief Veterinary Officer, CFIA – Harpreet.Kochhar@inspection.gc.ca
Dr. Martine Dubuc, Chief Food Safety Officer, CFIA – Martine.Dubuc@inspection.gc.ca
Please c.c. the following:
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon. Jane Philpott, Minister of Health – Jane.Philpott@parl.gc.ca
Your own Member of Parliament can be found here: http://www.parl.gc.ca/Parliamentarians/en/members.
Thank you on behalf of the horses!