By SINIKKA CROSLAND
Executive Director, Canadian Horse Defense Coalition
The Truth about the Ontario Equestrian Federation
In the October 2008 issue of Whoa!, a quarterly publication by the Ontario Equestrian Federation (OEF), an objectionable article was published, supporting the horse slaughter industry in Canada.
In this article called “The Truth About Horse Slaughter in Canada”, which reads like an advertisement for sending your horses to slaughter, there are glowing recommendations made about Natural Valley Farms horse slaughter plant in Neudorf, SK. To begin with, the timing of the article is questionable, since Natural Valley Farms (NVF) went into receivership in September, about the same time this article was published.
The article disputes the findings of the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition (CHDC) in their June 2008 report, which provides powerful film evidence of profound suffering of horses at NVF.
Proof obtained includes everything from horses shipped from Canada and the US in double decker trailers, shipment of pregnant, blind, old and sick horses, injuries as a result of overcrowded trailering, lack of food and water, inadequate segregation, an abusive and extremely loud and frightening environment, deficient slaughterhouse facilities built for cattle not horses, and most disturbingly, inadequate stunning practices with the captive bolt gun.
The film evidence obtained by the CHDC was viewed by Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Section Head and Program Director of the Animal Behaviour Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts University’s Cummings’ School of Veterinary Medicine, who agreed that many horses were not rendered unconscious properly before being butchered, thus experiencing extreme pain and suffering.
It is the view of the CHDC that the OEF and the Saskatchewan Horse Federation, amongst other groups that form part of the newly formed Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada, have a vested interest in the economics of horse slaughter, and cannot be called upon to be unbiased in their decision to be pro-slaughter. A 2004 poll taken by Ipsos Reid concluded that 2/3 of Canadians oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption. However, the OEF chooses to ignore this finding, as well as the evidence presented by the CHDC. Instead, they support fellow Horse Welfare Alliance member, Alberta-based Bouvry Exports, who is Canada’s largest exporter of horse meat – a multi-million dollar business.
It is the view of the CHDC that the horse slaughter industry and the businesses that support it, including some auctions, horse dealers and haulers, is the major cause of the neglect and abuse of horses, and promotes our equines as a disposable commodity.
The CHDC is therefore renouncing its OEF membership, as we do not support the abuse and suffering of the 100,000 horses that will be slaughtered in Canada in 2008.
Supporters are asked to write to the Executive Directors at the OEF at email@example.com or call 905-709-6545 to let them know your view on their pro-slaughter stance.
Learn more about horse slaughter in Canada at the www.defendhorsescanada.org.