Horse meat on the menu at MD fundraiser (Canada)

This is not an image of the meal served at the Muscular Dystropy fundraiser at the Fairmont in Toronto.  It is of a meal from a high end restaurant in Zurich.  The meat?  Follenfillet.  You guessed it.  A filet of foal, or the equivalent to beef veal, or calf meat.  Travel photograph.
This is not an image of the meal served at the Muscular Dystropy fundraiser at the Fairmont in Toronto. It is of a meal from a high end restaurant in Zurich. The meat? Follenfillet. You guessed it. A filet of foal, or the equivalent to beef veal, or calf meat. Travel photograph.

Horse meat was on the menu at a charity fund raising dinner December 4, 2008, at the Fairmont Hotel in Toronto, Canada to benefit Muscular Dystrophy Canada.

Traditional meats, game and even shark were also served.

Horse lovers in Canada, including the Fund’s Canadian constituents whom we alerted, responded quickly and in high numbers. As a matter of fact, they stirred up such a controversy the Fairmont was scrambling to pull the horse meat from the menu.

Horse meat is typically expensive, and eaten in some parts of Canada. We asked Twyla Francois of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition to enlighten on just how common it is and where.

Twyla responded:

Horse meat is generally only consumed in Quebec and perhaps by some small groups of traditional Belgians and French across Canada, but very, very little. The vast majority of the meat is exported to Europe and Japan.

It is not too late to express your disgust to Muscular Dystrophy Canada, while at the same time politely encouraging them to rethink their choice of serving horse meat at any of their future events.

Horses are not for eating.

Insensitivity to the terror and horror horses experience during the butchering process in Canadian abattoirs is totally incongruent with an organization whose goal is to help the suffering.

Undercover eyewitness accounts and footage clearly shows that horses are butchered before they are bled out. Horses often remain conscious as they are moved through fast paced production lines to nearby saws that rip through their flesh and bones to dismember them before carving out their meat can begin.

As Twyla put it:

Serving horse meat supports the many abuses this industry has been perpetrating against horses — some of whom were once someone’s pet or prize-winning racers.

Here’s the contact information:

Muscular Dystrophy Canada
2345 Yonge St, Suite 900
Toronto, Ontario M4P 2E5
T: 1-866-MUSCLE-8
F: (416) 488-7523

Thank you.

6 thoughts on “Horse meat on the menu at MD fundraiser (Canada)”

  1. “You and I both know that the way to put animal butchers out of business is to go vegetarian, and ideally, Vegan.”
    Hear, hear.

    Yes, let’s support each others’ movements – with a vegan underpinning to all collective action for animal rights, I believe we create a strong, dynamic and ethical movement that works at the roots of domination. I am encouraged by your particular brand of advocacy, Vivian, and hope to find more like you!

    As you have said, there is nothing wrong with a ‘single-issue’ focus such as horses; if this is what engages you in the struggle for animal rights, then it is what you have every right to focus on. Of course, my own activism is biased towards what interests me, too; and how could it be otherwise? And by recognizing the connections to other forms of animal use and abuse, such as the connections you mention between factory farming and horse slaughter, you create a consistent and ethical standpoint for your activism.

    Another connection between horses & veganism – written about I think by Lee Hall in ‘Capers in the Churchyard’ – is how free-living horses are being forcibly removed from their habitat by government branches, for the ranchers who want more land for their cattle ranching enterprises. If people did not eat cows, we would have more habitat for the horses. I think you mentioned the pressure from cattle ranchers in a recent post about horses in the BC interior. It’s interesting to make explicit a major cause of the pressure on wild horses: each of us can have an immediate impact on the situation by boycotting the meat industry.


  2. veganactivist

    Thank you for adding your insight.

    I believe in the “horse movement” what you refer to began with the horse slaughter issue.

    When confronted with the argument by traditional food animal butchers that if they “allowed” horse slaughter to be banned, traditional food animals would be next, and they would be put out of business.

    Of course this is nonsense, but many horse lovers, who have never been involved on any animal welfare issue before and do eat meat, used that as a defense — that they enjoy a good steak, but that horses should not be slaughtered, just as dogs and cats should not be.

    Where do you draw the line? If a creature can feel pain. Yes, that means fish too.

    The late Linda McCartney said she didn’t eat anyone “with a face.”

    One of my favorite graphics shows a puppy and a piglet with the caption, “Which one do you pet? Which one do you eat? Why?”

    You and I both know that the way to put animal butchers out of business is to go vegetarian, and ideally, Vegan.

    Times they are a-changin’ and we will get there, but in the meantime all animals who are killed for their meat, skins, fur body parts, or any other reason except to spare them suffering — and that must be done in a kind and gentle manner — must be advocated for.

    Going vegetarian or Vegan of course does not address animal testing in most instances, a horror that has absolutely no need to exist. It does not address dog fighting, cockfighting, rodeo cruelty, horse fighting, abuses in horse racing, and many other horrors for animals.

    None of us can be all things to all animals. But for those who choose one animal to defend, or even one issue to take a stand on, it adds a voice to the animals they did not have before. Heightening awareness on one issue often leads to raising it for animals generally, and benefits humans as well as them.

    Let us all stay informed, help one another on their campaigns and projects when we can, and adopt lifestyles that make an impact, and help.


  3. Cheers Vivian.

    I appreciate your consistency and your ethical eating. I think howlingduckranch’s comment stems from the frustration that many animal rights activists such as myself feel when talking with some horse people – many of whom are staunch defenders of one species but who at the same time will eat meat, go hunting, fishing and so on without a second thought – and will defend themselves endlessly about it.

    I think it’s great that you have recognized the connections and as an animal rights activist it encourages me to link up with your cause in solidarity. I will send a message to Muscular Dystrophy Canada about their dinner. The horse and the shark on the menu are really off the mark; and I will suggest that they explore plant-based gourmet foods at their next function. (Why aren’t more health organizations committed to vegetarian foods, anyways?)

    Thanks for your good work.



  4. I found the whole menu absolutely deplorable, and gagged as I read through it.

    We are the Fund for Horses. I started the organization because I saw there was a need for someone who truly understood horses and their unique qualities and needs to focus on their particular issues.

    On a personal level, I was raised alongside horses, and feel a strong bond with them, much as many people do dogs and cats.

    I have been a vegetarian from age 12, and while I would like to say I am also Vegan, I do not always adhere 100% of the time — more like 98%.

    I have also worked for a wide variety of animal welfare organizations continuously since college days. Because of my specialist knowledge of equines, I have mostly been assigned to horse protection projects.

    So, we all give what we can, as much as we can, where we can do the most good and have the biggest impact.


  5. I am absolutely horrified that your organization would allow such a distasteful type of food to be served to raise money for people who suffer a very serious condition.

    I am absolutely ashamed that I even ran across an article that would even hint that MD had any participation in this.

    My thoughts, opinions, whether you care or not, have certainly decreased about your organization.

    How could horse meat and MD be in the same sentence, much less in the same dining room?


  6. Why do the cows (pigs, chickens, turkeys, sheep, etc), who died in the same manner that you describe (and find so abhorrent) as the horses, not deserve your respect and protection as well? Or do you somehow value the life of a horse much more so than the life of a cow?


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