ORANGEVILLE, ON, Dec. 5, 2011 /CNW/ - Today, footage and photos captured
by an anonymous source at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation Inc. in St.
Andre-Avellin, Quebec, are being released by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC): http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html.
The evidence provided to the CHDC reveals troubling discrepancies and
missing data on Equine Information Documents (EIDs), forms that are
required by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to track the
drug history of horses sold for slaughter. All documents examined had
some form of omission, ranging from incomplete owners' or agents'
information, to the disturbing mis-identification of horses as per
their accompanying photographs. Research indicates that at least six
of the horses had previously raced, with one racing just three months
prior to slaughter. From a food traceability standpoint, the results
"As most horses have not been raised specifically for human consumption,
many have been administered anti-inflammatory drugs such as
phenylbutazone," states Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the
CHDC. "No withdrawal period has been determined for this drug, so it
is considered prohibited and must never enter the food chain."
Yet the CFIA continues to turn a blind eye to this human food safety
risk and sanctions the importation of U.S. horses, many of whom have
exchanged hands numerous times. It is clear that Canada has a faulty
EID system in place that invites fraud and permits horses from any
direction to enter the slaughter pipeline.
Additionally, the anonymously-submitted footage clearly illustrates the
failure of assembly-line stunning practices to quickly render horses
unconscious. Dr. Nicholas Dodman, an anesthesiologist and veterinary
behaviourist at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, audited
the footage and states, "My final conclusion, after reviewing 150-plus
horse slaughters in this series of videos, is that the process was
terrifying for most of the horses and, in many cases, horribly
At Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation Inc., at least 40% of the horses in
the stun box were not rendered immediately unconscious, or revived
after stunning. Dr. Dodman adds, "At this slaughterhouse, in cases
where a second shot was required, most humane standards, in my opinion,
were not met."
A large Belgian horse received 11 stunning attempts, and numerous horses
whinnied after being shot. One whinnied twice after each of two shots,
but no third stunning attempt was made.
Canada's Meat Inspection Act - Part III stipulates that immediate loss
of consciousness must be attained before an animal is bled.
Other concerns include the lack of food and water in overnight holding
pens, failure to segregate a "downer" horse from others in a crowded
pen, and poor stun box design, which contributed to the sheer terror
displayed by many of the horses about to be slaughtered.
Previous investigations conducted in recent years on three other
Canadian slaughterhouses revealed numerous problems relating to animal
welfare as well. It is therefore shocking to discover that - in spite
of CFIA reassurances and promises following two 2010 investigations -
yet a fourth slaughter plant has been found to be severely lacking in
terms of adherence to accepted animal welfare standards. At Viandes de
la Petite-Nation, video footage revealed a CFIA inspector observing the
stun box for just 3-1/2 minutes over the course of two days.
The CHDC calls upon the Canadian government to stop placing consumers at
risk and to end the suffering experienced by horses in the four
remaining federally-inspected slaughterhouses in the country. We ask
the government to support enactment of Bill C-322, which will prohibit
the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human
consumption, as well as horsemeat products for the same purpose.
The report and video footage can be viewed here: http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html
SOURCE Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
For further information:
Pour un interview en français, contactez Dr. Olivier Berreville - 204.891.8136