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Canadian slaughterhouse firm no longer accepting Thoroughbreds
Viande Richelieu, the company that operates two of Canada’s four equine slaughterhouses, appears to be backing away from accepting Thoroughbreds for slaughter after their unusual move of returning slaughter-bound former racehorses Canuki and Cactus Cafe.
The two Thoroughbreds left Beulah Park’s barn area May 1 after their owner, Barbara Price, allegedly sold them to trainer Mark Wedig. Ohio stewards investigating the horses’ whereabouts ruled Price off for a year and fined her $1,000 for impeding the investigation and providing false information. About three weeks later, Wedig presented Canuki and Cactus Cafe to West Virginia state veterinarian John Day in connection with Mountaineer Park officials’ inquiry into the horses’ whereabouts.
According to a May 24 e-mail from Richelieu administrative technician Geneve Ethier to Mindy Lovell, a Canadian farm owner whom Ohio stewards authorized to contact Richelieu on their behalf, the Canuki and Cactus Cafe case “did occur major problems to us and a lot of time, efforts, and money consuming. So to avoid that in the future, the plant advises all his suppliers to not BUY those thoroughbred[s] and overall not have them ship to us. . . . For us, thoroughbred[s] are definitely banned from our premises.”
Viande Richelieu operates the equine slaughterhouses Viande Richelieu Meat Inc. in Massueville near St.-Hyacinthe, Quebec, and Bouvry Export in Fort MacLeod, Calgary, Alberta.
Asked whether Richelieu had told him to stop buying Thoroughbreds on the company’s behalf, supplier Bruce Rotz of Shippensburg, Pa., said: “They did. I buy horses for them. We never did bring them too many Thoroughbreds. We tried to stay away from them. They’re just aggravation. A lot of people don’t want them slaughtered, you know.”
Richelieu Viande declined to comment, but Ethier told Daily Racing Form : “Someone told me you already talked to our buyer in the U.S.A. . . . So you speak with someone, so you have your answer.”
About 90,000 horses of all breeds are killed annually in Canada’s four federally registered slaughterhouses, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and about 66,000 of those horses arrive from the United States. The federal agency did not provide information regarding the number of Thoroughbreds slaughtered in Canada each year. Canadians annually consume about 300 tons of horse meat, on average, the CFIA says, but most of the horse meat from Canadian slaughterhouses is exported to European food markets.
The use of North American horse meat for human consumption, and strict European Union protocols regarding food safety, form an important undercurrent in the debate over racehorse slaughter.
In July 2010, the CFIA began requiring that all horses presented for slaughter be accompanied by an Equine Information Document, including a description of the horses’ markings and a record of all their vaccinations and medications for the previous six months. Slaughterhouse operators are required to screen each EID, match it to the horse presented for slaughter, and then provide the document to a CFIA official for verification. Anti-slaughter advocates maintain that the EIDs can be forged or falsified, a federal offense in Canada, by owners or suppliers selling horses to slaughter. That, anti-slaughter and equine welfare advocates say, can allow drug-tainted meat to enter the human food chain.
Some drugs commonly administered to race and sport horses are considered safe in food animals, once certain withdrawal times have passed. These include ivermectin, furoseminde (Salix or Lasix), flunixin (Banamine), and altrenogest (Regu-mate). But others – including clenbuterol (Ventipulmin), boldenone (Equipoise), phenylbutazone (Butazolidin), and nitrofurazone (Fura-Zone or Furacin) – are not permitted at all in horses slaughtered for food.
“All carcasses are individually inspected to protect the health and safety of Canadians,” CFIA media relations official Lisa Gauthier said in an e-mail. “Furthermore, federally registered establishments where animals are slaughtered are routinely inspected to ensure compliance with the Meat Inspection Act and Regulations. The Agency also has a monitoring program to randomly test meat for the presence of pesticides, environmental contaminants, and drug residues. . . . When the CFIA detects results that are of concern, sampling frequency can be increased.”
It’s not yet clear whether concerns over drugs played a role in Richelieu’s apparent policy change on Thoroughbreds. Richelieu supplier Rotz says anti-slaughter advocates, not Canadian regulations, were his biggest headache in buying Thoroughbreds for slaughter.
“I had a lot of hassle with it,” he added. “I don’t even want one [a Thoroughbred] on my premises. These people that say, ‘Save the Thoroughbreds’ or ‘Save any horse,’ if they put 10 dollars a week to feed the homeless people and the mistreated children in this world, you know, this world would be totally different.”
BOUVRY EXPORTS ARE JUST ONE OF THE HORSESLAUGHTER HOUSES THAT SLAUGHTER OUR CANADIAN WILDHORSES.....THEY ARE A DISGRACE TO OUR NATIONAL COMMUNITY.. I have seen many pictures surface that show ANIMAL ABUSE AT ITS HIGHEST LEVEL AT THIS SLAUGHTERHOUSE...I REALLY DISLIKE YOU INHUMANE JERKS. .
Re: the last sentence of the article - Most people that have compassion for animals also have compassion for humans AND also contribute to their care and welfare as well.
People have the brains and ability to care for themselves, those who mistreat children can go to jail (or sent for slaughter), People have caused the over population of horses and are therefore responsible for them, they cannot look after themselves. I do not know of any canadians that knowingly eat horse meat. if you can spend the money the horse makes for you, then you can find a home for it when you no longer want it. Food animals are raised for food, horses are not. And as for Anonymous-you are an idiot. Did they have a whole lot of choice during world ware II, do you know why the bison became almost extinct? Maybe you also agree with cannabalism?
This is certainly not a victory for the thoroughbreds... I said early on ... " they will simply ship them to Mexico now and it will be worse for them" Rotz said he was NOT BUYING ANYMORE thoroughbreds but guess what??.. he had one a week later and guess what he was trying to do with her? Send her all the way to Mexico... once again horse advocates try to make changes that sometimes fail the horses and the fate is worse. People need to think things through and do the best thing for the horses. By the way, he is still buying thoroughbreds .. Rotz is a liar .. certainly not what I would call a victory as some said it was!!!
When an animal has a name, wears shoes and a halter and has learned to trust humans; this is a companion animal. Period. Not food. There are countries where eating cats and dogs is considered acceptable. Does this mean that we (North Americans) should equip animal shelters with slaughter equipment to supply cat and dog meat to those countries? I think not.
What makes a horse any different from any other animal we slaughter? is it because Americans do not eat horse meat? In World War II, people ate horse meat to survive. How can you cut horses out of the animals we slaughter; cows, lambs, bison etc.. Is it because these other animals cannot run as fast? Talk about blinkers on!!!!! Is it because these animals cannot compete for the triple crown?
I am a breeder of thoroughbreds and do not agree that it is the breeders who are the only problem. We breed our mares to stallions and sell the horses to others who intend to race them. i think that there should be a tax placed upon horses at every step of the way to deal with this issue. From the stud fee, to the sales ring to every race a horse runs, this could generate enough money to offer farms with extra space the ability to care for retired or unwanted horses. A National Retirement Foundation can be formed who will provide oversight and payments to the farms and also accredit them to ensure they meet certain standards. If we took $1.00 from every horse sold, and for every horse who raced, this should provide the needed funding to establish this type of organization.
Although there are many compassionate horsemen and women who support horse slaughter for practical reasons, it is not an issue that can be addressed with logic alone. Horses, and our relationship with them, have been an integral part of the history of humanity. And there is, in fact, a bond with them that has developed for centuries. I believe the answer, as others have pointed out in this post, is to start at the beginning and look at the breeders. Not just the extravagantly wealthy breeders of professional athletes, but also the backyard people who breed their mare because it would be "cute" to have a foal. It would also be appropriate for those who invest tremendous funds in breeding for them to also invest in retirement homes and sanctuaries for horses who no longer have a "useful" purpose in the human scheme of things. I believe that slaughter, which is not the most humane death, is a quick fix to a problem for which there are far better solutions.
Why is it that no one will go after the Thoroughbred Breeders! That is where the problem begins!! Are we that selfish that we need to breed thousands of horses just to try and get a 'winner'? It is ridiculous! Then the Thoroughbred industry just throws away the ones they no longer want and expects someone else to care for them. Start with the Breeders and go from there. Until they stop over breeding, there will always be a need for slaughter houses - open your eyes!!!!!
Unwanted horses are a problem that must be rectified and (unfortunately) slaughter is one alternative. However,if the Thoroughbred industry bans sending animals to slaughter and an owner or trainer violates the ban, he/she should be "ruled off" permanently.