The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has revealed a sweeping undercover investigation of Canada's leading equine slaughterhouses.

In late February 2010, the CHDC received hidden camera footage of brutal horse slaughter practices at Viande Richelieu in Quebec and Bourvry Exports in Alberta - the later known as the largest exporter of horsemeat in North America.

CHDC posted six videos on YouTube titled, "The Chambers of Carnage, which showed the very real, extremely graphic, and very disturbing footage of what horses are being forced to endure as they are slaughtered and bled for foreign consumers.

On April 9, 2010, YouTube pulled the videos citing the content was "inappropriate".

In response, Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) posed the question, "If it is inappropriate to view what is happening to our horses, why is Congress allowing the practice to continue?"

While YouTube and other media cave into industry pressures and continue to try and hide America's "dirty little secret", if you have ever loved a horse or an animal at all, you owe them the time to witness what is being done to American horses across our nation's borders.

"So horrific are the conditions depicted at both plants that they have prompted Bill desBarres, Chairman of the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC) and a long time proponent of horse slaughter, to declare he believes the footage was fabricated by groups opposed to “any animal agriculture”, states a recent EWA press release titled, "Leading Horse Slaughter Proponent Calls Undercover Video a Fabrication".

While industy leaders scramble to try and cover up the truth yet again, there is no question this footage is the real deal!


More on the truth of horseslaughter...

"Sally had an e-mail from a person in Canada who wants 10,000 [wild] horses that he would slaughter the horses and send them to a third world country. Don is going to send the email. Jim said he has a demand for horses going to Denmark, but they are having a problem getting titled [wild] horses." -Excerpts from Animal Law Coalition's BLM’s Final Solution For Wild Horses and Burros by Laura Allen, 12/21/09.


CHICAGO, (EWA) 4/02/10 – A peer reviewed scientific study tracing race horses sent to slaughter for human consumption has found that 100% of the horses in the study group had been administered phenylbutazone, a banned carcinogen that can also fatally damage the bone marrow of humans. The findings appear to validate the European Union’s recent tightening of traceability requirements on horse meat from third countries.

The paper, titled Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk, appeared in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology and calls into question the reliability of the USDA (US Department of Agriculture) and CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency) testing programs which have consistently failed to detect the substance.

The manuscript(1), which was authored by Drs. Nicholas Dodman(2), Nicolas Blondeau(3) and Ann M. Marini(4) , followed eighteen Thoroughbred (TB) race horses that were identified by matching their registered name to their race track drug record over a five year period and were given phenylbutazone (PBZ, Bute) on race day and were subsequently sent to slaughter for human consumption.

The study also traced records on sixteen TB race horses that were given PBZ on race day and would have also entered the food chain had they not been rescued. The study was limited to race horses because of the availability of drug records, but phenylbutazone is one of the most common drugs used in the treatment of musculoskeletal injuries in horses.

Because of the bone marrow toxicity caused by PBZ in humans, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set no safe levels of PBZ and bans its use food producing animals, including horses. While PBZ is but one of the numerous banned substances that are routinely given to US horses, it is one of the most dangerous.

Defenders of horse slaughter have long pointed to USDA testing records, which consistently showed no positive results for PBZ. The new study shows that the USDA testing could not have been accurate. Indeed, the study uncovered a pilot test performed by the USDA in 2004 and 2005 that used a different testing technique and found 8.3% of the meat to be contaminated with PBZ. The pilot program had been subsequently discontinued.

The study estimates that sixty seven million pounds of horse meat derived from US horses were sent overseas for human consumption in 2008. If 8.3% of this meat contained phenylbutazone residues, it would translate to over 5 million pounds of contaminated meat.

Opponents of horse slaughter have long warned that US horses are not raised as food animals and mechanisms to ensure the removal of horses treated with banned substances from the food chain are inadequate at best.


Equine Welfare Alliance recently issued a discussion paper with their partners, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition on the serious drug issue concerning North American horses. The comprehensive paper covers concerns over the ability to meet compliance with European Commission regulations on food safety.

(1) Article is cited as, Dodman, N., Blondeau, N., Marini, A.M., Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk, Food and Chemical Toxicology (2010), doi: 10.1016/j.fct. 2010.02.021
(2) Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, North Grafton, MA
(3) Institut de Pharmacologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire - I.P.M.C, UMR 6097,
C.N.R.S/Université de Nice Sophia Antipolis, 660 route des Lucioles, Sophia Antipolis
06560 Valbonne, FRANCE
(4) Department of Neurology and Program in Neuroscience, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda, MD.



by Vicki Tobin

Published 4/04/10 on RT Fitch's
Straight from the Horse's Heart

The slaughter proponent’s arguments bring to mind the old Abbott and Costello routine because you never really know what they are saying. They talk back and forth to each other with neither, understanding the other or making sense.

Each new year brings new arguments and scare tactics from our opponents. When each talking point is disproved, they move on to the next. Every once in a while, they throw a curve ball and resurrect an old argument thinking it just might stick this time around.

We, on the other hand, have been consistent in our message. Humanely euthanize your horse. End your horse’s life by humane euthanasia as we do with all non-food animals in the United States. It is the preferred method by all major veterinarian associations. Any competent veterinarian will tell you that. Veterinarians don’t carry captive bolts in their medical bags or advise their clients to send their horses to slaughter. Veterinarians for Equine Welfare has an excellent updated white paper on this subject.

Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector stated, "The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected."

When the slaughter debate started heating up in the late 2000s, the argument of choice was; what are we going to do with old, lame, sick horses? Jeez, any responsible horse owner knows the answer to that. Pick up the phone and call the vet.

Next was the argument that horses are livestock. While many categorize horses as livestock, that’s not the issue. The issue is that of a food animal vs. a non-food animal. US horses are not raised as food animals but for other purposes. Mounted police are not riding food animals. Therapy horses are not food animals. Race horses are not food animals. The country does not use food animals in military and presidential funerals. Have you ever seen a riderless cow? Dressage, cutting and reining horses are not food animals. Livestock (food animals) do not perform any of the functions that horses perform in our society.

US horses must have maintenance medications that are prohibited in food animals to keep them at peak performance and healthy. There is no tracking of horses as there is with livestock. Unlike horses, you can trace livestock back to the original farm. It is obvious by the opposition to NAIS last year that owners don’t want horses tracked. This brings me to the “abandoned” horses. If you can’t find the owners to charge them for the crime they have committed, how are you going to certify the horses are free of prohibited substances? A horse that has received a prohibited substance can never enter the food chain. There is no withdrawal period. Those are the EU rules and the FDA rules.

We have been warning of the drug issue for years. We were made the brunt of many a joke and constantly laughed at. We were so ridiculously funny, the EU took notice. It is important to note that all current anti-horse propaganda never addresses the drug issue.

There have been many scare tactics such as the AQHA release in 2008 warning owners that if the federal legislation passes they won’t be able to transport their horse across the street. Senator Landrieu promptly responded with a release stating the intent of the law and we never again saw that argument.

One of the most often used arguments is property rights. Nobody can tell slaughter proponents what they can or cannot do with their property. This is one of the more laughable arguments since there are many laws on the books telling property owners exactly how to dispose of property such as appliances, batteries, toxic substances, cars, etc. There are even laws in certain areas on horse disposal. Owning property does not give the owner the right to abuse the property, especially when the “property” is a living, sentient being.

Now we are hearing how inhumane slaughter is in Mexico and Canada. Slaughter proponents conveniently forget that they never uttered a peep when thousands of horses were sent over the borders when the US plants were open. Why was it okay then but not now? They never mention the inhumane slaughter that took place in the US and dismiss government FOIAs. The truth is that no matter where horses are slaughtered it will never be humane.

They complain of the long distances in travel now but didn’t have any concerns when horses were being trucked across the US to slaughter plants and also to plants in Mexico, Canada and Japan. All documented humane violations in shipping have taken place within US borders and yet, they oppose the slightest change to improve conditions such as a ban on double deckers. It is quite obvious; they have no concern for horse welfare, only lining their pockets. There were years and years of investigations and FOIAs of the domestic plants and never was an attempt made to correct anything.

The latest comments we are seeing is that they will start raising horses for slaughter. I’m not sure what type of business model will survive paying thousands on feed for pasture ornaments to bring in revenue of $300-$600 per horse from a kill buyer.

This is yet another shining example of their refusal to address the issue of excess horses. Instead of addressing the mess they have created, they’re going to start a new population of horses.

Slaughter at all costs! One only needs to follow the rules of engagement to be a diehard anti-horse person.

Rule #1: Never admit responsibility for producing the excess horses going to slaughter.

Rule #2: Call horses “unwanted” so you can blame the horse. Call slaughter harvesting or processing so that it is more palatable.

Rule #3: Never take responsibility for horses you choose to buy or breed and transfer all blame to the “radical vegan tree huggers” that oppose slaughter.

Rule #4: Blame the rescues.

Rule #5: Blame the legislators.

Rule #6: Exploit Native Americans for the few that have chosen to go against their teachings and spiritual beliefs that revere and respect the horse.

Rule #7: Blame anyone that dares to speak up publicly for the horses, make sure you publish a list of these terrible people and call for a boycott. Even include celebrities that have raised millions of dollars for farmers. All people that want horses treated humanely must be exposed. Wait a minute. Doesn’t that sound like the organization that they so vehemently oppose? They blast them but when they do the same, it’s okay.

Rule #8: Be sure to present all propaganda to legislators with nothing to back the statements but emphasize it as fact.

Rule #9: Create bogus polls and surveys that slant questions and circulate only to those sharing your view. Then, present the results to Congress as the view of horse owners across the country.

Rule #10: State that all rescues are full and become combative when asked for the data to back the claims.

Rule #11: Ignore that slaughter is still very much available and blame all horse woes on the closure of the plants. To fully utilize this rule, under no circumstance, mention or blame the economy. The impact of the economy does not play a role in the horse industry. That is the only industry in America that would not have been impacted by the economy if the slaughter plants had remained opened.

Rule #12: Ignore the horrific investigations and FOIAs and always state that slaughter is a good thing. After all, it allows irresponsible breeders to breed and dump so they can breed more. It allows owners that are abusing and neglecting their horses to hide their crimes by having the horse slaughtered. Then, chuckle and whisper under your breath, America’s Dirty Little Secret.

Rule #13: Never discuss present society and culture. Always refer to 70 or more years ago when some people were forced to eat horse meat but make it sound like present day and thus, you may be able to create a false market in the US.

Rule #14: Always state, with emotion, that slaughter opponents are trying to change other country’s cultures. With even more emotion, state that the horse meat is feeding the hungry in foreign countries even though the hungry cannot afford the gourmet priced horse meat.

Rule#15: Never mention the largest case of neglect in the US occurred in 2005 when all three plants were operating.

Rule #16: Ignore all studies and data on abuse and neglect.

Rule #17: Be sure to always interject the slippery slope. It is your greatest weapon to scare farmers and ranchers into believing that ending the slaughter of a non-food animal will bring down livestock slaughter.

Rule #18: Never mention that slaughter is a predatory, demand driven business and especially don’t mention that US plants imported horses to fill the demand when demand increased. In years when the demand was down and fewer horses were slaughtered, just state that there were fewer “unwanted” horses in those years. Don’t ever admit that slaughter houses only slaughter the number of horses needed to fill the demand. Let everyone think they are performing a service to rid the US of “unwanted” horses.

Rule #19: Lobby against any legislation for animal welfare, even if it’s something you feel you should support. At all costs, even good legislation from any animal “rights” organization for the humane treatment of any animal must be prevented. and the two most important rules…

Rule #20: Never directly answer a question, especially when facts are requested. Doubletalk and then change the subject. It is imperative this rule be invoked when asked to discuss the drug issue and how unsafe US horses are for human consumption.

Rule #21: Learn the art of spinning. Always accuse the pro-horse advocates of being emotional, attack their credibility and spin the facts. This is especially important when undisputable facts are provided. When footage or photos are provided, be sure to state with authority they are fake or have been altered. Always state that because they are against slaughter that they are responsible for the horses suffering.

Slaughter proponents don’t stop at domestic horses. They must target all horses, including our wild horses. Perhaps they haven’t read the EU regulations that state that the only wild equidae meat that will be accepted is zebra meat – or did they?

Rule #1: Ignore mitochondrial DNA studies and start calling all wild horses and burros feral so they can be shipped to slaughter.

Rule #2: Be sure to send and publish propaganda on how the wild horses and burros are overpopulated and ruining the ranges.

Rule #3: Never, never mention the millions of privately owned livestock that have turned our public lands into a giant feedlot.

Rule #4: Never mention the hundreds of millions of dollars the taxpayers shell out for the private livestock grazing on public lands.

Rule #5: Dismiss and never mention the GAO studies that prove the livestock, not the horses, are ruining the ranges.

Rule #6: Never mention the pictures of the horses that died of thirst laying alongside the fences that cattle ranchers erected to block the wild horses from using the water sources.

Rule #7: Ignore all footage and photos of the healthy, thriving horses being removed from public lands. At all times, state the horses are starving and removing them is for their own good.

Rule #8: Provide your own wild horse and burro population counts. Make up a staggering number and state with authority and conviction the data source is Google Earth and begin circulating and publishing the number as fact in all communications.

The best argument, by far, is that because of the “ban” on horse slaughter, horses are being starved, neglected and abandoned. This is quite amusing since there is nothing stopping anyone from sending their horse to slaughter. 2008 saw the second highest slaughter count since 1995. Shouldn’t they wait until slaughter isn’t available to make such a statement? In one swooping statement, they disprove their own argument and prove our point that slaughter does not prevent suffering.

Why are owners allowing their horses to suffer instead of sending them to the killers? Did it ever occur to the slaughter proponents that owners are holding on to their horses because they fear the horse may end up on a slaughter truck if they sell or donate the horse?

The bottom line is that slaughter proponents don’t have a platform. They have no facts or data to back their statements and as a consequence, they continually have to invent new arguments and scare tactics.

It is time to call the ball game. Call your legislators to stop this insanity and ask that they pass the legislation to protect our horses. Pick up the phone and do it now.


Domestic Horses:

Rule #22: Lie with conviction and tell the public that plants will provide jobs and will be good for the state economy. Ignore the $42M loss by Natural Valley Meats in Canada. Never mention that between the three plants, 85% of the workers were not legal citizens. Under no circumstance ever mention the amount of jobs and income provided by a live horse such as veterinarians, farriers, blacksmiths, supply and feed stores, trainers and pharmaceutical companies. And let’s not forget the loss of business to rendering providers. (topic suggested by savethewildhorses)

Rule #23: Never mention the environmental disasters such as the foaming tank at Cavel, improper disposal of waste and contaminated groundwater caused by horse slaughter plants. Completely ignore the $180k in fines still owed to the city of Kaufman TX for violations. (topic suggested by Lisa L)

Rule#24: State with conviction that you have support to defeat the federal legislation when in reality, “donations or promises” were made to legislators to stall, block and stop the bill from going to the floor for a vote. (topic suggested by Lin)

Rule #25: Keep referring to and posting false stories of abandoned horses even after they have been proven false by the local authorities.


The BLM Slaughter Conspiracy
By John Holland and Valerie James-Patton
December 20, 2009

“Pure propaganda” was Bureau of Land Management (BLM) spokesperson Tom Gorey’s reaction in a recent AP interview when asked about the growing accusations that his agency is in the process of virtually exterminating the very herds of wild horses and burros that it is supposed to protect.

However, Gorey’s denial of the BLM’s intentions rings false in the light of recently uncovered documents from the BLM itself and of its own published plans and estimates. It is not possible to interpret these in any way other than a plan to virtually eradicate the wild herds.

Two internal-use BLM reports were obtained earlier this year through the Freedom of Information Act; Alternative Management Options Plans from October 2008 and the Team Conference Calls Report from July - September 2008. In these documents, BLM members presented, analyzed and discussed several management plans aimed at reducing the population of the wild horses on the range as well as those in holding facilities.

Proposals for reducing the populations included adjusting herd sex ratios with some of the horses returned being gelded, and an increased use of the contraceptive PZP, the use of other unauthorized fertility drugs called Gonacon and SpayVac and even surgical sterilization of mares (a process that has resulted in 10% mortality).

Also found in the Team Conference Calls report were these notes submitted by Don Glenn:

"Sally had an e-mail from a person in Canada who wants 10,000 horses that he would slaughter the horses and send them to a third world country. Don is going to send the email. Jim said he has a demand for horses going to Denmark, but they are having a problem getting titled horses."

Adding further to the plan for sending wild horses to foreign countries, the following recommendations were submitted to BLM from BLM's advisory board members at the June 15th, 2009, Advisory Board Meeting held in Sacramento, Ca:

"that BLM advertise and market sale eligible animals (with the intent clause) in foreign countries with known good homes by offering "select sales" for sale eligible animals 11 years of age and over, and for younger animals that have been offered for adoption three times during a 90 day period and that BLM continue to explore opportunities to foster foreign aid by providing sale eligible animals (with the intent clause) to foreign countries for agricultural (nonfood) use."

The BLM's response to these recommendations was that it is considering these plans as part of a 5 year strategy plan.

Clearly, the BLM has already been corresponding with foreign countries to market the wild horses with the intent to send the horses to slaughter. The board recommendation that the sales include the “intent clause” was clearly a fig leaf. The BLM is well aware that it would be impossible to enforce the intent clause in foreign countries.

But if that were not an obvious enough fig leaf, then the reference to “countries with known good homes” is a laughable one. It comes as no surprise that the notes from Don Glenn, who is also a member of the advisory board, were not mentioned at the advisory board meeting.

While Tom Gorey may continue to claim that it's pure propaganda that the BLM is in the process of eliminating the wild horses, the notes regarding the slaughter of our wild horses in foreign countries, combined with the advisory board recommendation to sell the horses to foreign countries proves otherwise.

The BLM’s plan is now clear. They will first ignore the 1971 Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act and gather virtually all the wild herds, working year-round until only a few small, sterile bands remain free. If delayed in one place, they will simply shift their schedule and gather at another as they did with Buckhorn when Calico was delayed.

The cost of feeding these captured horses, along with the 37,000 already in holding, will then precipitate an enormous financial crisis. This will leave the BLM with no option but to euthanize or ship to slaughter most of the horses in holding.

John Holland