it's about time: private member's bill seeks to end horse slaughter in canada

Bill Siksay - who seconded Bill C-440, the private member's bill in support of US war resisters in Canada - has sponsored a historic private member's bill to include the rights of transgendered people in the Canadian Human Rights Act. Bill C-389 is only one of Bill's many excellent private member's bills, which include calling for the establishment of a Department of Peace, and supporting conscientious objection to paying taxes for military purposes.

Yvon Godin's private member's bill would require justices on the Supreme Court of Canada to be bilingual.

Libby Davies continues to work on behalf of people with AIDS, sex workers, murdered and missing women, substance abusers, and members of other marginalized and invisible communities.

I could go on. There are many other examples. I have my problems with federal NDP leadership and the direction the party is going - what progressive Canadian doesn't? - but individual New Democrat Members of Parliament are out there fighting the good fight.

Now Alex Atamanenko (also a stalwart supporter of war resisters from the very beginnings of the campaign) is sponsoring a private member's bill to curtail (and hopefully end) the disgusting and unnecessary practice of horse slaughter in Canada by banning the sale of horse meat for human consumption.

Horse slaughter isn't only cruel to horses, it's dangerous for humans. None of the safeguards or food safety practices, such as they are, for meat production for human consumption apply to horse meat. Horse meat often contains the drug phenylbutazone or "bute". Bute is a known carcinogen and causes a toxic reaction in humans.

At least half the horses slaughtered in Canada originate in the US, where horse slaughter has been banned. (For some background, see this old wmtc post.)

From HSI Canada:
Horses are our loyal companions, and they captivate us with their spirit and grace. But too often, these sensitive creatures face the ultimate betrayal at the hands of people.

I'm talking about Canada's horse slaughter industry, which in 2009 alone killed nearly 94,000 horses to produce products nobody needs. Pending legislation would put an end to this cruel Canadian industry -- please act today!

Horses suffer horribly in slaughterhouses. They are an extreme example of a "flight" animal -- the panic and instinctive desire to escape that horses experience in the kill chute causes them to thrash frantically, making it very difficult to stun them. Video footage from a recent undercover investigation reveals the kind of cruelty that horses are routinely subjected to in Canadian slaughterhouses.

And the horses aren't the only ones who need protection. Consumers are at serious risk of ingesting a banned chemical found in horse meat. Horses are not raised as food animals, and many of them come into contact with a drug called phenylbutazone, commonly known as bute. Phenylbutazone is banned for use in any animal intended for human consumption because it can cause toxic reactions in humans. Mechanisms to ensure the removal of horses treated with substances such as bute from the food chain are inadequate at best.

For years, Canadians have called for a national ban on horse slaughter in our country. At long last, we have a historic opportunity to achieve this win for horses.

Last month, NDP Agriculture Critic Alex Atamanenko put forward a bill that would shut down the cruel and dangerous horse meat industry in Canada. Please help increase support for this crucial legislation.

First, send an email to your Member of Parliament, urging support for this bill.

After sending the email, you'll see instructions for downloading our petition. Gathering signatures in your electoral district, mailing them to your MP and asking that he or she read it in the House of Commons will be a huge help in this effort to safeguard horses.

Together, we can build enough support for Bill C-544 to stop the cruel Canadian horse slaughter industry for good.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition calls Bill C-544 "a huge step forward in the movement to abolish a cruel, archaic and unnecessary industry".

Please support Bill C-544 by going here and sending a message to your MP. If you want to get further involved, you can download a petition (English, French), gather signatures, and speak to your MP about presenting it in the House of Commons.

I realize that few wmtc readers will gather signatures on a petition for this bill. But let's all ask our MPs to support the bill.

No comments: