Google+

Washington State Targeted for Equine Slaughter

Horse Harbor Foundation informs about the impending disaster of horse slaughter in Stanwood, Washington, in the following report. 

STANWOOD, WA — This small upscale community north of Seattle has long been known to the region’s equestrian community as the Pacific Northwest’s “Death Row for Horses” because of the location near here of a major buying station, collection point and feedlot for U.S. horses destined to die and be butchered in one of Canada’s equine slaughterhouses for human consumption abroad.

If a reported plan by the giant Canadian horse meat packing company Bouvry Exports-Calgary to reopen the Florence Packing plant on Florence Road for equine slaughter to service developing markets for its product in Russia, China and other Asian nations is accurate, Stanwood soon might become better known as the region’s “Butcher Shop for Horses”.

Horses were slaughtered onsite at the isolated Florence Packing facility for about 20 years after it opened in 1974, although original applications to Snohomish County for zoning and use permits indicated it would butcher cattle.

It is now a major provider of horses acquired throughout the region to Bouvry Exports’ huge Fort MacLeod slaughterhouse near Calgary. Bouvry Exports owns and operates two of the four horse killing facilities in Canada, the other being its Richelieu Meats brand name equine slaughterhouse in Quebec.

Wayne Lindahl, manager of the local feedlot operation, says that an average of two truckloads of horses are shipped weekly from here to their deaths at Bouvry Exports’ Fort MacLeod facility. Equine slaughter is currently under attack in Canada by animal welfare advocates as constituting animal cruelty because horses cannot be killed in large numbers in an efficient and humane manner and investigation after investigation shows them enduring horrible pain and suffering in these meat processing operations.

“Florence Packing” is another brand name for Bouvry Exports, along with “Bouvry”, “Richelieu” and “Springbank Bison”, and a source with close ties to Bouvry Exports has alerted equine advocates in Washington and other states in the region that the company has plans to modernize the Stanwood facility and begin slaughtering American horses here again because of its proximity to air freight transport to Pacific Rim markets.

Bouvry Exports traditional markets in Europe have been made more expensive to service and are expected to shrink because of new health standards imposed by the European Union on horse meat imports to countries there.  The Asian markets have no such restrictions and also represent a market for lower quality animals than those in demand in Europe, meaning many more horses that were previously owned and loved as companion animals will die here if the Florence Packing slaughterhouse is reopened.

Claude Bouvry, owner and president of the giant Canadian meat exporting company, which is the only horse slaughter operation currently licensed and bonded for meat processing in the United States by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), has failed to deny or even respond to questions about his reported plan for Stanwood despite repeated attempts in recent weeks to contact him by both email and telephone from equine advocates and at least one member of the local television news media.

A group of equine rescue sanctuary operators from throughout states in the region expected to provide doomed horses to the Stanwood location have banned together to try and demonstrate to the public, county and local officials that a horse slaughterhouse will be a detriment to their community as these facilities proved to be in Texas and Illinois before equine slaughter was halted in the United States in 2007. Their goal is convince Snohomish County commissioners to pass an ordinance banning equine slaughter and prevent the resumption of horses being butchered here.

Allen Warren of the Horse Harbor Foundation in Poulsbo and spokesman for the group said that a denial by Bouvry of the plan to begin killing and butchering horses here would have been welcomed, but his failure to do so only lends credence to the report from a source close to the Canadian company’s management.

The horse rescuers contend that despite propaganda by some in the commercial equine industry, which uses horse slaughter as a convenient way to dump horses after their productive careers are over or they do not meet their standards, there are immediate and viable alternatives for these at-risk horses, born and bred as companion and sports animals in America and not for the food chain.

In addition members of the group point out that reopening the Stanwood facility to horse slaughter poses a tremendous risk to the area’s environment based on the experience of other communities where these operations have been located.  This is particularly true here since Florence Packing is situated on the banks of the Stillaguamish River, which has salmon hatcheries downstream.  They will present evidence to the county commissioners of this hazard from communities in Texas and Illinois, which still suffer from the effects of equine slaughter years after plants there were closed.

Members of the equine rescue group opposed to equine slaughter in Washington in addition to Horse Harbor are Pasado’s Safe Haven, Monroe; Second Chance Ranch, Elma; Center Valley Animal Rescue, Quilcene; Avalon Mist Equine Rescue, Yakima; and Sunrise Equine Rescue, Grapeview.  They are joined by the Montana Horse Sanctuary,  Great Falls; and  Western Montana Equine Rescue & Rehabilitation, Corvallis, in Montana; Strawberry Mountain Mustangs, Roseburg, and  HyTyme Equine Rescue, Portland, in Oregon, and Free Spirits Equine Rescue of Ketchum, Idaho. They are supported by the national Animal Law Coalition headquartered in Seattle, which is currently reviewing the Snohomish County codes prior to drafting a horse slaughter ban ordinance for consideration by the commissioners.

A controversy over the return of equine slaughter is now raging across the country following a last minute amendment to this year’s Congressional Appropriations Bill that reinstated funding for USDA meat inspections for horse meat which ended in 2007.  As a result equine slaughter is now legal in the United States again despite being opposed by a full 80 percent of the American public in a recent poll.

The situation here has also been closely monitored by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), which has threatened to bring legal action against USDA unless a standing court order requiring environmental impact studies prior to the issuance of meat inspection approval to any new concerns applying for this service is complied with.

There is some question whether Florence Packing as an existing horse slaughterhouse would fall under this ruling, but the regional animal welfare organizations promise to bring an injunction here against the plant opening to determine this if Bouvry Exports moves to resume killing horses at the Stanwood plant.  This would compliment any legal action taken by HSUS against the USDA.

“We believe that the people of Western Washington in particular and also our surrounding states are even more opposed than the national average to the brutal and unnecessary trade of butchering horses, companion and sports animals never bred and raised for the human food chain, and intend to show Bouvry in no uncertain terms that it is bad enough he is murdering our horses in Canada and under no circumstances do we want him doing it here also,” the horse rescuers state.

Bouvry Exports also operates buying stations and feedlots in Fallon, NV, and Shelby, MT, with the three locations trucking thousands of horses from the western United States annually to its two equine slaughterhouses in Canada.

A search of Snohomish County records has established that all licenses and permits for the Florence Packing slaughter operation have been kept up to date and there is no impediment to its killing horses again from a local, county or state code standpoint.

Further evidence that the plan by Bouvry Exports is real is that the meat packing industry trade publication Livestock Weekly recently reported that insider information indicates an existing equine slaughterhouse in the United States will be modernized and horse slaughter might begin as early as this Spring. Florence Packing is one of only three or four such facilities in the country that fit this description.

Horse slaughter was effectively halted in this country by a U.S. District Court ruling on March 28, 2007, that it was illegal for horse meat packers to pay USDA inspectors directly, a practice allowed by the George W. Bush administration.  The following day USDA pulled its inspectors out of the three plants operating at that time, two in Texas and one in Illinois, all foreign owned.  The court order requiring environmental impact studies by USDA prior to plant openings stemmed from this case.

Equine advocates had long argued that allowing the horse slaughters to pay for their own inspections made a mockery out of the system and failed to take into account the high degress of pain and suffering that takes place when horses are killed in an assembly line process.

Since that time the slaughter of American horses has continued virtually unabated, numbering over100,000 each year, as they have been trucked instead across the borders to their deaths in Canada and Mexico.   Although horse slaughter proponents claim the trade is necessary to deal with small percentage each year of America’s horses they call “unwanted”, horse rescuers say that no horse is unwanted in this country and all that are displaced can be saved if the breeding and racing industries contribute financially to their efforts to their existing programs to re-home them instead.

In fact it was a White Paper outlining viable and immediate alternatives to slaughter for at-risk horses that brought the Bouvry Exports plan for Stanwood to the equine rescuerers’ attention.   A family member of a Bouvry Exports employee read this document written by Warren in 2010, and then contacted him to alert him to Bouvry’s plan to reopen Stanwood. This person remains unnamed to protect the family from reprisal.

The inside source said the Stanwood slaughter plant and feedlot were chosen by Bouvry to reintroduce equine slaughter to the U.S. because it can be readied far faster and less expensively than building from scratch at one of its other two facilities in Montana and Nevada, and also because of its location on the Pacific Rim and proximity to a major airport between Seattle and Tacoma for fast overseas transport of its product to countries where there are no health requirements such as those in Europe.

Bouvry Exports has already been investigated numerous times for inhumane practices in handling and killing horses, including by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Humane Society International/Canada, the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition and Animals Angels.

Although horses are supposed to be stunned and at least unconscious before their throats are slit and being butchered, hidden videos taken in Bouvry Exports facilities and other Canadian slaughterhouses has shown a high percentage of incidents where this is not the case.  In one, a horse was struck a total of 11 times by a captive bolt killing device before it was finally rendered unconscious.

“Although all mass forms of animal slaughter are brutal to a large degree, most food chain animals such as swine and cattle are relatively controllable when meeting their fate,” Warren said.  “But horses by their very nature are inquisitive and fearful animals, uncomfortable with confinement and are extremely head shy, making it virtually impossible to kill them cleanly by either gunshot or the more modern captive bolt system.”

Video after video shows horses being shot or struck by a bolt in the head repeatedly in Bouvry Exports operated and other Canadian equine slaughterhouses, only to struggle back to their feet in obvious agony.

“Their pain and suffering are unquestionably inhumane in even the most modern plants and some of the videos actually show horses screaming in anguish before they die”, Warren continued.  He said another potential legal avenue to try and stop equine slaughter in Washington might well be that it inherently violates the state’s animal cruelty laws.

The anonymous source, a self-described horse lover, has provided so much detailed information, much of which has been verified, the horse rescuers are convinced that the plan to start slaughtering horses in Stanwood is imminent and say their respective nonprofit sanctuaries will take the lead in organizing opposition from other animal welfare organizations, the general public and state, local and county officials to try and stop the plant from opening and prevent even one horse from being kill and butchered here.

“Despite what those who would make a profit on equine slaughter claim, there are no “unwanted horses” in our country and those of us who have dedicated our lives to saving these animals which have served mankind so faithfully throughout history hope the people of Snohomish County will join us in preventing this unconscionable atrocity from ever taking place here again,” Warren concluded.

For More Information, Contact: equinenewssource@yahoo.com.

 

Entertainment

Ghetto Kid Mugged for Sneakers Seeks Revenge in Coming-of-Age Drama

  Kicks Blu-ray Review by Kam Williams Ghetto Kid Mugged for Sneakers Seeks Revenge in Coming-of-Age Drama Brandon (Jahking Guillory) saved up for a pricey pair of Air Jordan, only to suffer the utter humiliation of having them stolen right off his feet at gunpoint by a gang of ghetto predators. Thus arrives a moment of truth for the nerdy 15 year-old who finds himself stuck at an unpleasant station in life where he's not only routinely … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Books

Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This

  Volume 2 of Yes Sir, Yes Sir, 3 Bags Full! – You Do NOT Want to Miss This Book Review by Amy Lignor What began in an unforgettable Volume 1—living Jerry Hall’s story and dealing with the heart-wrenching issues of the Viet Nam* War—continues here. The action of battle, fraught with the unending horrors that the “unwanted veterans” dealt with, grows even more painful. And as war comes closer to an end, what should have been peaceful … [Read More its Good for You...]

Art

The Day After the Day Of

  The Day After the Day Of by Paul Ilechko   The sky sheds its tears. This morning is the morning of the day after. The day of mourning, the day after the day of.  I beseech the sky to shed tears in order to wash away the tears on my face.   This is the first day of the time after. This is the beginning of a new time, the days of pain, the days of sorrow. We are in mourning. The sky looks down and sheds its tears for … [Read More its Good For You...]

Real Estate

New Home Sales Jump in April

  New Home Sales Jump in April By Burt Carey Sales of new homes hit their highest rate since 2008 in April, according to the Commerce Department’s U.S. Census Bureau. April sales increased 16.6 percent over March figures, which correlates to a seasonally adjusted rate of 619,000 home sales projected for the year. The median price of those new homes was $321,000, the highest median price ever recorded. That’s up 9.7 percent … [Read More its Good for You.....]

Lifestyle

Paging Norman Rockwell

  Paging Norman Rockwell by Amy Lignor   For those who may not have had the pleasure before – and all you true Christmas “classic” lovers who have always wanted to see it – Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the most brilliant and beautiful place during the holiday season. Made famous by the original Norman Rockwell, whose museum is part of the line of historic buildings making up that classic Main Street, Stockbridge is dressed up … [Read More its Good for You...]

Outdoors

Winterize Now to Avoid Costly Repairs Next Spring

    By Craig Lamb At the first sign of warm weather next spring you’ll be itching to get the boat out on the water. You want to get in and go, taking in the sunshine and fresh air after the long winter. What you don’t want is for the first trip out to be cut short, taking an unplanned detour to the dealership instead of the water. Now is the time to winterize your boat. Doing so can avoid costly repairs due to neglecting … [Read More its Good for You...]

Sports

The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season

  The Best & Worst (So Far) of the 2016 NFL Season by Amy Lignor     Okay…we’re almost dead center, folks, so it’s time to sum up the best and silliest actions and reactions that the 2016 NFL season has provided fans thus far.   Analysts are always yapping, and most likely nothing they say will actually come true. However, right now almost everyone is agreeing to the fact that Tom Brady has a score to settle. Yes, … [Read More its Good for You...]

Business

We Are Still…All in This Together!

  We Are Still…All in This Together! by Amy Lignor   December 7, 1941. Sunday morning was lovely on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. A typical Sunday, in fact, where people were moving calmly and in a relaxed “weekend-mode” stance at the U.S. Navy’s Pacific Fleet Headquarters. Just before the clocks struck 8:00 a.m., however, the country of Japan launched planes from six aircraft carriers in what would be considered the “first wave” of … [Read More its Good for You...]

Travel

Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe

  Exploring the Holidays Around the Globe by Amy Lignor   Thanksgiving has been had. Games have been watched and the golden turkey has caused a great many belts to be loosened. So…here it comes!   From hanging the stockings on the chimney with care to the red-nosed reindeer who had to be there; from Santa heading down that chimney just right to lovely sleigh bells ringing softly in the night, the holiday season is a truly … [Read More its Good for You...]

Green Living

Forecasting Climate Change

  Forecasting Climate Change by Amy Lignor As with anything in this world, it depends on whose opinion or observations you trust as to just how bad climate change is becoming. As 2016 begins to wrap up, climate scientists, atmospheric physicists, chemists, oceanographers – you name it – no one can come up with any other explanation for climate change and the warming of our planet other than human activity. How fast is it happening? … [Read More its Good for You...]

Trackbacks

  1. […] Please select this link to sign the petition as knowledge creates awareness and awareness creates change. Here is a article explaining in great detail what is happening to Washington State’s unwanted equine. […]