Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Diane Bennit - Moving along to an emotive issue, the horse meat debate, how does the National Party... where do they stand?
Lynne Craigie - The National Party again, doesn't have a stance on it, I guess if you look overseas horse meat has been a delicacy in some countries, I think France for example, they see it as a delicacy. Personally I'm not in favour of it, I think we have enough choices already and I don't see the need to bring it on board, but as I said at this point the Nationals don't have a policy on it, it's all fairly new, but certainly again it's something we need to lobby our electors enough and about. For myself personally, I don't think I could manage to eat horse, no.
Diane Bennit - The final question is on aerial culling. I realise that a lot of this is a financially practical way, up north, but it is actually hard to kill an animal, even if an animal is standing in front of you, and to hang out of a helicopter at 60km an hr and leave an animal lying on the ground, ANY animal, with maybe four bullet holes in it, and it does take them a long time to die. I know I did see a documentary in New Zealand, they were killing goats in the high country, and they were doing that with aerial culling, and there were goats running around screaming, with broken legs, with blood pouring out of holes. Absolutely it was on of the most distressing thing I've ever seen. Is there any plans, and this would be of course to do with country, are there any plans by the National Party to maybe try and find a more humane way.
Lynne Craigie - Not that I'm aware of, everything I can find about aerial culling, and I have been looking at it since getting your questions the other day, it appears that it is done for financial reasons, because it's mainly out in very remote areas that they do it. Of course according to cost and everything else it's the most efficient way to do it, however I agree with you, I can't see that it is humane in the way that it's done, because how do they know that the animal is dead or not. Again I'm probably a bit naive on this, I'm not sure of what other methods are available. But certainly we should be looking into it.
Diane Bennit - I think you can pretty much guarantee that a very large percentage of them are not actually going to be dead, and I know that they're going to start now, apparently there's a million camels too many in Australia, and they're going to start culling those, so it's not just the horses. It's any type of animal.
Lynne Craigie - Maybe there is room there to look at some forms of employment or industry out in those remote regions, I know with camels it's been talked about before. Perhaps there is room out there for some indigenous enterprise in looking at the ways of what we can do with camel, and culling of camel. Surely the same could be extended to horses, and look for more humane ways to do what we do and to also utilise the animals to their best, perhaps I'm not saying that in the best way, rather than having them lying around and rotting what more can we do?
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Vince Garreffa - "...this meat is produced, not to West Australian standards, but it's produced to Australian standards, ok? In a proper abattoir that does my beef, my lamb, my pork. So for the first time ever we've got horse meat that is produced to the highest standards in this country made available to its citizens."
VG - "We would rather have all these wild horses that have been distributed throughout this country, shot from a helicopter, drop dead on the ground and rot, than kill them humanely. The moment a meat becomes worthy of human consumption everybody wants to protect it."
VG - "So I'm thinking what I've created, is a conscience, of making sure we discuss this issue, that we start humanely treating... It costs about $500 to bury a horse. In England they won't allow you to bury a horse without a license, because when you bury a 500 kilo horse you can contaminate the water table. And so all of a sudden people are hiding horses, by shooting them illegally, and burying them in lots of places. Ok? And I'm saying here we are that we could say, "hey stop mistreating 'em, start looking after them, treat them well, they're a valuable commodity.""
VG - "...everyone will talk to you about the fact that to save old breeds of anything, pork is a classic case, all the old breeds of pork, all the old breeds of beef, all the old breeds of anything, have been saved only when they're eaten, because when they're eaten it keeps them safe... from, from extinction!"
VG - "So I think it's been quite an unbelievable little "ride" that's happened the last few weeks, and the protesters have hurt quite a few restaurants, but there's no way in the world I can change... the business that I'm in, and I'm only doing what is legal."
VG - "I feel for people that find it hard to seperate the pet, and the meat, because there's no way in the world that there isn't probably ten thousand young kids out there have got pet lambs on farms, and they know that lambs go and get slaughtered, but they don't want their pet going to get slaughtered, and that's fine! I'm not out looking for people's pets. All I'm out there looking for is clean horses, without drugs, that are destined for the knackeries, that I can agist for a few months, get the all clear from the health department, fatten them up, and turn them into a commodity that deserves respect. Instead of them rotting on the ground somewhere, or being used by dog and cat food."
VG - "...all the best trainers in this country will tell you that they need to close a blind eye to what's going on, because they need for their excess horses to be gotten rid of somehow. It has been known, it has been known, that great champions that nobody wants anymore, when they no longer race, have finished up at knackeries. Because no-one wants to feed them anymore. That's an industry that will on one hand tell me that I'm inhumane in killing a lovely animal, and on the other hand is allowing ten to twenty thousand horses a year... be unwanted... and let's just get rid of them behind closed doors, and let's pick on Vince Gareffa, but not wake up to the fact that we need some good rules and regulations for horses going to the, the pet factory, they should be treated with respect, and if they're valuable as a food commodity, you see how many more horses end up with a better life."
Vince Garreffa - "RSPCA's happy with us!"
Linda Monique - "RSPCA? Have approved? Yes?"
Vince Garreffa - "They are happy, because of the fact that they only worry about when the horse is alive, and when they know my story, they realise that I'm making the life of the horses destined for the table a much happier one for the last few months."
Monday, August 2, 2010
"Taking into consideration that in most cases horses are not specifically reared as food producing animals and usually end up in the food chain at the end of their productive lives, special attention needs to be given to the requirements of Council Directives 96/23/EC and 96/22/EC which should guarantee that the horses slaughtered are safe for human consumption. Notwithstanding third countries' existing obligations to implement a residue monitoring plan and submit this on an annual basis to the Commission services for approval, third countries are expected to implement the following measures for those equidae, meat from which is intended to be exported to the EU:
- Equine animals intended for food production should be identified and a system of identity verification should be established.
- In third countries where anabolic steroids are marketed for fattening purposes, there should either be a prohibition on the administration of anabolic steroids for growth promotion purposes to all equidae or there should be a separate system for equidae which may be slaughtered for export of equine meat to the EU. This would require that equidae intended for meat production for the EU would be identified and segregated from those equidae treated with anabolic steroids.
- Treatment records. The purpose of recording treatments of animals with veterinary medicinal products is to ensure that animals are not slaughtered within the withdrawal period of the medicine in question, thus providing guarantees that the EU Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the particular pharmacologically active substance is respected. In the EU stock farmers are required to keep medicines records. On that basis it is expected that treatments with veterinary medicinal products should be recorded on a document linked to and accompanying the identified animal when moving from one premise to another or to the slaughterhouse (food chain information).
- At the time of moving the animal to the slaughterhouse, the competent authority of the third country should be able to guarantee that the required withdrawal periods for veterinary medicinal products administered to the animal and recorded in the food chain information have been respected.
- The third-country exporting equine meat should set up a risk based programme for controls on the use of veterinary medicinal products and substances prohibited for use in the EU. The control programme should include regular inspections on holdings, collection centres and at slaughterhouses."
"Any horse in the EU treated with phenylbutazone must be excluded from the food chain and be signed out of the food chain in the equine passport."
"For equidae caught in the wild, the provisions as laid down for wild land mammals apply. These provisions foresee the submission of an annual residue monitoring plan which is restricted to the analysis of environmental contaminants (e.g. heavy metals). Countries so approved will be listed in the Annex to Commission Decision 2004/432/EC under the column entitled "Equine"."
Saturday, July 31, 2010
Them - Interviewing Vince from Mondo Butchers to clarify why he sells horse meat. What are some things you want me to ask?
Me @them - would love to know his thoughts on the rational argument against consuming Oz horse meat:http://tinyurl.com/292npx5 :)Me @them - Oh, and I'm very interested in what screening/food safety procedures the govt made him follow, re: drugs in horses :)Them - Interview with Vince from Mondo butchers will be posted on Youtube tonight. Was a real eye opener! some of the facts...Them - Horse meat he sells has been approved by the RSPCA, yet Vince is banned from sellling horse burgers at the Truffle Fest on SaturdayThem - @DontEatAusHorse He has an extensive list of screening procedures at the same abattoir he gets his lamb, beef. Screened for steroidsThem - @DontEatAusHorse 60-70,000 horses are being shipped out of Oz to JAP, HOLL, GER, FRA, BEL for consumption...so why can't a butcher sell?
"Equine animals intended for food production should be identified and a system of identity verification should be established.
Treatment records. The purpose of recording treatments of animals with veterinary medicinal products is to ensure that animals are not slaughtered within the withdrawal period of the medicine in question, thus providing guarantees that the EU Maximum Residue Limit (MRL) for the particular pharmacologically active substance is respected. In the EU stock farmers are required to keep medicines records. On that basis it is expected that treatments with veterinary medicinal products should be recorded on a document linked to and accompanying the identified animal when moving from one premise to another or to the slaughterhouse (food chain information)."
"Any horse in the EU treated with phenylbutazone must be excluded from the food chain and be signed out of the food chain in the equine passport."
"The number of horses slaughtered has been estimated from data collected from Ramsay (1994) and has dropped from over 30,000 in the late 1990’s to the current levels of approximately 11,000 – 13,000 horses per annum."
Saturday, July 24, 2010
"International roaming charges worth it to hear update on horse saga straight from the proverbial Vince Garreffa's mouth.""Perth: looks like no horse meat at truffle festival and there are plans for another slaughter in August (that Vince hopes is more low-key)"
"A few more things the media isn't saying:
- Mondos is the only butcher in Australia allowed to supply horse to the public.
- Horse fillet is currently $95/kg. Rump, Sirloin $60/kg. More per kilo than the best quality beef.
- He's been working on this project for *years* to bring it to market. The word I heard was the supplier is breeding the animals specifically for the purpose. "
- Mr Gareffa has put so much work into lobbying for this, that he wants to see a serious return on his investment and has put a huge mark-up on the meat.
- He's got a monopoly on this, and can charge what he likes.
- A less likely option being that he may be concerned about how long he can continue given the public outcry, and wishes to make as much money as possible before the rule is changed again.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
A few q's: If we implemented a drug-tracking system for horses, where would the funding come from? Gov or industry funded?
and if it were Gov funded, why should those who do not eat horse have to pay taxes so those that do eat it can?
Monday, July 19, 2010
But surely the people who work in the horse slaughter trade know this, and there are safety measures in place, right? I mean... many products that are used on horses have a meat withholding period in the first place because the industry is regulated... right?
Both of these drugs are very commonly used on horses, but "NOT TO BE USED on horses that may be slaughtered for human consumption" (says so right there on the label, with those exact capital letters.)
The horse takes a little while to heal up, but because treatment was started straight away he heals up really well with no visible scar. Thank goodness for that!
So some time goes by, horsey is now three years old, so Sandy gets him "broken in" to saddle and starts riding him. He bucks, and Sandy falls off a couple of times. She decides that he's too much for her to handle and she needs to sell him. Sandy will be sad, but that's what happens with horses. She needs to make room in the paddock for a horse that she can ride.
So Gus buys him from Sandy. He's an experienced rider who wants to make him into a showjumper. Sandy thinks that'll be great, so the sale goes through.
At no point does it occur to Sandy to tell Gus that she gave the horse 2 restricted medications two years ago. Why would she? The horse healed up perfectly, there's no problem with the horse now. Gus would think her very strange indeed for even mentioning it.
What's more Sandy is under NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to tell ANYONE what drugs she has given to her horse. The vet does not have to report it, no one has to say anything.
So the horse goes showjumping, but he can't jump high enough, so 6 months later he gets sold to a guy called Mark.
Mark has the horse for a while, but then the horse injures himself in the paddock. The injury means the horse can no longer be ridden. Mark isn't going to keep a horse that can't be ridden, so he calls the phone number in the paper for "that guy who buys unwanted horses."
In the absence of any system of registering and microchipping horses to track the medications they are given, each horse needs to be tested for prohibited substances to be sure that there is no health risk to those consuming the meat.
Of course not. You can't drug test every horse for $5 a head... And this is why I have grave concerns about our export industry.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out that I'm a "horse person", and you can argue bias all you like, but I would find this part just as much of a concern as if Australia were exporting contaminated tofu...
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Click here to listen or here to read the transcript of an ABC news interview, first with butcher Vince Gareffa, then with Glenys Oogjes from Animals Australia.
Unfortunately she does not cover the specifics of the two key issues that I believe need to be addressed by the export industry and the WA State Government. Perhaps they are just too complex to get across in a brief interview? Perhaps we still need the media to interview someone who is aware of the specific issues relating to horses...
Saturday, July 17, 2010
One thing is clear, the media LOVE this guy. At this point Mr Vince Garreffa has done many interviews with various media outlets. In many of which his opinion is the only one put forward, such as this lovely interview from ABC online.
Don't get me wrong, he raises some good points and has done a lot for bringing the issue of horse slaughter to the mainstream media. However, it is frustrating that a "celebrity butcher" is dominating the conversation, and many of his claims are not exactly accurate. (I will be addressing some of the points he has raised in future posts.) Call me a hopeless optimist if you will, but I'm going to put a little faith in the media, that we will soon see a sensible journalist out there get in contact with someone with an opposing viewpoint. Such as Second Chance Horse Rescue from Western Australia (their media release on the WA horse meat issue is covered in this blog post).
This situation illustrates a huge part of the problem with horse welfare in Australia, and the reason why so many have been unaware of the scale of horse slaughter up until now. While there are horse rescue and welfare groups out there made up of hardworking volunteers, they are spread far and wide, and are clearly not as well equipped to deal with the mainstream media as Mr Garreffa, who has established media contacts from his many appearances.
I had not been aware of Mr Garreffa until now, but he clearly loves the spotlight. For those who are also new to this guy, a quick google shows that he makes regular appearances on 6PR882, The West, ABC Esperance, Spice Magazine, SBS, Scoop Online, 3AW and the Today show.
On Perth ABC Radio 720ABC he is apparently "Afternoon's very own butcher" (hate to tell you Gillian O'Shaughnessy, pretty sure he's not your "very own"!)
Mr Garreffa obviously knew that there would be a backlash against him for this, and he's had plenty of time to prepare his media strategy. Welfare groups and horse lovers found out about this after the Agriculture minister Terry Redman had already given the green light, and have been scrambling to catch up ever since.
So a request to the media... please do some research on this, and don't let your loyalty to a popular media figure cloud your judgement. This is not a case of "lovable Perth man vs crazy animal rights activists", there are serious issues that need to be investigated. (Click here for a basic overview of the rational argument against the consumption of Australian horses.)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Human health risks? No mention... Animal welfare concerns in the slaughter process? No mention... Someone ringing up and mentioning "Underbelly"? Well of course that got in there...
Who would expect such a thing from a newspaper... Hmmm... Oh dear, so easy to be cynical...
Link to the story: "Threats over horse meat sales"
Second Chance Horse Rescue Inc – Media Statement - Slaughter of Horses for human consumption in Western Australia – July 2010
Second Chance Horse Rescue is a not for profit organisation dedicated to the welfare of horses in Western Australia. Second Chance is opposed to the slaughter of horses for human consumption and urges the State Government to remove the horse as a declared animal under the Western Australian Meat Industry Authority Act 1976 (WA).
Second Chance has reached this position for the following reasons:
1. Concern for Animal Welfare
a. Slaughter of horses
Second Chance is not opposed to the humane euthanasia of horses. Second Chance is however concerned that the slaughter of horses for human consumption will result in poor welfare for the horses involved. This is because there is no purpose built abattoir for killing horses for human consumption in Western Australia.
Horses are naturally more flighty than cattle or sheep and abattoir facilities designed for those species are not suitable for horses without compromising their welfare. Unless a race and holding/stunning box is specifically designed for horses, a horse is likely to be able to move excessively which results in ineffective stunning, causing unnecessary pain and suffering during the slaughter process, an unacceptable result.
In addition, personnel at abattoirs are unlikely to be experienced in handling horses. As a minimum, Second Chance would expect anyone involved in handling horses for slaughter to have undergone training in stock handling techniques specified for horses, as is done for other species, in order to minimise stress on the animals and improve safety and welfare.
b. Lack of enforcement of Animal Welfare Legislation
Second Chance is concerned that if a market for horse meat for human consumption is established in Western Australia, the welfare of horses will not be controlled given the current appalling state of animal welfare law enforcement in Western Australia. Such a market could result in horses frequenting saleyards, enduring long distance transportation and the establishment of 'backyard breeders' in an effort to produce large numbers of young horses as cheaply as possible.
The sole animal welfare agency of the State Government, the Animal Welfare Unit of the Department of Local Government and Regional Development, has only 2 inspectors who are responsible for enforcing the Animal Welfare Act 2002 (WA) in all of Western Australia. It is clear that there will be nobody to regulate such an industry and ensure animal welfare standards are complied with.
2. Drug Residues and Food Safety
Horses are not included in the National Livestock Identification System and do not require waybills when sold or moved within Western Australia, unlike other livestock. This means it is impossible to know where horses have come from in the event of a disease outbreak or food safety or residue contamination issue.
It would be difficult, if not impossible, to trace a horse's origin removing incentive for sellers to ensure that horses destined for slaughter are free of chemical residues. Given that the equine industry uses large quantities of drugs, such as phenylbutazone, that have been banned by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority for use in food producing animals, the Government will be placing human health and safety at inexcusable risk. This risk is especially real if the majority of horses destined for slaughter are by-products of the racing industry, an industry which has a high demand for veterinary drugs such as phenylbutazone.
3. International comparison
Second Chance finds the decision of the State Government to legalise horse slaughter for human consumption especially unfathomable given the recent banning of this exact same practice in the United States in 2006.
Link to source