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Horse Slaughterhouse Investigation Sounds Food Safety and Cruelty Alarms

December 6, 2011

Vickery Eckhoff

Screen shot of video shot in July, 2011, inside Temple Grandin designed slaughterhouse in Quebec. Scroll down for link footage.

Part III from my series on Forbes.com about Thoroughbreds, horse racing and the horse industry

Yesterday, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition released a new undercover video investigation and report about a slaughter facility designed by Dr. Temple Grandin. Shot on July 13-14 at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation, Inc., in St. Andre-Avellin, Quebec, the video is the topic of my “Fat Cats” blog on Forbes.com today.

I’d seen the footage on Sunday morning and contacted Dr. Grandin Sunday night to get her comments. She hadn’t seen it yet and agreed to watch and discuss it with me. Dr. Grandin reviewed the video once on her own and then we synched up the video on our computers and watched it together—horse by horse, death by death—three more times.

I asked her a lot of questions about the stunning methods, which worked on only 6o% of the horses. I was particularly interested in her reaction to the scenes of the horses panicking, slipping and getting shot multiple times without being knocked out. We spoke for about 50 minutes.

The first time I read about Dr. Grandin’s efforts to improve  the welfare of livestock and especially her work to make slaughter more humane, I wondered how she could do it. I still do.  You can read about her observations in today’s post on Forbes.com.

The actual video is hard to stomach—but not being willing to look is far harder. Keep watching, keep sharing, keep learning. You can find my other posts on Forbes.com here:

Part 1: Racing Industry Silent on Slaughtered Thoroughbreds 

Part 2: Saving Princess Madeline—A Racehorse’s Tale 

PS: “Defence” as in “Canadian Horse Defence Coalition” is correct spelling.

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3 Comments

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  1. Marla #
    March 7, 2012

    I really appreciate your information, especially since it’s posted on Forbes. I have to comment about Temple Grandin. Many people think she’s such a great, caring person. Well the fact of the matter is that she is autistic, and autistic people don’t comprehend or have the ability to have compassion. I had heard this before, but recently one of my clients who is a nurse whose son is autistic confirmed that. She made a comment that she had read Grandin’s book and seen the movie, but the one thing that wasn’t factual was her portrayal of being caring and compassionate about animals. Which makes her the perfect candidate for the slaughter industry. And oh by the way, she revised some paper on “How to detect insensibility in animals during slaughter” (University of Colorado) right before the ban on horse slaughter was lifted. Interesting coincidence. Please keep up the good work. The more people know the more we can affect change.

    • December 6, 2012

      I just saw your post on Vickery’s blog, and have to note that I mentor two autistic adults and have provided them both with their own horses. No one could have more compassion for those horses than their autistic owners. It’s true that autistic people have a variety of social challenges when it comes to relating to humans, but at least in the two cases in which I am involved, their feelings for the horses and insight into the equine mind goes deeper than they are capable of having with another person.

      One of the above is my adopted daughter. Without horses in her life, I’m not sure she’d ever have been able to live in the ‘normal’ world. Because of what horses have given her and her deep and insightful connection with them, she is employed at one of the most successful and respected horse training facilities in the country as a trainer and best use evaluator.

      The other autistic woman I mentor is being written about in Horse and Rider Magazine in Jan 2013 because of the impact the horses I got her have had on her life.

  2. March 7, 2012

    Thanks for reading and commenting, Marla. I wonder if you wouldn’t mind adding your comment to those over at Forbes.com for this article. Your comments about Dr. Grandin are particularly relevant and would be an important addition there as well as here.

    If you haven’t done so already, you’d have to sign up as a Forbes.com user but it’s pretty easy. If you follow me over there, you can also get automatic updates for new comments and articles.

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