Horse-lovers demonstrate in Montreal, urge end to slaughter

Horse-lovers demonstrate in Montreal, urge end to slaughter - image

MASSUEVILLE, Que. – Animal-rights protesters with fake bulletholes stuck to their heads are blocking the entrance to a slaughterhouse near Montreal in one of several similar demonstrations being held across Canada.

People are calling for an end to the slaughter of horses at events of varying sizes, scheduled in Vancouver, Toronto, Halifax, Winnipeg, Edmonton and Charlottetown.

Protesters are urging support of a private member’s bill in Ottawa that would ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The legislation, tabled by the NDP’s Alex Atamanenko, appears stalled in Parliament.

About 20 people waving placards and repeatedly shouting "murderers!" gathered outside the entrance to the Richelieu Meat Inc. abattoir northeast of Montreal.

Many of the protesters had painted their faces white and stuck rubber Halloween-type bullet wounds on their foreheads. Blood-coloured paint spilled out of the bulletholes.

Atamanenko fears that most horses sent to abattoirs are not bred for their meat. He says many of the animals have been given medication that could be harmful to humans.

The protesters agree.

"The animals who come here are sick – they’re usually ill from old age, they’re usually ill from injuries, but they’re also sick from things like cancer," said Cherie Collins, a former horse breeder who drove a few hours from Cardinal, Ont., for the demonstration.

"I gotta tell you, there’s been a lot of drugs going into a normal horse before we give up, so those drugs are in this meat."

The protesters also argue that the horses aren’t always slaughtered humanely. They allege that many are left injured by bullets that are meant to kill – and the animals suffer as they are left to die.

Demonstraters like vegan Len Goldberg showed up at the Massueville abattoir, northeast of Montreal, to try persuading Canadians to stop putting meat – of any kind – on their dinner plates.

"We’re here to shut down a plant that fires bullets into the brains of beautiful, intelligent animals," said the megaphone-toting Ottawa resident, who was holding a framed photo of a horse.

"We’re all earthlings and I don’t see how any sane person can say it’s humane to kill another earthling so that we can eat their flesh."

The event wasn’t officially organized by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals – but members of the group renowned for its sometimes shocking publicity stunts did indeed participate.

The boisterous protesters taunted a security guard at the Quebec slaughterhouse, but after an hour-and-a-half of chanting no trucks had tried to get past them to enter the facility’s grounds.

The event didn’t appear to have disrupted the plant’s regular activities.

Demonstrators are also protesting outside a Vancouver butcher shop and in front of a Toronto restaurant that serves horse meat.

Two dozen Toronto protesters carried placards calling for an "end to the slaughter," standing peacefully along a downtown sidewalk outside the restaurant Beer Bistro.

One placard displayed gruesome photos of horse body parts, including heads.

Horse steak tartare is among the items on Beer Bistro’s menu.

In Halifax, only a handful of protesters came out.

Caroline MacPherson of Halifax said that while no horse slaughterhouses exist in Atlantic Canada that she knows of, she fears horses from the region are being sent to other Canadian slaughterhouses.

"It’s very, very wrong. There’s video on YouTube, there’s video on CBC that show the horrific cruelty to these animals," she said, while walking outside the Halifax public library with a few other protesters.

"I’m here to educate people to stop this, nationwide."


Sponsored content