Wednesday, 22 April 2009

London Deer Saved! Thank you!!!

After seven long months of fighting to protect the London deer, City Council voted unanimously not to proceed with the killing of all but 8 deer who frequent the Sifton Bog. THANK YOU all who spoke out to protect the deer! The London Free Press article below summarzies the result.

Thank you!
Liz White, Director


Deer dodge bullet once again

LONDON CITY HALL: Council has rejected killing deer this fall in Sifton Bog pending a report due in February


London city council has rejected the killing of deer this fall in Sifton Bog, voting unanimously last night to delay consideration of a cull until the results of a key study are completed next February.

"I don't want London to become the first city in Canada to support a deer hunt," Controller Gina Barber said. "It's a great day, indeed."

A week ago Barber was on the losing side of a vote as four politicians on the city's environment and transportation committee recommended a cull in the fall.

The majority argued any delay could irreparably harm the bog.

But much has changed in the past seven days:

- Though neighbours of the bog and some environmentalists lobbied for a cull, politicians were deluged by those opposing the kill, with more than 400 people signing a petition submitted yesterday.

- The city ecologist said she favoured delaying consideration of a cull until a key study is finished and the deer population in the bog is counted in the fall. Last year the numbers dropped by about 30%.

- Politicians who supported a cull went to the city's acting chief administrator to complain about the city ecologist, a tactic criticized inside and outside city hall.

"Needless to say, this has become a very emotional, explosive and sensitive issue on both sides," Coun. Paul Hubert said.

The bog is in Hubert's backyard and ward, where the deer have long been a source of complaints by neighbours.

But for Mayor Anne Marie DeCicco-Best, the issue was one so controversial it shouldn't be considered until all the evidence was in on the harm caused by deer to the bog.

"We should . . . do our homework," said the mayor, whose proposal for a delay was then backed by all of council.

For most of the past century it has been people, not deer, who have posed a threat to a bog that environmentalists say is an ecological treasure and rarity in Southern Ontario.

People drained the bog, flooded it, stripped its peat, cut its black spruce for Christmas trees, surrounded it with development and gravel pits and planted an invasive plant that is likely its biggest threat, buckthorn.

It has only been the past decade those protecting the bog turned their focus to deer. Though a citizens' committee and city staff once recommended a cull, council has not gone that route.
Yesterday's recommended delay included some more immediate elements.

The city will ask Ontario's Natural Resources Ministry for permission to consider options beyond a cull that aren't allowed without ministry approval, such as sterilizing deer or trying to drive them out of the bog and erect a tall fence with space underneath for smaller animals.

Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Government needs to Audit Horse Slaughter Plants!

CHDC Calls for Audit of Horse Slaughter Operations After Plant Shut Down Over Food Safety Concerns

REGINA, April 7 /CNW/ - With the news that the Natural Meat Company (formerly Natural Valley Farms) in Neudorf, Saskatchewan has been shut down by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) for food safety concerns, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) is calling for a complete audit of Canada's remaining horse slaughter operations by the CFIA.

Graphic evidence of animal welfare violations was documented at Natural Valley Farms in April and May 2008 and aired to the public a month later. At the time, government officials made repeated assurances regarding the plant's operations.

Over six months later, the CFIA quietly ordered the plant closed citing food safety concerns.

"Despite the attention given to this operation, this action shows that there are major problems in Neudorf and quite possibly elsewhere," said Sinikka Crosland, CHDC's Executive Director. "Only a full audit can begin to deal with the real concerns that the public has with Canadian horse slaughter operations."

"This is exactly the kind of problem that arose in the United States and the reason, along with concerns associated with inhumane treatment, that saw the US close every single one of its slaughter houses," added Ms. Crosland.

For further information: Sinikka Crosland, CHDC, (250) 768-4803 or visit

Monday, 6 April 2009

Great News for Horses!

Natural Meat Company Shuts Down

We are pleased to inform you that Natural Meat Company (formerly Natural Valley Farms) in Neudorf, Saskatchewan, closed its doors in mid-February. No more horses are being slaughtered in that facility!

According to the Director of Parliamentary Affairs for Canada, Natural Meat Company was shut down by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for food safety concerns. At this time we are attempting to clarify details surrounding the closure.

Graphic evidence of animal welfare violations was documented at Natural Valley Farms in April/May 2008. This footage was released to CHDC by undercover investigators, and the concerns were aired on CBC's No Country for Horses the following month: .

In September 2008, CHDC Western Region Director, Twyla Francois, filmed horse blood from the slaughter plant being illegally dumped on the banks of a nearby river: .

Further Good News from the U.S.

On April 3, 2009, the governor of Montana issued an amendatory veto on a bill that had already been passed by the Montana House and the Senate and simply needed an official signature. That bill was intended to stop any citizen from launching a lawsuit that might prevent a horse slaughterhouse from being built in the state. On April 2, 2009, CHDC had assisted U.S. horse defenders by supplying proof of the closure of Natural Meat Company for food safety reasons. This evidence then found its way into the hands of the governor. As a result of the veto, the amended bill will now go back to the legislature for consideration, thus opening up an opportunity for debate. With such strong evidence of food safety and environmental concerns, to say nothing of animal welfare violations that are inherent in the horse slaughter industry, it is clear that step-by-step progress for the horses is being made.

We applaud the Equine Welfare Alliance for serving as an intermediary between our efforts and the many wonderful grass roots groups involved in the state and federal initiatives in the U.S.

Remember the Horses

In order to commemorate the lives lost in Neudorf and to pay homage to the suffering that occurred there, we plan to visit the massive horse graveyard on site--resting place for former pets, race horses, rodeo horses, and other unfortunate animals who, one way or another, were sent to a fate that none should ever have to endure.

Anyone wishing to submit a poem, blessing or memorial message for this occasion can e-mail it to Twyla Francois by April 8, 2009: . Your tribute to the horses will be placed where their remains lie...and where each strong and graceful spirit moved forth...away from the pain, away from the crippling fear, and away from the betrayal of trust that marked this final and brutal interaction with humankind.

But no matter what has gone before, horses continue to have all of us who defend them. And our numbers are growing.

May the equine spirit be the wind beneath our wings until slaughter is ended forever.

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
P.O. Box 26097
Westbank, B.C.
V4T 2G3
Ph/fax: 250-768-4803