Horse News

Horse Advocates Call Foul on Food Network

Eating Tortured Animals Tops Episode’s Synopsis

Chicago (EWA) – Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) joins its Canadian partner, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) in calling for the withdrawal of an episode scheduled to air Monday, May 16 on the Food Network’s program Top Chef Canada.

The program features “French Cuisine” including horse meat and foie gras, angering both horse advocates and animal welfare groups across the globe. The timing of this episode coincides with CHDC’s May Equine Awareness campaign.

In choosing these menu items, the program has completely ignored the cruelty involved in their production. Foie gras is diseased duck liver produced by force feeding ducks using a feeding tube thrust down their throats several times a day until they are too fat to even stand up. The liver becomes hugely swollen in an attempt to deal with the process.

Horse meat in Canada comes from horses that often suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at slaughter. Beyond this, horse meat is likely to contain drugs that are illegal in food animals.

Last year, renowned chef at Pangaea Restaurant in Toronto, Martin Kouprie, removed horse meat from the menu because slaughterhouses cannot tell him where the horses come from and whether the meat is free of toxic substances. “I cannot in good conscience serve that to my customers,” said Kouprie. “Every ingredient in my kitchen has a story, and if I don’t know that story, I cannot serve it.”

The investigations into two of the major horse slaughter plants in Canada last year revealed horrific conditions and has caused outrage across the world. A recent European Union Food and Veterinary Office investigation into the horse slaughter plants in Mexico revealed numerous serious violations including drug residues in the meat.

North American horses are not raised or regulated as food animals. “Consumers need to be aware of the health dangers of eating horse meat and the cruelty the horses endure before ending up on their plates.” commented John Holland, president of EWA.

“Many Canadians consider horses to be as dear to their hearts as dogs and cats,” adds Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition. “Companion animals are not likely to be well-accepted as menu items in our country.”

The Equine Welfare Alliance believes that the choice of horse meat was not an accidental social misjudgment, but more likely the result of influence from a well funded public relations effort on the part of horse slaughter supporters aimed at gaining acceptance for the meat and desensitizing viewers to horse slaughter in general. Case in point, The Toronto Observer also ran a story on May 11 defending the consumption of horsemeat.

It is in the best interest of the Food Network and consumers to withdraw the episode promoting food that is dangerous to consumers and cruel to equines. Fortunately, the French have many excellent sauces and dishes to choose from that do not involve cruelty and carcinogens as ingredients.


Contact Food Network Top Chef and the sponsors GE Monogram and  Presidents Choice tell them horses are not food, that horse slaughter is cruel and barbaric and should be banned. Urge them to pull this May 16 episode.

12 replies »

  1. Ugh…. I’m so sick of this. I live in France, and believe me, if they knew what was in the horsemeat and the journey it took to get to their plate, they wouldn’t eat it. The problem is, the folks who sell the meat will spew out lies about its safety and how “humanely” the horses are killed. Also, the vast majority of horsemeat is imported into France from elsewhere. Yes, they do raise horses for meat there, but even that is not without its problems (ex. recent EIA outbreak in Europe, still face cruelty to and at the slaughterhouse). I’m just so sick and tired of this cultural practice excuse. Just because it’s a cultural practice, doesn’t make it right. As an extreme example, female genital mutilation is considered to be a cultural practice in certain places in Africa. Perhaps there will be a show on that next?

    I’m anticipating some lawsuits with this episode….


  2. I happen to be very active in both these campaigns—WH&B advocacy and anti-slaughter, as well as anti-fois gras demonstrations in front of hoity-toity restaurants offering it on their menus. I have two ducks as pets and find them a most companionable, engaging pair. Unfortunately, some “cuisine gurus” think diseased, fatty livers of ducks and geese are the height of epicurean delight. These poor birds are forced to stand enclosed by individual wire cages–they can’t move anywhere–and a person with a machine comes by several times a day and rams a tube down the gullet, pumping them with pounds of fattening gruel. It is horrendous—they often die of suffocation . Go to the website to see undercover video. (gavage is the French term for forced fattening) It is a miserable, cruel industry


  3. Sickening isn’t it? And people take offense to my commenting on the Canadian food show. Hope y”all get sick eating it.


  4. Here’s some good information for those who want to make an effort to stop the show from airing, reposted from Celebrate the Horse Network:


    Please write and send your own email to the email address below. Also, please repost and share this with others who will do the same.

    Send an email to: Put CONCERN or HORSE MEAT EPISODE CONCERN in the subject line. Please emphasize that horse meat is NOT a main dish in France, according to our French sources.

    An advocate named Lydia Carter emailed the Food Network. Her email to them is below, as well as their response to her:

    From LC to Food Network: I understand that you are going to air and eposide on the 16th about HORSE MEAT!! please do not do this. This is horribly wrong to support horse slaughter!! Horses are not for human consumptation. Please do not air. I will send this info to all my friends and family in Canada and US as well to not watch foodnet work ever again. PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT HORSE SLAUGHTER BY AIRING OR OTHERWISE!

    Response from Food Network: We received your email regarding the content of an upcoming episode of Top Chef Canada that is set to air on Monday, May 16th, 2011 on Food Network Canada. We regret that you find some of the content of the program to be offensive; it is not our intention to offend our viewers. We would like to take this opportunity to address your concerns. Before we decide to broadcast a program, our Programming Department screens it to ensure that it is suitable for broadcast. The determination of suitability includes ensuring that the broadcast would not contravene applicable broadcast laws and industry codes including, but not limited to, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) “Code of Ethics”, “Equitable Portrayal”, and “CAB Violence Code”. Staying true to the original show format, the Top Chef Canada competitors are tasked with battling through a series of food-related challenges to avoid elimination. The challenge you are referring to was for the chefs to create a traditionally French menu. One of the most traditionally French foods is horsemeat. While we understand that this content may not appeal to all viewers, Food Network Canada aims to engage a wide audience, embracing different food cultures in our programming. On behalf of Food Network Canada, we would like to thank you for writing in and expressing your concerns regarding Food Network’s plans to broadcast this episode. Again, it is certainly not our intention to offend our viewers and we appreciate the time you have taken to contact us. We hope that we have addressed your concerns and that you continue to enjoy Food Network Canada programming.
    Food Network Viewer Relations

    ALSO… here is a list of sponsors of the show. Contact information is not given, but can be found online through a little research:

    Sponsors since Season One:

    Sponsor since Season Three:
    GE appliances

    Other s ponsors:
    Kingsford Charcoal
    Wild Oats
    Cold Stone Creamery
    Kraft Foods
    Quaker Oats
    Baileys Irish Cream
    T.G.I. Friday’s
    Red Robin
    Continental Airlines
    Bombay Sapphire
    Castello Blue Cheese


    • Here’s the letter I wrote to The Food Network:
      As a Certified Equine Appraiser who is required to have a professional knowledge of horses and their potential uses, I am VERY concerned that you are about to publicly air a show featuring the cooking and eating of horse meat. Horse meat is THE MOST DANGEROUS of all meats, as the lives of the ‘meat horses’ is not monitored to insure that no carcinogenic are given to those horses. ALMOST ALL horses slaughtered for meat are domestic horses who have, over the courses of their lives, been injected with high levels of drugs and chemicals that are highly toxic to humans. As a result, ALMOST ALL HORSE MEAT is harmful to humans. These drugs remain in the muscle tissue for the life of the horse- and after, at levels that cause a substantial risk of cancer in humans. For you show to promote the cooking and eating of horse meat is dangerous and irresponsible. You are also exposing yourselves to serious liabilities, since apparently you plan to air this show even after being made aware of the dangers of eating horse meat.

      PLEASE do the right thing IMMEDIATELY, and do the appropriate research about the safety of eating horse meat. DO NOT simply accept the word of those who stand to gain with huge profits to their horse slaughter business if your show results in a higher demand for horse meat.

      THIS IS SERIOUS. You have been warned about these dangers. If you proceed with the airing of this episode, you will deserve whatever consequences you may face for promoting the eating of a very dangerous food.

      Elaine Nash
      New York City, NY


  5. Ice. How come people think eating diseased duck liver would be good for them? Hay ducks may quack a lot but I think they could be a very charming pet to have. And kinda exotic in that not everyone has them for pets.

    I can happily say since I NEVER watch the Food Network I can quite easily manage this boycott.

    Since we’re talking food here–has anyone else tried Costco’s Red Quinoa/brown rice mix? It’s in the freezer section. You just heat and serve. I think it’s pretty ggod.


  6. The reason for any product, is the demand for it. We need need to accomplish the task of preventing this segment to air, as it will increase the demand for horsemeat and make it more acceptable in peoples minds. A strong undeniable force of Horse Advocates made an unbelievable impact yesterday at the Hearing of AB329. We have pulled it together and have become an incredibly strong force to be dealt with. Lets pull out all the stops on this one too please.

    Please find french top chefs that can defute their comments about the traditionality of horse meat. Please contact Sears and all the other sponsors and ask them for a statement on horse meat. Please inundate the food networks phone lines and faxes.

    Lets pull out all the stops and go the extra mile for the horses, again. We can do this.



    Contact Food Network Top Chef and the sponsors GE Monogram and Presidents Choice tell them horses are not food, that horse slaughter is cruel and barbaric and should be banned. Urge them to pull this May 16 episode.

    (Contact info. courtesy of Laura Allan of Animal Law Coalition)


  8. FOOD for thought:

    Food Network is a television specialty channel that airs both one-time and recurring (episodic) programs about food and cooking. Scripps Networks Interactive owns roughly two thirds of the network, and Tribune Company owns the rest.


  9. The Care2 article: “Top Chef Canada’s Horse Meat Episode Sparks Outrage” was #1 (the most popular) early this morning. It’s now fallen to #3. I’d like to see it stay in the top spot fas long as possible. The longer it stays, the more people will see it and, hopefully, understand and investigate for themselves. It may also prompt Care2 to write more on the subject. I don’t know if the ranking is based on “hits” (visits), votes, or comments. IMO, doing all three would be best.

    This is the Care2 News page:

    In case the article drops out of the 5 most popular, this is the direct link:


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