Horse News

Top Chef Canada’s Taste for Butchered Horse Flesh Unleashes Facebook Firestorm

(The News As We See It) by R.T. Fitch ~ Author/Director of HfH Advisory Council

The Food Network May Have Bitten Off More Than They Can Chew

“Top Chef Canada” came under intensive fire over the weekend leading up to Monday’s broadcast over an episode in which one contestant was asked to prepare a dish using proven drug tainted horse meat.  While the show aired a Facebook group emerged, called “Boycott Top Chef — Protect the Horses” and the membership swelled to over 5,000 strong within minutes totally eclipsing the Top Chef Canada’s Facebook page of only 3,500.

The Boycott Top Chef page lists the following information as the premise for the protest:

“Food Network’s TOP CHEF show is planning to air an episode where chefs are required to use horse in their dish: this season’s Episode 6

The majority of the public finds eating horse meat offensive. We are concerned about the bad precedent this may set. Horse slaughter is far less humane than beef. Horses are rarely raised for meat, so the source of horsemeat is our riding and racing horses. This means the meat is tainted with toxic or carcinogenic residue from drugs such as bute, dmso, steroids, lasix, antibiotics, and certain de-wormers. Horse meat is not a safe or acceptable food for Americans or Canadians.

We ask this show NOT be aired.

And we ask viewers to boycott both the show and its sponsors if it does go on air. Please contact the sponsors and let them know WHY.

***Keep the pressure on Food Nework Canada, Top Chef Canada and their sponsor President’s Choice***

►Food Network Canada – feedback@foodtv.ca
►Publicist – cathy.kurzbock@shawmedia.ca
►Publicity Coordinator – jessica.sine@shawmedia.ca
►Producer – mlysakow@me.com
►Show Sponsors listed below:
Superstore/Loblaws/Presidents Choice Brands – pr@loblaw.ca
paul.robertson@shawmedia.ca – President of shaw media
kim.warburton@ge.com – Vice President, Communications and Public Relations
elyse.allan@ge.com – President of GE Canada
tim.brown@ca.nestle.com – President of Nestle Canada”

Blogs were aflame and online chats burned as the program aired:

“It is the show’s moral obligation to their viewers to properly represent what they are promoting” said founder of Respect4Horses Simone Netherlands, “They truly do not understand the devious mechanics behind the bloody business of horse slaughter yet they continued to air the program as if the consumption of a companion animal was considered “normal” in today’s society.”

During the course of the debate it was uncovered that one of the conglomerates that sponsored the episode has a subsidiary, President’s Choice Supermarkets, that actually sells mail order, butchered horse flesh, Click (HERE)

On their web page Chef Danny Carrier extols:

“Horse meat has long been a tough sell, but it’s time we learned to appreciate its healthy attributes. On the menu: horse meat tartare, horse meat burgers with fresh goat cheese, horse steak with Béarnaise sauce, Wellington-style horse tournedos and, to satisfy your sweet tooth, a nice cream dessert.”

Vicki Tobin, Vice President of the Equine Welfare Alliance is quick to respond on the Straight from the Horse’s Heart blog:

“This statement from Chef Danny Carrier is a classic ‘Horse meat has long been a tough sell, but it’s time we learned to appreciate its healthy attributes.'” wrote Ms. Tobin, “I wonder if he’s offering a side of Ivermectin or Clenbuterol with the bute burger…”

The tempo of the dialogue increased with one frustrated commenter writing:

“I am reeling! I’m a horse advocate, and did not know this. I thought horse eating was limited to few fringies in Quebec. To discover that a company whose products I’ve been buying regularly for 25 years, distributes and promotes horse meat is repulsive, nauseating and sickening. I’ve had PC ice cream, salad dressing, and even meat in my home. I’ve shopped at their various subsidiaries up to 3X a week! I am furious. This has to stop. Thank God they’re being outed.”

Meanwhile the Top Chef Canada Facebook page was attempting to back peddle as they printed:

“There has been a great deal of conversation around the use of horse meat in tonight’s episode of Top Chef Canada.  The premise of this particular episode is traditional French cuisine and horse meat is selected as one among several other ingredients that represent traditional French foods. We assure our viewers that the horse meat along with all protein featured in this episode was federally approved and meets HACCP standards. What has become clear in the past few days, however, is that there are many varying opinions and claims surrounding the commercialization of horse meat. In light of this, Food Network Canada pledges to investigate the various issues and will carefully consider all the facts around this topic should horse meat be suggested for any future production.”

Too little too late, the damage has already been done but one thing remains clear, as clearly voiced by one of the commentors on the boycott Facebook page:

“I will not be watching this or any other episode. It appears to me that with the rise of reality shows they are trying as hard as they can to one-up the others in the “Gross!” “Yuck!” “Disgusting!” department. There may have been a time in the very distant past when the consumption of horse flesh may have been a necessity, but now is not that time! We are living in the 21st century–we should know better!!!

34 replies »

  1. Why should man expect his prayer for mercy to be heard by What is above him when he shows no mercy to what is under him?  ~Pierre Troubetzkoy

    As often as Herman had witnessed the slaughter of animals and fish, he always had the same thought:  in their behavior toward creatures, all men were Nazis.  The smugness with which man could do with other species as he pleased exemplified the most extreme racist theories, the principle that might is right.  ~Isaac Bashevis Singer

    The human spirit is not dead.  It lives on in secret…. It has come to believe that compassion, in which all ethics must take root, can only attain its full breadth and depth if it embraces all living creatures and does not limit itself to mankind.  ~Albert Schweitzer, Novel Peace Prize address, “The Problem of Peace in the World Today”

    To a man whose mind is free there is something even more intolerable in the sufferings of animals than in the sufferings of man.  For with the latter it is at least admitted that suffering is evil and that the man who causes it is a criminal.  But thousands of animals are uselessly butchered every day without a shadow of remorse.  If any man were to refer to it, he would be thought ridiculous.  And that is the unpardonable crime.  ~Romain Rolland, Nobel Prize 1915

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  2. I am disgusted with TCC and plan to boycott them and their sponsors and to inform the network of my furor.

    I would like them also to “investigate” the background of this innocent horse who no doubt was either someone’s beloved pet or an ex racer. Either way, horses are routinely given bute, dewormers, medications as determined by various veterinarians. What they had for dinner was toxic butchered carcass and I hope it made the chefs ill.

    TCC could not even supply the horse’s name…he was butchered without the dignity of an identity even. Have you ever seen video of a slaughter house butchering horses, once you have, you will know this is not a human death. It is plain savagery!

    Horse consumption figures note that the ingestion ot this meat has declined in recent years as the public are informed where the meat comes from, it’s toxicity and it’s barbarity.

    I personally protested on the basis of cruelty, morality, ethic issues, barbarity, and the overwheming fact that you cannot justify the consumption of toxic meat. It quickly became obvious that TCC did not care about the cruelty issues, so I am hoping the ratings dropped significantly to ensure they realise their “error’ and “lack of good judgement”.

    I will be definately boycotting them and their sponsors….
    Claire North

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  3. Shame on Top Chef Canada and any and all who support this. I can think of nothing more cruel in how these animals are slaughtered, let alone eating horse meat, toxic at that! As for Chef Danny Carrier – I hope he chokes!

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  4. I am so totally disgusted about this show. I will endeavor to make aware to everyone of my patients, business partners, and other professionals, what kind of CRAP airs on Top Chef. When the news of this show was first brought to my attention, I postes a comment about Canada’s lack of concern for animals ie.. Baby seals, and was attacked immediately by other facebook users who are not friends, but obviously Canadian. This isn’t over, they need not air this show.

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  5. Okay, so forgive my ignorance here. We have Food Network in the States–is it possible that it will be aired in this country?

    And PC do they have some US equivalent? Or a sister company that we know them by? If so, maybe we in the States could help by boycotting these companies too.

    Sorry I don’t watch TFN so I don’t know these things. And yes, I have signed one or two petitions that I came across. Since I don’t get this channel I didn’t have to worry about boycotting the channel.

    Thanks for any input.

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    • I just want to step in for a moment and comment on the fact that I do NOT think this horse eating attitude reflects upon the good folks of Canada as a whole. We have many great equine advocates, in Canada, that are struggling very hard to put an end to horse slaughter in their country.

      As a Texan it hurt and frustrated me that 2 of 3 US horse slaughter plants were located in our fine state, they are now closed, but do you think that all Texans, and Americans for that matter, should be condemned for the actions of a handful of people, I think not.

      So, please, let’s keep this discussion civil and not flame our good friends to the North, we are sisters and brothers in the same fight and I love them all dearly.

      Thanks.

      R.T.

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  6. TFN needs to do some serious homework when planning their broadcasts. Horses are NOT meant for human consumption. The many medicines they receive to live a healthy life (when they are still useful to the human) are very dangerous to humans. I also believe the factory farming that is so prevalent now to produce all of the meat and poultry is extremely abusive. A show that is all about cooking needs to stand up for the creatures in the pot.

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    • Hi Louie, Help me out, what products from Nestle are you referring to? I’ve been trying to cross referrence the stores in Canada that sponsor the TC food show, call me stupid but can’t find the common demonator?

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  7. What a sick, sad world we live in!! We slaughter & eat our friends & companions, our animal athletes when they can longer compete & win money!! I think it’s almost unbelievable that something so appalling, so disgusting, &, so toxic, was allowed to air on TV !! Throw the book at that so-called “chef”, & the entire show!!

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  8. This so called “chef” and his cohorts exhibit attitudes that are far too common – no compassion and no empathy towards animals. To them, animals are only food products – nothing more. People like these care nothing except for their stomachs. Their grisly appetites result in tremendous suffering for billions of animals all over the world. Slaughter is a terrifying, horrific experience for animals. There is no such thing as “humane slaughter.” Yet, millions of animals die via this method each and every day to satisfy the appetites of human beings who themselves are being sickened and dying because of their insatiable appetite for meat and dairy. Look at people – they are fat and out of shape. Horsemeat is known to be loaded with drugs and yet the Food Network chooses to air shows encouraging it’s consumption. Amazing. I will NEVER, EVER watch another Food Network show, of any kind. I have already boycotted Canadian products because of the country’s continual butchery of baby Harp seals. I will now include Food Network sponsors in my boycott. Top Chef has made a further mockery of it’s name. This kind of trash should never be allowed on the air!

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    • Suzanne, my apologies if you have already done so. It’s not enough to simply boycott Canadian products. Then you impact our economy, and even our horses and horse advocates (like me)
      suffer. Please write and call the companies responsible for the slaughter. Tell them you won’t buy their products, and why. Thank you.

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  9. I’m a Canadian horse advocate, urging people to boycott President’s Choice products and all their stores. The parent company is Loblaws. Galen Weston’s company owns: Real Canadian Superstore/Warehouse, IGA, Marketplace IGA, Provigo and Fortino’s.

    I understand that President’s Choice products can be found in some American stores. Can any of my US horse lover friends research this? Someone mentioned Kroger’s. An outing and boycott of horse meat products on home soil would be so helpful for the horses. I am weary of waiting for the EU to follow up on what they already know: The US horse meat they banned for import, is simply outsourced to Canada.

    If we shout loudly enough, then the EU can say, “OH, the horror. We didn’t know. We’d better ban Canadian horse meat as well.” It’s bound to happen eventually. Please, let’s speed up the process. I wake up nearly every morning at 4:30 a.m. on the West Coast. I say a prayer for the horses on the East Coast, who are travelling into the kill chute starting at 7:30 a.m. 400 per day here, and it can’t end soon enough.

    Will someone please check out PC’s American distribution? Thanks much!

    Horse hugs,
    Alpha Mare

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  10. Oh Mr. Markham, Mr. Markham, whereEVER did you go! Found a readable scientific viewpoint for ya, but looks like you have departed.

    This is the Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau, and Ann M. Marini article in the Food and Chemical Toxicology Journal (http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodchemtox

    Click to access bute_contamination.pdf

    Title: ‘Associaton of phenylbutazone usage with orses bought for slaughte: A public health risk 117 Feb. 2010.

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  11. David Markam You’re an ass! Valerie is right you have no business posting comments on this venue since you intent is obviously to inflame and already hot issue. And you’re from the University Medical Center in Rochester? I sure hope they keep you away from the cadavers. Now, I intend to look up the company that Alpha Mare gave in her post and see what information I can get and share.

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  12. During the course of the debate it was uncovered that one of the conglomerates that sponsored the episode has a subsidiary, President’s Choice Supermarkets, that actually sells mail order, butchered horse flesh, Click (HERE)

    On their web page Chef Danny Carrier extols:

    “Horse meat has long been a tough sell, but it’s time we learned to appreciate its healthy attributes. On the menu: horse meat tartare, horse meat burgers with fresh goat cheese, horse steak with Béarnaise sauce, Wellington-style horse tournedos and, to satisfy your sweet tooth, a nice cream dessert.”

    Looks like some grocery chain needed some help with a “tough sell.” See no other reason why they’d choose this lightning rod as “traditional French cuisine.”

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  13. Please don’t watch Top Chef US version anymore. And tell them on their FB page Top Chef, that they lost a viewer for good over poor judgment in Canada.

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  14. “We assure our viewers that the horse meat…was federally approved and meets HACCP standards.” What does that mean? They know where the animal was raised? and that it had never received any drugs that remained in its tissues? The animal was raised as “meat stock”? Does anyone think that? What a crock. Well–it sure does bring the issue into the kitchens of all the Chef watchers–into the open and all over the ‘net. This is actually a good thing for the horses! Cuisine au carcinogen.

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    • Ann:

      EXACTLY!!!!…..and also well stated. I would go one step further, and the testing standards for bute (et al prohibited substances) is what????…… and it represents what percentage of all equines slaughtered in Canada?

      A few here have kept the important part of the overall outrage their primary concern…the slaughter, distribution and consumption of a meat source that is continually subject to vague, capricious, irrelevant, outdated and loopholed to absurd, nonequivalent standards required for the majority of current meat species for human consumption.

      Pleased to see the “involved participates” are feeling the proverbial heat, not pleased to see the heat that was applied to that equine of course.

      I just don’t understand how humans can be that hungry to eat dangerous meat derived from a hideous process. Maybe the person that mentioned “shock value” has the real reason behind a stupid, thoughtless feature like this….but then again, maybe it’s big ag shaping the agenda….STILL!

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  15. We are calling the wrong people, the Bravo Network is who aired the show. Bravo network is owned by NBC!! President of the Bravo Network is Lauren Zalaznick. Her email is lauren.zalasnick@NBC.uni.com . She has received no phonecalls or emails so far, because ive been calling NBC and they claimed no affiliation with the top chef program but they lied! Bravo aired the show. Lets see if she will pull the reruns of the show!! Please call and email! 818-777-1000 when you get the operator ask directly for Lauren Zalasnick, if you get the voicemail, leave a long message. Thank you!!

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  16. R. T. Thanks once again for spreading the word about this on STFTHH and Facebook.

    Beth,
    Thanks for the wonderful quotes at the top of the posts.

    David,
    A horse that has been raised since birth to be a food animal should be as healthy as any other meat, I would think. However, I don’t know where horses are raised where they not first pets and companion animals. On the other hand, cows, pigs, sheep, and poultry are raised for the primary purpose of providing human beings with food. Young people who raise a cow as a 4-H project, show their animal at the county or state fair, know that in a few weeks their cow will be sold at market value. While there may be individual exceptions, these young people are learning to raise, market, and sell livestock. They will get another calf to raise for the next year’s project. In contrast, 4-Hers who participate in the 4-H horse program will work all year to prepare their horse or someone else’s horse to show at the district, state, and regional level. As they advance through the years, they move through different age groups and skill levels. Some riders may change horses early in their
    riding, but most try to get a good horse and develop with it.

    If your argument is that horses are no different from any other animal, I conclude that either you have not been around a lot of different animals or you have the hunter/livestock man mentality. Horses are not temperamemtality like cows. They are like deer, but bigger. They are very social animals. They bond with each other, and, if they are treated well, they bond very closely with their human herd members. Horses are intuitive and sensitive. They feel the feet of a fly even before the fly is on their backs. So how much greater is the pain they feel when they are spiked over and over again as they run through the chutes at Mexican slaughter houses. The industry that slaughters horses is run by the lowest of the low life forms. Who else could watch so many young, beautiful, and health animals get off a truck, and them spend the rest of his day killing these extraordinary creatures all day long, day after day. Who could listen to cries and watch their eyes and bodies as they fill with confusion and fear minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day? Who could live with the well of blood so strong that it permeates even the air outside the slaughter house? Who wants to be the one with the impossible job pf cleaning up the blood, so it does not seep into the ground and contaminate the ground outside the slaughter house and seep into the water supply with all the toxins are left in the horse’s remains? Got a house for sale in your neighborhood. Invite one of these folks to have a look. Or better yet, your daughter is dating the fellow that skins the hide off the horse. Bet you are praying that this relationship works out.

    Sorry. My values include not eating animals I love, and I have loved horses since before I can remember. There is no why, how, what, or when. It simply is.

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  17. Schools do have these guidelines, but whether or not and how strictly they are followed depend on the school, or the Department’s leadership. Networks know where every computer is in the building, and they keep records of when each computer is accessed. In most places people have an access code to login on the computer. Some codes are generic, but others are specific. If the administrator wants to enforce this policy, there are different ways to do it. If he or she does not want to fool with it, then it won’t matter how well-written or comprehensive your policies are.

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  18. Thank you Louie. I’m trying to gather list for my FB friends of companies they might want to avoid. Thanks again.

    Like

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