Jerry Finch (Habitat for Horses) reached HSUS and ASPCA last night and they are on stand-by. Our main concern right now is the horses stuck in the pipeline. We are asking our rescues to be on stand-by and those that can provide assistance should we start pulling horses - i.e. vets, supplies, trailers, etc.
Also of note is an email and facebook posts that New Holland is on fire. There was a fire but it did not impact the horses.
Again, we would like to stress that you be very careful of organizations asking for donations. We don't know what we are dealing with yet and the opportunists are already starting.
Most likely, there will be some charge to pull the horses as well as other expenses so donations will be needed. As one example, Jerry will set-up a separate fund that will go through his accountant. Only the accountant will release funds to pay for any horses, supplies, etc. We suggest anyone that becomes involved in pulling horses, set up something similar or an escrow account. That way, those donating will know their money is going to a legitimate organization and the money will be used as intended. EWA will not be accepting any donations for this. We ask that everyone work with the organizations doing the work and check them out before donating.
We are seeing many posts and emails flying that are starting to embellish on the news such as slaughter has ended. Here's what we know thus far:
--There appears to have been no advance notice on this as the KBs and auctions (including the big 3 - New Holland, Sugarcreek and Shipshewana) we spoke to were taken by surprise by this. We suspect something happened that no one is talking about yet. For the EU to refuse shipments with no notice (unless it was ignored) it had to be something big. We could speculate but it would be hearsay and would only add to the rumors. This came a few days after the latest EU FVO report from Mexico (released by Animals' Angels) indicated the Health affidavits are not sufficient to comply with EU food safety standards. We do not know if that had anything to do with the shutdown.
--Our partners in Canada, CHDC, will let us know of any new information they are able to obtain.
--We do not know if the shutdown is permanent or temporary and if temporary, for how long.
--The borders are not closed. It is the plants that are not taking horses. If the EU is not accepting shipments from Canada (we suspect Mexico as well but don't have confirmation) it stands to reason that the plants aren't going to accept horses. While we have heard of trucks being turned-around at the border, it may be that the particular border control knew the plants weren't accepting horses and informed the hauler. Both the CFIA and POE (port of entry) told us the borders were not closed. Of course, we've been lied to before but that's what we were told.
--We are hearing rumblings of this being related to the 180 day holding period but is speculation at this point. While this should have been enforced since 2009, we know horses were not being held as many went right from the auction to kill. If indeed the shutdown is related to this,
1) It is an example of the inability of those involved in horse slaughter to follow regulations until forced to do so and begs the question, why did it take so long?
2) By the time the 180 days is up, two months later would be the implementation of a full compliant passport system for any horse meat shipments to the EU.
It should be noted that the EU represents 70% of the market for Canada.
--We do not know how many horses are in the "pipeline" and with it being the weekend, information is not easy to obtain. We are asking for volunteers to check out any local auctions, holding pens and feedlots. If anyone has information, please email, EWA, Jerry, and RT at the below email addresses to ensure we can begin mobilizing, sorting out and passing on the information to those that can start addressing the issues:
Daily Racing Form released an article. They did their own research and have come to the same conclusion as we did in our press release.
Canada stops accepting U.S. horses for slaughter
Last but not least, as usual our opponents are calling for the US to open plants and started a petition to Vilsack. We already have a petition with over 40,000 signatures so please, no more petitions! In addition to not understanding what banned means, they don't seem to understand that if the EU doesn't want the meat, it doesn't matter where the horses are killed. Instead of pulling together to help the horses in the pipeline, they are trying to find another way to kill them.
Additional information will be released when received.