An episode of Top Chef Canada scheduled to air on the Food Network May 16, has sparked some serious outrage over the use of horses for human consumption.
The episode will feature a classic French cooking challenge that has one chef using horse meat. Foie gras, yet another cruelly obtained food, will also be on the menu.
“In their triple whammy food extravaganza they manage to insult viewers, align themselves with industries synonymous with inhumane animal handling and promote dubious food eating practices, all in one sickening episode,” stated the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.
Canada’s horse slaughter industry is, unfortunately, alive and well. Hundreds of thousands of horses are sent to across the border to slaughter each year and there is nothing humane about their experience. They were pets, companions, show horses, race horses, byproducts of the Premarin industry and some of them were even stolen. Each of them has a story and each of them somehow ended up in an unthinkable situation.
Even without the debate on whether or not it is ethical to kill horses for food, or criticizing other cultures, there is still the issue of food safety. Simply put, horses are not raised for human consumption. They’re regularly given a host of drugs, medications and supplements that are clearly labeled that they are not to be used in animals that will be eaten and pose a serious threat to human health.
Banamine, Acepromazine, Regumate, Ivermectin, Adequan and so on.
A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology highlights the fact that at least one of the drugs regularly given to horses, Phenylbutazone (bute), is not only toxic to humans, but a carcinogen.
“Dangerous and deadly side effects began to appear within three years including bone marrow suppression that was fatal in many cases and a hypersensitivity liver syndrome that could culminate in liver failure and death,” stated Ann M. Marini, Ph.D. M.D., the senior author of the study.
There is currently no way to trace whether or not horses that end up in the slaughter pipeline have been given these drugs.
The Equine Welfare Alliance stated in a press release that they suspect there’s more to it than just a cooking challenge. They believe “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.”
If you would like to express your thoughts on the episode, you can share them on Top Chef Canada’s Facebook page, or the Food Network Canada’s Facebook page or you can join the Boycott Top Chef Canada’s Facebook group.
(Note: It seems Top Chef Canada has blocked the U.S.)
You can also tweet @TopChefCanada @FoodNetworkCA with the tag #boycott.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tabor-roeder/