In mid summer of 2011, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) received footage and pictures taken at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation (LPN) slaughterhouse in St-Andre-Avellin, Quebec. The subsequent report was compiled by the CHDC in a video/slideshow/report entitled Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada's Horsemeat Industry.
It was noted that the accompanying pictures and/or the Equine Information Documents for these horses showed tattoos. We endeavoured to trace these tattoos; if, in error, these six Standardbreds do not match the tattoo numbers, we apologize to the owners of those Standardbreds. Three of the six Standardbreds had accompanying pictures, which are reproduced below. The tattoo numbers are also reproduced below.
This story is dedicated to those six Standardbreds, unwitting mascots of the reality of the racing industry that continues to dispose and dump their horses into the horrors of the slaughter pipeline, who met their death at LPN on July 13 and 14, 2011 and to all horses over the years who have met their deaths in Canadian, U.S., Mexican and European slaughterhouses.
If anybody can help us fill in the gaps on HURRICANE JEFF, MAJOR BABY, SILKY SHARK, SPILL THE INK, ELITE DIN PACH and PROMISING LUCIA or has any recent racing pictures of them or can add to their life histories, we welcome all information and can be contacted at email@example.com. Full discretion guaranteed.
They were not just "numbers" standing in a kill line. All of the horses slaughtered at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation in July 2011 had faces and personalities, and most of them would have had names. Some, such as the beautiful Standardbreds featured in our report "Slaughterhouse 6", even came to the kill plant with racing histories. Thanks to anonymous sources, we were able to piece together the lives and the tragic deaths of these six horses. In their memory, we share their stories with you.
May their journey be remembered.
HURRICANE JEFF was foaled in Columbus, New Jersey on March 23, 2003 and bred at Meadow Lands Farm in Washington, Pennsylvania that was owned by driver Delvin Miller and home to world champion standardbred sire Adios. His dam was Taxn Tip (1989) and his sire was (1996). His great grandfather was the great pacer (1979), horse of the year in the U.S. and Canada in 1982 and 1983. A large standardbred at 16 hands high, this bay gelding's life would be ended at age 8 years and 3 months.
HURRICANE JEFF'S racing career spanned over three and a half years beginning in the spring of 2006 and ending in the late fall of 2009. He raced exclusively in the United States at tracks along the eastern seaboard and made a total of $108,446 for his owners in his short racing career. Investigation shows he had multiple trainers in his 77 starts, was claimed three times and ran on Lasix during half of his career. He was also scratched nine times from the racing card, the latest scratch determined by the vet came about four months before his racing career ended.
During his short racing career, HURRICANE JEFF had six different trainers, the last of these was trainer/owner Delbert R. Richards, who trained him from February of 2009 till his last race at Dover Downs in Dover, Delaware on November 16, 2009. Delbert R. Richards does the majority of his training at Dover Downs and appears to have been quite successful with a career that began in 1992 to the present and a total of $2,215,040 in money earned from 3,471 starts. In the latter part of 2008, he was trained under Karen Crothers. Ms. Crothers, a trainer since 1999, distinguishes HURRICANE JEFF on her web page Racing for Life. Unfortunately, he was not one of the horses that remained in her training to retire on her large farm in Newark.
What happened to HURRICANE JEFF after his career ended in November of 2009? What events occurred in his life to take him down to his eventual end as Tag Number 922/3807 in a Canadian slaughter plant? We do know he became the property of Leroy Baker of Sugarcreek Livestock Auction In Sugarcreek, Ohio on July 8, 2011 so it is likely his last days were spent at the notorious kill auction at Sugarcreek before he was shipped out on a twelve-plus hour journey to the Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughter plant in Quebec, depending on border wait times and how many times the driver stopped for breaks. It is highly unlikely at any point in this journey that the horses on HURRICANE JEFF'S load were provided any respite however, deprived of space to move, feed and water.
HURRICANE JEFF was sold to Leroy Baker by another kill buyer, driver and auctioneer, Dean Beachy, who operates the Mt. Hope Auction in Mt. Hope, Ohio and also runs the Blooded Horse Sales Company devoted to Standardbreds in Delaware, Ohio.
Dean Beachy stated on the EID form that he owned him from November 12, 2010 to July 8, 2011. We can then surmise that he was consigned to the Mt. Hope auction where he languished for eight months at a feedlot until Leroy Baker bought him and shipped him out a few weeks later to Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation.
Where was HURRICANE JEFF in the intervening years - from late November of 2009 to November 12 of 2011 when he came into the possession of Dean Beachy? It is highly likely he was sold to the Amish community and used as a buggy horse. Or just as likely that he was bought for a racing prospect but never went back to the track.
Further information on Leroy Baker and the Sugarcreek Auction and Dean Beachy can be found on the Animals' Angels website. Leroy Baker has multiple USDA violations and Dean Beachy allegedly has multiple suspensions for the fraudulent alterations of Coggins Test at Northfield Park racetrack in Ohio.
Animals' Angels web: http://www.animalsangels.org/
The Blooded Horse Sales web: http://www.bloodedhorse.com/
Mt. Hope Auction web: http://www.mthopeauction.com/
MAJOR BABY was born at Monee, Illinois on April 20, 1999, bred by Nugget Acres Farm in Mellrose Park, Illinois. At the time of her slaughter, she would have been 12 years and 3 months old. Her sire was Fighting Major (1987) who had the great Standardbreds Adios, , Meadow Skipper and Bret Hanover in his bloodlines. Her dam was Birthdays Baby (1993) who also had Adios and Bret Hanover in her bloodlines as well as Hal Dale. MAJOR BABY was large at 16.2 hands high and all black, except for some white that ringed her left hind pastern. In her yearling year, she was offered for sale at $5,500 at the Cottonwood Yearlings Sale in Big Rock, Illinois, a good price with the promise of great expectations.
MAJOR BABY's racing career began at Balmoral Park in Crete, Illinois in a qualifying race when she was a two-year-old and ended when she was five years old at Hoosier Park in Indiana in another qualifying race. During that three-year period, she had 46 starts at tracks in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, bringing home $12,685. Clearly, this lovely large mare wasn't performing as expected and she disappears from the racing scene with her last race on May 15, 2004 under the reins of driver/trainer Jimmy D. Shelton. Originally an Ohio native, Mr. Shelton has been driving and training Standardbreds for over two decades and in that time has made well over $1 million in earnings.
Where was MAJOR BABY from mid-2004 to her capture on video in a stun chute on July 13, 2011? Her last owner of record dates back to 2004 and was Jason F. Bluhm of Waverly, New York. Coincidently, there is a Director of Racing at TIOGA DOWNS and VERNON DOWNS racetracks in New York by the same name.
If she was used as a Standardbred broodmare, her foals weren't registered, though this does not negate her breeding potential; her lines were solid and she very well could've been bred privately.
What we do know is that MAJOR BABY's promise as a racing prospect, given her low earnings, probably took her out of the industry. Likely, she also was sold into the Amish community for use as a buggy horse. Her Equine Information Document shows her owner as a resident of Sugarcreek, Ohio, where she was owned from July 10, 2010 till July 8, 2011 and the name presented on the EID is a common Amish name. Perhaps then, we can assume a member of the Amish community bought her in the summer of 2010 at Sugarcreek, presented her for sale at this same auction a year later until Leroy Baker bought her on July 8, 2011 where her fate was sealed.
MAJOR BABY can be seen in the CHDC video Pasture to Plate at 2:09 in the video and on the Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada's Horsemeat Industry as Horse 64 (http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html) (Warning advised: contains graphic images.)
SILKY SHARK was born in Augusta, New Jersey on April 19, 2001, a beautiful bay colt with a distinguishing almost-perfect star on his forelock. Although he was dropped in New Jersey, the breeders of record are Patricia L. Waldeck and Deborah Tull of Rolling Hills, California who are still active in the industry and are listed as the current owners of his dam, Marthas In Town. In 2003, when SILKY SHARK was a two-year-old, he was bred to Sharkist Powell, a mare a few years older and his half-sister (her sire was ), to produce his only son of record Nicco S. There is no indication that Nicco S has ever been raced.
SILKY SHARK's breeding was impeccable. His dam was the unraced Marthas In Town (1996) and his sire was (1991 - lifetime earnings $2,498,204) whose sire was the legendary and potent (1979 - lifetime earnings $2,041,367). is still siring foals at the age of twenty-one, although a recent hernia operation has been suspended until 2013 (to date, has sired 1,729 foals). SILKY SHARK's dam was by the indomitable (1989 - lifetime earnings of $2,541,647). The blood of Meadow Skipper, Adios, Overtrick and flowed in his veins.
In 81 starts covering a period of almost five years, SILKY SHARK went on to earn $122,646 for his owners, an impressive amount. He stopped racing just before his eighth birthday in a qualifying race at Hoosier Park in Indiana under the reins of well-known driver, Trace A. Tetrick, who is also the last owner of record. Trace A. Tetrick has earned $15,167,462 in a career that has spanned over a decade as a driver and shares the spotlight with father, Tom, also a driver-trainer throughout the Midwest and his brother, Tim A. Tetrick whose career earnings to date are a staggering $109,151,980. The Tetrick family also boasts another driver-trainer, brother to Trace, Tom - the Tetrick family is at the top of Standardbred's racing royalty.
SILKY SHARK began his first year of racing in Canada at Ontario tracks: a beginning qualifying race at Mohawk Raceway in Campbelville, Woodbine Racetrack in Rexdale, Kawartha Downs in Fraserville, Georgian Downs in Innisfil, Hiawatha Horse Park in Sarnia and Flamboro Downs in Dundas. He wouldn't race in Canada again as the remainder of his career, from September of 2005 to his final qualifying race on April 7 of 2009 were on the U.S. circuit, running many of them at The Meadowlands in New Jersey, where he first ran on the drug Lasix in December of 2005 and remained on Lasix for the remainder of his racing career.
Two years are missing in SILKY SHARK's life, from the time he stopped racing in April of 2009 to the time he was consigned for meat in July of 2011. We know from the EID submitted with his pictures at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation slaughterhouse that Leroy Baker owned him from November 15, 2010 to July 8, 2011 and that Leroy Baker is listed as the Agent on his EID from July 8, 2011 to July 11, 2011. Where was he from his last race on April 7, 2009 until Leroy Baker took possession of him on November 15, 2010? Are we to assume he, too, was perhaps used in the Amish/Mennonite community during that time? And from November 15, 2010 to July 11, 2011, can we assume he was in a feedlot for those ten months? What we do know is that no one came to his rescue, no one afforded him a well-deserved retirement and everyone whose name was attached to his along the way has played a part in sending him to his horrific end.
SPILL THE INK was born in Saco, Maine on April 4, 2007. Her dam was Smooth as Ice (1992) by Goalie Jeff (1986 - lifetime earnings $2,003,439), the son of . Her sire was (1995, lifetime earnings $424,947) by (1988 - lifetime earnings of $3,085,083, 1992 Horse of the Year and record setting pacer). In her yearling year, she was consigned by the Hunterton Sales Agency at the Harrisburg Yearling Sales in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania as Hip #1057 and was purchased by Jean Yves Blais of Montreal for $20,000. Blais, a prominent and active Standardbred owner/breeder from Quebec is the last owner of record for SPILL THE INK and posted an ad to sell her in 2010 for $10,000 - clearly trying to recoup his original investment and lost earnings due to her less than stellar race record.
SPILL THE INK started her racing career as a two-year-old at qualifying races at Mohawk Raceway in Ontario. All of her 23 starts would be run on the Ontario circuit: Mohawk, Woodstock Raceway, Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton, with the bulk of her racing at Rideau Carleton Raceway. Her total earnings were $19,780 over two years; of that amount, $6,050 was made from January 6 to April 8, 2011. Her last race was at Rideau Carleton Raceway on April 8 where she came in third, driven and trained by Claude Cadieux as she had been her entire career. Claude Cadieux has been in the reins since 1988, spending his time between Quebec tracks (the now defunct Blue Bonnets Raceway, Hippodrome Trois Rivieres and Hippodrome Montreal) and Rideau Carleton in Ontario. His lifetime earnings are $667,414. Cadieux has also been a trainer since 1992 with lifetime earnings of $756,253. Driving and training for owner Jean Yves Blais, they also team up purchasing and consigning Standardbreds at prestigious sales across Canada and the U.S.
While SPILL THE INK walked terrified into the knock box at LPN, the Blais/Cadieux team was testing another one of their purchases, three-year-old filly Uphoria Hanover at Rideau Carleton Raceway in a qualifying race. Uphoria Hanover was also a Harrisburg Yearlings Sales purchase in 2009 for $30,000, Hip #373.
SPILL THE INK was a young mare and although she was not a shining star on the racing circuit, she held promise. Three months after her last race, she would be slaughtered at LPN, Hip #880. She was four years and three months old. How had she been taken down this road?
The name on SPILL THIS INK's EID belongs to a Napanee, Ontario native. According to the information he completed on the EID, he was the stated owner from January 1 to July 9, 2011 - an interesting observation as the last owner of record on her April 8, 2011 race records was Jean Yves Blais. This EID has some of the worst omissions of all the 62 EIDs we viewed: the owner's address was incomplete, showing only a name, town and province. No age was given for SPILL THE INK. The required Primary Location was not filled in, nor was the Primary Use of Animal checked. Her history was traced through her tattoo number. And now, we can also assume, that the Owner Declaration on the EID that requires the owner to list the time they "had interrupted possession, care or control of the animal" was fraudulent as well.
It is important to note here also that Rideau Carleton Raceway falls under the auspices of the Ontario Racing Commission (ORC); neither organization has come out publicly against the slaughter of former racehorses. Contrarily, the ORC's "Vision" states: "A strong, vibrant horse racing industry founded upon the principles of honesty, integrity and social responsibility." It is an open secret that horse dealers/kill buyers troll the backstretches of all racetracks loading up horses that trainers and owners want to dispose of. The racetracks and the ORC in their failure to properly police this and for their failure to publicly denounce the slaughter of racehorses are as culpable as the kill buyers, grooms, owners and trainers that perpetuate this.
ELITE DIN PACH was born on May 16, 2005, foaled in Rivière Paspébiac on the southern shore of the Gaspé Peninsula in Quebec, one of the most scenic regions in Canada. The breeder of record was Levis Maltais. His dam was Elite Marie whose lines trace back to , the son of the great . His father, Omar Khayam, has equally prestigious fore bearers, Matts Scooter on the sire side and skipping a generation, on the distaff side.
ELITE DIN PACH was not a large Standardbred, according to his EID he only stood 15 hands high, a bay horse with a small star. In his yearling year, he was offered for sale at the Coopérative des Encans Standardbred du Québec (CESQ) at the Hippodrome de Montreal for $4,500, hip #259 of 284 yearlings consigned. No record is available for the buyer, and as this sale is noted for its high percentage of buy backs, it is unclear whether ELITE DIN PACH was purchased. His ownership was transferred several years later in June of 2010, to a Lloyd M. Martin of Wallenstein, Ontario.
Lloyd Martin is a horse owner and dealer who advertises in several publications, specifically targeting the Amish community. Martin is also the last owner of record although his name is not on the EID for ELITE DIN PACH. The owner on the EID form is from Lucknow, Ontario and stated he owned the gelding from July 4, 2009 to July 5, 2011. The owner's name is a common Amish name and it should also be noted that there is a sect of Old Order Amish Mennonites in this region of Ontario - the second-largest Amish settlement in Ontario. Although the U.S. has many Amish settlements across their country, it is also important to note that in Canada, Ontario is the only province where the sect has settled and established communities. Lloyd M. Martin, owner of record, also resides in an area that is home to the Amish community; Wallenstein, located approximately one hour east of Lucknow is on the outskirts of Kitchener-Waterloo, is the largest of Canada's Mennonite/Amish community, and is home to OLEX (Ontario Livestock Exchange), the livestock mart that is a feeder auction for horses to enter the slaughter pipeline.
ELITE DIN PACH began his racing career in June 22, 2008 in a short race at Nouvelle, Quebec and ended it on May 28, 2010 in a qualifying race at Flamboro Downs in Ontario, a career spanning not quite two years. His lifetime earnings in that short time were $6,904, a meager amount. His last race was under the capable hands of Anthony A. Macdonald, a driver/trainer hailing from Guelph, Ontario with career earnings of over $17.75 million and 2,174 career wins in his sixteen years of racing as a driver and over $3 million as a trainer.
At some point in 2008, ownership was listed under the name of Lucille Gagnon of Gatineau, Quebec; he was under the reins of Guy Gagnon when on September 13, 2008 Gagnon pulled off a 17-1 upset with ELITE DIN PACH and Gagnon went on that same day to bag his 3,000th win as a driver at Hippodrome Gatineau. The little gelding's promise of great things to come in the fall of 2008 seemed to have fizzled for the remainder of his career throughout 2009 and 2010 he managed only to place third.
By late spring in 2010, we lose track of ELITE DIN PACH until he surfaced on the kill floor at Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation a year later. Perhaps he too, like so many Standardbreds before him, ended up as a buggy horse, sold into the Amish community until he was consigned for meat at LPN at the age of six.
PROMISING LUCIA's life is probably one of the saddest to document due to its brevity. This chestnut colt with the white blaze was born on March, 2009 in Charlemagne, Quebec and slaughtered in his third year. Bred and owned by Ecurie Gaetan Bono Inc. of Montreal, Quebec, PROMISING LUCIA never raced. His sire was Promising Catch (1990) who has produced over 287 starters in a breeding career since 1994. His dam, Maria Lucia (1995), has produced eight foals of record, four times bred to Promising Catch and three to produce a live foal; PROMISING LUCIA was her seventh foal.
PROMISING LUCIA's EID lists him as 15 HH and as a gelding. The owner who consigned him to the slaughter house is a Napanee, Ontario native, however little else is known about this individual as this particular EID lacks a valid address and pertinent information on this horse is missing. The EID owner stated that he was in possession of PROMISING LUCIA from January 15, 2010 to July 9, 2011; again the name differs from the last owner of record as per the Standardbred registry.
Gaetan Bono is the President of Gaetan Bono Fruits & Vegetables, an import/export company based in Montreal, Quebec. A family run business, they have been distributing produce for over thirty years, branching out into the development of organic fruits and vegetables in 2004. Gaetan Bono has been in the racing business for over twenty years, buying and selling stock through his Ecurie Gaetan Bono.
In 2009, when PROMISING LUCIA was a weanling, his dam, Maria Lucia, was offered for sale by Northwood Bloodstock Agency in New Jersey as part of a Gaetan Bono stable reduction, purchase price was $1000. In 2010, Ecurie Gaetan Bono received a NCRHHA (National Capital Region Harness Horse Association Awards) for his three-year-old trotting filly, Eagle Trace.
There is so much missing in PROMISING LUCIA's life we don't know and the information that we do have is extremely mystifying. Why was this little gelding never raced? Who is responsible for his final sad end in a Quebec slaughter plant? Why did the people who touched his life feel no responsibility to ensure he would never meet such a tragic end?
Racetracks of Record - All Lack Anti-Slaughter Policies
Below are the racetracks where the five racing Standardbreds ran, none of which have anti-slaughter policies:
HURRICANE JEFF: Pocono Downs, Wilkes Barre, PA; The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ; Balmoral Park, Crete, IL; Harrahs Chester Casino, Chester, PA; Freehold Raceway, NJ;
Harrington Raceway, DE; Dover Downs, Dover, DE
MAJOR BABY: Balmoral Park, Crete, IL; Maywood Park, Maywood, IL: Hoosier Park, Anderson, IN; Lebanon Raceway, Lebanon, OH; Scioto Downs, Columbus, OH
SILKY SHARK: Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, ON; Woodbine Racetrack, Rexdale, ON; Kawartha Downs, Fraserville, ON; Georgian Downs, Innisfil, ON; Hiawatha Horse Park, Sarnia, ON; Flamboro Downs, Dundas, ON; Pocono Downs, Wilkes Barre, PA; The Meadowlands, East Rutherford, NJ; Freehold Raceway, NJ; Saratoga Harness, Saratoga Springs, NY; Plainridge Racecourse, Plainville, MA; Gaitway Farm, Millhurst, NJ; Lebanon Raceway, Lebanon, OH; Maywood Park, Maywood, IL; Scioto Downs, Columbus, OH; The Red Mile, Lexington, KY; Indiana Downs, Shelbyville, IN; Balmoral Park, Crete, IL; Hoosier Park, Anderson, IN
SPILL THE INK: Mohawk Racetrack, Campbellville, ON; Woodstock Raceway, Woodstock, ON; Kawartha Downs, Fraserville, ON; Rideau Carleton Raceway, Ottawa, ON
ELITE DIN PACH: Nouvelle, Nouvelle, PQ; Pabos, Pabos, PQ; Club de Course Bonaventure, Bonaventure, PQ; Hippodrome Gatineau, Alymer, PQ; Rideau Carleton Raceway, Ottawa, ON; Kawartha Downs, Fraserville, ON; Flamboro Downs, Dundas, ON; Woodstock Raceway, Woodstock, ON
Money was a factor in disposing of all these Standardbreds - money they weren't making, money they were costing the owners. But money was also a factor in how they died - each one of them deserved a humane death, each person that touched their lives along the way had options, resources at their fingertips and the money to ensure these racehorses received a dignified retirement and failing that, a dignified and humane death. Instead, their lives were traded for a couple of hundred dollars - an ultimate betrayal for all they contributed.
From the CHDC report at LPN covering a period of two days, there were a suspected fifteen Standardbreds slaughtered. This number was probably much higher as some of the horses could not be absolutely identified as Standardbreds from their pictures alone and/or those suspected of being standardbreds did not have accompanying tattoos listed as per the requirement on their Equine Information Document. Quite possibly, because of the popularity and versatility of the breed, the fact that future racing prospects can be achieved cheaply and legally through artificial insemination, and the recent downturn/defunding of racetracks both in Ontario and Saskatchewan, Standardbreds are at risk of becoming the top breed channeled to slaughter.
In Canada, the governing body in charge of Standardbred registrations is Standardbred Canada, which is affiliated and adheres to the principles as laid out by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency with regard to horses in the food chain (http://www.standardbredcanada.ca/content/horse-welfare-statement.html) .
Although Standardbred rescues and adoptions are helping to curb the problem of these horses going to slaughter, clearly not enough is being done by the bodies that oversee both breeding and racing in Canada to stop the spiral. Given the disinterest and apathy of the Canadian government to put an end to horse slaughter in Canada any time soon, these six Standardbreds - HURRICANE JEFF, MAJOR BABY, SILKY SHARK, SPILL THE INK, ELITE DIN PACH and PROMISING LUCIA - will be joined by thousands upon thousands of horses of every breed and description to feed this brutal industry.
The power to change this lies not only with the Canadian government, but with breed associations/councils/federations, racetrack commissions, auction houses, and the myriad of horse-related media and publications. Until these collaborative organizations come down hard on the slaughter industry and legislate changes at provincial and federal levels regarding breeding and ownership, the practice and convenience of dumping horses to slaughter will continue to prosper under the guise of a necessary, but lucrative, livestock cull.
HELP US HELP THEM
Go to the CHDC website to learn more about the issues surrounding horse slaughter in Canada today and how you can become proactive in stopping the barbarity (http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/help-now.html) .
Imperative is your support of Bill C-322, MP Alex Atamanenko's Private Members Bill, which is an act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act to prevent the trafficking of horses for slaughter for human consumption across our borders. (http://www.parl.gc.ca/HousePublications/Publication.aspx?Language=E&Mode=1&DocId=5159966&File=24) .
To view Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada's Horsemeat Industry, follow the link on the website: (http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html) or the CHDC blog: (http://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.wordpress.com/pasture-to-plate/) .
All previous investigations at Canada's slaughterhouses can also be viewed on the website under the drop down tab 'Investigations.'
Please Help Us Help Them and support our work for the horses by donating. We are a completely volunteer organization and 100% of each donation goes directly to horse protection. The 'Make A Donation' button can be found on our website and no donation is too small.
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Pasture to Plate (English)
The Case Against Horse Slaughter in Canada
May 1, 2012