La Palette pulls horsemeat from its menu following Star exposé

La Palette pulls horsemeat from its menu following Star exposé

Inside the Queen West bistro (Image: Jon Sufrin)

Yesterday we dove into the Toronto Stars hard-hitting investigation of the horsemeat industry in Canada. Among those implicated was Queen West bistro La Palette, where horsemeat has been a staple. Well, those days are over (for now), as this morning La Palette co-owner Shamez Amlani went on CBC’s Metro Morning to announce that as of today horsemeat has been removed from their menu.

“Certainly our decision is not based on any moral issues around serving horsemeat,” Amlani told host Matt Galloway earlier today. “What is [alleged] in the article is that the meat we’re getting is not exactly from animals that have been raised for eating, which poses a slew of problems. One is the chemicals that the animals might have been exposed to. [Another] is the ethical treatment of the animals.”

La Palette, he said, has been serving horsemeat dishes for over 10 years, but prior to the U.S. ban on slaughtering horses for consumption in 2007, Amlani knew exactly where his horses were sourced. Since then, however, a lot has changed. “Back in the day we were getting horses raised specifically for eating.…They never had a saddle on their back, and they were never exposed to [the horse painkiller] PBZ”.

After reading the Star article, Amlani apparently called up the slaughterhouse that supplies his product and decided to embark on an investigation of his own. “I wasn’t quite impressed with the results,” Amlani said. “As it turns out… they do get horses that were raised for consumption in Canada… from Alberta and Ontario. But they also admitted that they are buying horses from auctions in the United States, and according to [a plant representative] they get mixed into the same stream, which doesn’t make any sense to me.”

Still, Amlani maintained that there’s nothing wrong with eating horsemeat in principle. “We’ve defended the consumption of horsemeat as being something that is culturally acceptable in most of the world….Even within North America, the Mexicans and Québécois would say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with consuming horsemeat—and we would agree. But if these particular horses aren’t being treated well then we want no part of it.”  Still, he said that if La Palette were able to find a source that could supply the restaurant with horses raised for the purpose of consumption, the restaurant would reverse its decision.

Horse Meat Debate [Metro Morning]