FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 12, 2011
OTTAWA, Canada (May 12, 2011) — Top Chef Canada is stirring up controversy that raises cultural, moral and food safety concerns with an upcoming episode featuring horse meat.
Episode 6: “The French Feast”, that includes horse meat as one of the key ingredients chefs must cook with in the competition, is scheduled to air May 16, 2011 on Food Network Canada.
Following a televised preview of the episode, commenters began flooding the Top Chef Facebook page and sending emails to Top Chef Canada and Food Network Canada objecting to the inclusion of horse meat in the program. Many of them are also complaining to sponsor President’s Choice, and GE Monogram, the show’s official appliance supplier.
“There are three issues generating the Top Chef horse meat controversy”, states Vivian Grant Farrell, president of the US-based equine protection group Int’l Fund for Horses, “cultural, moral and food safety.”
Horse meat is commonly eaten in many countries in Europe and Asia. However, horse meat is considered taboo in English-speaking countries such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland and Australia.
Another objection to horse meat are the methods used for the production of it — horse slaughter — and the numerous, well-documented cruelties inherent to it.
“The cultural and moral aspects of horse slaughter are constantly debated between those for and against it. What cannot be argued, however, is that horses are routinely given drugs throughout their lives that leave toxic residues, potentially carcinogenic to humans, in their meat”, adds Farrell. “There is a clear food safety issue here.”
In a response by Food Network Viewer Relations on behalf of Food Network Canada regarding the controversial horse meat episode they state, “it is not our intention to offend our viewers,” adding that:
“Before we decide to broadcast a program, our Programming Department screens it to ensure that it is suitable for broadcast. The determination of suitability includes ensuring that the broadcast would not contravene applicable broadcast laws and industry codes including, but not limited to, the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) ‘Code of Ethics’, ‘Equitable Portrayal’, and ‘CAB Violence Code’.”
Farrell is not buying it.
“I find it difficult to swallow that promoting a foodstuff with the health and safety issues attached to horse meat does not violate broadcast codes, and question their Programming Department’s due diligence.
It is my opinion that Food Network Canada and Top Chef Canada are clearly crossing the boundary of ethical responsibility to their viewing public by airing a cooking show featuring horse meat”, responds Farrell. “I urge them to issue a warning prior to the screening of this episode.”
Vivian Grant Farrell
Phone: (502) 341 9195
Email: Notification Sent to Phone
The Horse Fund is the most dynamic equine advocacy organization of its kind. Headquartered in the United States The Horse Fund protects horses at home and abroad by lobbying and acting as horse industry watchdogs.