- PA 138
By the end of the Second World War, heavy farm horses were considered redundant and of little market value. Furthermore, the horses were placing immense pressure on grazing lands that producers preferred to allot to cattle. Horse breeding almost ceased to exist, and hundreds of thousands of Saskatchewan horses were systematically destroyed with little regard to their high quality breeding.
The Saskatchewan Horse Co-operative Marketing Association, Limited was established in 1944 in accordance with the Co-operative Marketing Associations Act for the specific purpose of liquidating part or all of a horse surplus on the prairies. An organizational meeting was conducted on March 1, 1944. Listeners were warned by a Dominion Department of Agriculture representative (Jack Byers) that in order to sell large numbers of horses, the producers must be willing to sell them cheaply. A minimum price of 3 cents per pound was suggested. The Association was incorporated on April 6, 1944 as the Saskatchewan Horse Co-operative Association, Limited. Because abattoirs were operated at both Swift Current and Edmonton, the word "Saskatchewan" in the name was dropped within the first year.
Nearly a quarter of million western horses were slaughtered, processed and sold as pickled or canned meat to Belgium and the United Nations Relief Organization. Nineteen million dollars worth of products was shipped from these plants and the meat helped to relieve post-war hunger in Europe. Operations are well-documented and ran, by all accounts, very smoothly. The Executive Committee consisted of a President, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer, Chief Accountant, General Manager, and Plant Superintendent. They met twice a month to approve expenditures, authorize hiring and firing of personnel, regulate salaries, and enter into contracts.
The policy of the Association was to pay farmers and ranchers for horses delivered and to make an initial payment in cash at the time of delivery. Payment was based on weight and grade, with the average initial payment being $25 per horse. At the end of the financial year, the net proceeds realized from the sale of products processed were allocated to members on the basis of number of pounds of live-weight horses delivered. For each horse delivered, the member subscribed one share in the capital stock of the Association at $1 and there was deducted the sum of $3 for each horse delivered for a reserve fund.
Co-operative organizations fall under the legislation of the provinces, assuming that the sphere of activity of such association is what may be defined as "local" and limited to operations within the boundaries of a province. When the Association acquired its Edmonton plant, it applied for and was granted registration in Alberta under the Alberta Companies Act. Anticipating a future dispute over registration in other provinces, and recognizing that the scope of the activities was wider than originally anticipated and increasing rapidly, the Directors passed a resolution to authorize members of the Board to petition Parliament of Canada for the passing of a special Act to incorporate a Co-operative with national status. A special meeting to consult with delegates was held on February 28, 1948. The action was unanimously approved. On June 30, 1948, Royal Assent was given to an Act to Incorporate Canadian Co-Operative Processors Limited and that Act is now Chapter 83 of The Statutes of Canada, 1948.
The organizational meeting of Canadian Co-operative Processors Limited was held at Swift Current on July 16, 1948, and the usual procedure in organizing companies was followed, This resulted in a very similar list of directors being appointed, including Messrs. L.B. Thomson, Clifford S. Shirriff, G.C. Stewart, Cornelius Jahnke, Robert Thomas, Chas. H. Powlett, Perry A Minor.
On August 20, 1949, the Association and the Company entered into the agreement, which is set forth in Bill No. 17, Respecting an Agreement Between Horse Co-operative Marketing Association Limited and Canadian Co-operative Processors Limited. The Association agreed to convey the whole of its undertaking to the Company. Members were slow to submit the required agreements for the amalgamation (though not opposed to the concept), imperiling the process. Therefore, a special resolution was made through provisions in Bill 17, allowing the company to be wound up.