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Canadian slaughterhouses refuse US horses

Horse looks out of semi truck
Horse looks out of semi truck
Laura Leigh

It appears that Canadian slaughterhouses will no longer accept US horses for slaughter for human consumption.

Truck drivers carrying horses to the border today were called and told to turn back. Livestock auctions notified customers of the change.

Chaos in confirming information has ensued.

"Near as I can find out right now, USDA don’t know anything about it." said an auction house employee in Fallon, NV "It looks like EU (European Union) has stopped taking US horses so the Canadian plants just stopped taking shipments."

The auction house notified consignment clients to hang onto their animals and wait a week until the implications are understood. It appears that the "passport system," requiring statements that horses have not received drugs has been put into play. He was informed that Mexican slaughterhouses were going to follow Canada's lead.

In June the EU released requirements for meat coming into the 27 countries. Under the new regulations, all horses and burros destined for slaughter and export to Europe must have a passport that shows they are free from substances such as phenalbutazone (bute), and clenbuterol. Such substances are carcinogens. Evidence shows that these substances never completely leave an animals body.

The USDA bans the use of these drugs in all controlled livestock production in the US. As horses are not a controlled agricultural product in the US these substances are regularly used on performance and companion animals.

It is unknown if the ban will be lifted as a "passport system" is created or if it will become permanent. The validity of a signed declaration attesting to a "drug-free" animal can be seriously questioned. As these drugs appear to stay in an animals body for it's lifetime, the recognition that horses in America are not an agricultural product may become inevitable.

You can read the European Commission report:Imports of Animals and food of animal origin from non-EU countries here:

http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/residues/docs/requirements_non_eu.pdf

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