Canadian Horse breeders oppose ID plan

I can't blame the breeders for not being happy with this program, but that's the price they're going to have to pay if they want to continue to sell their "culls" off to slaughter. They have been warned for three years.

Check the part where Canadian breeder Arnold McKee wants the government to "keep American slaughter animals out of Canada (YES!) because the horse market is glutted." What does this do to Sue Wallis and her horse-eating buddies' claim that lack of slaughter is why the American horse market is glutted? My god.

The market is glutted because of over breeding and and the worst recession the US has seen since the Great Depression!! Sue, you people have rebuilt the American horse market to DEPEND on slaughter, so now if our horses are banned by either Canada and/or the EU - which will include Mexico too - whatcha gonna do? Call ghost busters?

Just don't say we didn't warn you.
Amplify’d from www.producer.com

Horse breeders oppose ID plan

By Barbara Duckworth, Calgary bureau

June 17, 2010
A national requirement for health records and identification is like a burr under the saddle for some horse owners.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency will require horse owners to have an equine identification document by July 31 to record health records when animals go for meat processing.

Alberta horse breeder Arnold McKee said the system is poorly conceived and he does not plan to comply because of the added cost and work. He is leading a petition asking the federal government to drop the program and keep American slaughter animals out of Canada because the horse market is glutted.

McKee said he cannot afford to have a veterinarian certify his horses as drug free or get them microchipped or tattooed.

“We all keep track of our horses,” he said. “We all have health records.”

He said those breeder records should be enough.

He also wants to know who is liable if a horse is condemned at a slaughter plant because drug residues are detected. The original owner is not likely responsible if the horse had multiple owners, he said.

He also questioned the fate of horses that are placed in feedlots for six months waiting for drugs to clear their systems. He said they are more likely to get sick and require more treatment if they are in a confined space.

The industry is working on individual identification as part of a larger traceability program, but Teresa van Bryce of the Horse Industry Association of Alberta said there is little support from horse owners.

“Most of our horses don’t go for processing and they don’t really see the importance of it,” she said.

“It will have to be sold to horse owners in a way that they can see there is a benefit to them. At this point they would see it as a hassle.”

The industry has discussed unique animal identification for a decade. Equine Canada is developing a nine digit unique number in a program called CanEquid.

The ID number will include animal name, pedigree, registration number, a Coggins disease style description of the horse and microchip, tattoo and brand information. It would also be used to track movement and horse health.

A radio frequency tattoo is the most promising identifier.

The technology was developed in the United States by Somark Innovations, which shelved it when the U.S. decided not to proceed with
its national animal identification system.

The Canadian industry wants to pursue it and is looking for funding for further research.

The tattoo would be like a bar code applied anywhere on the horse, through the hair. It is only visible by scanner and the developers promise it can be scanned and read from a distance of more than a metre.

Claude Boissonneault, a non-ruminant species specialist with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, welcomes an easy-to-read identifier for horses.

“In the best of worlds, you would have equine that are identified with a unique number for life, which would allow the full traceability and you would know where the horse has been in its life,” he said.

Until then, horse owners are en-couraged to use the identification document that identifies the horse by markings and photos, and records past illnesses and medications.

“Right now, we are asking for history in the past six months of the life of the animals,” he said.

This is in response to a request from the European Union for full traceability within three years, he added.

“We have made the EU requirements a Canadian requirement.”

The CFIA has developed a list of prohibited drugs in food animals and is working on withdrawal periods for other medications.

“The withdrawal period will be developed as we go,” Boissonneault said. “All over the world horses are not raised as meat, so there are a number of veterinary drugs used that would not be approved in food producing animals.”

Drug residue tests are already conducted at federal meat plants.

CFIA veterinarians who suspect horses have been treated will hold them for testing. If the test is positive, a health risk assessment is done with Health Canada to see if the residue levels are acceptable or if the animal should be condemned.

Buyers at auctions in Canada and the United States have not always known a horse’s origins.

“We are telling them now if they are going to be bought for the Canadian market, they have to have paperwork,” Boissonneault said.

“It would not be a surprise to see the number of horses overall slaughtered going down.”

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