State Officials, Humane Groups Oppose Proposed Horse Slaughter Plant in New Mexico

Reblogged from Horseback Magazine: http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/15151

State Officials, Humane Groups Oppose Proposed Horse Slaughter Plant in New Mexico

April 13, 2012
Governor and Attorney General Blast New Mexico Plant

WASHINGTON, (ASPCA —The Humane Society of the United States, the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), Front Range Equine Rescue and Animal Protection of New Mexico condemn plans to open a horse slaughter plant in Roswell, N.M.

The plans for the slaughterhouse were uncovered in an investigation by Front Range Equine Rescue, a Colorado-based equine rescue organization. The proposed facility would be operated by Valley Meat Co., LLC, a company in Roswell that has already applied with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Inspection Service for inspection of the slaughter of equines for human consumption. According to Front Range’s investigators, FSIS officials were scheduled to conduct a preliminary walk-through inspection of Valley Meat’s facility last month. USDA temporarily suspended inspections of cattle slaughter at Valley Meat Co. in February 2012 and November 2011 due to failure to comply with humane slaughter regulations.

“A horse slaughtering plant in Roswell is a terrible idea,” said New Mexico Attorney General Gary King. “Such a practice, while not illegal, is certainly abhorrent to public sentiment, and I strongly suggest it be abandoned. I come from a ranching family but processing horses for food was never part of the plan for raising livestock. Horses are different and should be treated differently.”

“As a veterinarian and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very saddened and angry about the recent revelations of mistreatment of horses in New Mexico,” said New Mexico State Land Commissioner Ray Powell. “If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is a realistic alternative. I am told New Mexico is entertaining the idea of a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have the horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from surrounding states. This is a bad idea on every level, and I strongly oppose it. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures.”

“Horse slaughter means tremendous suffering of horses, a proven history of environmental and waste violations, and allowing a toxic meat product to enter the human food chain,” said Hilary Wood, president and founder of Front Range Equine Rescue. “Solutions to horse slaughter include stopping irresponsible breeding practices, more gelding and euthanasia assistance programs, re-homing and re-training options, and short-term owner assistance programs. Horse slaughter has no place in the U.S. or across our borders.”

“American horses are our partners in sport, work and recreation—not dinner,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection for The HSUS. “The entire process of horse slaughter is filled with nonstop terror, pain and misery for horses, and it is proven to have a severe negative impact on surrounding communities. It would be irresponsible for the federal government to sign off on a predatory industry that has no regard for animal or human welfare.”

“New Mexicans have a deep and enduring appreciation for horses, especially given their important role in our state’s rural way of life. It’s an affront to our citizens to suggest bringing the cruel, dangerous and polluting enterprise of horse slaughter to New Mexico as we celebrate our state’s centennial,” said Elisabeth Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico.
“The overwhelming majority of Americans are intensely opposed to this cruel practice, and as more people learn that we are allowing our horses to be shuttled off to gruesome deaths all for the sake of foreign gourmands, they are outraged, and opposition to this grisly practice is growing,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “Horse slaughter plants abuse more than just horses as they have proved economically and environmentally disastrous to communities in other states.”

In November 2011, Congress chose not to renew a ban on funding federal inspectors at horse slaughter plants in the United States, even though a similar provision has been part of the agriculture department’s spending bill for the past five years. That action opened the door for a return of horse slaughter to American soil, including taxpayer funded inspections of horse meat destined to be sent abroad, despite broad opposition in this country to the practice. A January 2012 poll commissioned by the ASPCA confirms that 80 percent of American voters oppose the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

When the last three horse slaughter plants in the U.S. closed, the surrounding communities cheered. These communities had endured water pollution, an unending stench of rotting blood and offal, and a negative stigma that caused other businesses to leave the community. The slaughter plants employed no more than a few dozen employees in low-paying, dangerous, high-stress jobs. In their quest for higher profits, the foreign-owned companies did their best to avoid paying property taxes and the fines levied against them for environmental violations.

Additionally, it is unclear how Valley Meat Co. or the USDA would address the medications, vaccines and other substances that are routinely given to American horses and are known to be poisonous if consumed by humans. Earlier this year, The HSUS announced its intention to pursue legal action if the federal government failed to follow required protocols to ensure that food safety and environmental review requirements were observed.

Last month, The HSUS joined Front Range Equine Rescue in filing a petition with the Food and Drug Administration to declare the meat of former companion, show, and working animals to be unfit for human consumption due to the risk of the meat containing toxic residues. Last week, the two groups filed a separate petition with the USDA to ban the slaughter for human consumption of such animals for the same reasons.

 Related articles
Enhanced by Zemanta


Front Range Equine Rescue Discovers New Mexico Horse Slaughter Plant

Breaking News


April 10, 2012 (Larkspur, Colorado) -- Through its own investigation, Front Range Equine
Rescue (FRER) has discovered that Valley Meats Co., 3845 Cedarvale Rd., in Roswell, NM, has
applied for inspection of horses to be “custom slaughtered” and “processed” for human
consumption.  According to the facts uncovered, the facility has been involved in extended
discussions with the Denver office of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).  The FSIS
inspects animals and meat in American slaughterhouses under the auspices of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture.

Horse slaughter for food is a national disgrace, given the iconic nature of American horses and
the especially brutal methods used to kill them.  FRER has mounted an extensive legal battle to
keep American horses from being slaughtered for food, in or out of the country, in light of last
November’s Congressional appropriation of funding for horse meat inspections.  In the last three
weeks, along with the Humane Society of the United States, FRER has filed two Petitions for
Rule-making [http://frontrangeequinerescue.org/front-range-equine-rescue-horse-slaughter.php],
asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the FSIS to enact rules and regulations
which would prevent American horses from being slaughtered.  The Petitions have gotten
significant attention, and FRER intends to continue to amplify its legal strategy for as long as it
takes to eliminate the possibility of horse slaughter in America.

If it is allowed to open, the Roswell plant would be the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse opened
since horse slaughter in the U.S. ended five years ago.  A recent poll shows at least 80% of
Americans oppose horse slaughter. Valley Meats and any other horse slaughterhouses must be
stopped, and the USDA and FDA must see the danger and illegality of producing horse meat
from American horses.  FRER calls on all concerned citizens and groups, in and out of New
Mexico, to support its efforts by contacting state, local and federal officials and voicing your
strong objection to the resumption of this horrific practice in America.  For more information on
how to help, contact info@frontrangeequinerescue.com.

Enhanced by Zemanta


Why The Issue With Bute?


Int'l Fund for Horses

EU Drug Regulations, Phenylbutazone and the Disquieting Truth about Toxic Horse Meat

“BUTE” is by no means the only drug under scrutiny in the sport horse and racing industry however its metabolic activity and "decay life" in animal tissue is in direct contrast to many other legally permissible medications which are transient in nature and are biologically eliminated from the system over established intervals.

Of particular note however is the fact that “bute” is the most widespread anti-inflammatory in the global horse racing industry today. It is estimated that 98% of NA professional sport and pleasure horses have received phenylbutazone at some point in their lives and is widely used in other horse industry jurisdictions around the globe.

The kinetics and drug activity of phenylbutazone and its metabolites (e.g. oxyphenbutazone) are characteristic of a bi-exponential decay rate (the sum of two single exponential decays) meaning, in theory, that regardless of the elapsed time there will always be residuals present in blood plasma (i.e. the concept of infinite division). [1]

An exponential decay rate can be expressed in terms of "half-life" where one half-life represents the amount of time it takes for the substance undergoing "decay" to decrease by one half of the original concentration. Half-lives remain constant over the decay period and as the concentration approaches zero, the time to eliminate any residuals remaining in the system approaches infinity. In other words, there will always be some residuals present regardless of the passage of time.

Table 1 and Figure 1 together illustrate a simple model of exponential decay.
Of particular note is that regardless of the number of half-lives denoted by "n", the fraction or percentage of the original concentration of the substance under analysis will always be greater than zero.
Table 1: Exponential Decay Concept

Number of Half-Lives Elapsed

Fraction of Original Concentration Remaining

Percentage of Original Concentration Remaining
























Where n = number of half-lives
Figure 1: Exponential Decay Curve Showing Persistence of Residues
Figure 1: Exponential Decay Curve Showing Persistence of Residues
Decades ago phenylbutazone, a compound originally used in Europe as a solubilizing agent for various analgesics given by intramuscular injection, was introduced to the drug compendium in the US for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and gout, nonetheless with fateful brevity.
Admitted in 1949, and shortly thereafter banned by the FDA for human use, by the year 2003 the ban extended to animals intended for human consumption given that investigation by FDA and State regulatory counterparts determined that phenylbutazone residues were discovered in culled dairy cattle. [2] [3]

At the time this did not include horses or dogs as in North America neither are considered food animals.

"Phenylbutazone (PBZ) was marketed in the United States for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and gout in 1952. Serious and often fatal adverse effects such as aplastic anemia and agranulocytosis appeared in the literature within three years of its use . . . . . The serious adverse effects of PBZ culminated in its unavailability for human use in the United States."
Apart from aplastic anemia (bone marrow suppression) and agranulocytosis (reduction in infection fighting white blood cells), phenylbutazone and its principal metabolite oxyphenbutazone have also been implicated in thrombocytopenia (low platelet count), leucopenia (decreased white blood cells), pancytopenia (reduced red and white blood cells and platelets), hemolytic anemia (abnormal breakdown of red blood cells) and can cause hypersensitivity reactions in the liver leading to death. [5]  Moreover, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program. [6]

Clearly there is apt rationale for banning phenylbutazone for human use as well as animals intended for human consumption both as a function of its toxicity and the causal certainty that residues will always be present to some extent in the blood and hence tissues of animals slaughtered for food.  Additionally, what is most disconcerting is that the lethal adverse effects in humans are not always dose-dependent and demonstrate unique outcomes contingent on a particular individual’s susceptibility. In essence what this implies is that even in small quantities phenylbutazone and its metabolites can have deleterious effects on human health. [7]

To this end, the FDA has banned the use of phenylbutazone in horses destined for slaughter.
Moreover, there are no farming associations that raise horses for food in North America (unless the AQHA can be considered eligible). And despite the fact that horse slaughter in the US has been outlawed since 2007, there is no pretense about what happens to more than 100,000 horses sold annually at auction who are shipped to Canada and Mexico. Once butchered, their meat is exported to European and Asian locales where it fetches top dollar and is considered a delicacy.

The fact is that the majority of these horses will be administered phenylbutazone during some point in their lives to relieve musculoskeletal pain and inflammation.
This in itself is not entirely inappropriate as there are valid reasons for its use in the treatment of lameness providing the recommended dosage is abided by, as there are also potential life-threatening side-effects to the horse (e.g. severe gastric ulceration).

Instead, the glaring inconsistency is the unmistakable fact that these horses enter the food chain; perhaps not in North America but elsewhere through export to foreign countries nonetheless. What’s more, since the residues of phenylbutazone and its metabolites reside primarily in the blood plasma of the tissues there is the complicating factor of the inherent differences between slaughtered cattle and horse carcasses.

"As stated above, almost all of the PBZ remains in the bloodstream. . . . To provide a point of comparison, a 1400 lb cow has 60 ml/kg body weight or almost 10 gallons or 0.71 gallons per 100 lbs of cow. The ratio is 1.25/.71 = 1.76:1. Thus, a horse has 1.76 times as much blood per pound of body weight compared to a cow." [8]

Potentially this means that there is a calculated measure of risk of the presence of higher concentrations of toxic residues in horse meat than in beef. In actual fact there is no "risk" of higher concentrations in horse meat in light of the fact that the drug has been banned in other animals, such as cattle for example, intended for human consumption since 2003:  the residues are undeniably higher in horse meat. Still the quandary exists.

"The FDA, like the EU and UK, specifically bans the use of PBZ in any horse destined for slaughter for human consumption. Yet, this ban is being circumvented because there is no pre-slaughter mechanism to determine and remove horses that receive PBZ during their lifetime. This is because horses are not regarded as or treated as food-producing animals in the United States and there are no USDA regulations to prevent them from being given banned substances like PBZ." [9]

Horses may not be perceived as food-producing animals in the US, but they are certainly treated as if they are in the same appalling manner.
Continue reading >>

Enhanced by Zemanta
"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra