Equine Welfare Alliance: US Horsemeat Banned in EU!

If Meat Plant Opens, Europeans Would Not Accept U.S. Product | Horse Back Magazine
If Meat Plant Opens, Europeans Would Not Accept U.S. Product
March 20, 2013

Mar 20, 2013 21:00 America/Chicago

Equine Welfare Alliance: US Horsemeat Banned in EU

CHICAGO, (EQUINE WELFARE ALLIANCE/PR Newswire) – Since Congress lifted the ban on USDA inspections of horse meat, several small shuttered cattle slaughter plants have clamored for the USDA to provide horse meat inspections. Ricardo De Los Santos of Valley Meats, a New Mexico plant, went as far as to sue the USDA for not providing the service. The attorney for Valley Meats has announced it will be opening in three weeks.

Unfortunately for those wishing to bring horse slaughter back to the US, they will have to do so without the ability to sell to the EU, the main market for US horse meat. The Equine Welfare Alliance has received confirmation from EU authorities that “by virtue of Commission decision 2011/163/EU the US is not authorized to export horsemeat to the EU.”

The decision was made in 2011, when the USDA neglected to comply with new regulations requiring submittal of a drug residue control program. Approval of such an application requires extensive review as well as audits and can take up to several years to complete.

The EU authority (SANCO) went on to say “Our Directorate General, up to now, does not record a recent residue monitoring plan on horse meat submitted by USDA.” In other words, the process has yet to begin.

The scandal over horse meat being substituted for beef in a myriad of products, as well as the finding of the banned drug phenylbutazone in some of those products has further dimmed the prospects for a lifting of the ban.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in an interview with Reuters, said sequestration could cause sporadic food shortages if inspectors aren’t available to examine meat, poultry and egg products. Obviously, providing inspectors for horse meat would further exacerbate the need to protect US consumers. Vilsack shocked many today when he was quoted as saying he hoped that Congress could come up with an alternative to horse slaughter.

EWA’s John Holland explains the bleak prospects for private horse slaughter plants in the US, saying “these plants will have no access to the markets even if the EU ban is lifted because the distribution is controlled by a few multi-nationals, and those expecting to contract with these companies should heed the story of Natural Valley Farms (SK Canada) which lost millions trying to do so.”

EWA is a dues free, all volunteer 501(c)(4) umbrella organization representing over 270 member organizations and 1,000 individual members worldwide in 18 countries.
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Horse Meat Scandal Illustrates Need for Federal Action

Michael Markarian: Animals & Politics: Horsemeat Scandal Illustrates Need for Federal Action
Horse meat Scandal Illustrates Need for Federal Action

A food scandal has rocked Europe, where products labeled as beef—everything from frozen lasagna to Swedish meatballs—have tested positive for horsemeat. But it’s not just in Europe where government officials should take notice; the controversy affects the United States, too. More than 100,000 American horses are killed each year for their meat, and the main market for this product is Europe.

Former racehorses, carriage horses, family ponies, and other equines are scooped up at auctions by predatory “killer buyers,” who often outbid horse rescue groups and families that want to give the horses a new, loving home. The majestic creatures are crammed tightly into cattle trucks, and shipped hundreds or thousands of miles to slaughter plants across the border in Canada or Mexico.

They are butchered, shrink-wrapped, and air-freighted to Belgium, France, Italy, or other countries. It’s a grisly end for an American icon. And it’s generally reserved for the strongest, healthiest horses, with the most meat on their bones to fetch the most profit—not the sick and homeless as the horse slaughter boosters would have us believe.

Stopping the cruelty of long-distance transport and slaughter of our cherished companions should be enough to spur action. But there’s another major reason our lawmakers should act: We are dumping unsafe and contaminated horsemeat on European dinner plates and supermarket shelves.

The European Union forbids imports of American chicken because the carcasses are bathed in chlorine, and bans pork imports because American producers treat the animals with ractopomine. But tens of thousands of drugged-up American horses are entering the marketplace, even though they are routinely given medicines throughout their lives not intended for human consumption.

Clenbuterol, a bronchodilator with anabolic steroid properties, and Phenylbutazone, known as bute or horse aspirin, are among many commonly prescribed medications for treating ailing or lame horses—but banned for use in animals slaughtered for human consumption. The U.S. has no system in place to track the medications that are given to horses over their lifetimes, and therefore, there’s no reliable way to remove horses from the food chain once they have been given prohibited substances. It’s no surprise that bute was found last summer in horsemeat shipped from Canada to Belgium, and continues to turn up in random testing.

While horse slaughter apologists such as those in the Oklahoma legislature are rallying for a return to equine abattoirs on U.S. soil, it’s becoming uncertain whether they will have any remaining markets to sell their product—especially if the European Union decides to crack down on sales of horsemeat from North America in light of the recent scandal.

It’s time for the U.S. Congress to take a hard look at the serious and far-reaching food safety concerns associated with slaughtering American horses. Lawmakers should reintroduce federal legislation to prevent the slaughter and export of our horses for human consumption, and send a message that the global trade of U.S. horsemeat is simply unsuitable for the dinner table.

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Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food

Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food - ABC News
Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food

By Chris Good
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Mar 12, 2013 7:05pm
gty horse slaughter us nt 130301 wblog Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food
gty horse slaughter us nt 130301 wblog Save the Horses! Three Lawmakers Will Try to Ban Slaughter for Food

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A trio of U.S. lawmakers is saying “no” to horse meat.

The U.S. is set to begin slaughtering horses again for the first time in six years, and recent news of Ikea sausages and British Taco Bell beef containing small amounts of horse has raised horse-meat alarm bells among the meat-consuming public.

Congress originally banned horse slaughter in 2006 by defunding USDA’s horse-meat inspectors. But after the ban lapsed in 2011, a lawsuit and industry pressure has forced USDA to start inspecting again, and a company says it expects to open the first slaughterhouse in Roswell, N.M., within the next month and a half.

“These companies must still complete necessary technical requirements and FSIS [the Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Service] must still complete its inspector training, but at that point, the Department will legally have no choice but to go forward with inspections, which is why we urge Congress to reinstate the ban,” a USDA spokesperson told ABC News.

Enter Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill.

The three will introduce a bill on Wednesday that would put a stop to the pending horse slaughter.

The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, as the House version is dubbed, would not only ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the U.S. but would also prohibit shipping horses outside the U.S. for food slaughter. Unlike the appropriations rider that had prevented horse slaughter until now, the statutory ban would not expire.

The Humane Society of the United States and the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals will hold a press conference on Capitol Hill on Wednesday with the three lawmakers, the two groups announced on Tuesday.

“Horses sent to slaughter are often subject to appalling, brutal treatment,” Schakowsky said in a statement emailed to ABC News by a spokesperson. “We must fight those practices. The Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2013 will ensure that these majestic animals are treated with the respect they deserve.”
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