Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat | Horse Back Magazine

Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat | Horse Back Magazine

Opinion: International Humane Group Calls for Ban on Horsemeat

February 12, 2013
By Janet Schultz

SACRAMENTO – Horsemeat from the U.S. These horses may have by circumstances be in need of a new home, a horse stolen from its pasture, a horse who was given to a “good home,”. A race horse who transferred to another barn and ended up in an auction to be bought by “kill buyers.”. Kill buyers buy specifically to meet quotas – they do not look for legal paperwork, medical records, owner certificates. Most if not all of the 9.7 million horses in the United States are born and raised to be our companions, competitors, or perform some work on the ranches that still exist. . So, for the 9.7 million horses that are not raised for meat – their lives are enriched by veterinary and informal at home care. The equines are cared for using wormers, antibiotics, wound care products, and most importantly pain and anti-inflammatory medications specifically prohibited by FDA to be used on any animal intended as a food animal. American horses are cared for just as we care for our other companion animals with no intention of them ending as a slaughter animal and should be kept out of the human food chain. The dangers to humans upon eating the meat of American horses or burros is overwhelming. The consequences are up to and including fatal failure of the blood and kidney system. Unbelievably, even knowing this, our American horses have been purchased by “business” and transported to Canada and Mexico and slaughtered for shipment overseas. And finally, our voices to ban slaughter of American horses is heard. Please support this effort by the International Humane Society and contact your own politicians and demand a ban on transport and slaughter is put in place. Thank you. If we truly believe in protecting our fellow man, we can do this. Not to mention finally bringing peace to the horse industry. 

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Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America - News - Horsetalk.co.nz

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America

Call for EU to immediately ban horse meat from America
By Horsetalk.co.nz on Feb 12, 2013 in Just Briefly

Humane Society International is calling on European Union officials to protect consumer health and immediately ban the sale of horsemeat coming from North America.

Its call is in response in response to news reports that up to 100 per cent horsemeat has been found in Findus beef products marketed in France, Sweden and Britain.

“It is alarming to learn that European consumers may have fallen victim to large-scale food fraud, unwittingly consuming horse-meat products incorrectly labelled as beef,” the group’s European Union director, Jo Swabe, said.

“Consumer alarm is understandable as many people would ordinarily avoid eating horse flesh.

“Humane Society International calls on officials to acknowledge the potential risk to public health and safety, as this horsemeat could have originated from anywhere in the world, including from North America, and to immediately ban its sale from North America.”

The group argued there was a strong likelihood that some of the horsemeat had been imported into the EU from either Canada or Mexico. France, it said, was one of the biggest importers of North American horsemeat.

Most horse meat exported to the EU from both Canada and Mexico actually originates from United States horses shipped over the border.

France also receives horse-meat imports from other Member States, a proportion of which are actually re-exports from Canada and Mexico, too. In addition, French statistics show that a total 16,970 horses were slaughtered domestically during the same year.

There were significant concerns about horsemeat of US origin containing residues from veterinary drugs that in the EU are banned for use in animals killed for food, the society said.

It noted that recent audits conducted by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in Canada and Mexico have concluded that the medical treatment records for US horses are insufficient to guarantee that standards equivalent to those provided for by EU legislation are applied.
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Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain

Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain - Main Section - Yorkshire Post
Drug-alert horsemeat did enter Yorkshire food chain

The ABP Foods plant in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was at the centre of the original horse meat scandal.The ABP Foods plant in Leeming Bar, North Yorkshire, was at the centre of the original horse meat scandal.

By Jack Blanchard Political Editor
Published on Saturday 2 February 2013 05:00

ILLEGAL horsemeat contaminated with a cancer-causing drug was butchered in a British abattoir and sent to a farm in Yorkshire for human consumption, a Government agency has confirmed.

Health Ministers revealed yesterday that, contrary to previous assurances, a horse which was killed and butchered in Britain and known to be contaminated with the carcinogenic drug phenylbutazone – widely referred to as “bute” – has indeed entered the UK food chain.

Food safety officials claimed the banned meat was eaten only by the horse’s original owner, a farmer in Kirklees, and an associate of his on another farm in Lancashire.

But Labour warned there was no real evidence the potentially dangerous meat had not been distributed more widely. Bute is given to horses as an anti-inflammatory, but can cause cancer in humans and is strictly banned from entering the food chain across the EU.

English: Mary Creagh in Parliament
English: Mary Creagh in Parliament (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In the wake of the recent scandal over quantities of horsemeat found in supermarket beefburgers, Labour’s Shadow Environment Secretary, Mary Creagh, has warned of several cases of bute being found in UK abattoirs.

Figures this week revealed that nearly 10,000 horses were killed and butchered for their meat in British abattoirs last year. Just over 150 were tested for bute, with nine coming back positive.

The Food Standards Agency (FSA) moved to reassure the public that “none of the meat had been placed for sale in the UK”.

But it has now emerged that while most of the contaminated horsemeat was shipped to France, one carcase was divided up and sent to two farms in the north of England – one in Kirklees and another in Chorley, Lancashire.

In a written Parliamentary answer, Health Minister Anna Soubry said the FSA had contacted the relevant local authorities as soon as it realised the meat was contaminated – believed to be in September 2012. But she said that when environmental health officials visited the farms in question, they were told the meat had been “purchased for personal consumption – and had already been consumed”.

FSA officials said last night that they had accepted this version of events, adding that as the Yorkshire farmer and his associate had effectively eaten their own horse, the meat was never actually sold in the UK.

But Ms Creagh, who is also MP for Wakefield, said people would not be reassured that the food safety system was working. “The public must have confidence that the food they buy is properly labelled, legal and safe,” she said.

“Despite last week’s denials, the Food Standards Agency have now confirmed that horsemeat contaminated with phenylbutazone – or bute – has been consumed in the UK, despite it being banned from the human food chain.

“The Government, retailers and the FSA need to get a grip and set out what steps they will take to ensure this does not happen again.”

The bute contamination is the second horsemeat scandal to hit the UK this year, after traces of horse were found in a range of supermarket burgers last month.

The FSA said in a statement: “Horses treated with ‘bute’ are not allowed to enter the food chain. The FSA carries out checks in slaughterhouses to ensure that horses presented for slaughter are fit for human consumption. In 2012, the FSA identified five cases where horses returned non-compliant results. None of the meat had been placed for sale on the UK market.”
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HSI: Horsemeat Isn’t Just a Cruel Trade; It Could Be Bad For Your Health

HSI: Horsemeat Isn’t Just a Cruel Trade; It Could Be Bad For Your Health : Humane Society International | Europe
December 6, 2012

HSI: Horsemeat Isn’t Just a Cruel Trade; It Could Be Bad For Your Health

HSI Poll Shows Consumers in Three EU Countries Support Ban on Horsemeat Imports

Humane Society International/Europe

The EU lies at the heart of the global horsemeat trade. Jennifer Kunz/HSUS

BELGIUM, Brussels—A survey conducted by Ipsos MORI on behalf of Humane Society International shows that most European consumers want a ban on imports of horsemeat from countries whose food safety regulations do not meet European Union standards. The majority of people surveyed in Belgium, France and Italy—the biggest EU importers and consumers of horsemeat—support such a ban (84, 73 and 85 percent respectively).

The poll also indicates a lack of consumer awareness about the origins of horsemeat. Most people across the three countries polled mistakenly assumed that horsemeat sold in their country originates either locally or from elsewhere in Europe. In fact, Europe imports a significant proportion of horsemeat sold here from abroad, importing 27,847,700 kg of horsemeat from third countries in 2011 alone. Vast quantities of horsemeat come from non-European countries, including Canada and Mexico, where most of the horses come from the United States. In the US, horses are not raised for human consumption and are therefore commonly given drugs and medications not intended for the food supply.

Most poll respondents said they never or only sometimes eat horsemeat, whilst only a very small percentage of those asked said they eat it frequently (3 percent of Italians, 4 percent of French and 6 percent of Belgians.)

“Killing horses for meat raises serious ethical questions wherever it happens in the world,” said Joanna Swabe Ph.D., HSI Europe’s director. “These sensitive animals can endure extreme distress and suffering during transport and slaughter, and Humane Society International is campaigning for a worldwide end to the trade. Horsemeat imported to Europe from third countries may also pose a risk to human health. Horses in the US are companion, race or work horses routinely given veterinary drugs banned for use in food-producing animals in Europe. Current measures are failing to stop these drugs from entering the food chain. Without assurances that third parties have implemented food safety systems that are equivalent to those provided for by EU legislation when processing horse meat originating from the US, HSI is urging the European Commission to protect EU consumer health by banning the import and sale of meat from these horses. ”

A 2010 EU regulation requires that only meat from horses with a known medicinal treatment history can be exported to the EU. However, there is mounting evidence that measures in Canada and Mexico are so flawed that they will continue to fail to meet EU standards.

The EU lies at the heart of the global horsemeat trade. Each year, hundreds of thousands of kilos of horsemeat are produced domestically within the EU, or shipped to EU Member States from countries such as Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Mexico and Uruguay. However, an investigation conducted by HSI reveals that many EU consumers may be completely unaware of the origin of horsemeat or that they are buying horsemeat at all, due to inadequate labeling.

The full report on the investigation showing the availability of horsemeat in Belgium, France and the Netherlands can be downloaded here [PDF].


Media contact: Wendy Higgins, +44 (0)7989 972 423, whiggins@hsi.org


1. The Ipsos MORI poll was conducted in Belgium: 23—31 July 2012, 1,000 respondents aged 18+; France: 20—24 July 2012, 1,012 respondents aged 18+
 Italy: 24—27 July 2012, 1,000 respondents aged 18+

Results for Italy: 35 percent thought most horsemeat sold in Italy originated from Italy; 20 percent from elsewhere in the EU; 10 percent from another European country; 6 percent from outside Europe; 29 percent said don’t know.

Results for France: 25 percent thought most horsemeat sold in France originated from France; 32 percent from elsewhere in the EU; 5 percent from another European country; 12 percent from outside Europe; 25 percent said don’t know.

Results for Belgium: 23 percent thought most horsemeat sold in Belgium originated from Belgium; 14 percent from elsewhere in the EU; 5 percent from another European country; 15 percent from outside Europe; 43 percent said don’t know.

Results for Italy, France & Belgium respectively:
Have eaten horsemeat at least once: 62 percent; 67 percent; 67 percent
Consume horsemeat often: 3 percent; 4 percent; 6 percent
Consume horsemeat sometimes: 11 percent; 16 percent; 20 percent
Have never and would never eat horsemeat: 34 percent; 28 percent; 28 percent

2. Data on EU27 imports of meat of horses, asses, mules or hinnies, chilled or frozen (020500) from Canada, Mexico, US, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Australia and New Zealand extracted from Eurostat database , EU27 Trade Since 1995 By HS6. Accessed 13th August 2012.

Humane Society International/Europe and its partner organizations together constitute one of the world's largest animal protection organizations — backed by 11 million people. For nearly 20 years, HSI has been working for the protection of all animals through the use of science, advocacy, education and hands-on programmes. Celebrating animals and confronting cruelty worldwide—on the Web at hsieurope.org.
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Drugged Horses on Dinner Menu?

Drugged Horses on Dinner Menu? - Wayne Pacelle: A Humane Nation

Drugged Horses on Dinner Menu?

The export of North American horses to Europe for the meat trade has found its way into the headlines, for reasons other than animal welfare. And rightly so — the industry poses a potentially serious risk to human health and safety.
Horse transport to slaughter
Kathy Milani/The HSUS
Tens of thousands of American horses are slaughtered
for human consumption each year.
American horses, whether companion animals, show horses, pleasure horses, or race horses, receive a myriad of veterinary drugs throughout their lifetimes. Race horses, as reported by Joe Drape in the New York Times, are often given drugs to enhance their performance — including painkillers, phenylbutazone (anti-inflammatory drug a.k.a. “bute”), clenbuterol (bronchodilator) and other legal and illegal drugs. Although many of these drugs carry the warning “Not for use in horses intended for human consumption” this warning is virtually meaningless since American horses do not have lifetime medical records.
In addition, almost all American horses receive common veterinary drugs, such as bute, which have been deemed so dangerous that there is no acceptable withdrawal period. That means that if a horse receives a drug such as bute even once in his or her life, that animal should never be slaughtered for human consumption. In the absence of lifetime medical records, it is impossible to guarantee, regardless of where they are slaughtered, whether a horse is free of banned or potentially dangerous substances.
Each year, more than 100,000 American horses are sucked into the slaughter pipeline by unscrupulous killer buyers, who then ship them to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. These horses are required by law to be free of specified drugs for six months. It is widely acknowledged, however, that there is a high level of fraud involved with the equine identification documents. International government audits have confirmed these findings. For instance, the European Commission’s 2012 audit of EU-approved equine slaughterhouses in Mexico noted that there are significant problems with the identification of live horses and the sworn statements by the owners on medical treatments.
There are many reasons to oppose horse slaughter, including inhumane long-distance transport and cruel and clumsy slaughter practices. If altruistic concerns won’t get the job done, then perhaps naked self-interest will. No consumer, and no regulatory agency, should sanction trade in any kind of meat potentially laden with such contamination and obvious health risks. And with polling results from Humane Society International, released last week, that show overwhelming support in Belgium, France and Italy for a ban on horse meat imports from countries such as Mexico and Canada that do not meet EU food safety regulations, this is not an impossibly heavy lift on the political side.
The bottom line is that horses are not raised for food, but they are used in a variety of industries and settings where substances that are forbidden or potentially dangerous for human consumption are injected or fed to them. To protect American horses, consumer health and food safety, both here and abroad, we hope that U.S. and European Union public health officials take rapid and serious measures to protect human safety by deeming American horses unfit for human consumption.
Duchess Horse Sanctuary
Duchess Horse Sanctuary (Photo credit: Marji Beach)

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A Sickening Ending - What If This Were YOUR Horse?

re-blogged from Shedrow Confessions ~
A Sickening End « Shedrow Confessions

A Sickening End

January 11, 2013 by shedrowconfessions

As we are all well aware, the biggest reason for slaughter given by the PSA (Pro-Slaughter Advocates) brain trust is that it is a way to deal with `unwanted horses’. According to them, slaughter keeps all these mystical beings from wandering the streets and becoming a menace to society and a drain on our tax dollars. Of course PSAs like Naughty Tobiano want us all to believe that kill buyers are just super nice guys trying to earn a living. They would never send good horse that had a use to slaughter. Instead, they just hang out at sales and pick up all these unwanted horses and `recycle’ them for a new purpose. Doesn’t that just make you all warm and tingly inside?


Do you see the horse above? He was slaughtered at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation January 8, 2013. He was anything but unwanted. His name was Backstreet Bully and he was originally bred and owned by Adena Springs and raced under Stronach Stables. As many of you are aware, Adena Springs is owned by Frank Stronach and they have been leaders in the movement in finding new careers for retired racehorses. They have an entire division devoted to retired racehorses and have taken this commitment very seriously. Backstreet Bully wasn’t a great racehorse but he was graduate of their program. Here is the write up about him from the Adena Springs Retirement Program prior to him being sold:

“Backstreet Bully is a kind 4 yr old, 16hh OTTB chestnut gelding. He was retired from racing September 2008. He is a solid loving horse with tons of puppy dog personality. He’s got a great sound mind, willing attitude and is very well mannered; he just loves to be loved. He has been ridden both english and western walk, trot, canter and hacks out quietly both alone and with company. We have started basic Parelli training with him. Backstreet bully will make an excellent pleasure horse. He has no vices or bad habits. He trailers, cross ties, clips and is never a problem for the vet or blacksmith.”

Somewhere along the line, something went badly wrong for Backstreet Bully and he ended up in a kill auction. Details about what happened are still coming out, but every effort was made by Transitions Thoroughbreds and Adena Springs to save this horse. This is a quote from Transitions on their Facebook page about what happened at the sale:

“He was pointed out to me at the auction by an employee thereof as she knew I was there to buy tbs – I tried to buy him – my bid was not taken, perhaps not seen – I tried to buy him after from the kill buyer and was told no – he was meat only. He was not eligible for slaughter and it begs the question of why the very person who does the paperwork on every horse running through that auction would specifically point him out to me and describe him so that I could bid on him at that sale to buy him would do that if he was meat only as that would be something she would need to put on that kill sheet. He was NOT announced as meat only either in the sale ring. I tried to stop it again, I got no response, I contacted his connections who ARE on my list of people who most definitely do NOT want their horses going to slaughter and they took immediate action. His faxed drug records clearly proved he was not eligible. Everybody knows that all tbs have most definitely had at least bute amongst other drugs if they have raced – he was not eligible and he was killed for nothing!!”

I’m still trying to patch together all the details from various postings I have seen, but I do know this much…. this was not an unwanted horse and this was not a horse that should have been slaughtered for meat or any other reason. This horse was still alive when his drug records were faxed to the slaughter-house. The slaughter-house was well aware they were in possession of a horse not suitable for slaughter for human consumption and that there were people wanting to bail him out. Remember, PSAs tell you it’s all about not wasting the unwanted horse’s meat. Well this horse was far from unwanted and he was most certainly not suitable for human consumption, but Les Viandes de la Petite Nation went ahead and slaughtered him anyhow just because they could. What purpose did that serve? The response of the CFIA vet in attendance at the slaughter-house, after she was informed of this horse’s drug status was “We (LPN) would have a lot of horses here and what would we do with them all?” I gather that statement was in reference to how many horses they have that are not suitable for human consumption. What DO they do with them all?


I have no personal connection with any of the people involved with Backstreet Bully and his sad end. If they choose to come forward and fill in some details, that’s great but I will leave it up to them. They are heartbroken over this and I don’t know what more they could have done. I haven’t seen the name of the person who adopted Backstreet Bully nor do I know if it is the same person that dumped him at this auction. What is important is that despite the fact that this horse should have never been at that sale in the first place, he seems to have been slaughtered out of spite. People tried hard to rescue this horse. They tried to buy him in the ring, they tried to buy him before he went on the truck. They informed the slaughter-house, backed up with vet records, that this horse should not be in a slaughter pen and they still went ahead and did it just because they could. Yeah, kill buyers are great guys and slaughter is just for horses that nobody wants. Rest in peace, Backstreet Bully. We won’t let them forget you any time soon……

You bet we won't! Are YOU with us? This could just as easily been my horse or YOURS.
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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra