Confusion reigns amid reports of slaughter halt

Canadian horse slaughter plants are no longer accepting horses from the United States, the Equine Welfare Alliance claims, citing multiple sources.

The alliance, an umbrella group for more than 200 horse advocacy groups, said the Shipshewana auction in Indiana had confirmed reports that they had discontinued loose (slaughter) horse sales for an indefinite period.

Alliance representatives John Holland and Sinikka Crosland said a spokesperson for the Sugar Creek, Ohio, auction confirmed that kill buyers were no longer taking slaughter horses because “the plants are shut down”.

This was further confirmed by a Richelieu slaughter house official, they said.

The pair continued: “An unconfirmed report from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) indicated it was the result of a European Union (EU) directive.”

Canadian customs officials, however, knew nothing of the action, according to alliance inquiries.

To add to the confusion, at least one driver confirmed he had delivered horses to an undisclosed plant on Friday afternoon.

The move came so suddenly that many trucks were already on the way when they learned of it.

The alliance said it had made an inquiry of the European Union, amid suggestions the EU had stopped shipments of US horse meat for human consumption in Europe.

Following the closure of US-based horse slaughter plants in 2007, the export of horses to slaughter in Canada and Mexico increased dramatically. In 2011 the US exported over 64,000 horses to Canada and 68,000 to Mexico.

The alliance has long argued about the dangers of US horse meat, noting that several drugs which would rule horses out of entering the human food chain are regularly given to the animals, such as phenylbutazone.

It has argued that the health records for many horses going to slaughter are inadequate to satisfy authorities that any given animal is free of such drugs, given that they are not raised as food animals.

It said documents showing horse meat contaminated with phenylbutazone – a carcinogen – and the steroid clenbuterol surfaced recently, indicating that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the EU were accelerating their residue testing programs.

“These reports were followed by claims from some kill buyers that blood was being drawn from as many as half their horses – an unprecedented percentage – before they were being accepted.”

In 2008, the EU announced that it would require third countries to come into compliance with their strict standards which require horses to be microchipped and all their medications tracked, but few observers expected any action would come before the expiration of a July 2013 deadline.

The alliance said if the drug residue testing program had yielded unsatisfactory results, it was possible the Mexican slaughter industry might soon be in a similar position.



6 thoughts on “Confusion reigns amid reports of slaughter halt

  • October 13, 2012 at 9:18 pm

    “In 2008, the EU announced that it would require third countries to come into compliance with their strict standards which require horses to be micro-chipped and all their medications tracked, but few observers expected any action would come before the expiration of a July 2013 deadline.”

    As a citizen of the EU, I am glad the bureaucrats are so solicitous of my health.

    It is a shame that they are not equally solicitous of our horses’ well-being. There are currently two Hungarians riding at full speed through the Baltic States and back to Hungary. They were arrested by the Swedish authorities, and their exhausted, malnourished and wounded horses were impounded. But after the Swedes let them leave the country on condition the horses were not ridden for a minimum of eight weeks, the Hungarians got straight back in the saddle.

    When The Long Riders’ Guild approached the EU Animal Welfare Department for help, we were informed that nobody could stop them because only horses used as farm animals were protected by legislation.

    So the wolf is a protected species, but the welfare of man’s oldest ally, the horse, is only protected if he’s a working farm animal. I wonder how many of those there are?

  • October 14, 2012 at 2:07 am


  • October 14, 2012 at 9:32 am

    It took such a long time for action to be taken. I’m glad that it finally came. It’s too bad that our own Congress didn’t enact the horse protection bill but perhaps if Big Ag finally sees that their resources are being squandered by horse slaughter proponents they will enact the law. Then and only then will the problems be solved. If they think that we horse people will support their passport system they are out of their minds. 80% of the American public is against horse slaughter. The slaughter proponents would have Congress thinking that they provide a public service but nothing is further from the truth. Slaughter is a predatory business and the only thing they care about is how much blood money they can line gheir pockets with at the expense of the horses and the people who unknowingly allow or have stolen from them horses who unfortunately fall into the wrong hands.

  • October 17, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    You information is incorrect. There were no horses caught in the pipe line. However the rescues and anti slaughter groups immediately started to solicit funds. The product from Mexico to France was stopped by a vet as it was MIS LABLED

    One plant in Canada OVER REACTED AND THOUGHT they would not be able to sell. They got their information from an animal rights group

    There is a test that will be ready before year end that will test ALL equine meat products for drugs. Also Equine feedlots are now in full production and do have horses who have been grained and fed for six months (no starvation there) and they will be ready to be processed

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