Canadian bill aims to tighten horse slaughter control

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Humane Society International/Canada is calling on lawmakers to support legislation to regulate the country’s horse slaughter industry.

The private member’s bill C-571, introduced by New Democratic Party MP Alex Atamanenko, has advanced to its second reading.

It aims to close what its backers see as loopholes in current regulations by requiring a lifetime medical treatment record for any horse presented for slaughter.

Under the law, horses that received drugs prohibited from the food chain or which were not raised for human consumption could not be sent to slaughter.

Current regulations do not effectively prevent horses once treated with banned substances from entering the food chain, backers of the bill believe.

Humane Society International/Canada’s campaign manager, Ewa Demianowicz, said: “The Canadian government cannot continue to ignore the blatant flaws of its cruel horse slaughter industry, nor the fact that horse meat produced in Canada for human consumption poses serious health risks for consumers around the world.

“Bill C-571 introduces regulations that could prevent the death of tens of thousands of horses by ensuring that horses are removed from the slaughter pipeline and food chain.”

Atamanenko said: “A long list of drugs prohibited for use in food animals are commonly administered to horses.

“Currently, no reliable system for recording medications given to horses is available, as medical record keeping for horses is not mandatory. By no stretch of the imagination should horsemeat be considered a safe food option by those who consume it.”

Most horses slaughtered in Canada – the largest exporter of horsemeat to Europe and Asia – come from the United States, where horse slaughterhouses closed in 2007.

Audits by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office consistently highlight the unreliability of equine identification documents that accompany US horses, which do not give guarantees equivalent to the EU food safety standards.

However, the Canadian Government continued to allow exports of horsemeat.

In 2013, more than 70,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada. The majority are not raised as food animals, the group said, and as a result routinely received drugs prohibited from the food chain.

4 thoughts on “Canadian bill aims to tighten horse slaughter control

  • April 3, 2014 at 12:14 pm
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    Thank God the people of Canada are realizing horses are not meant for human consumption. The torture and brutality that exists in slaughterhouses is abominable. There is no excuse for killing animals in such a cruel and inhumane way. These slaughterhouses try very hard to hide their abusive, cruel and hideous killing methods. But there have been a few brave souls who have managed to get hired and then video the killing of these magnificent animals. I have seen several videos on YouTube. They make me sick to my stomach and I weep for the horses who suffer cruel and prolonged deaths at their hands. If they have to do this, why can they not just use ONE bullet and kill the horse outright? Instead, they use bolt guns made for cattle. The horses necks are too long and at best they are stunned, hung upside down by one hind leg and their necks are slit. To slowly bleed to death. This disturbs me greatly, in case it’s not obvious. This needs to end now!

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  • April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm
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    I can’t believe that Canada and the EU still accepts US entirely unregulated horses for slaughter. US horses are NOT regulated at all as food. No medical history is maintained on any US horse except for some race horses that have to show medications prior to a race. Horse dealers in the US can acquire a horse, fabricate the Canadian Equine Identification Document or drug history record and ship the horse the SAME day for slaughter. The majority of Canadian horsemeat is from US unregulated horses with no traceabilty that are mostly adulterated. Testing is a joke. Less than one half of a percent are ever ‘tested’ and most of those are tested with the ‘fast’ test which does not test for bute or many other common drugs. Every horse is visually inspected for adulteration. Who can visually inspect adulteration? How comfortable can anyone be eating horsemeat when it is almost the same as eating an animal from a laboratory? Why does the EU have horse passports and allow entirely unregulated horsemeat to enter their food chain? Mr. Atamanenko’s bill would prohibit horses not raised as ‘food’ to enter the food chain. It really is the only logical, moral, and ethical method to insure safe food since there is no medical history. The stroke of a pen, does not safely convert garbage into food.

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  • April 5, 2014 at 12:49 am
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    “Consist Unreliability of EID”.. Mind boggling when a “food safety” protocol is shown to be unreliable time & time again , Year after year..and it’s still used as a standard method to ensure food safety to the consumer markets…just goes to show..consumers need to protect themselves from unsafe foods, cause their Gov’ts have thrown out any concern for the individual consumer and are dedicated to volume of product in the international trade markets..

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  • April 8, 2014 at 1:42 pm
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    I sure hope this bill gets passed. Thanks.

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