Europe close to banning horse meat from Mexico

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Horses held in export pens before transported for slaughter.
Horses held in export pens before being transported for slaughter. © Kathy Milani/The HSUS

The European Union (EU) is close to imposing a ban on the import of horse meat from Mexico.

The director of the Food and Veterinary Office of the European Union Commission, Michael Scannell, revealed that a ban was close when he addressed the recent European Parliament’s Intergroup meeting in Brussels.

He also voiced concerns around some of the serious welfare issues identified around the long-haul transport of horses from the United States to Mexico, saying some animals arrived dead or unable to stand.

He also revealed that stricter conditions would make it harder for Canada to export meat to Europe that was derived from horses imported from the US .

Scannell told the meeting, which discussed issues around horse meat imports to the EU, that his office felt the need to highlight any contraventions around animal welfare that were a cause for concern.

“In general, the worst contraventions we know are in relation to transport.

“By way of example, we will publish a report in the next number of weeks in relation to Mexico where we saw animals which arrived dead from the United States or non-ambulatory, i.e., they weren’t even able to stand.

“Conversely, what we see in relation to slaughter is by and large acceptable.

“There are relatively few establishments approved for export of horse meat to the European Union.

“It is quite a lucrative trade and the establishments concerned know that they are under an awful lot of pressure, and that they are being very closely watched.

“One of things they can control relatively well is slaughtering conditions, and by and large what we see is acceptable.

“And I emphasis in that context, slaughter, by definition, is not pretty; even the most compliant slaughter techniques in the best-performing abattoirs do not look nice.

“So, on transport, as I say, totally unacceptable conditions; on slaughter, by and large, acceptable.

“And then a final point if I may. The commission, in the light of the various FAO [Food and Agriculture Organisation] reports, is not blind to the need for improvements.

“And we have been engaged for quite some time in protracted discussions with a number of third countries with a view to raising conditions.

“We are not happy with the progress that has been made in certain cases, so very recently, following some very difficult negotiations with the Mexican authorities in particular, we are now very close to taking a formal decision to ban imports of horse meat from Mexico.

“We are also very close to imposing stricter conditions [around] the so-called six month rule in Canada.

“So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult – impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada – to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union.”

Click the start icon to listen to the full meeting.

 

12 thoughts on “Europe close to banning horse meat from Mexico

  • December 1, 2014 at 4:34 am
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    Long overdue. The conditions and lack of enforcement of vehicle and driver safety in the shipping of horses to Mexico is a huge black mark on the USA.

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  • December 1, 2014 at 7:30 am
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    No mention that horses in the US are NOT regulated as ‘food’ and the US is NOT approved to ship horsemeat to the EU – instead the US horse dealers are allowed to fabricate the foreign ‘food’ documents for CA/MX and ship unregulated horses to CA/MX and have them labeled Canadian and Mexican because they are slaughtered there – with no reprocussions because it is not a US document and that the majority of slaughter horses in CA and MX are from the US……
    Or how about that pregnant mares cannot ship that are imminent to foal – what is that? If the foal is not sticking ‘way’ out – they ship.
    US rule is 28 hours in transport without food or water but NO ONE checks! Many horses stand at an auction all day with nothing and then are loaded and shipped for days without food or water. No one checks or cares because they intend to kill them anyway…. I can’t believe the US continues to allow unregulated – known adulterated – animals into any human food chain. It is terrorism!

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    • December 2, 2014 at 8:00 pm
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      It’s amazing that the one main thing that makes US horse meat ineligible for human consumption is STILL being ignored by the countries importing and consuming it. US horses – not regulated as food animals.

      It’s nice that the EU is concerned about welfare conditions, but we’ve had these same welfare conditions for decades. Decades.

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    • December 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm
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      except for the fact the USA does not have any horse slaughter facilities. Attempts by a couple groups to bring it back were over turned.

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    • December 6, 2014 at 1:03 pm
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      i can it’s the obozo show!!! he wants to kill everything good about america!!

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  • December 1, 2014 at 10:05 am
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    Please ban ALL horsemeat from Mexico!!

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  • December 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm
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    Let’s all say a prayer that ends this despicable torture of American horses.

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  • December 2, 2014 at 4:00 am
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    Very suspicious. Why state that, by and large, they have no problems with slaughter methods when clearly continued cruelty in Canada and Mexico has been documented.
    If this goes through, slaughter trolls will begin push to reopen slaughterhouses in the US.

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    • December 2, 2014 at 7:01 pm
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      We will really have to be ready to fight an offensive push to prohibit the reopening of the slaughterhouses in the US. This means we need to start now by talking to our representatives,and each of us starting major grassroot efforts. I know we can do it, but we have no time to waste.

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  • December 4, 2014 at 12:20 pm
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    I can’t believe it … I cannot believe that this is allowed … that nothing is being done to help our horses …it’s so heartbreaking … if only we could eliminate these killer-buyers — who are comparable to animal poachers — if only they would STOP and go on to some other money-making endeavor NOT having to do with animals … Do we need a hero here? Do we need a mere one or two people to say and do, “the buck stops here?” These horses could then be returned either to the wild, to ranches, to sanctuaries, to private individuals … PLEASE, is there ANYONE that could stop this? at the borders? at the plants? at the ports? WE CAN’T LET THIS CONTINUE! IT’S WRONG! IT’S CRIMINAL! IT’S UNCONSCIONABLE!

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  • December 4, 2014 at 5:24 pm
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    I live in the US and have been fighting against horse slaughter for years. The reason it has not been stopped is because of the US Congress and Congressmen that are paid off by well heeled lobbyists to the tune of thousands of dollars in so called donations to their reelection campaigns. The horse racing industry and many others including breeders don’t want slaughter stopped because they wouldn’t have a place to dump their crippled race horses or worn out brood mares. The breeders in the US have been over-breeding horses for years knowing they always have a easy way to dispose of their mistakes at auctions where killer buyers are known to buy truck loads of horses for slaughter. These killer buyers have no idea what the back grounds of the animals are or the drugs the horses have been given. So the consumers in the EU and elsewhere have been eating contaminated horse meat for years without knowing about it. Fully 80% of the voters in the US want horse slaughter stopped. If the EU does stop US horse meat from Mexico being shipped to them it will put most of the killer buyers out of business. If Canada can be shut down also that would stop the horrendous cruelty that has been done to these horse for decades.

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  • December 10, 2014 at 7:10 am
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    Let me know where you people live. I will drop a load of these horses in your yard for you to feed. What should be done US regulated plants reopen. Put horse meat in everything from dog food to the burger at Mcdonalds. Instead of buying expensive food for hungry countries feed them horse meat. Cheap and high in protein. Horses are not pets and never will be. They are livestock. They do not live in your house. Pets live in your house in town. Horses are livestock. You people are so far removed from the farm. You need to come back to earth. We better open shelters for horses where they get put down if not adopted. I hope your paychecks support this. People like you and HSUS have ruined the horse industry. You people are ignorant to Agriculture. It is not your right or place to try and control things that you have no clue or ever been involved with in your life. Where do you get your 80% percent numbers want it stopped? Because I surely know 75% of the US have never owned a horse. So those 75% percent should not be making decisions or judgement on things they do not understand or know anything about. US population is 316.1 million people. 4.6 Million people involved somehow by the horse industry in the US. Making 90% of you full of B.S. You don’t know horses, livestock or agriculture. So do not pretend you do.

    Reply

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