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Horse Slaughter Sides Agree on Food Safety Problem

Before horses can again be slaughtered in the United States for human consumption,  USDA is going to have to get a harness on one food safety issue that all sides agree is a problem.

Unlike cows, pigs, sheep or goats, the 9 or 10 million horses in the United States are not being raised for food, and veterinarians treating horses for aliments use whatever drugs might help.  They are not constrained by the possibility of the meat being consumed by humans as with those other farm animals.

Consequently, in theory there is a greater problem of drug residue in horsemeat than in beef, pork or poultry.  And maybe there is even some common ground on the issue between those who favor and oppose horse slaughter.

In making her case that commercial horse slaughter would be far more humane than back road destruction of unwanted horses now occurring,  Wyoming’s Sue Wallis points to “up to 200,000 toxic drug ridden domestic and wild horses per year” that are being killed and discarded.

Meanwhile, in petitions the Humane Society of the United States has filed with USDA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),  ”Exhibit 1″ is a 29-page list of 115 “banned and dangerous substances commonly given to horses sent to slaughter.”

HSUS and Colorado-based Front Range Equine Rescue are petitioning USDA for rules and regulations to cover the “sale, transport and processing of horses” for human consumption.

Wallis says that petition “seeks to demolish what is left of a beleaguered horse industry, and will only result in the increased suffering of horses.  She calls HSUS an “extremist animal rights organization.”

Both the 89-page HSUS petition and the 105-page International Equine Business Association report, authored by Wallis, contain discussions of the drug issue.

San Francisco attorney Bruce Wagman, representing the animal rights groups, writes that many drugs routinely given to horses could result in “grave dangers if eaten by humans.”

“Because of the possibility of unpleasant to fatal side effects, and the potential for crippling or chronic illnesses or even death that may result from the ingestion of meat tainted with these toxic chemicals, literally hundreds of products are clearly labeled ‘Not for use in animals for food’ or ‘Not to be given to animals that will be eaten by humans’ or some similar language,”  Wagman wrote.

Wagman, one of the most experienced animal rights attorneys in the country, argues in the petition that if a horse is exposed “even once” to these chemicals, it must be forever excluded from the human food supply.  ”They cannot be slaughtered for human consumption and their flesh cannot be to turned into meat,” he says.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection (FSIS) should–in Wagman’s view–”eliminate the threat created by the slaughter of American horses for food, in order to prevent the spread of unsafe meat in America and throughout the world.”

For its part, the International Equine Business Association–created by the Horse Welfare Association of Canada and United Horseman–is committed to broad-spectrum drug residue testing over eight broad categories of drugs.  Their list is not as long as Wagman’s, but the approach is not unlike existing FSIS post-slaughter testing.

FSIS is tight-lipped about how it is proceeding on two requests for its inspection services for equine slaughter operations that would export horsemeat for human consumption.

The agency has declined to even share the applications it is believed to have received from:

-Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM

-Unified Equine in Rockville, MO

A ban of about five years on FSIS providing federal inspection services for horse slaughter ended a year ago in a budget deal between President Obama and Congress.

The ban was lifted after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) report on the crisis that has developed since the last U.S. commercial horse slaughter operations were shut down in 2007.

In its budget for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1, the U.S. House restores the ban just as it did last year when a Conference Committee overturned its will.

If the ban is restored, that may not be the end of it.  In its report to Congress, the IEBA  argues that such a ban would violate U.S. treaty obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving prohibiting or restricting certain products.

© Food Safety News
  • http://www.kaufmanzoning.net Thomas Lee

    U.S. treaty obligations under the World Trade Organization (WTO) involving prohibiting or restricting certain products.
    OH REALLY
    Why dont Sue Warus promote Dog and Cat slaughter to Korea.. Or How about increasing farmer producting by Growing the Coca Leaf for drug dealers..
    This Wacky Elected official Needs to represent her own state instead of controling the whole US horses lives..
    If this Wacko would realize that lives horses brings in more revenue than a dead one..
    As if this women really cared about horses she and her Goons have NO HISTORY of even helping or promoting to Horse Rescues around the US..
    Horse slaughter is merely a reward for criminals and irresponsible people such as the Auctioneer Leroy Baker in Ohio and the recent criminal haulers Three Angels which have offically been shut down for ongoing law breaking relating to DOT restrictings.
    Its time we push for our horse bills to be passed HR2966 and S1776. This will stop this criminal business…
    I sure hope to the people of Wy put this Wacko out of office too for NOT representing her state in the correct way…

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    Treaty violations? Seriously?
    There is nothing in the World Trade Organization’s rules that require countries provide a product if they don’t want to provide a product.
    Sue Wallis had to have come up with that one: it has her peculiar form of ignorance stamped all over it.
    FSIS declined FOIA requests? Did they give a reason?
    And how is the following a case for horse slaughter?
    “In making her case that commercial horse slaughter would be far more humane than back road destruction of unwanted horses now occurring, Wyoming’s Sue Wallis points to “up to 200,000 toxic drug ridden domestic and wild horses per year” that are being killed and discarded.”
    This doesn’t make sense.

  • Curt Lukens

    IEBA, United Horseman and Unified Equine are just Sue Wallis and her dog Dave Duquette working out of her basement. Sue makes up different organizations daily and makes herself sound important. All she wants to do is kill horses and make money.

  • Jo-Claire Corcoran

    My question, did the journalist realize the number of contradictory statements incorporated in the IEBA/Sue Wallis report? Go back and with your red marker, circle the mistakes and contradictions. The “paper” and I use the term loosely is not based by any real studies and or documentation… only the fragmented mind of Sue Wallis

  • CanAmFam

    Thank you for covering this issue so often swept under the rug.
    However, I must point out the misinformation represented by Sue Wallis, who works for the horse meat lobby. She claims that ” commercial horse slaughter would be far more humane than back road destruction of unwanted horses now occurring.”
    There is absolutely NO evidence that horse slaughter has ever or would ever address this issue. In fact, in the event this is even occurring (notice no evidence of this claim is provided), those people can today send their horses to slaughter – the SAME WAY they have always been able to – by selling their horses at livestock auctions to kill buyers around the country. Is some areas kill buyers advertise in the newspaper and radio and offer to pick horses up. And as a result, the same number of American horses are going to slaughter as when we had plants in the US. And that number is driven by demand quotas for US horse meat, not some “oversupply” issue created in a war room by the horse meat lobby.
    The beleaguered horse industry is caused by three things – the biggest economic downturn since the great depression; aging demographics that are getting out of horse ownership, and reckless breeding that’s a result of having slaughter as an option. The only one the industry can control is breeding. And that WON’T happen until these puppy mill-style breeders (who of course vocally support horse slaughter) are subject to the true forces in the market and stop breeding low quality horses knowing they can send culls to slaughter.

  • Sandee Force

    Has there ever been a study of whether people have died or been injured by direct cause of eating horse meat in Europe. Since the U. S. and Canada have been shipping horse meat to Europe and Asia for the past 40 plus years and there have been many of the same drugs being used during that time I would think that issues would have shown up by now. I am not saying that horses that have been on a drug therapy should be slaughtered and used for food. We know with big cats and other carnivores that there is a withdrawl time of up to six months before certain drugs do not affect the cats. I am fairly certain that humans would have about the same reactions in most cases. But I do think that by trying to cover a too wide of spectrum of drugs with a unrealistic withdrawl or no allowed use you are causing more fraud in paperwork than if the times and allowances were more realistic. I have read some of the lists of proposed banned drugs and it is so extreme as to be silly. If you banned the use of all of those drugs on people they would be in trouble. Set reasonable withdraw periods, ban those truly harmful drugs and set up tests that will check questionable horses. Make it so that the fines are high enough to discourage falsification of health papers.

  • Laurel D

    The WTO argument is a joke. We are not restricting export of a product. We are declining to produce it due to liability reasons.

  • Nathan

    We have a duty as a country of the WTO to sell this horsemeat, just like Don Quixote would have wanted us too.
    And yes, we can test for pesticide residues to prove safety, just like we do with other types of meat.

  • Deedie Cameron

    Should we sell our cats & dogs for their meat and fur, Nathan? Would Don Quixote want us to do that, too?

  • Nathan

    As a matter of fact, I do believe in certain situations the sale of dog meat is ethical and humane. An example I have used before is the sale of feral dogs out of Thailand into Cambodia and Laos. This solves two deep issues. One, Thailand is overrun with feral dogs and is unwilling to do anything about it. Two, Cambodia and Laos have VERY poor populations who are in need of cheap sources of protein. Dog meat has also been a healthy part of the human diet for many thousands of years. Plus, because the dogs are ignored in Thailand there are no issues with vaccines/hormones.

  • Ben Mark

    Why are all the writers on this subject so concerned about the health of the Europeans? Take a look at the meat you have on your daily plate: All type of medicine in pork, beef, arsenic in chickens and the list is going on. The good thing on horse meat would be, only sport horses, a small percentage of the slaughtered horses have seen a vet and the expensive medicine and they have a withdraw period anyway. As FSMA requires for all food and feed complete records including health and feed records it’s easy to keep adulterated meat out of the supply chain. Why is Mr. Wagman not suing the produce industry using deathly chemicals around the world every day. Are the “dirty dozens” we read about a week ago are really so healthy for us and our children’s?
    Other cultures are eating cats and dogs as well and they seem to be healthier then the Americans. By eating horse meat you don’t’ get gout a hug problem in the “civilized” countries. The problem is too many people in the rich countries are seeing livestock as pets and not as a food supply. A horse has been always in history in every culture for work and meat, like many other animals. There are billions of people on this earth they can’t afford to feed themselves, they would be glad to get some horse, cat or dog meat or just handful rice. Compare the pictures from starving mothers and children’s all over the world with starving horses in pet lover countries they can’t afford any longer to feed their pets, then you’ll get the picture.

  • Curt Lukens

    I could list why horse meat is so toxic. But this article explains in much better. http://www.forbes.com/sites/vickeryeckhoff/2012/06/18/how-safe-is-that-horse-meat/

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Sandra ~ It doesn’t make any difference what Sue Wallis or anyone else thinks or says. BANNED substances are BANNED. It is illegal to use them on ANY food animal for ANY reason at ANY time during their lives. One exposure at any time and that animal MUST be kept out of the human food chain PERMANENTLY. There is NO withdrawal time for BANNED substances.
    Even drugs that DO have withdrawal times MUST be tracked to know what drug has been administered and when so that animal will not be slaughtered before the withdrawal time has passed.
    We have NO way of tracking these drugs any more than we do the banned ones. Horses are shipped into the plants with no drug records at all. Make no mistake, drugs with withdrawal times can be very dangerous too is the withdrawal times haven’t passed. Especially in combination. These horses are slaughtered one after the other – maybe one was wormed yesteday with ivermectin, another with Quest, and the meat gets ground up together somewhere, sometime. Mix in a little bute, omeprazole…. Would YOU eat this? This is a very realistic picture because the horses that are brought to human consumption horse slaughter plants are NOT “unwanted” horses. They are the very best, well taken care of, young, fat, sound and perfectly healthy. USDA records show that 92% of horses that have gone to slaughter fit that description.
    As far as the big cats at zoos, more and more zoos are turning to beef because of the contamination problem in our horses. We also don’t use horse meat in dog food anymore for the same reason.
    You are not a toxicologist, or a chemist, a doctor or a veterinarian. You are giving opinions that you are totally unqualified to give. Why don’t you research what those who ARE qualified have to say on this subject. It’s very easy to find.
    Does Sue Wallis expect us to believe that they plan to run EVERY test for EVERY drug on EVERY horse that come up for slaughter? No slaughter plant could stay in business doing that! She knows that, but she thinks everyone else is an idiot that will believe any bilge she spews out. The only acceptable test for bute is a kidney assay. She plans to do that with every horse, does she? Not in a million years. The USDA certainly never did. In fact, the last year our slaughter plants were open, the FSIS – even with the knowledge that many racing Thoroughbreds are sent to slaughter and that they are raced on bute – did not text for bute at all.
    We cannot continue to export this tainted meat. If no one cares if horse meat is contaminated, why should they care any more about beef, pork, lamb or any other meat? If we care at all about the reputation of the American meat industry, be need to keep unregulated, non-food producing animals like horses OUT of our packing plants. Period.
    Sue Wallis and her alphabet soup of “companies” is not in the horse industry – she’s in the horse slaughter industry. Or at least she wants to be. Too bad for her that we don’t have and don’t want a horse slaughter industry in the United States.

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Ben ~ Have you no moral judgement at all? Our horses are far more toxic than anything that is in our food-animals. Food animals do have a paper trail – from birth to slaughter they have permanent ID and tracking of what is used on them and when. It may not be perfect, but horses have nothing – nothing at all. We have no way of tracking either banned substances such as bute and omeprazole, or substances that can be dangerous if withdrawal periods are not met such as ivermectin, moxidectin and a myriad of others, both banned and requiring a specific withdrawal period.
    Our meat industry is very anxious to participate in the international trade, and have enough problems already, I grant you. That’s why is puzzles me so much that they back the slaughter for human consumption of an unregulated, non-food producing animal such as the horse.
    As a horse owner for 35 years who has lived within 30 miles of one of these hell holes and 40 miles from another in Texas, I can verify how horse theft becomes an epidemic. It truly was a nightmare for horse owners. My own horse came within a hair’s breadth of being stolen, and several of my friends were not so fortunate.
    No one but a horse owner to whom their horse was a pet, a family member – which, by the way, is the way the majority of horse owners in the US feel about their horses – can possibly imagine how it feels to SEE what horse slaughter is really like and to imagine that YOUR beloved partner met a fate like that. Even I can’t know, because my horse was still safe in his stall. But my friends were heartbroken and frantic to find their horses before it was too late.
    Since horses are not farmed here like food animals, the “kill buyers” must obtain them in “other” ways – most of those ways involving theft or fraud. There are VERY few horse owners who would KNOWINGLY sell their horses for slaughter. Especially those of us like me who have actually seen how brutally cruel it really is. There is no such thing as “humane horse slaughter.” That’s an oxymoron. Horses are nothing like the docile creatures cattle have been bred to be.
    Horses are still very much prey animals – high strung, always alert, panic-prone creatures of flight. Unlike cattle also, horse have long, flexible, upright necks and an instinct to throw up their heads when frightened. They toss their heads wildly, making the legal (single-shot) use of the captive-bolt (which was designed for cattle) virtually impossible. Head restraints are also required, but cannot actually be used on horses. Even the storied Temple Grandin has not been able to design a slaughter plant that is humane for horses.
    kn

  • CanAmFam

    Ben Mark – I would suggest doing some research before stating uninformed opinions as fact, such as “The good thing on horse meat would be, only sport horses, a small percentage of the slaughtered horses have seen a vet and the expensive medicine and they have a withdraw period anyway.”
    Wrong, and wrong.
    According to a survey in the Horse Magazine, 85% of horse owners have used Bute (phenylbutazone) for pain relief in their horses. BUTE HAS NO WITHDRAWAL PERIOD. One lifetime dose renders a horse ineligible for the food chain, that’s how toxic it is.
    And that doesn’t even get into race horse use of Bute, which based on two surveys is between 92 and 99% of horses. And according to estimates, 60% of race horses end up slaughtered for human consumption.
    Both studies show it is absolutely impossible to produce safe horsemeat from American horses.

  • minkpuppy

    Ben,
    FSMA has absolutely nothing to do with meat production or horse slaughter. It only covers products inspected by the FDA. USDA’s FSIS handles meat inspection, including horse meat.
    FSIS doesn’t require extensive record keeping on drug administration to meat animals. They only test in the slaughter plant for residues, and not nearly often enough even though they are ramping that up. The producer will often be listed on the residue sample form but that’s not always possible if a cattle buyer snatches up a lot from the auction barn.
    In spite of that, I think the residue issue in US meat is overblown. Barely detectable levels is not a cause for alarm–it just means the producer probably needs to wait another week or two to sell or misjudged the withdrawal time. It happens. But, being a farm kid, I understand needing to sell livestock to pay the bills so sometimes they feel pressured to sell early.
    FSIS and the meat plants can’t possibly test EVERY single animal coming in. We’re talking millions of chickens, pigs and cattle going through the slaughter plants. Something is going to get past the inspectors. It’s not like they can look at a carcass and tell it has drug or pesticide residues. They have to take tissue samples. The question is how many are enough to truly represent what’s going on in the overall population.
    Despite popular belief, most livestock producers do observe the proper withdrawal times and avoid banned drugs. The FSIS residue sample results are reported to FDA who then issues warnings about certain producers. Too many positive residues gets the producer flagged for more testing by FSIS and the big slaughter plants will either refuse to buy the animals or severely dock the price because they know they’ll probably end up having to pitch the carcass. If a banned drug is found in a carcass, it can actually lead to criminal charges, especially if that drug was smuggled into the US. It simply doesn’t pay to be a repeat offender.

  • Minkpuppy

    To clarify on the FSIS documentation requirements, AskFSIS states that any production claims on meat labels such as “raised without antibiotics” or “raised without additional hormones” that are not part of the organic certification program must have supporting documentation or the label will not be approved by FSIS. Certified organic meats do not have to provide anything other than proof of certification.
    “However, organic certification for poultry does not support the claim “raised without antibiotics” and undefined claims, e.g., “No GMO’s,” may not be declared on labeling.” also from AskFSIS.

  • Linda B

    My horses are on bute, wormers, navicular injections, hydroxizine, rinitadine, ulcer guard and more. I hope any monster who eats horse meat dies a slow death.

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    I have a question for the USDA/FSIS ~ I want to know what you’re going to do about the declaration from the European Union – having found banned substances and falsified documentation in our horses in both Mexico and Canada – that the US must implement a traceability system comparable to the EU’s passport system or they will stop accepting our horses for slaughter on July 1, 2013
    FVO Inspection of Mexican Plant OFFICIAL: https://www.box.com/s/bgsda62zd15xh4r8bs27
    FVO Inspection Report Canada: https://www.box.com/s/horrns3xsr50th1f0dct
    Canadian Response To FVO Inspections: http://www.box.com/s/aos488pdftk07bnvxmzf
    EU Rules FINAL: https://www.box.com/shared/nqa43gkco6
    Horse Passports: https://www.box.com/s/c26dc21083d75ce42223
    We are long past the deadline for submitting a plan for their approval. IS there a plan? How many millions of tax dollars will it cost to implement?
    Why not just do the right thing and declare American companion, sport and show horses unfit for human consumption? It’s the truth, and it should have been done long ago. Or are you waiting for the EU to shut us down? I hope not, because we all know that continuing to knowingly sell tainted horse meat for consumers overseas is illegal, unethical and disgraceful.

  • Nathan

    Wait a second, if horses are naturally ‘prey’ animals than why can’t humans who are at the top of the food chain eat them?

  • Janna

    Why should we be concerned with the health of Europeans? Remember when China sent us those toxic children’s toys? How’d that work for you? And how about when they sent us poisoned dog food? Great for their image, huh. So we shouldn’t care if they buy OUR tainted meat? What is this – biological warfare?!
    Personally, I don’t want my country shipping tainted meat overseas. It makes us look bad. And if we knowingly and intentionally ship tainted horse-meat, we ARE bad. And keep in mind that the horses won’t be slaughtered to feed the starving people in the world. Our companion animals will go to feed the wealthy. Call me selfish, but I don’t want my taxes paying for the inspections to support a foreign market. There is absolutely NOTHING good about horse slaughter – unless your name happens to be Sue.
    And as far as culture goes, I don’t define myself based on what other people do in other countries. Just because there are Muslims in other countries doesn’t mean that I have to become one. Some cultures have some pretty strange customs. Are those savage islanders still shrinking heads? Anybody know? I’m pretty sure it still goes on in Wyoming… And speaking of monkey brains… Just because some cultures consider monkey brains a delicacy doesn’t mean we should all be eating monkey brains for lunch in Tulsa. This is America. We have our own culture. We don’t eat horses here. You can call it “processed protein”.You can label horses as livestock or meat or gout-prevention or whatever clever marketing tool you can come up with and we still won’t eat them. We don’t eat our friends. Those who want to eat horses should move to Belgium or France. And personally, horse lover that I am, it doesn’t bother me one bit if they all choke to death on their dinner over there. I just don’t want the meat they choke on to be tainted in the U.S…

  • rene
  • jennifer

    while there are numerous humane concerns regarding horse slaughter (these have been well documented by the usda prior to the closing of the horse processing plants) there are some economic concerns as well that seem to be ignored. whether proslaughter advocates want to believe it or not, the perception is that our meat is unsafe due to the lack of regulation. in 2013 europe will requite all meat to have documentation of what chemicals / medications have been used and when. additionally the consumption of horse meat in europe is on the decline due to their recession. funny thing about recessions, the demand for “delicacies” goes down. it makes no sense for us to waste money building/retrofitting plants for a foreign interest when it it likely that europe will not accept our meat.
    oh and nathan, i believe the question about dog slaughter was about slaughtering dogs here for export. there are a lot of things that other cultures do and promote that we do not. that doesnt mean that we *have* to participate.

  • N.C.

    Gotta love that Wallis woman!
    “Save the horse industry, poison a human”

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    MinkPuppy, not overblown to the European Union. You forget this meat is not intended for US consumption, and must meet EU standards, which are stronger than ours.
    Starting in 2013, the EU requires that imported horse meat comes from horses that have a passport detailing the medicines given them for life. The EU also bans any horse meat from horses that have _ever_ taken specific drugs.
    http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/medications.php

  • C

    Usually I read these posts on my phone and go about my day. Today I had to log onto my computer because this deserves a comment.
    I am a horse owner. I can not even think of eating horse meat. I realize other countries do it, and whatever, that is on them. I am not naive enough to not understand that their relationship with their food is different than mine. I can go to the local market and pick up whatever I like. A lot of people in this world can’t.
    The comments have really gotten my blood pressure up. For one, there are products given to horses that do not require a vetrinarian. First, wormers. Clearly labeled not to be used for horses intended for food. If you are a horse owner and you are not worming your horses, you are wasting a lot of money spent on feeding them. Worms rob them of the nutrition they need – therefore, we all do it. Feed costs have risen too high not to take advantage of every morsel we purchase. Most horses are not wormed once in their lives, but on an eight to twelve week schedule. Second, Bute is easily available, and can be purchased from a vet with little or no extra expense. It is equal to aspirin in the horse world, and probably overused. Not to mention the long list of other chemicals used in maintaining a horse. They are big animals and they do have accidents. They are medicated.
    The real issue for me is the large number of unwanted horses. I used to believe that slaughter was built on the backs of the backyard breeders that are breeding garbage and flooding the markets with unwanted horses. Also from horse theives. I still think that they have their place in the industry. I now think that slaughter is mainly used by the big-time breeders. These guys breed hundreds of horses, each and every year. In hopes of getting the one that will take them to the big time. They are raised until they are two or three, then they cull the herd. Do you know what culling the herd means? They pick their best prospects and the rest are sold. Some are sold at auction, where, yes, there are kill-buyers waiting. Some are shipped directly to the kill plants from the breeders. Why not cut out the middle man, right?
    I am not picking on any one specifi discipline here. They are all doing it. The racehorses, the western horses, etc.
    These big time breeders have to recoup their costs somehow, and these animals are viewed as livestock. A lot of very well bred animals make their way to the kill plants. They are still going there even though we have shut the U.S. plants down. The big bitch these days is the cost in shipping them to Mexico. Some breeders are even argueing that the long haul is not humane and that is why we need to be able to do it in this country.
    For the record, the trip is not a humane way to get rid of these animals. They are overcrowed and loaded up like cattle. They are not cattle and they do not act like cattle. To use this argument when you are the ones shipping them is ridiculous. It doesn’t have anything to do with anything, except money. The closer the kill plant – the cheaper the shipping costs. The horses are not the bottom line here.
    The only way to end the need for slaughter, whether we are talking horses, dogs, or cats, is to attack the breeding end of things. The responsibility has to fall on the breeders. It would be the simplest thing in the world to manage. If you are a breeder, require a license. Depending on the animal, depends on the fee. Require fees for breeders per animal, per year. They would quit over breeding. Money matters.
    Do the same with dogs. If you want to be a breeder, pay for a license. In theory you should be selling your offspring and you can cover the cost. If you are not a licensed breeder, you are required to spay/neuter your pet. If you are breeding with out a license, make it a felony. It would end puppy mills, and the dumb ass that lets their dog run around fully intact.
    If you can control the breeding, you can manage the population. There are too many unwanted animals, and it is the only way to stop it.
    As far as the argument about our concern for the meat we are exporting. Were we concerned about it before? Was there testing before? What is the point of this argument? Who is gaining what here? This is just a bunch of talking heads, sputtering nonsense to take our eyes off the real problem. It happens everyday in the media, and we fall for it everytime.
    Money makes this country go round. Follow the money and you will find the answers. The big time breeders have the money, and most of them didn’t make it off the backs of horses.

  • Jan Schultz

    Aplastic Anemia: Causes
    What causes aplastic anemia?
    Aplastic anemia is caused by destruction of the blood-forming stem cells in your bone marrow. These stem cells normally develop into three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
    Most research suggests that stem cell destruction occurs because the body’s immune system attacks its own cells by mistake.
    Normally, the immune system attacks only foreign substances. When your immune system attacks your own body, you are said to have an autoimmune disease. Aplastic anemia is generally thought to be an autoimmune disease. Other autoimmune diseases include rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Aplastic anemia can be acquired or hereditary.
    •Acquired aplastic anemia can begin any time in life. About 75 out of 100 cases of acquired aplastic anemia are idiopathic. This means they have no known cause.
    •Hereditary aplastic anemia is passed down through the genes from parent to child. It is usually diagnosed in childhood and is much less common than acquired aplastic anemia. People who develop hereditary aplastic anemia may have other genetic or developmental abnormalities.
    About 25 out of 100 cases of acquired aplastic anemia can be linked to one of several causes. These include:
    •Toxins, such as pesticides, arsenic, and benzene
    •Radiation and chemotherapy used to treat cancer
    •Treatments for other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis
    •Pregnancy – sometimes, this aplastic anemia improves on its own after the woman gives birth
    Although aplastic anemia can appear at any age, in any race or gender, it is diagnosed more often in children and young adults. It is also more likely to strike Asian-Americans. Each year, between 600 and 900 people in the U.S. learn that they have aplastic anemia.
    Why is Bute used in horses and cautions: Phenylbutazone is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and cylo-oxygenase inhibitor. It is a potent pain reliever, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory. In the horse, it is used commonly for lameness, resulting from soft-tissue injury, muscle soreness, bone and joint problems, and laminitis. NSAIDs work by inhibiting the body’s production of prostaglandins, thromboxane and other inflammatory mediators. Some of these actions may be dose-dependent. Phenylbutazone may be given intravenously or orally; pain relief and fever reduction usually starts within one to two hours.
    From Ministry of Food – Canada: Interactions with Other Medications
    Interactions between drugs may occur. Horse owners should be aware of some of the more common interactions. Phenylbutazone and its active metabolite (break down products), oxyphenbutazone, are highly bound to plasma proteins and may;
    •displace other highly bound drugs and affect the serum levels and duration of action of oral anticoagulants, other anti-inflammatory agents and sulfonamides, e.g., T.M.S..
    •increase the metabolism of drugs (by stimulating the hepatic microsomal enzymes), e.g., digitoxin and phenytoin.
    •increase the plasma half-life (slows the breakdown) of penicillin G.
    •On the other hand, other drugs that affect the liver (microsomal enzyme inducers), such as barbiturates, rifampin, or corticosteroids, may decrease the plasma half-life of phenylbutazone (period the medication is in the body) by causing increased metabolism of phenylbutazone.
    •Phenylbutazone may antagonize the increased renal blood flow effects caused by furosemide.
    •Although the use of phenylbutazone, along with other NSAIDs, may increase the potential for adverse reactions developing, many clinicians routinely use phenylbutazone concurrently with flunixin in horses.
    •Phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone may interfere with thyroid-function tests by competing with thyroxine at protein-binding sites or by inhibiting thyroid-iodine uptake.
    Regulatory Control
    This medication is approved for use in horses not intended for food.
    As you can see, the causes for aplastic anemia are 75% untraced. But most of the cases are seen in children and young adults and a bump has been recorded in Asia countries. Maybe if the doctors had known their patients had been regularly eating horsemeat from America, the questions would have been more easily answered.

  • N.C.

    Exactly “C”.
    That is why the pro-puppy mill breeders (yes, there are a group of people that believe puppy mills are good) and the pro-horse slaughter business people, have joined together to make one lobbying firm. No, I am not kidding.
    Instead of spending all of that money (Thought they keep saying they are going broke)lobbying in D.C., why don’t they just spend it on responsible breeding and better animal husbandry. Oh that’s cuz you spend millions on lobbying now and then you can kill off your extra inventory, take the tax loss and do that for YEARS to come.
    This is not about helping horses people, it is about more money for breeders (and AQHA is a big well funded breeder organization). The process will never change despite what they say. The fact is that re-structuring and developing an entire new “humane” horse slaughter process is way too expensive. It is cheaper to change one or two things about the current process and rename it humane. Just FYI The changes considered to make it humane, rubber mats on the floors and taller walls. Do you think those are big humane changes? Cheap yes, humane no. Oh and there is the video surveillance that will supposedly keep people honest. BTW the video surveillance aspect is currently being fought by Sue Wallis in her AG GAG Bill which will prevent any monitoring of farm operations. So really how humane and healthy is this idea after all?

  • hanmeng

    In my experience, horse meat tastes better than dog meat.

  • Minkpuppy

    FSN–please stop referring to the horse slaughter ban. There was no outright ban. Funding for horse inspections was cut off and USDA could no longer provide them unless the companies had been willing to pay inspection fees for “voluntary” service which would have allowed them to still put the USDA mark on the meat. The companies elected not to pay for the inspections–they only cared about making money and were not willing to take a chunk out of their profits just for the USDA mark. They took their business out of the country instead.
    Shelly:
    I was referring to residues concerns being overblown in beef, pork etc. not horses. The US has an agreement for exports of those items to the EU and has to provide all sorts of documentation to meet their requirements. EU isn’t worried about those products.
    Horse meat hasn’t been part of that agreement (if it ever was) since the funding was yanked. I doubt I could even find the old requirements unless someone still has a copy stashed somewhere in a notebook.
    The exporters had to stop exporting weren’t willing to pay for the inspection. They just started taking horses and all through Canada and Mexico instead because it’s simpler and cheaper. Hence the EU concerns because they’re probably finding problems with the meat being passed off as Canadian or Mexican.
    Suzanne:
    As far as I know, there isn’t any plan to address the EU concerns on horse meat. FSIS probably thought horse inspection was essentially dead and didn’t bother to negotiate anything. They didn’t foresee our do-nothing Congress letting the deadline pass on the funding situation. This funding deal isn’t over yet. It will probably get yanked again-it’s not as good as an outright ban but it gives Congress time to come up with one.
    If FSIS procrastinates long enough, the whole horse slaughter debate is solved for them by the EU, Canada and Mexico. Canada and Mexico will also have to meet EU standards so they will start turning down US horses that don’t have the documentation. If the companies want to export to the EU, its up to them to make sure the horses meet the requirements in the absence of a US trade agreement with the EU. Most likely the EU will not accept US horsemeat without an agreement. (See what I’m getting at? They can be sneaky that way.)
    Unfortunately, the one thing USDA/FSIS has no control over is the formation of feedlots expressly for raising and feeding foals for meat to be exported to the EU whether it’s in Mexico or Canada or the US. These operations can control the drug administration from the get go and never run afoul of the EU. It sounds like this is what Wallis wants she’s just not saying it outright.
    These feedlots are not going to accept horses from outside their system because they won’t be able to sell the meat. The breeders “C” mentions are probably already trying to figure out how to get around that. Overall, there’s still going to an unwanted horse problem.
    What should we do with all those horses? My buddy that runs a horse rescue has limited space as do many other rescues. He can’t take them all even if he wanted to.

  • Bergman

    Some people keep llamas as pets, circulate petitions to ban the consumption of llama meat, and talk about how evil those who eat llamas are.
    Some people keep cows as pets with similar attitudes. I know people who have pet capybaras, and they would react to someone thinking their pet looked tasty much the same way they’d react to someone thinking their child looked tasty.
    But horses are livestock, just like all the others. They were bred to be useful and then eaten, just like all the rest. Take a close look at your own prejudices, before wishing anyone a slow death. Would someone poisoning your hamburger be justified, or simply be just another murderer?

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Minkpuppy ~ None of the human consumption slaughter plants are taking the so called “unwanted” horses now. Never have, never will. They are turning down even more horses than ever due to the EU’s tightening of the regulations last year. When horses get turned down by the plants, the killers just abandon them where they stand.
    I don’t think the breeders – even the AQHA – are going to get around the drug problem with the EU unless they actually produce horses that are raised and documented like those in the EU. Many of the horses that go to slaughter in the European countries are owned by individuals just like ours. They have “passports” that must be filled out meticulously. If they ever give their horses bute – which is doled out one tab at the time by a veterinarian – there is a place on the passport where the owner can sign their horse out – meaning that horse is no longer a food animal and will never be eligible for slaughter for human consumption. The vets are strongly urged to make sure that that part of the passport is signed when they have prescribed a banned substance such as bute. If the vet is not careful, and the horse is slaughtered and found to be contaminated, there can be a trace-back – due to the passport system – to the prescribing vet, who might face criminal prosecution. THAT’S how seriously they take bute in the EU.
    This is the type of system they say WE have to be on or they will not accept our horses. The problem is, I don’t think the Sue Wallises of this country will ever care about the food safety laws and can’t be trusted no matter WHAT system we have in place. She absolutely will not accept that banned means banned and that it’s forever. At least not publicly. And her puppets seem absolutely brain washed on this topic. You can’t convince them no matter what scientific studies you reference, the seriousness with which bute is regulated in Europe.
    Personally, I think the FDA and USDA/FSIS should just bite the bullet and disqualify companion, sport, show and other such horses from being eligible to be slaughtered for human consumption. According to EU rules, no living horse here is eligible for slaughter anyway because their rules require receiving a permanent ID by the age of six months.
    If there are those who want to raise horses like cattle and keep track of what they have received from birth to slaughter, we can’t stop them, although I don’t think anyone will ever come up with a method of mass slaughtering horses that is anywhere near humane and/or in compliance with the Humane Slaughter regulations.

  • Pricknick

    Mmmmmm…
    Horse meat.

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Bergman ~ The FDA classifies horses as companion animals. That’s why they permit the manufacturers of horse medications and other widely used products to contain substances that are totally banned in food animals.
    Get it?

  • Ricardo Dueno

    There is also a large domestic and foreign market for horsemeat for non human consumption. American fur farms like mink farms often use horse meat as a food source. There is also a market overseas for horsemeat as dog food.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    MinkPuppy, thanks for clarification.
    However, the horse slaughter plants did pay for inspections when the horse slaughter inspections were first defunded. The USDA followed this approach until the federal court ruled the action was illegal.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/02/0208_060208_horse_meat.html
    http://www.chron.com/news/nation-world/article/USDA-may-keep-authority-over-horse-slaughter-1476533.php
    http://usgovinfo.about.com/b/2007/05/09/last-us-horse-slaughterhouse-remains-open.htm
    And Sue Wallis did say, specifically during the debate about opening a plant in Missouri, that the horse slaughter plant planned on raising horses specifically for slaughter. I believe this is the intended approach to meet EU standards.
    Both Canada and Mexico have already had push back because of contaminated meat from US horses.
    http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/13173
    Bottom line: horse slaughter plants in this country will do nothing–nothing–about the unwanted horse issue.
    It’s time to drop this myth.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    And yet more on the issue of US horse meat and the EU ban.
    http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Quality-Safety/Tainted-US-horse-meat-puts-world-consumers-at-risk-welfare-body
    And the reason for the ban.

  • http://www.schmoe.com Joe Schmoe

    I had a horse steak in Geneva last year. It was yummy. Anybody who is against eating horse meat while being for eating cows and pigs is irrational.

  • Jan Schultz

    If Ms. Wallis truly plans to raise her own horses for the slaughterhouse she thinks she wants to build in Missouri or Tennessee or elsewhere – why is the location so special because it is “central to 30% of American horses.” Does she plan on saying she raised the horses she drains off the 30% of all American horses?

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Joe ~ We are talking about AMERICAN horses specifically. They are not food animals here and and are NOT regulated. If you knew anything at all about animal agriculture or food animal regulations, you would realize how critical this is.
    The FDA considers horses to be companion animals – which most of them are these days. This ain’t the old West. Therefore, the FDA permits the manufacturers of horse medications and other very widely used horse products to contain ingredients that are BANNED for use in ANY food animal for ANY reason at ANY time during the animal’s life. ONE exposure to any of these substances means that animal must NEVER enter the human food chain. The ban is PERMANENT.
    Most, if not all of our horses have been exposed to these substances because there are so many of them, and they are very widely used. Some of these substances are VERY dangerous to humans, especially children. To export this contaminated meat, claiming it is free of contamination, is illegal and unethical.
    Not only that, the horse slaughter “industry” in the US has always been a shady, under the radar, predatory business filled with petty criminals and other unsavory characters. When you are knowingly exporting a toxic food item to consumers overseas, what’s a little larceny?
    Since horses are NOT farmed here, the “kill buyers” must acquire them in other ways – ranging from purchasing horses under false pretenses to outright theft. I KNOW. I lived between the two Texas plants for 15 years. Many of my friends’ horses were stolen. My own horse escaped by a hair’s breadth.
    If you want to eat horse meat, it would be prudent to find out the country of origin first. Our horse meat is purchased almost exclusively by the European Union, and they sell it all over Europe. I hope that wasn’t meat from an American horse you ate.

  • http://goldendays-suzanne.blogspot.com/ Suzanne Moore

    Ricardo ~ I don’t know about overseas, but there is NOT a large market in the US for non-human consumption horse meat. We don’t use horse meat in dog food, and haven’t for decades, because of the contamination issue. Many zoos are also turning to beef for the same reason.
    Besides, NON-human horse slaughter is NOT what is under discussion here. Slaughtering horses for non-human consumption is perfectly legal and always has been. But there is a very small market and not enough to keep commercial slaughter plants open.
    The restrictions we are discussing here involve human
    consumption horse slaughter ONLY.
    Jan ~ Don’t even try to make sense of what Sue Wallis says. It will only drive you nuts. Why anyone would take anything she says seriously is beyond me. She has told so many lies, and contradicted herself so much, the only people who “believe” her are the ones that WANT to.

  • Minkpuppy

    Shelley, I had forgotten that. My point is that could have continued if it hadn’t been cost prohibitive. The companies could have moved their plants to friendlier US locales BUT THEY DIDN’T. According to rumors floating around the inspectors back then, Bel-tex was allegedly tossing around building a brand-new plant back then to make the city happy but scrapped it. Couldn’t afford it, they said. They didn’t want to pay to fix the plant they were in for pete’s sake. As long as they could keep killing horses, they would pay for inspection but nothing else. That’s how sick that company was.
    Has anyone noticed that Bel-tex and Cavel aren’t even in this hunt to kill horses in the US again? They’ve written the US off. Too much trouble. Wallis has no idea what she’s gotten herself into.
    Suzanne: glad to hear that but how many US horses got through on faked documents? That’s the major concern I’ve heard about because the EU has found some problems with that coming out of the Mexican and Canadian plants.
    Trying to prove falsifaction of docs is really really tough and can take years of investigation. It’s too dang easy to get ahold of watermarked paper and good fakes thanks to computer technology. I’m still trying to figure out how some guys in New Orleans forged USDA export certs for so dang long before getting caught. It’ll be a lot tougher when we switch to electronic certification.
    THe kill buyers here in Texas seem to think that somehow the US plants are going to be the exception when it comes to the drug thing. As soon as news broke that grant applications were in the works, my buddy from the horse rescue said the horse prices at the auctions DOUBLED overnight. It was all kill buyers he’s known for years bidding up the nice looking young horses. I doubt very much those horses all had docs detailing their drug use. These guys are ramping up to sell to Sue and her gang. He was getting some good horses to rehome at low prices but the kill buyers and their greed killed that at the last auction.
    As far as FDA/USDA banning companion horses, racehorses etc from slaughter, I’m not sure either agency really has the gumption. They’re both silently hoping Congress will either yank the funding again or that other countries will ban our horse meat for them. Or else, they’ll use the excuse that they’re (barely)testing residues at slaughter and that only non-tainted meat is shipped. *sigh*
    The best and surest bet is an outright Congressional ban on competition horses and companion horses that have been given the banned drugs. That will force final rules to be written by both FDA and FSIS.
    I think Wallis is a dingbat if she thinks she’s going to sell drug contaminated meat to the EU and get rich. She’s got blinders on. There might be some Eastern European countries that will take her meat but Japan is VERY strict on everything. They tend to follow EU on a lot of things. Japan is not a good country to alienate when it comes to US exports.
    Good luck with that Sue Wallis! EU will toss it back in her face if they don’t have the right paperwork or that meat tests with residues. And they will test EVERY lot they get from the US.
    Sue also really needs to stop blowing smoke up everyone’s butts about reducing the horse population. Horse numbers might go down a bit at first but they’ll go right back up when they find out that they can’t kill drug tainted horses.
    Then what? We’ll have feedlots of nice, untainted horses and still an overabundance of unwanted horses. Ugh. I don’t think there’s enough money in it for Big Pharma to come up with a “safe” alternative to bute.

  • http://burningbird.net Shelley

    And so much for the credibility of Slaughterhouse Sue and all of the horse slaughter people
    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/rockville-horse-slaughter-plant-another-misfire-for-sue-wallis-2012-07-18

  • Jchelli

    Before you dig your teeth into a horse chop or horse stew ask yourself where did this meat come from? This past weekend Canada & Mexico closed their boarders to slaughter bound USA horses. Most of the meat that is processed at these slaughter houses are exported to Europe and other equine consuming nations. Recently USA horse meat was banned in many nations as it was found to contain unhealthy levels of several deadly toxins. Most Americans are against eating horse, but some do argue why is it any different then beef, pork, chicken and so on? The main reason we should not eat USA ( and other nations) horse meat is because the meat is not safe for consumption. Unlike cattle, pigs and chickens that are regulated and raised for consumption, horse meat comes from work horses, pets, show and race horses that have been under a vets care and all have been exposed to toxic and even deadly products throughout their lives. These products are present in the meat making it unhealthy and dangerous for humans to eat. As Americans, if we found out that cattle were given drugs that caused cancer in humans or sprayed with bug spray that was labeled ” should not be sprayed on animals for human consumption”, people would be outraged. Well this is what is used on all domestic horses. Even wild horses are rounded up and vaccinated, wormed and administered drugs that are unsafe for humans to consume. How embarrassing to think that we have allowed dangerous and unhealthy USA products to be exported to other nations, while we are the first to condemn other nations when they produce toxic products.

    I also find it interesting that not even one cable news source has mentioned the borders being closed to USA slaughter horses and the selling of tainted USA horse meat, but if you goggle the topic there are hundreds of articles written about the subject for over a year. Several of these articles try to say it is more humane to send the horses to slaughter than starve to death or be abused, but really the only issue for horse slaughter and consumption is what is safe. Horse meat is not safe to eat. Proper and ethical treatment of animals is another issue that I and others have very strong opinions about, but the safety of horse meat is not an opinion it is a fact! Have a big plate of pasta with marinara tonight for dinner!!