Header graphic for print

Food Safety News

Breaking news for everyone's consumption

Canada’s Parliament Considers Bill Limiting Horse Slaughter

The most recent ban on equine inspections by USDA meat inspectors has moved the horse slaughter debate up to Canada’s House of Commons.

A Member of Parliament (MP) from southeastern British Columbia hopes that a final hour of debate next month can persuade the country’s federal lawmakers to pass his bill limiting slaughter only to those horses raised as feed animals with complete medical records. MP Alex Atamanenko’s legislation (C-571) is a private member’s bill, meaning that the government did not request it.

Atamanenko withdrew an earlier bill that sought a total ban on horse slaughter in Canada and then substituted C-571 in hopes that a more limited ban might attract enough support. He is a member of the minority New Democratic Party and a retired school teacher.

Atamanenko wants to make it more difficult for Canada’s four federally inspected equine processors to do business by imposing requirements he says are designed to keep drugs out of the food chain.

Overall his bill would cut horse slaughter in Canada by 50 percent, according to Atamanenko.

With up to 100,000 live horses from the United States being taken over the border every year for eventual slaughter by one of the four facilities, Canada’s horse meat sales now top $83 million a year.

Most of the horse meat Canada processes goes to the European Union, but not all. Horse meat can be found on fine restaurant menus and in meat shops in its big eastern cities, including Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City. Canada exports horse meat to France, Russia, Kazakhstan, China and Italy.

The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office has expressed concerns about the lack of identification documents for horses originating in the U.S. Throughout Europe’s horse fraud scandals, where cheaper horse meat was secretly substituted for more expensive beef, health officials have said that food safety has not been at risk.

No USDA-inspected horse slaughter has occurred in the U.S. since 2007. The method used to ban it has been budget restrictions imposed on USDA. Those were lifted for 2012 and 2013, but the ban extending it to Sept. 30, 2014, was reinstated last Jan. 17.

© Food Safety News
  • TomDurfee

    American horses shipped to Canada for slaughter, this is why I don’t buy anything made in Canada or spend any of my tourist dollars there. Hey Canada stop poisoning people with meat from Tainted American horses. Boycott everything Canadian!!!!!!

    • maureen johnston

      then help stop shipping your American horses here !!!! over 90% of killed horses are American.

      • TomDurfee

        Maybe the buyers working for the Canadian slaughterhouses should stop coming to the US and buying them knowing the meat is poisonous? I have done everything that I can legally do to stop American horses from being slaughtered in Canadian slaughter houses and elsewhere, what have you done?

    • ForTheHorses

      Tom Durfee: Canadian people don’t want U.S. horses up here, it’s the Government that wants the easy $$. Why don’t you channel that anger at Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas, who is the one holding up the S.A.F.E. Act. Why don’t you solicit your Congressman to initiate a DISCHARGE PETITION which needs to be signed by a certain number of Representatives to get the bill out of the Committee and in for a vote. Boycotting everything Canadian isn’t going to stop those horses from being shipped, but a little action on your part just might get that Bill moving again.

      • TomDurfee

        I have been fighting horse slaughter for almost 11 years now On the internet, with my money (donations) and been to washington and personally talked to and or visited every office of every congressman and senator. I have voted against my congressmen and senators if they were pro slaughter, I took in 10 Virginia range horses out of NV, given homes to 15 domestic horses that were given away. About the only thing I have not done is Physically block the boarder. No Boycotting is just one more way I have to fight. Horse slaughter hurts all economys. I have done a little and a lot more action. Enough about me This is what is going on right now.

        http://horsetalk.co.nz/2014/04/17/joe-biden-address-american-equine-summit/#axzz2z97ZxvMw

        • Paul Sullivan

          Why are you fighting horse slaughter? Are you also fighting cow and pig slaughter? Sincerely… what is the difference?

          • Tim Parmly

            Please do a little research and you will find out. But in a word, drugs.

          • Christine Morris

            horses are not breed to eat the are domesticated animals just like a dog n a cat and horses get a lot of diff drugs that cows m pigs n in my eyes no animal should be slaughtered eat veggies they are better for u

          • MarkDonners

            What’s the difference between that and slaughtering you?

  • vickysecho

    It is absurd that Canada accepts US unregulated horses for any food chain. The US is NOT approved to export horsemeat to the EU so they slip shod them through to Canada and Mexico – label them Canadian and Mexican by virtue of slaughtering them there – and then export them to the EU. US horse dealers are allowed to fabricate the EID or Equine Identification Document or drug history immediately after they take possession of a horse and can ship it the same day – this is absurd! Like eating lab rats…. Shame on Canada and the US for allowing any unregulated horses into any food chain.

    • ROBIN

      I totally agree. Us as Canadians dont want horse slaughter in our country its the government that r bloody money hungry bastards. We do have a bill in senate right now and hopefully it gets passed. With our bill and if the SAFE ACT passes it will make it very hard for the horse slaughter industry. KEEP FIGHTING FOR OUR HORSES!!

  • Jacquie Sharpe

    Please let compassion and food safety standards allow this bill to pass. 67% of those Canadians polled are against horse slaughter. Why if the government is the people does the government not give a shit about what the majority wants? I wish all Americans against horse slaughter would boycott Canada and Canadian goods and convince others to do so also. The pockets of very few are lined with Canadian Horse Slaughter money. The pro slaughter groups toss out these big profit numbers like the public is a bunch of morons that believe somehow the profits from this Barbary is helping the average public….what a crock, foreign workers, many foreign owned companies….public tax dollars paying for CFIA Inspectors and Government Vets that in view of hidden video footage are collecting paychecks and not fulfilling their responsibilities. Sickening and repulsive.

  • Shane

    “health officials have said food safety has not been at risk ” because of horse meat tainting beef in Europe ? Absurd ! That is why sales of beef continue to plummet in Europe in the wake of the horse meat contamination scandal. The horse meat trade is doomed to extinction as exports from Canada is now proving ! It is not possible to raise horses humanely or cheaply as food. Giving them the medications required to make certain they are not in pain or diseased means they become unsafe for human consumption. Canada is just getting a clue about being ahead of the learning curve by beginning to abolish the inherently inhumane horse slaughter trade.

  • debbie

    Totally agree Tom,,, Canada KNOWINGLY accepts the U.S. horses that have no medical history,, guess the profits are more important than the safety of their consumers??? Every food product has a regimen that food for human consumption has to go through, the BIG BLACK & GRAY area is Horsemeat that really has none…. Horses are not raised for human consumption, so there are so many drugs in their system NOT for human consumption…. Negligence on the Food Safety in Canada…. Also is for the EU too, they KNOW all our horses go to Canada & Mexico and STILL accept that meat,,, ALL of the horse slaughter issue’s are NOT a joke and can kill if one eats this meat… WHY authority’s are taking that risk to our health has to be for PROFIT… SO PROFIT is more important than our safety!!!! SHAME ON ALL of the arrogance and risk’s you are taking against us ALL…….There NEEDS to be accountability, records, document’s for ANY human food that includes HORSES also for god sake…..

    • ForTheLoveOfHorses

      Americans could stop shipping horses that they know are full of unsafe drugs and find a way to humanely deal with their unwanted horses. How about that?!
      Instead they export their problem and wipe their hands of it. Yeah, much better.

      • MarkDonners

        And Canadians shift responsibility for their own crimes.

  • ziggypop

    It is about time Canada finds it’s ethics and stops sending known toxic meat to unsuspecting tables in Europe. We all know kill buyers have no issue with committing fraud on their paperwork, and the killing buildings have no problem with killing horses, even when they are aware the meat is poisonous.

  • elizabeth dana

    Both the BLM and American Governement and the Canadian governments have created Horse Slaughter as “doing business as usual” without ANY concern for the safety and health of our food supplies or in regard to the intrinsic harm horse slaughter does to encouraging animal abuse and create horse hoarding in overbreeding

    • ForTheLoveOfHorses

      Yes, both countries have played a role and it is up to both countries to figure out a way to humanely deal with their unwanted horses. Pointing the finger gets us no where. We each need to support change within our borders to help save horses. Period.

  • elizabeth dana

    PS – HORRARY for this positive step in the Canadian goveirnment for doing what should be done – keeping poisons out of the food supply – what happened to healthy living like vegetarian and heart healthy diets? I just see children throwing up Alpo Dog Food when I envision horse meat ! It even stinks like rank pork!

  • comedyflyer

    Finally a step …one step in the right direction…

  • Barb3000

    The reason that US horses are shipped to Canada/Mexico is caused directly by the US Senate. These people are given thousands of dollars by lobbyists funneling so called donations to these crooked politicians to do their dirty work. One in particular Texas Senator John Cornyn wrote me a letter after I had sent about a dozen letters to a committee telling them to help stop horses being sent to Canada/Mexico for slaughter, this man was the only one that bothered to answer, he told me that he would not support any bill that banned horse slaughter because he considered that doing that would effect the right to dispose of their property which would be their horses. This is how 99% of the US Senate feels. They are paid bribe money by the racing industry, Quarter Horse Association which encourages over breeding to collect registration fees. Also numerous other Horse breed associations. So don’t blame the people in the US because US horses are still being shipped to Canada. We have been fighting this for years, your own inspectors are not checking the paperwork that the kill buyers are presenting at the border crossings. That’s one of the biggest problems they are told not to look to close at the paperwork by their bosses. This also includes the other South American countries that ship horse meat to the EU and other European countries. Why not stop eating horse meat in parts of Canada?? Probably because its in French speaking parts of Canada that refuse to even consider not eating it. If the new bill can be passed into law that will put a stop to US horses going to Canada I don’t know what will happen with Mexico US horses will probably all be sent to Mexico but at least they won’t be to Canada that’s half the problem solved.

  • Susan Crane-Sundell

    Hey everyone: Le’s stop fighting and support both measures so that we can stop horse slaughter. The SAFE Act will stop American horses from entering the slaughter pipeline and being shipped across the border and C-571 will stop Canadian sport, draft Standardbred and TBs from being slaughtered. A concerted effort from all of us can insure the passage of both bills. Please let’s cooperate and support each other in this tough fight.

  • Deedie

    Well, there you have it. Americans don’t think Canadians should slaughter American horses and Canadians don’t want to slaughter American horses. It sounds like the majority of Canadians & Americans oppose horse slaughter, period. Good. Now all we have to do is get our greedy, self-serving government “officials” to consider what their constituents really want.

  • http://www.EquineRight.com Equine Right To A Quality Life

    All of us in North America have to pool our strengths together to stop the cruelty behind closed doors in slaughter houses. The methods used are archaic, wrong and cruel. We should all be actively fighting for the SAFE ACT in the USA to become law. This would stop horses from the USA coming into Canada for slaughter. In Canada, Canadians have to realize that almost 90,000 horses are slaughtered every year – this is outrageous. Slaughter methods are outdated, cruel, painful to the animals some whom are factory farmed raised – the most cruelty on such a massive scale that humanity has ever committed. We will pay the price for how we treat animals with viruses that mutate faster than we can keep up with them. The H1NI is now H1N8 and growing. People, it’s time to wake up – your children will die.

  • ScullyLL

    Tom it’s America that sends the horses!!!! Sign all petitions for the Safe Act to stop this holocaust…..

  • Tilgaz

    “Throughout Europe’s horse fraud scandals, where cheaper horse meat was secretly substituted for more expensive beef” What???
    Ever tried to buy horse meat in Europe? It is far more expensive than beef. And what’s with all these anti horse meat nut jobs, including Alex Atamanenko. If you are vegetarian and encourage people to not eat meat I can understand, but the anti horse meat crowd happily goes out and has rack of lamb, veal and frois gras for dinner! Ever investigated how these animals suffer by default to provide a meal to the likes of Mr Atamenko?!
    Proponents of this bill are akin to the anti-abortion and anti-euthanasia nut
    jobs. Stop shoving your misguided opinions down the throats of others.

    Get over it. Horse meat tastes better and is healthier for you than beef. Try some, you’ll love it!