BVA President calls for microchipping amid horse meat scandal

U.S. horses corralled and tagged for slaughter.
U.S. horses corralled and tagged for slaughter.

Farming UK reports:

The President of the British Veterinary Association (BVA) has used his annual London dinner speech last night to urge the government to back their call for all horses to be microchipped.

He addressed current issues including the horsemeat scandal, where he backed calls for clearer welfare labelling.

The audience included parliamentarians, veterinary surgeons and representatives from the agri-food industry, pet industry, welfare charities and veterinary education.

“The headlines about horsemeat will no doubt continue, but what is already clear is that in a very short space of time the news has undermined confidence in the food chain” Jones said.

“It has called into question the veracity of the horse passport system, which is clearly not fit for purpose.”

“We need to look ahead now and agree what we need from the passport system and how we can achieve that – for both animal and human health.”

“We would renew our 2009 call for all horses to be microchipped – not just foals – and for a single, national equine database. These measures may not be cheap but what price can we honestly put on regaining confidence in the food chain?”

The President of the British Veterinary Association misses the point entirely.

HORSES ARE NOT RAISED AS FOOD ANIMALS

Horses are not raised as food animals. It will not matter what sort of identification process is used. There is no proof that microchipping will be any more successful than the failed passport and equine identification document programs used to track slaughter horses. They may argue that microchipping works for other food animals. Perhaps it does. However, traditional food animals are destined for slaughter from birth. They are not companion animals, working animals or sporting animals first before they are sent into the human food chain as horses are. If they were, animal agriculture would have the exact same problem.

Insofar as drugs, did you know that in the U.S. a reportedly 80% of antiobiotics sold are used on animals slaughtered for meat? See “The Meat Industry Now Consumes Four-Fifths of All Antiobiotics“. Who knows what impact this has on human health?

BUTE

Horse meat turning up in food products labeled as beef and lamb has sounded an alarm around the world. Mislabeling is one thing, but what about the Bute?

While the focus has been on Bute because EU regulations for one state that no animal treated with Bute in their lifetime can ever enter the human food chain, what about the other drugs that are also banned in the same category?

According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the following drugs are prohibited for use in horses intended for human consumption[1]:

    Ingredient Name: acepromazine maleate
    Trade Name: PromAce (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: boldenone undecylenate
    Trade Name: Equipoise (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: omeprazole
    Trade Name: GastroGard

    Ingredient Name: ketoprofen
    Trade Name: Ketofen (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: ivermectin
    Trade Names: EQVALAN (Merial), Zimecterin (Merial), Equell (Pfizer), IverCare (Farnam)

    Ingredient Name: xylazine HCl
    Trade Names: Anased (Lloyd), Sedazine (Fort Dodge), Xyla-Ject (Phoenix Pharmaceutical)

    Ingredient Name: hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate)
    Trade Names: Hyalovet (Fort Dodge), Hylartin V (Pharmacia & Upjohn), Legend (Bayer Animal Health)

    Ingredient Name: pyrantel tartrate
    Trade Name: Strongid C and Banminth (Pfizer), Purina® Horse & Colt Wormer (Virbac AH, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: nitrofurazone
    Trade Names: NFZ Puffer (Hess & Clark, Inc.), Fura Ointment (Farnam Companies, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG)
    Trade Name: Adequan (Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: clenbuterol HCl
    Trade Names: Ventipulmin® Syrup (Boehringer Ingelheim)

    Ingredient Name: tolazoline HCl
    Trade Name: Tolazine (Lloyd, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: moxidectin
    Trade Name: Quest® 2% Equine Oral Gel and Quest® Gel (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: ponazuril
    Trade Name: Marquis™ Antiprotozoal Oral Paste (Bayer Animal Health)

    Ingredient Name: boldenone undecylenate
    Trade Name: Equipoise (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: omeprazole
    Trade Name: GastroGard

    Ingredient Name: ketoprofen
    Trade Name: Ketofen (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: ivermectin
    Trade Names: EQVALAN (Merial), Zimecterin (Merial), Equell (Pfizer), IverCare (Farnam)

    Ingredient Name: xylazine HCl
    Trade Names: Anased (Lloyd), Sedazine (Fort Dodge), Xyla-Ject (Phoenix Pharmaceutical)

    Ingredient Name: hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate)
    Trade Names: Hyalovet (Fort Dodge), Hylartin V (Pharmacia & Upjohn), Legend (Bayer Animal Health)

    Ingredient Name: pyrantel tartrate
    Trade Name: Strongid C and Banminth (Pfizer), Purina® Horse & Colt Wormer (Virbac AH, Inc.)
    ttp://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/animaldrugsatfda/details.cfm?dn=042-888

    Ingredient Name: nitrofurazone
    Trade Names: NFZ Puffer (Hess & Clark, Inc.), Fura Ointment (Farnam Companies, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: polysulfated glycosaminoglycan (PSGAG)
    Trade Name: Adequan (Luitpold Pharmaceuticals, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: clenbuterol HCl
    Trade Names: Ventipulmin® Syrup (Boehringer Ingelheim)

    Ingredient Name: tolazoline HCl
    Trade Name: Tolazine (Lloyd, Inc.)

    Ingredient Name: moxidectin
    Trade Name: Quest® 2% Equine Oral Gel and Quest® Gel (Fort Dodge)

    Ingredient Name: ponazuril
    Trade Name: Marquis™ Antiprotozoal Oral Paste (Bayer Animal Health)

This is only a partial list. Please visit the FDA’s website for more information on the proper use of medication for horses. http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/animaldrugsatfda/

Drugs in slaughter horses is a much larger issue than Bute simply taking American horses into account. However, these same or similar drugs are used in other countries as well.

Yet the U.S. government knowingly allows the export of U.S. horses for slaughter for human consumption by the hundreds of thousands.

CONCLUSION

Call the horse meat scandal a mislabeling problem or a failed medication documentation problem if you will. The fact of the matter is this. The only way to eliminate both of these issues is to ban horses from entering the human food chain. Period. The way to accomplish this with a 100% success rate is to ban horse slaughter. Nothing else will really do.

—-
[1] Vets for Equine Welfare, http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/prohibited-drugs.php

8 thoughts on “BVA President calls for microchipping amid horse meat scandal”

  1. Only a stupid farmer would raise horses for food – food animals being more money. A very large segment of those that support the inhumane horse slaughter system are big ag and are a minority of horse owners but with big influence – raise cattle and have horse herds on the side with hundreds of acres to just throw them out there and let them reproduce, pick out a few for resale and dump the rest. They are the ones dupping the ag sector into challenging the majority of horse owners on the best use of horses – food or not food.

  2. I have often thought too that these cattle ranchers would like nothing better than to start breeding horses for slaughter right along with their cows. I wonder some time if that isn’t the main reason that they seem to hate the mustangs so much. if they are not making a buck on them they would prefer them gone.

  3. In the long list of veterinary drugs I doubt any of them has ever been investigated as to the danger to humans if ingested in meat. Bute seems to be the only one I can find and that was because it was given out as a prescription for pain in the 1950s. I think there may be hundreds if not thousands of cases of illness in people that have ate horse meat for years that doctors just try to treat but have no idea what caused it. All you have to do is look at the drugs prescribed here in the US, the side effects can do more damage to your health than the problems they were designed to help.

  4. Vivian, a few years ago a woman from Colorado described at least one QH breeder in the southern part of her state who actually did raise QH for the meat market. The babies were dewormed at weaning, turned out on the range, and if I remember correctly, dewormed again at the following spring roundup, and sent to slaughter (in Mexico) at about 2 years of age.

    The meat was labeled as “range-fed Mustang” or something along those lines and commanded top dollar. Other than the deworming, they were never medicated.

    Have you or other readers heard similar reports?

    1. We have heard other “backyard breeder” stories along these lines, but they did not keep drugs out of their systems. They tried to sell them to regular buyers but if no offers off to the slaughterhouse they were sent. I am not sure how much money the Colorado woman could have made. If she sold them to a killer buyer (slaughterhouse middleman) he likely would not have given her much more than $300, possibly $500, per horse. KB’s pay the transport costs which is the most expensive part of the deal. That’s why you see them cram as many horses in as they can, all types, and give them no hay or water. Direct prices at the door are said to be $2,500 to $3,000. So transporting from Colorado to Mexico or Canada, I suppose she could still have made a decent enough profit. Still, it is not regulated, and horse killers have to be taken at their word.

    2. Yes there’s one in MT and many others. This guy and his family bucked out 200 or so a year, 2 might go to rodeo the others were loaded into dd’s and driven to Canada. The rancher even laughed about them going to slaughter. They were three year olds and beautiful. They would love to breed them for slaughter openly, SS even talked about it. But then they would have to admit they’ve been lieing about the old, sick, and dieing.

      1. Thanks, Marilyn. I think the number of foals my contact mentioned was about 400 a year…a very large operation. I don’t recall if they transported them in their own trailers, but with such a potentially large profit margin, seems like they would.

        This person was quite familiar with the slaughter process and described the meat grading system. Bruises devalued the meat, she said, so it paid to NOT beat the horses as they were transported. I guess when they’re in the kill chute, it doesn’t matter since the bruises wouldn’t have time to form.

        Our conversation was about 6 years ago, so the concept of breeding drug-free American horses for their meat is not new. That also confirms that the Europeans have been leery of our drug-riddled equines for a long time.

        My guess is that there are many more who operate under the radar. (All pals of SS, no doubt.) It’s all about the almighty dollar.

        And probably a lot of unreported income and unpaid income taxes. IRS, where are you when we need you?

        Faith

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