As a supporter of the Int’l Fund for Horses, you will be aware of the work we have done in the European Union on the issue of horse slaughter.
A year ago we began alerting the European Parliament of the fact that horse meat exported from North America to EU member countries where it is eaten, is adulterated because of the presence of Bute and other prohibited medications routinely given to horses in the United States and Canada.
The EU responded with the new directive that equines from North America must be quarantined for a period of six months prior to slaughter for human consumption.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), has come up with a system of reporting, not quarantining as ordered by the EU directive.
NOTE: The CFIA reporting system may be based, in whole or in part, on the UK passport system, but it is NOT the same thing.
Effective July 31, 2010, it will be mandatory for all facilities under the aegis of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) slaughtering horses for human consumption to have complete records for all equines (domestic and imported) presented for slaughter.
These records will include unique identification for each animal, as well as a record of medical treatments administered to the animal for the six-month period preceding slaughter.
Starting January 31, 2010 equine owners will therefore be required to begin tracking medical conditions and treatment history if they intend to present their horses for slaughter for human consumption after July 31, 2010.
The required records will take the form of an Equine Information Document (EID) that must be presented for each equine processed for edible purposes in a CFIA inspected processing facility from July 31, 2010 forward.
Included in the EID, will be a standardized description of the animal, as well as a record of the medical conditions and treatment for at least the preceding six months. This document is intended to accompany the equine, at the time of ownership transfer, to the buyer of the animal.
The EID will require a signed declaration by the owner of the equine as to the accuracy of the information recorded in the EID.
There are a number of medications and substances that are prohibited from being given (administered or fed) to equines intended for slaughter for human consumption. A list of these medications and substances along with a copy of the EID are available under the document entitled Meat Hygiene Directive 2009-49.
We are currently in policy discussions with Members of the European Parliament on this reporting system, which is NOT the same as quarantining horses intended for slaughter as directed by the EU, calling on the EU to enforce this directive in Canada and Mexico, or institute an immediate ban on the acceptance of any horse meat exported by North America countries to the EU.
If you would like to support our efforts, please write to your European Member of Parliament. Find your MEP here.