Atamanenko moves to ban horse meat for human consumption in Canada

Source: Press Release

Alex Atamanenko
Alex Atamanenko

OTTAWA (17 June 2010) – New Democrat Agriculture Critic, Alex Atamanenko (BC southern Interior) tabled [introduced in American parlance] a Private Members Bill (C-544) yesterday that would effectively shut down the slaughtering of horses for human consumption in Canada.

“The fact is that drugs which are prohibited for use during the life of any animals destined for the human food supply are routinely being administered to horses,” said Atamanenko. “It is irresponsible for Canada to allow the sale of meat from horses as a food item when they have never been raised in accordance with the food safety practices required for all other animals.”

Atamanenko points to the inexpensive, easily available and widely used anti-inflammatory drug, phenylbutazone (bute), as one example of what is quite likely to be prevalent in horsemeat. Bute is a known carcinogen and its use is illegal in any animal that enters the food supply.

“It is more likely than not that the vast majority of horses will have been administered bute, or ‘horse’s aspirin’ as it is commonly called,” said Atamanenko.

According to Atamanenko, at least fifty per cent of the horses being slaughtered in Canada are imported from the US where horse slaughter has been banned. The meat is then sold to markets in Europe. There are no regulations in the US to prevent horse owners from administering banned substances because horses are not regarded or treated as food-producing animals.

Under pressure from the European Union (EU), Canada is set to introduce a new ‘equine passport’ system to track the health history and medical treatments of horses arriving at slaughterhouses, including those from the States.

Atamanenko believes that it will be impossible for CFIA to verify data in these passports and expects to see a high incidence of inaccurate records.

“Many in the US believe it should be our job to verify information from US horses since Canada is the only one slaughtering them for human consumption,” concluded the Atamanenko. “It’s a stretch to think that information on hundreds of thousands of unwanted horses that were never raised to be food, will be complete or accurate.”

24 thoughts on “Atamanenko moves to ban horse meat for human consumption in Canada”

  1. Personally, I check all of my products to be free of animal testing and parts – including Premarin to be sure that I am not supporting such unnecessary slaughter. You sound like another reality nut case who must depend on horse slaughter for a living. Horses were prized possessions as far back as mankind has been riding them. A horse would only be eaten if it were the last food available to starving people. Don’t give me the crap about reality – you need to have your head examined. Horse shows are for the rich now as is horse racing and polo. They are by far the exception to the rule for horse owners who have them as pets.


  2. Most of us North Americans of European descent would not be here today if our ancestors had not had horse meat to stave off starvation. What a bunch of hypocrites.
    No one has the right to tell anyone else what they can or can not eat.
    I wish that people would do some research instead of believing all the half truths and untruths that they read. Horses in N America are mostly not raised for meat, but in reality most end up in a processing plant. There are other uses for horse meat other than human consumption – like pet food for your dog and cat, the source for the tetanus vaccine, hand creams and lotions, anti-aging lotions and many, many more. If horses have chemicals in their bodies which make them unsafe for human consumption, or animal consumption, there are many other useful and needed products which use horses as the base. Wake up and inform yourselves and face reality. Slaughter plants are absolutely necessary for a horse industry to function whether or not people take the time to educate themselves and get their head out of the sand.
    Euthanizing and burying a contaminated carcass is not the answer, as the decomposing carcass poses a HUGE health hazard and guaranteed contamination of the ground water.
    Who is anyone to say that just because you can not afford a vet to come to your place and do absolutely everything including letting you sell your horse if you so chose, that that means you can not own a horse. Closing the processing plants in the U.S. has increased the suffering of horses to unbelievable levels as many have been starved to death, abandoned, turned out in the national forests and parks and along highways, forgotten about in the back 40 or are going thru these things as you read this. The horse industry needs all of its many components functioning so that it will work. This ill thought out Bill will end the horse industry in Canada. Only the rich will able to own a horse. Who will be breeding the horses that people want for their showing, or jumping, or 4H or reining, etc ? Very few of the knowledgeable horse breeders will be left as they will have all gone bankrupt. People with 3 or 4 horses will not be able to produce the quality of horses which the show and competitive horse world demands.
    Wake up and get informed.


    1. Based on the amount of erroneous statements contained in your comment, it is you who should get your head out of the sand and go on a fact finding mission. Horse slaughter exists because people eat horse meat and there is money to be made from it for people perverted enough to do what it takes to provide it. The horse breeders love it because they they have a dumping ground for the horses they don’t want or can’t sell or unload on someone. This means they breed for quantity not quality, which is compromising all breeds and ruining the horse industry. There are many other ways to dispose of a carcass besides burying which is environmentally sound. It appears I am fully awake and extremely well-informed, as are all horse advocates. We have to be because of people who think like you.


      1. Based on our responses, I am not surprised “horse” did not use their real name! I suppose it is best to just ignore people who think this way, because you cannot enter into an intelligent dialogue with them. Sometimes, though, I just take the bait, as they say. They are in the minority, and have no impact on the outcome. Best to save our energy for the horse breeders, animal agriculture and their lobbyists.


    2. Good. Too many horses being bred now just to get “that one”.
      Hope everyone goes out of business who isn’t raising the horses because their number indicate that they should be increased. Animals aren’t toys, though so many people seem to think that they are. Entertain yourself some other way.


    3. You are SO out of touch! Don’t you believe the scientists on both continents when they say American horses are NOT safe to eat? We don’t use horses for dog food – or ANY food for that matter – because they are CONTAMINATED. For the same reason, horse blood s not used as a carrier any more because it is CONTAMINATED. I buried my horse, and it’s perfectly legal if you meet certain criteria.

      I hope you’re not a breeder, because you are too uninformed. Still, if you are, guess you’ll just have to produce only what the market will bear – just like every other producer of products. Reality is knocking….


  3. I think some one up stairs might have heard our prayers as well as the parliament finally listening to what horse lovers and health experts have been saying all along. Thank you Alex Atamanenko for taking a stand and telling the truth about bute and the inability of horse slaughterers to control what horses gets slaughtered and what horses do not. Seriously how could any person of conscience allow toxic meat for human consumption. But there’s just one part of the BILL. C-544, I questioned. What does this mean by? “Whereas horses are not raised primarily for human consumption.” Does this mean they could raise them just for slaughter within the Canada’s province? I hope I’m interpreting this wrong.
    18.1 No person shall export from Canada, or send or convey from one province to another, horses for slaughter for human consumption.

    At least the horses from the US will be safe from the doors of Canada’s slaughtering ring.
    Praying for intervention a miracle that all members of the Parliament use their common sense and agree to make it law.


    1. Isa, there are some horses in Canada raised for slaughter, but it is a small percentage of the horses who are killed for meat there. Most of the horses are bought by kill buyers for the plants. Even so, horses are not traditional food animals in N. America, and what this refers to.




    1. Lynn, just as many Canadian people are against horse slaughter as people in America, according to the polls. And just think. If the U.S. Congress, who are failing to pass yet another horse slaughter prevention bill (this one’s up at the end of the year), had already banned the export of horses for slaughter, 50% of horses killed for their meat in Canada (full of potentially poisonous carcinogenic drug residues) would not be American horses. The American government demonstrates over and over again, there is absolutely nothing sacred when it comes to making money. They obviously do not mind betraying one of the greatest friends America has ever had, and without which it would not have the riches that it does.


  5. This is welcome news for Canada and all Canadians!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for bring this forward Mr. Atamanenko, you are wonderful for taking a stand on this issue.
    It is absolutely horrifying to know how young, healthy horses, the majority of them pets, are being inhumanely killed in Canadian slaughterhouses without the supervision of the CFIA. How a horse, so trusting of mankind, could be killed so savagely is beyond comprehension for me.
    It is equally horrifying to know their bodies are cut up for meat to be sold as food, and has been for years, given that most all horses have Bute and many other toxic drugs in their systems that never leave their bodies, and cannot be cooked out. It shocks me to know the Canadian Government is selling this product as a “healthy alternative” to other meats while knowing full well that most all domestic horses are given these toxic to humans drugs, and the drugs given to them are never documented.
    I often wonder how many people in the Province of Quebec or in countries where horsemeat is exported to as a food, have fallen ill with cancer and other sickness, and will never suspect it came from the drugs contained in that meat?
    It is shocking and very sad and you, Mr. Atamanenko, are a hero for those unsuspecting people, and for the horses whose lives may be spared should your bill pass. I hope and pray that it does.


  6. Yes he is on the right track, now let’s gain momentum and outlaw the slaughter of horses in Canada for human consumption. Everyone knows you cannot track what meds horses have consumed over its life. And people who want the money will lie to get it. So you will never be safe while consuming horse meat. Let’s face it!




  8. Sounds like a brain is finally activating up there! I sincerely believe this guy is on the right track, but where will be the blind spots, the loopholes?  
    I truly hope the US never starts looking at horses as meat producers, and does have a difficult time producing accurate records, which may be the case initially. But there will be those who forge records now.


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