Racehorses train at dawn in Canada. Google image.

Thousands of racehorses face slaughter: Not so fast Canada

Racehorses train at dawn in Canada. Google image.
Racehorses train at dawn in Canada. What does their future hold? With 17 racetracks in Ontario expected to close by 2013 due to the end of the Slots-at-Racetracks program, the Horse Racing Transition Panel predict as many as 13,000 racehorses face death. Google image.

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THOUSANDS of racehorses face slaughter in Canada. This issue is making headlines usually with the number 13,000 attached to it.

These horses may face death, but they cannot be slaughtered. I will tell you why in a minute.

Sarah Ferguson, reporting for the Welland Tribune, reports:

With 17 racetracks in Ontario expected to close by 2013 due to the end of the Slots-at-Racetracks program, the Horse Racing Transition (HRT) Panel created by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is predicting 13,000 horses could be euthanized.

The number of horses expected to be euthanized is concerning to local horse trainer Bill Warner, who said “the numbers just don’t make sense.”

The horse racing industry “is just like any other business,” so it doesn’t seem right to destroy these animals when they can be sold to other trainers in the U.S. or used recreationally, the trainer, who has been in the business for more than 40 years, said.

Warner said some horses who can no longer race and are not suitable for other uses are sold at public auction and can be used for meat — but the lives of many horses don’t have to end, he said.

Although he did admit “more horses will be slaughtered than in the past” because of the number of racetracks closing.

“Warner said some horses who can no longer race and are not suitable for other uses are sold at public auction and can be used for meat . . .” and “more horses will be slaughtered than in the past”. I can see Claude Bouvry licking his lips at the very idea.

Hold on Messrs. Warner and Bouvry.

If Canada is following the letter of the law regarding the slaughter of horses according to EU regulations — which the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) claims to be — racehorses cannot be legally slaughtered and must be turned away.

Unlike horses who are slaughtered with banned substances in their bodies because of the leaky Equine Identification Documentation (EID) system, these racehorses will have known, verifiable medication histories. Those medication histories will show that these racehorses have been given at least one if not both of two highly significant drugs on the banned substance list automatically eliminating them from the human food chain — 1. Phenylbutazone or “Bute” and 2. Clenbuterol or “Clen”.

So if Canada’s politicians or members of the horse racing industry expect to dump racehorses in slaughter plants should the Slots-at-Racetracks program indeed end, they are either willfully ignoring or expecting to circumvent the law.

And this is why, in case you have been wondering, why the Horse Racing Transition Panel are careful to say the word “euthanized” and avoid the word slaughter.

However, the word slaughter — the idea of which was there are along — now is being said.

So with all of this in mind, the question that begs asking is how exactly are they going to “euthanize” and dispose of the carcasses of 13,000 racehorses full of drug residues toxic to humans?

With 13,000 horses lives’ and up to 60,000 human jobs at stake, seems it would be a much better business in this instance simply to let horse racing keep the money.

31 thoughts on “Thousands of racehorses face slaughter: Not so fast Canada”

  1. Forgot to mention that both China and Russia and tightening their food safety regs a LOT. They already refuse some of our food products. I can’t really see them accepting our tainted horse meat.


  2. It doesn’t appear that the US plans to even attempt a passport system. The EU will certainly know we haven’t done anything at all about the situation, and under the new regs EU regs: http://ec.europa.eu/food/food/chemicalsafety/residues/docs/requirements_non_eu.pdf they will not accept our horses without permanent ID and an up-to-date-passport. I’ve never seen a passport, but I do know there’s a lot more to one than there is to an EID. Seems like a record of meds for the horse’s entire life would be much harder to forge.

    But our USDA won’t be doing any enforcing. They don’t have any funds to do anything now, and the new Federal Budget slashes them even more. Our current Congress is totally dysfunctional.


  3. If this is any small comfort to anyone (“small comfort” is right) a kill buyer named Ron Andio of Patron Farms LLC in Canfield OH was warned recently by the FDA (USDA) from Cincinnati OH re his sale of what was called “adulterated meat” to Canada with the slaughter sale of a bay thorobred gelding in the previous year.

    Ohio does nothing under the present Gov Kasich in re to any humane issue but the feds did. At least they caught him. Too late for the horse.

    At least Andio was named for posting to social media re his occupation. While those who use his kill plant connections will not be surprised, others may be in need of a heads up in Ohio. Many here may not know what is going on. These guys use AKA’s and a lot of us who have been around horses for a while do not keep company with that kind of individual or those who would participate in that kind of activity. If we don’t know the names, others may not either.That is exactly why names and biz addresses are handy–at the least, we can make them known to everyone in the area. Federal reports and warnings are handy for that.

    Without anti-slaughter law being passed in the US Congress, Canada is going to subjected to toxic substances from the US. Once again, Congress refuses to do its job. We can’t stop the flow of our horses to Canada until we have national law to back us up.

    There are other ways to fight. Ad campaigns make a difference, education resources like this blog and reports with accurate data help to some degree. Canadian information has been helpful in posting data to social media. The more data they can post as updates, the better for the US. If any contact Mexico could post accurate updates in English, it would really help, too.


    1. It certainly would help if Mexico provided documentation. From what I’ve read lately, Mexico is making an effort to comply – which is more than can be said about the US.


  4. The reason no lawsuits have been filed over the years because of bute being in horse meat is because no one can prove toxic horse meat actually caused the diseases. Most of them can be caused by other factors such as genetics and family history which makes it almost impossible to prove one way or another in a court room.


  5. You are right trese5524, the market is still there and from what I know and hear the Europeans love the meat of the succulent young NA TBs. What will they do when the supply is no longer there? Do they even care about bute or clen? They are eating it now and have no cares

    I have first hand knowledge of this having traveled in these countries for business and witnessed the blase attitude to the whole issue. To them there is no issue, they love the taste of horse, it is sweet, lean, succulent and flavorful, far more so than beef according to most.

    None of them pay heed to the “medication issues”, it is too far removed because they don’t immediately succumb to the toxic effects. It;s like anything else that kills you slowly……


  6. If we have to produe passports similar to those in use in Europe, they won’t be NEARLY as easy to forge as and EID or Coggins test. This is a completely different thing and requires government participation in having permanent ID for every horse 6 months old and a database to match ID to passport. Also, passports must have vet sign-off on all drugs administered for a horse’s entire life.


      1. The US doesn’t plan to do anything TO enforce. Therefore – since passports, as I said would be very hard to forge as would IDs – the EU will refuse our horses at the borders. The EU seems to be pretty serious this time. Maybe because Europeans are beginning to realize they’ve been lied to for years.


        1. Well, we have been keeping the heat on them since we started the toxic horse meat campaign in the EU years ago. We started 2008 or 2009.

          Inside sources say that the drivers make deals with the border guards. It will be interesting to see if it slows them down, never mind stop them. Bourvy is not worried at all and he is still the major player. The kill buyers have had plenty of time to figure out how to work their angles as these types always do.

          There needs to be a big outbreak of sickness linked to toxic horse meat before anyone will really believe it. Sad isn’t it?


  7. Racehorses should be left alone and not killed in hedious ways. Horses are smarter than many humans I’ve met. They have guts, compassion, loyalty and strength to endure what humans throw at them. These glorious animals should be respected, loved and protected. They are beautiful beyond words.


  8. It is indeed a conundrum, isn’t it?

    It is well known by anti-slaughter advocates here in Canada (and elsewhere all over the world) that it is commonplace for the industry here to slaughter US and Canadian horses who have received these banned drugs – drugs entirely banned from ever entering the food chain. Equally well known is that fact the whole reporting and EID system is seriously flawed yet the CFIA turns a blind eye to it and denies any wrong-doing.

    Invariably, in July 2013, when the EU will demand that all horses slaughtered for human consumption at EU-certified plants must have a veterinary record listing all medications they have been given during their lifetime, nothing will seemingly change as it will all be forged just as everything currently is. I am sure that the underhanded individuals involved are well onto devising new ways to dupe the system. Otherwise their vile industry will collapse as we all know that pretty much every horse that enters the slaughter pipeline here in North America has received bute and/or clenbuterol at some point in their life.

    The sales of phenylbutazone- and clenbuterol -laced horse meat is simply criminal – the CFIA and these slaughter plants should be held accountable and criminal charges should be laid against them

    It is simply abhorrent that Canada continues to compromise food safety in this regard – whether that be on home soil or any other country in the world.


    1. Positive test results for bute residues in meat from horses slaughtered in Canada are starting to turn up on a regular basis, and these are just the ones we hear about. The CFIA may get away with saying that this only happens occasionally for now, but what can they say about allowing 13,000 (maybe more) bute and clen saturated racehorses to pass through CFIA-regulated slaughterhouse doors? Aw, shucks, we didn’t know? They certainly can’t say they didn’t know these racehorses are treated with bute and clen.

      The fact that Claude Bouvry, among others, is not sweating the new medication identification system for 2013 should tell you something. The horse slaughter workers and killer buyers are not worried a bit either. They just laugh. Business as usual they say. They seemingly care neither for the horses nor the people who eat their horse meat.


      1. You got it!!!

        As andalvin1962 points out..they are above the law it seems as is the whole horse slaughter industry regardless of where the meat is coming from..

        The whole EU system is tainted and a joke in itself. As has been illustrated here on TH that there are scant regions that produce horses specifically raised for the food chain.

        The bulk of horse meat flowing through the EU system is equally as toxic as is what is funneling through from North America.

        The industry is there to sate the tastes of those who savor horse meat. But that’s not the real reason, the real reason is that the sporting or pleasure horse industry is guilty of over-breeding and so the outlet as an easy disposal system for the have-nots so to say.

        Horses, on a global basis, are not livestock in the greater part of the scheme in terms of the food industry.

        The governments have slotted them there simply in an effort to provide a disposal chute and those that are dining on the flesh of these noble creatures are either ignorant or stupid.


        1. Bouvry does not care partly because he will sell horse meat to China and Russia whose leaders don’t care what their people eat. This issue must stay much more in the public’s eye.


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