Reportedly for the moment Canadian horse slaughter plants are not accepting U.S. horses for slaughter for human consumption, leaving these horses in bureaucratic limbo while we await announcements from the European Commission (EC), Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Some buyers for horse slaughter plants initially intended to return the horses to the livestock auction houses where they got them from, but they say they do not want them. Kill buyers are therefore scrambling to unload as many horses as they can by re-directing them to Mexico for slaughter. Time is not on their side and they know it. Any action the EC takes in relation to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption in Canada will affect Mexico too.
Several State officials are concerned about slaughter horses awaiting death in feedlots and possible inhumane treatment such as overcrowding, injuries, inadequate food and water, and even mass abandonment. How will they take care of them? What will they do with them?
In the meantime, this latest chapter in the Canadian horse slaughter story is a black eye to the CFIA. The agency has failed to manage the Equine Identification Program (EID) it conceived to comply successfully with the EC mandate that meat from horses receiving banned medications never enters the human food chain in its member countries.
The United States federal government has failed miserably in its duty Congress after Congress for over a decade for not completely outlawing the slaughter of American horses for human consumption, knowing full well that American horses are not traditional food animals and therefore not regulated for this purpose.
Equally and dismally irresponsible, State legislators, Governors, elected officials and lobbyists payrolled by special interests, individually and collectively, serving suspicious and highly questionable agendas, are working to return horse slaughter to U.S. soil with this very same knowledge clearly at hand.
If the EC does what the U.S. has so blithely refused or failed to do, and the slaughter of U.S. horses in Canada and Mexico is severely curtailed or possibly ended — even in the short term — what will horse breeders and industry users in the U.S. do with the thousands of horses they no longer have use for.
Let us not leave Canadian horses out of the slaughter equation. They are not traditional food animals either and receive the same types of banned pharmaceuticals as their American cousins.
While U.S. horses are being turned away for slaughter for human consumption in Canada, what about the thousands of, for example, the country’s own racehorses that they routinely slaughter?
With or without an EID document, forged or otherwise, we know that racehorses in Canada receive regular doses of phenylbutazone (bute) and clenbuterol (clen) which according to labeling warnings state unequivocally that these drugs are not intended for use in animals entering the human food chain. These two medications are explicitly banned by the EC. In particular traces of bute are repeatedly testing positive in horse meat exported from Canada.
No horse should be slaughtered for human consumption in Canada, Mexico or the United States no matter where in N. America they originate or the destination of their meat.