Slaughter tools. Google image.

U.S. slaughter horses caught in bureaucratic limbo

Slaughter tools. Google image.
Horse slaughter workers have put down their killing tools for the moment as U.S. horses are turned away in Canada. Google image.

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.

16 thoughts on “U.S. slaughter horses caught in bureaucratic limbo”

  1. I was just notified by a rescue group – AnotherChanceForHorses – that they will begin shipment again as early as today. This is horrible…….


  2. Those of us near border crossings, and horse auctions need to be vigilant. There are horses caught in the slaughter pipeline.

    This was taken off the web site of Habitat For Horses

    What Happened to Horse Slaughter?

    “Important fact – in every state, it is against the law to deny equine food, water and care. It is against the law to turn horses loose or to abandon them. In every state, the person in “care, custody and control” is the person who will be charged with the criminal act if any of these events occur. If you witness such an event – CALL LAW ENFORCEMENT!

    Don’t waste time contacting Habitat for Horses or your local horse rescue. You are the witness, make the call. If they need assistance, any number of equine organizations are willing to step in, but know that equine rescues cannot step in and take charge of any horse without legal action being taken first.

    Habitat for Horses will not be paying money to any killer buyer for any horses. They bought into making blood money off the bodies of dead horses and we will not relieve their financial disaster by sticking donated money in their pockets. Any money we receive will be spent buying hay, transporting and finding places for the horses. If we find any horse being denied feed or water by any auction house, feed lot or killer buyer, we will inform law enforcement and ask that charges be filed against them.”

    Read the Entire article here.


  3. A huge worry is these Horses probably have not been fed or watered for many many hours , is there something we can do about this????????????????????


  4. I am all for the us not to have horse slaughter. But people need to understand horses are not just an animal that we use for a couple of years and sell to someone else just to get a younger or taller horse. You are the one that are helping this happen!! Because you give your older horses away and say you have no use for them, but then get another one. Instead of taking responsibility for that horse and either keeping it out to pasture or euthanizing it so it doesn’t end up in a slaughter house. Another one adding to the problem are breeders or people that call them self breeders. Why are you bringing in more horses in to this world then people have room for. There is only so much room and it needs to be controlled. I know this may sound harsh but when you have a dog you dont just sell it to someone, or take it to the pound or just let it lose hoping someone else will want a nine year old dog who cant see and has arthritis just because he cant do what he use to. Thats what people are doing to there older horse and need to take responsibility for the animal they promised that animal they would take care of it when they bought it and placed it in a stall or out in a pasture.


    1. I read an article that bute is given to other food animals, including cattle, swine et al. No animal in my opinion should be killed for their meat. It is a cultural travesty, and totally unnecessary.


    1. This is all about separating these horses by country of origin so they can track the drugs they are given. While it may appear to be a good sign, it is not. As we mentioned in a previous post, Claude Bouvry is not at all worried about any of these developments, which should signal alarm bells. We need to close the export hole immediately. What I am puzzled by is, what difference does it make. They are all given prohibited drugs. The EC should ban the import of N. American horse meat.


    2. I agree Barbara, but this post is addressing the N. American dilemma. N. American horse meat is toxic. That is all they say they care about. No one cares about the people who eats this rubbish. Horse slaughter is not and cannot be made humane, no matter who is doing it. It is a gross betrayal and a crime against equines wherever it occurs.


  5. wow, so many people out there not giving a damn what to do with the horses, the auction houses, the drivers themself, to bad these people cant exchange places with the horses, they would exspect to be helped


  6. Thank you for posting what you have. Pls be sure to post updates as soon as you can.

    I would like to get something up on social media but I can see I will have to wait.
    I could post this instead just as a clarification in the meantime. I would really prefer some official announcement so we could all publicize it and start spreading news of rescue eforts for those equines still caught in that hell, if in fact this is true.
    Mexico really concerns me. TX has a longstanding issue with lack of enforcement of slaughter laws, even its own (Predsidio & Eagles Pass). The question comes back again: “How many more die as we talk?” With Rick Perry’s history of routinely killing any and all animals, I am afraid we will see a continuing lack of enforcement and many coverups of continuing slaughter operations.
    As a resource for anybody, Steve Long, (ed of Horseback Mag) is good to check with for updates, if any, re TX/Mexico. A good resource to email for slaughter operators in general would be Sonja Meadows of Animal Angels, or Shelly Price (Speak Up for Horses in KY). They have their own contacts as well.
    Google contact information for those resources. They may prove helpful to anyone who wants to check on updates.
    Thank you, Vivian. At least we can read about this so-called rumor.


    1. We shall see what happens soon, I pray, but I hope it’s on the side of the horses. In the meantime, please consider joining Destiny Horses Saved from Slaughter on Facebook (a group formed by Elaine Nash of Fleet of Angels), a nationwide network of people helping to find temporary or permanent homes for the horses found in limbo, either at kill-buyers’ feedlots, on the trucks or at auction houses, when the announcement came.


    2. MPClark….you need not put anything on social media as it is rampant out there and has been since Friday morning.

      As Vivian has pointed out, the proof will be in the pudding when the EU, the CFIA and the USDA confirm it. Until then, it is pure speculation as to what the ramifications will be from a long term perspective.


      1. It is not a rumor that U.S. horses are being turned away. Rescue groups are gathering forces to see what they can do to remove as many who are stuck in the slaughter pipeline as quickly as possible. I understand that scam artists are already trying to exploit the situation so be sure to donate if you plan to only to those whom you know and trust.


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