Equine Scientists Debunk Horsemeat Health Risk Claims


Health Risk of Horse Meat is Unsubstantiated

RECLUSE, WY, (United Horsemen) – Four prominent equine scientists, Dr. Don Henneke, Phd, Dr. Sheryl King, Phd, PAS, Dr.

William Day, Phd and Dr. Patricia Evans, EdD, have written a strongly worded letter to the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology in regards to a February 2010 paper, “Association of phenylbutzone usage in horses bought for slaughter: a public health risk” by Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau, and Ann M. Marini, pointing out the unscientific, politically motivated erroneous conclusions of the paper.

The letter points out the fallacy of “mixing sound research conducted on humans with unrelated sound research from horses.” The clear message of the four equine scientists is that the journal paper’s authors “attempt to formulate an unfounded and unsubstantiated conclusion that horsemeat derived from American horses contains residues of phenylbutazone that are harmful to humans. This conclusion is not supported by the research cited or any other research…”

The paper’s authors as well as the so-called experts credited with contribution to the article are all linked to extremist animal rights organizations that have been attacking America’s farmers and ranchers. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and their animal rights activist cronies continue to try to discredit the animal agriculture industry’s commonsense, factual reasoning for the need for humane horse processing in the United States.

“We are heartened that scientists have stepped up to challenge this flagrant attack on the hard working, tax paying horse people of America,” says Wyoming state representative, Sue Wallis, one of the leaders of a nationwide grassroots horse industry organization, United Horsemen. “The journal article is penned by scientists and uncredentialed lay people known primarily for their radical animal rights political views.”

“Facts are stubborn things;” wrote founding father John Adams, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

“Thanks to dedicated scientists insisting on strict adherence to the scientific method,” says Dave Duquette, working cow horse trainer and president of United Horsemen, “we have the facts, science, and evidence to disprove this blatant attempt to fool Congress and betray America’s farmers and ranchers.”

The equine scientists conclude their letter by stating that,

“As equine science Instructors, we strive to present factual information to our students in an unbiased manner. The topic of horse slaughter is controversial and emotional. No horse owner looks forward to making end of life decisions concerning their animals.

Humane euthanasia, whether it is done at the veterinarian’s facility, the owner’s facility, or the slaughter facility, is not an easy decision to make.

We believe that the decision should be left up to the individual horse owner.

In the current economic climate, the availability of humane euthanasia must remain a viable option for the health of the horse industry. The publication of this obviously biased article by such a reputable source raises real concerns about the value of the peer review process. We trust that future acceptance of articles by Food and Chemical Toxicology concerning the horse will be properly reviewed prior to acceptance and publication.”

The letter authors also issued a detailed advisory to Congress regarding the unsubstantiated claims in the journal article, and the evidence for the safety of horsemeat produced from U.S. horses.

30 comments for “Equine Scientists Debunk Horsemeat Health Risk Claims

  1. Lee
    October 5, 2011 at 3:41 am

    Dear Editor,

    Where is the link to the letter that this article speaks of…?

    • admin
      October 5, 2011 at 4:02 am

      Look again. It’s linked now. Sorry.

      • Lee
        October 5, 2011 at 4:39 am

        Thank you…!

    • skip
      October 5, 2011 at 4:39 am

      Headlines:15 people dead,80+ sickened from eating listeria-laden melons-source traced to Colorado farm-results/data confirmed in less than 45 days from outbreak;130,000+horses slaughtered yearly the past 40 years-# of reported deaths/illnesses associated w/consumption of horsemeat?…..a study was conducted using 18 ex-race horses-TB’s to be exact-out of a population of 10 million(shetland ponies,QH’s,appaloosas,arabians,draft-horses,paints,tennessee walkers,etc.)to determine the prevalence of bute in America’s horses-what kind of horses did they use to conduct this study you ask?ex-race horses-TB’s to be exact.This same scientific study also claimed that every horse in North America had been administered a dose of bute “based on the sales of bute”.Summation – priceless

      • October 5, 2011 at 5:16 am

        You are missing the point of the study. Bute is banned in all food producing animals. The study proves without a doubt that horses that have been administered bute are entering the food chain. What don’t you understand?

        • skip
          October 5, 2011 at 12:32 pm

          Vicki-your post on 9/30 @5:08 states”good points are not good points if there is no data to back them”-quit the the runaround talk and show everyone the data reflecting the deaths/illnesses associated w/the consumption of inspected horsemeat the past 40 years-just the facts ma’am;fact is,you have none,otherwise you’d have plastered them all over this and every other site-I can appreciate your distaste for the slaughter issue-to abolish it on the grounds of being unsafe is perfectly legitimite-again,show us the data to support your claim of horsemeat being unsafe-then I’ll consider a ban on horsemeat.

          • October 5, 2011 at 3:26 pm

            Skip, we have been through this over and over again. Bute, as an example, is a carcinogen so the effects come years later. It’s not like food poisoning where the individual becomes ill within 24/48 hours. The EU and FDA have done extensive studies and have determined that bute cannot be administered to food animals. They are not going to ban a drug arbitrarily. If you want to know how often it causes cancer down the road you would need an extensive study of two groups. One that eats meat containing bute residues and the other that doesn’t. The duration would have to be years and I would ask, if you were approached for such a study and told we are going to have you eat meat that has a chemical that is banned in all food animals that may or may not give you cancer but we’d like to study how long it would take for you to develop cancer, would you agree to be in the study?

            All the data you need is that the EU and FDA have banned bute in all food animals. Either follow the law or get out of the business. It’s that simple.

          • October 5, 2011 at 11:39 pm

            Skip ~ Why aren’t you asking these questions of the USDA or the FDA or the European Union? THEY are the ones who would have any studies, although, the studies you’re talking about – as WE have been through over and over on Facebook have not been run because 1. The people who are eating our horse meat were not aware that there was any banned chemicals in their meat. After all, there wasn’t supposed to be any, so why would they associate an illness they had years later with some horse meat they ate in 1980? I’ve already TOLD you this. 2. It would be illegal to run such a test on humans. Feeding humans a banned substance, a substance it is AGAINST the law to have in animals used for food? And WHY would anyone do such a thing even if they could? It’s already been tested for years. Why do you think the license for humans use was pulled? DUH!

      • October 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm

        There was bute residue in those horses. No one knows what is a safe lower limit for humans. Sensitive individuals – including children – can indeed get sick from minute amounts of this chemical. Bute was once licensed for humans, then withdrawn, so it has been widely researched, and still no hard facts about what amount is low enough that the more sensitive people wouldn’t become sick. They weren’t testing to see if it was SAFE for HORSES to take, moron. They were testing to see if there was ANY residue – and there was. Therefore those horses are NOT safe for humans to eat.

        Also, this substance is banned absolutely from use in food animals. That means that using them for food is a violation of the law – USDA, FDA, European Union. What is it that you can’t grasp about obeying the LAW?

        Besides that, who are these “scientists,” and what is their motive? They have one H**L of a nerve to say that others have a political motive! And there goes the “animal rights” crap again. Can’t you horse eaters come up with something halfway sensible? Or have you eaten too many bute laden horses. Or, maybe the horses were sprayed with fly spray. That’s banned too.

        • skip
          October 6, 2011 at 4:24 pm

          My, my Suzy,I feel so sorry for you-you show all the classic symptoms of an angry,frustrated person when you stoop to calling me a moron without getting to know me first(I thought the editor warned us all about personal,slanderous attacks if we were to use this site).Fact be known,many of the people you so vehemently disagree with are very nice people;you should get to know them before you go into orbit.If you don’t mind,I’ll include you in my prayers to bring more peace and tranquility to your life.

      • October 6, 2011 at 12:00 am

        You haven’t even read the study you’re debunking. If you had, you would know that it did NOT claim “every horse in North America HAD been administered a dose of bute “based on the sales of bute” It said that bute was SO widely prescribed that enough had been out there for every horse to have had some – not they DID, but they COULD HAVE based on the huge number of prescriptions.

        One question? Do you or have you ever owned a horse? If so, did you EVER give him/her a tab of bute? Or any of the other myriad horse products that also have a warning on the label that says “Not for use in horses intended for food”? I’ll bet you never even noticed that warning – IF you ever had a horse that is.

        • skip
          October 6, 2011 at 4:26 pm

          I am a life-long horseman,engaged in it as my sole means of support-your resume?

      • October 6, 2011 at 3:09 pm

        There are a number of undiagnosed conditions/illnesses around the world, including France and Japan. If a doctor diagnoses a mystery case of aplastic anemia or myeloid leucemia, how will (s)he know what caused the problem? What doctor would make the connecton between eating tainted horsemeat and a mystery disease? If you don’t know where to look you are unlikely to find what you are looking for. There are rules in France about what horses raised for meat are allowed to receive drug-wise – and a 6-month withdrawal time for phenybutazone. American horse meat, from racing Thoroughbreds or Quarter horses,flies under their legislative radar. To these brave enough to eat it knowlingly I say “bon appetite et bon chance.”

  2. Jen v
    October 5, 2011 at 4:09 am

    In researching this, even if it is not proven to be unsafe eating American horsemeat, neither has it ben proven safe to consume. American horses are given dewormers that are labeled “not intended in animals for human consumption.” They are given medications that are not to be given to animals meant for human consumption. Furthermore, American horses are not raised as livestock, have no monitoring throughout their lives, and there is no over-all record of any given animal. To suggest that American horsemeat is safe for humans to eat is like saying our roadkill is safe to eat, which is likely safer due to no chemical load. No, this is an attempt to make American horsemeat more marketable and likely fully supported and perhaps funded by none other Ms. Sue Wallis.

    • deadra ullman
      October 5, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      I agree completely with you. And it was very well written.

      • October 5, 2011 at 11:29 pm

        Also, even if bute were proven – IF – we still couldn’t use the horses as food because we would have no way to track when they were given the bute – or anything else – and if the withdrawal time has yet passed.

        I agree, roadkill IS probably safer.

  3. October 5, 2011 at 4:58 am

    This has to be the ultimate in propaganda and demonstrates the desperation of Wallis’ attempts to skirt food safety laws. The authors of the letter have absolutely no credentials in the human medical profession, especially as it relates to food safety.

    It is unconscionable that she continues to place greed above the health of consumers.

    • skip
      October 5, 2011 at 8:30 pm

      Please back up your position w/facts,not your usual “what don’t you understand” reply;your inability to answer my question directly is what’s unconscionable in this forum.You speak w/the same finesse as our politicians-this ain’t politics-it’s science.The readers of this forum are waiting to hear the facts from you(you may use the data from another expert if you are unable or unwilling).

      • October 5, 2011 at 11:43 pm

        The facts are right here:
        Food And Toxicology Report: http://www.box.net/shared/lqi4hhkg42
        Veterinary Report: Bute In Slaughter Horses: http://www.box.net/shared/ln3qh88kz42avo4ys1oa
        Horse Meat Is Deadly To Humans: http://www.box.net/shared/smhn2fmdeb

        Of course, you won’t buy them because they don’t meet your highly developed scientific expertise. But here they are anyway.

        • Joe
          October 6, 2011 at 11:47 am

          Suzanne Moore

          It seems very strange, these articles are made by you and Dr. Marini and they are creditable? Both of you and others in your study are ANTI HORSE SLAUGHTER. NONSENCE!!

          Have a nice day and please post articles that are not made by you

          Joe

          • admin
            October 6, 2011 at 11:59 am

            Joe, you raise a very interesting First Amendment question and I’ll answer it this way. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of the press. I’ll take it a step further for you in saying that when it comes to news, freedom of the press protects those who own the press. We own the press. If you don’t like our treatment of an issue in the news, fine, go buy a press and it will serve you well.

            Next, in all seriousness, Horseback Magazine has never taken a position on horse slaughter. We are, however, adamently opposed to use of the captive bolt gun and knife and their use in killing a prey animal. It just doesn’t work right and is not efficient and is incredibly cruel.

            The Editor

      • D. Verret
        October 6, 2011 at 12:38 am

        What you don’t realize is thet the HEAD horsemeat supporters for HCHS ARE politicians; either voted out of office and now working for lobbyists or active elected officials (Rep C Stenholm (TX voted out), Sen Conrad Burns (MT voted out of office) and State of WY rep S Wallis (currently holding office in WY statehouse.

        Ms Tobin has given you FACTS out the yazoo. That you deny, can’t comprehend or don’t believe does not negate them.

        And yeah, I’m gonna say this…but you ain’t the sharpest tool in the shed! Read the freaking post and the ones before that and before that!

        p.s. go do some research on the use of Phenylbutazone back in the ’30′s and 40′s for RA and gout in humans. You might learn a thing or two. Also, read the freaking paper released by the government of Ireland a few weeks back. Geeze Loueeze you folks are as thick as a stump and just as aggravating to deal with.

      • October 6, 2011 at 12:48 am

        Skip, didn’t you ask yourself why no medical doctors signed on to the letter? Wasn’t that your first clue that it was a bunch of BS? Not one of the authors had a MD after their name. At least we don’t get unqualified people to try to refute the medical professionals or try to find ways to skirt our laws. And how unprofessional to start ranting against organizations and making false statements such as the comments about John Holland as if that somehow will make it okay to send horses to slaughter that aren’t eligible or have any impact on food safety. I’ll bet the recipients had a good laugh over that as they tossed it in the circular file. Wallis can’t stop herself from spewing propaganda no matter who she is writing. Her desperation is becoming quite humorous.

        BTW-what did she do with Dave Duquette? Did he finally distance himself from her insanity? Or are you Dave?

  4. October 5, 2011 at 5:32 am

    Horseback please use a current picture of Madame Horse Killer. This one must be 30 years old. Equine scientist critiquing neuro scientists only in Wallis world would one find such a ridiculous statement by totally unqualified experts. SS expert is defined as someone who has education in the field and has a history of past accurate predictions or explanations. Next time one of the United Horse Killers needs brain surgery I hope they call upon the equine scientists to perform it with all their expertise in molecular biology and neuro-science. Absolutley ridiculous.

  5. Nancy Lee
    October 5, 2011 at 6:51 am

    Just a little background research on two of the equine “scientists” and their objectivity in regard to the safety of bute in horses slaughtered for human consumption…

    Dr. (of Education) Pat Evans is a founding member of United Organizations of the Horse (see http://whohateshorses.wordpress.com/2010/12/17/boycott-the-leaders-of-horse-slaughter-summit-organizers-a-little-history/). While teaching at Utah State, she co-wrote a paper titled “The State of the Horse Industry Since the Closing of the Horse Harvesting (sic) Facilities” (see http://www.animalwelfarecouncil.com/html/pdf/utahstate.pdf).

    Dr. (of what subject, I can’t determine) Sheryl King was named head of the Illinois Horse Council in Feb. 2011 (http://www.horsemenscouncil.org/HCI/NewsReleases/11Feb04.php) and defends slaughter as beneficial to horses and the horse industry. For instance, see page 15 of “Equine Monthly”, Apr. 2007 (http://www.equinemonthly.com/web/ha_2arc407.pdf), for King’s statement on Illinois HB 1711 amending the Illinois Horse Meat Act. In “The Lincoln Trail Riders Newsletter”, June 2004, Dr. King was quoted as writing the following:

    “Dianne,

    “The Senate Executive Committee voted for the anti-slaughter legislation by a wide margin. It immediately went to the floor of the Senate where it was also voted for by a large margin. Next it goes to the House floor for concurrence, and then to the governor for signature. I think both of these will happen.

    “Unfortunately, the powerful and wealthy animal rights groups and the pet owners and city dwellers who do not understand the first thing about where their food comes from never mind the reality of animal agriculture or raising horses were very vocal and forceful.

    “I fear that it will be the horses and the Illinois horse industry that will suffer. I really hope this is a wakeup call to horsemen to begin learning how to band together to fight against issues that will
    be harmful to their interests. Unfortunately, we horsemen tend to be a very independent lot – I have my doubts whether we will ever be able to stick up for ourselves.

    “Sheryl S. King, Ph.D.
    Professor
    Director of Equine Studies
    Animal Science Department
    Southern Illinois University
    Carbondale, IL 62901″

    • October 5, 2011 at 11:44 pm

      Wonderful! Thank you!

  6. Sue W.
    October 5, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    After a quick glance I noticed that none of their “experts” have any qualifications to know the health impact of drugs on humans or animals. The experts that did the report (though their actual titles of DVM and MD were conveniently left out with their names)are all qualified medical professionals. Typical of the so called horsemans group that advocates slaughter. Everything they do is made up and folks are starting to realize this. I guess their “experts” weren’t too concerned about their reputation.

    FYI- I remember hearing the reason behind Dr. Kings desire for horse slaughter (FYI, she isn’t a vet or a medical doctor) was that she collects horse ovaries for her research. In other words, she wants to kill 100,000 horses so she can collect a few dozen sets oovarieses. That is really smooth.

    • October 5, 2011 at 11:49 pm

      Wow! She’s even more disgusting than I thought. Didn’t think that was possible.

  7. Jen v
    October 6, 2011 at 2:51 am

    Nancy lee…great research…I knew there was more to this. I guess the authors of the above article are “linked” as well. Good job shooting down your own integrity and reputation, dear “altruistic Scientists,” authors of this article.

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