By Steven Long
HOUSTON, (Horseback) – Despite claims by pro-horse slaughter activists who would seemingly put a slaughterhouse on every rural main street, the market for American horse meat just dwindled to almost nothing. The European Union released its 2013 regulations for meat imported into the 27 countries.
Under the new regulations, all horses and burros destined for slaughter and export to Europe must have a passport that shows they are free from substances such as phenalbutazone (bute), and clenbuterol. Such substances never leave an animal’s body and are carcinogens. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration bans their use in all food animals.
Almost all U.S. horses have been administered a dose of bute during their lifetime.
“These new rules would appear to make the entire issue of horse slaughter in America moot. If these guidelines are enforced, virtually every horse in America will become ineligible for slaughter,” said John Holland, president of the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance, the most prominent among the groups fighting to ban slaughter in the United States.
Holland said the issue of horse slaughter to benefit a relative few American breeders and horse owners is forcing unexpected problems for the overwhelming majority of horse owners from coast to coast who have nothing to do with the meat trade.
“There has been a lot of postulating about the “unintended consequences” of the 2007 inspections ban. Now the American horse industry will realize the unforeseen consequences if we are to continue to ship our excess horses to slaughter. It will require tracking of every drug given to a horse, the loss of our most effective and inexpensive medications and hugely increased veterinary costs overall. The days of that tube of bute being stashed in the grain room will be over,” Holland said.
The EU is putting teeth into strict enforcement of regulations that began in 2010 when the European nations warned horses coming to those countries from abroad must be in full compliance within three years. That time span has nearly lapsed.
The strict new passport regulations are contained in a European Commission document titled Imports of Animals and Food of Animal Origans From Non-EU Countries.
As is usually the case, Wallis has not returned emails or phone calls from Horseback seeking comment on the EU developments.
In an additional blow to the budding U.S. horse meat industry, it was leaned today that the Europeans have also have found Bute and Clinbuterol in Canadian horse product exported to Europe.
“It appears the Europeans have finally awoken to the abject reality of our many warnings that they are being fed unsafe horse meat. Their recent finding of phenylbutazone in samples of frozen Canadian horse meat shows that they are beginning to perform real tests, but if they routinely tested kidneys they would be in for a real shock!” Holland said.