HOUSTON, (Horseback) – In a carefully worded press release, American horse slaughter’s reigning diva attempted a positive spin on what is almost certain to be a death blow to the market for American horse meat. Friday, the European Union slammed the doors on import of almost universally chemically tainted U.S. products coming from Canadian and Mexican horse slaughterhouses.
For several years,, efforts to return slaughter to American shores have been led by a rural Wyoming state representative, Sue Wallis (R) Recluse.
Wallis has failed in repeated attempts to open U.S. slaughterhouses in Missouri and New Mexico. In survey after survey taken over the last ten years as much as 80 percent of the American public is opposed to horse slaughter. Bills are active in Congress that would ban the practice altogether.
The Wallis release, distributed under the banner of The International Equine Business Association reads under the headline, “International Equine Business Association calls for quick resolution of international horse industry crisis to prevent increased horse suffering.”
“Yesterday, October 12, 2012, the international commerce in horses for processing from the United States to both Canada and Mexico was disrupted by an unannounced action of the European Union. Approximately 2,500 head of horses per week have been crossing the border to European Union regulated plants in Mexico per week, and an estimated 1,300 head to Canada in recent months.
This is a higher number than usual driven by the widespread drought, devastating fires, high cost of feed, and lack of pasture forage in the United States leaving horse owners with few options except the selling of horses. There is a strong worldwide demand for cheval. Cheval is the common name for meat produced from the equine species in the same way that beef refers to meat produced from cattle, and pork refers to meat from hogs.
In the United States, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is still finalizing the validation of science underlying their equine drug residue testing program, which they anticipate will be completed by the end of the year. Several U.S. based companies anticipate receiving the necessary grants of inspection to begin operation at that time providing a much needed humane option for the horse industry in the United States. Currently the only viable outlet is transportation outside of the U.S. to the E.U. regulated plants in Mexico or Canada.
Today, the leaders of the International Equine Business Association: Sue Wallis of the United States, Bill des Barres of Canada, and Olivier Kemseke representing Mexico, Argentina, and the European Union are issuing the following statement:
“The International Equine Business Association (IEBA), including it’s partner the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC), and its members in the United States and Mexico who are businesses engaged in the provision of accurate information and education respecting the health and welfare of horses and the equine products trade, have been working to advance an industry leading Equine Identification, Tracking and Traceability system that provides a fully compliant, auditable data base that exceeds the standards of the European Union.
In consideration of the immediate welfare of some 48,000 horses in the next 3 months, it is notable that our organizations have sourced, contracted and facilitated the implementation of an internationally harmonized equine traceability system that can be fully utilized within the next 90 days in the U.S. and Canada. Major components similar to the industry driven IEBA Equine Quality Assurance Program in the United States, and the Equine Traceability Canada systems, are already in use in Mexico to assure all horses processed for food are uncontaminated, and that horses can be identified, tracked and traced in compliance with rules and regulation.”
To ensure the welfare of horses and avoid an international humanitarian and economic catastrophe, the International Equine Business Association joins with thousands of North American horse owners and businesses to call on all applicable government entities in North America and the European Union to work quickly to resolve this crisis as soon as possible. Times of worldwide economic and social hardship are exacerbated by regulatory actions that cause horrific, unnecessary animal suffering, destroy jobs, narrow economic opportunity, disrupt international commerce, and limit access to a sought after, affordable, high quality, and safe protein source for the world.”