Small Town Politician Spouts Junk Science, Gets Corrected by Scientists

Rep. Sue Wallis Claims Chemically Tainted Horsemeat Will Be Okay to Eat

By Steven Long

HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A second term Wyoming state representative would build a horse “processing plant” that would kill up to 20 horses per day in her state despite federal prohibitions against slaughtering chemically tainted horses for food.

And last year, the European Union issued a communication to third party meat exporters such as Canada  that outlined the problems with chemically tainted U.S. horsemeat.  Moreover, last year three prestigious American scientists authored a white paper for the medical journal Food and Chemical Toxicology titled “Association of Phenylbutazone Usage with Horses Bought for Slaughter: A Public Health Risk.” The authors were Nicholas Dodman,  Nicolas Blondeau, and  Ann M. Marini.

Yet Rep. Sue Wallis says, chemical contamination of domestic horsemeat is no big deal.

Horseback asked Wallis, “How can your slaughter facility be economically feasible under the prohibition against slaughtering horses that have been given the chemicals horses are commonly administered such as bute, banamine, Ace, and wormers? Almost all American horses are routinely given these drugs, many of which

are carcinogenic. What are your plans for dealing with the recent authority given to the Food and Drug Administration over food including horse meat?”

“All drugs have withdrawal periods, and there are scientifically established time periods which any meat animals must be held after medications before they can be processed,” Wallis told Horseback.  “In terms of bute, specifically, every race horse in the country has to have their blood tested for prohibited drugs. Common knowledge on the track is that bute will clear the system in two or three days and that you can be pretty much guaranteed that there will be absolutely no vestige of the drug in seven days.”

Unfortunately, that’s not good enough under federal food regulations, says an imminent scientist who declined to be identified.

“This is generally what trainers believe but people who make such comments don’t know what they are talking about,” said one of the authors of the Bute study. The horses studied in the paper were former race horses who had been sent sold off from their track careers to slaughter

 “Race horses don’t get routinely tested for prohibited drugs.  I assume she (Wallis) means if they go to slaughter. Winning race horses get tested for bute to ensure that their levels are within the range allowed by tracks.”

Wallis is a Wyoming rancher from the tiny town of Recluse, population 149.  She has no medical, toxicology, or pharmacology training.

“Drugs of concern have a longer period of withdrawal,” Wallis continued in her response to Horseback’s questions. “Live horses can be tested prior to processing to ensure that there is no vestige of drugs, and carcasses can be tested after processing to ensure the same thing. All of the existing European Union processing plants, and any plants established in the US under state meat inspection programs which by law have to meet or exceed USDA standards are operated under regular audit regimes that require carcass testing. The results are public record and you can find in those public records no residual drug problems in any class of livestock, including horses.”

But experts disagree.

“Wallis’ statements regarding the pharmacokinetics of phenylbutazone and the associated pathophysiology of the drug (in man) are without scientific basis,” says Dr. Nena Winand of the Cornell University vet school. ” Phenylbutazone is completely banned for use in food producing animals in the US and EU, and there is no established, acceptable withdrawal time is any class of food animals (including horses in the EU).  Regardless of Rep. Wallis’ interpretation of the regulatory guidelines and jurisdiction of various regulatory agencies, these regulations have existed for many years, are in-force now and they are the standards of practice veterinarians are expected to observe (and there are regulatory consequences for failure to observe them).”
Banned substances like bute are tested by FSIS, the regulatory arm of the USDA, and the results are published in the “red book” which is available over the internet.

Further, the results of the testing are problematic in that tests almost never find drug residue in the hundreds of carcasses they claim are tested.  In fact the FSIS has admitted in a Freedom of Information Act disclosure they were testing fat samples for bute, according to Equine Welfare Alliance President John Holland.  Almost all of the bute stays in the bloodstream and never gets out into fat cells producing a negative result.  

“I can only admire Sue Wallis’ thorough explanation of the issue of drug residues in horse meat,” Holland said. ” Such concise and authoritative explanations are normally the exclusive domain of people who are familiar with the subject at hand, either through formal education or professional experience. That Sue, lacking either such source of knowledge, can provide such an articulate explanation is quite astounding.”

Wallis was either unaware of the findings, or disregards them.


Bute is banned in the US, Canada, UK, and EU in food producing animals, including horses. There is no safe concentration for meat established by the FDA. Complications can include bone marrow depression, aplastic anemia, leucopenia, pancytopenia, lemolytic

anemia, throubocytopenia.

Critics claim the USDA inspectors who worked in the nation’s three horse slaughterhouses did little to inspect meat which was mostly going abroad and to zoos in this country. In fact, eyewitnesses who worked in an Illinois slaughterhouse said prior to its closing they never witnessed a federal inspector inspect a carcass and the meat was routinely sent on to market.

Yet Wallis claims such inspections aren’t necessary anyway. “This is because common sense procedures are used by the meat industry to make absolutely sure that animals are held for appropriate withdrawal periods before processing if they have been administered veterinary drugs. “

“This is nonsense,” said the scientist. “It is true that animals alive or dead can be tested for drugs but this has nothing to do with the lifetime ban of drugs like bute, Ivermectin, Naxcel, acepromazine and others that are NOT allowed at all.”

Finally, Wallis appeared to be oblivious to passage of a sweeping new food inspection law that will give the FDA vast powers over the nation’s food supply. The Senate passed the bill on November 30, and the House passed a much stronger version earlier. The new law diminishes the power of the USDA in food inspections.  
Yet Wallis said, “The FDA has absolutely no jurisdiction over meat. Never have and probably never will. All meat is regulated by USDA/APHIS. The food bill recently passed has absolutely no effect,” Wallis said.

 Not true again says the scientist. “ If she bothered to read APHIS, she would see the list of banned substances for horses sent to slaughter for human consumption.  The FDA does have jurisdiction over drugs in animals and humans.  The FDA has vets in their office and they make the determination as to which drugs are banned in animals sent to slaughter for human consumption.  Bute is banned in all food-producing animals, including horses.” http://www.fda.gov/AnimalVeterinary/NewsEvents/CVMUpdates/ucm124078.htm

Food borne illnesses kill up to 5,000 people annually according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Incredibly, 76 million people become ill after ingesting tainted food each year. Some of those illnesses are the result of chemically tainted food.

Wallis and her organization United Horsemen will host the Summit of the Horse,  Jan. 3-6, 2011 in Las Vegas at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.

9 comments for “Small Town Politician Spouts Junk Science, Gets Corrected by Scientists

  1. Charlene
    December 19, 2010 at 1:11 am

    BIG MOUTH SLAUGHERHOUSE SUE………..if you get your slaughterhouse we are going to demand that you be served horsemeat daily. How you get back in office is a mystery………retards????????

  2. December 18, 2010 at 4:56 am

    Poor Sue just shows her implausible “knowledge” of the subject for which is her passion,horse vs human health each time she speaks. She is urged on by her “pardner”, Dave Duquette, who wisely keeps his mouth shut some of the time. It is frightening that some really believe her,,,,,,,ranchers, who will benefit from horse slaughter.A power struggle which will produce unfortunate results if she is supported by those who support her. When is her back going to be against the wall and will she recognize it when it happens?

  3. Barb3000
    December 17, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    If the FDA really starts cracking down on tainted food being sold to consumers, and has taken over the inspections from the USDA I’m wondering just what effect that will have on the thousands of US horses still going to slaughter in Canada/Mexico and shipped to Japan? What I am finding out the past few months is it’s business as usual for the killer buyers. The only horses that Mexico is turning down are the ones limping and the thin ones, other than that they take all of them. And if the EU is honest about preventing drug contaminated horse meat from reaching their shores they had better get on the ball and start taking blood samples from the horses hauled to both countries before they are killed.

    I don’t believe any of the slaughter plants in either country are checking anything. Most if not all horses coming from the US has been given Bute at one time in it’s life. The horses coming from race tracks, cutting horses and any animal that is has a job that it does on a regular basis has been given Vet drugs including rabies vaccine.

    • D. Masters
      December 18, 2010 at 8:50 pm

      My understanding of the food safety bill that was passed primarily gives FDA “recall” authority. USDA and FDA have different resposibilities, to include different inspection authority over different products.

      If USDA AND FDA actually were in the field and on the floors as should be, inspecting and validating paperwork, testing multiple samples, etc, then there would be more stoppage of product at the front end and fewer recalls. They are not funded or staffed properly (nor do their respective leaders demand funding);that is not an excuse in my consumer mind. However, there are too many allowances for producer self regulation, voluntary recall with no checking by government inspectors. Plus with imports, there are serious ingredient/content questions and huge lags in purity validation. Thank you NAFTA, et al…can anyone remember the pet food and baby formula debacles from China?????

  4. Bossmare
    December 17, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    Good grief! Ol’ Slaughterhouse Sue is back up on her soapbox. Now she’s spouting her own brand of science to the public. Most of which will probably believe her. Shes also trying to get a raw milk bill passed here and one that will allow any kind of food to be sold at church sales, craft fairs, etc. Maybe she’s hoping to poison all her constituents. I for one don’t really want to step 150 years backwards with regard to food saftey.

    To bad I won’t be in Las Vegas to protest her little summit. What a joke these people are.

    It’s time to get Ms. Wallis out of office, why she keeps getting voted in is beyond me.

  5. MJ Wilson
    December 17, 2010 at 5:03 pm

    I think Slaughterhouse Sue should have to live on horsemeat and see what she has to say then!

  6. mustang man
    December 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm

    Wallis, I find it interesting that in the stockmen’s own publications they have pages of articles of even how Mexico, yes Mexico is starting to ban and refuse shipments of U.S. BEEF because of HIGH concentrations of copper and other heavy metals not to mention known carcinogens, I find it entertaining that you uphold the stockman’s concern for quality product when a 3rd world nation with hunger issues is not even accepting our meat products. seems they would rather go hungry then eat tainted beef much less horse meat. Your problem seems to be one of self growth. you have stopped being a needed part of society in what you do and refuse to remake yourself into a productive part of it but rather would argue for your outdated thinking and way of life. your extinct lay down and accept it please

  7. D. Masters
    December 17, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Your a big agriculture person, MS Wallis, right?

    How is it that stockmen/women have to maintain production records for their cattle, swine, poultry and lamb…..but no one has to cough up squat for the equines headed to slaughter in the same way? Doesn’t seem fair to me and if I were a legitimate, law abiding meat producer in the US, I’d be very angry that my product is being held to a different standard when in fact, not only is horsemeat competing against my product (especially exports) with an unfair advantage, but it is dangerous to consumers and may harm the reputation of ALL meat producers in the US. NO?….go ask NCBA and USMEF just exactly what hurdles they are facing in South Korea because of “mad cow” (as just one example).

  8. December 17, 2010 at 11:10 am

    A shining example of slaughter supporters making up their own rules and trying to get around US horses not being raised as food animals. Seems we have been saying that for years. Not propaganda. Fact.

    Now you have it in black and white for Congress and the consumers of horse meat to read. Let the world know how Congress, by not passing the legislation to ban horse slaughter, is condoning horses flowing over the border to Canada and Mexico with no regard for food safety. Let the world know that Wallis wants to bring it back on US soil and knowingly send a product to consumers that is not safe for consumption.

    It’s no wonder the FDA is taking control. Wallis is giving a bad name to the ranchers. Or is this her way of letting us know that none of them follow the rules? Perhaps this is why we are seeing so many food recalls.

    Her comment about the FDA is priceless. The FDA sets the rules that USDA/APHIS follow.

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