Temporary halt of U.S. horsemeat to E.U.

The market for U.S. horses processed into food hit a bump earlier this month, when shipments from Mexican and Canadian horse slaughter plants were halted by the European Union. Sue Wallis, with the International Equine Business Association (based in the U.S.), tells Brownfield it was an eye-opening incident and would have had troubling consequences had the ban not been quickly lifted.

“Within three months, we would have had some 48,000 head of horses with nowhere to go. That is, in fact, more horses than the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) is supporting on U.S. taxpayer horses today,” says Wallis.

In Mid-October, E. U. officials notified plants in Mexico and Canada that they were ineligible to import horse meat to the E.U. that was produced from U.S. horses unless they could prove the animals had been in the countries where the plants were located for a minimum of 90 days. The original shipment that raised the concern of a buyer in France, she says, had either been mislabeled or the label was mis-read.

Wallis is a leader in reestablishing domestic horse slaughter in the U.S. and is serving as a consultant for a plant being retrofitted in Rockville, Missouri (in Southwest Missouri).

Wallis says they’ve been told by USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) officials that the agency is validating the science on drug testing for horse meat in the U.S. and those grants of inspection should be ready by the end of this year.  Wallis says she’s confident the Missouri plant will open in 2013 and will restart horse processing in this country.

AUDIO: Sue Wallis (18:00 mp3)

  • Why is it that the Brownfield Ag never contacts anyone from the other side of this issue? Those of us who are opposed to horse slaughter for human consumption are not anti-ag. Yes some of us are vegans, some of us are vegetarians and some of us are meat eaters. The majority do eat meat.

    The plant in Rockville, MO is mired in a myriad of legal problems and until those issues are rectified there will be no plant opening in that facility.

    What Brownfield Ag News should be most concerned about is food safety. We must raise our cattle and pigs under food safety guidelines and observe banned substance lists. How can Brownfield Ag support the slaughtering of an animal for human consumption which is not raised under any food safety guidelines? Other countries where we are currently exporting our animal ag products too already have major concerns about the safety of the meat we’re slaughtering and exporting to them. The EU’s new regs go into effect next year and that will eliminate all US horses from export for human consumption next year. Russia has already implemented tougher rules on Tyson Foods, to just name one company , both on chicken and pork, due to Tetracycline and Listeria contamination in meats exported to their country.

    Equine Welfare Alliance, of which I am a board member, would appreciate impartial and truthful reporting instead of just reiterating the misinformation Sue Wallis and IEBA puts out.

  • Hi Jo-Claire, Thanks for your comment. I’ve sent you an email in hopes of getting someone in your organization to interview about this. -Julie Harker

  • When you interview the anti-slaughter side, please make sure to ask what their plan is to accommidate 100,000+ unwanted horses a year and who will pay for it?

  • The number of horses that sent to slaughter can not be substantiated because the numbers of the horses are a collage from different regions, reflections of the economy, reactions to feed prices, unemployment, weather and drought, stolen horses, wild horses off BLM lands, Amish bred horses unaccountable, race track rejections, back yard breeders for slaughter purposes etc

    Since this source is also impacted by disease, predators, backyard illegal butchering, and unethical purchases from unknown families and surrenders or off Craig’s List then these variables are flexible. Numbers from transports do not reflect rejected sick, lame, pregnant or blind horses required to be rejected at the auction the export pens. There is no known or accountability of statistics to support how many horses are unfit to slaughter. A horse can be exported for slaughter, rejected after 2-3 days and then released onto a back road in the states which now becomes an abandoned horses that is counted as an example of a statistic of a sick abanoned horse. It has been proposed that kill buyers typically release and turn loose horses and then report those horses to create pro slaugter media to justify by inflating and reporting inaccurate numbers to use to justify their pro slaughter poistion.. Pro slaughter has no substatiation for their numbers . It is like counting dandilions in your yard. Pro slaughter true course is to create horse breeding miles to sell horses to slaughter as a contaminated food supply for profit. There is no humane, ethical or love of horses that is a part of this. If so they would euthenize the horse by a vet in the pasture which makes it unable to be sold as meat as the horse needs to knocked unconcious in a living slaughter to pump the blood out. The inhumane slaughter is that a horse is unable to be put unconcious in one single blow and suffers panic and fear fighting for its life. If evey sick or abandoned horse was euthenized in one year, where would the pro slaughter supply come from? The slaughtwer kill buyers want heavy young horses to slaughter. Thus the pro slaughter are creating a business for themselves, not heroically and humanely serving a higher need. If we shot every bad parent we would eliminate child abuse. If we built more prisons we would eliminate crime. If we built more hospitals we would eliminate cancer. This straw man arguement of building slaughter plants to eliminate sick, diseases and old horses is not worth the powder to blow it to Hell. and we h aven’t even discussed the cancer causing chemicals in horses. A can of cat food is inspected by the USDA and held to a higher standard. Horsemeat is banned from petfoods because of the death rate in pets. I say no to the transparency of motives, the risks to our beef supplies, the damage to the environmental, the image of the United States and elimaination of democracy from the 80% of US citizens that do not wantunding export or slaughter of horses NOR taxation US taxpayers to fund a non income tax producing industry for foreign profits for China, Belgium, Italy, Japan, Germany and France.

  • Where did you get the number 100, 000+? Gelding clinics, euthanasia clinics, breeding regulations…are answers. Slaughter is not the answer. I’ve owned horses all of my life and I’ve yet to find one good reason to support horse slaughter, but many to oppose it. Good horses still go for good money, but breeders who won’t be responsible for what they put on the ground just use slaughter for a disposal. No wonder so many people oppose horse slaughter in this country. It’s a shady, sneaky practice, always has been.

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