Monday 24 April 2017


FDA Petitioned Over Horse-Meat Safety

Colorado non-profit Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have petitioned the FDA to rule that U.S. horses are not fit for human consumption. This follows the passage of legislation that re-funded the inspection of slaughter houses that process horses. It comes at a time when USDA officials openly question whether horse slaughter will resume in the US.

The groups allege in a petition filed with FDA March 26 that domestic horses are “unqualified” for human consumption because they are not raised for food and are routinely administered various drugs and medications. Among such prohibited substances is the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone, also known as bute, which has no safe withholding period. Under current regulations the presence of certain antibotics and other drugs are considered an adulterant and banned in meat.

The petition describes these drugs as posing a threat to human health and food safety, since there is currently no method for monitoring and assessing the drug risks associated with consuming horse meat. The detailed petition claims more than 110 substances banned in food animals are administered to horses.
In a statement the groups said, “Unlike cattle, pigs, poultry, and other livestock, which are raised on the farm, horses are swept up by a predatory industry from a variety of sources — former racehorses, carriage horses, family ponies, and others which are routinely given drugs and medications not fit for human consumption.”

Dr. Elizabeth Hagen, under secretary for food safety at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), wrote on the White House blog Dec. 13 that various federal, state and local requirements and prohibitions against horse slaughter for human consumption are still in place and will likely create some barriers to the reopening of horse slaughter plants. “While Congress has lifted the ban, USDA does not expect horse slaughter to resume in the near term,” Hagen wrote. ”

FRER and HSUS also are asking FDA to make alternate rules, while at the same time noting there is no “realistic way to be able to fully assess the risks of eating horse meat.” Those alternate rules would require records be kept for all of a horse’s owners, and listing all drugs and treatments administered to the horse since birth. Both groups also ask FDA to require verification that a horse to be used for human consumption was never exposed to any substances prohibited for use in food animals. They want FDA to adopt additional rules to mandate the testing horses heading to slaughter to ensure compliance with the proposed rules.


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  • GEMO | April 7, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply

    None of us prefer the sentencing to death or slaughter of any animal, regardless of the species; but, the reality of it all, is that we need horse slaughter houses as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population. Public Laws forbid burying a horse on your own property these days because of possible contamination of water sources and supplies; so, what’s the practical alternative or solution? I agree that the need of unnecessary suffering needs to be resolved in all slaughter houses, regardless of species . . . cow, pig, chicken, etc. As for horse meat for human consumption, if it is untainted and USDA inspected, it is an excellent source of meat protein and an alternative to beef, pork, poultry, and other human-grade meat sources. If that is too hard for the U.S. human meat industry to consider, use horse meat for carnivorous animal food diets, just as other animal sources are used. The horse industry has crashed since the close of horse slaughter houses, and reopening of the horse slaughter houses is the only resolution to the over population of horses in the U.S. Do you really think that hunter’s get the shot exactly right for an instant kill every time, or slashing the throats of cows and pigs is a quick death, or wringing the necks or cutting-off the heads of chickens is instantaneous demise? Sit-back and give serious thought to all animal slaughter solutions, not just that of horses; if you’re going to sympathize with one species of animal, sympathize with them all; but the end result and reality-check has been the same for thousands of years of animal slaughter for human and animal consumption. Citizens within the U.S. need to ban together and offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals for whatever the meat by-product use is and not the concentration of one species.

  • Gayle | April 7, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply

    Get real people. Banning the Slaughter Houses has all but ruined the Horse Industry. People are left with no way out of the financial burden of horse ownership once the animal has become disabled. Regulations say you cannot bury a horse on your own property . . . so, what are people suppose to do with them? Every Rescue Organization you call is FULL, every Foster Home is FULL . . . can you not see the writing on the wall? How do the horses fend in the wild when a cougar runs one down for the dinner kill; do you think that being eaten alive is a fast death? It’s a natural food chain. Horses aren’t going to the slaughter houses for our dinner-table. If the meat goes overseas, who cares; if it goes for dog food, so what . . . it’s a food chain! Our Government does not support our horse fancy interests; it is up to each individual owner. I don’t hear the same outcry for Cattle, Chickens, Pigs, Sheep, etc.; they are used as companion pets as well as any horse; but, reality is reality. The U.S. does not have to slaughter horses for human consumption; slaughter for carnivorous animal diets or dog and cat food! There are far too many horses and not enough individual incomes to cover them and certainly no Grants. You cannot give a horse away these days; come-on get real people!!! Ban together and offer suggestions for a better way to get rid of the unwanted horses, if there is one; but, for right now, the Slaughter Houses are all we got.

  • Gayle | April 7, 2012 at 10:32 am | Reply

    Despite the fact that horse meat is not widely consumed in Canada, over 90,000 horses a year are slaughtered for food there. Its high-protein, low-fat meat is still consumed in many parts of the world, including Italy, Japan and Brazil. The taboo of eating horse meat persists in most of North America, however, and the Canadian horse meat industry remains controversial. If horse meat isn’t your thing, perhaps you would like camel (Egypt), whales (Norway) or monkeys (sub-Saharan Africa).

  • Elizabeth Dana | September 15, 2013 at 9:31 pm | Reply

    Well in regard to each comment may I ? Gemo – There is no humane slaughter or a horse or dog or cat because these are domesticated companion animals not specifically bred for food. Sure we could solve the food shortage like Gayle believes so why not scape out the dead dogs and cats for a protein sandwich out of the gas chambers of the SPCA ? I mean just because another country choose to be cannibalism or eats rats – how politically correct we could all be if we sent them Dat in a Can? I mean must be other people do things so that MUST MAKE IT RIGHT? (Please do not read a history book – it may scare you!) Oh Yes Gayle posted the horse market is now ruined. Again do not pick up an economics book – too many horses are caused by greed racing and lazy people who want to make money as well as people who CHOSE NOT TO LEGALLY EUTHENIZE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for their companion animals. People sell their children in other countries like Yemen at age 8 so does that mean their is an over population of children ??? Just trying to follow the strawman arguments used .

  • Janna Lukens | September 15, 2013 at 9:49 pm | Reply

    I oppose the slaughter of horses for human and animal consumption. There couldn’t be a more inhumane method of destroying a horse’s life than forcing her into the slaughter pipeline. Anyone who truly knows and loves these animals will tell you the same. It is horrific. All horse-lovers oppose equine slaughter. Those who seek to slaughter horses are lovers of money, not lovers of horses.

    But the discussion about horses as a food animal is moot. We do not eat horses in the United States. I don’t want my tax dollars used to subsidize this predatory industry while profitting from exporting drug-laden horsemeat to our unsuspecting allies overseas. Seems like a form of bio-terrorism. Horseslaughter has nothing to do with the horse industry – which makes its annual billions of dollars from LIVE horses. Horseslaughter is promoted by horse industry dropouts, misfits, and riffraff trying to make it big in the MEAT industry. There is no place for them in our horse industry.

    The FDA classifies horses as “companion animals like dogs and cats”, not to be slaughtered for human consumption. It refers to them as “PETS” and lists them as “NON FOOD ANIMALS”. With this as the bottom line, the FDA should have no problem in forbidding horses from the food chain. Animals raised as meat are heavily regulated and treated with drugs that have little safety hazzards. There is no system in place to monitor horses. Each “candidate” for the table must be killed and tested. Since over 94% of horses will test positive for a prohibited drug, what happens to all of the dead bodies?

    The European Horsemeat Scandal is and should be of great concern. Don’t tell me it couldn’t happen here. Tell me why Walmart is IMPORTING “BEEF” from Canada and Mexico. Tell me about that! Tell me why the National Cattlemen’s Association is lobbying for horse slaughter. Tell me why American companies like Burger King, Taco Bell, Nestle, Birdseye, etc.etc. that were busted for illegal horsemeat mixed into beef in Europe wouldn’t adulterate the beef supply in our country. Let’s face it – the USDA can’t even keep our LETTUCE safe.

    People may not keel over and die if they happen to eat a little horsemeat in their Big Mac. But then again, cancer is often insideous and takes time to kill you. Do you really want to eat poison? Not me. I do not support the meat or dairy industry anymore. My family is much healthier since we stopped eating any meat. Give me broccoli or give me death!

  • Deedie | September 15, 2013 at 10:37 pm | Reply

    The lack of slaughterhouses have not “ruined the horse industry”. I can find horses in my state for sale at prices anywhere from $200.00 to $20,000.00, depending on what I want and what I need to use it for. We have offered many suggestions and solutions. Many are already in place. In my state there is a free gelding clinic taking place in November. Also, animal abuse and animal hoarding is a crime in my state. This dissuades irresponsible breeders from over breeding and essentially, breeding for slaughter. Horse meat hasn’t been used in commercial pet foods since the 1970’s because it was killing dogs. That unsuspecting Europeans consume horse meat that is not ft for our dogs here, in America, is highly deceptive, just like everything else that surrounds horse slaughter. The GAO report that Roy Blunt and Jack Kingston were commissioned to do in 2011 was found to grossly exaggerate the number of actual “starving and abandoned horses”. Horse slaughter is not the answer. The last thing we need in this country is a nasty, water polluting, water wasting, stinking, environmentally unsound slaughter house that only a handful of people support. Horse slaughter was banned in this country for a good reason.

  • Kathi Ring | September 15, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Reply

    So wrong…and so misinformed. Read up on Kaufman, Texas and the horrors of having a horse slaughterhouse in their community. Research the drugs we give our horses every day that are banned in food animals. Realize that theft and corruption follow the horse slaughter industry. And you are in favor of this? 80% of Americans recently polled are against horse slaughter. We consider them companion animals…not dinner.

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