Horse Meat Scandal: Fear and Anger Reach Scotland

story by JULIA HORTON of the Scotsman.com

Health fears over contaminated meat

swedish_horsemeat_lasagnaPRESSURE is mounting on the Scottish Government to do more to protect the nation’s “cornerstone” beef industry from the growing horse meat scandal as politicians south of the border urged people to buy from local producers.

Angry farmers are due to hold talks with the head of Scotland’s Food Standards Agency tomorrow to raise concerns that public fears over the possible health risk of eating contaminated food could seriously damage the hard-fought reputation of their business.

The Scottish Greens called on food standards minister Richard Lochhead to make a statement about the scandal in parliament as he continued debating the issues behind the scenes with a phonecall to UK Environment Secretary Owen Paterson today.

A spokesman for the National Farmers’ Union Scotland said: “The mood among farmers is of anger and frustration. The beef industry is the cornerstone of the Scottish food industry, with 20 per cent of agricultural output from the beef sector. Farmers have put a lot of effort into the Scottish beef brand and reputation, meeting traceability requirements driven by retailers, and then they look at something like this involving cost-cutting and possible criminality which could obviously damage or taint their industry and is largely out of their control.”

Contamination

In England, chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, Conservative MP Anne McIntosh, said today: “I think the clear message is none of our meat, none of our slaughter houses, are implicated and we should be buying as local as possible.”

Repeating calls for a ban on importing meat from the EU she added: “I believe there should be a moratorium on the movement of all meat until such time as we can trace the source of contamination.”

However Mr Paterson said that under EU rules a ban could only be introduced if beef contaminated with horse meat was found to be a health risk.

He added that no evidence of that had been found yet, but if further tests confirmed fears that contaminated meat does pose a risk he would “take the necessary action”.

The UK Food Standards Agency ordered food companies to analyse all processed beef products for the presence of veterinary drug phenylbutazone – which is used to treat horses for arthritis but can be harmful to humans – after it emerged that some Findus ready meals contained up to 100 per cent horse meat.

Protection

Opposition politicians in Scotland accused Mr Lochhead today of “falling asleep on the job”, alleging that he was failing to use devolved powers on food standards to adequately protect the beef industry and reassure consumers.

Mr Lochhead today stressed that “no manufacturers in Scotland” were currently affected, and urged European and UK politicians to do more to address public “alarm”.

A statement on the outcome of his conversation with Mr Paterson is due later today.

15 comments on “Horse Meat Scandal: Fear and Anger Reach Scotland

  1. I am glad that the uproar over Bute in horsemeat is bringing horse slaughter to the attention of the UK and Scotland, but the more important issue to me is what are they doing about the cruelty of horse slaughter and the recent terrible conditions in the UK at their slaughterhouses.
    People don’t seem to get riled up unless you bring in the health issue…can’t they just work to eliminate horse slaughter for humane reasons?

  2. This has been amazing to watch and see how huge this scandal is. Has this happened here already? Aldi foods are sold here and their frozen foods come from France. Have we been sold horse meat, too?

    • Because Shirley, the beef and horse breeding industry don’t want it banned. If it was they wouldn’t have any place to dump their culls, crippled up racehorses and quarter horses. The beef industry has always claimed that if horse slaughter was banned that beef slaughter plants would be the next to go saying it’s all Peta’s fault.

      • Its not just Peta want horse slaughter banned, Canada does too and so do most Americans. !!! Its just that Peta is the loudest voice .Don’t just blame Peta \t

        Take some time to investigate this issue and you will see why it is so complex ?

        The only way it can be stopped is if Steven Harper in Canada and Barack Obama ban it in the United States That’s what we have to work on !!!

  3. Banning horse slaughter IS most certainly the ONLY “answer”, however, unfortunatey, it is not likely to happen internationally, as in, in Europe. Too many European countries have been doing this for way too long, I think, to ever stop. I read an article through Yahoo news, that places like Romania regularly, commonly, take their “old” horses that can not work any longer, & sell them to abbatoirs. Nice way to thank an animal that has given so much, & worked it’s “ass” off for you! Some people are too set in their mindless ways to ever change. It’s great that there has finally been an uproar over “tainted” meat, being sold as beef, when it actually contains horse”meat”. And they’re investigating to see if there is any “danger”, health consequences, from eating the horse”meat”. I guess if they don’t find enough immediate results, this little scandal will just continue on it’s merry way. It’s up the United States of America to set the example, to be the role model, it’s we who should first make certain horse slaughter is banned in our own country, &, that no American horses can be sold to be slaughtered in any other country as well! Why did all of our ancestors leave Europe to come to the new land, to start a new life, if not to also become fiercely independent, in our actions, ways & beliefs. Let’s set that example for the world to see!! Then, maybe we can convince other countries to follow suit.

  4. Since we do import bovine and swine products from the EU and other sources we most likely have eaten contaminated meat. Here’s some stats on just how much we import. •2002: 1.091 billion pounds
    •2003: 0.740 billion pounds
    •2004: 1.062 billion pounds
    •2005: 1.092 billion pounds
    •2006: 0.844 billion pounds
    •2007: 0.789 billion pounds
    •2008: 0.841 billion pounds
    •2009: 0.812 billion pounds
    •2010: 0.861 billion pounds
    •2011: 0.689 billion pounds
    Beef and veal imports from all sources (carcass weight):

    •2002: 3.218 billion pounds
    •2003: 3.006 billion pounds
    •2004: 3.679 billion pounds
    •2005: 3.599 billion pounds
    •2006: 3.085 billion pounds
    •2007: 3.052 billion pounds
    •2008: 2.538 billion pounds
    •2009: 2.627 billion pounds
    •2010: 2.297 billion pounds
    •2011: 2.056 billion pounds
    link to info http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/cattle-beef/statistics-information.aspx

  5. Thanks Morgan for these stats..Again, unreal. I have learned to do without all these products, but its not to say we haven’t had other recalls. I was at my Aldi’s store yesterday and asked about their meat products and they indicated their products did not come from overseas. Can anyone trust what the USDA is doing too. Again, consumers seem to be at their mercy…God, help us!

  6. I went to the Scotsman.com and signed up to be able to leave a comment. I left a two paragraph comment and explained what Canada/Mexico plus the US was doing when the slaughter plants were operating here in the US. About very little testing was done for Vet drugs here in the US or in Canada or Mexico and the horse meat was signed off as free of the drugs. I gave them the names of the Eu countries that import horse meat from Canada/Mexico and brought up the fact that if the rest of the EU countries imported food and meat from these countries that the problem they have is a lot bigger than they think. I’m signed in as Barb3000
    I would suggest that anyone interested in leaving a comment please do so. I have been waiting for a chance like this for years to tell anyone that would listen in Europe about the contaminated horse meat they are all gobbling down.

  7. Congratulations! I agree with all of you! Thinking this was a UK based website I was prepared to cut loose and inform those in the UK all about the BLM, since I don’t think they are aware of its existence or why those three letters send shivers through the psyche of a wild mustang herd. On the basis this is a US website, what all of you may not know is that here in Australia, there are two exclusive horse abattoirs catering to the EU as well.

    Here wild horses are called Brumbies! Unlike in the US where helicopters are used to round up horses, here like some gunship from “Apocalypse Now” they are culled from the air in national parks where access is limited. The marksmen don’t always manage a kill shot hence the massacre of “Guy Fawkes River National Park” where a mare was shot as she was in the process of dropping a foal while another foal had its shoulder blown apart. They were just two of the casualties.

    Those rounded up or not shot from the ground and are still alive get shipped to one of those two abattoirs in trucks that are not designed to haul horses safely. Given the distances between either facility these horses are never given a spell or a drink en-route. They arrive and are packed into yards like sardines in a tin causing self inflicted injuries. When their time finally does come, it is not always guaranteed that the end will come via a bolt gun.

    I have via video witnessed some horrific scenes that would give any horse lover nightmares for the rest of their lives. All because their is the smell of money at the end of the working day. I have seen a foal (again via video) have its throat cut with a butchers knife and be left for dead to bleed out as it screams in terror then when death comes the carcass is dragged away to be cut up. Here the government knows all about these facilities (South Australia & Queensland) and just for the record… In Australia the consumption of horse meat is illegal, but the slaughter and export to the EU and elsewhere is perfectly legal, indeed one might say encouraged.

    After all it provides work and income for the company and can be touted by the government in their employment figures. No one it seems however has time for the welfare of the horses though. From time to time buyers from these facilities also add racehorses, Quarter Horses, Arabians… In deed anything they can buy!

    There is a cruel twist here! In relation to Brumbies, there are active organisations trying to save these horses from destruction. They take care of them gently get them used to being around people then when they are ready try to find new homes for them. Sometimes this is through a sale yard where they end up being bought for slaughter. One further thing remains that needs to be said! Horses were never native to Australia (the basis the government wants to get rid of them) but the Brumbies are descendants from horses that fought during the first world war. Those that never were required to be shipped and those privileged few that did come home.

    What does this say about humanity and its greed?

  8. It says a LOT about greed & humanity! Guess cruelty & inhumane treatment isnt “owned” by the US, is it? But then, what we did to the american indian matches up with what the Australian government did to the aborigines, right?
    Has nothing been learned after all this time???????

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