‘Tainted horsemeat’ kills 5 in Philippines

Source: Multiple

Horsemeat is not commonly eaten in the Philippines…”

Horse MeatCotabato – Five people are believed to have died from eating tainted horsemeat in the Philippines while as many as 60 may have consumed it, a local official said on Wednesday.

Four horses died from unexplained causes and their meat was given away to residents in the largely rural southern province Sultan Kudarat on March 25, Henry Albana, the province’s social welfare officer said.

Many fell ill after eating it, with the town of Senator Ninoy Aquino particularly affected, Albano added.

“The owners of the horses butchered them, then they distributed the meat to the residents. One of the owners was the first victim,” to die after eating the meat, said Albano.

“Provincial officials are trying to locate all the others who ate the horsemeat. I estimate that as many as 60 may have eaten it,” he told AFP.

Albano said some locals believed the horses died from eating grass newly-sprayed with pesticides. Health officials have yet to establish what happened.

Horsemeat is not commonly eaten in the Philippines but people in impoverished rural areas often resort to unusual meat sources such as field rats or frogs.

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Horsemeat from US is a ‘Health Risk’ to French

as published in The Local – French news in English

A French animal rights’ group claimed on Thursday that horsemeat imported to France from North and South America comes from animals treated with a dangerous drug that’s banned from human consumption.

Poison_Sign_LHorses from the United States, Canada and other countries in the region whose meat is sold in France for human consumption pose a health risk and are often cruelly treated, a leading animal rights group said on Thursday.

L214, which derives its name from an article in a 1976 French law that stipulates that animals have to be kept properly and in healthy conditions, said the conclusions followed a wide-reaching, two-year investigation launched in 2012.

Horses from the US, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina destined for human consumption were found to be emaciated, sick, injured or had been administered strong doses of anti-inflammatory medicines, according to the findings.

Using secret cameras, the probes were conducted at horse auctions, in export enclosures, at veterinary checkpoints, feedlots and abattoirs.

In a video posted on L214′s website, horses are seen with open gashes, dislocated or broken legs, and left without treatment in feedlots.

Some are visibly dead and in a state of decomposition, in enclosures or in transport trucks, with other horses squeezed around them.

“Apart from the unacceptable treatment of the horses, the use of phenylbutazone or other dangerous substances banned in the European Union is common,” said L214′s Brigitte Gothiere.

The drug, commonly referred to as bute, is used to alleviate pain in horses that are not destined for human consumption. It was originally also given to humans to treat rheumatoid arthritis and gout but was found to cause irreversible liver damage when combined even in small doses with other human painkillers.

The drug is no longer approved for human use in the European Union and United States.

The revelations follow a Europe-wide health scare last year when horsemeat was found in millions of ready meals labelled as containing only beef.

The group called Thursday upon leading supermarket chains to shun horsemeat coming from the Americas to put an end to the “cruel and illegal treatment” of
the animals.

It carried out the study in conjunction with other animal lobby groups including Switzerland’s Tierschutzbund-Zurich, Animals Angels’ USA, Belgium’s GAIA and Eyes on Animals in the Netherlands.

According to the groups, 82,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2012 for human consumption. About 70 percent of them were imported from the United States, where horse abattoirs were closed down in 2007.

France, meanwhile, imported 16,900 tonnes of horsemeat in 2012, mainly from Canada, Belgium, Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay — many of the countries featured in the investigation.

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Happy Birthday, Horsemeat Scandal

Source: By Eve Mitchell as published in foodandwaterwatch.org

“…if you’re going to buy heavily processed foods you need to know this stuff –”

Horsemeat on a bunIt’s been a year since we were first told the beef we buy in the EU may actually be horsemeat, but we still don’t really know what happened, how far it spread, who is responsible, or how they will be called to account for themselves.

We’ve seen a smattering of arrests, notably the September 2013 arrests of eight managers of the French company Spanghero on charges of aggravated fraud and mislabelling of food products. French authorities say they “knowingly sold” 750 tonnes of horsemeat mislabelled as beef. Around two-thirds of this went to French firm Comigel’s Luxembourg subsidiary Tavola and found its way into some 4.5 million products that were then sold again to 28 companies operating in 13 European countries. This may be the source of the tainted Findus “beef” lasagne (100% horsemeat) found on UK supermarket shelves.

Sound complicated? It is, but if you’re going to buy heavily processed foods you need to know this stuff – unless you’re happy to just pinch your nose and swallow.

Justice is elusive. Accused of netting some €500,000 over six months of fraud (£425,000 or US$681,000), Spanghero had been stripped of its operating license in February 2013. It then closed in June, changed managers, sacked nearly 60% of its workforce, renamed itself La Lauragaise, refinanced and was trading again by the end of July – protesting its “innocence” all the way. Then came the arrests in September. The company’s new tagline “Saveurs des terroirs” (“The flavours of the land”, with heavy overtones of traditional cultural quality) feels like a bad joke.

Flagship arrests, while welcome, are not enough. Supermarkets sold us this stuff but are not feeling the heat. The UK Parliamentary inquiry into the affair quizzed supermarket bosses, pointing out to Tesco that it is “notorious” for rejecting misshapen apples but somehow managed to miss the fact that products labelled beef were actually up to 29% horse. The Tesco representative attempted to blame consumers, saying the company does what they want, but this didn’t wash with the committee, which retorted, “You obviously don’t [do what your customers want] on horse.”

The inquiry pressed that if beef is trading at a premium to horse, and with “unscrupulous people out there, as obviously there are,” surely supermarkets should watch cheaper products more closely. Tesco said each of its suppliers is scrutinised with the same ”rigour” (Tesco does one DNA test per year at each meat production site). Horsemeat was still being found in Tesco products as late as June, but as the Food Standards Agency only reports results over 1%, for all we know horsemeat is still masquerading as beef all over the place. At this stage it isn’t in anybody’s interest to say differently, and consumers have to take what they can get.

Supermarkets sell UK shoppers 80% of our food, so when they fail us, it is a big deal. Tesco pleads innocence, saying its supplier used unapproved suppliers further down the chain. The Committee’s July 2013 report concluding its inquiry said while some retailers may have been misled, the big ones “need to ‘up their game’”, and the costs should rest on companies, not consumers. The inquiry concluded, “Retailers and meat processors should have been more vigilant against the risk of deliberate adulteration,” instead of taking everything “on trust”. The Committee continued, “We are dismayed at the slow pace of investigations and would like assurance that prosecutions will be mounted where there is evidence of fraud or other illegal activity.” That was in July 2013.

So what has the UK Government done? Testifying before the inquiry in January 2013 Minister for Agriculture and Food David Heath MP announced a wide-ranging review of the crisis, but the report was kicked into the long grass and is not due before an unnamed point in 2014, with actual action who knows when after that. Meanwhile the inquiry heard the Government is proposing to decriminalise food labelling violations amid a declining number of public analysts and labs able to carry out food testing and budget cuts to the local authorities responsible for food testing.

UK Secretary of State for Food and Farming Owen Paterson said of the horsemeat scandal: “I think we came out of it very strongly.” On addressing the scandal he said, “Firstly we are bound by the rules of the European market,” although this is a notable departure from his feelings in other areas (Paterson calls Europe’s rules on GM food “medieval” and compares them to “witchcraft”). The annual review of his department showed that fewer than a third of his staff have confidence in managerial decision making and fewer than a quarter think their management have a clear vision of the future. They are not alone.

Some say all this is proof that “Big Retail has government in an armlock”. It sure feels like they have shoppers under the other arm.

On 14 January 2014 the European Parliament passed a motion on food fraud that “deplores” that it has never been an EU enforcement priority and reiterates that “the retail sector has a special responsibility to guarantee the integrity of food products”. With supermarkets claiming innocence and the UK Government playing “hurry up and wait,” maybe the EU can force some action on our behalf.

Click (HERE) to comment directly at foodandwaterWATCH.org

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NH Boy a Vigilant Opponent of Horse Slaughter

By DAN TUOHY as published in the New Hampshire Union Leader

Gregg has mustered support among New Hampshire’s congressional delegation…”

“Our own Declan Gregg in the news, again, fighting the good fight.” ~ R.T.

Declan Gregg of Children 4 Horses and R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation speaking in Washington D.C. ~ photo by Terry Fitch

Declan Gregg of Children 4 Horses and R.T. Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation speaking in Washington D.C. ~ photo by Terry Fitch

A horse slaughter plant in New Mexico plans to open soon, which is mobilizing animal welfare advocates to repeat calls for a federal ban on slaughterhouses and horse meat for human consumption. One of these opponents is an 11-year-old boy from Greenland, N.H.

Declan Gregg, who runs the blog Children 4 Horses, keeps tabs on the bills that are in committee on Capitol Hill. He has traveled to Washington three times to fight for the bills, and he and his mother, Stacie, plan to keep pressing the case in 2014.

“It’s not good for the horses, community or public safety,” Declan Gregg said in a phone interview Friday.

Gregg, who was the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Humane Kid of the Year in 2012, continues to fight for the SAFE Act, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, a version of which was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate. That bill would prohibit the sale or transport of horses or horse parts in interstate or foreign commerce for human consumption.

It is a food safety issue, his mother said, because horses are not raised for slaughter and are routinely given medications that are labeled “not for animals intended for consumption.”

Declan Gregg was inspired to speak out two years ago, when he was 9 and noticed his mother was saddened by the horse slaughter issue. He soon found his voice, and encouraged other children to speak out, as well. He promoted letter campaigns to legislators and spoke before the politicians in Concord and in Washington, D.C.

Today, at 11, he is a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, likes drawing and enjoys playing basketball. And he’s a savvy advocate. His family does not own horses, but he says he is fighting for responsible horse ownership…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to counter some of the idiot comments directly at NewHampshire.com

December 13th: National Day of the Horse

Information Supplied by Equine Welfare Alliance; jointly supported by Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Join the event on Facebook and invite your friends and family!

National Day of the HorseThis is the 3rd Annual Event on Facebook. It’s a day to share your thoughts, photos and personal stories of how horses contribute to us, to our society and the special bond we have with horses. It’s a day to contact your legislators to urge passage of the SAFE Act, PAST Act and to enforce the 1971 Wild Horse and Burros Act.

Let’s unite and make this the largest event ever.

Join the event on Facebook and invite your friends and family!

https://www.facebook.com/events/699403540069891/

The first National day of the Horse was recognized in congress in 2004. This event was created to remind congress and others what this day and the horse represents. Congress needs to finally ban horse slaughter and pass the SAFE Act and stop the roundups of wild horses.

Please feel free to share pictures of your horses and stories about what the horse means to you.

Encouraging citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States and expressing the sense of Congress that a National Day of the Horse should be established.

Whereas the horse is a living link to the history of the United States;

Whereas, without horses, the economy, history, and character of the United States would be profoundly different;

Whereas horses continue to permeate the society of the United States, as witnessed on movie screens, on open land, and in our own backyards;

Whereas horses are a vital part of the collective experience of the United States and deserve protection and compassion;

Whereas, because of increasing pressure from modern society, wild and domestic horses rely on humans for adequate food, water, and shelter; and

Whereas the Congressional Horse Caucus estimates that the horse industry contributes well over $100,000,000,000 each year to the economy of the United States: Now, therefore, be it Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That Congress–

(1) encourages all citizens to be mindful of the contribution of horses to the economy, history, and character of the United States;

(2) expresses its sense that a National Day of the Horse should be established in recognition of the importance of horses to the Nation’s security, economy, recreation, and heritage; and

(3) urges the President to issue a proclamation calling on the people of the United States and interested organizations to observe National Day of the Horse with appropriate programs and activities.

Brave or Brutal? Arrogant or Ignorant? Princess Anne Calls for More Debate on Horse Slaughter’s Role in Welfare of All Horses

Commentary by Fran Jurga as published in Equus

The conversation she is asking for is still taboo enough to be spoken only in hushed tones or in redactable memos…

A few weeks ago, she was the darling of The Jurga Report. Readers and Facebook friends were touched by Great Britain’s Princess Anne’s recent decision to source her new riding horse from the collection of adoptables housed at a rehoming center run by World Horse Welfare.

She was the royal face for Doing What’s Right in the horse world. This week, many think she’s turned her back on welfare ethics with a call to debate the place of horse slaughter in the bigger picture of neglected and unwanted horses.

Princess Anne was talking about Great Britain and Europe, but her comments are sure to be quoted around the world. What’s interesting is the way that people are reacting to her comments, made when conducting the keynote address at the annual conference of World Horse Welfare (WHW) in London on Thursday.

You might have to watch that video clip more than once to understand the context. Should a member of the royal family be so outspoken on such a hot-button issue? Should a high-profile horsewoman be saying such things? And as the president of World Horse Welfare, shouldn’t she be much more sensitive to the plight of unwanted horses? Was she really suggesting that horse slaughter, which is completely legal and somewhat regulated in Great Britain and across Europe, might have a role to play in improving equine welfare?

While Princess Anne didn’t speak directly in favor of eating horsemeat, she only stopped just short of setting a place at the table of equine welfare advocacy for it when she suggested that the value of horses traded for meat plays a potential role in ensuring that they receive better care.

But do pounds on the hoof for the slaughterhouse scale truly translate to improvements in equine welfare for horses in countries where they are traded for meat potential at the end of their usefulness under saddle?

Let the debate begin.

The monarchy in Great Britain could be seen as a celebrity sideshow capable of expansive world-theater weddings, dramatic births, and fashion icons. It’s in the horse world that the British royal family and its horses show up with their game faces on, whether in polo, Thoroughbred racing, eventing, heavy horses, and breeding classes at horse shows. The Queen likes being photographed on horseback, in spite of her advanced years, and she certainly shows her royal displeasure when one of her horses is beaten in the homestretch at Royal Ascot.

Prince William plays polo, Zara Phillips wins Olympic medals in eventing, Prince Charles farms with heavy horses.

But it’s Princess Anne who is involved at the make-a-difference level, with her involvement in organizations like the livery of the Worshipful Company of Farriers, where she is past master, and the globally-ambitious World Horse Welfare, where she serves as president. She also was instrumental in the effort to bring the 2012 Olympics to London, and has served as president of the British Olympic Association, has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is a former Olympian herself, having represented Great Britain in eventing at the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. She was president of the FEI for eight years, from 1986 to 1994.

And it’s Princess Anne who makes waves instead of the gossip columns.

his is one royal who doesn’t just pose for photos. Don’t look for the name of her outfit’s designer in the lead sentence of articles about her.

We’ve seen her fall off her horse. We’ve seen her act like a horse show mom. When she mentions a Shetland pony wearing a blanket in her speech, she makes a face only an opinionated horse owner could make.

Her suggestion that equations between better horse care and horse meat values should be openly discussed put her in the headlines more than rescuing any horse ever could. For all the wrong reasons, soundbites from the World Horse Welfare conference can be manipulated to make it sound like she is calling for her merely mortal subjects to buck up, do the right thing and eat more horse meat.

But that’s not what she said. She was suggesting that the debate open to discuss whether an increased monetary value for horse meat might translate to a better-cared-for horse among the at-risk population in Great Britain. The debate might open with the problem that if people throw food at thin horses, colic and laminitis might be the immediate results. Would a person who has neglected a horse or who claims to be unable to afford to provide better care go to the expense of veterinary care for a sick horse?…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the story and to comment at Equus

Researchers Find Deadly Toxoplasma gondii in Horsemeat

by Christa Lesté-Lasserre as published in TheHorse.com

Toxoplasmosis in adult humans—especially the elderly and immune-deficient—can cause fever, pneumonia, heart disorders, muscular difficulties, lymphadenopathy, and death.

After all the publicized concern about the presence of phenylbutazone (Bute) in horsemeat, researchers now fear the meat could also carry the organism that causes toxoplasmosis—a potentially deadly human disease. Recent study results suggest that up to 15% of horses in Brazilian slaughterhouses and 30.5% of those in southwest China could be infected with Toxoplasma gondii.

In horse eating countries, the horse can now be added to this picture.

In horse eating countries, the horse can now be added to this picture.

Toxoplasmosis in adult humans—especially the elderly and immune-deficient—can cause fever, pneumonia, heart disorders, muscular difficulties, lymphadenopathy, and death. Frequently, infection goes unnoticed in healthy adults. But the disease is of particular concern in pregnant women, as infected fetuses can develop eye, ear, skin, and nervous system disorders.

In 2011, French researcher Christelle Pomares of the Université de Nice–Sophia Antipolis–Inserm, in Nice, reported three cases of toxoplasmosis infection in humans in France, most likely from consuming horsemeat. The cases included the death of a 74-year-old man and abortion in a 21-year-old woman due to severe fetal abnormalities. The horsemeat probably came from Brazil or Canada, according to the strain analysis, Pomares reported.

Toxoplasmosis has long been associated with cats as “carriers” of the disease caused by T. gondii oocysts—an egglike parasite structure, researchers say. Cats don’t necessarily “carry” the disease itself, but unlike other warm-blooded animals, they shed the oocysts in their feces.

Equine infection occurs through ingestion of oocyst-contaminated pasture; complicating matters is the fact that oocysts are shed in great quantities and are particularly hardy, remaining viable for months in the open environment.

In a recent study, Fernanda Evers, DMVP, PhD candidate in the Zoonosis and Public Health department at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, in Parana State, Brazil, and colleagues collected samples from 398 randomly chosen slaughter horses in six Brazilian states, which they tested using two different techniques. Combined, the techniques confirmed that 60 (15%) of the samples were positive.

Meanwhile, Chinese scientists were independently discovered a similar phenomenon in their country. Researcher Qiang Miao, PhD, of the College of Animal Science and Technology at the Yunnan Agricultural University in Kunming and colleagues tested 266 horses and 133 donkeys in slaughterhouses for T. gondii infection. They found that 81 (30.5%) of the horses and 27 (20.3%) of the donkeys were positive for T. gondii antibodies, according to their published report.

Although the disease can be dangerous in humans, few horses are affected. Toxoplasmosis rarely causes clinical signs in horses, but can cause neurologic problems such as ataxia and blindness in young or immune-deficient horses.

The study, “Diagnosis and isolation of Toxoplasma gondii in horses from Brazilian slaughterhouses,” was published in Revista Brasileira de Parasitologia Veterinária.