Horse News

Canadian Doc Alleges Slaughtered Horses Now Drug Free

by Dave Pink of Ontario’s Better Farming

Fraudulent Records of No Concern to CFIA Director

“Do Not Use In Horses Intended For Human Consumption”

The disclosure requirements for horses destined to be slaughtered for human consumption are working effectively to keep restricted drugs and vaccines out of the food supply, says Dr. Richard Arsenault, director of the meat programs division for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

Any horse that is to be slaughtered for food must have an Equine Information Document (EID), which tracks its history, including any drugs that might have been administered to the horse. Horses that don’t have that document won’t be slaughtered for human consumption, says Arsenault, a veterinarian.

“It’s extremely well respected in terms of compliance,” he says.

Since July 31, 2010, equine presented for slaughter have been required to have an EID, which includes a six-month documented history showing compliant drug and vaccine use. Drugs and vaccines that have been used in the last six months must be safe for use in food producing animals and the period of time since the last use must be sufficient to clear unwanted residues. The EID was made available to the public in January 2010 to allow owners enough time to comply with the July 31, 2010 implementation date.

As well, the CFIA also has a monitoring program that takes tissue samples of slaughtered animals.

Arsenault’s comments come in response to a rumour that a one-time racehorse that had been treated with the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone — better known as bute — had been sold for slaughter. But without that EID documentation no horse will be processed for human consumption, he says.

There are just four slaughter facilities for horses throughout Canada, all of them in western Canada or Quebec. It is a very small industry, says Arsenault, adding that the regulations for drug treatments in traditional meat sources such as cattle and swine have been more clearly researched and defined. Because of that there is less tolerance for horses that may have been treated with any drug.

“We’re taking steps to make sure the system is working well, and our information tells us that it is working well right now,” says Arsenault. “There’s a potential hazard, but controls are in place.”

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53 replies »

  1. Canada – 27 October 2011 – Viande Richelieu Inc. recalled certain date codes of Viande Richelieu brand Horse Meat Deboned (ground and sliced) due to the presence of drug residues in the product. .


  2. Canada Testing Stats are dismal, Per Dr Brian Evans Chief Vet Officer & Chief Food Safety Officer, 300-400 Tests both Random & Targeted are performed on 60,000^ Horse Carcasses Per Yr. Aprx. only 2% of Horses Slaughtered For Consumption are tested for Drug residue.


    • In actual fact, carcass inspection for all species is minuscule compared to the number slaughtered. This problem isn’t unique to butchered equines; live inspection in holding and transport is practically nonexistent across the board.


  3. Who is he trying to kid?!?! What about all these racing TB’s that are still making their way over there with false papers. I.know of two this week that went.


    • Forget the racehorses, I have 7 horses now that are just pets, and I don’t think I’ve ever owned a horse who I haven’t given bute to at one point or another.


    • Gail: probably the same two TB that I know of that left Mountaineer race track and in a flash were “processed” in CA..even though they had a home to go to. 😦 Course they never had any drugs in their system……


      • Paula, go back and read some of the comments on The Kentucky Derby: The Ultimate Blood Sport on this website…..there are names and addresses and phone numbers to use if people want to protest what happened to those two unfortunate race horses,Cactus Cafe and Canuki.

        The owner/trainers (alleged) of last record, and the names of CEO and CFO of the company that owns and runs Mountaineer Race Track are in the comments on that site.
        It was inexcusable and cruel and should not fade away without a lot of complaints to Mountaineer’s corporate office. They should be ashamed and embarrassed by the incident particularly when it has been said that it would not happen there anymore.

        And why was a slaughter truck parked outside of the track’s property? If indeed the officials of that track are enforcing no slaughter from this track, they should call the cops and get him out of there or have their security talk to the driver themselves.

        I know they can’t enforce anything on public property but they can sure let him know that they are watching. How did the two horses get on the truck, were they walked out of the track’s area or were they trailered to a nearby location? This has got to stop.

        If they drivers of the trucks to slaughter are not allowed to be anywhere near the race tracks, it would at least make it more difficult for them to “fill their load’ conveniently from the tracks.


  4. To me the lies all around about everything horse related is PURE GREED , There is no need to subject the horses to a cruel unnatural death , it keeps getting more unbelievable , why must Greed be directed straight at the horses, why dont they concentrate on ridding the US of the disease carrying rats……….. The horrific round ups(unnecessary} the horrific Slaughter of horses our Allies , Icons , Living breathing magnificent , our companions, healers and teachers????? the ones who give their services to us completely unselfiously for decades…… I can only think these people are Morons unwilling to accept the truth and want to grotesquely murder what is the beauty and power of America., is there nothing sacred anywhere any more??????


  5. I don’t believe a word they say: This just happen with 2 TB of the race track in Ohio…
    It is with great sadness and heavy heart that I must inform everyone who has private emailed me and reading on my wall that Canuki and Cactus Cafe were sent to slaughter by Mark Wedig on Thursday of last week. They were SLAUGHTERED Friday May 4, 2012, Mary Johnson was to pic them up On May 5 He admitted having done so to another trainer who was attempting to buy themback from him. In this process of trying to find and save them before it was to late reminding you they were already safe, we did find another TB Blues House at New Holland and saved her from the KB.

    Wedig tried to surrender his license to Mountaineer track and they refused, they took it instead so that he can never get his license back to race there again. Both Beulah Park and Mountaineer tracks stepped up to the plate.

    Barbara Price the owner /trainer knowingly sold those horses for 50.00 each, to Wedig without having the right to sell them, as she abandoned them at Beulah park so they rightfully were not her horses anymore.knowing they were going to go to slaughter. We will not forget them and will not let their deaths be in vain. Steps are being taken to ensure that neither of these trainers ever race in the US again. We as a group will continue to fight for Justice for Canuki and Cactus Cafe.. the will not die in Vain
    By: Mary Adkins-Matthews


    • I live in Ohio , and i am so saddened by this senseless thoroughly horrible action that took place here in Ohio, not that it makes much difference but Mountaineer is in West Virginia, it doesnt matter where it happened but that it did ……. RIP Canuki and Cactus Cafe, Thank You for caring so deeply to not let them die in Vain !!! If I can help in any way please let me know !!!!!!!


    • That’s so sad…These people have NO hearts. Poor souls. I know there is an article about this out there somewhere but, I haven’t come across it as of yet. Can you please post the link?


    • Good Heavens,
      blues HouseHad Mr. Prospector, Secretariat and Northern Dancer in her pedigree. And only 3yrs or 4. What hideous people these are.


    • What about Edward Anthony who was listed as an owner of Cactus Cafe? Was he in on this?

      Barbara Price, Mark Wedig and Edward Anthony,if he was involved, should all be barred from racing permanently. There is no excuse for this.

      It was first said that the horses were sent from Mountaineer, now being said from Beulah Park. I guess Ms. Price moved them from Mountaineer to Beulah Park before she abandoned them and then sold them illegally to Mark Wedig.

      I don’t know how much horses are being auctioned for slaughter or how much per pound the sellers are getting, but THIS BLOOD MONEY will follow these people for the rest of their lives.

      How dare they profess to be professionals in the sport of racing and then betray the very animals that they work with every day!!!


    • Barbara Price had a horse in a race at Beulah Park In January of this year. It finished about second to last Wonder if it went to Canada. I tried to look up more info on her but didn’t find much. I’ll search these comments for the contacts someone mentioned.


  6. What we need is Race Horse Police to moniter all the Race tracks and Owners and trainers…………… Sign me up !!!!!


  7. then the canadian buyers of american horses need to be held accountable for ‘receiving stolen property’ in knowingly buying horses that are quite often STOLEN in the united states. receiving stolen property here is illegal. how many parents have had to tell their child that their beloved pet has been stolen and sent to slaughter.


  8. What a bunch of BS!! How the heck would the CFIA or the KBs or the guy working at the slaughterhouse ever know IF I or anyone else EVER administered any Bute to any of my horses or from previous owners? I sure don’t ask if my horses have ever been given Bute when I purchase them. All of my horses have had Bute during their lives with me. It’s just something they need hopefully only once in a while.


  9. * Note to arlene:
    Both of these horses were hauled out of Beulah Park in Ohio on Tuesday afternoon, May 1st, by Mark Wedig, he is based out of Mountaineer, West Virginia.


    • Thank You Lisa , I thought 1 from mountaineer and 1 from Beulah ….. Thank you for clearing it up for me……..,


  10. Eh–what?? So trucks are stopped at the border and there are actual documents for each horse on the truck? So where are all these EID documents “stored” after the animals have been delivered? Can I access them? And are drug free horses slaughtered at a different plant than drug-laced horses–so the products are separate and identified? Who is consuming the drug-laced meat? Humans? Zoo animals? House pets? So many questions for Dr.Arsenault–but I know he’s got it all under control.


    • Back on March 24, in an article in the New York times — the article called mangled horses-maimed jockeys~~It states: and this is a quote from the artcle:

      Laboratories cannot yet detect the newest proformance – enhancing drugs, while trainers experiment with anything that might give them and edge, including chemicals to bulk up cattle and pigs before slaughter, cobra venom, viagra, blood doping agents, stimulants and cancer drugs.

      Illegal doping, racing officals say, often accurs on private farms, before horses are shipped to the track

      They are pharmacist shops, said Dr. George Maylin, the long time head of New York states testing Laboratory Nobody has control over what they are doing.


  11. Yeah RIGHT!!! Oh and I have a bridge for sale in SF, wanna buy it? Do these people think I am going to believe that??? Sounds like that MD must be on drugs, or maybe he’s been eating too many horse burgers! What an idiot. Sounds like all the pro slaughter people have a very limited intelligence level to me.


  12. This person is a MD? That’s a scary thought!!! Another idiotic comment from greedy, horse eating fools. Someone should let the doctor know that all that meat consumption causes limited cognitive abilities, as well as heart attacks. We know your heart is not working since you have no compassion. STOP THE HORSE SLAUGHTER IN CANADA AND THE USA. We don’t want their blood on our land. We happen to love horses!!!!


  13. This is a far bigger issue than what meets the eye. I recently talked with a gentleman who spends a good deal of time out West. He shared with me that Canada has far laxer standards for what drugs can be used in beef and how the beef is raised, so that in areas of our country that import beef from Canada, our farmers and ranchers are at a competitive disadvantage. I can’t imagine that any of the areas I usually travel here on the East coast and throughout the South would ever import beef from Canada as there are hundreds, thousands of cows within five to fifteen minutes of most urban and suburban areas.

    However, I was alarmed when I learned that Canada has more lax standards than the U. S. The U. S. has standards throughout the life of a cow, but it is up to the producer to see that he or she follows those standards. What my research has shown is that beef produced by large producers is likely to be safer than beef produced by smaller producers because inspectors are more likely to visit these places, and the people who work on large feed lots are more educated on what is and is not permitted. Nonetheless, anyone can lease and pasture and fill it with cows. You don’t have to know a thing about what you are doing anyone more than you have to have any knowledge of horses or dogs to purchase one of these companion animals.

    Our inspection system for beef with regard to drug residues is ineffective and inefficient. If any citizen consumes beef produced by an uneducated cattle person, we are at risk to any of the same ailments that people who consume horse meat tainted by drugs. The IG’s FSIS report on residues in beef indicates that very, very few carcasses are inspected, and even if they are inspected, the tests used to pick up the residues aren’t likely to detect the presence of the drug.

    How, we ask, will a test that tests the urine in a cow or a horse, detect the presence of a drug or the drug’s metabolite in the muscle tissue? It won’t because it can’t. How much training in the scientific method does one need to determine something so obvious?

    The truth of the matter is that if we cannot depend on the Food Safety Inspection Service to prevent tainted beef from entering the food supply, They inspect far too few carcasses. They don’t seem to even understand where the danger lurks for the consumer. They do not have a test that works to measure not only the residues of phenylbutazone, which is the biggest threat from legal drugs for horses not raised for food, but they do not have timely, effective tests to measure residue from drugs such as penicillin which many people are allergic to.

    One cannot help but raise serious questions such as:

    Why do we have a Food Safety Inspection Service?
    Does the Food Safety Inspection Service exist to prevent illness in the consumer or does it exist to protect the financial interests of the producer?

    If we have such a lax attitude about keeping U. S. citizens free from food residue illnesses and death in the meat that most American’s enjoy and include in our diets, what kind of attitude and more importantly, policies and regulations can the consumers in other countries expect?

    Thanks for this article. It is interesting timing coming so soon after my conversation regarding Canadian food safety regarding beef which Canada exports to the U. S. or to other countries in competition with U.S., apparently with the ability to undercut our producers since their regulations are less rigid.

    I am more than a little angry about this. I have a friend who nearly died as result of e. coli infection a couple of months ago. Several of her organs are damaged, and her life is changed forever.

    There is a lack of a sense of urgency is protecting our food supply. We protect our food supply from terrorist (s), but we don’t seem to be able to protect our food supply from our own ignorance, apathy, or greed from the meat industry lobby. I am starting to think the meat industry lobby runs the world—and from what I have seen of these folks—this is a very, scary thought.


    • Hoofhugs~~when you talk about lax standards, I know what you mean-most of the chain super markets here, (Denver,CO.) even costco and sams, when you look at the beef – be it a roast or steak or hambuger, most of the time will be marked—Product of USA, Mexico or Canada( I assume even they are not sure where the meat is from). Although I do not eat meat personally-my family does, and I do buy from small farmers that I know and can go anytime to view how they handle their animals and it is always with respect for the animal —- but I must admit it took several farms to find one I felt treated the animals with compasion. In my research to find the best and safest food for my family I to have worries about our food supply and our governments lack of concern for our health and safety. Yes scary-very scary.


      • I had and would continue to have no idea that farming and ranching were as different as they are now from the memories I have from living on my grandfather’s dairy farm in the 50’s. Horse slaughter has taught me much more than I ever wanted to know.


      • The whole mess just turns my stomach. I have stopped buying butter, eggs and milk from anyone but local farmers. When I eat meat it is local also. I have it good because I live in a rural area and there are farms all around me who I can check up on myself to see how they handle and care for their animals. For instance, after viewing the factory milk cows that Land-O-Lakes uses for their butter and cheese I have chosen to boycott the product. Recently the factory was closed down due to it’s cruel animal management.

        In relation to horses, the idea of eating them is not an American choice so why the hell would we slaughter and butcher them or Canada or overseas consumption. It would be a hell of a shame if we started doing that again. We need to press for a change in how horses are labeled. If they are called Livestock then it’s a open hay day for the pro-slaughter people. Our government and the Canadian government need to re-list them as Domestic Pets. I mean we aren’t eating our dogs and cats. Then they can shove that slaughter Bill up their Fat Behinds; and all those money hungry slugs can go back into the slimy holes they crawled out of.


  14. Most of us come here because we are concerned about issues related to equine welfare, and R. T. you are the daily newspaper of the blogosphere for equine welfare related issues for those of us concerned with slaughter and wild horses and burros. But a lot of us start asking questions because we see so much that is, but should not be–so we start asking how, why, who, when, where, what and the truth is that truth is illusive—hard to find and hard to believe when we find it.


  15. The other concern is Wild Horses will be targeted for slaughter because if taken straight off the range in Canada or the US they don’t have drugs in them. Or they will raise horses just for horse meat. The only way out for horses is to END ALL HORSE SLAUGHTER because it’s inhumane!


  16. What if… auctions barns and boarder crossing inspection stations had wands to check horses for “NOT FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION” microchips. The chip contains identifying data and info saying this horse may NEVER be slaughtered (or leave this country or state for any reason). Contact: ‘XYZ’ to report any attempt to take this horse over any boarder. Horse owners could pay a small fee to pay for the wands and chips. I’m all for voluntarily registering my horses in a DO NOT slaughter database. Ethical breeders could voluntarily do the same, racetracks could make it mandatory to chip horses or they would not be allowed to race. This is just one idea to help stop the flow of America’s horses to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses. Without the seemingly endless supply of our horses, they might be forced out of business. We can only hope.


    • The Micro-chip is a good idea in theory at this point. However, in an article (written I believe by Debbie Coffey), it was stated that these Micro-chips can be altered somehow. It doesn’t sound like the technology is that reliable at this point—but, I have not researched this issue thoroughly myself. Debbie is a pretty good source of information, but I am not absolutely certain she was the author of this particular article.

      The second problem I thought of, and remember who we are dealing with and the pictures we have seen, is that even if a horse did have such a microchip, that it would not be inconceivable that these killer buyers would cut a horse’s ear off or cut out an inch of flesh to remove such a chip. Any individual that can transport horses whose eyes he has poked out with the impunity that we see over and over and over again, is capable of cutting out a microchip. I think the idea of a pass port system like the ones that the Europeans are supposedly using is more complicated, but it holds everyone involved with an individual horse throughout the horse’s life accountable for what happens to that animal.

      What a farce human beings hoping to profit from the flesh of our animals have made of the very concepts of food safety, animal health, and the word humane. These people are vultures, but they sit in rows inspecting contaminated meat from horribly abused animals and give the meat a grade A.

      I grew up in one of the most beautiful areas in the world. It is full of rolling pastures, trees, fences of all types, animals of various species grazing the hillsides, clean rivers, woodlands populated with wildlife, very pastoral. There was a large turkey farm, and when you rounded the turn from the hillside road above the farm, you could see hundreds of turkeys outside the barn, around the pond, living in one of the most beautiful, idyllic settings imaginable. Yes, the animals would be destined to become food someday, but they lived like turkeys and I never worried that they were being treated cruelly—ever. Every kid I grew up with was in 4-H though not everyone raised animals for a project.

      I have held farmers in high esteem throughout my life, and will continue to do so on an individual basis, but realizing that people like David Duquette, Sue Wallis, Charlie Stenholm, John Falen, Frank Losey, and some of the other characters in the American Tragedy we are all witnessing are the anointed and self-appointed tools of the meat industry, I have become somewhat cynical. The meat industry is fueling the demise of our wild horses.

      Once the HSUS got to the point where it was demonstrating that excess wild horses could be prevented through birth control and that is what the public and Congress apparently expected, excess wild horses are no longer available for ranchers to cull and sell as prime, unadulterated horse meat, so the wild horses and burros on our public lands are no longer profitable as an under the table industry for ranchers and the BLM. No excess horses means no culls for these meat marketers.

      What do you think happens to our wild horses when they are gathered up on private ranchers where there are nonexistent road signs and people carrying guns threatening to incarcerate advocates who might get lost on private property? If the BLM and their rancher pals were doing everything on the up and up, they could do it on pubic land under the light of the sun, but that is not what is happening.

      Wild horses may not be aliens, but they can be converted into meat, they can be experimented on to see how many days they live after being spayed. There are about three people on that advisory board I’d trust with a horse and that’s it.


    • You ramble well. I totally agree with everything you said; and it’s only oing to get worse until Congress does something about it.


    • hh- My hope would be to stop most of the horses from being bought by the killers in the first place. Like having an alarm sign on your house or a noisy dog. Burglars are thieves and kill buyers are criminals, taking the easy way and avoiding the homes with barking dogs and horses with micro-chips. May make those horses with micro-chips “too hot to handle”. As far as the technology goes anything can be “hacked” There will always be horses not chipped but for people who care, this could be just one answer.


      • Sorry, but microchips would not help in the least. The slaughterhouses just won’t check for them, the way they don’t do now and didn’t in the past. Microchips and tattoos and brands and freezebranding and papers saying Return to Breeder only work if attention is paid. Attention is only paid now when they carve the brand off a horse’s skin, or cut the chip out if they find it, so as to AVOID not butchering the horse. (The only way a microchip helps is if they don’t notice it and it damages their butchering machinery. But that doesn’t help the horse being butchered, only harms the profits.)

        And the kill-buyers aren’t going to invest in microchip readers so as to avoid acquiring horses that have them, and the auctions aren’t going to either — things like that only work when there is good faith in operation. Kill-buyers and kill auctions don’t want to know if a horse is stolen or wanted back by someone — they only want the money for the meat.


      • My hope would be to stop most of the horses from being bought by the killers in the first place. Slaughterhouses don’t need to check for them, only the auctions. You are right the kill-buyers aren’t going to invest in microchip readers to avoid acquiring horses that have them, but “we” can (try to) make it mandatory for auction barns to have them in order to keep operating. The auction must announce right up front these horse are chipped, and (hopefully) no killers will bid on them. Why would they go through the trouble? Not perfect but we are all here to discuss ideas and ways to to improve on the current system. Even when slaughter is made illegal there will still be horses thieves. Yes, there has to be some cooperation and the government has got to enforce the laws, and yes, we have a very long row to hoe.


      • Yes, that would be great if auctions would check, but I won’t hold my breath — AND, why wouldn’t a kill buyer bid on a chipped horse? He could just lie and say he was buying it for resale if anyone asked — and in fact some kill buyers do acquire horses to sell on to others. (The slaughterhouses in the US were required to look for chips but they didn’t — not sure what the regs are in Canada and Mexico.) Once they drive away with the horse, if it goes to slaughter nobody is going to know it’s chipped.


      • Having seen what some kill buyers are willing to do to horses, I am a little concerned that some of them woud cut the chip out if they knew where they were located.


  17. What a crock of pure unadulterated bull crap. How can they put out propaganda like this. All horses are treated with workers and bute and steroids and other medications that would be harmful for humans to ingest. I would love to be an inspector and check those documents. Damn, that’s a lot of horses that I wouldn’t pass; and who could not be slaughtered for human consumption. How do Hy get away with saying this. The public is so uninformed and the government agencies just lie their asses off and John Q. Public just nods his head and says “yessiree and thankee sir.” Disgusting.


  18. The link to Better Farming at the top of this Comments string should simply be — if you do go there, I hope you will be heartened by the sensible comments that have been posted. They all so far seem to understand the issues and the ridiculousness of what Arsenault is saying.


  19. The Government has been plaining this for years , they have been stock piling Wild mustangs , just to Slaughter them all along , if this is not the Horse slaughter conspiracy I dont know what is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  20. What crock of horse dung……….we just had two beautiful race horses that already had a home in place and were scheduled for pick up for their new homes in Ohio. Sold illegally to a kill buyer knowing that they were rehomed for $50 lousy bucks a piece. They went to Canada straight from the KB/trainer who picked them up at race track barn. They didn’t go there to see the scenery…….they were slaughtered, with bodies filled with bute and banned medications. You LIE for greed. It’s an easy fix though. Our corrupt, greed filled good old boys in Washington D.C. that we pay to pass the legistlation sitting on a desk, need to get off their arses and put S1176 & HR2966 into law or get the hell out of office.


    • I just googled S1176 & HR2966 this page was near the top:

      How can people continue to believe there is “humane euthanasia at a USDA-inspected processing plant” ??? It has been proven over and over there is no such thing. Just one time we need to get somebody to testify in front of congress, armed with video footage from as many slaughterhouses as they can get their hands on. I know there are a number of states, (New Jersey is now trying) passing legislation to outlaw slaughter, we can only hope (and support) every state that follows, Texas, Illinois, California and ????


  21. Wow, what a joke!!! Like everything else government-related, what gets said is quite different from what gets done. Without a doubt, horses who have received bute have been slaughtered for food. But yeah, Dr. Arsenault, you just keep on lying to yourself, if it makes you feel better. You’re either incredibly naive or incredible self-unaware.


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