English translation courtesy of the Equine Welfare Alliance
Europe Wising Up on Tainted American Horse Meat
Toxic horse meat imported into the EU and Sweden from South America and above all Mexico may contain substances which are directly dangerous to humans.
Several Swedish meat processing companies state that they import horse meat from South America and that the importation to a large extent takes place via Belgium.
– Meat that is inspected at any border of the EU is free to be sold on the Swedish market and is not affected by the NFA controls, writes Susanne Thofelt Berger at the National Food Administration in an email.
Many of the horses that are slaughtered in Mexico are old end-of life competition horses – and race horses – from the United States. Where, during their competition careers are often treated with different types of preparations, such as phenylbutazone – a means which according to Irish Veterinary Record can cause serious and fatal allergic reaction, and serious blood disease in humans.
In Sweden, the horses at some point in their lifetime been treated with phenylbutazone never be used as food.
A study the New York Times made showed that 99% of race horses in California 2010 competed with phenylbutazone in the body, and that the majority of these went to slaughter.
Horses from the United States to be slaughtered in Mexico must be accompanied by a document where the owner certify that the horse has not been received no unauthorized substances at least 180 days back in time.
The problem is that those transporting horses to slaughter houses and signs the certificates, at best, bought the horses within the month, at worst, within only a few hours. It is thus impossible for the last owner to know something about horses’ history.
Consignments of horse meat from Mexico must under EU-directive tested for hormonal and growth promoting agents. But in the controls they do not trace other active substances. In reality, the horse meat as consumers throughout the EU buy very well may contain residues of potentially deadly substances.
Horses are tortured during transport
Horses slaughtered in Mexico and Canada for the European market are subjected to unimaginable suffering. This has animal rights organizations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico reported on for years.
The horses are bought up by “kill buyers” at auctions in the U.S. and then shipped long distances by truck to Mexico or Canada – but food and water. According to regulations, the horses are fed at least six hours prior to departure, but may then be shipped in 28 hours.
Recent photos show horses that are densely packed in more than 20 hours in 100+ degree heat on overcrowded truck beds on their way through Texas, to Mexican slaughterhouses. At the border, the truck was stopped for more than four hours before it was allowed to run again. The heat rose significantly under the plastic roof.
Documents from the border between Texas and Mexico from one day in January of this year show that out of five loads of horses on the way to a slaughter house which export horse meat to Europe, twelve of the animals so severely injured that they were not brought into the country. The injuries were bone and vertebral fractures, serious damage to eyes and large wounds. Five horses were so weak they could not stand up.
Reports of abuse and violence against slaughtering horses even at auction, loading and unloading and at slaughter are both from Canada and Mexico.
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