Horse News

Sweden on Horse Slaughter: Pumped Full of Drugs – Sold as Food

English translation courtesy of the Equine Welfare Alliance

Europe Wising Up on Tainted American Horse Meat

En häst med brutet bakben transporteras på en lastbil på väg mot ett slakteri i Mexiko. Bilden togs i samband med en granskning av hästslaktindustrin för ett par veckor sedan. Foto: Terry Torreance

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.

Click (HERE) to visit METRO website and to comment in English

20 replies »

  1. Be afraid horseflesh eaters. Be very afraid.

    Your governments and food safety agencies are lying to you…..the US is lying. Mexico is lying. Canada is lying. Offshore canner ships and live ships (Asia, mostly Japan) are lying to you.

    There is NOTHING safe about horseflesh sold as human consumption food stuffs from the abattoirs of North America. In fact, I wouldn’t touch, much more EAT horseflesh from any “purveyor”; Europe, Russia, China OR North America.

    It should have a label on it like cigarettes and liquor do in the US.


    • Thank you, Denise! You said it all, & very well. How can anyone safely consume something, especially horses, or, feed it to their own families, when it has questionable origins, & questionable safety issues. No matter where I live, or where I’m from, or what I’ve been brought up to accept, or what some people choose to eat, I would absolutely NEVER even think about eating horses!! And, I most certainly would not EVER feed it to my family. What in God’s name is wrong with the people in this world!!?? Maybe they were born without a brain, they certainly were born with no compassion or intelligence!


  2. Maybe APHIS can be shamed into action by the European consumers who are more concerned about the cruelty of transports than the agency American taxpayers fund to enforce humane transport to slaughter regs. APHIS’ idea of enforcement basically is to let the kill buyers tell them if there are violations. And for years they let kill buyers play games with the wording of the regulations, allowing double decked transports if they weren’t on the last leg of the journey. This only reminds us again that the slaughter pipeline is inherently cruel and cannot be made humane. Thanks, R.T.


    • It is my experience based on observation, ag education and food recalls that the entire food safety system is entirely based on VOLUNTARY compliance with little real time oversight and enforcement by the GOVERNMENT agencies in charge of protecting our food systems.


  3. This is so disgusting, I sometimes find it difficult to read. Again, I say with the technology today, write one of these foreign newspapers and tell them about the history of our horses. You would certainly think Europeans would be alot smarter than to consume tainted meat. The bottom line is they are probably told lies about where the meat came from. We know where it comes from and how the horses are treated. Perhaps its time to educate the Europeans first hand about our horses. Its shameful!!! When is it all going to end?


  4. I agree. Not only newspapers where the toxic meat’s sent, but maybe finding animal rights groups, government accountability groups, there are several subject matters that could be adresed through this type of report, and there are prople and groups who may seek to raise public concern to those issues as well…
    Utilize every available source to raise interest and outrage.
    Has anybody seen or heard of any prosecutions for falsification of the documents? How about an actual investigation into it by the “proper” authority?
    I wonder why…


  5. I have just sent this article to a good friend of mine in Germany, whose cousin is a doctor, asking if they can write letters to the editor in Nuremberg. I asked her to send me a copy of her letter. I wish we could get confirmation of someone who actually got sick from eating tainted horse meat. I simply cannot understand why anyone would eat horse meat knowing its potential in causing serious health problems. Even if you don’t care anything about the suffering of these animals, which is beyond comprehension to me, why would you jeopardize your own health and the health of your children?


  6. I’d like to give a “shout out” to EWA since they have been in contact with many groups in Eurpoe especially the UK getting out the word. Go by their website and you will see some of the rescues who are getting the word out over there. But we need to get more people to push out these horrible stories of what happens to our horses and when owners like me say they have given their horses the banned drugs with no records kept then maybe it will hit home with those who eat horse meat. Maybe they will take a second look at that horse meat in the grocery store counter.


  7. This is what should scare all of us. Please let this soak in. FSIS is no more effective at screening U. S. beef that is raised in this country for dangerous, banned in all food animals drugs than it was when it screened U. S. horse meat to be sold to foreign consumers.

    They use a very similar test on bovines that was formerly used on equines when they last tested equines for the purpose of detecting phenylbutazone. It uses urine which is not where the threat to human health is; the threat to human health is in the tissue itself.

    That is why we have the National Residue Program (NPR). The IG of FSIS reviewed 14 points that FSIS needed to improve in a March 2010 report, parts of which are in the Petition for Rule Making that the HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue made to the USDA.

    After a year and a half of having ranchers and pro horse slaughter people insist that veterinarian use phenylbutazone and insisting that Ivermectin is safe because it is used to treat people for certain conditions (including people in third world countries who themselves may be infested by worms).

    So I found IG’s report on FSIS and the NRP in bovines published March 2010. At the time the report was issued, Both the presence of phenylbutazone and ivermectin are considered extremely dangerous to human health as the residue of penicillin is for people who may be allergic. There were several other drugs that are used on horses that are also on the list of residues that have shown up in cows.

    Most of us have seen the FDA’s special announcement in 2003 that reminded producers of dairy cows that these cows too eventually enter the food chain, and must be treated as food animals throughout their lives which means that phenylbutazone is banned in dairy cows. In addition to dairy cows, the second population of cows that is most likely to be treated with bute is bob veal.

    Most of FSIS’s testing of bovines for banned substances is done at facilities where adulterated meat has shown up before. So, if a slaughter facility has never found bute in the urine of the animals they test, they will test fewer animals. There is no traceability because we do not have a national ID system for cattle as many equine groups are pushing for horses now with the hope that it will make it easier to sell them for slaughter.

    So, if you think that our food supply is safe because of the top-notch scientists who are keeping the U. S. in forefront of food safety. Think again. When I first learned that we were selling all these toxic horses to Europe, I did not know whether to assume that the USDA just did not care about people who did not live in this country, or if it was just totally incompetent.

    After reading this report, I can only conclude that FSIS lacks a real sense of urgency. As of the March report, FSIS was still hand tagging cattle parts. So, the only step in the process that stands between the U. S. consume picking up a package of hamburgers to grill and some of the disorders and potential sudden death from drug residues in meat tissue is the producer, the producer’s knowledge, and the producer’s willingness to follow FDA, USDA, and EPA regulations. Beef is regulated, but you have a lot of hobby farmers and then you have friends of Dave Duquette and Charlie Stenhom (who has made sure the drug issues stay out of the eyes of Congress) who insist that these drugs are no problem in cows, so why would we worry about horses?????

    Well, they can say what they want to say, but this report acknowledged the danger of drug residues (not drugs in the urine) in tissues and it is a serious issue. Some informal research I have done actually indicates that the larger the cattle operation, the more likely the chance that they will be compliant—but there have been far too many instances where people have gotten on social media and insisted that bute is being safely used in cows for me to think that this is not going on in pockets of our country.


    • Good information. I have felt the same way about what was in our meat in this country. Mother Earth News had a great article about beef that was very informative. No, the USDA and FSIS both fail to do their jobs. Everyone should be suspicious of the meat they eat. And you are right, people should watch things closely. They’ve been fooling alot of people for a very long time and the Charlie Stenholms and Sue Wallis as well as her followers and supporters will try to continue to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public for as long as they can get away with it. Every day I fear more for our wild horses and mustangs that the BLM has in captivity. What is to become of them and how can we be sure that they are not being slipped out the back door of these private contractors’ property or whether they are actually making it to the properties. It worries and sickens me. Thank you for your very informative comment.


  8. I agree we need to use even social media to network with European news agencies to at least post these issues on their pages. If they get deleted one after the other, then we know the news media over there is paid off by someone. Where are the reporters of the 1970’s? Our horses need a Woodward and Bernstein to uncover all the deep throats of horse slaughter.


  9. Wait a minute this is not a business at all.but a disgusting display of Human Greed at its height, Evil Greed……………….


  10. yes, evil greed. sinful shamful people. love of money, you know what is said about of that. shame on these humans, Karma


  11. My heart breaks with every story I read about this shameful and disgusting practice of horse slaughter. I just read that Vivian Grant, who is with Fund for Animals will be taking a European campaign trip to France and Brazil, for this purpose…educating the people about the health hazards of horsemeat. I do believe that providing the knowledge and facts on this issue, will change the hearts and minds of many. It can’t come soon enough, for me!


  12. We have to send this message to all the members of Congress that have not yet co-sponsored the Bills to end horse slaughter. We have 165 co-sponsors so far and need more. I have been faxing a few Congressmen every week and sending them articles or a copy of the legal Petition sent to the FDA from HSUS. One Congressman I contacted, Jim Cooper is now a co-sponsor and I think I got to him because I saw he sponsored legislation concerning health funding for research, etc and good environmental bills… so I knew he should be willing to consider these bills on the health issue alone if not the humane issue. We all can do this and try to get more co-sponsors.


  13. I don’t know why people seem to think horse meat should ever be on the human diet. I love meat, but I also love the intelligence and compassion that horses readily display. They are our freinds. I would never eat my freinds; especially with so many alternatives. What’s equally as disturbing is the fact that these evil people torture them in their last hours. As a hunter, I know that wild meat tastes different when it is harvested under stress. What a waste of life for a meat tainted by both chemicals and stress.


  14. This is an excellent article we should all comment on. It raises more awareness in Europe. Europeans do not know, they just dont know, trust me, I go there twice a year. There are only 15 comments so far to this actual article, and only one or two from someone who commented here.

    The most powerful way we can make our voices heard as advocates is to let media who do pieces in our favor, get a lot of responses so that it becomes a popular article, they are then more likely to do an article again, and also everyone who reads the article will see that the majority of people are against horse slaughter and why.

    Every time R.T. posts about an article, he gives the link to that article.

    Thank you horse warriors!


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