Equine Rescue

An End to Canada’s Horse Slaughter Industry in Sight?

Horse Racing

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Press Release from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

99% of Thoroughbreds have been administered drugs that are prohibited in the food chain

Orangeville, Ontario:  On May 31, 2012, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) released its report “CFIA and the Art of Evasion”, http://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/cfia-and-the-art-of-evasion.pdf, in response to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s deflection tactics to questions concerning the welfare of horses in Canada’s horse slaughter plants, as well as the safety of horsemeat for human consumption.

On the same day, the Daily Racing Forum reported that two slaughterhouses, Bouvry Exports in Fort Macleod, Alberta, and Viandes Richelieu in Massueville, Quebec, will no longer be accepting Thoroughbreds: http://www.drf.com/news/canadian-slaughterhouse-firm-no-longer-accepting-thoroughbreds.

Thoroughbreds comprise approximately 14% of the total number of horses slaughtered in Canada for the meat market.  The vast majority of horsemeat is shipped overseas to Europe and Asia for human consumption.  It is a known fact that 99% of Thoroughbreds in the racing industry, at some point in their careers, have been administered drugs such as phenylbutazone, which are prohibited from entering the food chain.

Today we ask the CFIA:  What now?  This news may be the beginning of the decline of the horsemeat industry.  Thoroughbreds are not the only horses to receive drugs prohibited from being used for human consumption.  Horses from all directions enter the slaughter market.  They come from trail riding businesses, family farms, the rodeo circuit, and other facets of the racing industry, such as Standardbred harness racing and Quarter Horse racing.

The CFIA relies heavily upon an Equine Information Document (EID) system to determine whether horses headed for slaughter have been administered drugs.  However, this faulty system is, in turn, reliant upon the honesty of irresponsible owners wishing to offload their horses, as well as unscrupulous feedlot operators whose only interest in horse slaughter is the profit that can be made from this practice.

The safety of Canadian horsemeat cannot be guaranteed.  Neither is equine slaughter a humane process.  It is fraught with animal welfare violations, as proven by numerous undercover investigations:  http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/investigations.html

Today, we further ask the Thoroughbred racing industry:  What now?  The slaughter option has been removed from two large Canadian slaughter plants.  Will the industry now begin to truly work to protect its race horses through industry subsidized adoption programs and promote responsible horse husbandry that will include retainment and rehoming of Thoroughbreds, instead of silently allowing the untimely deaths of the very horses who make their industry possible?

The Canadian government can run, but it cannot hide from the truth.  There is no such thing as the humane slaughter of an easily-panicked flight animal such as the horse.

Further, there is no way to guarantee that the meat of horses can be free from drug contaminants.  They are our companions and our working partners, and many have been medicated with substances that can be risky to human health if consumed.

Canada must abolish horse slaughter without delay.

Click (HERE) to visit CHDC’s blog and to Comment

11 replies »

  1. A lot of the tbs will be shipped to Mexico now, which is why the pending federal legislation must be passed.


    • Last I heard, Mexico is now rejecting some poor condition equines and KBs have been dumping former HCHS equines that were rejected into the deserts along the southern border after rejection.

      But this is a start….the comment that most well cared for equines have been given prohibitive drugs is the bigger concern.

      They (Canada) are nixing TBs because of a very well done study (Marini, et al) and drug reporting within racing has been done (per racing competition requirements)….ergo, carcasses are traceable. Warmbloods, etc are an entirely different matter.

      We will see.


  2. The April 2012 issue of Horse & Rider contained an article which discussed the “unwanted horse” situation in the U.S. It appeared to be extremely pro slaughter to me, so I requested Fitch and/or Finch (sounds like a law firm!!) to write a rebuttal. Nothing has been published in H&R except MY letter (amongst others). Most of the other letters were neutral or pro-slaughter. Its on page 14 if anyone subscribes.


    • Yes, i saw that article too and i cancelled my subscription! I will not subscribe to any pro slaughter horse magazine!


      • Perhaps places that carry the magazine as an “off the shelf” item will refuse to carry it. If no one buys it, they will automatically.

        Once the truth finally soaks into people’s heads about how the AQHA, AHC, AVMA, AAEP, and others have misrepresented this entire issue, they are going to feel so angry and betrayed that they ever trusted these charlatans.

        It gives me pause to think that we are devoting so much time, energy, and money to an issue that on the surface seems like it is about horses, horse welfare, land-use, and now, meat. With the exception of meat, a pretty big exception for our population, it looks like this isn’t such a big issue, but when one considers all we have learned through this, it makes one skeptical, to say the least, about so many more issues.

        Tough course in “Busting Idealism 501”.


  3. This only means that there is still more work to be done. Also, instead of going to Canada, they will go to Mexico. The Canadians will still slaughter other horses and we must fight on……


  4. Again, we must educate the Europeans who devour the meat. I can’t believe that people would consume meat when they know its contaminated. I would make an educated guess and say that the sellers of American horse meat do not inform their consumers. Whether they get if from Canada or Mexico, the meat is still tainted and still cause cancer plus other problems. It still is a business which makes massive amounts of money for all involved in the slaughter pipeline. I wonder how much horse meat is consumed in Mexico or do they ship it all overseas. To me they are a backward country and the power to control is beyond belief. They kill and decapitate humans so a horse is nothing to them. A lot of the horse publications want to be where the money is. However, encourage people to stop their subcriptions if there are not two sides presented as in this very no brainer subject.


  5. Unfortunately, I expect Mexico will be more than happy to slaughter the Thoroughbreds Canada turns away. BUT, this is a start. Now, if we can get Canada to realize that other breeds of American horses are routinely treated with bute and other drugs prohibited from the food chain.
    With Canada and Europe becoming more concerned about the drugs used on our domestic horses, all I can say is, heaven help the 45,000+ captured, drug free, once free roaming wild mustangs the BLM would like to see sent to slaughter.


  6. Cindy, I agree that the BLM would revel at the first opportunity to send those 45,000 wild mustangs to slaughter, it would end their self made ‘problem’ of what to do with them. I think they are hanging onto them until the time is right, many of these are over the age of adoption and the 3 strike rule will allow this to happen quite ‘legally’. It’s a very sad situation for these horses who should still be out roaming free in their allotted ranges. After all the work that Wildhorse Annie did back then for their freedom, she would turn in her grave now if she knew.


  7. Yes, without a doubt, this should be good news, at least for some thoroughbreds, though not all, & what about all the other horses? There will always be a black market for those people who continue to demand, even crave, horse-meat (GROSS!! SICK!! It’s really hard to even type that dreaded word!). At some point, the way our human society is becoming more & more brutal, sick, cruel, greedy, obsessive, & just plain pathetic, some idiots out there may start breeding horses in captivity, just like cattle & other food animals, & raise them as food animals, without any banned drugs, just to support this horrific “lust” for a more or less, forbidden “food”. Prohibition didn’t stop booze, raising the price of cigarettes won’t stop all from smoking, making laws doesn’t keep them from being broken. I’m very afraid that if people are forced to stop something, they will want it even more! So sad!!


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