Horse News

The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International Call for a Moratorium on the Sale of Horse Meat from North America

Source: Human Society of the United States

“The European Commission must act quickly and place a moratorium on the sale of all horse meat products that originate from North America…”
Phenylbutazone, a human carcinogen, is prevalent in U.S. horse meat, along with numerous other drugs banned by the FDA in food animals. (photo: Animal Rescue Unit)

Phenylbutazone, a human carcinogen, is prevalent in U.S. horse meat, along with numerous other drugs banned by the FDA in food animals. (photo: Animal Rescue Unit)

BRUSSELS – As the European Union grapples with an extreme and growing lack of consumer confidence in the quality and origin of meat products labelled as beef but containing large quantities of misidentified horse meat, The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International call on EU leaders to take a holistic approach to reforming this food import and distribution industry.

EU consumers expect a precautionary and thorough approach to addressing fraud and ensuring safety. The European Commission must act quickly and place a moratorium on the sale of all horse meat products that originate from North America and other countries that do not meet the EU’s food safety regulations. Additionally, horse slaughter is an inhumane and cruel practice, as horses endure horrific, long-distance transports.

The HSUS and HSI first called on the Commission in early 2012 to investigate concerns that horse meat originating from performance and race horses, particularly from the United States, cannot be regulated into compliance with strict EU standards. In February and May of 2012, the organizations sent letters warning the Commission of this potential threat to food safety. These letters, containing detailed information, were ignored. HSI and The HSUS raised concerns that the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office audit report carried out in November 2011 concluded that traceability and treatment records of horses transported to slaughter from U.S. origins are “insufficient” to meet the EU’s requirements for ensuring food safety.

There can be no doubt that substantial numbers of the more than 100,000 American horses slaughtered each year in North America, and sold to Europe, have been administered veterinary drugs, at odds with the lifetime ban on these substances for food animals.

“There is virtually no horse racing around an American track or on exhibition in the show ring who has escaped a prescription for pain-masking drugs clearly prohibited for use in food animals under EU regulations,” said Holly Hazard, senior vice president for equine protection for The HSUS. “In addition, there is no way to track illegal substances such as dermorphin (tree frog juice) routinely used by unscrupulous horse trainers to enhance performance because laboratories wouldn’t even know to test for these drugs. Sport, working, companion and performance horses do not belong in the food supply as the meat simply cannot be guaranteed safe.”

It is unacceptable and irresponsible that the Commission has yet to take adequate action with respect to North American horse meat imports, when audits carried out by its own Food and Veterinary Office have consistently highlighted that the systems put in place by Canada and Mexico are fundamentally flawed. This is due to the fact that, unlike in the EU, there is no mandatory requirement in the U.S. for horse owners to keep lifetime medical treatment records for their animals.

While an audit system may be a deterrent for unscrupulous dealers trying to outwit the food supply system, it will have no impact on tainted horse meat originating from North America because the animals are not intended for food, often have between five and six owners before being sold for slaughter, and have no documentation of medical care. The only way to ensure a safe and compliant food chain is to mandate that only animals raised for food be allowed to enter the food chain.

24 replies »

  1. Now that Oklahoma thinks they can slaughter horses ( not a done deal yet…..keep the pressure up on those legislators), the US will be sending a message to Europe, the horse meat the US sends is not tainted with drugs because the horses they want to slaughter are the WILD HORSES. YOUR MUSTANGS! Of course they do not have drugs in them. Damn those greedy buggers.


    • just so those, who are not in the know. reading this, understand….WILD HORSES ARE SHOT FULL OF DRUGS AFTER THEY ARE CAPTURED……..AND TRANSPORTED TO THEIR CONCENTRATION CAMPS (called longterm or short term holding by the BLM)


  2. Hopefully these easily “exploited” loopholes in US law get closed up quickly … thank goodness for people who care! You need an “Ombudsman” to watch out for unscrupulous Government employees who think they’re above the Law.


    • Plus a lot of the wild horses have been given anti-fertility drugs throughout the years. Who knows what effect these drugs would have on the human reproduction system? Have there ever been any studies done on this? I also imagine that most of them have been given given wormers, vaccinations, etc as part of the overall care. And even if there were documents stating that any horse hasnt been given any drugs within a certain time period, can we believe that any kill buyer isnt going to just lie on those forms? I shouldnt think that this country would want to be exporting tainted meat that may sicken thousands of people and maybe face the lawsuits from the fallout of that!


  3. Good for HSUS!! I am glad they are finally going above and beyond for the horses. I hope they can work their magic and save our horses.


  4. How about a moratorium on all horse slaughter HSUS, How about a moratorium on all Round ups HSUS, How about showing compassion for the Horses for a Change ???????? After all HSUS you are suppose to be a Animal Humane Society !!!!!!! Which does include Horses doesnt it????? Start putting your compassion where it belongs SAVE the Mustangs !!!!!!!!!!


  5. They certainly need to get on the stick…because I have a good idea the horse meat was generated from the US. Too bad for the Europeans they will be eating cancer burgers and
    steaks…They are the ones who need to step up to the plate and SAY NO MORE!!!


  6. best argument so far..thank you..I spend alot of hot air explaining this very thing to commenters on different news stories and blogs..I raise these very points to people claiming it is safe and a good protein source..I have raised horses for over 40 years and know when you get to the race and show ring…the people experiment with all kinds of drugs not being tested for yet..I caught my in house trainer early one morning giving a shot mainline to a weanling futurity filly asked him what he was given..oh just b-vitamins..couple of days later a box was shipped to me at the ranch address..from a vet and horse breeder from contained bottles of strychnine..when I asked him what the hell he was doing with this crap he told me he was using it on the baby to increase her appetite…he went down the road immediately, with me kicking his butt all the way…geldings acting like stallions because they are being given steroids and testosterone to build muscle..people want to win at any cost and take shortcuts. .I still have misgivings about horses receiving west nile vaccines when there is no approved drug for human use, and yes PZP-22 is supposed to last 4 years for birth control..the BLM and humane society better speak to this issue…as both are responsable for introducing this and could be named as co-defendants in a lawsuit involving the HSUS better speak out…


    • The time to use PZP on the herds was before they feel below genetically nonviable numbers which is not the case. Please call your Senators and let them know that you oppose the confirmation of Sally Jewel until Secretary Salazar is forced to come clean about his wreckless plan to destroy an American treasure by genetically collapsing them from within. There are many other unethical, immoral, and illegal practices under his administration and there should be a full public hearing for them. He needs to be in prison.


  7. I really hope you will reconsider opening up horse slaughter plants in the great state of Oklahoma. To do this would only bring upon Oklahoma a loss in tourism and an increase in bad publicity. In light of the scandals in Europe I would think America would not want to be a part of this sordid business. Most horses slaughtered would be those who have been ingesting drugs cancerous and dangerous to humans. Do we want our children to eat tainted horsemeat? Do we want to be known as the country that embraces tainted horse meat? I realize we need to jump start the economy in this country but this is not the way to go about it. Also, this will only increase the cost of healthcare in this country when people start falling ill to ingesting this meat. Not to mention the lawsuits Europe could bring to us when they fall ill from our tainted horsemeat. Oklahoma is concerned with anti-smoking bills. Well that concern for public health would ring hollow if Oklahoma pushes forward to allow drugged horsemeat to be processed and delivered to stores in the U.S. and/or Europe.

    I would think that those in the West would appreciate the horse as a great American symbol. Let us not tarnish that by slaughtering equines again. Thank you for your time. <-I sent this to Oklahoma representative to let them know I say NO to horse slaughter!


  8. This is a list of email addresses of those representatives in the Oklahoma state government, you can copy and paste it to your email. If you copy and paste all the addressed in the address bar in your email it will format correctly so that you can send to all of them at the same time. Let your voices be heard. I did. We can’t let our equine friends down. We can’t let Oklahoma start up horse slaughter. Here are the addresses:,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,


    • Sandra, did you happen to read the comments on that story?
      One of the comments was about the “troglodytes” that passed these bills.
      I dont think there were any pro-slaughter comments at all. Must be that
      Oklahomans arent all that happy about it. Which doesnt surprise me.
      Thanks for the link


      • Yes i did, and a poll taken there showed over 80% are looks to be some fast track political deal..very smarmy..OKLA folks are not shy..if they donot want it -they will speak up..or they will be like texas and stand by -in groves while burros were gun downed-I cannot believe cattle ranchers would jepordise their business over the long haul to support this at this time when there is a spreading recall and pennding legislation and criminal activity hit Asia yesterday with recalls..we need to be DEMANDING the USDA-FDA post results of testing of our meat products hitting the grocery shelves


  9. Call your Senators and tell them that you oppose the Pacific Asia Trade Treaty. This is the only market that will still be taking horse meat after the scandal in Europe. No market. No slaughter.


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