Horse News

US Horsemeat Banned in EU

Source: Equine Welfare Alliance Press Release

“Plants will have no access to the markets even if the EU ban is lifted…”

No EU!!!Chicago (EWA) – Since Congress lifted the ban on USDA inspections of horse meat, several small shuttered cattle slaughter plants have clamored for the USDA to provide horse meat inspections. Ricardo De Los Santos of Valley Meats, a New Mexico plant, went as far as to sue the USDA for not providing the service. The attorney for Valley Meats has announced it will be opening in three weeks.

Unfortunately for those wishing to bring horse slaughter back to the US, they will have to do so without the ability to sell to the EU, the main market for US horse meat. The Equine Welfare Alliance has received confirmation from EU authorities that “by virtue of Commission decision 2011/163/EU the US is not authorized to export horsemeat to the EU.”

The decision was made in 2011, when the USDA neglected to comply with new regulations requiring submittal of a drug residue control program. Approval of such an application requires extensive review as well as audits and can take up to several years to complete.

The EU authority (SANCO) went on to say “Our Directorate General, up to now, does not record a recent residue monitoring plan on horse meat submitted by USDA.”  In other words, the process has yet to begin.

The scandal over horse meat being substituted for beef in a myriad of products, as well as the finding of the banned drug phenylbutazone in some of those products has further dimmed the prospects for a lifting of the ban.

Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, in an interview with Reuters, said sequestration could cause sporadic food shortages if inspectors aren’t available to examine meat, poultry and egg products. Obviously providing inspectors for horse meat would further exacerbate the need to protect US consumers. Vilsack shocked many today when he was quoted as saying he hoped that Congress could come up with an alternative to horse slaughter.

EWA’s John Holland explains the bleak prospects for private horse slaughter plants in the US, saying “these plants will have no access to the markets even if the EU ban is lifted because the distribution is controlled by a few multi-nationals, and those expecting to contract with these companies should heed the story of Natural Valley Farms (SK Canada) which lost millions trying to do so.”

25 replies »

  1. Oh, someone must make it clear to the EU that they don’t want U.S. horses shipped to Canada or Mexico either because they are also full of drugs. U.S. horses are mostly used for racing, shows, pleasure and companions and we make all our horses comfortable with Bute when they need it. Plus, flyspray and wormer.

    Better to go find a chicken or fish to eat.


  2. Reminds me of the saying:”The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray.” I guess the mice are scampering for a new piece of cheese. Maybe they’ll butcher squirrels. Plenty of free squirrels and no eu ban!


  3. Tremendous news…Rick de los Santos et. al. should be required to show proof of sale to the FSIS/USDA prior to killing the first horse. With the EU out of the market who will he sell to and can he prove it or is he going to kill a few hundred horses and be stuck with a surplus of unsaleable meat?

    I would like to see the USDA require the development of a pre-kill test for drug residue. It is my understanding that as of now the only testing done is post-mortem. Why should the animal die if the meat won’t pass inspection? The pre-kill testing could be done prior to the horse ever being put on a trailer. I guess this would be the beginning of a US Passport system.

    In the meantime Mr. Santos…where will you sell your ill-gotten gains?


  4. This is going to blow every dream of opening a horse plant right out of the water. All of the rat finks will have to dive into their holes and pull it in after them. I have waited for news like this for years. I had a feeling the drugs would stop it. It looks like the good ole USDA screwed up and how.


  5. Now, if Japan gets smart about their nation’s health, there will be no market for slaughtered US horses!
    Anyone can see the writing on the wall. Why do they keep trying to waste their (and our) money?!
    I know Sue hates horses because one crippled her husband, but wouldn’t you think there was a brain among them? ( oxymoron, huh?)


  6. RT this is the point where we cannot back the pressure off to get the SAFE Act into place. Greedy killer buyers and salacious auction houses that have stock piled horses are gonna get this news which is a miracle from God above, he reached down his hands and wiped their forlocks from their eyes and patted their backs. So we have to work to protect those animals from being forced out on their own or dying from abuse because these men were not counting on being horse ranchers for long. So keep working diligently encourage all other entities helping with this to keep working hard, the reason, this will be a stun, a punch to the head, then after their brains quit rolling around in the empty space it occupies they will forumulate another plan. We need to be diligent in the protections of the wild horses and the animals that the killer buyers were counting as cash in the pens. So be prepared for backlash-all horse people need to be in high gear phoneing Congress and writing White House, we need to get legislation put into play to protect the animals I am afraid the killer buyers will abandon to die or kill off. They may just turn them loose. Whatever it us we all need to be ready to longe into action. Rally the troups in case of any issues such as this. I am urgeing everyone all organizations, Sue walrus and dave dumbcluck are not the ones who will brain storm this out-so be cautious and any information on their next step needs published to counter it. Theyare going to be angry people stuck with horses. We also need to make Americans realize the wild horses and the
    horses they already own are valuable and worth money, the killer buyers and AQHA want people believing if it isnt top registered AQHA its nothing, well here’s the spin back. All horses are worth something its the liars that stated they were not. It was their anger that the kill pens were shut off-so spread the word horses are valuable and lets restore confidence in our horse industry. We dont need AQHA to tell us anything. A too tiny hoofed quarter horse vs a sturdy built wild horse built to work and handle terrain, they have no idea what a mustang is worth. Likewise any breeds, time we leveled the playing field, please do not let your guard down, the manipulative slaughter people are going to come up with other strategies so we need safeguards in place. Thanks! Shout it from the ROOFTOPS we will not take NO for an answer! Stop the slaughter! (OUR miracle bought us some time-lets get this done!)


  7. This is good news but no time to rest. The pro horse slaughter pigs are going to try to figure out a way to get around this. Rest assure that they are many criminal types in the horse slaughter business because they can’t make a living any other way. They are low lives at all economic levels. Don’t let these pigs fool you.


  8. We not only have to keep pressure on the pro-slaughter people, but we should also try to come up with some controls on the breeding industries that create the overpopulation of horses. So much more could be done with that, such as promoting low cost or free gelding clinics, controls on the amount of horses bred, low cost euthanisia programs, and there should be laws against hoarding these animals. All horse farms should have to submit to a yearly or bi yearly inspection by the USHS to assure that there is no abuse, neglect or mistreatment of their animals. These things could go a long ways towards stopping the supply of the so called unwanted horses! There is so much more that could be done with just a little organization and caring of our communites where horses abound.


    • Good news….Thank you RT…..

      Judith your so right we do need changes in breeding, lost euthanasia, etc…we still need options for the many 160,000+ a year(2012) horses that have been heading to slaughter no longer wanted.


  9. I called and the lady said they were getting a lot of calls lets keep up the pressure.

    You can call the FSIS Communication of Public Affairs office for the USDA at

    202-720-9113 to thank Secretary Vilsack. Please be polite, thank him for taking a stance against horse slaughter and for encouraging Congress to pass S 541and HR 1094, the S.A.F.E. legislation.


  10. There are a lot of ranchers that breed everything they have and sell the excess in “production” sales. I don’t know but these horses may still be in danger as I am not sure the ranchers round them up to vaccinate them before they are sold off. I would think it would be more productive for them to raise beef but who am I to say, according to TW Shannon I am an far left radical that has been blinded by the HSUS and PETA. Keep up the calls and emails. I am still annoying my legislators everyday! Thank you to those that are stepping up and co-sponsoring the bill!


  11. I love EWA and all that you are doing, However i would respectfully suggest that our activities in public relations are woefully lacking. We could do so much more by doing talk show circuits and getting in the news more with press releases….. We all know that slaughter as a humane end for unwanted horses is a huge lie, congress probly knows it too….but we havn’t done near enough to educate the public.
    Sadly, for Joe and Jill average, the differences between horse slaughter and cow slaughter are abstruse – hard to grasp – furthermore, “a humane end for starving horses” (who hasn’t seen photos of bone bag horses, and photos are *still* owrth thousands of words!) *seems* like such a nice thing.
    We need to help the public to grasp these ideas that are so obviuous to us and to shadowy in many demographics.
    Based on my own experience in organizing, the way to do that is to create a touchy-feely nice hero that can expound these ideas and help the public grasp them (if you don’t believe me then look at Obama’s career.)
    People have as natural a desire to be part of a herd and follow a leader as horses do!!!
    It’s time for someone to step up and assume that role; we need to use all we can get!!!


  12. For most Americans that have never owned or ridden a horse – they think they are more like cattle than pets. They wouldn’t consider eating or harming the family dog but don’t understand that most horses are pets and companions.
    People today listen to celebrities and don’t research issues so whomever has connections to anyone on TV or movies…they need to speak up and change the direction of this thing.
    From Snookie (God help me) to Harrison Ford – let’s get these people to speak out and influence voters!!


  13. California passed a law in 1998 saying no horses can be sold, given away, accepted for , bought or transported for slaughter for human consumption. BUT, the USDA is responsible for enforcing this law and they do not enforce this law stating no funds are available. How are we going to make sure the USDA will enforce any new law passed to protect our horses?


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