Horse News

Vickery Eckhoff on Huff: No Market for U.S. Horse Meat

VickeryVickery Eckhoff as published in the Huffington Post
Covering the underground horse meat trade since 2011.

“Any drop in horse meat sales is most likely attributable to it no longer being sold as beef…”

Horse Meat ChartFive states looking to snag millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to inspect horse meat plants may want to rethink their plans in light of a precipitous drop in demand.

The drop is a reflection of the number of horses going from the U.S. to Mexico for slaughter. That number plummeted 62% in the first quarter of 2013 following a steady two-year increase, USDA figures show.

A bipartisan majority of both houses of Congress voted to defund horse slaughter inspections as part of the lengthy 2006 agricultural appropriations bill, but the USDA privately offered fee-for-service inspections to plant operators to get around the ban–a maneuver that kept them operating for another year, but was later found to violate U.S. law by a Federal District Court judge.

At the same time, a 1949 ban on slaughtering horses in Texas was upheld in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, while Illinois passed a statewide ban, making slaughter illegal in both states. The City of Kaufman, Texas, too, took legal action against a local horse slaughter plant, Dallas Crown, which was found to be a non-conforming use and a public nuisance by the city’s Board of Adjustments and ordered closed.

By September 2007, all three U.S. slaughter plants for horses had shut down. They later resumed operations over U.S. borders.

U.S. horses were slaughtered in greater numbers in Canada and Mexico from 2007 onward, with the meat exported to the European Union (EU) and Russia.

But all that changed in late January of this year, when the public learned of horse meat hidden inside Burger King Whoppers, IKEA meatballs, Buitoni frozen lasagna and other prepared foods across Europe and in the rest of the world. The adulteration of beef with horse meat had gone undetected for years, authorities say.

“We have been watching the numbers of U.S. horses slaughtered closely, because we knew they would tell us how much of the meat from our horses was being sold as beef,” states John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.

How much? A great deal of it, Holland says…(CONTINUED)

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8 replies »

  1. If the USDA/FSIS discover the meat being tested is tainted then it is against the law to export it. And it has to pass USDA standards…there is no way around it. My concern is the fact that they do not test until after the animal has been killed. Why put the animal through the trauma and terror then kill it when you can’t tell if the meat will be salable or not? That’s just uncivilized!


    • Why is there not a veterinary passport system in the US that is verifiable from each owner? At the sanctuary where I have volunteered I asked and was told that rescue horses did not have papers other than (some) registrations. Many of the drugs frequently given have lables that clearly state that these are not to be administered to animals that enter the food chain. So who is tracking this information? The vet(s)? Why is this info not passed along even to legitimate buyers? (I know kill buyers are lying scum, so I don’t include them in my question). The whole thing is just so corrupt.


      • No amount of legitimate paperwork and identification is ever going to make a difference; all it takes is for the horse to wind up in the wrong hands once.


    • It just seems like this horse slaughter business is a big free for all. Without any regard for the horses, environment and humans. The horse slaughter workers terrorize the horses from the time they are purchased at the auction house. The horses should have been checked out all along before they were sold at the auction house. Nobody wants to brother with that they just want fast money. This horse slaughter business and everyone involved in it are screwed up..


  2. Then explain how they found horse meat in a czech store.. More over DNA testing can still be done to prove false labeling.


  3. OK Where are the Prosecutions of who is responsible for the tainting of the beef products???????????????????? For compromising the Food Market !!!!!!!!!! This is an outrageous, heinous crime , I want to know who is responsible !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    • It is the International Meat Mafia, Arlene. The people who ran the slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois (Belgians) before they were shut down. The slaughterhouse owners in Canada and, again, the Belgians who own the houses of horror in Mexico. They import that meat into Europe. Plus anywhere horses are slaughtered throughout Europe (Ireland, Spain, France, Italy, Russia, etc.) and the European cattle slaughterhouses who conspired to co-mingle the meats. This is big organized crime; therefore, since they can buy off legislators, don’t expect to see any arrests or prosecutions.


      • So true, Judy. Animal cruelty is always a crime – an ethical and moral crime, and it only stands to reason that any business so immoral and so cold-heartedly cruel – no matter how “sanctioned” it may be by any group or society – attracts other crimes to it. Historical evidence bears this out.


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