Horse News

Iowa Regulators Asked To Rule that Horse Meat is Inedible

Source: Front Range Equine Rescue

Animal Protection Groups Demonstrate Potentially Toxic Nature of Horse Meat and Ask for Legal Declaration of Adulteration
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)

(May 14, 2013) — Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals requesting that it adopt a rule that renders horse meat “adulterated” as a matter of law, which would ban the sale of horsemeat for human consumption. The petition explains that horses are different than other animals we eat because Americans do not raise horses as food animals, and American horses are treated routinely with many drugs and harmful chemicals prohibited from use in animals who will be eaten, and because of that their meat is unsafe for consumers.

These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion.  The petition establishes that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Department to declare horse meat to be adulterated, unless the horse meat producers can prove that the horses never received substances prohibited for use in food animals.  This is of great concern since the chance for cross-contamination of beef with horse meat has been a regular topic of news in Europe, where horses are currently consumed for food.

Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue, states:  “The array of drugs that we give our horses while caring for them also makes their meat unfit for consumption.  Horse slaughter not only floods the market with dangerous meat but it directly causes horrendous cruelty and perpetuates the problems of horse abuse, problems for which we have workable and humane solutions.  The killer-buyers and horse slaughterhouses have no care about the danger of the meat, or the suffering of the animals.  On food safety and every other level, it is a bad business.”

Carol Griglione, Iowa state director for The HSUS, said: “Slaughtering horses for human consumption is inhumane for horses and creates an unacceptable public health risk. The only way to safeguard the food supply is to prevent this grisly practice from resuming in the United States.”

The request to the Iowa Department comes in the wake of the federal government’s announcement that it is considering applications from horse slaughterhouses anxious to open, including Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.

Businesses interested in killing horses have been pushing their agenda despite the multiple levels of danger to consumers, the public, and the environment.  Even though they know  that every American horse has consumed drugs which prevent them from legally becoming edible meat, the horse slaughter interests have been lobbying to begin this unwanted, unsafe, and unhealthy process.

FRER is represented by lawyers at Schiff Hardin LLP.


  • More than 100,000 American horses are sent to slaughter each year, mainly for consumption in Europe and Asia.
  • The slaughter pipeline is horribly cruel, with many of the horses suffering immensely during transport and by the often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at former U.S. slaughterhouses.
  • Virtually all the horses used for meat spend most of their lives as work, competition or sport horses, companion animals, or wild horses.
  • During their lives, horses who end up at slaughter are given a constant regimen of drugs and other substances which are either illegal for food animals, or are potentially dangerous to people who eat them.
  • Under the current rules and regulations, there is no safeguard in place that can protect against the consumption of unsafe toxins in horse meat.
  • Consumers do not know of the inherent dangers because there is no control over the drug residues.

22 replies »

  1. I guess I don’t understand? NEW MEXICO has something in their food safety laws that says about adultered meat is not legal??? RIGHT?? SO HOW can Valley Meat open??? Hope someone can explain this to me?? I also wonder WHO is backing Valley Meat financially you know setting up that plant with all the gear, noisy I guess but I feel we have a right to know..??

    I hope from reading this article that this will become a law, it only make since, god almighty what is the matter with some people pushing for this horse slaughter they are NOT CONERNED at all about anything but killing horses and making money for a few…

    I wish we could get a movement going on with this horse slaughter with ads and such like what happened with the AG-GAG bill in Tenn. that was just vetoed …??

    I do feel if it was out there more so many more people could see it you would indeed have an uprising just a thought???


    • They should be able to do this in New Mexico – but following the law or writing new ones that make sense for the animals & public good isn’t a modern practice in this largely backward state – its like a mini-3rd world country – pure hell on many levels.


      • My parents moved there from San Diego and it didn’t take long before they were telling me that it is one of the most corrupt states they could imagine.


  2. This is great and I hope it works. I have stop buying ground beef for fear that it is not 100% and will no longer eat a Burger King either. We know that the EU has pulled the plug on US horses and horse meat due to drugs and kill buyers are handing in fake papers in both Mexico and Canada so it is only a matter of time before horse meat will show up in US base ground beef. More so if they open up a slaughter house in the US.


    • I have as well, Terra and the ironic thing about this whole situation it’s going to backfire on the cattle industry, too. They better wake up and support our horses, anyway they can, if they want consumers to feel confident with their products. Thank you FRER for your dedication in your support of our equines.


  3. This just makes sense. The whole issue of banning horse slaughter makes sense. The fact that a few people want to profit from this at the sake of everyone else is ultimately criminal considering the known health risks and brutality associated with it. And where is the market? That is the big question here and how is it that De Los Santos in New Mexico is legally able to sell this when it violates New Mexico law? You can rest assured, absolutely no good will result if horse slaughter returns to the U.S.


  4. Hope the cattle folks, that are pro, wake up soon and smell the horse slaughter stench. They should be out there on the front lines battling this scourge as they have mega bucks to lose if/when the American public ever finds horse meat in their beef.


  5. Ahmen to the last comment. I guess they are as stupid as the horse slaughter people. It will happen if the slaughterhouses ever open. The livestock people cannot even keep the ecoli and other bactericas from the animals already slaughtered. So what do you think is going to happen? They do not even care…I stopped eating meat several years back because of the inhumane treatment of all the farm animals based on all the information out there. In addition, it was due to all the recalls of meat. LIke I said before, we need to find out who in Europe is footing the bill for the opening of the slaughterhouses. It makes no sense that someone in this country is doing it unless they have boko bucks behind them. I will say Schiff-Hardin is one of the best law firms in the country. Thank you Front Range and HSUS, we are all behind you.


    • Check out the web: Animal Rescue Unit from 2010 – they have several articles that tell about British Petroleum in with the DOI (& BLM) (they have people who work for both organizations in both countries) – the cattlemen got on board some how – don’t understand it – but I’m not eating anymore red meat or pork – for health & humane reasons – since all these people care about are $$ – then when people stop eating meat altogether because everything is getting adulterated – then they’ll listen – but how many horses & other animals will have to suffer in the meantime?? And, I’m not buying gas at anyplace associated with BP!! Does anyone have a list of places to avoid? Maybe a series of VERY SERIOUS BOYCOTTS of several corporations across the US & globe will get their attention!!


  6. The pet food industry better watch out too. If its not fit for human consumption, neither should it be fed to our pets OR mixed up in chicken feed etc., etc., etc, if you know what I mean.


  7. If the arguement in this article it based solely on the drugs give to the animals, I honestly dont see how this is any different from beef. The drugs and chemicals cows are pumped with almost daily makes them just as unfit for human consumption as it would the horses but still restaurants and supermarkets still sell and America still consumes millions of pounds of beef per month.


    • There are records kept and time limits placed on the medicating of consumption animals such as cows or pigs prior to slaughter. Horses are raised without any attempt to record the intake of drugs, chemicals or steroids. It is not required because horses are never raised for meat.

      Further, horses are routinely given Butte whether to make it possible for the horse to perform or simply to keep the horse from pain. Butte is not given regularly to cows. Butte is dangerous for humans if consumed.

      You do not sound like a person who can see the difference between cattle and horses. I understand that, but do hope that you will try to see the very distinct difference. In my case, I do not believe any animal even fish should be killed for human consumption. That makes me and my fellow vegetarians very healthy as it is a fact that meat is not good for humans.

      Aside from the toxicity of horse flesh, the cruelty in slaughterhouses of any animal is barbaric. Go to Youtube and watch, “If Slaughterhouses had Glass Walls, We would All be Vegetarians”, narrated by Paul McCartney.

      The cruelty of all slaughter is massive. And for those many of us who love horses as we do our dogs and cats, we just cannot and will not tolerate the brutality of slaughter on horses. Anyone, IMHO, who proposes slaughter for horses is consumed by greed and hatred which I find despicable. The karma they hold is huge and I do not want to share in that karma so I fight for a BAN ON HORSE SLAUGHTER FOREVER!


  8. The pro slaughter folks just don’t want anything humane going on in the farm industry and if horses get special consideration, by reading the American Farm Bureau reasons for wanting horse slaughter then it could be the other livestock looked at more closely.They wan tno oversight at all and no regulations other than what are in place so they can factory farm,and abuse the livestock at will and have Ag Gag laws so no one can report on it.We all should stop eating meat period of any kind.


    • Bravo!

      Yes, meat is not good for humans. Do the research. If we anti-horse-slaughter folks all refused to eat meat for just a month guess who would be on our sides? And guess how many animals from poultry to pigs would be treated more humanely at least for a while? If you want to verify the cruelty in this world of slaughter from cows to dogs and cats and can stand to watch, there is plenty of evidence on Youtube.


  9. So who do I contact in my state about this? I live in Iowa, and I certainly do not want horses being slaughtered here or any where.


    • Call your reps and senators asking them to co-sponsor the S.A.F.E. Act, H.R. 1094/S. 541, Safeguard American Food Exports!


    • call your reps and senators constantly–talk to the aides that handle animal legislation. They don’t seem to get it with just one call. Send them info from Kaufman zoning. Keep up the pressure on them to sign the SAFE Act bills


  10. If something has value, you take care of it, even back to slave. I have over 40 horses, registered and old line preservation. I will not be able to keep them because the government sells a gentle “mustang” mutt for $125.00. I cannot raise or feed a horse for that, so my old line foundation Appaloosas will soon be extinct. They are born and die here, with NO drugs…..I also keep the genetically poor ones ,injured, do not breed them, and the old ones, see the picture?? soon out of pasture for the best iones, cannot breed them with no market. the only place to buy a horse will soon be the government…..the objective?? check them out….won’t be here as a “breed” if hsus gets its way. to see them, your grandchildren never will……….


  11. If the cattle ranchers don’t want to go out of business, they better oppose horse slaughter, for consumption, or other, in this country, ASAP! Why would they want unnecessary competition from a different market, that could indeed, backfire & interfere with their cattle business. Just like many comments have already said, people (the ones with brains, that is!), are going to become afraid of buying or eating beef products, for fear of contamination. I no longer eat any meat (haven’t for a long while), & my family eats very little, &, we are VERY careful about where we eat as well! Wouldn’t it be just a bit ironic, if, eventually, the very source responsible for so many wild horses being removed from the range, ends up on their side? If the cattlemen wake up, use their senses, & quit sitting on their brains, the American horse & burro, whether wild or domestic, may just win this battle after all!


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