Horse News

Anti Horse Slaughter Advocates Target Bute Ban in National Zoo Campaign

By Steve Long ~ author/publisher of Horseback Magazine

“Studies performed in laboratory animals have shown that phenylbutazone has carcinogenic properties. “

LioneatinghorsemeatHOUSTON, (Horseback) – When equine slaughterhouses open their doors in New Mexico, Iowa, and Missouri this month, their proprietors are likely to face a determined effort by animal advocates to educate a prime market for horsemeat – the nation’s zoos. Horseback Magazine has learned that a determined national effort to inform them that phenylbutazone, or bute, is prohibited by the FDA for human consumption, and American horsemeat faces a ban by European Union countries because of toxic chemicals..

The federal USDA has approved funding for the use of federal meat inspectors in the facilities. All say they will open in July.

On advocates target list – 222 zoos from coast to coast.

Bute is administered to horses and other animals as a pain killer.

In their pitch to the zoos, advocates will cite an FDA prohibition against use of the drug in food animals, as well as a ban by the European Union on the import of horsemeat tainted with phynalbutazone and about 25 other chemicals commonly administered to U.S. horses. In Europe, horses destined for food must be monitored for life and certified that their meat is uncontaminated via a diary system.

Scientists say feeding bute tainted meat to zoo animals is dangerous to the expensive exotic species.

“Studies performed in laboratory animals have shown that phenylbutazone has carcinogenic properties.  Based upon these studies, phenylbutazone is just as dangerous to animals as it is to humans,” said Ann Marini, MD, PhD.

Marini is co-author of the leading study on the subject of the use of Bute in horses,  “Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk,” along with Nicholas Dodman and Nicolas Blondeau. The Work was published in the scientific journal,  Food and Chemical Toxicology.

The drug is almost universally used on American horses and it is believed that only an insignificant number of animals have not received it. Of most concern is the fact that the drug does not leave the animal’s carcass but remains in the body for life. The only valid test for its presence is to test the kidneys where it is stored through a post mortem examination.

“In 2007, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service stated that “phenylbutazone is considered to be one of the most toxic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is not approved for use in food animals and there are no regulatory limits, such as acceptable daily intake or safe concentration for meat, established by the Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, the presence of any amount of phenylbutazone in food animal tissue will be considered a violation and likely to be unsafe for human consumption,” said an online statement from Thermo Fisher Scientific, a firm that markets a quick test to determine if bute is present in horsemeat.

“Feeding horse meat to captive carnivores has many hazards beyond the revulsion of zoo attendees. Not only does it contain a wide range of equine medications, but it can also transmit trichinosis and even the West Nile Virus,” said John Holland, the nation’s foremost advocate of preventing the resumption of equine slaughter. He is founder and President of the Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance.

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  1. In 1983 I was 13 years old and launched a campaign against horses being fed to the zoos. My classmates were quickly on-board to the campaign to save horses, at that time the horses being fed to the zoos were the wild ones and we pushed Congress to ban the practice, our class wrote letters to the editors of the Commercial News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Indianapolis Star when it was picked up and got National Attention. My grandfather was instrumental in the push and we stalled the use of horses in zoos until a year after I graduated. It was a stay of execution but it picked back up when backyard meat hackers started selling their own domestic livestock and purchasing for the zoos meat. So the push is on again. I have been pondering what would suddenly in the past several years make these animals become to unpredictable, what would make them make headlines nearly constantly attacking or close calls and even death without a single explanation. I suppose my experience with animals made me think they are allowing too many very young people in their early twenties try out their college educations and that they were unable to see the attacks because they have no experience in reading animals. However, if we take a hard look at the table of what drugs, vaccinations, medications, and whathaveyou that goes into the US domestic horses we have a virtual cocktail or crazy proportions that could be very detrimental to the minds and bodies of these animals. WE cannot be sure where the people get the animals, maybe off the track, maybe from a AQHA trainers barns, maybe from Craigslist, one thing we do know the man who let all his animals lions, tigers, etc, loose in Ohio before dying himself had a herd of horses on the property. We don’t know what these animals are receiving and I am sure If we had a conversation with Jack Hanna and many other well-connected animal lovers who are REALLY truly motivated to protect these animals such as lions, tigers, we may have a much better outcome. Jack Hanna and people like him have a tremendous understanding of what chemicals do to the nature, health, and well-being of the large cats. Without knowing the details of the dangerous chemicals we give to horses they on the surface seem as normal animals and its ALL just meat for the cats-but if we help these people dive into the dangerous chemicals and the fact that these chemicals are NOT withdrawn and the cats eat the meats raw it heightens the dangers, including the Hepatitis, West, Nile, Herpes, Coggins, etc, They are barely manageable in horses as it is, and we all know they are NOT going to go spend thousands on each and every horse, hold it for a years withdrawal, have it tested by a vet then butcher it. We cannot barely get the FSIS to understand that, and keep the USDA from stamping it, so the backyard killers are going to slaughter these animals from anywhere USA doped up. So that would help explain the trail of weird outbursts from the animals and why they are attacking innocent young helpers learning how to protect our wildlife in zoos. Now lets jump to private sanctuaries and the places we wont call sanctuaries (they are places animals need saved from) those places standards for meats are based less on quality than a zoo and more on what they can afford so I fear for the meats those animals are exposed to. We need to educate the industries around us to what has happened to our horses in the past 20 plus years in medications, illness, and the fake withdrawal system they operate under. I apologize for the word fake not intended to upset anyone. but its true, they use a veterinarians guesswork to determine the time table on many drugs withdrawals, read their data reports entirely, you will see when they admit they don’t actually know but work under the assumption. I refuse to believe that indicates the truth about how long and whats safe, especially when decided for humans or other species of animals to consume when they don’t specialize in our body chemistry or health. As such, we should get Universities on-board to educating the future zoo-keepers and large animal protectors that horse meat has become dangerous and we need to find the best food source for them. I ask again, why not beef? The excuse the zebra and the horse are closely related and makes the meat better for the cats has been debunked, oops! Try again, they should maintain a herd of cattle for the cats and supplement what may not help them stay healthy. Please help us to protect the animals we have in captivity, they don’t have any option but the ones supplied by us, and many people may have been injured or died because that particular horse carcass may have messed with the lions reasoning and senses on that day-if it affected dogs and cats until a Federal BAN was placed against horse meat in dog food for killing them, then it stands to reason a lion who is larger would have different effects from the drugs in the meats, so we are to push to the tenth degree to stop this horrible practice, saving money to feed the cats is one thing, but that is all caught up when the cat unprovoked wigged out on horsemeat attacks a young worker, especially if they have to destroy the cats-so no monies are saved.


  2. I wrote a post and it disappeared so if this reposts twice my apologies. Please someone needs to contact people like Jack Hanna who are seriously concerned about what happens to the Big Cats-we need to ascertain why here in the past five years all the heartbreaking stories are popping up in the news about attacks on young workers caring for the BIG CATS getting attacked unusual stories of how the animals using docile and friendly to all who approach. We need to get the word out that they are concealing the medications, drugs, etc in the horses they are obtaining to kill for Big Cats to consume.


  3. Honestly, WHAT is HAPPENING to our country?? I am so furious, and sick and angry and on and on and on… OUR GOV>>> needs to help with the rescues need to open up clinic’s, I mean there are SOOOO many opportunity’s to help the horses and folks at the same time HORSE SLAUGHTER will not fix a thing, but perpetuate the already existing problem of over breeding & neglect, yes we all already know this right….. OMG I am so so sick a heart????????????? I mean I want an uprising from ALL of US like someone else said I am sick of sitting back and taking it, if we all get together ALL in this country lets really start fighting , the Irish is coming out in me in a BIG WAY…..


    • I feel the same way. It’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions lately. I happen to be Irish as well. I would just add that the people who breed indiscriminantly need to be taxed and/or fined and those people who starve and neglect their horses need to be prosecuted. Horse slaughter is just another form of abuse.


    • What’s happening?????

      Money, greed and self will run riot disguised as agriculture, finance, banking, manufacturing…et al…KRAPITALISM!


    • I agree with you also!! It is not just bcuz I am Irish, but bcuz I truly cannot believe the priorities of our fellow humans & our government!! Honestly, the American public has no clue as to what is going on here, unless we stick 2gether & protest major big-time.. We must furnish this info. locally & nationally..Contact the media..& your gov.& state reps. AC Cooper, Jane Velez Mitchell, Chris Cuomo, Joy Behar, and plz don’t 4get to donate 2 animal rights legal funds..such as WHFF or H4H..also Animal’s Angels..(just 2 name a few).. Horse Slaughter plants opening in the US again?? i could go on & on…. Remember… Anger is a great motivator 4 action! If uniformed Americans thought that tainted horse meat would be in their burgers, not just in Europe, do ya think that maybe they would get more involved? Anything we can do 2 save our beloved innocent ones…is worth a try… Do Not Give Up!!!!


  4. Need anyone’s help and input here.. Can anyone help me to create a letter to my local /national/newspapers/media television stations.. My intention is to contact the editors / contact persons re: this issue.. I do not wish to sound like just another animal rights activist, as most people disregard this as soon as you make an opening statement. I wish to sound profoundly intelligent re: this topic (I am.. thanks to all of you)… to inform the public about the current issues at hand re: the horse slaughter plants that are currently planning to open in the near future.. I would like the public to be informed about what has been happening to our horses… (in detail, mind you), I would sound very kind… in regards as to what may be in their & their kid’s burgers in the near future… but I wish to close my letter with a much needed thought provoking statement.. And right now… my mind is blank.. can anyone help? I cannot sound too sarcastic in my closing statement, as much as I would like to.. Thanks in advance..


    • Did I say that I would sound very kind?? In my heart, (for the horses benefit),& only with a noose around my neck.. just have to do what is best for the horses & inform the naive folks the gentle way…


  5. Does anyone know the exact month and date when the EU is expected to clamp down on the killer buyers with some sort of horse passport? I haven’t read any more about this at all in the past few months. It was supposed to be this summer but so far nada.


    • Cynthia
      A while back I had to go get a blood test and the gal that was taking the blood had pictures of wolfs on the wall – come to find out she was a wolf advocate-she was telling me that she had spent her vacation at a sanctuary here in Colorado-and was telling me about her first night about the howling from the wild wolfs and the ones in the sanctuary and how it was like nothing she had ever heard-well come to find out in the conversation that they had butchered a horse the night before to feed he wolfs-so I questioned her about the horse-she says they keep horses their for that purpose and that they buy them from people-Iexplained to her about the drugs given to horses and that they are not safe for any animals to comsume -she is not in charge there just one of us so can only hope she tells them of the drugs-I also wonder why not cows.


  6. Better check banomine too. If it will kill a dog, it will kill a cat too. Check with your vet. And zoonotic diseases in horses that caused the deaths of a greyhound kennel in Florida and an animal shelter dogs in Colorado. Look it up online.


  7. Well RT I’ve yet to comment on any of your material in spite of my following it for awhile now. I seem to have this time limitation seeing as I’m responsible for the care of 21 beautiful, magical, magnificent equine souls every day! *smile* As you may know I am ‘keeper’ of the ‘numbers’ for the poor souls that are murdered in the name of ignorance and profit. I’ve been involved with the battle to end commercial equine slaughter since the latter 70’s when I represented such under the American Horse Protection Association (under then president Joan Blue). Many years and sadly not nearly adequate ‘progress’ in this endeavor. John H and I are close and personal friends and you do come in to our personal conversations from time to time. Anyway just a short comment to let you know I appreciate you being ‘there’ and that I am ‘here’ with you!

    Blessings to you and yours!

    ~”Becoming aware of the intense suffering of billions of animals and of our own participation in that suffering can bring up painful emotions: sorrow and grief for the animals; anger at the injustice and deception of the system; despair at the enormity of the problem; fear that trusted authorities and institutions are, in fact, untrustworthy; and guilt for having contributed to the problem. Bearing witness means choosing to suffer. Indeed, empathy is literally ‘feeling with.’ Choosing to suffer is particularly difficult in a culture that is addicted to comfort — a culture that teaches that pain should be avoided whenever possible and that ignorance is bliss. We can reduce our resistance to witnessing by valuing authenticity over personal pleasure and integration over ignorance.” – Melanie Joy~


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