EU Ban does Little to Slow Export of US Horses to Slaughter

Source: Equine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Federation

An official AG’s opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office is clear-cut: these shipments violate Texas law.

Slaughter BoundEquine Welfare Alliance and Wild Horse Freedom Federation continue to monitor the shipment of horse meat from Mexico into the Port of Houston, and then on to other countries. There are two important reasons we are doing this. The first has to do with Texas statutes and the second is related to the recent EU decision to ban Mexican horsemeat.

Texas Ag. Code 149 is a 1949 law that makes the shipment of horse meat illegal in the state of Texas. This is the same law that in 2007 closed down the plants in Texas and the same law that made American Airlines cease shipping horse meat from the two Texas plants. Attorneys have researched the issue and believe that once again this state law is being broken.

An official AG’s opinion from the Texas Attorney General’s office is clear-cut: these shipments violate Texas law. We are working closely with the Harris County (Houston) District Attorney’s office to try to gain compliance.


Secondly, the EU food safety ban of horse meat from Mexico took effect January 15. We have been carefully monitoring the shipments through the Port of Houston to determine the effect of the ban on the export of horse meat from Mexico. Since 87% of horses slaughtered in Mexico and shipped to the EU are American, we expected a sharp decline in shipments. This decline would logically be consistent with a sharp decline in the number of American horses exported from the US to Mexico for slaughter and shipment to the EU.

The number of US horses exported to Mexico for slaughter has gone down since the EU ban took effect, but not nearly as much as expected. USDA data shows that in the four weeks since the effective date of the ban, fewer horses have been shipped to Mexico from the US for slaughter compared to last year. However, the reduction thus far seems to be no more than 10% to 20%, far less than the hoped for 87%.

We must, however, realize that the plants may have had an order backlog with non-EU countries and that they could keep their volume up for a while by clearing this backlog. There are some indications that this may be at least partially the case given the most recent reports, but only time will tell.

The last shipments from Mexico prior to the EU ban were not scheduled to arrive in Antwerp until the 16th of February. All of the eight containers were shipped through the Port of Houston in violation of Texas law. Intermeats and Empacadora De Carnes De Fresnillo are listed as the shippers.

Questions remain. Has the EU food safety ban been fully implemented? What will be its longer term impact on the export of US horses? Are other non EU markets taking the horse meat banned by the EU as unfit for human consumption?

What we do know is that two shipments were dispatched from Mexico in early February, after the effective date of the EU ban. The shipments from Empacadora De Carnes De Fresnillo were consigned to non EU countries, Russia and Vietnam. We anticipated continued exports to these two countries, as well as possibly Hong Kong, given pre-ban trade patterns.

14 comments on “EU Ban does Little to Slow Export of US Horses to Slaughter

  1. How many discarded race Horses end up being shipped to slaughter?

    IEAH Investor Tagliaferri Sentenced for Fraud

    “James Tagliaferri, a major investor in the IEAH Stables that raced Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, has been sentenced to six years in prison for securities and investment adviser fraud.”

    By Blood-Horse Staff
    James Tagliaferri, a major investor in the IEAH Stables that raced Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown , has been sentenced to six years in prison for securities and investment adviser fraud.

    Tiagliaferri, 75, the head of TAG Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, was convicted by a jury last July of securities and investment adviser fraud. Prosecutors said he invested more than $120 million of funds he oversaw at TAG Virgin Islands in private or illiquid companies in exchange for at least $3.35 million in kickbacks, according to Reuters news service.

    According to Reuters, Tiagliaferri was found guilty on charges including investment adviser fraud, securities fraud, and wire fraud stemming from a scheme authorities said caused his clients to lose millions of dollars.

    When some clients began demanding their promised returns, he used other clients’ funds to repay them in a Ponzi scheme-like fashion, and to make payments for companies he was affiliated with, prosecutors said. Among those companies was International Equine Acquisitions Holdings Inc., the Garden City, N.Y.-based stable that included Big Brown, winner of the 2008 Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) and Preakness Stakes (gr. I).

    Tagliaferri, a resident of Connecticut and the U.S. Virgin Islands, also created false documents to conceal his fraud, prosecutors said.
    Reuters reported the scheme ran from 2007 to 2010 and aimed to defraud more than 100 clients of TAG Virgin Islands, which reported having about $252 million under management in 2009, prosecutors said.

    In response to Tiagliaferri’s request that he be spared prison time because he would lose his Social Security, New York U.S. District Court Judge Ronnie Abrams responded that it was a serious crime designed to make him money. She said his victims lost millions of dollars and their dignity, Reuters reported, and that prison time is necessary in part to warn others not to commit similar fraud.
    Some of Tiagliaferri’s victims also testified at the sentencing.


  2. The best thing that can be done about the shipments of horse meat to Russia and Vietnam is to hope that TX stops the shipments because its against the law in that state. Russia and Vietnam are not the EU they will never buy as much horse meat as the EU countries. I thought there would be a rush for the border when the ban went into effect with the killer buyers racing to beat the clock. We will have to simply wait and see if the number of US horses going to Mexico drops in the next few weeks we have no choice, Russia also has the option to buy horse meat in its own country because they have horse slaughter plants there, what is the surprise is Vietnam since they eat dog meat and the fact they can buy horses and donkey’s locally. What is needed is for the anti-horse slaughter bill here in the US to be passed but that is a pipe dream I’m afraid its been long forgotten.


  3. What we need to do as Americans is call the government on this. There is a reason why these countries don’t belong to the EU. Our trade agreements need a serious overall. This is why so many Americans are out of jobs. They will eat anything. Congress needs to get off their butts and start listening to the American people who over again and again oppose horse slaughter.


  4. Please also throw support into bills in NM to close border to slaughter and fight the horse racing to slaughter bill. It stops horses from getting medical care.


  5. Remember you are Advocating for Wild horses however there are a tremendous numer of states without wild horse issues and we need to keep these domestic horsepeople and wild horse campaigns against slaughter together. Some are feeling detached from the slaughter battle right now without a connection between wild And domestic. Lets please enjoin these folks in this fight again. We are all fighting to stop slaughter But one cannot battle without the other. Why do you think the proslaughterphiles are using the old divide and conquer routine? Blame the wild horses for a spiraling outta control lack of food in our country? Blame the horses for increases in beef prices? Arguingvlike


    • Arguing like wild horses are sucking the Federal Budget dry….Please there are so many lies perpetrated to rush wild ones to slaughter. Please this is a food battle a health battle a freedom battle a rights battle an ethical battle a morality battle a legal battle a faith battle and ultimately a battle for their Lives. We win Only when we are the People banned together. Remember only together we will overcome!


      • I read a blog on pig farmin. A well known slaughterphile pats himself on the back for being good to his piggies. But he doesnt mention anything about those who are known for abuse or the horrors animals are caught in. Just that since hes a good boy theres no reason for more humane laws. You wild ones are caught in the crosshairs of people who consider what they do non abusive and what anyone else does is a non issue. If you want to settle this then you need to show the difference between properly cared for wild ones in the wild when the Blm did it right then compare that to the wrong they are doing now. Think it over. Were running outta time. Evidence thats indisputable is required. Not just one side of the story but a well balanced truth.


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