Horse Meat Recalled Due to Illegal Drugs

Source:  Newsofthehorse.com

Canada – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency has issued several recalls of horse meat produced by the Viande Richelieu Meat company and Metro Richelieu Inc.  The meat has been recalled from Canada, Austria and France after investigators found the meat was contaminated with drugs.

Investigators found Phenylbutazone (bute) in the meat, which causes serious disorders in humans, such as aplastic anaemia.  Remnants of bute in horse meat has long been known to cause aplastic anaemia, particularly in children, and there are no safe levels established.

Read the rest of this article HERE.

Canadian horsemeat not drug-free, European audit finds

By: Feature reporter, News, as published on The Star

European Commission monitors have “serious concerns” about Canada’s ability to track health and treatment of horses

 MICHAEL BURNS / MICHAEL BURNS PHOTO Thoroughbred race horse Backstreet Bully finished first in this August 2008 race at Fort Erie. The race horse changed ownership after retirement and was sent to slaughter, despite frantic last-minute pleas to save his life by people who knew the horse had been given veterinary drugs over his lifetime that made him unsafe for human consumption.


MICHAEL BURNS / MICHAEL BURNS PHOTO
Thoroughbred race horse Backstreet Bully finished first in this August 2008 race at Fort Erie. The race horse changed ownership after retirement and was sent to slaughter, despite frantic last-minute pleas to save his life by people who knew the horse had been given veterinary drugs over his lifetime that made him unsafe for human consumption.

Exported Canadian horsemeat intended for human consumption cannot be trusted to be free of toxic drugs, according to a recently released European audit that cites “serious concerns” about the integrity of Canada’s food safety measures.

Among the reported findings, auditors discovered that slaughterhouse tests conducted two years ago on horse carcasses poised to enter the human food chain showed residues of prohibited substances, including a commonly used veterinary medicine called “bute.” Phenylbutazone, or bute, has been linked to bone-marrow disease in humans if eaten in meat.

“It cannot be guaranteed that horses (slaughtered in Canada) have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter,” the audit states.

The report also described the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the country’s food safety watchdog, as having “shortcomings” in its ability to accurately trace horses’ identities and complete medical histories.

All horses butchered in Canada for export as human food, including horses imported from the United States, must be accompanied by an equine identification “passport” completed by the animal’s last owner. Owners must truthfully declare on these signed affidavits that their slaughter-bound animals have not been given prohibited drugs for the previous six months and are, therefore, eligible to become human food.

A 2013 Star investigation found these passports, called Equine Information Documents, are open to fraud and error. In European countries, in contrast, horse ownership and medical histories are tracked from birth.

European auditors, who police the meat coming into their market, gathered information from Canadian slaughter facilities during a two-week inspection in May of 2014. In their report, auditors expressed doubt about the ability of Canada’s food safety regulator to always provide untainted horsemeat to European Union markets.

“There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export (to EU markets),” the European report states.

Auditors also found that in Canada “there are no official checks to verify the veracity of the (equine passports) or whether the horses actually match the identifications registered” on the passports.

“The information contained in several (equine passports) checked by the … audit team appeared incomplete, unreliable or false. It can therefore not be ensured that horses slaughtered in Canada for export to the EU have not been treated with substances which are not permitted in the EU, in particular hormonal growth promotants.” Testosterone was mentioned as a prohibited growth hormone in EU meat.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency, responding to written questions from the Star, declared that horsemeat exported from Canada is safe to eat.

“Canada has a strong and robust food safety inspection system in place,” the agency said in statement.

“This includes effective ante and post mortem verification and frequent sampling and testing of meat to detect residues with CFIA inspectors and veterinarians present on a daily basis. The number of samples taken is consistent with international standards.”

The federal food safety agency also stated it “welcomes feedback from the audit and is committed to addressing opportunities for improvement identified within the report.”

Horsemeat is Canada’s top red meat export to European countries.

The audit team attached to the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office evaluated the sanitary measures and control systems in place for fresh meat exports (including horse, bison and cattle) from Canada to Europe.

With respect to horses, the European team visited unnamed slaughterhouses, feedlots and one border crossing (the majority of horses killed annually in Canada are imported from the United States).

The vulnerability of Canada’s Equine Information Document was also a key concern in a 2010 European audit. That report found Canada’s ability to trace prohibited drugs in food-bound horses “is inadequate” to protect consumers.

Canada’s equine document is the first step in protecting the public from drug-tainted horse meat. A previous Star investigation found the horse passport that Canada relies upon to keep toxic meat off dinner tables around the world is easily compromised. The Star obtained 10 passports in 2013; nine were incomplete or error-riddled.

The 16 carcasses with bute residues identified in the recent audit were tested in 2013 at one unnamed slaughterhouse. The auditors noted the slaughterhouse operator conducted its own investigation of the owners of the 16 horses who submitted the non-compliant equine passports.

Auditors noted that while “the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfill its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions.”

Ongoing Regulation Violations and CFIA Whitewash Confirmed by Access to Information Documents on Air Transport of Horses for Slaughter

SOURCE: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

ORANGEVILLE, ON, June 25, 2015 /CNW/ – The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) has discovered gruelling evidence of multiple horse deaths connected to air transport to Japan, and attempts by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to cover up the truth.

defendhorsescanada.orgAccess to Information (ATI) documents reveal that three horses died as a result of a landing accident and six horses perished in flight on August 1, 2012, “due to a combination of a substantial delay, the large size of the horses, and significant stress levels in the animals”.  However, a placating form letter dated November 2012, and later sent to inquiring members of the public, indicates that “the CFIA is not aware of any injury or undue suffering due to lack of segregation of horses over 14 hands in height.”

Further ATI findings include:  “…horses usually go down during take off and landing”, and one horse evidently died on a trip from Calgary and was found upside down in his crate.  Of ongoing concern has been breakage of the wooden crates, especially with stressed horses rearing up and falling against the crates’ wood strips covered in netting.  Past instructions from the CFIA to exporters have included repairing the broken shipping containers with duct tape.

The CHDC also notes that, in spite of lengthy debate within the agency concerning overloading the crates with four heavy horses, the practice is still continuing.  In fact, The Health of Animals Regulations stipulate that horses over 14 hands high (56″ high at the base of the neck) must be segregated for air transport, and they must be able to stand in a natural position, without coming into contact with a deck or roof.  Both laws are being broken on an ongoing basis, with the CFIA fully aware of this and, on horse shipment formwork, noting the segregation regulation under “Description of Non-Compliance“.  Further, for their own purposes, the agency has added wording to the Health of Animals Regulations that has not gone through official legal channels.

Attempts have been made by at least one agency official to install cameras in aircraft and to initiate a study regarding equine welfare associated with air transport.  Both proposals were turned down.  ATI findings indicate that the reason could have been “siding with exporters”.

CHDC Executive Director, Sinikka Crosland, states:  “In 2014, over 7,000 large draft horses shipped from Canada to Japan under these circumstances. It is clear that international trade and profit take precedence over animal welfare, possibly even human safety, and that the CFIA is turning a blind eye, circumventing laws and misleading the public.  We have strong evidence of the agency failing to follow its own regulations concerning the live transport of horses for meat, and even lying to the public to cover deviations from the law.”

The CHDC calls upon the Minister of International Trade, Hon. Edward Fast, and Bruce Archibald, President of the CFIA, to demand that the practice of sending horses overseas by air cargo for slaughter be stopped on humane and legal grounds.

ATI documents and video evidence can be found at this link: https://canadianhorsedefencecoalition.files.wordpress.com/2015/06/media_page_jun_2015.pdf.

SOURCE Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

For further information: Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director, Canadian Horse Defence Coalition, Phone: 250.681.1408, Email: info@defendhorsescanada.org

Horses Shipped to Japan for their Meat are Mistreated at Canadian Airport

as published at CTV News.com

“They are legally allowed to go up to 36 hours without food and water,”

Animal welfare advocates in Calgary say that live horses being shipped to Japan for human consumption are being treated inhumanely at the Calgary Airport, but the airport insists all rules are being followed.

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition says a video its members shot recently shows horses being mistreated at the airport. They say the animals are kept in crates not tall enough for them to stand in. Thet also say the video shows de-icing fluid and jet blast from other planes drifting onto the crates as they’re loaded.

On Thursday, 15 protesters held a rally in front of Calgary’s Aero Space Museum, organized by CARE — the Calgary Animal Rights Effort — and the Lethbridge Animal Rights Effort. They waved signs that read “YYC flies horses to their death,” “Calgary’s Shame” and “Horse export is cruel.”

Maureen Hurly, with CARE, says horses are suffering during the long-haul flights and some have died en route.

“We’re concerned because of the inhumaneness of the entire operation from start to finish. They are legally allowed to go up to 36 hours without food and water,” she told CTV Calgary.

Hurly also brought her group’s concerns to the Calgary Airport Authority’s annual general meeting on Thursday.

Garth Atkinson, the president and CEO of the Calgary Airport Authority, told reporters that the airport authority has no jurisdiction over the handling of the horses; he says that’s a federal responsibility.

What’s more, he says, is the animals are treated well.

“As far as we know, everything takes place according to the law, and it’s very supervised and every complaint is looked into and addressed,” he said.

Hurly says she was disappointed by the airport authority’s reaction.

“I don’t feel like the airport wants to take any accountability for this at all. They just want to pass responsibility on to somebody else,” she said.

Live horse exports to Japan have jumped in recent years because of growing demand, rising from 2,200 animals in 2012 to 7,800 last year. As well, Canada exported 9,000 tonnes of already slaughtered horse meat, according to Agriculture Canada, to several countries, including Japan, Belgium and France.

Activists claim about 90 horses a week from Calgary are slaughtered in Japan to be used as raw sashimi, selling for about $25,000 a horse.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency says it inspects all air shipments of live horses and ensures they have food and water. It also reviews all complaints. The agency would not say whether any rules had been broken in the video shot by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.

New York-based Atlas Air, the cargo line that ships most of the animals, did not return a request by CTV Calgary for comment.

US Heavy-Weights join Atamanenko on Canada’s Parliament Hill to take Aim at Horse Meat Industry

Horse slaughter Bill C-571 up next week for 2nd reading debate and vote

DSC_5321OTTAWA – New Democrat MP, Alex Atamanenko (BC Southern Interior) is holding a press conference to discuss his private members bill to restrict the slaughter of horses to only those raised primarily for human consumption and which carry a lifetime medication history.  Bill C-571 is up for its second hour of debate on Monday, May 12 following which a vote is likely to be held on Wednesday May 14.

With over half the horses slaughtered in Canada being sourced from the US where slaughter has been shut down since 2006, he will be joined by US heavyweights Victoria McCullough (Owner of Chesapeake Petroleum, International Equestrian and Philanthropist) and Florida State Senator Joseph Abruzzo. Using arguments based on science and legal liability the US heavyweights were able to convince US Vice President Joe Biden to add language defunding federal inspections at US slaughter facilities for horses in the 2014 Omnibus Bill signed by President Obama this past January.  Horses in the US cannot be slaughtered without federal inspections.

Also taking part will be Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC), a key ally and promoter of Atamanenko’s Bill C-571 and Dr. Ray Kellosalmi, CHDC medical and toxicology expert.

When: Thursday, May 08, 2014 

Where: Charles Lynch Room – Centre Block – Parliament Hill

For more information:  Office of Alex Atamanenko, 613-996-8036

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Canadian Horse Meat Involved in European Meat Scandal

Story by Tu Thanh Ha as published on The Globe and Mail

Fasen Meat Trading purchased 26 tons of frozen Canadian horse meat

A new Canadian link has been established in Europe’s horse-meat scandal.

horse-meat-scandelTons of low-grade Canadian horse meat were purchased and passed off as halal beef by the Dutch businessman who is now in custody as French authorities investigate the scandal in which horse meat from Romania wound up labelled as ground beef.

Last year, French consumers affairs minister Benoît Hamon confirmed that government inspectors were investigating the links between Draap and the French food processor Spanghero.

According to Agence France-Presse, Mr. Fasen was placed in custody on April 8 and is being formally investigated for fraud.

Mr. Fasen’s lawyer, Jérôme Triomphe, told AFP that his client voluntarily turned up for questioning and added that he denied the charges.

According to a 2012 decision by a court in Breda, in the Netherlands, Mr. Fasen was involved in a previous case of meat-labelling fraud.

Previous media coverage of that Breda judgment mentioned that the horse meat came from Mexico and Brazil, but didn’t detail that part of the bogus beef came from Canada.

The ruling does not identify the defendant but a Dutch official confirmed to The Globe and Mail that it was one of Mr. Fasen’s companies, Fasen Meat Trading.

On Oct. 26, 2007, Fasen Meat Trading purchased 26 tons of frozen Canadian horse meat, the ruling said.

A few days later, the court decision said, Fasen Meat Trading delivered to a French food company in Normandy 22 tons of what it labelled as halal beef.

In fact, about half of that shipment was frozen Canadian horse meat, according to the ruling.

In August of 2008, Fasen Meat Trading sold nearly 24 tons of halal beef to a French manufacturer but, the ruling said, part of it again came from a batch of low-grade Canadian horse meat.

“The court takes these allegations very seriously,” the judgment said, adding that the defendant deceived consumers “for a long period, in an organized, crafty manner.”

While the ruling was supposed to have redacted out the name of the Canadian company, one paragraph was mistakenly left, saying that the meat’s origin was “Canada Naturel VF Inc. Est. 519.”

Establishment 519 was the the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s identifier for a processing plant located in Wolseley, Sask., belonging to Natural Valley Farms Inc.

NVF was a meat packer headquartered in Neudorf, Sask.

It was initially licensed in June, 2006, as a cattle abattoir but the following year it obtained a licence for slaughtering horses.

According to the Dutch court judgment, Fasen Meat Trading was dissolved in December of 2008. Earlier that year, Draap Trading was incorporated in Cyprus.

Mr. Fasen appealed the Breda court decision, which imposed a one-year sentence on him.

In May of 2013, an appellate court reduced the penalty to a €50,000 ($75,000) fine and a six-month suspended sentence.

In Canada, the NVF was facing troubles, too.

The CFIA suspended the company’s licence in December, 2008, because of “ineffective implementation of food safety monitoring and verification systems.”

After leasing its slaughterhouse to Cavel, NVF eventually shut down.

Follow on Twitter: @TuThanhHa

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B.C. Residents Protest Controversial Horse Slaughter Facility

Source: By Jason Hewlett, Kamloops Daily News

“There’s no way it can ever be humane…”

A protester waves at passing cars honking to stop horse slaughter in Canada ~ Photograph by: Hugo Yuen , Kamloops Daily News

A protester waves at passing cars honking to stop horse slaughter in Canada ~ Photograph by: Hugo Yuen , Kamloops Daily News

WESTWOLD, B.C. — Efforts to inform residents of this B.C. community about the slaughter of horses in their own backyard will continue, the organizer of a protest outside KML Meat Processors says.

But Jacquie Sharpe isn’t sure if more protests like the one that prompted 50 people to gather along Highway 97C this weekend will take place.

Sharpe will maintain her Facebook page — Protest Westwold Horse Slaughter Plant — and keep feeding people information on horse slaughter so residents can decide if they want KML Meat Processors to remain open.

“This protest isn’t against this particular slaughterhouse other than if people do not want this happening in their area, we’d like them to shut it down,” said Sharpe.

Protesters learned that KML Meat Processors was granted a licence to slaughter horses in August, making it one of five such facilities in Canada and the only one in B.C.

The group gathered at a highway pullout, hoisted anti-slaughter placards, then marched to KML.

RCMP were present to ensure the protest was carried out safely. KML was closed, but a couple of local ranchers stood nearby and provided a contrary voice.

Harold Hough said the process is necessary. Horse slaughter isn’t allowed in the United States, where some horses are turned out into the wild.

“They are destroying government land and the horses are starving to death,” he said. “What’s more humane?”

The horses aren’t local, he said. He doesn’t know how they are killed, but the slaughter is regulated by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

“It’s not a hillbilly operation,” said Hough, adding horses, like cattle, are a commodity industry.

The protesters disagreed with Hough. Belinda Lyall and her daughter, Rega Malysh, 8, came from Salmon Arm to protest.

Lyall has rescued horses from slaughterhouses, including her daughter’s pet horse, Beauty. She said horses are put in a kill box built for cattle and killed with a bolt gun or rifle.

Unlike cattle, the horse is well aware of what is going on, she said.

“There’s no way it can ever be humane, just due to the nature of the horse and the sheer terror they experience,” said Lyall.

Ellie Wilson joined the protest so she could learn more about the slaughter. She wants to know why it’s necessary.

It doesn’t matter where it’s happening, horses shouldn’t be killed for food, said Wilson.

“I just don’t think it’s a cool thing to do,” she said, adding she’s heard the meat is sold to China.

Resident Val Pringle believes the KML facility is first class, and provides ranchers a means to make money off unwanted horses or those they can’t otherwise sell.

The only other option is to shoot them and bury them, he said, adding he’s owned horses in the past.

Sharpe said most Canadians consider horses a companion animal that helped build the country, which makes their slaughter a contentious issue.

“I do not believe in horse slaughter, period,” she said.

Star Investigation: Drugged Slaughtered Canadian Horses Slipping Through ‘Inadequate’ Food System

Source: Mary Ormsby and Dale Brazao Staff Reporters of THESTAR.com

“I’m just buying the horse for the (meat) plant and that’s it”

Backstreet Bully, a former Frank Stronach racehorse, had been given a drug linked to bone-marrow disease in humans and yet was slaughtered at a Quebec abattoir in January, though it is unclear whether his meat entered the food chain. Photo by Michael Burns

The horse “passport” Canada relies on to keep toxic meat off dinner tables around the world is open to fraud and error, a Star investigation reveals.

Using undercover reporters, the Star found problems with passports — which are supposed to detail a horse’s complete medical history — for several horses headed to the slaughterhouse.

The Star also obtained 10 passports, nine of which were incomplete or mistake-filled.

In some cases, signatures did not match the names of people claiming to be the horse’s owner. In other interactions witnessed at a busy Waterloo-area auction house, the document was partially filled out by an auction-house worker instead of the owners.

What was seen at auction confirms the findings of an international audit obtained by the Star: that Canada’s ability to trace prohibited drugs in food-bound horses “is inadequate” to protect consumers. Some common horse medications, like “bute” and nitrofurazone, are linked to causing bone-marrow disease and cancer in people if eaten in meat.

Canada’s equine information document is the first step in protecting the public from drug-tainted meat. The document is a type of animal passport that relies on voluntary ownership disclosure of information such as a horse’s physical description, its primary use — racehorse, for example — and drug history.

About $90 million in horsemeat from more than 80,000 animals is exported from Canada annually. Each horse to be slaughtered is to have a passport stating it is free of drugs that would be dangerous to humans if consumed. Horsemeat is a common dish eaten in France, Belgium, Switzerland, Japan and Quebec, and is even available at select restaurants in Toronto.

Concerns over public exposure to tainted meat has intensified in recent years as thousands of racehorses — raised on powerful drugs to boost performance — enter the slaughter pipeline, most of them coming from the United States into Canada since the closure of U.S. slaughterhouse facilities in 2007.

Meanwhile, Ontario’s cash-strapped racing industry has fewer tracks, race dates and prize money than a year ago — rendering thousands of racing thoroughbreds, standardbreds, quarter horses and their breeding stock unnecessary.

European Union food safety regulators have pushed Canada for tighter passport and drug-testing controls for domestic and American horses. But the Star’s investigation, where we examined specific cases, found horses with drug histories that should prevent them from becoming food can easily slip through the system.

In two cases tracked by the Star, Backstreet Bully, a former Frank Stronach racehorse, and Holly, a 23-year-old trail horse, were sold at the Ontario Livestock Exchange auction near Waterloo with false or misleading claims on their passports.

Backstreet Bully was slaughtered in Quebec in January, though it is unclear whether his meat entered the food chain — neither the government or slaughterhouse officials would tell us. Backstreet Bully had been given multiple doses of phenylbutazone (bute) and nitrofurazone during his life.

Holly narrowly escaped the same fate in March, rescued from a meat buyer’s holding pen when the horse was tracked down and purchased for $805. Holly had also been given bute and nitrofurazone just weeks before she was sold at auction. (Read the Star’s full account of Holly’s rescue in Saturday’s Star.)

“If you come right down to the bottom of this and the majority of these racehorses have had some of these (prohibited) drugs administered, what good are any documents, really?” said B.C. New Democrat Alex Atamanenko, who is pushing a private member’s bill, C-322, to severely restrict horse slaughter in Canada.

The Star’s undercover investigation took reporters to the Tuesday horse sales at the Ontario Livestock Exchange. To see how carefully passports were completed by horse owners, Star reporters mingled with the public and horse dealers on two separate trips.

Dozens of horses were trucked in both mornings from around the province and herded from trailers into auction-house holding pens. Lot numbers were glued to their sides to identify them to the public, who wandered around the pens studying the animals until the noon bidding began. In the sales ring, there was little vigilance of passport accuracy; even when the auctioneer announced to potential buyers that the owners’ names and signatures didn’t match on some forms, those horses were still sold.

Auction houses are not responsible for overseeing passport accuracy; that is the role of slaughterhouse operators, according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the country’s food safety watchdog. However, it is the horse owner’s duty to provide full and correct identity and medical history information for their animal; making false statements is illegal.

Most of the purchasing at the auction was done by slaughterhouse suppliers like Jeff Grof and Jonathan Lalonde, who are commonly called “kill buyers” — although farmers and families can pick up bargain-basement animals for pennies a pound. One dirty colt, with no takers, finally sold for $5.

“I’m just buying the horse for the (meat) plant and that’s it,” said Lalonde, who estimates he purchases between 25 and 30 horses every Tuesday from the auction, known to insiders simply as OLEX.

“When we’re buying the horses, they are supposed to have the papers filled out by the old owner,” he told the Star in a recent phone interview.

Lalonde bought Backstreet Bully for about 26 cents a pound on Jan. 8 and Holly for about 46 cents a pound on March 26. Unlike Backstreet Bully, who went directly to slaughter, Holly had a few days’ grace in an Ottawa-area feedlot because Lalonde thought he could resell her for $700, plus $105 for board — double what he reportedly paid for her at auction.

Many powerful veterinary drugs given to sport horses are prohibited in animals destined to become food because those drugs can be toxic to people. The passport is mandatory paperwork for slaughter-bound horses but additional information, such as veterinary records to support drug-free claims, is not required.

A five-page government passport template is available online but it is not mandatory to use that version. The horse industry is permitted to create a shorter form — usually a single sheet of paper, the Star found — that excludes some questions suggested by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

European Commission auditors twice visited Canadian slaughterhouse facilities in 2010 and 2011, to inspect areas from sanitation to drug-testing procedures for a variety of animals. With horses, auditors found particular fault with passports accompanying American animals trucked to slaughterhouses from the border.

“Those horses imported from the United States of America for direct slaughter, the equine identification documents received were not reliable, with verification only being made possible by residue (drug) testing,” the 2011 audit states.

The passport “doesn’t provide even a modicum of reassurance” that all horses are safe to eat, says lawyer and author Bruce Wagman, a San Francisco animal law expert who has studied the European audits.

Wagman calls the Canadian slaughter system unreliable, dangerous to the global food supply and one to avoid emulating should the U.S. resume slaughtering horses for human consumption after a seven-year shutdown, as is being proposed.

“The EID is not serving the purpose it’s purportedly intended to do, which is to ensure no adulterated meat goes into or out of the country,” said the lawyer.

“It can’t, because the document doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Wagman contends passports are “prone to abuse” by people “motivated by financial gain and have no way, really, of accurately filling out the document because many of them just got these horses within days (of completing the form).”

Wagman is petitioning federal U.S. food agencies on behalf of animal welfare groups — including the Humane Society of the United States — to drastically tighten federal drug requirements should horse slaughter south of the border be revived.

Nearly 300,000 horses have been slaughtered at Canadian plants since 2010, when the equine information document was introduced to better identify animals and the drugs. The European Union, whose member states trace domestic equine from birth to death with lifetime passports, has for years pushed for tighter horsemeat vigilance in Canada.

A proper passport system would do a great deal to protect the public, people involved in the horse world say, particularly as more and more horses are slaughtered. One equine expert recently estimated that Canada’s overall horse population of about 900,000 will be reduced to about 600,000 over the next few years because of reduced racing in Ontario.

Secrecy surrounds the passports once a horse reaches the slaughterhouse. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency can only access passports stored at the country’s four federally registered equine slaughter facilities.

Federal rules state that slaughterhouse operators “shall investigate incidences of potential (passport) falsification and take necessary action,” according to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. It was unclear what slaughterhouses are to do if they find a problem and the government agency refused to disclose how many, if any, people have been prosecuted for passport fraud.

Jonathan Lalonde, who supplies Quebec abattoirs, told the Star he sometimes phones horse owners to supply the missing passport information and writes it in himself. Otherwise, the horse may be rejected at the slaughterhouse.

Equine Canada has been working on a birth-to-death traceability system for all horses in Canada built on existing industry data tracking programs (like racehorse registration papers) and may include the use of microchip implants. The system, called CanEQUID, would also track horses to be processed for meat. But government funding to fast track CanEQUID has not materialized for the past five years since horses aren’t considered a “priority species” for food safety and livestock traceability, according to Equine Canada.

Horsemeat is a lucrative business. It is Canada’s No. 1 red meat export to Europe; Canada supplies the continent with about 24 per cent of its total.

The top five purchasers of Canadian-processed horsemeat in 2012 were: Switzerland ($22 million); Japan ($19.8 million); France ($19.7 million); Belgium ($17.6 million) and Kazakhstan ($6.8 million).

The U.S. was next in line, spending nearly $2 million on horsemeat — but for zoo animals. Horsemeat is not allowed to be sold commercially for human consumption in the U.S.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency insists the current system is safe because government inspectors at the privately owned abattoirs will not allow any horse with incomplete or inaccurate passports to be slaughtered for food.

“The CFIA’s top priority is food safety,” the agency wrote in an email to the Star.

In addition, agency inspectors conduct visual examinations and random drug testing of horses and carcasses to ensure they are free of banned drugs. Some horses are targeted for testing if an inspector has cause for concern. Testing is so sensitive, drug residues can be detected in parts per billion — trace amounts.

In a recent email to the Star, the agency said it is working with the horse industry to “develop measures to enhance equine traceability.”

The agency says it does not directly act on fraudulent passport claims.

Click (HERE) to visit theSTAR.com

The Silence is Deafening

Source: by Shelly Grainger from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition’s Blog

When presented with evidence of lies, deceit and corruption…not even denial is spoken

Why is it when the Canadian government and horse agriculture (ie. slaughter) industry is called upon for answers, their silence is the only thing heard? (Same could be said in the U.S.)

When presented with evidence of lies, deceit and corruption, as brought forward in the Toronto Star’s March 30th Star investigation: Ottawa refuses to say whether drug-tainted horse meat entered food chain, not even denial is spoken.  Not a, “we’ll get back to you” rebuff – just deafening silence.

This resounding hush is the same that was heard after the CHDC’s damaging investigative report from inside the La Petite Nation slaughter plant in 2011 – the same one implicated in the Toronto Star report.  No words of acknowledgement, disavowal, or otherwise were heard from the Ministry of Agriculture, the CFIA, nor the dichotomously named pro-slaughter group representing the industry, the Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada (HWAC), after the CHDC released Pasture to Plate: The True Cost of Canada’s Horsemeat Industry.

In previous years, the CFIA and HWAC made attempts to minimize or even deny the evidence brought forward in the CHDC reports.  After Pasture to Plate, only after a concerted effort to communicate with the CFIA, was a response received.  In the usual manner, vague explanations were given  and promises of improved industry standards were made.  Even an absurd statement was provided, that since the video evidence of a horse taken from behind did not show the actual entry of the 11 captive bolt stunning attempts, it was impossible to determine if the horse was actually improperly shot.  Video evidence is just that – EVIDENCE.  You didn’t have to see the multiple holes in the poor Belgian’s face to see that he was still wavering on his feet as the shooter shot the captive bolt gun again, and again, and again, and again ………..11 times – but that was not conclusive in the CFIA’s eyes.

And what does the pro-slaughter pro-horsemeat eating Bill DesBarres have to say on behalf of HWAC?…(CONTINUED)

Click (HERE) to read the rest of the article and to comment

Behind Closed Doors – What XL Foods and Horse Slaughter Plants Have in Common and What They’d Prefer to Keep Hidden

Report provided by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

The CHDC provides evidence of disturbing parallels between the XL Foods contaminated beef recall and conditions inside Canada’s horse slaughter plants.
Read the full report by clicking (HERE).
Warning – Graphic Images