SAFE Food SAFE Horses Grassroots Coalition Will March on DC with Wild Horses, Public Lands and Horse Slaughter Risk Warnings

News provided by SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition

September 22 open-to-public rally at Capitol links slaughter of U.S. horses to food safety risks and wild horse removals to public “land grab” attempt

Simone, John Holland of EWA and R.T. Fitch of WHFF protesting in D.C.

Simone from Respect4Horses, John Holland of EWA and R.T. Fitch of WHFF protesting in D.C.

STUART, Fla., Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition ( invites the public to the “March on DC” on September 22, 2016 to urge our lawmakers to protect our wild horses and public lands from needless destruction, and Americans from the grave health risk resulting from their unknowing consumption of toxic meat from slaughtered U.S. horses entering the U.S. and global food supply.

Highlights of the March are expert presentations by Congressman Patrick Meehan, Ginger Kathrens of The Cloud Foundation, Cameron Harsh of the Center for Food Safety, John Holland , R.T. Fitch, Freddie Hudson and others.  The rally begins at the USDA Whitten building on Jefferson Avenue with speakers, followed by a short “March” to the Capitol Plaza for more presentations and speeches.

On the following day (September 23), a free double-feature will be held at the Capitol Visitors’ Center, showing the award-winning documentary “From the Kill Pen”, followed by the true Cinderella story of “Harry and Snowman”.

The goals of the March are to:

  • Demand Congress enforces the spirit and intent of the Wild and Free Roaming Horse and Burro Protection Act of 1971 and rejects the BLM WH&B Advisory Committee’s recommendations to destroy America’s captive wild horses being held in long and short term holding.
  • Alert Americans to a congressional “Public Land Grab” plan to hand over taxpayers’ public lands to the states, to be sold to private corporate interests for mining, fracking and welfare cattle grazing.
  • Compel Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act S.1214/HR.1942 to protect our food supply by banning the slaughter, and transport to slaughter of U.S. horses.
  • Alert Americans to the health risks that the slaughter of U.S. horses creates: A study published in 2015 reported that the US food supply is contaminated with horse meat. U.S. horses do not meet Federal standards required for food animals, and may harbor FDA-banned drugs, toxins and deadly diseases. The US imports millions of pounds of “beef” from Mexico into the US annually, which has been shown to contain up to 40% horse meat
  • Expose serious horse-related food safety issues involving the USDA, which is responsible for food safety, yet due to lack of funding and oversight, allows egregious violations of USDA policies . A prime example is the Slaughter Horse Transport Program which has only two people assigned to monitor safety at twelve U.S. border crossings.

Please join “We the People” in protecting our food, families, public lands, horses, and American heritage.  Media contact:

SAFE Food Safe Horses Coalition is a non-profit entity representing over 20 organizations and 1.75 million people. Its missions are to protect the food supply by banning the slaughter of American horses and protect our wild horses and public lands.

Video –

SOURCE SAFE Food SAFE Horses Coalition

USDA: Horse Slaughter Environmental Review Pointless

Source: By Josh Long as published at Food Product Design

“…individuals in the vicinity of previous horse slaughter plants were forced to endure a noxious stench, dealt with blood in streams, and sometimes even found blood and horse tissue running through their water faucets…”

Americans say NO to Horse Slaughter in U.S. ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

Americans say NO to Horse Slaughter in U.S. ~ photo by R.T. Fitch

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—An agency within the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) lacks discretion to deny requests to inspect horse slaughter facilities if they meet requirements under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, rendering an environmental review essentially meaningless, government lawyers argue.

Citing the failure of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) to follow the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), animal welfare groups—including Front Range Equine Rescue, Horses for Life Foundation and Humane Society of the United States among others—have sued the agency in federal court.

The lawsuit has at least temporarily thwarted the plans of three facilities in Iowa, Missouri and New Mexico to slaughter horses for human consumption. The controversial practice has infuriated animal rights groups and divided Native American tribes.

In a brief filed last month, Justice Department lawyers argue NEPA doesn’t apply to its horse slaughter oversight because FSIS lacks the authority to impose environmental conditions or deny a proposal for inspection on environmental grounds.

Since federal law requires FSIS to grant inspections to facilities that meet eligibility requirements under the Federal Meat Inspection Act, “environmental considerations pursuant to a NEPA analysis could not have changed FSIS’ decision,” the government lawyers wrote.

The animal rights groups that have sued FSIS vigorously disagree, and a federal judge is leaning in their favor. In temporary restraining orders that enjoin FSIS from dispatching inspectors to the horse slaughter facilities, Chief U.S. District Judge Christine Armijo has found plaintiffs are likely to prevail on their claims.

The judge is expected to make her final decision—whether to grant a permanent injunction—by the end of October. A final ruling is likely to be challenged before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit.

Plaintiffs have challenged FSIS’s decisions to grant inspections and a directive that relates to a drug residue testing program for equines. FSIS Directive 6130.1 provides instructions to government personnel on how to inspect horses before and after they are slaughtered, including instructions for drug residue testing.

In the lawsuit, plaintiffs cite a number of environmental hazards associated with horse slaughter facilities before three plants closed six years ago.

“As described in the record, individuals in the vicinity of previous horse slaughter plants were forced to endure a noxious stench, dealt with blood in streams, and sometimes even found blood and horse tissue running through their water faucets,” plaintiffs wrote in a brief. “Whether this will happen again is precisely the question that should be explored in a properly prepared NEPA document.”


NEPA typically requires federal agencies to assess the environmental consequences of a proposed action through an “environmental assessment” (EA) and/or a more comprehensive “environmental impact statement” (EIS). FSIS has conducted neither an EA nor an EIS in connection with the horse slaughter facilities or the agency’s drug residue testing program.

NEPA’s requirements don’t apply to a federal agency if a proposed action will not have a “significant” impact either individually or cumulatively on the human environment. Regulations excuse FSIS from preparing an EA or EIS unless the agency’s administrator, Al Almanza, decides “an action may have a significant environmental effect,” according to a memo from FSIS that granted federal meat inspection services to Roswell, N.M.-based Valley Meat Company, LLC.

FSIS’s action “is purely ministerial” since it must grant federal inspection if a facility has met statutory and regulatory requirements, the agency concluded in the June 27 memo.

“A grant of federal inspection likewise does not and will not allow FSIS to exercise sufficient control over the commercial horse slaughter activities at Valley Meat such that the grant will constitute a major federal action that triggers NEPA requirements,” the memo declared.

The agency explained it only has authority to regulate a facility to the extent necessary to verify that meat produced for human consumption is properly labeled, packaged and wholesome as well as free of adulterants.

Drug Residues  

Plaintiffs have expressed fears that the horse slaughter plants are potentially dangerous in part because drugs that are administered to horses are not safe for human consumption and have the potential to contaminate “local ecosystems and water and soil supplies.”

Between 1996 and 2006, when FSIS tested horses for drugs before funding for horse inspections was withdrawn, few equines tested positive, according to the agency. But plaintiffs contend FSIS failed to test the animals for many drugs that are commonly administered to horses.

Documents submitted to the federal government have listed 115 drugs and categories of drugs that have been approved for use in horses and have been known to cause problems for humans, according to Bruce Wagman, an attorney representing a number of plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

The Attorney General of New Mexico has expressed similar fears, pointing out in a letter to Valley Meat that horse meat containing such dangerous substances as the anti-inflammatory drug phenylbutazone (PBZ) would be considered “adulterated” in violation of state law.

FSIS has defended the drug testing program, citing a number of safeguards—including random tests of horses after they are slaughtered—that are intended to protect the public from exposure to harmful chemicals and pesticide residues.

State agencies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigate companies whose meat has tested positive for unpermitted drug residues, and FDA has authority to prosecute a business and take other enforcement action, FSIS pointed out.

Although FSIS has acknowledged it will conduct fewer samples under its new program, the agency said it will analyze them for a larger number of chemical compounds. But plaintiffs gripe the new program “ignores several dozen other substances commonly given to horses that may be harmful to humans.”

Click (HERE) to comment directly at Food Product Design

New Mexico AG Intervenes in Lawsuit to Halt Horse Slaughter Plant

(ALBUQUERQUE)—Attorney General Gary King has filed a motion to intervene in a lawsuit to stop a plant in Roswell from slaughtering horses for meat because federal authorities have not yet undertaken the required environmental review.  


Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

Rick De Los Santos, owner of Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, stands in the slaughterhouse where he plans to butcher horses for the foreign meat market. (PAT VASQUEZ-CUNNINGHAM/JOURNAL)

The AG’s motion, filed late last Friday, joins Front Range Equine Rescue, the Humane Society of the United States, and a variety of other groups and individuals that recently brought the lawsuit in federal district court.

AG King’s motion says New Mexico has a strong interest in ensuring that “commercial operations within its borders are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner.”  Attorney General King previously concluded in a legal analysis last month that “state law does not allow for production of meat that is chemically tainted under federal regulations.”

The lawsuit asks the district court to block Roswell’s Valley Meat Company and several plants in other states from beginning commercial horse slaughter until the United States Department of Agriculture undertakes a full and adequate environmental review of those operations.

One of Attorney General King’s primary concerns is that horses in the United States are frequently treated with drugs that the federal Food and Drug Administration has determined are unsafe for human consumption in any amount.

In an opinion letter issued last month in response to an inquiry from State Senator Richard Martinez, AG King noted a 2010 scientific study which revealed the widespread presence in horses destined for slaughter operations of an anti-inflammatory drug that the FDA determined could cause bone marrow toxicity in humans.

The FDA’s own regulations specifically ban administration of the drug, Phenylbutazone, in any horse sent to slaughter for human consumption.  Nonetheless, the study found that the FDA’s ban is effectively being ignored because no mechanism has been implemented to identify and remove horses that receive Phenylbutazone from food manufacture.  The study determined that this shortcoming “indicates a serious gap in food safety and constitutes a significant public health risk.”

Despite these important concerns about the widespread use on horses of Phenylbutazone and other drugs whose effects on humans are either documented to be harmful or are unknown, the USDA announced that, in its view, the planned horse slaughter operations would not have a significant environmental effect on human health or the environment.  The lawsuit is a response to that determination, and it asks the court to order the USDA to conduct a thorough environmental review prior to approving commercial horse slaughter operations for human consumption.

The Attorney General’s motion to intervene raises other serious concerns, including the additional and costly regulatory burden that commercial horse slaughter operations will likely impose on the State of New Mexico to ensure that waste discharge does not threaten area water supplies and environmental quality.  The imminent slaughter of horses for commercial food production in our state, following the horse meat scandal in Europe, also threatens the well-being of our local food production businesses, especially the beef industry.

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.

Click (HERE) to visit Horseback and to Comment

Drugs Reflect Food-Safety Concerns in Horse Slaughter Debate

Source: By Josh Long as published at Food Product Design

“During the first part of their lives, nobody has any thought these horses are going to be steak,”
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)

SANTA FE, N.M.—A letter from Zachary Shandler, a New Mexico Assistant Attorney General, highlights another challenge Valley Meat Co. faces in its controversial quest to lawfully slaughter horses.

It must ensure that horses destined for the slaughterhouse have not been treated with drugs that are considered harmful to human health and deemed “adulterated” in violation of federal and state laws. If horse meat was found to be adulterated, the New Mexico Food Act would prevent the meat from being manufactured, sold or delivered, Shandler wrote in a June 10 letter to Richard Martinez, a New Mexico state senator.

The New Mexico Food Act classifies a food as adulterated “if it bears or contains any poisonous or deleterious substance which may render it injurious to health”. Although state law doesn’t define what constitutes a “poisonous or deleterious substance,” Shandler cited studies that show phenylbutazone (PBZ)—an anti-inflammatory drug that has been shown to have been administered to race horses who were later slaughtered—meets that definition.

“Accordingly, horse meat originating from U.S. horses that have been treated with PBZ and other deleterious substances would be deemed ‘adulterated’,” Shandler said.

Such an act would constitute a violation of the New Mexico Food Act, possibly resulting in a criminal misdemeanor charge, fines and seizure of the product, he noted.

The opinion by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King reflected “more of a political statement about his personal beliefs than a legal opinion,” said A. Blair Dunn, a lawyer representing Valley Meat Co., whose application to slaughter horses in Roswell, N.M. is pending before the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

“He simply restated the obvious that if a product contains poison or deleterious substances that are injurious to human health that it is adulterated and can’t be sold,” Dunn told Food Product Design in an emailed statement.

Phil Sisneros, the AG’s communications director, said the opinion was not a matter of just stating the obvious.

“We don’t believe that very many New Mexicans knew we even had an adulterated food act and that horse meat would come under that,” he said in a phone interview.

Although the AG has the authority to enforce the New Mexico Food Act and other laws that might affect horse meat, Sisneros indicated the New Mexico Environment Department would take the lead on an enforcement action. He said the AG has let the agency know it will help them in such an action. A spokesman for the state Environment Department did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment on its role in the matter.

The AG’s letter “infers that all horses may contain [an adulterated] substance because they may have been administered painkillers, antibiotics or vaccines in the course of their lives. But ultimately this is all the stuff that falls under the regulatory authority of USDA to inspect for and keep out of the food chain,” said Dunn, Valley Meat Co.’s lawyer.

The problem is that it’s impossible to confirm what drugs horses have been administered during their early years because, unlike livestock, the animals weren’t raised with the purpose of being slaughtered to feed humans, said Bruce Wagman, a lawyer representing the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the animal rights group, and Front Range Equine Rescue, a Larkspur, Colo.-based non-profit organization seeking to defend horses from neglect and abuse.

“During the first part of their lives, nobody has any thought these horses are going to be steak,” said Wagman, a San Francisco-based partner with the law firm Schiff Hardin LLP.

HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have stated their intent to file lawsuits under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act and Clean Water Act if USDA grants approval to Valley Meat Co. or other businesses to slaughter horses.

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) has been reviewing applications that have been filed by Valley Meat Co., Missouri-based Rains Natural Meats and Iowa-based Responsible Transportation LLC. According to a voicemail at Rains Natural Meats, the company is currently closed for business; Responsible Transportation, which states on its website that it will provide “a humane alternative” to the problem of unwanted horses, didn’t respond Thursday to a request for comment on the status of its application.

Documents that Front Range Equine Rescue and HSUS submitted to FSIS and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) list 50 drugs that are administered to horses and expressly prohibited by the Code of Federal Regulations from entering the human food supply, Wagman said. The substances are commonly given to horses that are later slaughtered, according to the list that the agencies received.

Some of those drugs include Ceftiofur Sodium (for treatment of respiratory infections in horses), Deslorelin (used to induce ovulation in ovulating mares)  and Diclofenac Sodium (administered to treat arthritis in humans and horses). With respect to these drugs, the regulations explicitly state, “Do not use for horses intended for human consumption.”

The letter from King’s office makes its position known that horse meat would be considered “adulterated” in violation of state law if it derived from horses that had been treated with the drugs listed above.

But Wagman said other drugs administered to horses also would be jeopardize food safety. In total, the documents submitted to the federal agencies listed 115 drugs and categories of drugs that have been approved for use in horses and have been known to cause problems for humans, he said. For instance, the list mentions Dimetridazole (generic), which reportedly has been withdrawn from Europe due to the hazards of gastrointestinal problems and potential for cancer.

Peggy Larson, a practitioner of veterinary medicine for more than 45 years and former veterinary medical officer for USDA, said in an affidavit filed with the agencies that many of the drugs on the list are commonly administered to horses.

“Based on longstanding medical and scientific principles, it is impossible to declare horse meat safe for human consumption when the horses who are slaughtered for that meat have been exposed to an unidentified (and unidentifiable) number of drugs, treatments and substances, in unknown (and unknowable) quantities, at various times during their life,” she stated.

Dunn said the New Mexico AG’s opinion doesn’t impact Valley Meat Co. because the company has an approved program to test drugs.

“Drug residue testing is not a new program and it is certainly not unique to horses. There is nothing that is administered to horses that is not detectable by the tests utilized by Valley and other processing facilities,” he said in the emailed statement.

Wagman countered that FSIS doesn’t have a drug testing program today for horses. More importantly, he contends it makes no difference whether Valley Meat Co. can test horses for drug residues.

“It doesn’t matter if there is any residue in the horse. Once they get that drug like PBZ it can’t be used for horse meat,” he said.

Cathy Cochran, a spokeswoman for FSIS, said the agency’s Office of Public Health Science will implement a protocol under its National Residue Program if it “grants inspection for a plant that slaughters horses.”

“More information on FSIS’ sampling methods would be made available in the FSIS Chemistry Laboratory Guidebook prior to any grant of inspection for equine slaughter being issued,” she said in an emailed statement.

Under FSIS’ current program for meat, poultry and egg products, the agency tests for chemicals such as antibiotics, sulfonamides, and other drugs, pesticides and environmental chemicals.  According to a July 2012 document on the program, “A violation occurs when an FSIS laboratory detects a chemical compound level in excess of an established tolerance or action level.”

But FSIS might be deprived of the resources to administer such a program for horses. The House Appropriations Committee on Thursday voted to eliminate funds for inspection of horse slaughter facilities. The amendment was introduced by Rep. Jim Moran, a Virginia Democrat.

“Approval by the Appropriations Committee is the first important step in ending this inhumane practice once and for all. Today’s approval also sends a strong signal to businesses looking to make a profit off the slaughter and sale of these iconic creatures,” Moran said in a statement Thursday. “More than 80 percent of the American people oppose the practice of horse slaughter – our laws need to sync with our values.”

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Chemically Tainted Horse Meat Unfit for Consumption


NM Attorney General: Meat’s pedigree would have to be proven before slaughter

PhenylbutazoneROSWELL, N.M. —The attorney general’s office said there is another hurdle that could stand in the way of horse slaughter plans in Roswell.

Horse meat, fitting the legal definition of an adulterated food product, may not be manufactured, sold or delivered anywhere in New Mexico regardless of where the food is ultimately consumed, said the state’s Attorney General Gary King.

Sometimes it is difficult to know the pedigree of horses, he said, citing the Federal Food and Drug Administration, and chemically tainted meat is unfit for consumption.

A number of horses are treated with chemicals in horse racing, for example.

King said if the Roswell plant cannot prove meat has not been tainted with chemicals then that meat would be illegal under New Mexico law, adding the slaughter plant would have to prove the pedigree of the meat before a horse could be slaughtered for consumption.

Failure to comply with the New Mexico food act can result in criminal charges, fines and or seizure of the food product.

It would be up to the Environmental Improvement Board and the Livestock Board to assist in enforcing this law, he said.

Phenylbutazone in Horsemeat Detected by Thermo Fisher Scientific test

Source: Press Release from Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc

“Phenylbutazone is considered to be one of the most toxic non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Click on Image to Enlarge and Read Warning

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc., the world leader in serving science, recently mobilized its Food Safety Response Center (FSRC) to develop a method to test for the presence of the veterinary drug phenylbutazone in horsemeat. Phenylbutazone, also known as “bute,” is a potent painkiller banned in any horsemeat intended for human consumption. Although horsemeat is not approved for human consumption in the U.S, it is commonly sold and consumed in many countries worldwide.

The new Thermo Fisher method overcomes previous challenges of testing horsemeat by using a simple two-step solid-phase extraction (SPE) cleanup protocol that is significantly faster than the manual liquid-liquid extraction procedures required by other methods. The method has been validated by Thermo Fisher FSRC scientists according to guidelines set by the EU, AOAC International and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

“We activate the Food Safety Response Center when risk of a foodborne illness is widespread and potentially life-threatening,” said Michal Godula, Ph.D., marketing manager, food safety and environmental applications for Thermo Fisher Scientific. “Lost in discussions of mislabeling and fraud is the fact that some horsemeat may contain chemicals that are toxic to humans, and our response, in the form of a new testing method, can rapidly detect ‘bute’ and help protect the food supply.”

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.”

For more information about the new method:

Breaking News: FRER Discovers New Applications for Horse Slaughter Facilities

“We will investigate each and every new facility…where these misguided attempts to kill American horses have been made.”

American Horses trucked to Mexico for slaughterLARKSPUR, COLORADO – Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER) has received copies of four previously undiscovered applications for new horse slaughter plants – in Tennessee, Missouri, Oklahoma and Iowa – bringing the number of pending applications to six.  Two of the applications are over nine months old, despite longstanding official denials about any more new applications.  The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), which inspects animals and meat in American slaughterhouses under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, has stated that the American beef supply is safe from adulteration with horse meat only because horses are not slaughtered in America.  If horse slaughter does begin again in America, the entire American meat supply is threatened with contamination.  The proposed plants are in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Iowa, and Missouri.

These applications demonstrate that profiteers ignore all warning signs in the quest for financial gain, even when their efforts endanger consumers, necessitate horrific cruelty, and register gross disrespect for this iconic species so well loved by most Americans.  FRER has already established in formal legal filings that horse meat from American horses is a toxic stew, that there is no humane way for a horse to be slaughtered for consumption, and that the environmental effects of a horse slaughter plant can be devastating to local communities and citizens.  FRER has proven that there is no way to safely produce horse meat, and highlighted the tragedy of companion, race, and wild horses ending their lives on a meat hook in detailed legal filings with USDA, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Bureau of Land Management.

FRER is dedicated to stopping the reinstitution of horse slaughter, and eighty percent of the American public agrees that horse slaughter should be banned.  According to FRER’s President Hilary Wood, “FRER will carry out its public campaigns and legal work for as long as it takes to eliminate the possibility of horse slaughter in America.  We will investigate each and every new facility, and will come to the aid of horse-loving citizens in towns like Gallatin, Missouri (Rains Natural Meats), Woodbury, Tennessee (Trail South Meat Processing), Washington, Oklahoma (Oklahoma Meat Co.), and Sigourney, Iowa (Responsible Transportation), where these misguided attempts to kill American horses have been made.”

Despite the financial woes of the federal government, and despite the undeniable truth about the suffering and adulteration of horse meat inherent in horse slaughter, FSIS and the USDA seem to be favorable to this unseemly business endeavor.  While FSIS has the power to deny or delay the review of these applications, its recent conduct suggests it is shirking its public responsibility in preference to these unwanted operations, which serve only those who make money on the brutal death of American horses.

Ms. Wood added, “The slaughterers have misled the public and public servants into thinking horse slaughter is necessary and humane, when it is anything but.  All American horses can be supported by public programs imposing limits on overbreeding, as well as those by FRER and similar groups that subsidize sterilizations, necessary euthanasia, and offer re-homing guidance.  We encourage Americans who love horses to step up to protect the animals they love, rather than letting them endure a prolonged trip to a brutal and horrible end to be served on a foreign dinner plate.”

Click (HERE) to read about FRER in the New York Times

New Report on Human Health Risks from Consumption of American Horse Meat

Press Release from the Humane Society of the United States

Horses Not Raised For Food Receive Medications Banned by FDA and the EU

The Humane Society of the United States issued a report detailing the food safety risks associated with consuming meat that originates in American horses.  Horses in the U.S. are primarily used for companionship or competition, therefore they are not treated in the same way as animals raised for human consumption. Horses are commonly given pharmaceuticals that have been banned for use in food-producing animals by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office.

“The slaughter of American horses poses a potentially serious health risk to human consumers, yet tens of thousands are still slaughtered for their meat,” said Dr. Michael Greger, director of public health and animal agriculture at The HSUS. “New measures put in place in the European Union to address this risk are vital steps to ensure horses who are regularly given phenylbutazone and other EU-banned substances are kept out of the slaughter pipeline.”

Americans don’t eat horses, but each year more than 100,000 U.S. horses are transported over the border to be slaughtered in Canada and Mexico, and the meat is exported for consumption in the European Union and Japan. Indeed, research shows that horses originating in the U.S. comprise a large percentage of the total slaughterhouse output of Canada and Mexico. The EU has found horsemeat from Mexican slaughterhouses contains harmful residues of several EU prohibited substances. A study of the medical records of race horses sent to slaughter shows that horses with a history of phenylbutazone use are making their way to slaughter plants despite the United States’ and other countries’ ban of the use of the drug in food producing animals. Phenylbutazone, commonly called “bute,” is an anti-inflammatory regularly given to horses, and it is known to be hazardous to humans, even in trace amounts.

In 2010, the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office evaluated food safety standards for imported horsemeat and found that many countries do not keep adequate veterinary pharmaceutical records nor are there systems in place to differentiate those equines raised for human consumption from those that are not.  Therefore, effective July 2013, the EU will require that all horses presented for slaughter at EU-certified plants in countries which export horsemeat to the EU have a veterinary record listing all medications they have been given over their lifetime. This new regulation would render nearly all American horses ineligible for foreign slaughter.

The Humane Society of the United States and Front Range Equine Rescue have filed legal petitions with both the FDA and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to block companion, working and show horses from being slaughtered for human consumption, due to the associated health risks. The petition documents more than 110 examples of drugs and other substances which are, or potentially should be, prohibited in food-producing horses, describes the horrible way in which horses die at slaughterhouses, and outlines the environmental devastation that has been associated with slaughter plants. View the full white paper:

Horse Slaughter Facts

•    Even though horses are not currently slaughtered for human consumption in the U.S., our horses are still being subjected to intense suffering and abuse through transport and slaughter over the border. Undercover footage shows live horses being dragged, whipped, and crammed into trucks in with interior temperatures reaching 110 degrees. Horses are often shipped for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water, or rest. Pregnant mares, foals, injured horses, and even blind horses must endure the journey.

•    In November 2011, Congress chose not to renew a prohibition on spending tax dollars to facilitate horse slaughter, which had been in place for five years, potentially opening the door for a return of horse slaughter plants on American soil, despite broad opposition in this country to the practice.  USDA documented a history of abuse and cruelty at the U.S. plants, including employees whipping horses in the face, horses giving birth on the killing floors, and horses arriving with gruesome injuries.

•    It is not only horses who are old, sick and infirm which fall victim to horse slaughter. USDA statistics show that 92 percent of all horses sent to slaughter arrive in “good” condition—meaning they are sound, in good health and could go on to lead productive lives.

•    Horse slaughter actually prevents horse rescue; rescue operators are routinely outbid by killer buyers at auctions.

•    The operation of horse slaughterhouses has a negative environmental impact. All three of the last domestic plants to close were in violation of local environmental laws related to the disposal of blood and other waste materials.

•    Congress is considering the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S. 1176 introduced by Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and H.R. 2966 introduced by Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., to prevent horse slaughter plants from opening in the U.S. and stop the export of American horses for the purpose of slaughter in Canada and Mexico.

Humane Groups Petition USDA to Block Companion, Working and Show Horses from Being Slaughtered for Human Consumption

Information supplied by Front Range Equine Rescue

Meat From Horses Not Raised For Food Presents Public Health Hazard

WASHINGTON (April 9, 2012)—Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to prevent former companion, working, competition and wild horses from being used as human food. The petition alleges that the drugs given to these horses throughout their lives are banned for animals used for food under federal law and/or are potentially dangerous to humans. Using these horses for human consumption creates an unacceptable and illegal public health threat under the Federal Meat Inspection Act. The groups  sent a similar petition to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month.

Current USDA rules do not require sufficient testing or documentation to ensure that former companion and other non-livestock horses slaughtered for human food do not contain or have not been administered prohibited substances. The “killer-buyers” who acquire these horses typically have no concern or knowledge about the horses’ prior history before shipping them off to inhumane deaths in slaughter facilities. Unlike cows, pigs, chickens and other animals raised for food, horses are swept up by a predatory industry from a variety of sources—former race horses, carriage horses, family ponies and others who are routinely given drugs and medications not fit for human consumption.

“The slaughter of American horses for meat is a tragic and cruel end for horses and it is a grave threat to food safety,” said Hilary Wood, president of FRER. “Horses in our country are not raised as food animals. They are routinely treated with dozens of drugs which USDA knows are unsafe for human consumption. These iconic animals should never have their lifetime of service ended on a slaughterhouse kill floor.”

The petition requests that USDA certify all horses and horse meat from American horses as “Condemned” and thus unfit for human consumption. This action is especially timely, because in November 2011, Congress chose not to renew a ban on funding federal inspectors at horse slaughter plants in the United States, even though a similar provision had been part of the agriculture department’s spending bill since 2006. Businesses looking to start up American horse slaughterhouses have been actively promoting horse meat, even though the animals were never intended to be food. These businesses and their misguided investors are proceeding despite their awareness that virtually every U.S. horse who ends up at slaughter has been exposed to a plethora of dangerous drugs, many of which are specifically outlawed for animals intended for food.

The USDA does not adequately regulate this flow of potentially toxic meat, despite the human health and animal welfare risks associated with it. The petition documents more than 110 examples of drugs and other substances which are or should be prohibited in food-producing horses, describes the horrible way in which horses die at slaughterhouses, and outlines the environmental devastation caused by horse slaughter plants in local communities.

•    More than 100,000 American horses are exported for 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 the misguided and often repeated attempts to render them unconscious. USDA has documented the abuse and misery horses suffered at slaughterhouses in the U.S. before the last remaining plants closed in 2007.
•    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.

Click (HERE) to read Petition for Rulemaking for both USDA and FDA