Horse Meat Recalled Due to Illegal Drugs


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.

Breaking! France Passes Historic Bill Ordering Cameras In All Slaughterhouses

By Carole R. Davis as published on World Animal News

“The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations…”

image-2The French national assembly passed a bill for mandatory cameras in slaughterhouses today. The controversial measure, to be implemented in 2018, follows a remarkable intensification of public outcry after a series of shocking undercover investigations were released to the French media by local animal rights organization L214. The vote to monitor slaughterhouse practices and workers for animal cruelty, safety and hygiene violations passed 28 to 4 (opponents of the bill were from the right and center political parties).

Before it is brought to the senate in March to be passed into law, the measure will be implemented first (by July 2017) through “experimentation,” in 263 slaughterhouses, placing cameras in all areas where animals are “moved, held, immobilized, stunned and killed.”

Stakeholders, including animal protection professionals, slaughterhouse management and government officials will have access to the footage to determine how to craft the final legislation.

The French government, subtly bending to pressure from powerful animal agriculture lobby groups, wants the “initial opportunity to evaluate the current conditions” ahead of passing a final legislation brought forth by socialist Olivier Falorni, titled “respect for the animal in slaughterhouses law.” During the session earlier today, Minister of Agriculture Stephane LeFoll, invoked the “farmers’ crisis” and “respect for slaughterhouse workers” in order to assuage the growing anger of agricultural workers — men who have indulged in media-hungry stunts by dumping truckloads of manure in front of ministries, blocking traffic with trucks, burning tires and hanging pigs from highway overpasses. The agriculture unions are pushing for further government relief for “Made in France” meat and dairy products while they battle waning meat sales, low milk and meat prices and push for higher wages, higher prices and an end to “unfair” competition with other countries. Animal rights, environmental and progressive healthcare advocates want an end to meat and dairy government subsidies and want public money to be spent promoting the production of sustainable, healthy, plant based food.

The new law includes an independent commission, a national slaughterhouse ethics committee and comes loaded with stiff penalties for animal cruelty violations — 6 to 12 months of prison and fines from 7500 to 20,000 Euros ($8000 to $21,000).

L214 has gained legitimacy in France by conducting risky undercover investigations to expose just how wide-spread and routine shocking incidents of cruelty to animals are. The organization has exposed footage of animals being tormented, brutalized and butchered by callous workers while still alive.

Several weeks ago, a dozen activists from 269Life Liberation Animale were arrested after breaking into a slaughterhouse to “witness the killing” and to stop the production line. They stood their ground on the killing floor for several hours, cameras rolling, before they were removed by police.

Animal rights protests are attracting increasingly large crowds in Paris, Nice and Lyon, helping make France one of the leading countries where animal protection is considered an important social justice cause linked to environmental efforts to limit climate change.

French slaughterhouse closes due to animal cruelty allegations

After public pressure, including an article in the UK’s (warning: graphic content and photos), a French slaughterhouse closes.



Shocking footage shows a terrified horse shying away from a stall and being beaten with an electric baton

French Slaughterhouse Closes Amid Animal Cruelty Allegations


by Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

In an unprecedented move in a country known for its hippophagia culture, public pressure has led to the closure of a French slaughterhouse.

Video footage from inside the slaughterhouse in Alès, in southeastern France, showed scenes of “blatant cruelty,” an animal rights association said. The slaughterhouse processed about 3,000 horses per year, in addition to cattle, sheep, and pigs.

“We see horses refusing to enter the stun area, getting hit with sticks to go in, knocking themselves against the door of the stunning room as it closes on them,” said Brigitte Gothière, president of the association L214 Éthique & Animaux in Lyon, France. The association made video compilations from Alès for scenes of each species, including horses, and released them for public viewing.

Within hours of the video releases last week, Max Roustan, the mayor of Alès, announced the closure of the municipal slaughterhouse. Several weeks earlier following a standard national veterinary inspection, the slaughterhouse had received a warning that its procedures needed to be improved. State services had been scheduled to return to the slaughterhouse in the coming weeks to verify that “non-conforming professional practices” had ceased.

“We owe it to horses to provide them with a humane and decent end of life, whatever that end may be,” said Charles F. Trolliet, DVM, president of the Swiss Equestrian Federation in Bern, Switzerland, in response to the Alès videos. “If we’re going to slaughter horses, we need to provide local slaughterhouses so they don’t have to travel far. And the slaughterhouses need to specialize in horses, taking into account their various physical and psychological needs, with personnel trained in equine welfare, to make their end of life as painless and low-stress as possible.”

The L214 videos resulted in more than 200,000 signatures on an online petition to close the slaughterhouse, despite the fact that it has already closed.

A judicial investigation of the slaughterhouse practices is now underway.

Horsemeat from US is a ‘Health Risk’ to French

as published in The Local – French news in English

A French animal rights’ group claimed on Thursday that horsemeat imported to France from North and South America comes from animals treated with a dangerous drug that’s banned from human consumption.

Poison_Sign_LHorses from the United States, Canada and other countries in the region whose meat is sold in France for human consumption pose a health risk and are often cruelly treated, a leading animal rights group said on Thursday.

L214, which derives its name from an article in a 1976 French law that stipulates that animals have to be kept properly and in healthy conditions, said the conclusions followed a wide-reaching, two-year investigation launched in 2012.

Horses from the US, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina destined for human consumption were found to be emaciated, sick, injured or had been administered strong doses of anti-inflammatory medicines, according to the findings.

Using secret cameras, the probes were conducted at horse auctions, in export enclosures, at veterinary checkpoints, feedlots and abattoirs.

In a video posted on L214’s website, horses are seen with open gashes, dislocated or broken legs, and left without treatment in feedlots.

Some are visibly dead and in a state of decomposition, in enclosures or in transport trucks, with other horses squeezed around them.

“Apart from the unacceptable treatment of the horses, the use of phenylbutazone or other dangerous substances banned in the European Union is common,” said L214’s Brigitte Gothiere.

The drug, commonly referred to as bute, is used to alleviate pain in horses that are not destined for human consumption. It was originally also given to humans to treat rheumatoid arthritis and gout but was found to cause irreversible liver damage when combined even in small doses with other human painkillers.

The drug is no longer approved for human use in the European Union and United States.

The revelations follow a Europe-wide health scare last year when horsemeat was found in millions of ready meals labelled as containing only beef.

The group called Thursday upon leading supermarket chains to shun horsemeat coming from the Americas to put an end to the “cruel and illegal treatment” of
the animals.

It carried out the study in conjunction with other animal lobby groups including Switzerland’s Tierschutzbund-Zurich, Animals Angels’ USA, Belgium’s GAIA and Eyes on Animals in the Netherlands.

According to the groups, 82,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2012 for human consumption. About 70 percent of them were imported from the United States, where horse abattoirs were closed down in 2007.

France, meanwhile, imported 16,900 tonnes of horsemeat in 2012, mainly from Canada, Belgium, Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay — many of the countries featured in the investigation.

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Nestle to Shutter French Frozen Meals Plant Hit by Horsemeat Scandal

Source: Multiple

“The closure is a direct consequence of the horsemeat crisis…”

nestle-recall-horsemeat-UKFood giant Nestle will shut a frozen meals plant at its site north of Paris after sales were hit by a Europe-wide scandal that saw horsemeat find its way into processed products such as ready meals, company officials said on Thursday.

The scandal started in January when traces of horse meat were found in frozen burgers sold in Irish and British supermarkets, sparked concern among French consumers and put them off frozen foods, a Nestle France spokeswoman said.

“The closure is a direct consequence of the horsemeat crisis,” she said. “In supermarkets, ready-meal aisles were deserted … It’s what you call collateral damage.”

She noted that sales of ready meals were down by a quarter from a year ago, after falling 40 percent in the immediate aftermath of the scandal, making the Beauvais plant, which produces meals under the Maggi brand, uneconomical.

The plant closure will lead to 165 job cuts, but employees will be offered packages or new jobs at an ice cream factory on the same site that is set to expand, plant director Patrice Raut said.

The frozen food factory that is being closed had been loss-making for at least two years, Raut said.

“The French market is falling bit by bit as consumers turn to fresh food or, for those seeking competitive prices, to preserves,” he said.

France is Nestle’s second-largest market in the world behind the United States. It has 30 plants in France, employing 16,000 people.

Nabbed, Stabbed and Beaten.. Wild Horses to go into UK “Beef”

as published in The Sun by By NICK PARKER

CRUELLY abused wild horses are feared to have been slaughtered and shipped to British supermarket suppliers to be sold as beef

Dead HorseInvestigators in Romania are trawling sales records of companies after it was revealed animals suffered appalling mistreatment as they were ferried to abattoirs.

In one of the worst incidents 54 stolen wild horses were found in sickening squalor aboard a truck heading to a slaughterhouse.

Some had wounds from being STABBED and BEATEN with sticks and crowbars. They were denied food or water for days before a 28-hour journey to the abattoir.

Four of the horses were already lying DEAD among the other pitifully thin and starving animals.They were on their way to a slaughterhouse in Saint Gheorghe in central Romania, which is understood to have exported meat.The horses were taken by a criminal gang from the Letea Forest in Romania’s Danube Delta where around 2,500 roam free.

A source close to the investigation said last night: “The meat from this racket would almost certainly have been sent abroad and there’s no telling where it would have wound up.

“You only have to look at the state of the poor animals to realise that the meat would have been of terrible quality and possibly unfit for human consumption.”The Romanian government ordered an inquiry into the illicit wild horse meat trade in May 2011 after TV pictures of mistreated animals sparked outrage. Romanian horse meat labelled as beef is at the centre of the scandal which has engulfed some of Britain’s biggest supermarket chains.Yesterday Environment Secretary Owen Patterson warned that British customers may have fallen victim to an “international criminal conspiracy” amid fears that school dinners and hospital food had been affected.

Last week frozen food giant Findus confirmed up to 100 per cent horse meat had been found in some of its beef lasagne.

The scandal deepened as a French company supplying horse meat passed off as beef to British shoppers was revealed to have been at the centre of a major E.coli scare in June 2011.

Inspectors feared that 12 tons of beef mince from the Spanghero plant in Castelnaudary, in South West France, was riddled with the potentially lethal bacteria. The firm is currently under investigation for importing horse meat from Romania which was then labelled as beef.

It was exported to the Luxembourg factory of the French frozen food giant Comigel and sold on to British supermarkets including Aldi and Tesco.

Authorities in France launched an “urgent” investigation into both Comigel and Spanghero.

Sorin Minea, president of Romanian Employers’ Federation of Food, insisted horse meat had not been passed off as beef.

He said: “The problem is not in Romania — it is a French problem.”

Click (HERE) to visit the Sun and to Comment

Hope for Slaughter Bound Horses Rides Upon the Seat of a Bike

Horse racing at Churchill Downs.
Image via Wikipedia

By Bill Finley of

Mark Cramer likes lost causes, and in America’s slaughterhouse-bound, retired racehorses, he has certainly found one. These are the rejects, the horses who are either too slow or too infirm to win a meaningful amount of money on the racetrack or be sent to a cushy life on a breeding farm somewhere. Hardly anyone cares about them and the racing industry does little to protect them, which is why an appallingly high number of retired thoroughbreds are shipped each year to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada to be butchered for their meat.

This is a problem that should be solved by the leaders of the industry and its wealthiest participants, but that doesn’t seem to be happening, so the 65-year-old horseplayer and author decided to do something on his own. Starting July 3, Cramer and friend Alan Kennedy will bike across France from racetrack to racetrack to raise awareness of the horse slaughter problem on a mission he is calling “Riding for Their Lives.” The bike trip is devoted to raising money for the U.S.-based Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and a French horse rescue group.

The TRF finds homes for retired thoroughbreds that might otherwise be sent to slaughter and places many of them at prisons. There they are cared for by inmates, many of whom turn corners in their lives thanks to the recuperative powers of working with and developing a compassion for the animals.

“There are those claimers out there who ran hard for me and I got a big payoff in an exacta or something like that,” Cramer said. “I don’t want to see them die when they are done racing. They live a good life when they are racing, but after that how can we just toss them away? So many of us derive so much enjoyment from this. It’s about our own humanity, not just saving these beautiful animals.”

Cramer was born in the U.S., which is where he discovered horse racing. He has lived abroad for years, moving from Bolivia to Spain and then to France, where he has resided for the last 11 years in a town just outside Paris. He’s still an avid horseplayer and boasts that he has made a nice profit over the last several years wagering blindly on Gina Rarick, believed to be the only American-born trainer in France, and playing the French version of the superfecta. He’s also become quite enamored with bike riding and began to pedal around the country two years ago visiting racetracks. This year, he hatched the idea of expanding his tour to its current format and riding on behalf of a cause.

“One of the reasons we picked the TRF is because you can see a concrete result,” he said. “Not only do they save unwanted horses, they save unwanted human beings because they have farms at prisons where inmates get vocational training and it is great therapy for them. With the horses and the inmates, something very productive is happening.”

He and Kennedy will be on the road for 22 days and will cover about 600 miles. Among the racetracks they will visit are Deauville, Vichy, Clairefontaine, Saint-Cloud, Compiegne, Maisons-Laffitte and Longchamp. At his age, that doesn’t figure to be easy, but he’s counting on the mind-over-matter factor.

“Exercise is usually boring,” Cramer said. “We believe in something called purposeful activity, which is exercise where you’re accomplishing something at the same time. That makes it fun. I don’t look at it as our making a sacrifice to save retired thoroughbreds from the slaughterhouse. We enjoy doing this and since we know there is a purpose, a beautiful purpose, getting up a hill is much easier than if we were going up there just to go up there.”

That a resident of France would be among those coming to the rescue of American racehorses is ironic. Americans don’t eat horsemeat, but the French do. France is one of a handful of countries that import horsemeat from the Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses that U.S. thoroughbreds are sent to after their careers end. Cramer said that’s not indicative of how most French people feel about animals.

“There are a lot of organizations in France that exist to save horses,” he said. “There’s one we are working with, which is called the League for the Protection of Horses, and we’ll be riding for them, too. I know a lot of French people and none of them I know eat horsemeat. I know it happens. My wife has seen it sold in grocery stores. I don’t think it is pervasive. We’ve had a wonderful reaction in France, from journalists, from people at the tracks. We’ve gotten support from the French Jockey Club on this.”

He advocates the creation of a plan whereby owners, trainers and breeders make mandatory contributions into a central fund that would create the type of capital needed to guarantee a safe and humane retirement for all retired runners. Cramer said the French racing industry is exploring such a system. Until then, he will do what he can, hitting the roads and racetracks of France on his mission to right a wrong.

Bill Finley is an award-winning racing writer whose work has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today and Sports Illustrated.

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Horse Slaughter Is Cruel and ‘Bute’ in the Meat Kills Humans

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

No Matter how you Cut It, Horse Slaughter Kills both Horses AND Humans

If you can’t persuade them for the right reasons, then scare them with the facts.

A new paper in the journal Food & Chemical Toxicology shows how dangerous American horse meat is for human consumption.

Americans should stop selling horses for slaughter abroad because we love our horses and do not treat them as livestock. That’s the right reason to stop this incredibly cruel practice. Still, millions of greedy horse owners and breeders send horses off to slaughter because it’s more remunerative than not breeding at all or even having them euthanized.

But according to this new paper, humans who consume horse meat (most often overseas and especially in France, Italy, Japan and Belgium) are at risk for being poisoned by Phenylbutazone or “bute.” It’s a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug originally developed for treating severe cases of arthritis, but it was later found to…

“cause serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans. Sixty-seven million pounds of horsemeat derived from American horses were sent abroad for human consumption last year. Horses are not raised as food animals in the United States and, mechanisms to ensure the removal of horses treated with banned substances from the food chain are inadequate at best.”

Bute is still routinely used not just at the thoroughbred racetrack, which is what the authors of this paper studied, but also by horse owners nationwide to mitigate pain for all sorts of horse injuries. Horses do not have the same lethal reaction to bute that humans can display, although long-term use of bute for horses can create ulcers and other organ damage.

The paper’s authors call it a “significant health hazard” for people to consume horse meat. I hope this information is highly promulgated throughout horse-consuming societies in Europe and Asia.

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The Force of the Horse takes no Vacation

by R.T. Fitch, author of “Straight from the Horse’s Heart

Notes from the Road – The Journal

Terry Fitch in Pyrenees Moutains

Nature photgrapher, Terry Fitch, with horses in Pyrenees Mts, Spain - Photo by R.T. Fitch

(Barcelona)  Our thoughts were not on horses, in fact, the subject of horses was not even on the agenda.  We were in Spain, northern Spain and as we were aware it is the motherland of the great Andalusians but we had not seen any, to date.

Our intent, for the day, was to enjoy a chartered min-van ride up into the Pyrenees Mountains which make up the border of Spain and France.  We were a small group, an Australian couple, three folks from Tobago/Trinidad, a gentleman from Poland, the Americans (Terry and myself) and our French guide; a happy go lucky group of international travelers, thrown into a Volkswagen bus for a day and in search of a good time.  We were not disappointed.

There is no need to detail the stops in the small towns and visits to local markets, as we worked our way up into the mountains, but what does bear mentioning is that when we stopped for lunch we were hit by a tremendous thunderstorm that cleared away to reveal a winter wonderland only a few hundred meters above us.  We pressed our driver to climb higher even against his warnings of road conditions and high winds but we would have none of it, we wanted to play in the snow amongst the rocky cliffs; so onward we progressed.

I don’t know who saw them first as I was mesmerized by the sight of the wind stripping the snow off from the peaks with the dark blue sky behind but suddenly a cry went out that there were horses and yes, beside us on the rocky, slush covered trail were horses, standing in the wind and snow paying no attention to the humans in the little metal box beside them.

Pyrenees Colt

Pyrenees Colt - Photo by Terry Fitch

We were at 2,500+ meters in a very remote portion of the countryside; what were horses doing here, no one had an answer.  But then again, no one waited for an answer as the van was cleared of occupants in seconds and despite the near hurricane force wind and arctic temperatures our international band of travelers were scrambling for spots on the trail and clicking shutters in an effort to capture this magical and unexpected moment.

Terry’s camera clicked away as we whispered and moved amongst the herd.  These horses were like none we had ever seen before and although wary of our imposition they did not move away if we simply glided quietly around them.  Our time was short as the cold penetrated our light clothing quickly, but the moment lingered for hours.

Once back in the van the chatter picked up when our fellow travelers learned of our bond with horses.  Questions were asked, misconceptions were dispelled and many awareness’s were heightened.  What had started out as a simple ride in the remote mountains had turned into a lesson on the spirituality of our kindred companions, the horse.  Terry and I held each other closely as the hours ticked away, on our trip back to Barcelona, and each inquiring question came further and further apart.  Our companions were nodding off to sleep with smiles on their faces, new converts to the way of the horse and all the beauty that they bestow upon us.

Terry laid her head on my shoulder, squeezed my hand and whispered, “The Force of the Horse has followed us”.

I quietly nodded.

As visions of our American wild horses raced across my mind a voice whispered into my right ear, “can we go see the wild horses in Mongolia next?”

I held her closer as both of us heard a gentle whinny, far off in the distance.

The Force of the Horse® is with us.

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