Cole County Judge Daniel Green ordered the Department of Natural Resources wait to issue a wastewater permit to Rains Natural Meats, which had proposed to operate the facility near Gallatin, until after he hears the case.
The company submitted an application to DNR for the permit, which would allow it to collect and land-apply the wastewater from its proposed horse slaughter facility.
But three parties sued the DNR to block the permit. One is Barbara Sink, a Daviess County resident who is described in the lawsuit as “passionate about horses” and would be “aggrieved” if the horse slaughter plant were to open, and the other two are Missouri horse rescue groups.
The opponents — staunch opponents of horse slaughter — argue the facility would involve the slaughter of horses treated with a gamut of drugs that could be dangerous to human health.
“While the type of permit Rains applied for would allow the discharge of certain substances, such as nitrogen, phosphorus, oil and grease, the permit does not authorize the storage and land application of these equine drugs which are banned for use in humans and other animals,” said Steve Jeffery, attorney for the plaintiffs. “Consequently, DNR lacks legal authority to approve Rains’ application.”
David Rains, vice president of Rains Natural Meats, called the judge’s order “illegal” and said he was fighting to have it overturned.
“It’s all done on emotion and not on science,” he said.
Rains said opponents of the proposed horse-slaughter plant have argued runoff from the facility would contaminate the water or soil in the area. But “all the blood and the offal goes to the rendering companies, so none of it is dumped by any means,” he said.
His company has intervened in the lawsuit and said the next showdown will be at a hearing set for Thursday.
According to the petition filed by Jeffery, four horse veterinarians provided information that horses can receive more than 100 different drugs that are not authorized for use in humans, cattle, hogs or poultry. They also said studies show those drugs are contained in the wastewater at horse slaughter facilities.
USDA officials have suggested that Rains Natural Meats is on the verge of securing a permit from the Food Safety Inspection Service to open the horse slaughter plant. FSIS has already issued two other permits for horse-slaughter operations — one in New Mexico and another in Iowa.
But Rains said the USDA will not give his company a permit until the Missouri Department of Natural Resources green-lights the request to operate a “closed lagoon,” where workers would “clean and wash the animals down after they’re skinned.”
That permit is what’s at issue in the state lawsuit.
DNR has until Sept. 5 to file a response to the lawsuit.
Several times a week, trucks pulling long trailers filled with horses leave Ohio destined for Canada.
The practice is legal.
Fred E. Bauer, 61, of rural Hardin County, is one of Ohio’s largest such horse brokers, according to the Humane Society of the United States and Animals’ Angels, an animal-welfare group. He is listed as a livestock buyer for Bauer Farms.
A northwestern Ohio horseman who asked not to be identified said that Bauer regularly buys horses from farmers and at auctions, including a large one at Sugarcreek in Tuscarawas County where Amish and Mennonite farmers frequently take animals for sale. The horseman said Bauer regularly takes as many as five trailer loads of horses weekly to Canada for sale to a middleman or slaughterhouse.
Reached by phone for comment, Bauer had a terse response before hanging up: “I can’t see no need for that. Thank you.”
While many Americans are turned off by the idea of eating horse meat, it is consumed in France, Belgium, Japan, China and parts of South America. Europeans ate 119,000 tons of horse meat last year, nearly 20 percent of it coming from the U.S., the Humane Society said.
The United States has no horse slaughterhouses because in 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture withheld funds for meat inspectors, meaning that plants cannot operate. However, the USDA recently relented and has licensed slaughter plants in Iowa and New Mexico. Neither is yet in operation. Oklahoma lawmakers recently lifted that state’s 50-year ban on slaughtering horses.
Canada and Mexico have four plants each, and more than 166,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for meat in those countries last year, according to U.S. and Canadian agricultural statistics.
The horse-slaughter plant closest to Ohio, the Richelieu Meat Co., is in Massueville, Quebec, east of Montreal. Undercover video from a group called the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition purportedly shows horses being killed there: An employee fires a .22-caliber rifle at the animal’s head from several feet away — sometimes requiring up to five shots.
Ohio was second to Michigan in shipping American horses to Canadian slaughterhouses between 2005 and 2007, according to Canadian-government trade records.
Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s president and chief executive officer, said his organization is supporting the Safeguard American Foods Exports Act pending in Congress. It would ban slaughtering horses for human consumption and shipping them out of the country for that purpose.
“There are unwanted horses, just like there are unwanted dogs and cats,” Pacelle said. “We’re not going to set up a dog-slaughter plant because people eat them in other countries. You euthanize horses or shoot them in the head, but you don’t jam them in cattle trucks and ship them hundreds of miles to Canada or Mexico.”
Animal [welfare] organizations say horses differ from beef cattle because they were used for sports, as pets, or as work animals and often were given drugs rendering them unfit for human consumption.
In contrast, a 2010 story by WTHR-TV in Indianapolis about Indiana horses’ being shipped to Canada quoted Martin Kouprie, a chef at Pangaea restaurant in Toronto, extolling horse meat as a delicacy.
“Horses are livestock. They’re not pets,” Kouprie said. “It’s a beautiful meat. It’s succulent. It’s sweet. It’s rich. It’s fine-textured. People just love it.”
Read and COMMENT on this story here: http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2013/07/23/ohio-sends-horses-to-canada-for-slaughter.html
Source: News Chanel 9 – KTSM
(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.
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.
Read the story and COMMENT here: http://www.ktsm.com/news/new-mexico-ag-intervenes-lawsuit-halt-horse-slaughter-plant
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.
Congresswoman Michelle Lujan-Grisham (D-NM) has sent a letter to Secretary of Agriculture, Vilsak asking that the Roswell slaughter plant does not receive a permit to operate
To download letter in PDF click (HERE)
Equine Advocates are asking all to make phone calls to members of the AG committee to support the farm bill being heard on May 15th, as well as their representatives voicing their opposition to the proposed plant in Roswell, NM. Congresswoman Grisham is on the AG committee and is spearheading this effort.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Commission proposed more unannounced inspections of food companies and tougher fines for labeling fraud on Monday, after the discovery earlier this year that millions of Europeans ate horsemeat labeled as beef.
If approved by EU governments and lawmakers, the new rules would force member states to impose fines equal to the financial gains from proven cases of food fraud, officials said.
Unidentified criminal gangs blamed for Europe’s horsemeat scandal are believed to have made huge profits by substituting millions of tons of cheap horsemeat for more expensive beef in products including meatballs and lasagne.
EU governments have in the past been reluctant to agree to minimum financial sanctions mandated by Brussels, but the Commission believes the desire to reassure consumers in the wake of the horsemeat scandal could swing the debate.
“Crime must not pay, but if the penalties are low it does pay,” EU consumer commissioner Tonio Borg told a news conference to present the plans.
Penalties for the type of labeling fraud used in the horsemeat scandal vary from state to state. A conviction in Britain may draw a jail term of up to two years, while in France the maximum penalty is a fine of 187,000 euros ($245,000).
The proposals would also force governments for the first time to carry out a minimum number of unannounced inspections on food operators, to check that the contents of their products match what is written on the label.
Europe’s horsemeat scandal broke in January when horse DNA was found in frozen burgers sold in Irish and British supermarkets. ($1 = 0.7624 euros)
(Reporting by Charlie Dunmore; editing by Rex Merrifield)
Source: SF Bay Area CBS
SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The USDA said it will increase inspections of imported beef, in the midst of a horsemeat scandal in Europe. So far, none of the tainted products have made it to the United States. But the scandal is renewing efforts to ban American horse slaughter.
Dr. Scott Stanley is helping to keep the horse racing industry clean. He runs a lab at UC Davis that analyzes horses’ blood to detect doping. “What we do is similar to what they do for a sports athlete,” he said.
Abuse of a horse tranquilizer called Phenylbutazone is very common. “They are given medications that are totally inappropriate to be used in animals that are meant for food,” Stanley said.
Phenylbutazone is banned for human consumption because it can cause a deadly blood disorder. He has also found antibiotics in horses. “Some people can have allergic reactions to antibiotics. That is why we don’t use them in food animals,” said Dr. Stanley.
Yet race horses routinely end up on dinner plates in Europe. Despite our own state laws against slaughter, even California horses are at risk.
A recent KPIX 5 investigation found race horses dumped at auction, where they can end up in the hands of kill buyers. From there, they are trucked to processing plants in Canada and Mexico.
Where does the meat go? Tests in 27 European countries found horse DNA in 5 percent of frozen entrees made with beef, such as lasagna and meatballs. Some samples also contained traces of phenylbutazone.
“The food is tainted, the meat is tainted, it’s dangerous,” actress and animal activist Bo Derek told KPIX 5. Derek sits on the state’s horse racing board, and routinely rules on doping investigations.
“It’s a business that because of betting has huge financial incentives to take an edge and to get ahead. So there will always be those Lance Armstrongs,” Derek said.
Derek, who was appointed to the board by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, convinced fellow members this month to support a proposed law called the SAFE Act (.pdf) banning domestic horse slaughter as well as the export of U.S. horses for slaughter.
“It’s offensive to us and I think 80 percent of the American people agree. Horses in this country have never been bred as livestock,” said Derek.
Yet even some within the horse racing industry support horse slaughter, such as radio talk show host and trainer Roger Stein. “It’s a necessary evil,” Stein said.
Stein breeds horses on his farm in Stockton. “I have a stallion, who breeds upwards of 25 mares per year,” he said.
Three racehorses from the farm recently showed up on the block at an auction house in Turlock.
Stein claims he knew nothing about it but said, “The truth is, what do you with them if they can’t race?”
“There’s a very real need for the disposal of horses that are no longer any chance of being an asset. They are liabilities,”Stein said.
Derek disagrees. “Our industry and our horse owners have been able to bear this burden of either caring for the horse for the rest of its life or giving it a peaceful painless death through euthanasia. Slaughter is not a humane alternative, ever,” she said.
For Stanley, it’s simple. “Because of the medications that are routinely used I wouldn’t eat horsemeat, not from the United States,” he said.
The proposed ban on horse slaughter comes at a time when several meat processors in the U.S. are petitioning the USDA to slaughter horses again, for the first time since 2007. The meat would only be used for export, but critics said its just one more opportunity for the domestic food supply to become tainted.
Attorney General Gary King said he has grave concerns over the potential health risks associated with consumption of horse meat that might be processed at a proposed horse slaughtering plant in Roswell.
“As attorney general, I have specific authority to enforce New Mexico food safety laws that are applicable to such a facility in our state,” said King.
New Mexico has had laws on its books for more than seven decades protecting our citizens from Adulterated Food. Scientific studies show that horse meat fits the legal definition of an adulterated food product due to the presence of many chemical substances routinely used on horses that are deemed unfit for human consumption, according to King.
Valley Meat Co. is seeking USDA inspections so it can begin slaughtering horses to export the meat to Mexico and overseas markets. However, that approval may prove to be moot. The latest federal budget proposal doesn’t include any money for inspectors that would be required to allow the plant to operate.
“I will vigorously pursue all legal remedies available to me if we discover any violations of New Mexico food safety laws,” King said.
Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” below to watch an interview with Dr. Lester Friedlander on the brutality of horse slaughter, and that of other animals. It describes how horsemeat and other animals are unsafe to eat due to current slaughter practices. Dr. Friedlander was the chief USDA meat inspector. He checked to see if the meat was safe for human consumption and that animals were humanely killed. He was fired because he reported what the meat industry didn’t want him to say.
Watch on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUden2XYaE4
Watch here: Read the rest of this entry »
A rant and rave by Jerry Finch of Habitat for Horses
More horsemeat found in beef products, more bute found in horsemeat, more graft and corruption, more “scientists” saying, “Oh, it’s okay. The drugs are harmless.” Ever wonder why people fight against regulations? Perhaps it’s because they can’t get away with the things they do to put more money in their pockets, even if it places other people’s life at risk. Democracy and self-government, to be fully functional, must have a population that governs itself with a high set of standards. When we see our government officials fall into the trap of corruption and self-interest, it’s little wonder that the general population follows the same path.
The food industry in the EU brought all this on themselves. No one was blindfolded. No one, “Just didn’t know.” You don’t operate a multi-million dollar food supply company without knowing what is in the food you produce. The bottom line is that they have all been caught with their pants down and the big cover-up has become the big lie.
It isn’t a joke, America. Corruption in the food industry is killing us. Junk food, diseased meat products, beef filled with so many chemicals that other nations won’t touch it, E. Coli contaminated vegetables, sugar filled and addicting snacks, cancer causing tobacco – all done for the profit of a few who truly believe they can get away with it. And they are right. Remember the tobacco industry testifying in front of a Congressional Committee? “There is no scientific indication that tobacco is linked to lung cancer.”
Killing horses for fun and profit against the will of the majority of the US population is a primary sign that this country has a serious problem. The BLM is completely out of control and doesn’t even fake answering questions posed by a few honest Senators and Representatives. And don’t get me started on the general meat industry – so corrupt and violent that they don’t want anyone to even look at them, thus they pass ag-gag bills.
Through this website, I try to bring you the news that is important to all those who care about their horses, to support those who fight our battles in Congress and to expose those who want to destroy what we love. When the horsemeat stories broke in January, the news popped fast, then came the NM and OK slaughterhouse proposals and all the shining examples of the worst of legislatures. Hidden in all that were a few shining stories, but the horror and stupidity instantly over-shadowed them.
Horsemeat eating small town slob that became a spokeswoman for the slaughter industry, brainless macho man shooting a horse to prove a point, Tom Davis walking away because law enforcement “forgot to file charges,” Governor signs slaughter bill… It gets to the point sometimes where I look at these stories in utter disbelief and all I can do is say, “Really? Seriously?”
That the power structure in the supposed “free” world gets away with this and expects the general population to forget about it is unbelievable, yet they continue, and we do let it go and move on. Sandy Hook is old news, the legislators in Oklahoma will be reelected, the passage of horsemeat through the Port of Houston, which is against the Texas law, will be forgotten, a few people will be thrown in jail, but the main players will keep on doing what they always did.
Unless… dare I ask…did YOU call in support of the SAFE Act? Did you bother to fill out the online form just to let Washington know your thoughts? If you agree with anything I’ve said, but you didn’t bother to pick up the phone or go to a website to respond and show your support, then we both know what the problem really is. Pretending to be angry and upset doesn’t do anyone any good unless you’re willing to voice your opinion to those who have the ability to do something about it. You can make comments all day long on Facebook, but that doesn’t mean anything. What means something is for you to pick up the phone, call Washington DC, and let them know exactly how you feel. Or at least fill out an online form. Ten minutes, max. You spent that long reading this article.Harmful painkillers found in food products with horse DNA
Portugal’s leading consumer rights association has found traces of anti-inflammatory drugs in the horsemeat found in processed food products that were on sale in Portugal, indicating a potential risk to public health, the group said in a statement on Thursday.
Horsemeat: The European Web EU countries have issued more than 50 alerts related to meat contaminationAsda corned beef recalled over bute
Asda is recalling all corned beef from its budget range after traces of veterinary drug phenylbutazone were found in some batches.Chief medical officer: ‘Bute’ poses ‘very low’ risk
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies has previously said that ‘bute’ poses only a very low risk to humans. She said:
Have you had enough yet, America? You are the answer. Stand up. Make the call.
Vickery Eckhoff Covering the underground horse meat trade since 2011.
Five states looking to snag millions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to inspect horse meat plants may want to rethink their plans in light of a precipitous drop in demand.
The drop is a reflection of the number of horses going from the U.S. to Mexico for slaughter. That number plummeted 62% in the first quarter of 2013 following a steady two-year increase, USDA figures show.
U.S. horses were slaughtered in greater numbers in Canada and Mexico from 2007 onward, with the meat exported to the European Union (EU) and Russia.
But all that changed in late January of this year, when the public learned of horse meat hidden inside Burger King Whoppers, IKEA meatballs, Buitoni frozen lasagna and other prepared foods across Europe and in the rest of the world. The adulteration of beef with horse meat had gone undetected for years, authorities say.
“We have been watching the numbers of U.S. horses slaughtered closely, because we knew they would tell us how much of the meat from our horses was being sold as beef,” states John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.
How much? A great deal of it, Holland says.
The discovery of horse meat sold as beef explains why more U.S horses were being exported for slaughter despite a decade-long slump in direct consumption of horse meat in the EU. More than 160,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for their meat in 2012.
The sales of processed beef products have dropped in EU countries in the wake of the comingling scandal, where consumers intentionally buying horse meat were already cutting back.
“Any drop in horse meat sales is most likely attributable to it no longer being sold as beef,” Holland concludes.Read the full story and COMMENT here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/vickery-eckhoff/market-for-us-horse-meat-_b_3021192.html
NEW YORK—The ASPCA® (The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals®) today announced in a new poll just conducted by Lake Research Partners that 70 percent of New Mexico voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption and do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community. The statewide survey reveals that New Mexicans overwhelmingly oppose horse slaughter regardless of their political affiliation, gender, ethnicity, geographic location or whether they live in an urban or rural area. Last month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plan to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at a Roswell, N.M. facility. If the application is approved, Valley Meat Company LLC will be the first facility in the U.S. to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007, when the few remaining plants closed and Congress chose to suspend funding for any further horse meat inspections.
“There is broad consensus in New Mexico, as there is throughout the nation, that our horses deserve more than to be shuttled off to a gruesome death and served abroad as a toxic delicacy,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations. “With nearly three quarters of all registered voters in the state in opposition to the slaughtering of American horses, opening a horse slaughterhouse in New Mexico clearly flies in the face of public opinion, and using our precious tax dollars to enable horse slaughter on U.S. soil is even more tone deaf. Enacting a ban on horse slaughter has never been more urgent.”
According to the new research, 7 in 10 New Mexico registered voters are opposed to allowing American horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, with 55 percent in strong opposition to the practice. In addition, 70 percent of New Mexico voters do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community, with just 20 percent of voters supporting such a facility. Furthermore, opposition to a horse slaughtering facility extends across race, age, partisan, and geographic divides with 76 percent of Hispanic voters and 66 percent of Anglos disapproving of such a facility.
“In every way, shape and form, New Mexicans continue to reject the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state,” said Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico. “New Mexico benefits from living and thriving horses, not dead ones. We’re determined to continue developing a robust equine safety net, not condemn horses to a slaughter pipeline that will guarantee the misery continues.”
The surprising move toward a resumption of domestic horse slaughter comes in the wake of the scandal unfolding in the European Union, where consumers have been alarmed by the discovery of horse meat mislabeled as beef in prepared food products ranging from lasagna to meatballs. Horses are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. Last month, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.
For more information on the ASPCA’s poll, please contact Rebecca Goldrick at Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org or 646-291-4582. To learn more about the ASPCA’s efforts to ban horse slaughter or support the SAFE Act, please visit www.aspca.org.
By JoNel Aleccia, Senior Writer, NBC News
In the wake of Europe’s horse meat scandal, the U.S. is increasing so-called “species testing” on imported meats to screen for any signs of fraudulent products, agriculture officials said.
Inspectors have been ordered to boosts species tests of meat products imported from Iceland, Ireland, Poland, the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, according to a new U.S. Department of Agriculture directive issued this week.
In addition, inspectors will increase tests of all imported raw ground beef or veal, including products that already are being tested for certain Shiga toxin-producing E. coli bacteria that can cause serious illness.
“We are confident that the inspection system at ports of entry ensures the safety of products that come into our country every day,” said Catherine Cochran, a spokeswoman for the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service. “However, in response to recent events and consumer concerns, we are increasing species testing to enhance current safeguards and prevent fraudulently labeled products from entering the country.”
The U.S. action follows the scandal that erupted earlier this year after testing in Ireland revealed that some beef products contained traces of horse meat. More than a dozen European countries and several prominent international brands have been caught up in the controversy.
None of the European countries implicated in the scandal imports beef to the U.S., but USDA officials said the increased scrutiny recognizes that those countries are part of the global food supply chain.
The new directive, signed by Rachel Edelstein, an FSIS acting assistant administrator, doesn’t include a specific schedule for species testing. Previously, USDA officials acknowledged that species testing for meat imported into the U.S. has been performed typically only when there’s a reason to question a shipment.
Concerns about horse meat hidden in beef have been two-fold. First, meats taken from store shelves in Britain and Germany had traces of a powerful equine painkiller, phenylbutazone, or “bute,” which can cause serious problems in humans.
The larger issue, however, has been one of trust. While diners in some European countries routinely eat horse meat, the idea makes most U.S. consumers shudder.
Is it safe to eat horse meat? HRN’s Sari Kamin is here to set the record straight with Vickery Eckhoff, journalist and horse meat expert. Tune into this episode to learn more about the recent horse meat controversy, and why transparency is at the core of this issue. Learn more about slaughter practices, and how methods for beef slaughter cannot be applied to horses. Vickery brings some dangerous horse drugs into the studio to explain their uses, and how they can endanger human health through the consumption of horse meat. If you were thinking about trying a horse steak, you should listen to this segment first; get the scoop from Sari and Vickery in this HRN Community Session! Thanks to our sponsor, Heritage Foods USA.
“Most people think that horses are raised organically without any drugs… there are a lot of misconceptions about the food safety aspect of horse meat.” [21:30]
Six schools received the same batch of mince, and it is not yet known whether it was served to pupils.
The city council confirmed the discovery after testing meat taken last month from the shared kitchen of Pirniehall and St David’s primary schools.
The contaminated product was also supplied to Oxgangs and Craigroyston primaries and Braidburn and Forthview secondaries.
A letter has been sent to parents of pupils at each of the schools, advising them of the test results and reassuring them that there was “no risk to health from consuming horse meat”.
Cllr Cathy Fullerton, vice convener of education, said: “It’s very important to emphasise that there is no risk whatsoever to people’s health from consuming horse meat, but obviously we all want to be certain that we know exactly what we are eating.
“This is why the council chose to seek extra assurance that our external suppliers were not providing any products containing horsemeat by carrying out our own testing.
“Parents can be reassured that we have taken absolutely the correct course of action in immediately making sure there is none of this frozen mince remaining in school kitchens.”
Food at the schools is procured by a public-private partnership (PPP) contractor, which sourced the mince form the food wholesaler 3663. It recalled all batches of the product on March 8.
One parent of a child at the Pirniehall and St David’s campus said schools must know where their meat was coming from.
Aga Perkins, 30, who is self employed, added: “I think it’s disgusting and I’m certainly going to be speaking to someone about this.
“I know this is a nationwide problem but schools must know where the food is coming from, they can’t just blame suppliers.”
Leila Fawcus, 35, a council worker, added: “This makes me so glad my girls have always had a packed lunch.
“It’s disappointing because the schools always said they hadn’t been affected. I don’t think people will lose trust in the council though, as it’s the suppliers.”
Les Vernon, 30, said the schools had been “straight about it”, adding: “It’s probably been going on for years and it falls back to the government.”
Claire Baker, Labour’s rural affairs spokesman, said the SNP held a “hastily convened” summit on school meals recently but there had been no action since.
She added: “The Scottish Government must take action to ensure school meals are balanced in a fairer way than the current weighting that sees price valued three times more than quality.
“Rather than have an open and honest debate over this scandal, the Cabinet Secretary (Richard Lochhead) is presiding over a growing food crisis that he is failing to control.”
Alison Johnstone, the Green MSP, said the revelation would worry parents and proved the need for greater investment and increased traceability in publicly-procured meals.
“The council’s website claims that it uses local suppliers for meat, so it is extremely important we are told what has gone wrong,” she added.
“I have real concerns about the way our schools have moved away from real meals cooked in proper kitchens to ready meals heated up in microwaves.
“It’s also hard to have confidence when the many of our schools are supplied by massive companies who describe themselves as strategic outsourcing providers rather than caterers, and whose main motive is profit.”
The council has been carrying out tests on meat products supplied to schools, residential homes and other local authority establishments since February 14 under the direction of the Food Standards Agency as part of its UK-wide survey.
A spokesman said all but one of the 85 samples tested so far were negative. Last month, traces of horse DNA were found in a frozen burger in a school kitchen in North Lanarkshire.
Federal legislation intended to fund U.S. government agencies will continue provide revenue for USDA inspections at horse processing plants located in the United States through September 2013. The current federal continuing funding resolution that also included USDA expired on March 27.
Every year since 2006, lawmakers had denied funding for USDA meat inspections at horse processing plants in the United States. The lack of funding eliminated food safety certifications necessary for U.S.-produced horsemeat products to be exported Europe and other offshore markets. As a result, the defunding figured significantly in operators’ decisions to close the last U.S.-based horse processing plant in 2007. Thereafter, U.S. horses were exported to processing facilities in Mexico and Canada. In November 2011, Congress passed an appropriations bill that did not include language specifically forbidding the USDA from using federal dollars to fund horse slaughter plant inspections. Since then, the owners of the Valley Meat Co., LLC, in New Mexico have applied for a USDA inspection permit, which remains pending. In addition, according to published reports, operators of prospective plants in several other states have also applied for inspection permits. Currently no horse slaughter plants are currently operating in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
Just a week ago Petside featured an article about the high probability of horse slaughter facilities soon opening in the United States to produce meat for human consumption.
In 2006 Congress defunded USDA horse and horse meat inspection, closing the doors of the three remaining foreign-owned slaughter plants producing meat for human consumption which was exported to Europe and other countries outside the United States. However, in 2011, Congress stripped the defunding language for USDA horse and horse meat inspection, leaving the doors wide open for slaughter facilities in the United States to start killing horses for their meat for humans.
At the present, however, the sale of horse meat for human diners in the United States remains illegal. As a result should the horse meat slaughter facilities open to produce human-grade horse meat, they must export the meat to Europe and other countries that consider horse meat a delicacy.
But since racehorses, and those that compete in strenuous events in a wide variety of other sports are frequently injured, to alleviate their pain they are given powerful anti-inflammatory drugs such as Phenylbutazone (Bute) and flunixin meglumine (Banamine) which are highly toxic to humans. Horses regularly are administered wormers and other medications that are dangerous to humans. Additionally since horses have never been bred for food, often records of the drugs administered to them are scanty, or don’t accompany them when they go to sale. So how can we assure the safety of their meat?
We are more than aware of the frenzy caused by the recent discovery of horse meat contaminating many food products throughout Europe. What is even more alarming to Europeans were the traces of Bute that were found in some food products contaminated with horse meat.
As a result of the growing concern about the safety of U.S. horse meat, commercial establishments that are getting hungry to either retool their existing slaughterhouses, or start building slaughter horse facilities will not be able to sell horse meat to EU; the primary market for U.S. horse meat.
According to Straight from the Horse’s Heart the Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) has received confirmation from EU authorities that “by virtue of commission decision 2011/163/EU the US is not authorized to export horsemeat to the EU.”
Making matters even more alarming, according to USA Today, in an interview with Reuters, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture said that the sequestration with its concomitant meat inspector furloughs might result in sporadic food shortages if inspectors are not available to examine poultry, egg products and meat. Having to provide horse meat inspectors would further amplify the necessity of protecting US consumers. Secretary Vilsack said he hoped the Government could find an alternative to horse slaughter; a statement that was rather shocking to many folks.
But even though the confirmation received by EWA may be shine a ray of light for the 80 percent of people in the our country who abhor American horse slaughter; now is the time that we must keep up pressure on Congress for them to restore the defunding language which will effectively ban USDA horse meat inspection…(CONTINUED)Click (HERE) to read the story in it’s entirety and please Comment
The meat was imported by Hungarian Food Ltd in Lancashire, and sold on its market stall in Preston and a shop in Liverpool
Horsemeat weighing 100kg (220lb) and falsely labelled as beef has been identified by council officials, with 40kg of it already sold to the public.
The meat was imported by Hungarian Food Ltd in Preston, Lancashire, and sold on its market stall in the town and a shop in Liverpool called Taste of Hungary, the Food Standards Agency has said.
It said the discovery of the horse flesh, being sold in 1kg bags and labelled as “diced beef”, was made by Lancashire county council.
The remaining unsold meat has been withdrawn from sale.
An FSA spokesman said: “The Food Standards Agency has notified the European commission and the Hungarian authorities. The local authority is investigating and the meat will be tested for the veterinary drug bute.”
Read the article and comment: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2013/mar/22/horsemeat-scandal-food-and-drink
So it’s once again into the breach, with federal legislation that would effectively ban the horse slaughter business in the United States introduced this week in Washington, D.C., by a collection of senators and representatives who would give the effort a gloss of bipartisan suport, if there still is such a thing.
The Safeguard American Food Exports Act (SAFE) is sponsored by Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) and Reps. Jan Shakowsky (D-Ill.) and Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.). Positioned to amend the Food, Drug and Cosmetics Act, the bill first will be taken up by the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, chaired by Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, chaired by Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.).
On the face of it, the SAFE Act seems timed to take advantage of the international uproar over the contamination of some packaged European foods with unregulated horse meat. In fact, the bill has been in the works for the better part of a year and finds itself injected into a equally heated domestic climate, with a lawsuit effort in New Mexico to reopen a slaughterhouse and legislation moving rapidly to encourage a slaughter industry in the state of Oklahoma.
There is not now nor ever has been a federal ban on horse slaughter. In fact, there is a thriving horse slaughter business in the U.S. even though slaughter plants have been idle since 2007, when USDA inspections were defunded. Estimates indicate that upward of 150,000 horses of all breeds are purchased and hauled across state lines to slaughter facilities in Mexico and Canada each year, some of it done legally, some of it not, depending on where the horses originate and which state lines are crossed.
The defunding for inspections was lifted in 2011, based largely on conclusions drawn from a U.S. Government Accountability Office report that cited anecdotal evidence from veterinarians as to a growing number of abandoned horses. Ever since then there have been efforts to get the horse slaughter industry rolling again.
Polls indicate that around 80 percent of Americans oppose the slaughter of horses and are even surprised it is an issue. For most of those polled I would imagine the idea is abstract, residing in the same morally distasteful category as child labor or blatant racial discrimination.
However, the reality of horse slaughter draws sharp battle lines between those who support slaughter as a justifiably monetized end-use for a domestic animal and those who oppose the practice as a cruel violation of a deeply held cultural taboo. The introduction of the SAFE Act means those sides will be gearing up again, so in the spirit of following what is sure to be a fascinating political process, here are a couple of spectator tips:
Give a wide berth to anyone who uses the word “process” or “harvest” each time you ask them about “slaughter.” Processing is to slaughter what “enhanced interrogation” is to torture, as in:
“AQHA believes that reinstituting domestic horse processing will improve the economics of the horse industry by reintroducing a base price for horses and it will give owners one more option to have available should they need it,” according to former American Quarter Horse Association president Peter J. Cofrancesco.
Question the assumption that the lack of a domestic horse slaughter industry over the past six years has resulted in an increase of mistreated and abandoned horses. As Vickery Eckhoff writes in Forbes.com:
“The argument tying abandonment to slaughter is being used specifically because nobody knows where the horses come from. Nobody ever mentions the more likely motivation that someone might wish to avoid taking them to auction because they are afraid they will go to slaughter, or they are afraid their sorry condition will be seen and reported.”
And do not be surprised to learn that the American Association of Equine Practitioners, supposedly representing the industry’s front-line veterinarians, is just fine with the idea of domestic horse slaughter, at least according to its latest position statement:
“The AAEP recognizes that the processing of unwanted horses is currently a necessary aspect of the equine industry, and provides a humane alternative to allowing the horse to continue a life of discomfort and pain, and possibly inadequate care or abandonment.”
But do give the AAEP extra credit for working both “processing” and “unwanted horses” into its party line.
In the past, there have been some groups in the Thoroughbred racing industry coming off a little wishy-washy over wholehearted support of an end to the U.S. horse slaughter business, despite the towering influence of activist owner-breeders like the late John Hettinger. With the introduction of SAFE, they have another chance to step up. When contacted this week National Thoroughbred Racing Association president and CEO Alex Waldrop seemed to be heading that way.
“The NTRA opposes the slaughter of Thoroughbreds for human consumption,” Waldrop wrote in an email communication. “We have not taken a position on the most recent legislation but will continue to focus our efforts on providing all horse owners with safe, reliable retirement and retraining alternatives.”
Anyone who has read this space in the past knows where this reporter stands, which is firmly alongside those who view horse slaughter for human consumption as a fundamental violation of a promise made to a sentient creature who is bred and raised to be a domestic companion or a performance athlete. Yes, they cost a lot, they get sick, and they sometimes hang in the shadow of the wire with a pick five on the line. They still deserve a decent end to a life they did not choose.
View this article and comment here: http://www.drf.com/news/jay-hovdey-slaughter-once-again-hot-polarizing-topic Follow Jay on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JayHovdey
Crucial new legislation was introduced in Congress this week that will protect consumers from toxic horsemeat and end the cruel slaughter of America’s horses, titled the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1094/S. 541.
Horse slaughter is fraught with terror, pain, and suffering and the plants have a history of polluting local water supplies, lowering property values, and are a drain on local economies. These animals are not raised for food and over the course of their lives are given a wide variety of drugs and veterinary treatments that make their meat unfit for human consumption.
TAKE ACTION Please make a brief, polite phone call to your U.S. Representative and two U.S. Senators to urge co-sponsorship of H.R. 1094/S. 541, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act. Look up your legislators’ phone numbers here. You can say: “I would like you to please co-sponsor and support H.R. 1094/S. 541, the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act to protect our nation’s horses and food safety reputation.”
After making your phone call (please do not skip that crucial step!), fill in and submit the form at the link below to automatically send a follow-up message to your members of Congress. Legislators receive a lot of email, so be sure to edit your message so it stands out.
There is no market these days for horse meat in this country. The last horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. stopped production in 2007, the result of laws in Illinois and Texas banning horse slaughter or the sale of horse meat for human consumption. That same year, a congressional appropriations bill that included a rider banning the funding of U.S. Department of Agriculture inspection of horse meat went into effect. And without inspections, U.S. plants can’t sell meat anywhere in the world. But after years of renewing the ban, Congress let it lapse in late 2011. Now the Department of Agriculture is under pressure from a New Mexico meat-processing company to resume horse meat inspections.
Congress should reinstate the ban on funding such inspections, for several reasons.
In this country, horses are not raised as food animals, with the sort of controls and restrictions in place for cattle, poultry and swine destined for our tables. Currently, horses that are bought here to be sold to processing plants in Mexico and Canada are acquired from random sources, aggregated at feedlots or ranches, and then shipped to slaughter. They have not been tracked from birth, as cattle and pigs are.
In addition, the horses have usually been treated over their lifetimes with a vast array of drugs, the most common of which is the pain reliever phenylbutazone, a substance theU.S. Food and Drug Administration stipulates can never be administered to animals processed for food.
Furthermore, for horse meat plants to resume operating, the Department of Agriculture would have to train and deploy inspectors at a time when its meat inspection budget is being cut by the sequestration.
And there is another reason. For centuries, horses have been our companions in life and in sport, and most Americans find the notion of killing horses to eat them repugnant. Horse meat isn’t even used in dog food any longer because dog owners won’t buy it. California not only bans horse slaughter for human consumption and the serving of horse meat in restaurants, but prohibits the export of horses to be slaughtered for food.
Most of the horse meat that was once processed in this country was exported to Europe, where people do eat it. And horses are regularly exported to be slaughtered and sold as meat there. That business won’t change if the ban on funding horse meat inspections is reinstated. Nevertheless, horse meat production should not be allowed to resume in this country.
By WAYNE PACELLE Published: March 11, 2013
THE discovery of horse meat in products labeled as beef in the European Union has raised serious questions, not just about food labeling, but also about food safety and the working of the somewhat opaque, global horse meat industry.
While the authorities in Brussels and various E.U. member states continue their investigations related to the scandal, there are questions unrelated to accurate labeling that must now be asked of industry and government regulators.
The European Union has strict rules on what meat products should be allowed into its home markets. In the case of horse meat imports, it’s apparent that these products are held to a different standard — a porous and permissive standard — compared with other meat products destined for dinner plates and supermarket shelves.
For example, the E.U. forbids imports of American chicken because the carcasses are bathed in chlorine. The authorities also ban pork imports because American producers treat the animals with ractopamine, a feed additive to promote leanness. And as a general matter, it is forbidden to use certain veterinary medicines on any animals used for human consumption.
Despite these important food safety policies and standards, every year tens (maybe hundreds) of thousands of animals are routinely given prohibited substances; racehorses, show horses and carriage horses regularly end up as meat intended for human consumption imported into the E.U.
Plants in Canada and Mexico slaughter horses from their own country, but the majority of the horses they kill come from the United States. Horse meat from these plants eventually makes its way to France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. Contaminated horse meat imports from these North American countries can end up anywhere in Europe for further processing. In July 2012, residues of the drugs phenylbutazone (an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat pain and fever in animals) and clenbuterol (a drug that promotes leaner meat but that is banned in the United States and the E.U.) were found in a consignment of horse meat imported to Belgium from Canada.
European beef eaters are rightly appalled that they bought beef, but got horse meat instead. They should be even more concerned that some of that horse meat may also be contaminated and unfit for consumption.
There is no record-keeping mechanism for tracking the administration of drugs to racehorses. E.U. regulations stipulate that only meat from horses with a known medicinal treatment history (an equine passport) can be slaughtered for export to the E.U. But no North American horses have these passports. Yet last year approximately 160,000 American horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, with the meat going primarily to the E.U. and Japan.
More testing and analysis would help, but it is insufficient. Animals coming off of U.S. racetracks and out of pastures are injected with prohibited substances on a routine basis, and that alone makes this type of meat unsuitable for import. These animals were never bred or raised for the table, but for other purposes, and they should be disqualified from the meat trade.
It is also widely acknowledged that there is a high level of fraud involved with the equine identification documents. Recent audits conducted by the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office in Canada and Mexico found that these countries are not in compliance with the E.U.’s food safety standards with regard to their medical records, even though non-E.U. parties have had two years to amend their residue control programs.
Experience has shown that those who tend to defraud the system designed to protect humans generally have even fewer qualms about the welfare of the animals they slaughter. The 160,000 U.S. horses slaughtered annually outside the United States are transported long distances in unsuitable vehicles. Conditions for horses elsewhere around the world are probably no better.
As the E.U. and the United States launch wide-ranging free-trade negotiations, now would be a good time to hit the reset button and make sure that E.U. food safety regulations are being honestly implemented. The global horse meat trade, by its very nature, cannot meet these standards. And now is a good time for the authorities in North America and Europe to eliminate trade in animals unsuitable for the dinner table.
Wayne Pacelle is president and chief executive of The Humane Society of the United States.
NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) -
With all the recent news about horse meat found oversees in everything from frozen products to IKEA meatballs and Taco Bell, some may wonder who is testing the meat in your freezer.
Channel 4 News contacted the corporate offices of the local grocery store chains, and while one said they rely on federal tests, the feds aren’t testing for horse meat.
“They don’t do any DNA testing to see if the products coming out of there are actually beef,” said Jo-Claire Corcoran, with the Equine Welfare Alliance. “With the risk that there is, our government hasn’t started testing anything yet.”
Corcoran, the head of an anti-horse slaughter group, said the government ought be using DNA tests to see if horse meat is in the American food supply, especially because there is evidence that horse meat is being shipped through U.S. ports.
“We think it’s entirely possible at this point, because we are importing beef from other countries,” Corcoran said.
For example, the U.S. imports beef from Canada, where the same plants also process cows and horses.
Right now, horses can’t be slaughtered or their meat sold in the U.S.
In the past year, the Channel 4 I-Team has shown a series of stories about a Lebanon, TN, company hauling horses to slaughter plants along the Mexico border.
The federal government says since horses aren’t slaughtered in America, it’s very unlikely horse meat makes its way to American dinner plates.
However, thousands of records we found are raising questions about the meat coming into U.S. ports, including cases where horse meat was imported into ports in New Jersey, Texas and California over an eight-month period.
The USDA told Channel 4 they understand the horse meat is simply transferred in those ports and not imported into the United States. However, they admit the U.S. imports meat from Mexico and Canada, where horse slaughter for meat is legal.
While horse meat is consumed in many countries around the world, opponents in America contend some horses are treated with drugs that should not be eaten by humans – especially race horses.
And with all the horse meat coming through U.S. ports, some wonder if companies can say for sure it is not unexpectedly ending up on someone’s dinner table.
“We don’t know where it went,” Corcoran said.
Channel 4 polled six major grocery store chains to ask them if they use DNA tests on their meat, including shipments that come from oversees – for example, frozen foods from other countries.
A spokesperson from Publix said: “Publix does not do any DNA testing, except on a case-by-case basis.”
The Aldi chain didn’t answer our question about DNA testing but sent a statement, saying:
“The UK products in question are not sold in the U.S., and ALDI US does not source product from that supplier.”
Kroger corporate spokesperson Melissa Eads said: “Kroger has stringent requirements for food safety and quality. We work with our trusted suppliers to assure the authenticity of beef products supplied to Kroger.”
We posed the same question to Harris-Teeter, Whole Foods, Sam’s and Walmart about how they test their meat, but they have not yet responded.
The Tennessee Department of Agriculture said it’s not their agency’s jurisdiction to check the content of meat sold in the state, rather that rests with the USDA.Read the article, watch the VIDEO, and comment: http://www.wsmv.com/story/21537348/could-horse-meat-end-up-on-your-dinner-table
Chicago (EWA) – According to USDA statistics, the slaughter of US horses soared by 32% in 2012 to over 176,000, a twenty year high. The horses were exported largely to slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada, which then shipped the meat to the EU (Europe Union) where horse meat has subsequently been found to have been fraudulently substituted for beef in everything from burgers to lasagna and even school lunches.
The number of horses exported to Mexico increased from 68,429 in 2011 to 110,202 in 2012, a 61% increase while exports to Canada actually decreased slightly (7.5%) to 59,812.
Despite the EU repeatedly finding the prohibited carcinogen phenylbutazone and other banned substances in the meat of US horses, and despite its own audit reports stating that they still have no effective way of preventing contaminated horse meat from entering their food chain, the authorities have allowed the trade to continue to expand. Read the rest of this entry »
MAST tested a handful of foods produced by food services company Gæðakokkar to ensure that they did not contain any horse meat without saying so on the label and have found improper labeling in all of them. However none contained horse meat, MAST revealed in a press release. Read the rest of this entry »