Business as usual for slaughtering American horses in Canada begins again
The temporary shutdown of Canadian horse slaughter early Friday morning still has not produced any definitive reasons as to why American horses were turned away and their brokers, killbuyers, and drivers told to go home. The ban on horse slaughter however was short lived. On Monday, Canada's horse slaughter plants announced they will be open for business again by Tuesday.
Reports from the European Union (EU), killbuyers, and slaughter plants handed down conflicting reports.
One source allegedly in contact with the an official from the EU stated there was some confusion over paperwork concerning incorrectly certified meat citing a "documentation insufficiency." Another source revealed that killbuyers reported the slaughter houses closed their doors as a warning to American horse sellers to make sure veterinary records and quarantine requirements were being met.
In July 2013 new health regulations will require horses heading to slaughter for the purpose of human consumption to have "passports" which will certify that the horses have been drug-free for the last six months. Any horses ever treated with phenylbutazone (bute) are banned from slaughter. Phenylbutazone is a common chemical compound given to horses for the treatment of pain; as common as humans taking an aspirin except that bute is a dangerous, carcinogenic substance known to cause aplastic anemia in children.
In an exclusive interview with John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance, who originally broke the news on Friday of the shut down of the Canadian slaughter houses, Holland stated:
"Today's lifting of the short-lived EU ban on meat from US horses was at least as confusing as its implementation. An EU official is quoted as saying that it was imposed because of a shipment of 'incorrectly certified meat from the US,' and that further investigation showed that not to be the case. A Bouvry plant official gave this explanation as well.But this statement forces me to paraphrase Mark Twain: 'Let's say I had somehorse meat from the US, and let's say it was incorrectly certified, but then I repeat myself.' Almost all of our horse meat is incorrectly certified! Secondly, why shut down all the plants because of one shipment?"
So have the slaughterhouses "shot one over the bow" to warn those who are selling horses to be slaughtered in Canada and Mexico not to be selling tainted meat, or is the EU running a dress rehearsal of what kind of reaction may very well occur when better proof of drug histories will need to be presented?
"The slaughter houses told the kill buyers yet another story, saying this was to teach the American suppliers a lesson," continued Holland. This rings truer since the EU has no legal recourse with which to punish the US sellers providing falsified EID documents. But if this is the case, why put out the story about a single shipment that was really just a mistake? The likely answer is that if they told the truth, that they had been totally unable to get the US suppliers to take the drug residue issue seriously, it would be a question which they don't want to answer. Why would they expect the horses shipped this Tuesday to be any safer than the ones they blocked last Friday?"
None of the reasons seem to make sense for the short reprieve for hundreds of horses who would have been slaughtered on Friday. Instead they will most likely be heading back to Canada or Mexico on Tuesday.
Straight from the Horse's Heart author and President of the Wild Horse Freedom Federation, RT Fitch stated on Monday:
"So, in my humble opinion, this was a dress rehearsal of the REAL day when the evil of predatory horse slaughter comes to an end. And dangling that carrot in front of my nose worked well as it only made me want it more, and I am fully energized to see this thing through."
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