Canada Exports Toxic Horsemeat to Europe

For Immediate Release August 3, 2012:

Canada Exports Toxic Horsemeat to Europe

Orangeville, Ontario:  On the heels of stringent new regulations released by the European Union concerning horsemeat and food safety requirementseven more recent news emerged from the European Commission’s Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF).

A notification from Belgium on July 27, 2012, indicates that residues of unauthorized drugs phenylbutazone and clenbuterol were discovered in Canadian horsemeat samples.

 In addition to distribution in Belgium, the tainted meat had also reached EU member countries France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.  At this time it is not known how many people may have ingested these prohibited substances, or whether a total recall was achieved before the meat had reached consumers. 

Phenylbutazone is a carcinogen and even tiny amounts can cause aplastic anemia, particularly in children.  Clenbuterol can cause symptoms of acute food poisoning (gross tremors of the extremities, tachycardia, nausea, headaches and dizziness).  These drugs are not permitted to enter the food chain.

Yet in spite of the risks and an alleged “zero tolerance” policy toward unacceptable drugs in horsemeat, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) continues to allow the export of horsemeat overseas and condones its consumption in Quebec (and, to a lesser extent, in other provinces). 

Currently, the European Union accepts Canadian horsemeat.  In 2010, an EU audit revealed numerous concerns about Canadian food safety protocols, but a period of grace was granted.  Canada had to conform by 2013, at which time a strict passport system for horses is expected to be in place.

Now, 2013 is just around the corner and the Canadian horsemeat industry will soon bear the weight of European regulations.  In the meantime, the Canadian government has knowingly permitted exports of a product that is likely to contain dangerous drug residues.  Why knowingly?  Because it’s not rocket science!  North American horses have not been raised as traditional food animals, and of course many of them will have been treated with drugs that are not safe for human consumption. 

Why are we not surprised about the news from Belgium?  What will the CFIA say now to cover its hind quarters?  In spite of CFIA reassurances that horsemeat is safe to consume, and that Canada has an excellent testing mechanism in place, the facts speak more loudly than platitudes.

Once again, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) calls upon the Canadian government to end the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption.

For more information, please contact:

Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Ph: 250.681.1408


  1. Dennis Davey · ·

    Katherine Speaking for myself, no i do not eat beef or pork, Mr. Ritz says its ok to eat. Do you believe anything a politician says, especially the one who heads the C.F.I.A. I DO NOT.

  2. katherine · ·

    do you people eat beef then? If so this is hypocritical

    1. Suzanne Moore · ·

      No, it’s not. Every culture has always had animals that were considered food animals and those that were not. In India they still don’t eat cattle. Do you call them hypocrites? Horses have never been considered food animals in the US. We DO have that right, just as those in India who don’t consider cattle food animals.

      Besides that, there is simply no way to humanely slaughter horses in the fast moving, assembly-ling structure of a commercial slaughter plant. Even Temple Grandin has conceded that we do not have a way to slaughter horses humanely.

      Then there IS the problem of many horse meds and other products containing substances that are banned for use in any food animal. Horse products are allowed to use these ingredients because horses are not food animals. Period.

  3. Dennis Davey · ·

    Marilyn Wilson

    By all means pass on anything that will result in halting this barbarism

  4. Cecilia · ·

    You wonder why so many diseases, cancers, illnesses, are written about every day. This is why. So much garbage in our meats. Share this info and stop horse slaughtering for good!

  5. […] Sue Wallis is hardly comforting.   Curiously,  Mains appears to be silent on the issue of Phenylbutazone and Clenbuterol recently found in horsemeat that originated from Canada,  and the use of non-food animals in the food system.  Perhaps we haven’t heard from him on the […]

  6. Dennis,
    Glad to hear about France! If all our comrades keep up the fight we will prevail!
    Several of our animal law orgs have brought a lawsuit against our USDA and our FDA for selling horse meat, anxiously waiting to hear more.
    You said it all in a nut-shell!
    May I pass your words along?

  7. Dennis Davey · ·

    Sinikka Seeing that there is an organization, i believe in France that is also attempting to stop HORSE slaughter for human consumption perhaps there is the possibility that this same organization could seek legal council and sue the CFIA as well as the French counterpart?

    What do you think?

  8. Jagadambe Dasi · ·

    Slaughter not klaughter.

  9. Jagadambe Dasi · ·

    Yet the klaughter still goes on. How criminal and cruel.

  10. jean robertson · ·

    Slaughter will end when the market dries up. Surely these facts will make consumers realize just how toxic horse meat really is. It is really ironic when dogfood companies won’t use horsemeat for dogfood but the CFIA thinks it is okay to export it for human consumption. Don’t trust anything that the CFIA or any other government agency says is safe. As long as there is profit involved they just don’t care.

    Thanks Sinikka .

  11. Elizabeth dana · ·

    Horses are not mean’t to be eaten. The supply of horses from the states can NEVER be regulated. They are stolen pets, wild caught from BLM, old Amish beat up workhorses, abandoned , sick race track rejects, worm infested ponies, starved and beated , backyard breeders, lame and crippled, all dragged in heat , overcrowded, dead horse, broken legs, eyes stabbed out, horses into Canada for the butchering. It is not fit for dogfood in th United States and Europe and Canada don’t get it. It is safer to eat rats. The tapeworms in the feces are smaller.

    1. Suzanne Moore · ·

      I’ve been trying to convince our legislators of this very thing. Slaughter horses in the US have always been obtained by nefarious means because there’s no other way. Very few horse owners would KNOWINGLY sell their horses to a kill buyer, so they lie about what they are going to do with the horses they buy. Even people who are naive enough to send their horses to auction still believe that a good horse will find a good home, when in reality, these are the ones the killers grab first.

      And, there really are a lot of thefts. The two plants that were in Texas were less than 70 miles apart, and I lived in Dallas, almost equidistant from both of them. It was a nightmare. When your personal friends get their horses stolen, It really brings it home.

      Besides all that, Americans just don’t look upon horses as food animals and never will.

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