Horsemeat: A Delicacy to Die For?

For Immediate Release August 22, 2012:

Horsemeat: A Delicacy to Die For?

Orangeville, Ontario:  On July 9, 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration sent a warning letter to an Ohio feedlot operator who sells horses for slaughter.  The man was duly reprimanded for selling a drug-tainted thoroughbred horse to a Canadian slaughterhouse.  Evidently, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency had conducted tests on the carcass of the horse in August 2011, and had found phenylbutazone in the muscle and kidney tissues of this animal, as well as clenbuterol in the tissues of the eye:
FDA Letter.

The CFIA acted responsibly by subsequently reporting this finding to the USDA, and no doubt the discovery would have further bolstered the Canadian agency’s ongoing claims of running an effective system and ensuring the safety of the food supply.  However, what is not readily brought to the public eye is the fact that the CFIA’s rate of phenylbutazone testing on horse carcasses is an abysmal 0.152% (143 samples taken on 93,812 horses in 2009).

“With such random, scanty testing protocols in place, one can only imagine how many drug-positive horses slip through the cracks,” states Sinikka Crosland, Executive Director of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition.

Phenylbutazone is a drug that is deadly to humans when ingested.  It is a carcinogen and is linked to aplastic anemia, with children being most vulnerable.  Clenbuterol is known to cause gross tremors of the extremities, tachycardia, nausea, headaches and dizziness.  Neither drug is permitted to be administered to horses destined for human consumption.

At the very least, the CFIA should mandate drug testing on every horse carcass that leaves Canadian slaughterhouses bound for dinner plates abroad and to our own province of Quebec.

However, banning the slaughter of horses, our companion animals and working partners, would be the logical solution to preventing deadly drugs from entering the food chain.  As well, it would stop the systemic abuse of horses as they move from auctions to feedlots to slaughter, as has been reported by the CHDC in various investigative reports since 2008.                     

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For more information:

Feedlot report.

Horse slaughter footage (use drop-down menu on INVESTIGATIONS tab)

Ph(cell): 250.681.1408


  1. […] non-existent testing protocols for phenylbutazone and other veterinary drugs are compounded by a sampling frequency too low to be meaningful for public health purposes.  The drug records certainly put the lie to the belief by the CFIA that […]

  2. […] know that this isn’t true because the CFIA have told us so.  This is the perception by the general public and certainly that of La Palette restaurant in […]

  3. Michelle Storace · ·


  4. S. Kennedy · ·

    Race horses are literally walking pharmacies….bute is just one of hundreds of malovent drugs that are used every day at stables across North America….the trainers, the jockeys, racing officials, grooms, everybody connected with the industry is guilty of intentional injury to horses.

  5. Heather · ·

    This may sound very cold hearted but maybe if enough people got very sick from eating horsemeat this might stop this unabashed slaughter of our COMPANION animals. Why isn’t the government understanding this….horses are not raised as a meat animal. I just don’t understand the blinders our leaders have on. So much for a democratic government!!

    1. shoshone · ·

      The CFIA’s lax testing policy doesn’t come as a surprize.. Three cows and their young calves on a near by farm were ordered slaughtered after the herd they originated from was slaughtered because one cow was shipped to the U.S. and found to have tb. Five or six offspring from these 3 cows were left to produce more offspring. Strange only half of this herd would be ordered slaughtered when all the animals from the originating herd were slaughtered. Better than the .152% of horses tested for bute but still sloppy.

    2. I totaly agree this is barbaric and greed is what is spurring this abuse one. Shame on our Govt. for allowing this.

  6. Horse people are well aware that 99.9% of horses have had bute – we do not need a scientist to tell us that. What does our government need to understand this fact? They already understand this fact – they are just hiding from it, covering up the truth, and do not want to do the testing that is necessary because the results would be hazardous for this industry.

  7. All horses at one time have had bute

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