Racetrack Drugs Put Europe Off U.S. Horsemeat

By Joe Drape
Published December 8, 2012 – New York Times

PARIS – For decades, American horses, many of them retired or damaged racehorses, have been shipped to Canada and Mexico, where it is legal to slaughter horses, and then processed and sold for consumption in Europe and beyond.

Major Baby, a Standardbred racehorse, reviving in the kill box at the St.Andre Avellin plant.

Major Baby, a Standardbred racehorse, in the kill box reviving after being shot at the St.Andre Avellin plant.

Lately, however, European food safety officials have notified Mexican and Canadian slaugherhouses of a growning concern:  The meat of American racehorses may be too toxic to eat safely because the horses have been injected repeatedly with drugs.

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  1. Anne Streeter · ·

    It isn’t only race horses that contain toxic substances. Bute is relatively harmless for horses but toxic to humans. There is no way the authorities can clearly oversee this issue, Evidence of drug use is up to the owner to declare. Obviously this does not work. The only answer is to ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption!

  2. Barbara Griffith · ·

    It Is possible that there is a rise in disease in the EU that is caused by the eating of Bute laden horse meat. One of them is Aplastic Anemia which any child that eats horse meat that has been
    treated with Bute could develop over time. This disease can develop from other causes so it would be hard to pin it on horse meat unless the Dr. decided to look into it.

  3. REGGIE123 · ·


    1. SunnyGADay · ·

      True but happening in CANADA and Mexico not US. Hopefully will pass laws to end transport of our horses to slaughter in other countries!

      1. LINDABADHAM · ·


  4. Just watched a horrific undercover illegal back yard slaughter video. The butchers in it said they did not like racehorse meat & they liked he meat of young horses ..that is what sold to their customers. So how come so many in Europe are NOW complaining? Did all these race horses just start to taste bad? You are what you eat….no sympathy here!

    1. jean robertson · ·

      If enough people get sick from eating contaminated horse meat maybe they will get wise and quit buying it.
      This isn’t about horses but did anyone happen to watch W5’s program on the industrial swine factories in Canada, this one in Manitoba on Friday night?? Words can’t describe how cruel those factories are and yet the government keeps on subsidizing and bailing them out every time they start losing money. If a small farmer chose to raise pigs in those conditions the SPCA or a humane society would shut them down in a hurry. It seems as long as it is condoned by the government anything goes as long as it generates money. Thousands of sows spend their sorry lives confined in steel crates only able to lie down on steel floors with no bedding. Baby pigs that don’t come up to standard are ‘thumped.” Their heads are bashed against steel bars. Hard to imagine that this could have been filmed in Canada and not some third world country like China.
      Many thanks to Twyla from Mercy For animals for bringing this gruesome practice to viewers attention.

      1. You might want to watch the video from Animals Australia (AA) “When Pigs Fly” video on youtube. It was a huge success causing major retailers to stop selling meat that had come from factory farms. I had emailed AA to thank them for the video, and asked if we could use it in our own marketing but they never replied. We need to really put the pressure on big organizations such as Peta and Humane Society International and try to get our own advertising out about factory farms and horse slaughter for meat. They have the clout and money to really make people take notice.

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