Sarcosystis Parasite In Horsemeat Shipped From Canada Causes Sickness In Japan

Drafts to JapanThis is a slightly older study but very relevant to the issue of live horses shipped from Canada to Japan for meat.

This Japanese study (scroll halfway down the PDF document to read) follows the illness of 11 people who consumed horsemeat obtained from a market in Japan,  with one incident directly traced to Canada.  The sarcosystis parasite was detected in the horsemeat.   This parasite is the cause of equine protozoal myeloencephalitis (EPM) in horses in North America. The opossum is the definitive host,  with the horse being the dead-end host of Sarcocystis neurona.  The Japanese study doesn’t say that the horses had EPM,  since EPM is the disease of a live animal,  not a meat product.

The inference here is that horses shipped live from Canada may have been exposed to the parasite as a result of close proximity to opossums.  It is likely that the horses ingested infective opossum sporocysts with feed or water.  Opossums are omnivores, and are attracted to grains, moist or dry cat or dog food, fruit or garbage. Therefore, horse feed and pet food should not be left out and open feed bags and garbage should be kept in closed galvanized metal containers.

While it’s possible that the disease could have been acquired while the horses were on feedlots in Japan,  it seems more likely that the protocols for proper storage of hay and feed, the control of opossums on the property, or prompt disposal of animal carcasses may not be adhered to for these “feeder” horses while resident in Canada.  Opossums are found in Western Canada and the CHDC has previously identified shipments of live horses being sent from YYC (Calgary) airport to Japan.

For further reading:

USDA – EPM/Sarcocystis neurona  –

Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis: A Report of Two Cases From Western Canada –


  1. Angry in Ct · ·

    They shipped live horses to Japan for some rich people to dine on. As much as I hate the industry of horse slaughter, these horses may have to give their lives to teach these stupid greedy people the hard way.and be examples. EPM is a horrible to die, it is contracted from geese manure, and other small vermen’s manure,the horses eat or graze near it and ingest some of the dung. Symptoms are loss of muscle control. The horses will start to stagger, then as time passes they will no longer be able to walk normal, they will try but their hind ends will give out and they will go down., sorta like mad cow. Bon Appetite!

  2. They must stop the slaughtering, they had the choice by saying NO to horse meat, so they deserve it.

  3. Barbara Griffith · ·

    There are other many other instances of cruelty that the public probably don’t know. It has always been against the law to haul pregnant mares to the slaughter plant but it wasn’t always enforced.
    The inspectors don’t usually look to close inside the trucks. But there was reports of mares aborting on the way to slaughter plants in the US before they were closed along with one guy that worked at one of the plants here in the US saying that when the mare was hung up to be cut open after the bolt gun in the head had killed her they were told to lift out all of the guts and the everything in the stomach and it was dropped into a large garbage can he reported seeing the movement of live unborn foals inside of the sack of uterus material. There wasn’t anything he could do but go on with the job. From what I understood this was some of the reasons he quit the job. I think this happens all the time at slaughter plants that kill sheep and other animals for meat.
    What the workers see they have to ignore or get fired. This was a few years ago but it still goes on in all plants

  4. Canada is the supplier. If we didn’t export it they couldn’t eat it raw or not!

  5. Oh yeah – freeze that adulterated horsemeat to make it ‘wholesome’…. absurd. They have no clue what they are eating….

  6. YOU REAP ALL YOU SOW !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Barbara Griffith · ·

    Heather-Joan-Carls, I agree 100%, I hope these people die a lingering painful death. Remember too they do like sushi made from raw foal meat dipped in soya sauce.

    1. Heather-Joan Carls · ·

      WHAT???!!! I didn’t know that!!! You shouldn’t have told me that, Barbara. Now I have something else to worry and stew over(yes. I am one of those too) 😦 And now I am even more ENRAGED!!! Sick people! I would think eating raw horse meat would be as dangerous as eating raw beef, which I wouldn’t consume. We don’t even eat veal here in our household, for pretty much the same reason and just out of respect. But raw foal meat??!! Good Lord how did peoples peoples become ssuch idiots and anal spinters???!!! I want to gather pitchforks and torches and lead a revolution against all those involved.

      1. And we sell our prized broodmares and stallions to Japan for breeding. No one cares what becomes of them when they are barren or just too old to breed. And what about the foals who are less than perfect? Do they become an appetizer eaten raw with soy sauce? I’m just digusted! I will never, ever, travel as a tourist to Japan.

  8. Heather-Joan Carls · ·

    Perhaps they will learn now???!!! Karma 😀 They deserved this, God help me for saying this, but maybe this will teach these peoples and other peoples who eat horsemeat not to do so…but some people are so freaking ignorant, bull-headed, and stubborn that they never do. So, uh, sucks to be them! I hope they suffer, bleed profusely from all orpheses, have excruciating pain, and suffer a violent, painful, bloody maddening death as our horses did(sorry, I can be quite dramatic at times)…

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