Clarification Regarding EU Ban On Horsemeat From Mexico

question markHere is some further clarification on the status of horsemeat shipments to the EU from Mexico….

As it is written in the formal decision by the European Commission, Mexico will only be able to ship horsemeat to the EU until January 15, 2015.  The ban will then go into effect, but the horsemeat shipped until that date can still be sold within the EU until March 1, 2015.  However,  Mexico will be able to continue importing horses and exporting their meat to other countries – for example Russia and Japan.  This ban is expected to decrease the trade significantly.

With regards to Canada, as far as sources know, no formal decision has yet been taken, however, the EU is considering restricting trade.  To quote a statement from Michael Scannell, director of the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), made at the EU Parliament’s Intergroup meeting on November 27th, “We are not happy with the progress that has been made in certain cases, so very recently, following some very difficult negotiations with the Mexican authorities in particular, we are now very close to taking a formal decision to ban imports of horse meat from Mexico. We are also very close to imposing stricter conditions into the so-called six month rule in Canada. So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult – impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada – to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union.”

On the homepage of the EU Parliament’s Intergroup, you can download the presentation Tierschutzbund Zurich’s Sabrina Gurtner presented (including footage) as well as the 306th session recordings, so you can listen to Scannell’s complete statement here:

The CHDC is concerned that the EU’s Mexican horsemeat ban will mean more live eushipments from the US to Canada, as kill buyers will look northward to continue their business.  Also, as trade restrictions for Canada are implemented, US horses may be required to stay in Canadian feedlots, where they will be housed for 6 months, to meet EU requirements for Canadian horsemeat. Until now, there is no obligation that US horses stay in Canada – they can ship directly to slaughter.  As we’ve previously reported, conditions on feedlots here are not up to humane standards, and increasing populations in them will only make conditions worse.

The decision regarding Canada is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.  The CHDC will advise of new developments as they become known.

Please share – Thank you




  1. Glenda Steinley · ·

    The good news here is the attention from the EU which can also be used to point out to our Federal Gov that Canadian horse meat does not meet their standards and we are really in the same bed as the Mexicans. Finally, we have support as to why Canada should not be involved in the horse meat trade and it is coming from the buyer..

    I agree with some of the comments regarding the cost to feed horses in a feedlot setting-too expensive and a lot more money can be made feeding cattle. I think there will be a lot less people open to keeping horses the required 6 months as it is not financially viable, horses will still require some vetting, farrier work etc. besides expensive feed. As well, horses in these feedlots can be monitored and reported over the 6 months kept which is still a lot better than going directly from transport to slaughter. With this time gives hope and the ability to keep pushing for closure.

    No feedlot operator will want to be caught with pens full of horses and the chance of closed markets as countries ban Canadian horse meat. I also think that the slaughter plants will turn their attention back to cattle, bison, lamb. Meat that can be market more easily here and without the restriction that thankfully the EU is undertaking with horse meat.

    On another recent positive announcement-Ernie Knibb’s (Lethbridge horseman) is financing the $7.5M equine training college and expects to have this school opened early spring 2015 just outside of Lethbridge. This will be the first Canadian school to certify horse trainers and info can be found at

    The horse industry has really been kicked over the last few years and this school maybe a start. We still need to educate breeders that surplus horses contributed to the downfall of the industry-less will be better going forward.

  2. My guess is the horse slaughter plants may discontinue slaughtering horses if it becomes unprofitable but will switch over to cattle instead. Very few cattle slaughter facilities are operating as most have gone bankrupt in the last ten years. Bouvry already slaughters cattle and bison.

  3. From Dave Duquette; source ‘The Horse’.

    This guy is aware of the Markets that will soon be open due to the Trans Pacific Partnership. This is true but if the point of export is Port Huston, then that should be closed as well as all the other Ports and Airports. That way if the horses cannot leave the United States they would not be on a ship for weeks to get to Korea, China, VietNam, or any of the other countries included in this ‘partnership’ which President Obama has done by himself.

  4. This is the best information I have seen to date on this. US horses will still go to Mexico as I have stated and US horses will be sent to Canada and Japan. It is unrealistic to think the Borders will ever be closed into and out of Mexico and Canada just for the purpose of preventing US horses from being slaughtered.

    At this time President Obama is going ahead with finalizing the US participation in the ‘Trans Pacific Partnership’ which means more countries will import US horses. These would be Asian countries and anyone who follows animal welfare on a Global scale knows that these countries are the most brutal people on the Planet. It sickens me. The only way to stop this is to Regulate the breeding of horses and other pets so we don’t have over-populations of any of these animals.

    Please pass this on as some people are convinced that NO MORE US Horses will be slaughtered in Mexico.

  5. rcatheron · ·

    Thank you for this clarification and update. My biggest concern is that long, horrible trip from the southern states. I’m praying for that ban on Canada to happen soon.

    Then it hit me hard: What the heck are those ridiculously-excessive breed-and-cull AQHA, APHA, and the Jockey Club over-breeders going to do with their less-than-perfect unwanteds? We don’t have an excess of horses, there aren’t thousands of horses turned loose and running the streets, or starving to death in state forests, as rumors would have it. Now that the demand for our supply is rapidly disappearing, people will have to be responsible horse owners. But what the heck are we going to do about those breeders?

  6. I wonder why the EU seems to be treating Mexico differently than Canada? Canada does the exact same thing that Mexico has been doing. If Canada is not holding US horses or their own horses in feed lots for six months Mexico wasn’t doing it either. Canada and Mexico wants to get the horses slaughtered and shipped out as fast as possible. What might happen is that a number of the slaughter plants may go under because of feeding the horses for so long at a time. With no income coming in on the horses only money being spent none of them will be able to afford it for long. Also the idea that the drugs will disappear from the horses system in six months is not true with Bute once that has been given it is in the horses system for life hence the reason for not eating the meat. I also wouldn’t bet the farm on Russia buying a lot of horse meat from Mexico either the reason is they can buy it from farmers in Russia and other countries closer to them than Mexico. Japan will probably continue to buy live horses form Canada but that wouldn’t provide any work for the slaughter plants. Lets hope most of these horror pits close down.

    1. Jeannie Jacobs Parisi · ·

      Oh yes, praying these horror pits close

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