European Union Audit of Canadian Horse Slaughter Industry

Horsemeat on the shelf at an IGA in Quebec. The meat is from the Richelieu plant in Quebec.

Horsemeat on the shelf at an IGA in Quebec. The meat is from the Richelieu plant in Quebec.

Over a year after placing the Canadian slaughter industry under the microscope, European Union audit findings of the slaughter of horses and other species have finally been released.  There are three documents from the audit: the final report ,  CA response and CFIA proposed changes.  We have received the most significant highlights of the audit as well as some interesting commentary from an advocate who has gone through the resulting documentation with a fine tooth comb.  The commentary comes to us with a note – “length and steam venting warning”.  Audit points are italicized and the advocate’s thoughts appear below the italics.

«There are serious concerns in relation to the reliability of the controls over both imported and domestic horses destined for export to the EU. It cannot be guaranteed that horses have not been treated with illegal substances within the last 180 days before slaughter»

So basically they are tacitly acknowledging the EID scheme is a farce yet they still allow this toxic meat to enter the food chain because Canada is now a primary supplier to Europe, mainly to France and Netherlands.

«The residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements but the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions.»

I would like to see from where such samples were taken but at any rate what matters here is that FVO acknowledged the industry owns the CFIA and, whatever the killers ask, the CFIA will do.

«The action plan received from the Canadian authorities in response to the report’s recommendations provided satisfactory guarantees in relation to six of the seven recommendations and unsatisfactory response to one recommendation relation to controls on horses imported from the US for immediate slaughter (recommendation No 4).»

Yet no formal action has been taken to penalize Canada by barring horsemeat imports from it as they did with Mexico, despite the request of the Parliament’s Animal Welfare Intergroup and the comments from FVO’s director Michael Scannel.

«The CFIA provided the FVO audit team with the following trade statistics in relation to the import of horses from the United States of America (US):
The CFIA pointed out that this information is as accurate as the data they receive or is entered in the system by the Districts»

The 2013 stats for slaughter horses in the report are incorrect. The actual number of horses shipped to Canada for slaughter in 2013 was 45,547

«The Canadian animal welfare requirements, contained in the existing Canadian legislation, have been assessed by the Commission Services and are considered to provide standards comparable to those specified in Council Regulation (EC) No 1099/2009 on the protection of animals at the time of killing. It should be noted that certain EU legislation quoted in points 6, 8, 9, 15, 16 and 17 of Annex V to the Veterinary Agreement has been repealed»

So… it is not actually equivalent.  Or is it that, when there is a commercial interest in keeping a trade open, they use another set of standards???

«Currently the livestock species subject to mandatory identification and traceability requirements in Canada are cattle, bison, sheep and pigs»

So basically both CFIA and and FVO acknowledge there is no actual identification and traceability for horses… interesting.

«Livestock identification and traceability databases in Canada include the ATQ database in the province of Quebec, PigTrace and the CCIA database in Alberta. The CCIA is a non-profit, industry led organisation established to promote and protect animal health and food safety concerns in the Canadian cattle herd.»

Weren’t ID databases supposed to be under governmental (federal) control as they required in Mexico??? Or do they have a different standard for Canada for some odd reason? Clearly, leaving traceability in the hands of industry is an open door for fraud.

«There are significant weaknesses in the design and implementation of the bovine/bison animal identification and registration system

This goes on and on a little bit but it is evident the Canadian traceability system is another joke. And this is just for beef… imagine for horses which are in addition imported without control from the US.

«The CFIA-approved veterinarian in charge of farms and feedlots within the GEP programme is also working as a private consultant and treating veterinarian in the holdings under his supervision. A conflict of interest can therefore not be excluded»

Not surprising… not at all, but nonetheless interesting. What would they say about that USDA inspector driving a car belonging to a killer buyer / plant agent???

«In addition to the veterinary health certificate, there are two other documents that must accompany horses imported for immediate slaughter from the US:

• The Equine Information Documents (EID), which is a signed affidavit issued by the last owner(s) covering a visual and written description of the animal, medical history for the preceding six months and an owner declaration.

• The Equine Certification Document (ECD) signed by an authorised veterinarian in the US refer to the animal health certificate covering the number of animals in the consignment and states that the individual EIDs have been completed

EID for 25 year old mareNeither of these two documents are actually endorsed by USDA as “official” and the ECD merely rubber stamps the “bulk” health certificate indicating the number of horses shipped and some generic data such as gender (which is usually incorrect) and breed. Moreover, none of these documents have been attested by a notary public to be truthful nor were legalized with the Canadian Consulate / Foreign Trade Office in the US, as required by international law (and I am familiar for work reasons with legalization of foreign public documents).

«At the point of entry the official veterinarian issues a certificate containing the decision on the eligibility of the consignment for slaughter. If one or more horses are refused entry, the entire consignment of which the animal(s) form part of is not allowed entry

This is actually very interesting. I assume these horses are taken back to a feedlot but, in case we receive reports of abandonment near the Canadian border, the plausible explanation may be these, as happened with Mexico. Do we have more information about these Canadian rejects?

«The CBSA are not required to seal consignments of horses destined for feedlots after they have been found eligible for the import and as long as they are accompanied by the correct model certificate, which includes the requirement for testing for infectious equine anaemia. Consignments containing feeder horses must not be accompanied by an ECD and EIDs

So, in essence, the killers can go away with a load of horses of dubious origin with a Coggins test which in all likeliness was faked (reused from another horse). This is very interesting since clearly provides the killers a loophole should EU adopts measures to prevent the import of US horses for slaughter. No good.

«The CFIA stated that the regulatory requirements for controls on animal health and animal welfare at the border entry point do not require the unloading of animals. Imported horses are therefore not always unloaded during import controls»

So how do they actually check if a horse description matches that of the health certificate, if it is injured or clearly suffers from a disease, like do the SAGARPA vets??? Given that hundreds of horses are rejected because they do not match gender or description in the certificate in the Mexican border we can only assume that Canada’s screening is even worse. It is a “colander” full of holes where all sorts of horses regardless of “identification protocols” pass thru the border without any control and any concern whatsoever for their welfare. I would like to know how many of these consignments of horses for slaughter are unloaded weekly to check for injuries, disease or even if they are stallions rather than mares.  God… they could be shipping Chinese umbrellas in those trucks and the CFIA will not notice the difference.

«No cross checks are carried out by the veterinarian between the information on the EIDs (description or identification) and individual horses. The CFIA stated that the EIDs are not legally required for the verification of import conditions at the point of entry. The import controls focus on animal health and animal welfare conditions. Cases were seen where animals had been rejected for animal welfare reasons without the certificates having been cancelled. Although the consignments had been returned to the US they were allowed entry within a few hours on the original certificates. There is no system in place to inform all points of entry of rejected consignments and the reasons for this»

FVO is thus acknowledging the whole EID scheme is a bad joke and a racket, yet they are still allowing this to continue… Note that the Mexican audit was carried out in July yet action to ban imports on horsemeat was taken only 4 months later. It’s been a year since the Canadian audit was issued and everything is “business as usual”. Lamentable.

«The ECDs do not provide guarantees regarding the validity of the US owners’ declarations, only that the EIDs are complete. However, incomplete EIDs for imported horses were seen by the FVO audit team at the slaughterhouses visited. At the point of entry visited, the CFA did not keep any records on the number of consignments of feeder horses referred by the CBSA to the CFIA»

More bad jokes… Yet that meat association loudspeaker had the nerve to testify before a Parliament’s Committee they “have better traceability” than EU with regards to horse meat.

«Horses of Canadian origin must be accompanied by an EID, completed by the previous owner and if applicable a transient agent. Transient agents obtain horses from auctions, feedlots and individual owners and supply them to the slaughterhouses. Some transient agents have their own feedlot»

Back in 2010, they required in Mexico an actual database (which was anyways non-functional) covering all premises, animals, microchips, owners, movement and drug records but in Canada the same phony EID is used indistinctly to identify any horse in Canada regardless of origin, filled up by a killer in two minutes. No database, no microchip, no drug records no nada. Top-Notch traceability and cutting edge technology…

«In order to reduce the administrative burden, animals which form part of an the Equine Lot Programme approved by the CFIA may be identified with a group identification mark and the EID may then be replaced by a Sub Lot Equine Information Document (SLEID). At present only one Equine Lot Programme covering three feedlots at different locations supplying horses to one slaughterhouse has been approved by the CFIA. The horses in the programme are obtained from individual owners, through auctions or imported from the US»

This one beats all of the above… If the individual EIDs were already false enough now CFIA surpasses itself by creating a single EID for whole load of horses not just coming from different feedlots but also coming the US from unknown owners. Good job, team… if this isn’t traceability I don’t know what it is.

«The MHMOP requires that the FBOs [slaughter plants] must have effective control programs and procedures to ensure claims made on the EIDs they accept may be considered valid. Verification takes place through documentary checks and phone calls»

Given that the phone is always that of a killer buyer or plainly made up this certainly comes a long way to ensure they are correct. Since they slaughter at the very least +1,200 Callctrhorses each week they must have some sort of ultra-large Call Centers to call all those people and ask if they can kill the horse and if the statements on some EU regulation they most likely haven’t heard about in their lives is correct. Come on… give me a break.

«The FBOs must have signed agreements in place with owners and transient agents allowing the CFIA animal health inspectors to verify the accuracy of information during on-the-spot visits. So far this verification task has not been implemented. Since 2014 the CFIA has the task of verifying the accuracy of the owners’ declarations once per trimester at the slaughterhouses»

Outstanding! Since the “owner” (the killer buyer) is itself a plant agent this will again provide and even surpass any required guarantee that the documents are correct. These agreements, if existent, are worth as much as second hand toilet paper. Moreover, the “verification” is actually offline so this clearly violates the principles stated in EU regulations and itself any idea of traceability. You can’t claim that these horses were free of banned drugs, were actually the horses the certificate claim them to be or that were traced back to their premised of origin several months AFTER they were killed, dispatched to Europe and eaten. This is the same scenario that the FVO noted in Mexico with them inserting in their database horses that were slaughtered several months later. Yet the EU is still allowing this meat. Looks like some guys’ palms at both sides of the Atlantic were heavily greased here.

«The FVO audit team therefore requested the FBOs in the different establishments visited to verify a number of EIDs, which led to a several non-compliances being identified»

I don’t understand this.  FVO, and any EU institution for that matter, doesn’t deal directly or conduct any business whatsoever, with private parties. They only deal with their third country counterparts (that is, the CFIA and the Canadian government) NEVER with private entities. This was made clear in one past Mexican audit and I think I have an email exchange with FVO confirming this. What is going on???

«The FVO audit team therefore requested the FBOs in the different establishments visited to verify a number of EIDs, which led to a several non-compliances being identified:
• one owner kept the animals in his feedlot, whilst the primary use was indicated as recreational;
• one owner did not sign the document and did not want to provide details of the visual identification of the horse;
• one owner only kept the horse for one month contrary to the indicated period of at least a six month;
• one agent representing different owners without phone contact details, stated that no animals had been sent for slaughter by the transient agent mentioned in the EID since
January 2014 despite the fact that evidence seen clearly contradicted this statement»

Seriously… unless these auditors were rookies or totally clueless, what on earth did they expect? They know the industry, they know what is going on in Mexico and yet they expect Canadian “industry” to do better than the Mexican government? It is evident by know they have a double standard when it comes to audits… Who knows… maybe they feel “more confident” on Canada because they don’t look like so third-worldish like Mexico, even if the horse slaughter industry in both countries is exactly the same crap and operates exactly the same way?

Horses on the Bouvry-owned Shelby Montana feedlot

Horses on the Bouvry-owned Shelby Montana feedlot

«In order to verify the accuracy of the EIDs, transient agents were in one establishment requested to interview previous owners whilst in other establishments this was done by the FBO staff. This approach to rely upon the transient agent can be considered as a conflict of interest»

So they tacitly acknowledge the EID system is fundamentally based on fraud and conflict of interests.

«In cases where non-compliances were found on the EIDs, the action taken by the FBOs varied from accepting the animals or to euthanize horses of US origin and return horses of
Canadian origin. CFIA staff was not systemically informed of the non-compliances and the record keeping by the FBO was generally poor»

Dead horse photographed at the Bouvry plant in July 2011. This horse was seen outside behind a shed.

Dead horse photographed at the Bouvry plant in July 2011. This horse did not go through the slaughter line.

Now FVO acknowledges that Canadian slaughter plants systematically accept horses regardless of errors (which by the way must be really big and self-evident for them to “detect” them) and that they “euthanize” them. Taking that they pay the killers for each horse, a horse they can’t kill is a total loss, like giving out $700 to the first guy that shows up around the corner, and given their definition of “euthanasia” this most likely meant they slaughtered them anyways and shipped them for someone to eat.  A true success for the CFIA.

«Good practice was noted in one slaughterhouse, where the FBO with the support of the CFIA staff required that the EIDs are accompanied by picture-identification and introduced sanctions in case of incomplete or incorrect information on EIDs. The FBO was testing carcasses for residues of VMPs and prohibited substances before releasing the meat in these case»

I can’t believe this is actually true. If it were, then the cost of producing this meat would be so high that would eat away all their profits and the price so high that very few people would buy it, even if they are rich, besides of the fact we would have been already heard of such “penalties” amongst the killers, which seem NOT to be impacted at all by them, assuming they actually existed. Note as well that the plant doesn’t have the equipment necessary to carry out such tests with actual precision, like a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer, which in addition requires preparation of the sample and professional lab staff; something you will not find in a stinky killing floor. Obviously, CFIA tipped-off the plant the FVO was coming and staged some ole good melodrama.

k 033«Apart from the one feedlot participating in the Equine Lot Programme, the CFIA has no overview of the Canadian feedlots where horses are kept before sending the horses for slaughter»

So, in essence, the whole audit was nothing but a carefully staged vaudeville show with actors playing a specific piece before the auditors. Pretty much like in the touristic visits made to North Korea…

«Whilst in the EU horses are food producing animals until and unless they have been signed out of the food chain, in Canada horses are by default not considered to be food producing animals until they have been designated for this purpose»

Interesting point to argue to counter “the protect the harvest” types…
«VMPs for horses containing substances for which no MRL has been established in Canada, including substances which according to section B.01.048 the Food and Drug Regulations are not permitted to be sold to be administered to food producing animals (chloramphenicol, nitrofurans, clenbuterol, nitroimidazoles and stilbenes), can be authorised for use in horses»

Note that no mention at all is made to bute, which is included in this category.

«The CFIA has published a list of VMPs including withdrawal periods which may be used in horses intended for food (annex E7 to Chapter 17 of the MHMOP), as well as a list of
‘essential substances” for horses with a default 180 day withdrawal period (annex E6 to Chapter 17) in line with Commission Regulation (EC) No 1950/200»

None of these include bute and others…

«For many of those substances included in Annex E7 to Chapter 17, the VMPs containing these have not been authorised for use in food producing horses by Health Canada.
However, according to CFIA, product specific withdrawal periods have been based on EU MRLs»

So, in essence, CFIA came up with this hastily-made list, without ever-checking with Health Canada first, only to meet the EU record. Very SAGARPA-style indeed. Yet exports to EU are still authorized. Revealing.

«Testosterone is included in Annex E7 to Chapter 17, and is thus permitted for use in horses for food production (within 180 days prior to slaughter) in Canada. However, Articles 4 and 5 of Council Directive 96/22/EC prohibit the therapeutic and zootechnical use of testosterone in production animals, including during the fattening period for breeding animals at the end of their reproductive life»

This is actually very important. The FVO was adamant in the Mexico audit that NO anabolic growth promotant like testosterone or its synthetic derivatives can be used EVER in animals intended for food. In fact, the permissiveness of Mexican authorities on the use of these substances and their availability on the market was one of the critical points that led to the EU ban on Mexican exports. They are basically acknowledging the same phenomenon in Canada but they are letting them go with a slap in the wrist.

«Veterinarians are permitted to import veterinary and human medicinal products for ‘own use’ in food producing animals. In its responses to recommendation number 9 of the 2011
FVO report, the CFIA indicated that Health Canada has been working on exploring various options to address this issue through legislative changes. However, no changes have been made to date»

So they can be importing all the banned substances, including boldeone and other growth promotants and use them in horses without nobody noticing it. Again, we are before the same scenario as in Mexico. Banned drugs are widely available in the market and there is no control on them.

«There is no legal requirement on owners or keepers of horses to identify their animals until dispatch for slaughter, or to keep records of treatments with veterinary medicinal products, although record keeping is encouraged in Chapter 17. Horses in the EU need to be identified from birth (Commission Regulation (EC) No 504/2008) and treatment records shall be kept by veterinarians and keepers of horses (Article 10 of Directive 96/23/EC)»

strongid paste“Encouraging”?  Really?  Seriously? Again, we are facing the same scenario than in Mexico: Total absence of drug treatment records. In fact, note that so far the report they only made this mention whatsoever to the drug treatment records they insisted so much in Mexico. Suspicious, to say the least.

«In line with Annex E2 or E4 to Chapter 17 respectively, medicines used for the last 180 days prior to slaughter should be declared in the group/lot EID when horses are presented for slaughter…»

How many EIDs we saw that had any drug treatment record whatsoever described? Weren’t 99.9%, if not all, simply fully clear or drugs (no drugs at all received)?

«For the period preceding the six months prior to slaughter, substances which if used in the EU would exclude EU horses from the food chain (Article 10.2 of Directive 2001/82/EC), can be legally used in Canada (and in the US)»

Again, same scenario that in Mexico yet they were more indulgent with Canada.

«The approved feedlot visited kept treatment records per age-cohort (a lot of horses) distributed over various pens»

So they don’t know which horses were actually treated… The whole EID, drug record keeping is a farce.

«The CFIA is not directly empowered to carry out investigations on holdings of horses in relation to the storage and use of veterinary medicinal products. Nevertheless, according to Section 5.5.7 of Chapter 17, slaughter plant operators shall have a signed agreement from the owners and equine buyers presenting equines for slaughter at their facility accepting the CFIA verification activities on premises holding horses in order to verify the validity of EIDs. To date the CFIA has not carried out such verification activities on premises holding horses, except on approved feedlots»

Again, they acknowledge the whole program is a farce. It seems FVO interprets this so-called “agreement with owners” like if they actual owner of the horse (the owner before it was sold at auction) has a contract with the slaughter plant (????) and seems to ignore or looks the other way to the fact the owner are the killer buyers, which they now define with the technobabble term of “transient agents” just like slaughtering horses is “processing”.

«Issues with sample storage and transport were noted during the 2011 FVO audit. In response to recommendation number 3 of the report the CFIA indicated that updated guidelines would, inter alia, clarify appropriate storage temperatures and dispatch procedures. Current guidelines stipulate that samples should be ‘frozen’. Samples may be kept up to a week in a domestic freezer at the CFIA office before shipment to the laboratory. The freezer temperature was not controlled in any of the slaughterhouses visited. Samples were transported in insulated boxes. Transport to the laboratory would normally take one day, but some examples were seen where it took up to four days. Upon arrival these samples were unfit for analysis. New samples were taken from other carcasses»

So samples are deliberately tampered by means of letting them become unfit for analysis. This explains why there weren’t more incidents of banned substances or surpassed MRLs…

«Time between sampling and the test result varied between two weeks and six months, with a median of between two and three months. One slaughterhouse chose to condemn all sampled carcasses, whilst another slaughterhouse retained all sampled carcasses or meat thereof until the test result was known»

They couldn’t care less about the tests results. I bet you ten bucks the condemned carcasses later off showed somewhere as meat filer or were exported to EU via Nebraska Packing.


«Non-compliant test results have been reported at all four slaughterhouses in the past two fiscal years. One slaughterhouse claimed it had not been informed by the CFIA of non-compliant residue findings and had not conducted investigations as required by section 5.5.7 to Chapter 17. The CFIA had not conducted a verification of the operator’s control procedures and corrective actions (or rather the lack of these) as required by section 5.5.7. No Corrective Action Report (CAR) was raised by the CFIA as this was not considered necessary»

Again, this proves that, even with tampering, they can’t do away with positives. This is of course the result of the EID / drug screening / recordkeeping program being a total sham. The CFIA and the plants are best friends so why would CFIA bother them with some test results…

«The second slaughterhouse interviewed the suppliers of horses in which residues had been found. In one case the horse owner admitted to have used the anthelmintic that had been found, but indicated that he had not filled out or signed the EID. In the case of two horses, which tested positive for an antibiotic, the operator concluded that the transient agent had probably administered the substance. This agent was consequently targeted for sampling of subsequent deliveries. The CFIA did not issue a CAR, but the operator raised an internal deviation report. There was no documented evidence that the operator’s corrective actions had been verified by the CFIA. The CFIA at central level was not aware of the outcome of the operator’s investigations. Letters had been sent to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) with a request for an investigation but no responses were received to date. The third slaughterhouse delegated the investigation of residue findings to the transient agent. However, the agent was potentially implicated in the case of a beta-agonist finding, since according to the EID, the horse had been in the care of the agent in the week prior to slaughter. The potential conflict of interest was not noted by the operator or by the CFIA. No CAR was issued and there was no documented evidence that corrective actions had been verified by the CFIA»

In essence, not only the whole program is a total joke but also CFIA is systematically delegating their responsibilities -which by virtue of the third country approval process and EU regulations MUST be carried out by a competent government agency, in the slaughter plants, which then delegate the responsibilities to the killer buyers, who then delegate it to God knows who, who was said to sign something which they didn’t sign. This is totally absurd and bizarre and I’d dare to say it is even worse than Mexico. What more evidence does FVO, the Canadian Parliament or the US Congress need to realize that this “industry” is simply the 21st century mafia?

«The same slaughterhouse had established a blacklist of suppliers. However, the FVO audit team noted that a blacklisted supplier kept supplying the establishment after a slight change of name and address»

DSC05087More fraud, lies and deception.

«The fourth slaughterhouse investigated each residue finding. Following a residue finding in 2012 the CFIA had raised a CAR. The operator had consequently presented an action plan. It had implemented a comprehensive sanction and penalty system, as well as its own testing programme. Each carcass was screened for phenylbutazone and each week a pooled sample of 5 carcasses was screened for a very comprehensive range of substances. Most findings related to phenylbutazone (16 in 2013 and 1 in 2014 to date – out of 5000+ samples), but showed a declining trend over time. The owners of the horses were blacklisted and the suppliers were issued with heavy financial penalties. Such suppliers were placed under surveillance by the slaughterhouse. Also the completeness of EIDs supplied had improved considerably since financial penalties had been imposed in this area. The CAR was closed after the CFIA considered the actions taken to be adequate»

This is the plant that no longer accepted Thoroughbreds. However, I doubt such “financial penalties” were actually enforced and there is no proof of their application. Moreover, nobody guarantees that those 5 samples each week (out of hundreds of horses they kill) weren’t simply hand-picked by the plant.

«As already mentioned in section, the CFIA is not directly empowered to carry out investigations on holdings of horses in relation to the use of veterinary medicinal products. CFIA can neither force owners or holders of horses to take corrective measures nor apply (administrative) sanctions, other than through the private agreement between the slaughterhouse and the supplier. Moreover, the supplier with whom the slaughterhouse has an agreement can be a transient agent, rather than the original horse owner. As a result of this agreement the CFIA is not entitled to visit the original owner in case of a residue violation»

So, even if there is a violation, the CFIA can’t do anything. At least SAGARPA did have -on paper- legislative and administrative authority to intervene even though they never do so.

«In the cases of residue findings in US horses (in 2013 and 2014), which were examined by the FVO audit team, the CFIA requested the USDA to carry out an investigation. The USDA has not provided a response to any of those cases. The official export certificate accompanying live horses from the US does not include any statement relating to public health nor is there a reference made to the ECD, which despite being signed by an USDA-accredited veterinarian is not an official document issued by the USDA. The ECD only states that the number of horses on the consignment matches with the number of completely filled out EIDs»

As expected, USDA didn’t endorse at all the content of the health certificates or the EID affidavits since these are essentially worthless and illegal.

EID for 25 year old mare«There are no official checks to verify the veracity of the EIDs or whether the horses actually match the identifications registered on the EIDs. The information contained in several EIDs checked by the FVO audit team appeared incomplete, unreliable or false. It can therefore not be ensured that horses slaughtered in Canada for export to the EU have not been treated with substances which are not permitted in the EU, in particular hormonal growth promotants.

The Canadian rules for authorisation and use of VMPs for horses are significantly different from those in the EU. Although for the last six months before slaughter the rules for use are largely in line with EU requirements (with the exception of testosterone), the lack of horse identification requirements until shortly before slaughter, the lack of a requirement to keep treatment records on holdings, and the lack of enforcement powers at holding level are different to the situation in the EU and undermine the CA’s guarantees regarding the use of substances in horses which are not permitted to be used in the EU.

Residue monitoring in horse meat has been largely implemented as foreseen and is in line with Codex Alimentarius requirements. However, the effectiveness of follow-up of non-compliant results has been variable. Whilst the CFIA puts the responsibility for follow-up of non-compliances largely on the shoulders of the slaughterhouses, the CFIA does not always fulfil its obligations for verifying and ensuring the effectiveness of the follow-up investigations and corrective actions. As observed in earlier FVO audits, the CFIA is in this regard hampered by a lack of direct powers over primary producers and transient agents»

FVO is thus concluding the CFIA horsemeat program is a farce. This is exactly the same conclusion drawn by FVO in their Mexico audit: that the CFIA has no way to guarantee the statements contained in the meat export certificate -that is the meat in question complies with EU Regulations and is safe to eat-. Why no action has been taken to ban Canadian exports as well?

«The CFIA does not ensure that the list of establishments approved for export to the EU are kept up to date and communicated to the Commission as required. The casing establishment visited did not fulfil the requirements for EU listing. The guarantees provided by the CFIA in response to recommendation 2 of report 2010-8522 have not been fully implemented»

It doesn’t matter if it is horse, beef or whatever. The CFIA meat inspection system is as bad as SAGARPA’s; it is totally laughable.

«The ante-mortem inspection was carried out appropriately, apart from one case where the severe lameness of one horse identified at the point of entry had not been recorded in the ante mortem inspection records»


Ante-mortem docs from slaughter plant

Note that, save for the above, they didn’t made any reference at all regarding horse welfare before or during the process of slaughter. These issues simply fell into oblivion despite we know they are present (if they are in Mexico they are also in Canada since both are essentially the same). This isn’t surprising taking into account the whole tour was a music hall show but nonetheless they ever made a mistake by not taking note of this incident. Note that in the CFIA’s response to the FVO draft report they claim they have “conducted a follow up of non-compliant item and item has been corrected”. What does this mean? Basically nothing, it is just techno-speak for saying they reprimanded the inspector (if anything).

«In one slaughterhouse, the CA did not notice that the skin of the head of one horse was not entirely removed before presentation for post-mortem and the lower part of the carcasses were inspected only.

In three slaughterhouses, the renal fat was not removed from the kidneys. In one of these slaughterhouses, the kidneys were not inspected, the lower part of the carcasses was
inspected only. These deficiencies had not been recorded during official control»

Again, both the ante and post mortem inspection are a hastily made and basically a sham. Even the Mexican plants have a better score in this aspect than the Canadian ones. The response of CFIA was identical to the ante mortem inspection one: The cryptically “we conducted a follow up of non-compliant item and item has been corrected” meaning they hollered a warning on the kill floor and when the FVO audit was over everything went back to business as usual. I can’t believe the FVO is accepting as evidence of some fault being corrected a heap of techno-speak saying “oh yes, we fixed that”. Mind-boggling!

bin of equine internal organsNote as well that they are multiple hygiene requirements violations such as mixing of work and street clothes, offal remaining in the carcass for too long and so on…

«In the same establishment water samples were taken weekly and tested for total bacterial count, E coli, faecal streptococci/enterococci and total coliforms. The result of one recent microbiological test was unfavourable for faecal streptococci/enterococcis»

They do not even comply with hygiene rules.

«The MHMOP does not require testing for Trichinella of horse carcasses intended for the Canadian market.

In three slaughterhouses visited all horses slaughtered during the period verified were tested for Trichinella. In one of the establishments, one US horse had been found to be positive and the results were confirmed by the national reference laboratory in Saskatoon where genotyping was carried out. The results were communicated to the US through the CFIA»

And that was all, they communicated the result to USDA which obviously ignored this since US does not eat horsemeat at all. No mention was made to condemning of carcasses or recall of contaminated meat products.

«In one establishment visited, the slaughter dates mentioned on the certificates for horses and bovine/bison were provided by the FBO and there was no documented procedure to
ascertain the link between the production of meat and the slaughter dates»

More fraud. Yet FVO has the nerve to claim the traceability systems in place are in line with EU regulations.

«Fresh meat produced from horses imported from the US did not clearly indicate the origin on the labels. In the certificates verified, the animal health declaration indicated that the meat of the horses was of origin Canada and of origin US»

This proves yet another time that the whole EID traceability / CFIA horsemeat inspection program is a joke. How it can be Canadian and at the same time US? It can’t be both ways.

«In one of the three slaughterhouse visited, it had not been noted by the CA during official controls that the link between the EIDs and the horse carcasses was missing

Another proof of fraud… In case a RASFF alert is raised, they can’t trace the meat back to the actual supplier so no harm is made to the plant or the killers. Outstanding.

«No significant animal welfare concerns were found in any of the establishments visited, despite one incident where the CFIA had to intervene at the moment of stunning13

Paint shot incorrectly breaks leg in death struggle

Paint horse at Bouvry shot incorrectly, breaks leg in struggle

This is completely laughable. The FVO inspectors observed a failure at stunning a horse yet they turn a blind eye to the incident. CFIA’s response was the cryptically techno-speak meaning “oh yeah we fixed that”. It seems to me the Canadian government heavily lobbied the EU to ignore the animal welfare aspects, particularly those regarding transportation of horses, in this audit report.

If you check the “Recommendations” section at the end you will see they only make a single recommendation regarding horses, ignoring the fact food safety, traceability and reliability of ID documents and drug treatment records is even worse than in Mexico! Moreover, horse welfare was totally overlooked and no visits were made to Canadian assembly points. The responses provided by CFIA to the draft report were simply surreal and didn’t go beyond the “oh yeah, we fixed that” with some pseudo-technological panache to make them look cool. This can only but confirm my suspicious that there was been heavy lobbying by the Canadian government, if not downright greasing of palms, in order to allow horsemeat exports to continue till the second coming, despite Canadian horsemeat is as bad, if not worst, as Mexican. Who cares about people getting intoxicated, much less about horses being killed, when there is a clear business opportunity for Van Damme and Chevideco peddling Canadian meat?

Now we will have to wait for another four years for the next audit report (if any, taking into account the progress made in the enactment of the CETA and TTIP) hoping that this time, the EU would ban Canadian horsemeat exports as they did with Mexico. The promises made by Scannel before the EU Parliament were nothing but hot air and this leads me to seriously question the legitimacy of the EU ban on Mexico, specifically whether the ban is being actually implemented or if they are up to something like another phoney 6-month scheme in Mexico, given there is very little difference in the number of horses being shipped well after the ban.

«CFIA will work with Canadian industry to strengthen the ways and means of ensuring that animal identification and treatment records are credible and complete for 180 days prior to slaughter. This process will begin with engagement with the Canadian equine industry by April 2015»

What does this mean??? How they can make a document that is a total sham and a fraud that was supposedly signed by someone which is not even Canadian be made “more credible”? The more I read about this report the more I believe they greased some palms or that the Canadian government / horsemeat industry attempted, with success, to take their competence (Mexico) out of the EU market.

Indeed! It is the only explanation as to why FVO reacted so differently in Canada despite the same deficiencies were found in Mexico. They did not even address horse transportation welfare and I can’t believe that no horses were injured, there is nothing they are doing differently.

I also noticed they extended the time the Canadian government had to respond way past the 60 days stated in the procedure, they didn’t play fair on this one. The audit was rigged up from the beginning, a total farce.

By the way, I’ve got the Belgian import stats for March. Mexico imports dropped to zero and those from US dropped by half down to 150 tons. All other countries are up save for France, which is the second largest importer of Canadian meat. They are scrambling to find meat within EU without purchasing the French.

I had very high hopes in the EU ban but now I see it was nothing but a political maneuver and a byzantine power game.

Here are the stats up to November 2014 of horsemeat exports.  Belgium still led then.



  1. Callie · ·

    This is all very disheartening. I knew United States horses would continue to go to Mexico for kill. Money rules the World.

  2. They are never going to stop the horse meat going to the EU simply because there is to much money to be made doing it. The same with trying to get a bill passed here in the US to ban US horses being shipped to Canada or Mexico to be killed for human food. There has always been greased palms in the US congress along with all of the horse breeds asso. like the Quarter Horse breeders that hire lobbyists to patrol the offices of the politicians giving them donations to their reelection campaigns or in my mind “bribery” to never pass any bill that bans the slaughter of US horses in other countries. This is the bread and butter for the breeders because if they can’t find buyers for their spring foals they will send them to slaughter at six months of age which is legal in the US. Any animal that is that age be it a horse, beef calf or bison or what have you that’s what they do and consider it business as usual. Both countries along with Mexico is so corrupt that the only way to end horse slaughter is for the horse breed its self to die out, I know that’s a hell of a thing to say but its the truth.

  3. Sorry! I don’t trust the EU’s ban on horsemeat out of Mexico; I don’t trust the “stricter regulations” which were supposed to be effective in 2011,,,then postponed to 2013,,,, still never enforced – as far as I believe; and I sure don’t trust that the EU will allow anything that can be construed as negative toward their market to remain on their website, page, etc.
    I don’t trust what the EU “says”……

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