European Union Suspends Horsemeat Imported from Mexico

European Union Suspends Horsemeat Imported from Mexico

The European Commission has imposed a suspension on the import of horsemeat from Mexico. The move comes after a series of audits by the Food and Veterinary Office (FVO) to evaluate measures taken by Mexican authorities to provide adequate guarantees for food safety and public health.

The FVO reports U.S. horses account for 87% of the eligible horses slaughtered in Mexico for export to the European Union (EU). The audit questions the reliability of vendor statements about horses’ medical treatment records. An affidavit signed by the exporter and endorsed by a notary is supposed to declare the horses use of veterinary medical products and the non-use of certain products during the last 180 days. Since American horses are raised for use in show, sport, work, and recreation and are regularly administered drugs and other substances over the course of their lives that are potentially toxic to humans. For example, a common pain reliever routinely administered to all types of horses, Phenylbutazone, is known to pose a threat to human well-being and has long been deemed unfit for human consumption.
The FVO’s report states “given the availability of veterinary medicinal products prohibited in the EU, the lack of controls on live animals, the unreliability of the food chain information and weaknesses in the traceability systems in place, the CA is not in a position to provide all the necessary guarantees specified in the export certificates.”
Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS called this latest move by the EU a game-changing blow to the North American horse slaughter industry. “This predatory industry has once again been exposed for animal abuse and reckless disregard for consumer safety. The decision to shut down this hub for the North American slaughter industry should result in tens of thousands of American horses no longer facing the dread and terror of long-distance transport and inhumane slaughter. It’s a huge moment in our campaign to end the slaughter of American horses throughout North America.”
Pacelle argues Congress should pass the SAFE Act (Safeguard American Food Exports Act), to halt the transport of horses for slaughter within the United States and also to our North American neighbors.
The audit also outlined serious animal welfare concerns throughout the slaughter pipeline. They included injured animals and a lack of adequate care at the export facilities on U.S. soil, horses suffering during transport, and many American horses dying in slaughterhouse pens due to trauma or pneumonia.
Click below to read the full report.