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If You Eat Horse Meat, What Are You Really Eating?

horse meat 5.jpg
Why, yes! I'll Have Another.
Sue Wallis, the CEO of Unified Equine, resurfaced in the media recently to hint that her plans for a horse slaughter plant in Missouri continue apace. Wallis claims that the company has designs on a shuttered cattle processing plant in "western Missouri," with the exact location being kept a secret. The secrecy is necessary at least in part because of the public outcry over Unified Equine's initial proposed location in Mountain Grove, Missouri -- the local populace strongly opposed the plan.

Let's say Unified Equine follows through with this new location, and a plant opens and processes horse meat for human consumption. What exactly would be in that meat?
According to Valerie Pringle, an equine specialist with the Humane Society of the United States, a lot of stuff you probably don't want to eat.

"Horses aren't raised to be eaten, not like cattle," Pringle says. For example, the United States and the European Union both have prohibitions against phenylbutazone being used in food producing animals. According to Pringle, phenylbutazone is at the top of the list of drugs given to horses as a matter of course.

"Phenylbutazone is kind of like horse asprin. We keep a big container in the barn. It's used to treat pain or swelling from a bug bite -- horses seem to injure themselves all the time. It's very, very common," Pringle explains before rattling off a list of further commonly dispensed medicines. "They get wormer generally every eight weeks. Fly spray, fungicidal shampoos, hoof treatment, copper tox for their hooves -- that kills bacteria -- all of those drugs are common for regular horses, including show horses. These things are done to keep them healthy. None of them are approved for human consumption."

These are the drugs typical horse owners use, and would be found in almost any horse that ends up in a slaughter plant. Race horses have even weirder stuff in their systems, according to Pringle. "Race horses get cocaine, cobra venom -- and they'll receive a lot of other drugs to mask their pain during their lifetimes."

Because of these chemicals and the risks they present for human consumption, the European Union -- the largest market for horsemeat other than Japan -- passed new food safety regulations for horse meat in 2010. Those standards take effect in July 2013.

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35 comments
Heather Clemenceau
Heather Clemenceau

 What does St. Paul have to say about selling meat with prohibited substances?  Or for that matter,  what does the bible teach about it?  Would you consider it ethical to obscure pork in meat to be sold to a Muslim?  Therefore,  why is it acceptable to sell a product that may contain something prohibited to an entire group of people BY LAW,  such as a country of horse-meat consumers?  Maybe you should check the bible before you respond........

Heather Clemenceau
Heather Clemenceau

For that matter, why don't you refute any of my claims? Because you can't? There are no safe levels for known carcinogens,  that's why. Harm is assumed. Toxicity or "safe levels" are reserved for non-carcinogenic effects. Non-carcinogens are assessed with a different type of dose-response study than that for carcinogens. Furthermore, the "precautionary principle" is recognized in international law, and it of course stresses that the absence of scientific certainty about a risk should not bar the taking of precautionary measures in the face of possible irreversible harm. Furthermore, you avoid acknowledging that in the US, Canada, and the EU, bute is not permitted to be used for food animals. PERIOD. That simple acknowledgement renders any other discussion on toxicology rather moot. It's also not very moral, ethical, nor very "christian" to sell tainted meat to other people to eat. The law stipulates that bute is not acceptable in horses destined for food, therefore, it is not ethical for a slaughterhouse to receive horses for slaughter when they have received bute. If we know the vast majority of working horses in North America were given bute at some point in their life, how is it ethical to promote MORE of the same? You may also consider that it’s unethical to steal property. There’s no paper trail for horses, and slaughterhouses wouldn’t give a shit about it even if there was. If a horse with a microchip actually gets scanned, it’s only for the purpose of removing the chip so it doesn’t remain in the meat. It’s also unethical to overlook the fact that horses sent to slaughter are very often purchased or obtained under false pretenses by killbuyer. It’s unethical to promote a business that accepts animals without checking to see if they are stolen – you may as well claim that you’re going to try to set up more auto theft rings that will export stolen cars to the Caribbean or Africa.

Gayle Em O'Neal
Gayle Em O'Neal

None of us prefer the sentencing to death or slaughter of any animal, regardless of the species; but, the reality of it all is, that we need horse slaughter houses as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population.  Public Laws forbid burying a horse on your own property these days because of possible contamination of water sources and supplies; so, what’s the practical alternative or solution?  I agree that the need of unnecessary suffering needs to be resolved in all slaughter houses, regardless of species . . . cow, pig, chicken, etc.  As for horse meat for human consumption, if it is untainted and USDA inspected, it is an excellent source of meat protein and an alternative to beef, pork, poultry, and other human-grade meat sources.  If that is too hard for the U.S. human meat industry to consider, use horse meat for carnivorous animal food diets, just as other animal sources are used.  The horse industry has crashed since the close of horse slaughter houses, and reopening of the horse slaughter houses is the only resolution to the over population of horses in the U.S.  Do you really think that hunter’s get the shot exactly right for an instant kill every time, or slashing the throats of cows and pigs is a quick death, or wringing the necks or cutting-off the heads of chickens is instantaneous demise?  Sit-back and give serious thought to all animal slaughter solutions, not just that of horses; if you’re going to sympathize with one species of animal, sympathize with them all; but the end result and reality-check has been the same for thousands of years of animal slaughter for human and animal consumption.  Citizens within the U.S. need to ban together and offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals for whatever the meat by-product use is and not the concentration of one species. 

tlm
tlm

I have managed breeding operations off and on for over 30 years. Because the cornerstone of a good breeding program is healthy broodmares, I have always adhered to a strict worming (at least 3 times yearly) and vaccination schedule, including fall boosters. Additionally, if a mare,foal or yearling has thrush, they get Koppertox or another commercially available product. It is irresponsible for me not to. My clients expect and pay me to raise quality foals to market as yearlings. My point is that if you are practicing good equine management in your operation, you have, in effect, eliminated your horses from the human food chain.

Wwhite1973
Wwhite1973

Mr. Friswold I find it amusing you use a spokeswoman of the HSUS to tell people about horse meat.  FYI I am a farrier and I know of a person right now that raises horses just for meat.  No drugs, no fly spray no wormer and minimal hoove care.  As far as Kopertox (name brand of product that uses copper sulfate) it is a product for thrush sometimes found in horses hooves.  I have 280 horses on my books and not one of them uses Kopertox on their animals.  As far as wormer protocol most people I know only do it every 3 months and most are only worming twice a year like myself.  Kind of a one sided article.  Quite obvious which side of the fence you are on.  Do you own a horse Mr.Friswold?  I haved owned well over 100 head in over 30 years of owning equines.  As a farrier they are my livlihood and it pisses me off when some writes an article slamming something they know nothing about.  I hope the hell they don't ask you to write an article about child abuse.  Who will be your spokesperson for the article someone from Pedophiles of America.  I hope you don't call this article unbiased reporting.

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

I understand half-lives and exponential decay. Chemical assays get more precise every decade, but human toxicities do not. You have not even attempted to contradict my claim that the level of phenylbutazone obtained by eating horse flesh will not hurt people.

Evelyn Wood
Evelyn Wood

I'm all for eating horse. The European Union is doomed.. Their silly regulations won't survive to stymie the horse-hungry.

Barbara Leonard
Barbara Leonard

Firstly, Paul, admired your caption beneath the picture....good possibility I'll Have Another may end up in the slaughter pipeline.  Thank you for reiterating the facts about horse meat that a lot of us already know but more people need to be made aware of.  Just one more bit of proof that Wallis and her pro-slaughter cronies tell nothing but lies and half-truths because Wallis is very much aware that what you say in your story is true.

Tom Gaile
Tom Gaile

1. Leviticus Chapter 112. Horse meat is toxic because of the meds we give them to keep them safe, comfortable and healthy. 3. Horses are considered companion animals here in the states. 4. There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Horses are flight animals and can not be humanely slaughtered period! 5. There are rumors of horses being turned out to fend for themselves when owners can no longer afford to feed. This has been proven false. It has been discovered that horses that were turned down for slaughter because they were injured, too skinny, sick or covered with bugs were turned out to fend for themselves by kill buyers who didn't want to be bothered to vet these animals. 6. The only people who actually want slaughter are the very breeders who constantly produce more foals than they can home and want to use slaughter as an outlet to get rid of their culls. 7. Slaughter plants will not render a sick, old, skinny, or injured animal. The arguement that it will help those "poor" homeless animals on the ground is a blatent lie. 8. Why should MY tax dollars be used for inspection of horse meat when we do not eat horse meat. 9. A dead horse doesn't create jobs. Tack, hay growers, groomers, farriers, feed store clerks, truckers, equine vets.... 10. Many, many violations by slaughter plants when they were open here in the US.

How many valid reasons are needed before our government puts an end to horse slaughter for good? Please support S1176/HR2966. Call your reps today. Call often! 

Rocknrode
Rocknrode

As if what we feed cows, inject into them and pigs and chickens is suppose to be fit to eat then why not horses??  There is good reason that Europe doesn't want our franken meat, it stinks and spreads death and disease.  The absolute denial that any of this meat is good for us is lost on the many.  So why not eat cats, dogs and dolphins?  It's meat and we still kill millions of those each year.  If Americans cannot see that what they are eating, meat, kills us and care not about that fact then why should anyone care about a bunch of horses?  The American meat diet is killing millions through death and disease every year and it is all brought about by eating the flesh of animals.

Kelly Blevins
Kelly Blevins

Sue Wallis is an imbred, she will eat anything that does not eat her first, and she think people in this country care about her, I believe they would rather have a good ol fashion tar and feather and let a horse drag her through town, anyone notice that she kinda favors Jaba The Hut,,, maybe she is his sister.

HeatherSC
HeatherSC

 

Horse slaughter is not for food production.   Onlyanimals that are specifically raised as food animals should be sent toslaughter. The EID is currently being falsified in the US,  which is ofcourse a source of many horses that arrive in Canadian slaughterhouses. Most recently in the news is a case highlighted by the PaulickReport that confirms what many have known for a long time – US kill buyersunder contract to Canadian slaughterhouses are sending horses to Canada withforged EIDs.  If you read the report you will surely acknowledge thathorses were given prohibited drugs by previous owners within DAYS of being soldfor slaughter and shipped to Viande Richelieu.

I quote Dr. Ann Marini,  MD, PhD from her landmark,  peer-reviewedstudy in the Food and Chemical Toxicology 50 (2012) 455–456

“Use in horses is limited to use in horses not intended for food. There arecurrently no approved uses of phenylbutazone (PBZ) in food-producing animals.’’This statement by the FDA means that any horse administered phenylbutazoneis ineligible for slaughter for human consumption. Phenylbutazone does not havea withdrawal time. Therefore, the dates the horses were givenphenylbutazone in our paper are irrelevant because the drug is banned. The PBZban as outlined by the FDA is identical to the ban in the following countries:United States, Canada, United Kingdom, and the European Union. Thus, if a horseis administered one dose of phenylbutazone, the horse cannot enter the foodchain. The half-life of the drug in blood is irrelevant and the quoted time ofelimination from muscle by the authors is unsubstantiated by scientific studiesand is also irrelevant because the drug is banned.”

sherrydz
sherrydz

Sue Wallis needs to take a very long walk off a very short pier..someone gag the momma dog

Jim
Jim

 Cowboys out here in Arizona eat horse meat often its nothing new in the American southwest.

Avoid the Void
Avoid the Void

when i eat meat im eating a dead animal im pretty sure of that. things like animal penis, peckers, cocks , assholes  etc just like in spam ,hotdogs, etc. i knew that 40 years ago.

edere equus
edere equus

Why is there such an outcry about eating these animals and none about them being pumped full of the god-awful shit "as a matter of course" just described?  Where's the outrage huh?  Horses have been around serving humans as food, transport, and labor for thousands of years without these substances...so what changed?  If slaughtering horses for food is unethical then what do you call pumping them full of chemicals to better serve humans as pets, labor, and entertainment for racing?  Isn't that just as unethical, or worse?  Try and eat them you'll never hear the end of it but pump them with Phenylbutazone everyday all day long and the silence is deafening...

If codfish and porcupines were cuddly you were hear the same bullshit arguments from people saying it’s unethical to eat them because they’re “pets” and “companions”.  The fact remains that horses are domesticated animals and that humans control them.  You cannot make a moral argument that your preferred method of control and ownership to make them “pets” or race them pumping them full of god knows what is superior to others who wish eat them, with or without such chemicals.

Shirley Smith
Shirley Smith

All the medicines I give my horses say (not for animals used for human consumption, how can people really eat it when its toxic, NOT VERY WELL.  Americans do not eat horses!!  Everyone I have talked to say NO WAY would they eat horses.  NO WAY!!

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

1) Leviticus 11 has nothing against horses that it does not have against pigs and rabbits, among other animals. Beyond that, St. Paul said Christians don't have to stick to kosher dietary laws, and he's in the canonical Bible too, as well as a Saint. 8) Like Reagan, and implicitly you, I agree that meat processors, not general tax revenue, should pay for federal meat inspectors. But the externality of costs under the present system would be no different for horses than it is for pigs or cattle. Why should any vegetarian pay for any meat inspection? Why should people who keep Kosher pay for pork inspection? Your point #8 is an argument against a certain funding mechanism, not an argument against horse meat. 9) A horse creates more jobs as meat than it does if it is otherwise unwanted.

johnt
johnt

Billions of people, not just Americans, across the globe eat meat of many kinds, sometimes more than several times a day and sometimes with far worse pollutants.  Meat is a nutritious food that is perfectly healthy to eat in moderation and billions of people know it.  Try and be less stupid.

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

The dose makes the poison. Anything a horse can tolerate, humans can almost certainly tolerate at 1/1000 of the level the horse tolerated, which is the sort of exposure we'd be talking about from eating horse meat. Humans used to take phenylbutazone -- an NSAID, like aspirin or ibuprofen -- it was taken off the market for some side effects, but again, we didn't have an epidemic of problems when people were directly taking the drug at 1000 times the levels to which they would be exposed from eating horse meat. Also, almost any drug given to the horse should be pretty much out of its system within 48 hours -- which is why you would have to give the medicine daily -- so a short quarantine of the horse should make it as safe as if it were never drugged. Finally, you have confused cause and effect. Horse drugs are not approved for meat animals in large part because horses have not been a significant part of the meat market in the U.S. That does not mean the drugs are unsafe for horse-meat eaters; it means no one has had the incentive to do the tests which would show that the drugs are safe for that use.

Kelly Blevins
Kelly Blevins

With a rope around her neck that is tied to the stern !!

Explorer19552001
Explorer19552001

Oh really. Have you witnessed this? I think you're talking out of the other side of your face. Did you just read about the drugs given to horses. Horse meat sale is still illegal in this country. They don't use it in dog food because of zoonotic disease that can be passed from one species to the next. The zoos have even curtailed their use for the big cats. Do your homework Mister before you open your mouth. Quit listening to the lies..I think the saying is "believe nothing you hear and half of what you see". Now go on and get a life.

Theresa
Theresa

I've raised horses for over 40 years, so let me try to explain the process.  Every year my horses get vaccines, just like our kids do, to keep them healthy.  These vaccines are clearly marked "Not for animals intended for human consumption."  In many states, in order to even transport a horse, they are required to have these vaccines.  De-wormer is another medication designed to keep a horse healthy, but is not indicated in horses intended for the human food chain.  Phenylbutazone is a commonly used pain killer and anti-inflammatory in horses.  If they get a severe cut, say from a fence, Bute is often indicated to ease their pain and pull out any subsequent inflammation.  The same is true if a horse develops an abcess in their feet (another common injury).  My point is that not everyone pumps them up with medications just so that they will perform.  Many of the vaccines and medications designed to improve the quality of a horse's life are not intended for equines that are going to enter the food chain.  Cattle, on the other hand, are generally raised to enter the food chain and are not treated with pharmaceuticals that are prohibited for use in animals that are going in to the human food chain.  It's really that simple!

Explorer19552001
Explorer19552001

The mentality here ... just remember the mad cow epidemic and where it came from. Aplastic anemia is a deadly disease. I suppose that's okay too. Horses are not cows, porcupines or codfish so don't even go there. I think mankind's greed will be his own destruction.

Tom Gaile
Tom Gaile

Although I eat meat, here's something for you to think about..... ALL herbavores have molars similar to humans. ALL carnivores have sharp tearing type teeth. Personally I don't believe humans need meat in their diets. I believe it's a personal choice. There are plenty of meat choices on the market already for those who choose to eat meat. Why add more? Other countries eat dog and cat but here in the US we consider our pets and companion animals family members, not dinner.  

TUCSON HORSEMEAT STORE
TUCSON HORSEMEAT STORE

 You can buy horse meat for human consumption at the Tucson Dog food Store on Park ave in Tucson Arizona. its on the north east corner of grant road and park ave behind the frys super market. some people buy horse meat for pets and others buy it to eat themselves. its alot cheaper to eat horse meat than cattle beef. horse meat sold at this store comes from  wild mustang horses that roam the American southwest states wild and free on the great plains and the prairies of the west. Colorado , South Dakota and Wyoming Buffalo meat is also sold here but at a much higher price than horse meat. many poor people here eat horse meat. most are Mexicans and local Indians or poor Whites and some of the homeless here buy it to cook and eat at the local parks where they live.

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

The dose makes the poison. Anything a horse can tolerate, humans can almost certainly tolerate at 1/1000 of the level the horse tolerated, which is the sort of exposure we'd be talking about from eating horse meat. Humans used to take phenylbutazone -- an NSAID, like aspirin or ibuprofen -- it was taken off the market for some side effects, but again, we didn't have an epidemic of problems when people were directly taking the drug at 1000 times the levels to which they would be exposed from eating horse meat. Also, almost any drug given to the horse should be pretty much out of its system within 48 hours -- which is why you would have to give the medicine daily -- so a short quarantine of the horse should make it as safe as if it were never drugged. Finally, you have confused cause and effect. Horse drugs are not approved for meat animals in large part because horses have not been a significant part of the meat market in the U.S. That does not mean the drugs are unsafe for horse-meat eaters; it means no one has had the incentive to do the tests which would show that the drugs are safe for that use.

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

Since St. Paul said Christians don't have to stick to kosher dietary laws, this is only of significance to Jews who want to keep kosher, and a small subset of Christians who either don't follow Paul (who basically must disagree with his Sainthood) or who voluntarily decide to go further than they have to on such matters. At any rate, nothing in Leviticus makes the eating of horse more improper than the eating of pig or shellfish.

trojahnhorses
trojahnhorses

So I guess if someone doesn't read or believe in the bible it's ok for them to eat as much horse as they want.  You're an idiot.

johnt
johnt

What?  Does anyone other than Barbara Leonard understand what the fuck you just said?  You idiots deserve each other.

David Pittelli
David Pittelli

Look in your mouth. Humans have both types of teeth.

trekker
trekker

@TUCSON HORSEMEAT STORE I live in Tucson, and your whole post is a lie. There is not one sentence that is true.

Tom Gaile
Tom Gaile

The fact that you knew where this came from tells me you have read it and just don't care. The percentage of people who do believe need to know (if they don't already) that even the Bible tells you not to eat horse meat. If you choose to take a chance and eat horse meat, it's your choice. Just don't force me to pay for inspection of horse meat with my tax dollars because you think it's OK. Personally I think my tax dollars could be better used in our public schools and other places that need it more.

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