January 2015 Issue - page 6

Page 6
January 2015
least two days. Horses that are
rejected for export from the US
to Mexico are not shipped back
to their points of origin until a
truck headed in that direction is
The EU requires humane and
compassionate care of animals in
the food chain. Scannell pointed
out that the World Trade Orga-
nization does not consider this
particular issue relevant, but
EU officials reject the idea that
humane treatment of animals is
not as important as the physical
health of animals that wind up at
the abattoirs. The EU Directorate
General Animal Welfare Fact
Sheet is uncompromising. “An-
imal welfare is an issue of great
importance for Europeans. The
farming of animals is no longer
seen as merely a means of food
production, but also as an ethical
concern. Increasingly, there is a
public sense of responsibility for
animals which are under human
care. Moreover, in consumers’
minds, the well-being of farmed
animals is strongly associated
with the quality, and even safety,
of food.”
Will the Market for
Horsemeat Vanish?
Canadian abattoirs have
had their own challenges with
the EU inspectors. And there
are reports that warnings to
Canadian meat processors are
forthcoming. It’s estimated
that nearly 90 per cent of the
horsemeat processed in Mex-
ican abattoirs comes from US
horses, and the audits that
shut down that country’s horse
meat business raised numerous
questions about the provenance
of horses in the food chain that
came from Mexico.
The Humane Society of the
United States (HSUS), along
with other humane organiza-
tions, has long advocated shut-
tering the abattoirs in Canada
and Mexico. The celebration
that accompanied the EU an-
nouncement of sanctions against
Mexico begs a larger question
about the US horse population.
If more than 150,000 hors-
es from the US have gone to
abattoirs in Canada and Mex-
ico, where will those horses
go if the EU closes the door to
horsemeat from those countries,
which is actually horsemeat
from the US? Horse rescues and
retirement farms are already
either over-filled or sinking in
debt. Perhaps the closing of the
Mexican abattoirs—which may
be temporary—will stimulate
a candid conversation among
horse owners, welfare organi-
zations and breed organizations
about who is responsible for the
welfare of America’s horses,
and how we will honor our ob-
ligations to the horses that have
spent many years of their lives
working on our behalf.
The European
Union Bans
from Mexico
(Continued from page 1)
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