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2017 Canada Horse Slaughter Regulation Changes
 By Winniefield Park   •   24th Oct 2016   •   25,779 views   •   0 comments
2017 Changes to Canada Horse Slaughter Regulations

Itís well known that Canada is a conduit for U.S. horses destined for the slaughterhouse. Since U.S. federal laws were enacted almost a decade ago, the slaughter of horses has been illegal. But that doesnít mean that U.S. horses havenít been ending up on the dinner plates of European and Japanese consumers during that time. Thousands of horses have been sold across the border, and despite regulations that restrict transport for slaughter in the U.S, their ultimate destination has been Canadian slaughterhouses in Alberta and Quebec or live export to Japan.

But new rules to be enforced by the European Union may slow down the truck to table journey for many horses. Beginning on March 31, 2017, all horses entering Canada from any other country must live in Canada for six months before being slaughtered. Itís estimated that approximately 60% or more of the horses that are slaughtered for meat in Canada are shipped in from the United States. These and horses with poorly maintained records are the target of the E.U. rules.

This new residency regulation is intended to ensure the safety of the meat exported. There is no way of tracking what veterinary drugs a U.S. horse may have received before crossing the border. A six-month waiting period will ensure that any drugs, particularly the commonly administered pain reliever phenylbutazone or Ďbuteí are out of a horseís system. Bute is linked with cancer and bone marrow disease in humans.

Related: Horse Slaughter in US for Human Consumption
Related: 100,000 Horses Transported To Canada For Slaughter
Related: Could You Ever Eat Horse Meat

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency tests meat daily for the presence of bute, but this is not enough to satisfy the regulations of the E.U.. The European Commissioners have expressed concerns about the treatment of horses, safety, and enforcement, after bute residue in horse meat was discovered in 2013. The CFIA has, in the past, been accused of poor oversight and incomplete paperwork. Under the current rules, all horses destined for slaughter must have passport completed by their last owner that lists all drugs given the last six months. These passports, called an Equine Information Document, are often incomplete or forged.

Under the new rules, any horse entering the country will have to be kept in a feedlot for six months before going for slaughter. While it may be a layer of protection for the consumer, it adds greatly to the handling and feed expenses. Activists that have followed trucks across the border claim that trucks leaving the U.S. are heading straight to processing plants, where the horses are slaughtered within days. Profit is quick and relatively easy.

Anti-slaughter activists are also applauding the E.U.ís new regulations. Canada exported over $36 million dollars worth of horse meat to Europe in 2015. The expense and red-tape involved with complying with the law will make the industry less profitable.

Humane Society International in Canada hopes to see the tracking process in Canada become like the birth to death passport required in Europe. But, animal welfare is a bigger issue. The Humane Society would like to see an end to horse slaughter altogether. Tighter regulations could be a step towards that goal.
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