On U.S. soil or Canadian, the issue of drug residues in U.S. horses is hugely concerning to the EU, as evidenced in their most recent inspection report. The report, released on October 26, 2011, uses phrases like, "no official guarantee", "could not be considered reliable", "inadequate", "no supporting evidence", "standards are not industry practice", and focuses on concerns about traceability and certification.
|Slaughter Horses |
Bluntly labeled "Not satisfactory" were the "identification and movement of horses", "controls of veterinary drugs", and "residue controls and certification." In other words, without focusing on humane slaughter issues, EU inspectors found handling is in many ways deficient.
Calling kill buyers' sworn statements 'affidavits,' the report admits, "horses from the US were accompanied by the signed Affidavit (EID) of the last owner, covering the medical treatment during the last six months, which in many cases was a horse dealer. Nevertheless, no official guarantee was received by the CFIA from US authorities that this guarantee was verified and could be considered as reliable."
Inspectors note that, "No statement in the US Health Certificate is required or provided as to the former use of the horses, their treatment with veterinary drugs, in particular with regard to certain substances having a hormonal or thyreostatic action or to beta-agonists."
|US truck unloading at Richelieu plant|
Canadian authorities informed the Commission Services over 18 months ago that they were having "continuing discussions with US authorities" in regards to official controls on the treatment history of horses to be exported to Canada for slaughter. No further action taken by CFIA was noted. Over 70% of horses going directly to slaughter at EU regulated plants in Canada were imported from the US.
"Fit for travel?" The FVO audit team was informed that if animals unfit for travel are found the consignment would not be allowed enter Canada. A facility is available for individual examination. But audit officials found that "No animals had been detained for a closer examination since the introduction of the control procedure."
|Canadian truck leaving Sugarcreek |
This is likely a factor in last week's announcement regarding specific times and locations of border entry points with inspection effective January 1, 2012. But it further raises the question of what happens to animals considered unfit for travel and rejected at the border?
Cover up? Indications of possible covering up tainted meat where Inspectors note, "in one horse slaughterhouse the tongues were not identified and all the heads were condemned immediately after the post-mortem examination, which did not allow for a re-sampling of at least 50g sample from animals with a positive or inconclusive result."
Additionally, "insufficient separation between EU eligible and non-eligible carcasses on the slaughter line" was reported.
Read the full FVO inspection report...