It has been quite some time now since the EU banned all horse meat imports from Mexico - almost 18 months in fact since the ban took effect in January 2015. Some individuals decry the EU ban as "useless" claiming it did not accomplish anything or help the horses in any significant way. To address these concerns and to look at the broader aspect of just what this ban has meant to the horse slaughter pipeline, Animals' Angels requested export figures for horses exported to Mexico for slaughter in 2014 (BEFORE the ban) and in 2015 (AFTER the ban came into effect).
We requested these figures from our sources at the USDA Foreign Agricultural Services since our previous expos� on the USDA AMS
has shown that their figures are questionable at best.
A review of the findings, figures which are obtained directly from Customs officials
, shows that there was in fact a 31.14% decrease
in slaughter horse exports to Mexico from 2014 to 2015. In real-time shipment numbers, this means that in 2015, a total of 33,814 U.S. horses were saved from slaughter in Mexico
due to the passage of the EU ban.
almost 34,000 horses SAVED from a similar fate in 2015 alone
To further put this into perspective, that is more horses saved than the number of horses sold in 2015 via all of the broker programs currently active in the Unites States combined.
To put a dollar amount to this figure, the revenue from U.S. slaughter horse imports into Mexico suffered a 37.19% LOSS, dropping a staggering $19,098,489. Further, these results are clearly having an effect on the industry, for as AA has reported previously, one of the Mexican horse slaughter plants closed. Several smaller kill buyers in the southern states of the U.S. stopped shipping altogether, unable to adjust or keep up since there is simply not enough business for everyone. And it is obvious that even the large scale kill buyers have been effected since so many have greatly increased their efforts to sell horses via their broker programs to maintain an income.
Even the USDA AMS figures, which are routinely used by other advocacy organizations and individuals to report on the state of the horse slaughter industry, still show that the number of horses shipped to Mexico in 2015 decreased by 20,449. Certainly, all can agree that this is not a paltry number of lives saved.
Indeed, the USDA AMS Market News has continued to show a decrease in U.S. horses shipped to Mexico. In their April 1, 2016 publication
, which would include figures through the end of March 2016, it was reported that there had been 1,651 fewer horses sent to Mexico than during the same time-frame in 2015.
Comparing the USDA AMS 2016 to 2015 figures released in their most recent report, dated June 30, 2016
, it indicates that 5,834 fewer horses were sent to Mexico for slaughter as compared to 2015.
However, according to the more accurate records received from USDA FAS for 2016 shipments, the news remains even brighter.
Due to the lag time in data, the only records currently available are year to date through March 2016,
but for that time period alone, there were 3,485 fewer horses shipped to Mexico in 2016 than in 2015, which is a 19.6% decrease.
Based on the current developments, it is not unreasonable to expect the actual number of horses saved from slaughter as of June 30th to be much greater than the USDA AMS reported figure of 5,834. This is not an insignificant decrease and these lives saved are worth celebrating or at the very least, maintaining a positive view.
As for horse meat products being exported
from Mexico, it's important to note that only Vietnam, Japan, and Russia are currently importing from Mexico. Of those shipments, Vietnam's and Russia's imports have slowed down significantly compared to last year, while Japan has increased. However, overall exports of horse meat products from Mexico are down by 60%.
the number of horses shipped continues to decrease in 2016
What do these numbers show us besides the immediate lives saved from slaughter? Well, what has become abundantly clear is that both the horse slaughter industry in Mexico and the kill buyer businesses here in the U.S., have still not bounced back from the broad-reaching effects of the EU ban. The number of horses being shipped to Mexico immediately decreased in 2015 and even today, in 2016, those numbers are substantially reduced from 2014 (pre-EU ban) and continue to remain significantly lower than 2015.
The fact is, almost 34,000 horses were saved from slaughter in 2015 and we are currently on track to see that many, if not MORE, saved in 2016 due to the EU ban. This is a success ALL advocates should take pride in.
We at Animals' Angels feel that the EU ban has been a very important step in the right direction to protect the horses we all know and love. While we're thrilled to see this success, we know that more needs to be done. We will continue to move forward in our fight against horse slaughter until we reach our ultimate objective which is to end the slaughter of our horses once and for all. In order to achieve this goal, however, it is imperative that we document the cruelty of the trade, both here in the U.S. as well as in Canada, to convince the global forces in charge that horse slaughter will never be humane, no matter where it happens.
we must work harder than ever on an EU ban for Canada
To that end, our investigators are on the road as this report is released, currently focusing their efforts on the large auctions and feedlots in the Northern States and Canada. We will continue to provide legislators with in-depth investigative reports that detail the overwhelming evidence of neglect, abuse and cruelty that is inherent in the horse slaughter industry, along with the documentation of fraudulent records and the ongoing health risks of horse meat due to the pharmaceuticals the animals are given throughout their lives. Moreover, we will persist in our direct conversations with the EU Commission, strongly urging them to ban horse slaughter in Canada as well.
Our horses deserve better. They deserve a future. And at Animals' Angels, we will never stop working on their behalf.