E.U. revokes new horse slaughter regulation
Friday, Oct. 12, 2012, European Union officials informed horse processing plants in Mexico and Canada that they were ineligible to export cheval (horse meat) produced from U.S. horses to the E.U. unless they had documentation to prove that the animals had been in the country where the plant was located for a minimum of three months. Monday, Oct. 15, 2012, that restriction was lifted. More details will be available later this week.
On Oct. 12, 2012, the international commerce in horses for processing from the United States to both Canada and Mexico was disrupted by an unannounced action of the European Union. Approximately 2,500 head of horses per week have been crossing the border to European Union regulated plants in Mexico per week, and an estimated 1,300 head to Canada in recent months.
This is a higher number than usual driven by the widespread drought, devastating fires, high cost of feed, and lack of pasture forage in the United States which leaves horse owners with few options except selling. There is a strong worldwide demand for cheval, the common name for meat produced from the equine species.
In the United States, the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service is still finalizing the validation of science underlying their equine drug residue testing program, which they anticipate will be completed by the end of the year. Several U.S.-based processing plants anticipate receiving the necessary grants of inspection to begin operation at that time, providing a much needed humane option for the horse industry in the United States. Currently the only viable outlet is transportation outside of the U.S. to the E.U. regulated plants in Mexico or Canada.
The International Equine Business Association is glad that what could have been a disaster and an international trade incident has been averted. They will share more information as it becomes available.
The International Equine Business Association is formed to serve the horse businesses and families of the World by protecting their economic, legislative, regulatory, judicial, environmental, custom and cultural interests.
The Association promotes the role of the horse industry in resource stewardship, animal care, and in the production of high-quality, safe, nutritious meat, and other products.
The purpose of the Association is to serve as a production agriculture association for the equine species, to mutually protect the international horse industry, and to promote the use of horses and equine products in commercial enterprises. F
–adapted from International Equine Business Association releases.