Ottawa wants EU to clarify horse meat rule

The federal government is waiting for clarification on a European Union rule that will affect horse slaughter in Canada.

Humane Society International said in September that Europe would impose a six month “residency” requirement for horses imported into Canada. After March 31, 2017, horses imported from the U.S. for slaughter at Canadian plants will have to remain in Canada for at least 180 days prior to processing.

The Europeans say the rule is necessary because most North American horses are not raised for food. Many receive veterinary drugs that may be hazardous for human consumption.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it is seeking more information from Europe on the requirement.

“(We) have been working closely with industry since we learned of this proposal from the EU last October,” the CFIA said in an email.

“The government understands the serious impact the EU measure of a 180-day holding period will have on exports. In 2015, Canada exported $36.8 million of horse meat to the EU.”

Most of the horse meat is exported to France, Belgium and Switzerland.

The requirement will likely increase costs and red tape for horse slaughter plants in Canada.

“It’s often between 65 and 70 percent of horses slaughtered in Canada that come from the United States,” said Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International in Canada.

The primary horse meat processors in Canada are Bouvry Exports in Fort MacLeod, Alta., and the Viande Richelieu plant in Quebec. Canadian Premium Meats in Lacombe, Alta., also slaughters horses for the European market.

Canada already tracks drugs administered to horses before slaughter, the CFIA said.

“Every horse (domestic or imported) presented for slaughter in Canadian (plants) … have a record of all vaccinations and medications given in the previous six months. This is referred to as the Equine Information Document (EID),” the CFIA said.

“Without acceptable EID paperwork, a horse cannot be slaughtered for human consumption in Canada and its meat cannot be exported.”

The CFIA is seeking more information before it proceeds on the residency requirement, but the agency will be enforcing the 180 day rule when it takes effect.

“Once implemented by the EU, CFIA inspectors will verify all requirements are met when certifying horse meat presented for export to the EU.”


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  • terri

    Sounds like they looking for a loophole so they can cut costss of keeping these horses for 6 months…they also know that the killbuyers paperwork is fraudulent.. Let them eat the costs or stop killing American horses.

  • Storm Dancer

    Kill Buyers shipping from US to Canada are shipping the horses across the borders with fraudulent EIDs, BOTH USDA and CFIA are fully aware of this .. most of the equines have only been in the procession of the Kill buyer for less than 10 days, many less than 72 hours since many of the US Kill Buyers are shipping trailer loads straight from the auction where they just purchased them from. Animal Angels has followed Kill Buyer trailers full of horses from auctions straight to the slaughter plants in Canada.

    • Stephen Daniels

      If these EIDs were fraudulent drugs would show up when meat is routinely tested.Of course you will now deflect and come back with a bigger lie.

      • Beverly Levitt

        Lies Stephen Daniels? Every horse is NOT tested, only a few and of these few there are rejects for drugs. EID’s are falsified which is why the EU is cracking down. Those of us who have been in this for over 40 years are well aware of the corruption. …

        • Stephen Daniels

          All you’ve been involved in is PETA Beverly so yes you are very biased

          • Beverly Levitt

            … To knowingly send toxic meat to foreign diners is a form of biological warfare. It is criminal to knowingly do so and both the USA and Canada are GUILTY. …

          • Ok folks, let’s stop the personal attacks.

            I’ve obviously let this go too far as I tend to err on the side of allowing comments rather than editing or outright deleting them…

            Let’s focus our comments on the issue, and not each other.

            Paul – WP web ed

      • crookedstick

        Not a lie at all. American horses are picked up at racetracks and local auctions where people dump their privately owned “pet” horses. They may have received 30 years of powerful equine drugs labeled “not for use in food animals” by our Food and Drug Agency.
        The real owner provides NO record. The kill buyer signs as “owner/shipper.” He may only have owned the horse 24 hours and signs an Affadavit that the horse has received no medication in 6 months.
        The US is product dumping. It’s a sham.
        Maybe the testing is a sham, too.

      • mojohorse

        Daaaahhhh the kicker in your comment is….the meat is not ALL or every horse is NOT TESTED!!! Knowing- that the EID’s are filled out by the very scum meat buyer/feedlot operator etc., who has NOT OWNED THAT HORSE BUT ONLY HOURS & HAS NO IDEA WHAT THE HORSE WAS GIVEN IN THE PAST….


    EIDs in Canada are a joke. It’s not “just” the US horses that have been given drugs prohibited from ever entering the food chain – it’s pretty much all of them. Disgraceful “industry”. Shut it down.

    • Stephen Daniels

      So you claim horses are drug addicts and their owners pushers?

      • Mazie McNeal

        Drugs necessary for their health and well being. Rabies and other preventative meds are given yearly. Not to mention deworming meds. These medications are given on a regular basis hence in the horses system just about yearly.

  • neicey22

    I want to know who will be watching the hen house? How will the EU know they’re complying?

    • mojohorse

      Exactly! Better vamp up those hidden cameras….seems to get them every time!
      The EU has been given loads of info ie, why its come to this! Mexico didn’t comply or worse than the predatory business is here. EU buys no horse meat from them….blatant cruelty & either no paperwork or paperwork that means nothing! But lots continue to ship to Mexico, for their own taste for horse meat as well as filling orders for Country’s that don’t give a rip!

  • richard

    I know very little about the subject, but from the outside looking in, the horse trade looks like another example of why educated consumers have very little faith in industrial agriculture…..As per usual the story looks like trying to close the barn door after the horse has gone?

  • debbie

    There is NO way the horses from the U.S. Have true honest paperwork… there is NO tracking system for drugs… all the paperwork is forged and Canada knows it and condones it… to say CFIA and it’s EID is in compliance is an outright LIE!!!! Doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out!!!! EU needs to do better… cause Canada won’t !

  • ziggypop

    Bwahhhhhhhh! ” Every horse (domestic or imported) presented for slaughter in Canadian
    (plants) … have a record of all vaccinations and medications given in
    the previous six months. This is referred to as the Equine Information
    Document (EID),” the CFIA said.” Bwahhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    These people lie like the records they claim exist for every horse. To say nothing of the mass inhumane conditions in which they are killed.


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