New Rule Tightens Canadian Horse Processing Imports

Regulations would require horses imported from the U.S. to be held in Canadian feedlots for a minimum of 6 months.
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Beginning in March 31, all horses imported from the United States into horse processing plants in Canada must be held in Canadian feedlots for a minimum of six months. The regulation is intended to address food safety concerns expressed by European Union (EU) buyers. 

While some equine welfare advocates hope the regulation will increase paperwork and decrease profits for exporters of horses into Canadian processing firms, others believe the rule won’t reduce the number of horses exported for processing every year.  

Under the new regulation, exporters must certify in writing that the U.S. horses exported into Canada for processing haven’t received any drugs within the prior 60 days. But said horse welfare advocate Jerry Finch, founder of Habitat for Horses, the horse-processing industry has long had a reputation for falsifying paperwork connected to exported horses. 

 “False documentation (has) been a proven fact for years, yet nothing is ever done about it, so any such regulation is nothing more than a PR effort to make the consumer believe they are receiving the very best horsemeat available; like so much of the food supply, the image of wholesome, healthy, and safe food is a far cry from the reality,” said Finch. “The killer-buyers simply sign the form, the buyers for the slaughterhouse sign it, and done deal. A horse bought at the racetrack in Kentucky on Monday will still be in the food chain by Wednesday

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Written by:

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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