Thankfully, the PSA front only engaged in regular buffoonery today so we can get back to our regular scheduled programming. It seems that we can’t move on from the Bute tainted meat issue no matter how hard I try. Our PSA counterparts are operating under the misguided notion that each and every cut of meat is tested and since there is rarely ever a recall, that means that this whole Bute issue is a non-issue. I’m not sure whether some of them know better and are just glossing it over or they actually believe that. Probably a bit of both. Having observed them in action, nothing would surprise me at this point. I’m going to attempt to break it down as simply as possible and leave some links for the readers that want in-depth information or, for our lurkers, just more ammo to twist around and push their pro-slaughter agendas. What can I say? I’m a giver that way.
I thought that looking at Canadian guidelines would give us a clearer picture on how they test for Bute in exported meat. Canada also has to operate in accordance to EU guidelines the same as the US would should slaughter houses be re-opened. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency(CFIA) is in charge of testing and, obviously, Bute is banned in any food-producing animals, including those intended for slaughter. The common misconception that I see floated around by the PSAs is that since they test all meat, that means the horse meat that makes it to the market is perfectly safe. This is not true and how could it be? Did anybody honestly think that there was a team that took samples off each and every carcass, and then held said carcass until the lab results are back? If that was the case, we would never have recalls on the market for any meat. Often times they don’t realize there was a problem until somebody gets sick and with things like Bute, it’s going to take YEARS before you get sick. Kinda difficult to trace your cancer back to a Bute filet 20 yrs ago. What actually happens is that they take random samples to test. This is in accordance with the standards set out by the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization. When there are results that raise concern, they will often increase the frequency of their sampling. Is that vague enough for you?
CFIA will also do some random testing on animals based on observing them before they get in the kill box. Every slaughter-house has vets on staff who supervise their trained inspectors. Their job is to make a guess about any animal, based on its appearance and/or history that may have been treated with Bute and hold that meat back until testing is complete and comes back clean. They will also examine animals after slaughter for signs of arthritis or other conditions that might mean the horse had Bute. Does that make you feel safer? It shouldn’t. I have one horse that is big, sound and young and also not a Thoroughbred. There would be nothing about this horse to suggest that he had ever had any conditions that meant he was Buted and I’m sure he would sail right through the kill line. The fact is he’s had a lot of meds over the years, including ACE (banned), Banamine(banned), Bute(banned), Furacin(banned). In fact, most horses that have had their teeth done or gelded have had ACE. We give Bute to a horse that spikes a fever and how would they ever know that? This is fuckery at its finest.
Ok, there are actually other safeguards in place. The countries that Canada exports horse meat to also do their own random testing. This includes EU countries and Japan. Also, beginning in July 2010 CFIA made it mandatory for every horse, regardless of where it came from to have an Equine Information Document that details all vaccinations and meds the horse had within the previous six months. Here is a sample of an EID http://www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/meavia/man/ch17/annexee.shtml#e2 Do you honestly think your friendly neighborhood kill buyer is going to know this information and hold each and every horse for six months before shipping them? Do you feel safe yet? Especially since they used the wording of `to the best of your knowledge’ on the document which gives the shipper/broker an automatic out as far as what’s in a horse’s system. Surely nobody would ever fill out a false report or lie on such a document…..Yeah right!
Now it seems that the EID program in Canada is relatively new and isn’t in full swing as far as I’m aware. I have family and friends in Canada and none of their horses have electronic passports or identification documents like they were supposed to by last year. Yet, Slaughterhouse Sue wants you to believe that not only will she have a fully retro-fitted, state of the art, facility up and running by the end of this year, she will also make sure that the EU regulations that they need to comply with by 2013 will be in place as well. Canada has been at this a long time and it still hasn’t gotten its act together. Another interesting fact is that until the EU set out these regulations, the ONLY thing they tested horse meat for was trichinosis (roundworms) despite Bute and a crapload of other drugs being banned for years. It has only been less than 2 years that Canada has been testing for Bute in horse meat. No wonder it’s hard to dig up data on long- range effects of consuming Bute tainted meat. Does anybody feel like being a lab rat?
So what does this mean for slaughter in the US? It means that Slaughterhouse Sue is lying to everybody. Maybe she doesn’t know better, maybe she does. The point is that should the US decide to fund USDA inspections and re-open slaughter plants, they have exactly one year to be in full compliance with EU regulations as far as having a tracing system comparable to the EU passport system. That means each and every horse presented for slaughter must have a document listing any and all medications they have had in their lifetime. That will automatically disqualify all these alleged 170,000 unwanted horses Suey keeps screeching about. There is no way they could slaughter all of those horses prior to July of next year even if they started tomorrow. Where is she going to get all these horses to kill? An interesting comment left on this blog mentioned that Slaughterhouse Sue’s brother just so happens to breed and raise Belgians and Haflingers. Those happen to be two of the most popular breeds raised specifically for slaughter. Think about it.