Is horse meat from America, Canada and Mexico safe to eat?

Horse meat - what's in it?

Americans don't consider a horse as food, so most all equine wormer, fly spray and medications are labeled not for use in horses intended for food.  This is because the chemicals and medicines used most commonly by American horse owners are banned or restricted from use in food animals.

The most common medicine used in horses is phenylbutazone (PZB) or as most horse owners and vets call it, "bute".   It is an inexpensive, highly effective treatment for inflammation and pain.  This drug is banned from animals intended for food in America, as well as in Europe.  In Europe if a horse has ever been treated with bute it can never be slaughtered for food.  Makes one wonder, if bute is so commonly used in the US how any American horses are slaughtered for food.  Race horses, show horses, barrel horses, riding horses and the list goes on, they use bute commonly.  These are the types of horses being transported to Canada and Mexico to EU approved slaughter houses. Their meat is shipped to Europe for human consumption.  

On July 31, 2010 the Canadian Food Inspection agency began their new policy for horses being slaughtered for food.  The owner (often called killer buyer) of the horse must fill out an Equine Identification Document (EID) this document is to certify that the horse has not been administered restricted drugs in the last 6 months. Drugs used in common horse wormers are on the list of drugs. Wormers are used by most horse owners 4 to 12 months out of the year (every other month, 2 months on then 2 months off and so on) depending on which schedule you use.  Once again it starts you to thinking, how an American horse could be slaughtered for food, while most horse owners worm their horse(s) 6 months out of a year.  After all if you don't worm a horse on a regular schedule, they get worms.

Killer buyers who ship horses to slaughter must complete an EID to certify that the horse has not had any of the restricted chemicals in the last six months and prohibited drugs during its lifetime. Horse owners at auction houses are now asked to complete the form when they take their horses to auction.  According to horse advocates in several states horses are being purchased by killer buyers with and without the certification.  More formal investigations will be published in the near future, we hope.

Let's talk about why bute is banned for use in food animals.

The Use Of Anti-inflammatory In Food Producing Animals 
Phenylbutazone became available for use in humans for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and gout in (1949), but is no longer approved, and thus not marketed, for any human use in the United States. This is because some patients treated with phenylbutazone have experienced severe toxic reactions, and other effective, less toxic drugs are available to treat the same conditions. Phenylbutazone is known for its ulcerogenic, nephrotoxic, and hemotoxic effects in horses, dogs, rats, and humans. It is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths. The reported adverse reactions were associated with the human clinical use of 200 to 800 milligrams phenylbutazone per day. Hypersensitivity reactions of the serum-sickness type have also been reported in patients with phenylbutazone. The threshold for this effect has not been defined. Therefore, it is unclear what level of exposure would be required to trigger such reactions in sensitive people. Moreover, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) based on positive results in genotoxicity tests and some evidence of carcinogenicity seen in the rat and mouse in carcinogenicity bioassays NTP conducted.

For animals, phenylbutazone is currently approved only for oral and injectable use in dogs and horses. Use in horses is limited to use in horses not intended for food. There are currently no approved uses of phenylbutazone in food-producing animals. Investigation by FDA and state regulatory counterparts has recently found phenylbutazone on farms and identified tissue residues in culled dairy cattle. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA's) Food Safety Inspection Service has reported phenylbutazone residues in culled cattle presented for slaughter for human food throughout the United States in the past 2 calendar years. This evidence indicates that the extralabel use of phenylbutazone in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older will likely result in the presence, at slaughter, of residues that are toxic to humans, including being carcinogenic, at levels that have not been shown to be safe. Thanks slideshare.

Bute is not good for humans that is why it is banned for use in animals intended for human consumption. 

Click here for - Drug Residue in American Horse Meat By - John Holland

Click here for - Drugs prohibited for use in horses intended for human consumption

Before you buy American Horse meat...

Ask yourself:


  • Is it the meat of a wild mustang, as advertised?

  • NO, most American horse meat is from domestic horses.


  • Are the slaughter plant conditions sanitary?

  • No, just look at the videos from inside the slaugter houses in Canada and Mexico.


  • Is it free of drugs not meant for humans?

  • NO, most American slaughter horses are not.


  • Are the horses tested for all the drugs harmful to humans?

  • NO, most, if not all, are not adequately & completely tested.


American horses are not raised as a food animals yet are being fed to people overseas. If food inspectors don’t inspect the food that Americans eat, resulting in massive recalls on a regular basis, do you really think they are doing anything to insure the American horses being slaughtered for human consumption are safe to eat?


Horse meat is NOT SAFE for dinner!

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