by | 11.17.2010 | 12:47am

Alex Brown is among those in the anti-horse slaughter community who pointed out to the Paulick Report recent changes in Canadian regulations regarding drugs not permitted in horses intended for slaughter in Canada. In this following article, Brown says an extremely high percentage of American-trained Thoroughbreds are prescribed one of the newly prohibited drugs, phenylbutazone, otherwise known as Butazolidin or Bute. What isn't known is how this new ban will affect the transportation and slaughter of horses from the United States into Canada. – Ray Paulick


By Alex Brown

Bute is banned for food animals, our horses are not food animals.


The United States Food and Drug Administration released a document in 2003 establishing that phenylbutazone (Butazolidin, or Bute) is not fit for horses intended for the food chain.  According to the document, Bute is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program.  The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) recently released a document establishing revised guidelines or horses intended to be slaughtered in slaughter houses in Canada.  In that document there is a list of substances that are not permitted for horses intended for the human foodchain, regardless of when the substance is ingested.  No quarantine period for these substances.  They are simply banned.  Bute is on that list.


Data compiled by the Daily Racing Form indicates that in 2009 99% of horses that ran in California pre-raced on Bute (7391 out of 7443).  In a similar study of Suffolk Downs runners, 92% of horses pre-raced on Bute (1062 out of 1158).  As I ask trainers about their use of Bute for pre-racing, trainers tell me they pre-race on Bute regardless of the condition of the horse.  It is not because the horse is unsound, it is because we can and it does not slow the horse down for the race itself.


As horsemen we know that pre-racing on Bute is only one example of when Bute is administered to our racehorses.  Many horses train on Bute as part of their daily regimen. 


Is it not time now to ask our racing leaders to publicly support an end to slaughter, or at least ban racehorses from the food chain.  It is clear that racehorses are not fit for human consumption from a food safety standpoint and knowingly allowing this practice to continue cannot be justified.  

We should perhaps also ask the same question of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). A vet, more than anyone, knows that our racehorses are administered Bute, and they now must undersrtand that Bute is prohibited for food animals.


  • its obvious….

    Please also note that the horses that go for slaughter aren’t tested for bute, or any substance. Its done on the honor system, which is a real joke. Of course testing wouldn’t work anyhow, since there is no time frame for bute to be “safely” administered to a horse going for slaughter. Suffice it to say that most horses that go to slaughter have banned substances in them…..

  • D. Masters

    Worse yet, alot of horses go because they become ill or are lame AND THAT DOES HAVE LEGAL US REGULATION. Sick, infirmed (aka lame, diseased, can’t be fully ambulatory) are not allowed to go to slaughter (rendering? …yes…slaughter? NO!) whether they are cattle, sheep, swine OR equines.

    Come on, folks…this is not only sick behavior regarding animal welfare, horse slaughter sends suspect meat to humans for consumption.

    Look at the last Red Book test results and draw population numbers for slaughter equines. Last I saw it was approximately less than 200 equine carcasses for over 100k plus that were butchered here and/or shipped to CAN/MEX/Asia/Off-shore. And, maybe a USDA vet can correct me if I’m wrong, but the samples came from only the last three operating equine slaughter plants in the US…they didn’t do squat with the live ships. Maybe that fine steller equine welfare organization called EWHA can enlighten us.

    You people that support this disgusting enterprise are absolutely beyond reasonable human understanding.

    Keep up the good work Alex.

  • D. Masters

    BTW…bute is only one drug that horses, especially racehorses are exposed to that have absolutely no withdrawel protocal what so ever. There are many others that have NEVER been evaluated by pharma/USDA studies and will never be acceptable to export markets (hormones, ace [most NSAIDs] and some antibiotics and steroids).

    You want your horse to go to the meatman when you can’t sell, break or tire of it???? Then go into the honest meat business…NOT racing.

  • WhoCares

    Who cares. Horse slaughter will always happen no matter how hard the whackadoos at Alex Brown Racing try to eliminate it. They are facilitating the inhumane slaughter of horses in places like Mexico, instead of advocating to regulate slaughter like beef/pork. What hypocrites.

    Let me ask this. Is it more humane to regulate the slaughter of horses or rescue them and give them to Jason Meduna… ABR did in fact do. Gave horses to Jason Meduna and don;t want slaughter…..SHAME ON YOU!

  • D. Masters


    Let’s start with the obvious: Starving is no better than slaughter and in fact with Mustang Man Meduna, the Federal Government is more than culpable for several reasons.

    To your main point: I CARE and I’m sick of people treating any life form worse than garbage and with less oversight or regulations.

    That you DON’T care doesn’t require me to go away until the situation is corrected, industry by industry, owner by owner or state by state.

    ABR has many issues. How to weed the the mess and truely good people who do make a difference is another matter. Honestly, ABR is the least of the equines problems in the US. And not everyone on ABR is nuts and many people in racing are trying to eliminate it.

    Take your ABR [email protected]*%$h to Back at the Ranch or United Org of the Horse…better yet, how about the AHC and their superb UHC?

  • Alex, in the law of unintended consequences, you have just defended giving bute to U.S. racehorses, which may (but probably not) prevent them from being accepted for slaughter. Ironically, the pervasive use of bute as a racing and training aid is resulting in MORE broken-down animals that owners want to “dispose” of, only increasing the problem. Completely independent of the slaughter question, bute should not be allowed in any racing animal.

  • johnny mack

    Stick to galloping horses Alex.

  • D. Masters

    G. Rarick:

    I think the proposition posed is that race horses are given bute regularly, for whatever reason and are then, therefore ineligible for paid to sell to human consumption horse slaughter if it’s truly ethical, regulated and moral.

    And the management of pain in racehorses, or any horse in France is what? Seriously, I’d like to know with the pending passport/drug issues by the EU for US equines to slaughter and your current system.

    The use of bute does not necessarily infer racing an unsound horse. It does, however imply that sometime in their lives, they may be given bute for pain like we take aspirin and shouldn’t be sold for HCHS. I have given it to my TBs for surgery recovery, abcesses and trauma. According to Red Book via AVMA/USDA, it is not intended for food animal use. If I wanted to ethically sell to a KB, I wouldn’t use bute.

    I guess to simplify, not everyone in racing uses bute to mask symptoms “to” race; many use to comfort the animal. Use of bute doesn’t mean bad trainer or next to dead horse; but it’s use certainly eliminates that horse as a meat product for humans. Different subjects.

    But I appreciate your perspective and look forward to your reply.

  • D. Masters

    johnny mack:

    There are laws and regulations that exists that our past and current governments don’t support OR enforce (kinda of like immigration violations…ehh?).

    For the uneducated, like yourself…the reason for the post provided by Paulick.

    Spend your time complaining about paying taxes for services and protections that we as citizens and a country don’t seem to be receiving….there’s your complaint.

  • Webster

    If Alex Brown cared about the horses, his article would have said NO BUTE period.


  • D. Masters

    And the answer to legitimate pain management barring running that same equine (reasonable time frame required) is what?

    What is it with you slaughter or ignorant proponents that fails to recognize that there are meds for animals and some are automatically disallowed for food animals? Or better yet, that one is a fan of racing and still can be pissed about their treatment without loosing a love of the game or the horse?

    Well I love the game, got racetrack never-beens, hasbeens and gave them bute based on MY VET’S MEDICAL ADVICE.

    I suspect number 10 doesn’t have a clue about injury, disease or slaughter of equines.

  • The Punisher

    “the honor system”

    The honor system? There is no honor(overall) in this world any longer. They use to say that for many, a handshake was as good as gold. In my opinion, over 80% of today’s population are out to get whatever they can however they can. Doing it ethically or morally is not on their mind.

    Unfortunately, I trust very few people these days.

  • johnny mack

    D Masters:
    Calling me uneducated makes you look uneducated and stupid.Good job.
    Do yourself a favor and go gallop horses with Alex and stop YOUR complaining about everything.

  • the point of the short essay was:

    a. bute is banned for horses that go to slaughter

    b. we give bute to our horses, this is where I think the new evidence is. not that we know we give bute to our horses, but there really is evidence that we do so

    and therefore our horses should not be slaughtered.

    cheers, alex

  • Chalkbuster

    Johnny go play in your parents basement, until they call you up for bedtime.

  • How about we just get OUR horses out of THEIR foodchain. Never mind splitting hairs over the drugs. There are a hundreds of drugs/vaccines etc. that our horses receive routinely that are not allowed in food animals. The fact that almost every thread on the Paulick report ends up in a dogfight over slaughter does not bode well for the sport of racing.

  • Mary Overman

    Oh, that the law of unintended consequences resulted solely in an increase of bute being given to racehorses and all horses. Since that costs the owner money, I doubt it.

    My concern – since it is demand that drives the slaughter business and since I think it unlikely that the demand for horsemeat abroad will slacken – is that it will result in a new niche industry (or expansion of an industry that already exists?): the raising of horses specifically for the purpose of slaughter, which will then drive a market for the creation of equine medicines that do not make any horse unfit for human consumption.

    Like I don’t have enough in the world of “now” to worry about! :)

  • equine

    You are absolutely right, we need to keep our horses out of their food chain.

    What’s even worse, is there is a bill in the KY legislature right now promoting horse slaughter and transportation to slaughter in the state. Hmmm, wonder how long it’s going to take before a horse slaughter house opens in KY?

    Regardless of one’s personal position on horse slaughter, does the KY horse racing breeding and racing industry not realize the public relations nightmare this would create? This is not a one horse Barbaro or Eight Belles scenario. It would be the final straw for fans. No fans–minimal wagering–no new owners or investors–thousands unemployed–and farms becoming white elephants.

    Add to this the alphabet soup of organizations in KY and all the leaders, breeders, farms, consignors and racetracks will find themselves together in the same black hole. Everyone will be wondering why someone didn’t do anything about, except that someone is everyone.

  • jr

    The problem with Bute is that it allows sore horses to pass the pre race exam. The bottom line is that they should not run in the first place. As an owner I have not used Bute for years and my horses run just fine. I have them xrayed twice a year just to check for changes in the joints, I have a nuclear scan on those that appear sore and lay them off. I do not race sore horses.

    When Bute is banned you will see a reduction in fatal breakdowns and horses going to slaughter on three legs. The problem in racing is that without Bute you will have smaller fields, which translates into smaller take for the tracks. The solution lies in owners and trainers doing it the right way.

  • Webster

    Waiting for the big D’s reply to 18.

  • equine

    Johnny Mack and Webster,
    I’m sorry you really don’t that much about Alex and what his organization has done to increase awareness of horse welfare issues. His group has saved over 3,000 horses. That’s a substantial number in anyone’s book. Moreover, the majority of the horses adopted out through the rescues go with a contract requiring that if the person no longer desires or is able to keep the horse properly, the horse must be returned to the rescue. Certainly there are individuals with extreme views as in any group, but collectively as a grass roots org, dollar by dollar and week in and out, they have given thousands of useful horses a second chance, and they have provided them a SAFETY NET, not accorded to them by the racing or breeding industry.

    As to bute, it is a common pain reliever and a reality in every horse’s life whether it is a race horse or a backyard pet suffering from a kick from another horse. It is not morphine or etorphine. Nor in the dose allowed 24 hours out in racing, be effective at preventing a 3 legged lame horse from limping. A horse maintained in training or racing is no different than a person taking aspirin or advil for a headache at work.

    Anyway, the bute issue is about selling meat contaminated with a carcinogen for human consumption, which is ethically and morally wrong.

  • Webster

    Let’s just follow the rest of the world and have no race day medication. How is that for starters?

    I apologize to Alex if my comment was short. I don’t know Alex but I am sure he is a good man who cares deeply for his and all horses and only wants what is best for them.

    Lets tackle uniformed medication rules (NONE) before we tackle slaughter, which will never get solved.

  • equine

    Thank you for being a caring owner. Every time I hear of another it gives me renewed hope for the game. Yes, bute can help a horse pass the prerace exam, but so does the morning ice and the foot freezes. Additionally, the track vet is not going to have his job too long especially if he scratches too many horses, or horses from a large stable or powerful owner. I agree it is up to the trainers and owners, but the question becomes how. It has more to do with money than bute.

  • New EU regulations to ensure the safety of horsemeat imported to Europe from North America are what inspired the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s response – in the form of a list of banned substances in equines for slaughter, substances with known wirthdrawal periods in equines for slaughter, and an equine identification and information system. In instigating these new restrictions designed to improve the safety of horsemeat for human consumption, the EU provides a terrific example of Article 20 of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (now of the World Trade Organization) at work. Article 20 allows governments to act on trade to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, provided they do not disciminate across trade partners or producers, or use the measures as disguised protectionism. In short, the EU is exercising its right under international law to ensure the same standards of food safety in North American produced horsemeat as are currently in place to ensure the safety of EU produced horsemeat. But it can only demand higher standards of food safety from North American producers of horsemeat than are currently in place among North American producders if there is scientific evidence to justify that demand.

    And there are decades of (American) scientific evidence showing that bute – and many other commonly used equine preparations and drugs, such as clenbuterol furazone – are hazardous for human health. In fact, bute was banned as a human drug for the treatment of gout and arthritis after a brief period of useage in the 1940s because of the serious side effects that it had in human subjects. Humans injesting bute have died. Period.

    So good for the EU folks in Brussels, and good for the CFIA. Furthermore, Mexican producers of American originating horsemeat for human consumption in Europe will have to follow suit with regulations of their own to satisfy the EU requirements – or all hell will break loose among producers of horsemeat in Canada and Europe as violations of non discrimination in international trade will have occurred per the WTO.

    Apparently – in contrast to the AAEP, the AVMA and the NTRA – the EU and CFIA understand their social and global responsibilities to attempt to ensure the safety of the human food supply. Or, perhaps, they are merely agencies that represent an ignorant and hence highly vulnerable final consumer of a thoroughly toxic product.

  • equine

    Uniform medications are necessary in the US. No medication sounds great until you actually witness some of the realities. Remember when Summer Bird got hurt in Japan, he couldn,t even get a bute shot right away.

    Prior to lasix being legalized, I witnessed 6 horses die on the racetrack from EIPH (severe bleeding episodes). In NY, horses regularly had their hay decreased up to a week prior to a race, water was withheld starting the evening prior, and bucchu leaves were used as a diuretic to further dehydrate the horse. It was not only cruel, the horses did not run consistently, horses had more lung infections because they were still bleeding and wound up with chronically scarred lungs which not only shortened their racing careers, but the quality of their lives.

    I agree, there are too many drugs but lasix is necessary. I don’t know if it’s the conditions our horses are kept in, our training methods, or if we have bred it into them.

    I do know that overall, US horses are treated much better than in foreign countries.

  • Aunt Bea

    Can I please ask that the term “slaughter” be discontinued as regards to the end of a horse’s life?

  • Aunt Bea

    Also, Equine, please go slink back to the past from which you came. Time Marches On as they say.

  • D. Masters – Pain management in my yard means time off when needed for soreness, and treatment of the root problem of that soreness if needed. Bute is a masking agent and will not allow you to find the cause of the pain. Training a sore horse will only make the problem worse, and racing would be impossible. The best thing, obviously, is to train the horse carefully so you avoid causing problems in the first place. I have used bute to alleviate pain, but I can count the instances on one hand, and certainly most horses in my yard have never had it.

    Equine – Medication is “necessary” in the U.S. because the system was designed for everything BUT the horse. Change the system and you will no longer need the meds. Interesting that you “know” that U.S. horses are treated much better than in foreign countries. How much international racing experience have you had? Just curious.

    Mary Overman – Demand for horse meat in Europe is actually falling in most countries, with the exception of Italy. Eating horse meat has dramatically fallen from favor in France, and there is a move afoot to declare the horse a companion animal and ban slaughter altogether. Most racehorses already have a box checked on their passport that states they are not intended for human consumption. Every horse is microchipped, and the passport must accompany the horse, so not too many fall through the cracks this way.

    Sorry for the delayed reply; girls’ gotta sleep…

  • By the way – withdrawal time for bute here is about three weeks. Allowing horses to have bute in the U.S. 24 hours before racing and saying that is long enough for the drug to no longer have an affect is bullshit.

    And sorry, Alex, I know this is not at all what your post was about.

  • #24 I have to disagree with most of this. There was a great alarm here a few years ago -“bute not allowed by new Eu rules, horses will die in agony” etc. In the event all that happened was that the passport [ which every horse must have by law] contained a place for owner or trainer to sign stating that “This horse is not a food animal” and everything continued exactly as before.

    Because we have so little problem with bleeding, I don’t know what to say about that – except to observe that we are dealing with the same animal. Perhaps training, or, more likely, lack of it, may be a factor. I’m pretty sure that it isn’t due to a major flaw in the gene pool.

    #27 Gina’s right in saying that medication – we all know we’re not talking about “aspirin for a headache” – allows sore horses to train. Put it another way, most problems are not initially catatrophic in the same way that most engines do not seize without a warning having showed on the control panel. Of course if the bulb has been taken out of the warning light….

    However all of that is largely irrelevant to this atgument as the fact is that lame horses will die exactly the same number of times as sound ones; once. The argument should be as to the best way to ensure that this happens to all of them in stress free and civilised circumstances.

    That is never going to happen when the argument continues at its present factional level.
    If racing does wish to act responsibly then it has to adopt a pragmatic approach to “slaughter”, “destruction”, “euthenasia”, “assumption into Heaven” , “transfiguration” or whatever you like to call it. And someone – everyone – is going to have to foot the bill.

  • its obvious….

    Aunt Bea, look, did you see?? G. Rarick trains in a “yard”? ( comment 27 ) haha… that means you hafta be nice to him!!! I didn’t know there were “yards” within throwing distance of the Ohio River.

  • D. Masters

    I have not said use bute so the horse can run or pass a prerace exam. In fact I specifically excluded that proposition.

    I said, I’ve used it for my horses because I knew what the injury was and why it happened AND MY VET ADVISED me to use it for the horse. Therefore, they are now ineligible for HCHS.

    Some of you people can’t (won’t ?) read OR comprehend..

  • D. Masters

    #29…what a ignorant post.

    If you aren’t familiar with the term “yard”, then you aren’t aware of the system and terminologies of international horse training; especially Ireland, England and the continent..

    And what’s with the Ohio River comment? G. Rarick is in France, somewhere in the Chantilly area last I heard.

  • Thoroughbred Vet

    We are getting a bit off-track here…
    The point that Alex was trying to make was basically “isn’t what’s good for the goose, good for the gander”? Putting aside anyone’s compassionate reasons to oppose the slaughter of American horses, if we just look at the issues of drug residues by themselves – we are actually saying it is ok for “other people” to eat our tainted meat that would never pass USDA standards in our own country. He is just trying to show you that in the simplest arguement of all, what we are allowing to happen is illegal and actually quite unethical as far as food safety is concerned. He took the simplest, most common medication that is administered to almost every horse in its lifetime (not just racehorses) and is showing that this in and of itself, is a blatant contradiction to even the simplest of USA food safety standards.
    There are many other medications (such as the antibiotic Chloramphenicol) that are NEVER allowed administration in food animals (i.e. cows) at all and yet are frequently administered to horses that then end up in the food chain. The AAEP and AVMA are well aware of this issue but have pretended it does not exist or apply – an ethical breach that is a big disappointment to many veterinarians and very telling of what their leadership is really made of.

  • its obvious….

    as to D. Masters, I’m hardly ignorant of yards. I was pointing out that Rarick would be more “at home” training at Mountaineer or Turfway…. “Ireland, England, and the continent” THATS a bright statement. You need a nap and your Geritol. Sleepy boy.

  • Tapit

    I wonder what Presious Passion’s drug regiment is or has been?

  • Arden

    This is not a debate about medication use or slaughter or anything like that. The EU is trying to protect people from ingesting known carcinogens. That is to be expected – our FDA does that and I’m grateful they do. The European meat market has provided an easy out for people who want their horses gone and don’t care where their horses end up. Looks like that may be about to end. Even a backyard pony probably gets a little bute once or twice in a lifetime and that, as of 7-31-10, is too much to put them in the foreign food chain. We will need to euthanize and disposs of carcasses as is done for most horses now – not ship them someplace else and make $100 or so in the process. That easy out is probably going to disappear,

  • D. Masters

    its obvious:

    Well maybe you’d better serve the reading posts public with better wording and logic.

    And your last post is another illogical, nonsensical, unrelated, off topic, useless, unfunny piece of crap…you genius.

    But you are always, by virtue of the Constitution entitled to keep taking up space.

    And weren’t you the rocket scientist that posted “hee hee hee” about the resignation of Dr. Hogan? Yep! Another solid, well thought out, helpful comment.

    What a troll!..or would that moron?

  • Blinkers Off

    Seems pretty simple to me. If you don’t eat the stuff you’re really at no risk. nuff said?

  • equine

    Aunt Bea, your question: “Can I please ask that the term “slaughter” be discontinued as regards to the end of a horse’s life?” Absolutely, that is my goal!

  • I’m still trying to figure out why I’d be more “at home” training at Mountaineer or Turfway (where are those, anyway?). I’m in Maisons-Laffitte, by the way. Can’t afford Chantilly…

  • Equine Vet

    “The AAEP and AVMA are well aware of this issue but have pretended it does not exist or apply – an ethical breach that is a big disappointment to many veterinarians and very telling of what their leadership is really made of.”

    Thank you Thoroughbred Vet; well put.

  • LCM

    I have to ask this question. If BUTE is so dangerous for humans why is it not for horses?

    I actually took bute once (yes not very bright) when I had an extremely stiff neck and let me tell you IT IS NOT ASPIRIN. It took away the neck pain within minutes, but it was soon replaced by the worst pain in my gut. If anyone thinks BUTE is like aspirin they should try taking a dose. I’m sure your opinion will change dramatically.

  • Equine Vet


    At least one jockey died as a consequence of doing just that!

  • This is worse than kindergarten, it’s getting spiteful too which is hardly constructive!

    #32 I’m sure too that there is gov. reg. against the “live dismemberment” we keep hearing about.

    #38 Well what about “Assumption” or “Transfiguration” – too High Church? [ecunemical humour]. A rose by any other name….

    #39 I don’t think Gina would be very at home at Mountaineer, but once we can get our share of the social security money pouring through slot machines perhaps we’ll be able to compete with Mountaineer Park on purses and still not medicate. [that was a bit below the belt]

  • WJU

    I think that Alex’s simple insight and point that our horses in the US are not acceptable for food is genius! I agree with him that we should be asking the leadership in racing (whomever that may be) to take a stand against their horses being part of the food chain. The logic is so simple.

    I realize that Alex is focusing on race horses as that is where he comes from but I can’t think of a US horse that hasn’t had bute at sometime in it’s life. Certainly it is something the AAEP and the AVMA should consider when they take a side regarding horse slaughter.

  • Thoroughbred Vet you are right on target. Either your horse is a food animal or it isn’t and that is something that must be decided at birth. If the horse is raised for other purposes such as racing, working, service, therapy, etc, then it is not a food animal and should be humanely euthanized as we do with all food animals. After years of service or a racing/performing career, the animal does not become food. We do not supply dogs and cats to Asian markets so why the exception for horses?

    All the years of the slaughter proponents failure to address the cause of excess horses is front and center. For years, all they’ve done is invent new scare tactics, twist and spin facts to suit their purposes and execute a brilliant campaign of renaming the excess horses they produce, “unwanted”. The AAEP, AHC, UHC, AQHA and AVMA should be ashamed of themselves. Rather than address the issue, they want to bury it by killing horses. As with any animal, it is your choice to own or breed and with that choice comes owner responsibility. If you don’t want the responsibility of humane care, in life and death, then don’t own an animal or use the excuse that the animal is 1,200 lbs. You knew that before you made a conscious decision to own or breed a horse.

  • Correction that should have been humanely euthanized as we do with all NON FOOD animals.

  • Arden, I like your post very much, but would point out that the FDA’s 2003 ruling which Alex Brown links to in his commentary is interpreted by the veterinary community (and not loosely, based on the language therein) as a prohibition on bute in food animals. It does not discriminate across the location/nationality of the final consumer. In other words, for four years following the FDA’s 2003 ruling, American horses were slaughtered on American soil for human consumption in Europe and Asia regardless of the known widespread ingestion of bute by those horses.

    Bute is administered or at the very least prescribed by American veterinarians who are legally responsible under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act for ensuring that any animal in their care that will be offered for slaughter has not had drugs administered (by species, other labeling restrictions, withdrawal period etc.) that are potentially harmful for the food supply. Maybe there are (track) veterinarians here who can explain how the FDA Act was enforced after the 2003 ruling in the case of bute administration to racehorses?

    The USDA was responsible for ensuring the FDA ruling was protected by testing for the safety of horsemeat from harmful bute residues, via what would one would think be a thorough system of evaluating the presence of prohibited drug residues. Afterall, the extreme heterogeneity of the conditions of raising and maintaining horses in the US – by contrast to the relative homogeneity under which specific classes of cattle are raised and maintained – would, one would think, have called for extremely widespread testing of the meat prior to shipping it off to European diners. I don’t think there is evidence of that. Maybe there is a USDA inspector out there that can provide exact numbers. I have “heard” that the meat of approximately 78 horse carcasses in 100K carcasses per year was tested, but I can’t verify that … at this second.

  • Thehorses

    The new Canadian slaughter regulations that take effect this year require 6 months worth of veterinary records accompany each horse to slaughter and no horse that has been given any of a long list of medications including some antibiotics can be slaughtered for human consumption. No more track to table in 7 days ever again. Horses bleeding goes back to Barletts Childers son of the Darley Arabian. According to what I read he was nicknamed bleeding Childers and bled so much he could not race while his full brother Flying Childers had no problems. Hereditary hemophilia occurs in people and dogs and it might be hereditary in horses also. Excessive bleeding can usually be controlled with Vitamin K. It has been used as an antidote to Warfarin which can cause fatal internal bleeding. Natural Vitamin K should be tried as a substitute for Lasix in the minority of horses that are actual bleeders. It will in sufficient dosage probably be more effective.

  • Bill O’Gorman, you said “And someone – everyone – is going to have to foot the bill.” Yes, you are correct and is there some reason that responsibility lies with anyone but the owner? Why do slaughter proponents always try to take owner responsibility and transfer it to everyone else? The owner chose to own or breed the horse and it is his responsibility to provide a humane end of life. If they don’t want the responsibility, then don’t own a horse.

    It is that attitude that creates and continues to perpetuate excess horses. And yes, we know that all owners won’t take responsibility but that doesn’t mean you give them a dumping ground so they can continue to breed and dump and be irresponsible. Why cater to the owners of less than 2% of the horse population? Take the lead from the responsible owners that are the overwhelming majority.

  • Carolyn Fewster

    Thanks for the article. Whatever weapons we have to fight the slaughter of horses for food is one more on our side. Johnny Mack: how much time have you spent in the racing industry, not the betting window of your local track or OTB? Why are you so nasty? Anyway, ALEX keep up the good work, it will eventually get warmer here in MD ( you will LOVE the summer) and hope to meet you one day at the races! Enjoy Fair Hill and take one of the horses over the combined training course. Hold on tight!

  • #52 This is a variation upon the widely expressed view that the original owner or the breeder retains responsibility. I was merely trying to make the point that if racing as a whole wants to adopt that as responsible solution then it will have to through something like this. Breeders are not going to track down all the horses they have bred over the years.

    I’m not at all sure how relevant over production is to this argument except in the sense that with breeding a racehorse being a three year process their will inevitably be a hiccup whenever there is a failure in the economy generally leading to less purchasers. Most of the time we are talking about older horses that have been part of the racing and breeding programme.

    If there are 30,000 foals per year coming into the system then presumably there are a similar number going out. To pretend that they can all find permanent happy homes is not realistic; even when they are sold to good homes they will almost all get passed on at some stage – and on, and on.

    If there were a national programme instituted as I suggested then perhaps most people would be inclined to take advantage of it and reclaim the registration money rather than risk selling their ex racehorses into the final downward spiral.

  • LJBroussard

    Me, I wouldn’t care to eat a sausage flavored with bute, ace, dex, clen, EPO, heptaminol, trembolone, methocarbamol, dimethylxanthine, baytril, hydroxyzine, liquamycin, lidocaine, procaine, banamine, flunixin, detomidine, salix, lasix, hydromorphone, indomethacin, ractopamine, xylazine, gabapentin, winstrol, boldenone, salmeterol, scopolamine, dormosidan, adequan, cobra spit and/or excessive levels of CO2.

    Having recently purchased a sound, broke, beautiful, well-bred, 9YO 16.1 TB mare from Sugarcreek livestock auction up in Ohio, I wish I could adequately describe the horror at that place to those who think of horse slaughter in abstract terms. Nothin’ abstract about what Lady G went through.

    And nothing abstract about how she came off the truck with a valid health certificate and incipient strangles. By my calculations, the nodes in Lady G’s jaw would have ruptured right around the time she stepped into the kill box had I not purchased her. Strangles gunk makes the above-referenced bute sausage sound even more appealing, doesn’t it?

    Keep fightin’ the good fight, Mr. Alex. Un cheval dans un abattoir, c’est un peche. Il ne fait rien ce que les fouts pas mal disent. Ils sont couillons

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  • jeannie

    What about racing horses before their legs are fully developed, Alex? This is why so many end up being shipped off to slaughter

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  • Thanks for sharing Jeannie. Very good point.  Unfortunately it all boils down to money.  Is Europe any better with their racehorses?  

  • Thanks for sharing Jeannie. Very good point.  Unfortunately it all boils down to money.  Is Europe any better with their racehorses?  

  • crookedstick

    Alex Brown, I would like to share Leonard Blach’s, DVM, owner of Mine That Bird ; testimony at the Roswell Valley Meat trial on Oct. 22, 2013. Valley Meat is just about in his back yard.

  • crookedstick

    Leonard Blach , DVM , appeared in Court , in Roswell, NM, as Expert Witness for Phenylbutozone use in Farm animals and in horses as meat animals. Valley Meat , horse slaughter for human consumption is less than a mile on the backside of his breeding farm. He testified in support of horsemeat for human consumption. He is half owner of Mine That Bird.

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