Canada's and Mexico's dirty little secret. Over 140,000 horses where slaughtered last year between Canada and Mexico. Yes, as a Canadian, I have to admit that I belong to one of THOSE countries that STILL, has a population within it's borders, that insists on eating horsemeat. As most horse owners or horsey type people, I take offense to even the suggestion of horsemeat being on someones' table let alone in a fancy eatin' place and for some reason, it mostly seems to be eaten in the eastern part of our country... (that's all I'm sayin'). I'm from the west btw... lol! Bute is a commonly used pain killer that effectively reduces pain, inflammation and fever in horses and unfortunately, for those that like the taste of horsemeat, it has a tendancy to build up to toxic levels not leaving the animal through natural processes. The horse racing industry is responsible for using the most Bute and up until recently, like a few months ago... was keeping the slaughter houses busy in both Canada and Mexico with "retired" horses or the ones that didn't make the cut. Finally someone started listening to the Bute controversy, and now American Thoughbreds are no longer accepted at Canadian slaughter facilities as a result of a recent ban. The whole slaughter process right to begin with from the transport, to the kill, is set up for cattle and smaller animals. The horses as a result end up suffering horribly. Most of time, a debilitating stun is almost impossible due to the horses natural flight instincts. A stun resulting in brain death is totally dependant on the skill of the bolt-gun operator which sadly most times is pretty lacking. A number of Canadian slaughter houses have been cited for infractions ranging from from incomplete stuns with as many as fifteen attempts. (after two it's considered cruelty) ground water contamination, improper disposal of remains etc. and the list goes on.
The politics to the south of us has approved horse slaughter once again even though more than 75% of the population are opposed to it, so it looks like it's still not over yet. Earlier this year the European Union imposed a temporary ban on imported horsemeat and in furture will require documentation regarding each individual horses' meds. etc. before being accepted. They finally realized, they're being poisoned! Unfortunately though, this puts more pressure the truly wild horses like the Spanish Mustangs who are fighting their own battle with the government...but that's another post.