Each year 150,000 American horses, ponies, donkeys, mules, and burros (equines) are shipped across the border to Mexico and Canada where they are slaughtered in a brutal process that is egregiously inhumane and their meat (made toxic by previously ingested chemicals) enters into the human food chain. Due to extreme overbreeding, the throw-away mentality of the racing and show horse industries, and the desire of many to avoid end of life expenses for aging or infirm horses, fall prey to 'America's Dirty Little Secret' and pose a world health issue.
There are more than thirty-two countries that eat horse meat with the majority of consumers in Italy, France, Switzerland, and Belgium. Japan is the ONLY country that imports live shipments of draft horses from Canada (stuffed into small containers without food, water, and movement during the flight which is approximately 16-18+ hours) for consumption of (basashi or sakura niku) raw horse meat.
American Equines are not raised to be eaten. More than 113 medications are given to horses over their lifetimes that the USDA and European Union deem illegal to administer to animals raised for human consumption. Therefore, it is unethical to allow their toxic meat (which equals approximately 90,000 tons, yearly) into the human food chain. Now, more than ever this is critical because our food is no longer being labeled with a country of origin. In addition, there are no regulations that require the sharing of information about substances previously ingested by a horse up for auction (where horses are often purchased by “kill” buyers with the intent on sending them to slaughter).
Currently, the Safeguard American Foods Act (H.R. 113), a bipartisan legislation that would amend the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is up for vote in Congress. This Act would ban the knowing sale or transport of equines and equine parts in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of human consumption. The ban is based on the use of unsafe additives and drugs for humans in equine health regimes.
The American Horse Project (AHP) and coalition partners have identified strategic programs and services that are needed to aid at-risk equines and the people who eat their meat. These programs include an international general awareness campaign, transportation and disaster evacuation services, rehoming, retraining, and equine therapy programs. In addition a much-needed comprehensive directory of equine rescues and their adoptable equines, a directory of at-risk equines (priced at $1k or less) available through multiple sources, and establish a network of euthanasia/gelding clinics to assist in those much-needed services are in the works.