In an email to the Star, the CFIA touches on the issue of testing food horses for drug residues, an expensive prospect that is not routinely done when horses are killed for meat.
Leo, why don't contact both the Star and the CFIA for verification (as this statement was made via e-mail) instead of insisting the information given in this article is made up.
It seems only the ones concerned with the welfare of animals are making Open Record Requests or FOIA's to support their claims.
Maybe you pro-peeps should start doing the same because this "I heard it from so-and-so" just doesn't cut it in this day and age.
I know this is just nonsense so won't bother to rebutt. How do I know...Europe is still accepting ALL of the equine meat it can purchase
But quick...just for you....testing is done on TB's BECAUSE of the drugs.
This is why we are waiting for the test to receive approval for testing LIVE horses BEFORE they are slaughtered rather than meat after. Never claimed it was made up. I did state the Star is NOT a newspaper I would take at face value.
Just because THEY claim in an email doesn't make it so.
Maybe we need to put the content of the article in a post, so Fairfax can't claim he couldn't read it because of dial-up:
Backstreet Bully was unloaded from a trailer after dawn and led by his halter into an abattoir in rural Quebec. Once owned and raced by Magna’s Frank Stronach, the chestnut thoroughbred was to be slaughtered then packaged for human food.
That same January morning earlier this year, frantic phone calls from the Stronach group tried to save Backstreet Bully’s life — and protect the public from eating toxic meat.
A Star investigation has found that Canada’s food inspection system has serious flaws when dealing with the steady stream of racehorses sent to slaughter every year. During his life, Backstreet Bully, like many competitive horses, was given powerful performance-enhancing drugs that are potentially deadly in meat eaten by humans.
Two of these, nitrofurazone and one nicknamed “bute” (phenylbutazone), had been administered to Backstreet Bully dozens of times but the shoddy paperwork and poor oversight allowed by Canada’s food watchdog cleared him for human consumption in a market that includes Quebec, Europe and some Toronto restaurants.
“You can’t kill that horse,” Stacie Clark, who works for the Stronach farm, recalled pleading with an abattoir official. It wasn’t just small amounts of these drugs that had once been given to the horse: 21 doses of nitrofurazone, which has been linked to cancer in humans, and at least 23 doses of bute, a drug linked to bone marrow disease.
According to Canada’s Food and Drugs Act, horses should not be sold for food if they have been given nitrofurazone at any point in their lives. Backstreet Bully had been given many other drugs that could also pose a serious risk to humans.
“Racehorses are walking pharmacies,” said Dr. Nicholas Dodman, a veterinarian at Tufts University in Massachusetts who has studied the issue extensively. “Do you really want to be eating a piece of meat that has the rabies vaccine in it?”
The Star found a host of problems in Canada’s food protection system related to horses. From one document to the next, the Star discovered confusion over which drugs are considered safe, how quickly a toxic drug leaves a horse’s body, and whether any trust can be placed in the system that regulates horses sold for meat.
In a Thursday email to the Star, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency said it is working with the horse industry to “develop measures to enhance equine traceability.”
When Clark, from Stronach’s Adena Springs farm in Aurora, made her rescue attempt, she was already too late. Backstreet Bully was dead, shot in the head while imprisoned in a cramped abattoir stall. Canadian officials have refused to tell the Star if the horse’s meat entered the food chain.
As part of an investigation into the number of racehorses sent to slaughter as cash-strapped Ontario racetracks close, the Star has traced the life and death of Backstreet Bully, using interviews, government documents and veterinary records.
If not for a clue on his leather halter — a brass plate engraved with the name Backstreet Bully — the fate of the playful animal with “tons of puppy dog personality” might not have been discovered. The horse’s identification paper was falsified, the Star has learned, and is now private property of the slaughterhouse, which refused to produce it.
The Star obtained Backstreet Bully’s veterinary records from when he was under Stronach’s care, which show that in addition to bute and nitrofurazone, he had been given numerous other risky substances, such as the anabolic steroid stanozolol.
Most problematic, though, were the 21 applications of nitrofurazone, a topical ointment used to treat skin infections. In Europe, nitrofurazone was banned for use in food-producing animals in 1995 because it was linked to cancer in humans.
Canadian officials gave a conflicting and confusing response about nitrofurazone: the drug cannot ever be administered to a horse that will be eaten by humans, but the horse’s medical history must only show it has not had the drug for six months before it is slaughtered.
Canada is a major international supplier of horse meat. Some 82,000 horses — most coming from the United States where slaughter was banned in 2006 — were killed in federally inspected facilities across the country last year, and about 14,000 metric tonnes of meat exported annually, mostly to Europe and Japan. Canadians consume another 300 tonnes of horse meat each year, mainly in Quebec.
Like most competitive horses, Backstreet Bully was not raised to be eaten.
Born into North America’s premier thoroughbred racing stables in 2004, the early hope was that the leggy chestnut baby — foaled at Stronach’s Kentucky farm — would become another of Stronach’s celebrated Queen’s Plate or Breeders’ Cup champions. Lack of speed ended that hope.
Backstreet Bully ran only three times at Ontario’s Fort Erie racetrack in 2008, collecting a victory and two top-10 finishes for $5,333 in winnings. But retirement didn’t dampen his sunny disposition.
“He was so funny, he was such a cutie,” said Stacie Clark, a former jockey and television commentator who runs Stronach’s racehorse retirement program in Aurora.
Stronach launched North America’s first in-house “after care” program for racehorses in 2004, offering his horses for sale so they can go on to a second career. Thoroughbreds are athletic and have other potential such as show jumpers, pleasure riders or companion animals.
Sarah Irving of Grandview Farm, a competitive riding stable in Oro, Ont., visited Adena Springs in the fall of 2008 looking for a gentle teaching horse for her younger students. She settled on Backstreet Bully.
“He was such a sweetheart,” said Irving. She bought Backstreet Bully for $1,050 on Oct. 21, 2008. Irving recalled giving Bully powdered bute in his food whenever he had soreness or inflammation.
Less than a year later, Irving gave Backstreet Bully free to the family of one of her students, confident he was going to a good home with Chris and Karen White at their farm in Apto, near Elmvale, Ont.
Backstreet Bully remained with the Whites for three years, up until three months ago, when the couple decided the horse was not being ridden enough and wanted to find him a home with more grazing pasture. In a tearful interview, Karen White said it was a difficult decision to send their beloved Backstreet Bully away.
They contacted Glen Priest, a veteran Wyebridge horse dealer who said he buys and sells about 3,000 horses in Ontario a year, and asked him to find Backstreet Bully a home with large, grassy fields. Priest arrived at the Whites’ farm on the morning of Jan. 7 this year and said he knew a woman with such a place in nearby Coldwater.
The Whites, who confirmed that Backstreet Bully was given three applications of bute in June 2011, sold the horse to Priest for $100 on the understanding that if the woman in Coldwater didn’t want him, Backstreet Bully would be returned to them. Priest promised to do just that.
Instead, after the unnamed Coldwater woman refused to buy the horse for $150 — he wanted the extra $50 for gas costs — he housed the animal overnight in his barn.
The next morning, Jan. 8, Priest trucked Backstreet Bully to the Ontario Livestock Exchange in St. Jacobs, near Waterloo, where he joined dozens of unwanted horses at the weekly auction.
Priest signed the federal government’s mandatory Equine Information Document — a type of horse passport that must accompany all horses destined for slaughter — and stated that as owner, he had “uninterrupted possession, care and control” of Backstreet Bully for the past six months.
In fact, he had owned him for about 24 hours.
In signing the passport, Priest also attested that Backstreet Bully had been drug free for the past six months and had not been given any “not permitted” substances listed on the government’s website.
Critics of the passport system say the form is confusing and open to misinterpretation or outright fraud.
Priest, who has been in the horse business for more than 40 years, said he rescues and sells horses to good homes. He told the Star he falsely claimed he’d owned Backstreet Bully for six months because “everybody does” this on the horse documents.
Calling himself “the last resort” for people who no longer want their horses, Priest said Backstreet Bully was a bone rack who looked 15, not 9 years old, and that he was doing the Whites a favour by taking the gelding to auction.
Priest said he has sold dozens of horses at auctions over the years without any problem.
“The only mistake I made was the halter shouldn’t have went with that horse. That’s where it all leaked out,” Priest told the Star.
The federal government relies heavily on the accuracy of the passports, which have been in existence since 2010 and are the first line of defence in keeping tainted horse meat from the human food chain. The government does not require owners selling a horse for meat to provide additional medical history such as veterinary records.
Dr. Martin Appelt, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s national veterinary program manager, acknowledged the government relies on an honour system and hopes that the documents are “a reflection of the truth.”
But it’s far from a foolproof system: last year, tainted horse meat from Canada, bound for Belgium, was found to contain traces of two controversial drugs, bute and clenbuterol, the latter on the list of drugs in Canada that are never to be given to animals sold for human food.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency began testing horse meat for bute in 2002. In detecting prohibited veterinary drug residues in meat, there is an overall compliance rate of 96 to 98 per cent, according to an agency spokesperson. Testing is random though a horse or its carcass will be tested if there are red flags or concerns.
The European Union takes a tough stance on many veterinary drugs in human food, including bute and nitrofurazone, for its homegrown horses. Yet the EU will accept Canadian-processed horse meat if the animals’ documents say they were drug free for six months at the time of slaughter.
There is little research on the depletion rate of bute in horses and what level, if any, is safe for consumption.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not monitor provincial auction houses. It has inspectors at the four abattoirs where horses are killed then processed as human food. Two abattoirs are in Quebec, two in Alberta.
Backstreet Bully was sent to Les Viandes de la Petite Nation in Saint-André-Avellin, Que., a 90-minute drive northwest of Montreal. It is the same slaughterhouse that processed the two tainted meat samples bound for Belgium last year.
On Jan. 8, Backstreet Bully was walked through the St. Jacobs sales ring, looking healthy and weighing in at 1,200 pounds, according to thoroughbred owner Mindy Lovell of Cumberland, Ont., who was there that day.
Lovell runs Transitions Thoroughbreds, a non-profit racehorse rescue operation that has saved dozens of horses from slaughter. She’d made herself known that morning to an auction employee, who in turn alerted her to a chestnut thoroughbred in one of the pens.
Lovell tried to bid on the gelding but claims the auctioneer ignored her waving wildly at him. She lost out to a Quebec man named Jonathan Lalonde, who Lovell said purchased Backstreet Bully for 26 cents a pound — about $300. Lalonde is one of a number of people who supply horses to slaughterhouses and are referred to by some as “kill buyers.”
Lalonde said “it’s not really my problem” when informed Priest had falsely signed the horse passport, adding it’s the responsibility of horse owners to ensure their animals are drug free when he buys them.
Lovell said she tried to buy Backstreet Bully from Lalonde. He refused, telling her the horse was “meat only.” Lalonde told the Star he refused because he was respecting the wishes of the owner, Priest, that Backstreet Bully be sold for meat.
Upset, Lovell drove home. She knew the horse’s name. She’d read it on his halter nameplate and wondered about his history. In the early hours of Jan. 9, a computer search revealed Backstreet Bully was once a Stronach horse. She phoned her friend Stacie Clark at Adena Springs around 7:30 a.m.
Clark said that in a phone call just after 8 a.m., she offered to fax the slaughterhouse manager Backstreet Bully’s full drug history, but the offer was rejected. About an hour later, during another call, Clark was told the horse was dead.
Her insistence that the former racehorse had been given bute prompted slaughterhouse staff to conduct a post-mortem drug test.
The slaughterhouse would not reveal the test results, saying it was private information.
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency would not talk to the Star about the Backstreet Bully case.
An email obtained by the Star from Canadian Agriculture and Agri-Food Minister Gerry Ritz to a woman concerned about Backstreet Bully’s fate stated the test was negative for bute. The email does not say if the dead horse was tested for nitrofurazone or other drugs.
What happened to Backstreet Bully’s carcass is a closely guarded secret. Neither the government nor the slaughterhouse owner will say whether the horse’s meat became someone’s dinner somewhere in the world.
Slaughterhouse owner Jordan Harpur refused to answer any questions from the Star regarding how the drug tests were conducted or whether Backstreet Bully’s carcass was released for meat. Harpur also refused to provide Backstreet Bully’s passport.
“Unfortunately, for competitive reasons, we wouldn’t be sharing those documents,” Harpur said.
Thou shalt not post news paper articles to make them appear like you typed them out yourself....
Originally Posted by Mozart
Personally, I think the moderate use of shock collars in training humans should be allowed.
SHOCK - Human Tissue Found in Meats in South Africa
The horse meat fiasco in Europe has prodded scientists to look a bit deeper into what else we might be consuming. A team of South African scientists have just found traces of human tissue in meat meant for public consumption from 9 provinces.
The issue was revealed to parliament, almost as a side note, during meat inspection briefings on Tuesday.
A University of Stellenbosch scientist and his team conducted a microbial analysis that revealed traces of human elements, but said that slaughterhouse workers sometimes cut themselves . . . or other things . . . which could lead to the findings.
" If I walked into a factory and the sample I randomly selected to test was a meat sample of which the person de-boning the meat had just picked his nose and then touched the meat, I would get a totally different microbial reading," he said.
Delicious. Beyond the findings themselves, it brings up the global hot-button topic of the moment: food labeling. How much should we know about what we are consuming?
In addition to the troubling statements above, scientist Louw Hoffman noted that only 15% of the meat being sold in South Africa is correctly labeled, revealing other potentially harmful attributes of which consumers are currently unaware:
"In the labelling regulations it clearly states that allergens have to be mentioned and noted," said Hoffman.
Allergens like . . . other people's genetic signature?
Yet, Hoffman and his team of scientists concluded that the incorrect labeling poses "no threat" to the consumers who eat it, despite some more gems uncovered:
Briefing parliament's portfolio committee on agriculture, forestry and fisheries, University of Western Cape forensic scientist Dr Eugenia D'Amato said nearly 43% of samples she had tested which were labelled as game, were, in fact, beef.
D'Amato said horse meat had also been used as a substitute for springbok in biltong, and pork was found in ostrich sausages.
There was also a smaller proportion of kangaroo in samples.
Despite the overall findings that consumers have absolutely no idea what they are eating - including human remnants - in 85% of the products, SA's Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries deputy director-general downplayed it by asserting that we are not becoming unwitting cannibals:
" It is possible that (if tested) we could find traces of human DNA in meat. However, even if we do find human DNA, it does not mean we are eating human flesh."
Great. Unfortunately, we are evidently eliminating healthy microorganisms in the processing of foods, but since there is an acceptable standard of nasty foreign entities, thanks to our regulatory agencies - we have introduced a variety of contaminants into now weakened guts and immune systems.
We'd like to think that these food scandals are safe from us - overseas, it's their problem. But, big problems are usually systemic and many of the developed nations are on the same platform. As with most food scandals, they go on for years unnoticed before the beans are spilled.
It doesn't sound like anyone's literally being run through the meat grinder just yet, but it's a startling fact that we don't know much about what our food comes into contact with. And we have scientists and regulatory agencies continually asserting how safe our food supply is.
Are you unsettled at the prospect of ingesting someone else's particles and blood? Do you wonder what else will be found when the next scientific investigation is conducted in your country?
Perhaps we should be asking ourselves before each meal, "Hey, who's in there? How'd they get in there? Anyone missing?"
\"Horses lend us the wings we lack\"
I generally don't buy from farmer's markets or small producers because I know how many of them live and what kind of hygiene they have at home.
I rather take my chances with all fresh food, vegetables or meat, that come from commercial processes, well washed and preserved and packed and then at home wash and cook it properly.
Saying that, our digestive system has evolved to handle many contaminants just fine, or humans would have died out long ago.
Now, the legality of selling one produce as another, or contaminated with illegal substances, that is a whole different kettle of produce.
Those laws and regulations are there to insure a MINIMUM standard, but most good companies try very hard to go above and beyond that, not so they don't be caught, but because it is the right way to do business.
Thanks for the try, but I asked for real proof of who is doing the testing and by what means. Labs compete against one another and only a couple are even recognized by the U.S. legal system as legitimate enough to enter a courtroom.
Do you think that posting 4 links to corporations' press releases means anything? Not only that, but you and your rara sisterhood all believe the big 'corporate' processors can't be trusted to run their houses? Then you want to claim that you trust these fly-by-night dna labs that are popping up all over the place? Without double-blind, peer reviewed studies, there will clearly be a crash of all these labs. And the Star is even less reliable than your favorite huffington post!