The following guest post is by DugDug staff writer Ting Pen. DugDug is a website and blog for pet owners. The interview with Dr. Anthony Blikslager, a professor of equine surgery and gastroenterology with NC State’s College of Veterinary Medicine, originally appeared on the DugDug blog.
Another one of the top three urgent issues identified in the American Horse Publications survey is the absence of slaughter options, which is noted by 13% of participants. The last three processing plants in the nation were shut in 2007 in Texas and Illinois after the United States Department of Agriculture ceased horse meat inspections. As a result, horses were transported to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption. Preliminary 2012 records from the Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the agricultural ministry in Canada, indicate that the largest export market for horse meat is Belgium, followed by France and Japan.
The main concern with consuming horse meat would be the transfer of drugs, namely, phenylbutazone. Phenylbutazone, also known as bute, is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug used on horses that is similar to aspirin or ibuprofen. According to Dr. Blikslager, such drug residues in meat may become dangerous for humans if consumed for long enough. Fortunately for us, “In the beef industry, meat is regularly tested for drug residues. The United States does not import beef from any of the European countries involved in the horse meat scandal. Nevertheless, consumers should pay close attention to news releases from trusted sources such as the United States Department of Agriculture.”
More information on the 2012 Equine Industry Survey can be found at the American Horse Publications website.