August 25, 2009
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contacts: Sinikka Crosland
Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
Equine Welfare Alliance
Horse Groups Call on CFIA for Answers on EU Equine Food Safety Requirements
CHICAGO, (EWA), WESTBANK, B.C. (CHDC) - Today, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) and Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) are asking the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) to respond regarding a European Commission requirements letter dated 17 April, 2009 from Paola Testori Coggi, deputy director-general of the Directorate-General for Health and Consumer Protection.
The letter notified affected "third" countries of requirements for equines (horses, donkeys and cross-breds) intended for food production, including the identification of horses intended for food production, a system of identity verification, a prohibition on the use of anabolic steroids and other prohibited drugs, and a minimum 6-month withdrawal period for veterinary medicinal products. The letter stipulates immediate steps required to implement a food safety program for countries supplying horse meat to the European Union.
To date, the CHDC and the EWA have not received a response to their inquiry letter previously sent to Dr. Claude Boissonneault of the CFIA's Red Meat Species Program. Also, the CFIA has yet to make public the news of this pivotal mandate that affects the entire multi-billion dollar horse industry, including horse racing, performance show horses, breeders, rodeo, and all horse owners.
In addition, countries affected must have submitted an Action Plan by this date, yet there has been no indication this has been done. "It is incredible that the CFIA has yet to inform Canadians and Americans alike, about this far-reaching program that will impact the entire horse industry", says Sinikka Crosland of the CHDC. "There are thousands of horses going to slaughter every week in Canada, from both Canada and the U.S. There is presently no tracking or passport system for horses, and many are routinely given a wide range of performance enhancing drugs throughout their lives", added John Holland of EWA. "We see a huge potential for horse welfare concerns, as horses will be held for more than 6 months at transfer stations, without basic care provided and they will not be allowed to administer worming or pain medications to these horses", explained Ms. Crosland.
Due to the immediate obligations affecting the entire horse community, the CHDC, the EWA and their affiliates request that the CFIA respond without delay, and communicate to all horse groups and people affected. Citizens are urged to write to the CFIA, asking for details about this critically important program.
The CHDC is a collective of people and groups working to protect equines from slaughter for human consumption, as well as the export of live horses to other countries for the same purpose.
The EWA is an umbrella organization representing equine welfare organizations, equine rescues and individuals involved in a grass roots effort dedicated to ending the slaughter of American horses.