Front Range Equine Rescue and The Humane Society of the United States filed a legal petition with the Iowa Department of Inspection and Appeals requesting that it adopt a rule that renders horse meat "adulterated" as a matter of law, which would ban the sale of horsemeat for human consumption.
The petition explains that horses are different than other animals we eat because Americans do not raise horses as food animals, and American horses are treated routinely with many drugs and harmful chemicals prohibited from use in animals who will be eaten, and because of that their meat is unsafe for consumers.
These substances to which virtually all American horses have been exposed create the potential for great danger to humans if they are eaten, including cancer, life-threatening autoimmune diseases, and other illnesses of significant proportion. The petition establishes that the only way to protect the food supply and the consuming public is for the Department to declare horse meat to be adulterated, unless the horse meat producers can prove that the horses never received substances prohibited for use in food animals. This is of great concern since the chance for cross-contamination of beef with horse meat has been a
regular topic of news in Europe, where horses are currently consumed for food.
Hilary Wood, President of Front Range Equine Rescue, states: "The array of drugs that we give our horses while caring for them also makes their meat unfit for consumption. Horse slaughter not only floods the market with dangerous meat but it directly causes horrendous cruelty and perpetuates the problems of horse abuse, problems for which we have workable and humane solutions. The killer-buyers and horse slaughterhouses have no care about the danger of the meat, or the suffering of the animals. On food safety and every other level, it is a bad business."
Carol Griglione, Iowa state director for The HSUS, said: "Slaughtering horses for human consumption is inhumane for horses and creates an unacceptable public health risk. The only way to safeguard the food supply is to prevent this grisly practice from resuming in the United States."
The request to the Iowa Department comes in the wake of the federal government’s announcement that it is considering applications from horse slaughterhouses anxious to open, including Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa.