As it is written in the formal decision by the European Commission, Mexico will only be able to ship horsemeat to the EU until January 15, 2015. The ban will then go into effect, but the horsemeat shipped until that date can still be sold within the EU until March 1, 2015. However, Mexico will be able to continue importing horses and exporting their meat to other countries – for example Russia and Japan. This ban is expected to decrease the trade significantly.
With regards to Canada, as far as sources know, no formal decision has yet been taken, however, the EU is considering restricting trade. To quote a statement from Michael Scannell, director of the EU Food and Veterinary Office (FVO), made at the EU Parliament’s Intergroup meeting on November 27th,
“We are not happy with the progress that has been made in certain cases, so very recently, following some very difficult negotiations with the Mexican authorities in particular, we are now very close to taking a formal decision to ban imports of horse meat from Mexico. We are also very close to imposing stricter conditions into the so-called six month rule in Canada. So, in both cases, this will make it a lot more difficult – impossible in the case of Mexico, difficult in the case of Canada – to continue importing horses from the United States for subsequent export of horse meat to the European Union.”
On the homepage of the EU Parliament’s Intergroup, you can download the presentation Tierschutzbund Zurich’s Sabrina Gurtner presented (including footage) as well as the 306th session recordings. You can listen to Scannell’s complete statement here.
The CHDC is concerned that the EU’s Mexican horsemeat ban will mean more live shipments from the US to Canada, as kill buyers will look northward to continue their business. Also, as trade restrictions for Canada are implemented, US horses may be required to stay in Canadian feedlots, where they will be housed for 6 months, to meet EU requirements for Canadian horsemeat. Until now, there is no obligation that US horses stay in Canada – they can ship directly to slaughter. As we’ve previously reported, conditions on feedlots here are not up to humane standards, and increasing populations in them will only make conditions worse.
The decision regarding Canada is expected to be announced in the coming weeks.
Click here to view a video showing draft horses going from a feedlot to Calgary airport for transport to Japan for slaughter.
Below is a report showing the Alberta feedlots where the majority of these Japan bound draft horses come from: