Canada stops accepting U.S. horses for slaughter

By Glenye Cain Oakford

Racing Daily Form

The United States market for slaughter horses was thrown into confusion Friday after slaughterhouses in Canada appeared to have closed their doors abruptly to U.S. horses, according to slaughter buyers, lower-market horse dealers, and the auctions they frequent.

U.S. horse auction officials said that the situation remained unclear, but it appeared the sudden closure might also apply to Mexico and could be related to European Union concerns over U.S. slaughter horses’ medication histories and veterinary documentation. As of late Friday night, slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico had not issued statements regarding their policies on U.S. equine imports, leaving auctioneers and slaughter buyers across the U.S. in limbo as auction houses canceled or postponed sales.

“We canceled upon hearing from some of our buyers that they would not be on the market because they would not be accepting horses into Canada,” said one Western auctioneer who did not want to be identified because he was concerned there could be public backlash against the auction house with which he is affiliated. “Nobody really knows right now if it’s coming from the Canadian government, the EU, or the packing plants.”

“They don’t want our horses, because they can’t ship the meat overseas,” another auction operator said.

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