EU Ban Affects Slaughter Industry

An ongoing struggle between the European Union (EU) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) over the importation of U.S. beef containing growth hormones has, in turn, brought the U.S. slaughter horse industry to a halt.

The EU issued a declaration that as of Feb. 15, 2000, no beef, pork, chicken, or horse meat will be accepted from the United States. The deciding factor involved U.S. beef, which was guaranteed to be free of growth hormones. Shipments of meat were tested independently by the EU and found to contain the hormones. The beef, pork, and chicken meat industries will see a slight decrease in their production, but since their prime market is in the United States, they will continue prodution with little effect. The only market for horse meat, however, is Europe, so the slaughter horse facilities have shut their doors until the matter is resolved. While there is demand for horse meat in Japan, the volume is notsufficent to keep the United States slaughter plants operating.

Horses are not fed growth hormones, so the slaughter horse industry is affected as a bystander in the political war between the USDA and the EU. In the meantime, Fort Macleod in Alberta, Canada, reportedly will receive a greater flow of horses bound for slaughter, but it is unlikely that the plant will be able to handle the entire overflow of the three United States plants, two of which are in Texas and the other in Nebraska.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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