Groups Ask FDA to Prevent Companion Horse Processing

The Front Range Equine Rescue and Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) have filed a legal petition asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent the processing for human consumption of former companion, working, competition, or wild horses. The groups seek the ban on grounds that other drugs administered to these horses during their lifetimes make meat products derived from the animals an illegal public health threat under the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

The petition, filed on March 27, cites more than 110 examples of substances routinely administered to horses as drugs or medications that the groups believe "are or should be prohibited in food-producing horses."

"Horses are treated with many different drugs throughout their lives because horse owners don't expect they could end up as meat," said Hilary Wood, president of the Larkspur, Colo.-based Front Range Equine Rescue

Laura Alvey, FDA spokeswoman, confirmed that the agency had received the petition, but declined further comment.

"The FDA does not comment on pending citizen petitions," Alvey said.

Sue Wallis, chief executive officer of Unified Equine (a company planning to establish a horse processing plant in Missouri), called the petition "meaningless."

"The U.S. has long-standing and very science-based and solid systems to ensure that no animal is processed that has any substance determined by science to be detrimental to humans in them," Wallis said. "We can find not a single case of a human becoming sick as the result of eating meat from any animal that had drug residue in it."

Alvey said the petition will soon be available for public view on the FDA website www.fda.gov.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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