I received a copy of the following press release in my inbox last week. There is information in it that I thought UHP folks might find interesting. I haven’t seen any press about it elsewhere. As you may know, appropriations bills passed last week without the restriction on funding USDA inspections at horse meat processing facilities. What that means is that horse slaughter for human consumption is now possible in the U.S. Several states are considering opening horse processing plants. So, all the concerns about humane transport (which exist regardless of whether slaughterhouses are domestic or international), humane slaughter methods and suitability of U.S.-sourced horse meat for human consumption are back at the forefront of the slaughter debate. Those who are opposed to horse slaughter will doubtless continue the fight to ban it in the U.S., but for the moment at least, horse slaughter and meat processing for human consumption is possible.**
Enter the new International Equine Business Association (IBEA). Make no mistake, this association is being formed by the groups who are promoting horse processing for human consumption. That said, there are some interesting proposals in the following press release which, if implemented and done well, would be useful initiatives.
IMHO, given that the organizers are operating with a profit motive, I’m skeptical about an industry’s ability to self-police. Still I think the initiatives outlined below have merit. What do you think?
Press Release from United Horsemen:
For Immediate Release
International Equine Associations Align with a Common Purpose
Following a series of meetings and discussions which began at the Summit of the Horse in Las Vegas, Nevada, in January, 2011, and culminated with a very productive live demonstration and documentation of technological systems at the Lindsay Livestock Auction in Lindsay, Ontario, Canada,- organizers are looking forward to forming an “International Equine Business Association” (IEBA).The Horse Welfare Alliance of Canada and United Horsemen of the United States share a common goal to mutually protect the welfare of the horse, strengthen the international horse industry, and to promote the use of horses and equine products in commercial enterprises.
The goal is to form an international and independent association that will be a separate and distinct “business” entity to deliver benefits to the entire equine industry. The mission will complement the ongoing nonprofit educational and charitable purposes of the respective existing organizations in both countries.
The proposed structure of the Association will have divisions to facilitate services and support to segments of the horse industry including but not limited to: Breed Registries and Stud Books; Sport, Performance, and Pleasure Horse Organizations; and Equine Harvest Businesses where horses are used as food, dairy, leather, and by-product production animals.
Initial services provided by the Association to all segments of the horse industry may include agnostic technological solutions that integrate with existing legacy systems to seamlessly provide enhanced capabilities such as DNA and other forms of permanent identification and traceability, veterinary records, show and performance records, and optional enrollment in the IEBA Do Not Slaughter Registry (DNS). DNS Registry enrollment may be available through participating breed registries and organizations, as well as directly from the IEBA.
To provide these services the IEBA has contracted with Animal ID Solutions Inc., a Canadian company with operations in the United States. The Association will utilize Animal ID Solution’s Global Animal Identification Network (G.A.I.N.) with data centres in Illinois, USA, and Ontario, Canada, to house, manage and maintain IEBA databases. Other innovative and cutting edge technological solutions with potential to add value and convenience to all sectors of the horse industry are currently being studied for development.
The Do Not Slaughter Registry is an important initiative that will be developed as a safeguard to ensure that no horse is mistakenly or illegally slaughtered against an owner or registrant’s wishes. In simplest terms, IEBA will have agreements with horse meat processors to scan every horse for permanent identification before purchasing, and if the horse is in the DNS registry, the registrant is notified that the horse has been presented for sale to slaughter. This provides the registrant with the opportunity to pay all costs, make arrangements, and recover the horse. If a horse already enrolled in the DNS registry is stolen, an alert “Do Not Slaughter – STOLEN – contact law enforcement” alert will appear on any scanning device used by horse buyers, sale barns, plant personnel, or anyone else with reason to scan the horse for ID and tracability.
Initial services provided to the horse harvesting industry may include the comprehensive Equine Quality Assurance Program (EQAP)–an industry driven and policed humane handling and food safety and quality control program–that builds on efforts such as the Recommended Handling Guidelines and Animal Welfare Assessment Tool for Horses, in developing certification programs for horse purchasing protocols, equine transportation, management and audit tools and systems for monitoring both the humane handling of horses at processing, and food safety concerns. The system uses permanent identification of live horses, and traceability of carcasses that include scientifically sound and rigorously enforced third party laboratory testing protocols to ensure the highest quality, verified safe, and pure products to the end consumer.
IEBA could also be in a position to provide comprehensive facilitation services to businesses seeking to start, or improve equine enterprises, particularly those businesses seeking to operate in any aspect of the horse harvesting chain such as feed lots.
Included in the initial rollout of benefits to U.S. residents is the provision of a legal defense network of attorneys and counselors expert in animal and agricultural law. Legal defense services are provided through a contract with the Cavalry Group. The Cavalry Group provides legal defense from: Unreasonable searches of your farm, ranch, or animal related business; seizure of your animals or property; fines or fees associated with false claims of animal abuse or neglect; destruction of property by animal rights activists; and other various assaults on your animal enterprise and business.
Cavalry Group legal defence includes 24/7 emergency legal assistance and in some cases, may cover the entire cost of dealing with insured events.
In addition, the IEBA could facilitate industry services such as government relations and public relations; market development, market analysis and reporting; research and development; equine enterprise consulting including facility and equipment design; and more.
The first annual meeting of the IEBA will occur on May 29, 2012 in conjunction with the Second International Summit of the Horse in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on May 26-29, 2012.
For more information, to get on a list to receive updates as the IEBA moves through the formation process, or to become a charter member of the Association contact the initial co-chairs at the email addresses and phone numbers listed.
Bill desBarres (CA) firstname.lastname@example.org 403 529 7237 or 888 303 1070
Sue Wallis (U.S.) email@example.com 307 685 8248 or 307 680 8515
** The Unwanted Horse Project does not take a stand on the issue of horse slaughter, as our group includes parties with strong opinions on both sides of the issue. Our goal is to focus on addressing the problem of unwanted horses in Maryland, educate about the issues and share information, and build consensus across the MD horse industry about how to do what’s best for Maryland’s horses.