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August 7, 2015

Poll Shows Most Mexicans Against Horsemeat Consumption

Humane Society International requested poll following widespread reports of mislabeled horsemeat

Humane Society International

  • Most Mexicans are unwilling to eat horsemeat, oppose meat mislabeling, and support strong supervision to prevent this practice. Jennifer Kunz/HSUS

MEXICO CITY —The majority of Mexicans are opposed to eating horsemeat and would support reforms to ensure that horsemeat is not mislabeled, according to a recent poll by Parametría, one of Mexico’s leading polling agencies. The poll shows that 74 percent of Mexicans have never eaten and would never eat horsemeat, 73 percent would be very upset if they found out they had consumed mislabeled horsemeat, and 96 percent support strong supervision to avoid meat mislabeling in Mexico. Humane Society International, a leading global animal protection charity, requested the poll.  

Mexico is the world’s second largest producer and exporter of equine meat – fresh, refrigerated or frozen- second only to China. Every year, Mexico imports approximately 100,000 American horses for slaughter for human consumption. Many of these animals come into Mexico ill or injured due to the terrible conditions under which they’re shipped.

Anton Aguilar, HSI/Mexico director, said: “This poll makes clear that horsemeat does not belong in Mexico. This is a cruel industry that produces a product that could be dangerous to humans. Most Mexicans are unwilling to eat horsemeat, are against meat mislabeling, and support strong supervision to prevent this practice.”

In 2014, the European Commission implemented a conditional ban of the import of horsemeat from Mexico following a series of audits by the Food and Veterinary Office. The audits consistently identified serious problems with the lack of traceability of horses slaughtered for EU export with origins in the U.S. and Mexico, particularly regarding veterinary medical treatment records. Switzerland also joined the EU in suspending horsemeat imports from Mexico due to food safety concerns.

Horses are simply not bred to be eaten in either the U.S. or Mexico. The use of veterinary drugs that are banned for use in food animals is widespread in the horsemeat industry, and mandatory lifetime medical record-keeping is non-existent in both countries.

After the EU suspension came into force in 2015, a number of press articles have been published in Mexico reporting meat mislabeling practices in Aguascalientes, Chihuahua, Durango, Veracruz and Zacatecas, where horse meat would be sold unlabeled or mislabeled. Furthermore, and worryingly, a number of local health officials in Coahuila and Durango have made public calls for people to consume horsemeat even though the majority of those horses may have been treated with substances that are banned for use in animals used for human consumption.

For the poll, 800 Mexicans were surveyed between 25 and 29 July, 2015. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

Media contact: Raúl Arce-Contreras, 301-721-6440, rcontreras@humanesociety.org  

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