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June 1, 2016

Campaigners Seek Investigation into Quebec Horse Slaughter Plant

Humane Society International/Canada campaigners make a complaint against Viande Richelieu’s claims

Humane Society International/Canada

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In a formal complaint made against Viande Richelieu, a horse slaughter facility located in Massueville, Quebec, campaigners with Humane Society International/Canada are requesting an investigation into the company’s claims concerning the source, quality and safety of its horsemeat products. The complaint was prepared in collaboration with attorneys at The Humane Society of the United States and has been submitted to the Competition Bureau of Canada and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.

Ewa Demianowicz, campaign manager for Humane Society International/Canada, issued the following statement:

“We believe that Viande Richelieu is making false and misleading claims with regard to the horsemeat they are selling. Viande Richelieu simply cannot guarantee that the horses they slaughter have not been treated with substances that are prohibited for administration to horses who end up in the food chain. Nor can the facility honestly claim to have tracked its horses ‘from the farm to the shelf,’ since there is also no reliable system in place to track the ownership histories of these horses.

Not only is it shameful that Viande Richelieu is allowed to sell horsemeat potentially containing residues that may be dangerous or even fatal to humans who ingest them, but the company is also misleading its consumers, in Canada and abroad, by making claims that are not and cannot be met in reality.”

Support the efforts of HSI/Canada to prevent cruelty and save lives.

Facts:

  • The majority of horses slaughtered in Canadian slaughterhouses, including at the Viande Richelieu facility, originate from the United States. American horses have never been raised for human consumption. As Americans view horses as companion and work animals, horses are frequently treated with veterinary drugs throughout their lives that have been prohibited - both in the U.S. and other countries - for use in food producing animals. Residues from those substances may be dangerous or even fatal to humans who ingest them, regardless of when the horses were exposed to the substances.
  • The European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office released an audit report raising serious concerns about the reliability of controls on horses slaughtered in Canada for export of horsemeat to the EU. Amongst other things, the audit confirmed that it cannot be guaranteed that horses, particularly those exported from the US, have not been treated with illegal substances during the six months prior to slaughter.

Media contact: Christopher Paré, 514 395-2914, cpare@hsi.org

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