• France's news in English

Horsemeat from US is a 'health risk' to French

AFP/The Local · 13 Mar 2014, 13:49

Published: 13 Mar 2014 13:49 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Horses from the United States, Canada and other countries in the region whose meat is sold in France for human consumption pose a health risk and are often cruelly treated, a leading animal rights group said on Thursday.

L214, which derives its name from an article in a 1976 French law that stipulates that animals have to be kept properly and in healthy conditions, said the conclusions followed a wide-reaching, two-year investigation launched in 2012.

Horses from the US, Canada, Mexico, Uruguay and Argentina destined for human consumption were found to be emaciated, sick, injured or had been administered strong doses of anti-inflammatory medicines, according to the findings.

Using secret cameras, the probes were conducted at horse auctions, in export enclosures, at veterinary checkpoints, feedlots and abattoirs.

In a video posted on L214's website, horses are seen with open gashes, dislocated or broken legs, and left without treatment in feedlots.

Some are visibly dead and in a state of decomposition, in enclosures or in transport trucks, with other horses squeezed around them. 

"Apart from the unacceptable treatment of the horses, the use of phenylbutazone or other dangerous substances banned in the European Union is common," said L214's Brigitte Gothiere.

The drug, commonly referred to as bute, is used to alleviate pain in horses that are not destined for human consumption. It was originally also given to humans to treat rheumatoid arthritis and gout but was found to cause irreversible liver damage when combined even in small doses with other human painkillers.

The drug is no longer approved for human use in the European Union and United States.

Twelve French dishes expats can't stomach

The revelations follow a Europe-wide health scare last year when horsemeat was found in millions of ready meals labelled as containing only beef.

Story continues below…

The group called Thursday upon leading supermarket chains to shun horsemeat coming from the Americas to put an end to the "cruel and illegal treatment" of
the animals.

It carried out the study in conjunction with other animal lobby groups including Switzerland's Tierschutzbund-Zurich, Animals Angels' USA, Belgium's GAIA and Eyes on Animals in the Netherlands.

According to the groups, 82,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada in 2012 for human consumption. About 70 percent of them were imported from the United States, where horse abattoirs were closed down in 2007.

France, meanwhile, imported 16,900 tonnes of horsemeat in 2012, mainly from Canada, Belgium, Argentina, Mexico and Uruguay -- many of the countries featured in the investigation.

AFP/The Local (joshua.melvin@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
France given wake up call as it bids for Brexit business
The business district 'La Defense' in Paris. Photo: AFP

France clearly has some work to do if it really wants to pinch business from the UK post-Brexit.

Mouth fun? French words you just can't translate literally
Do you know the French word for throat-support? Photo: AFP

Word of warning: Don't translate French literally.

How France plans to help its stressed-out police force
Yellow smoke rises around French police officers in Paris holding a banner reading "Solidarity with our colleagues, police angry". All photos: AFP

Could these measures stop the cops from protesting?

'3,000 migrants dispersed' after 'Jungle' clearance
Photo: AFP

While thousands of migrants have been bussed out around France, new ones are arriving all the time and thousands of others have simply been dispersed aid agencies say.

Fifteen of the most bizarre laws in France
Photo: Matthew Powell/Flickr

A must read for anyone who wants to stay on the right side of the law in France.

Medieval town in south of France upholds ban on UFOs
The town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Photo: Aa77zz/Flickr

Aliens take note.

American tourist dies at French Riviera sex club
The Riviera resort of Cannes. Photo: AFP

American tourist reportedly fell five floors after being pushed outside the underground sex club in Cannes.

Paris: 'Flying' water taxis to be tested on River Seine
Photo: SeaBubbles

An in Seine idea surely? But tests will go ahead.

France joins fight for rich pickings from post-Brexit UK
Photo: AFP/DcnH/Flickr

France tries to woo EU's bank regulator and other agencies.

How speaking French can really mess up your English
Photo: CollegeDegree360/Flickr

So you've mastered French, but now it's time to learn English all over again.

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available