I originally posted this in the Mexico News and Discussion thread. It occurred to me that a lot of people interested in the future of animals such as horses might not be interested in Mexico, so it is also worth while to post this article in this thread as well.
Time to Ban Horsemeat Trade in All of North America, as Investigation in Mexico Uncovers Horse Sold as Beef
(Alternet) Mexico is forging ahead on animal protection. Earlier this year, its Congress made dogfighting a felony throughout the nation. Mexico City adopted an extraordinary charter on animal protection. A number of major food retailers in Mexico have said they will change their purchasing practices to stop buying eggs and pork from operations that confine hens and pigs in small confinement cages and crates. Our Humane Society International/Mexico office and partner organizations are working hard to keep this important and strategic country trending in the right direction and to also crack down on other abuses of animals.
One of those abuses involves the slaughter of horses for human consumption. A new study in six Mexican cities has found horsemeat in nearly 10 percent of meat products that are being sold as beef or that are not clearly labeled. The samples of meat were collected from common vending points, including butcher shops, supermarkets, street markets, and street stalls.
The study, commissioned by HSI and conducted by researchers at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, also found high levels of a veterinary drug commonly prescribed for horses, clenbuterol, in some raw meat samples. Clenbuterol is not approved for food-producing animals, and can be harmful to humans.
The researchers collected 433 samples of cooked and uncooked meat from an assortment of vendors across Mexico, of which nearly 10 percent tested positive for horsemeat. Samples were collected in six cities: Aguascalientes, Zacatecas, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Pachuca, and San Vicente Chicoloapan. The samples included four types of meat samples (ground meat, regular tacos, crispy tacos, and thin steaks [bistec]) and were either unlabeled or labeled as beef. The samples that tested positive for horsemeat were obtained at informal selling points such as street stalls and markets, and most vendors appeared to be unaware that there was horsemeat in the products they were selling.
Mexico is the second largest horsemeat producer in the world, after China. According to the Mexican Ministry of Trade, between January and August 2017, Mexico exported almost 1,500 tons of horsemeat, worth more than $4 million, to Japan, Russia, and Vietnam.
Rescued horses at the Duchess Sanctuary.
Photo Credit: Jennifer Kunz/The HSUS
So all this raises the question: what will be the future of horses?
Ownership and maintenance seem to be an increasingly middle class function. It is alarming that the price of horses is such that some see a higher profit to be made in using them as a meat source. There is also the question of how much grazing land will be allowed for horses in the future. Will land become such an expensive commodity that allowing it for just grazing will not be an economically efficient enough use?