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Atamanenko chooses horse slaughter bill for debate

BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko - File
BC Southern Interior MP Alex Atamanenko
— image credit: File

OTTAWA –Alex Atamanenko, MP (BC southern Interior) will soon have his turn to debate one of his Private Members Bill in the House of Commons.  “I have just notified the House of Commons that I will be moving forward with my newly introduced Bill C-571 which will impose certain limits on the horse slaughter industry,” stated the BC MP.

Atamanenko had intended to proceed with his bill C-322 but it had become increasingly apparent that the bill did not have the parliamentary support to survive the vote at second reading. Furthermore a legal analysis revealed that there could be a legislative conflict with the government’s new Safe Food for Canadians Act which was not an issue when the bill was originally drafted.

The BC MP says that C-571 will still prohibit the vast majority of horses from being sent to slaughter.  “In the hopes of gaining parliamentary support, an exception was provided only for those horses that are raised primarily for human consumption and are accompanied by a complete lifetime medical history,” stated Atamanenko. “I hope that the thousands of Canadians who have stood behind Bill C-322 will soon get behind the new bill.”

Atamanenko has long been a vocal opponent of the current industry practice of obtaining horses from auction houses across Canada and the US that were never raised in accordance with health and safety regulations required of all other food animals. “The fact is that drugs with no known safe limits and are prohibited for use at any time in the lifetime of food animals are regularly administered to horses,” declared the BC MP.

According to Atamanenko, well over 50 per cent of the horses being slaughtered, are being imported from the US where slaughter is prohibited. The US is not permitted to sell horsemeat directly into the EU, Canada’s primary market for horsemeat. “It is inexplicable that the EU would allow horsemeat from US horses to enter via Canada.”

Under pressure from the European Union (EU), Canada introduced the Equine Identity Document (EID) system which links a horse, including those arriving from the US, to its medical history for the six months prior to slaughter.  “This is clearly an inadequate timeframe given the extent and nature of the drugs being commonly administered to horses,” noted Atamanenko.

“The EID system is fraught with loopholes and a far cry from what is needed to prevent the slaughter of horses as a food animal when they may well be toxic for human consumption,” concluded Atamanenko. “C-571 will effectively exclude the general population of horses from being considered eligible as a food animal and that is as it should be.”

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