Package Photos By: Jaime Cowan
In June of 2012, I moved from a small town to Topeka, Kansas. That meant I had to find new, local places to do my regular shopping. I have not eaten meat in almost a year. But I live with my mother and she does eat meat, and for the time being, so do my daughters. But during one of the first visits to the store my mother frequents, I noticed something in the meat cooler that gave me serious cause for concern.
Sent after a pound of hamburger, I found myself shuffling through the packages looking for one that did not read Canada/Mexico on its labeling. Of course the fear of meat imported from Canada and/or Mexico stems from the fear (and paranoia, according to others) that maybe those countries could in some way or another, let the tainted meat of horses they inhumanely slaughter, seep into the meat they prepare and market for export. In my opinion, if a company is killing and selling animals they know have a reputation for containing banned substances, and they sell these products without concern for the potential illnesses their product could cause their consumers, then who can guarantee their honesty in any other regard? The following photos are taken from a Dillon’s store clearly showing the labels for the country of “origin.” “The label shall list all countries contained therein or that may be reasonably contained therein in any order.”
“It’s possible that this package actually contains beef from all three countries, and it might also contain beef from just two countries; perhaps Mexico and Canada. It’s also possible that this package actually contains beef sourced only from Mexico but was produced in a US plant that typically also sources raw materials from Canada and the US for other products. Unfortunately, the consumer still won’t know the country of origin from such a label. Ground beef may be sourced from different countries to be processed in one US plant and the label need only reflect the countries from which the company typically sourced its raw materials for products over the past few months.”
I also found a list of Mexican plants approved to export meat to the United States. Of course, Mexico also slaughters horses and I wonder what guarantees are made to ensure we receive only beef? And if there are any assurances made, are they worth more than the paper they’re printed on?
Here is an explanation of the labeling process and the requirements that are supposed to be met in order for import/export. Of course, as we all are seeing unfold in the UK, these requirements can exist, but there is really no guarantee they are being completely complied with unless every piece of meat is inspected.
When visiting the website of Kroger/Dillon’s we see that there are many links to importation and other info containing product origination that are dead or inactive. This made me even more suspicious. I was unable to find any information with regards to the origin of their meat products other than the most generic information. Plenty of other information is provided though. I believe the origin of products that we eat is very important and should be available for consumers to have access to, especially with the meat scandal actively taking place overseas.
I agree with B.J. Rickard. During his regular live internet broadcast called “Stall13” via his website The World of Horses, he questioned why more people, including the “hot rod information sources” aka big news companies here in the United States, are not questioning the contents of the meat sold on the shelves of grocery stores nationwide. We are obviously accepting meats imported from countries that slaughter horses, so why isn’t the imported meat here being audited or DNA tested? Maybe it is known that if meat is inspected and found to have a trace of any animal other then what is listed, the reputation and reliability of the U.S. meat inspection and food safety would be in shambles. “It is only about money, and nothing else.”
Now that the dangers of horse meat are being discussed in mainstream news articles and brought to everyone’s attention, why is it even a consideration to legalize horse slaughter in the State of Oklahoma (For Export Only)? What kind of government would allow the slaughter, sale and export of a product (animal, pet) that is so dangerous, unregulated and inhumane that consumption of it is not even allowed in its own state? It just further confirms the belief that the government officials suggesting such ideas are nothing other than selfish, irresponsible and dishonest. In my opinion they are recklessly participating in an act of agro-terrorism by slaughtering companion animals for food.
All of my horses have been given prohibited/restricted medications in the last 3 months. They are also given regular dewormers. Any horse that has been given a medication or product from this list is automatically banned from entering the food chain. In October of 2010 and March of 2011, my horse Rhapsody was given Banamine as well as being on a regular deworming schedule. She had multiple drugs in her system, but was illegally and fraudulently sold to a horse auction owner, who in turn sold her to a kill buyer to be shipped to Mexico. Documents were forged and falsified, stating that she had no banned substances in her body. If you are unsure of your stance on horse slaughter, please take the time to read and educate yourself
I am not so concerned for myself, but for the lives of my children, my horses and the rest of the world that places trust in the food system. It takes a special type of idiot to condone the preparation of a food source that they personally do not dare eat. I have sent my faxes and made my phone calls and will continue to do so.
We’ve presented a loud and unified voice in other states, and now we must stop the process taking place in Oklahoma, where slaughter would be legalized for horses both wild and domestic. Please read the following sources of information and take action now! Oppose SB375 and HB1999. Vote NO to Legalizing Horse Slaughter and Horse Meat Consumption in Oklahoma and Vote NO on the Export of Horse Meat to Outside Entities including other U.S. States or Foreign Countries.