As of July 31,2010 the Canadi an Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) initiated new rules and regulations before a horse can be sent for slaughter. These new measures were in response to the European Commission’s directive for identification and traceability of horses intended for human consumption.
All horses presented for slaughter at a federally inspected processing facility will require an ownersigned declaration called an EID (Equine Information Document). The EID is a three-part document. It includes written and/or photographic identification of each horse and a comprehensive medical record detailing any illnesses, drugs and/ or treatments the horses had received during the preceding six-month period. The third section is a signed declaration of the owner to ensure that the information provided is accurate.
Regulations for drug use are categorized into three sections. The first category is drugs not permitted for use in equine slaughtered for food, and includes the likes of phenylbutazone (bute), clenbuterol and/or Ventipulmin, and anabolic steroids.
The second category lists commonly used “essential” veterinary drugs for which an acceptable six-month withdrawal period is required. This category is composed of drugs used within a clinic environment and are usually administered by a veterinarian. However it is noteworthy that a commonly used sedative, acepromazine and/or Atravet falls in this category. Chondroitin sulphate, a popular nutraceutical substance, is named in this second category as well as a commonly used ointment, Panalog.
The third category of usage contains a list of drugs that are safe to be administered to equine intended for food production and have recognized withdrawal intervals. Withdrawal periods are defined as the minimum time that must pass between drug administration and clearance of the animal for slaughter and human consumption. This category includes many commonly used antibiotics, parasiticides, and tranquilizers. For example ivermectin, a commonly used parasiticide, has a recognized withdrawal period of 28 days.
The list of medications and substances in each category is extensive and can be found on the CFIA website www.inspection.gc.ca/english/fssa/meavia/man/ch17/annexee.
shtml. Informat ion on important changes for horse owners is also available on the CFIA website www.inspection.gc.ca/english/corpaffr/newcom/2010/20100129e. shtml.
These websites are very helpful in assisting in interpretation, and will be updated periodically as these listings are subject to ongoing review, clarification and modification.
The CFIA equine traceability program is strictly voluntary. It is not mandatory for horse owners to keep track of illnesses and medications used. However, in the event that a horse becomes unwanted, to keep the salvage value option as high as possible, owners will want to record all vaccines, medications, and illnesses their animals have had. The Equine Information Document assists the horse owner in collecting all the necessary information to meet a comprehensive food safety and traceability program for the equine industry.