An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption)

This bill was last introduced in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session, which ended in August 2015.

This bill was previously introduced in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session.

Sponsor

Alex Atamanenko  NDP

Introduced as a private member’s bill. (These don’t often become law.)

Status

Introduced, as of Oct. 16, 2013
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act to prohibit the importation or exportation

(a) of horses for slaughter for human consumption; and

(b) of horse meat products for human consumption.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Meat Inspection ActPrivate Members' Business

May 13th, 2014 / 6:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Mark Eyking Liberal Sydney—Victoria, NS

Mr. Speaker, I rise to speak to Bill C-571, An Act to amend the Meat Inspection Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act.

I will begin by stating that the Liberal Party supports this bill. I would also like to recognize and thank all those who have written letters and shared their thoughts and concerns with me about this piece of legislation. I have heard from many of our American neighbours who also want to see this bill enacted.

Bill C-571 amends the Meat Inspection Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act to ensure that any horse slaughtered for human consumption has a medical record containing all treatments over the course of its lifetime.

There are serious health concerns regarding horsemeat that may contain harmful substances if that horse was not raised primarily for human consumption. Horses sent for slaughter come from various backgrounds, and because they are not raised as food animals, they often receive medications that are banned from the food chain.

Currently, record keeping for horses bred and raised in Canada or the United States is not mandatory. The transfer of information regarding the substances a horse has received is not required when that animal is sold. This bill seeks to provide a reliable system for recording medications given to horses throughout their entire lifespans to prevent forbidden substances often found in horsemeat from entering our food chain.

Before we came here to vote tonight, I spoke to the member for British Columbia Southern Interior, who introduced a similar piece of legislation last year, Bill C-322, which did not have the parliamentary support needed to withstand a vote at second reading. Bill C-322 would have prohibited the transportation, import, or export of horses or horsemeat for human consumption altogether.

This new draft, Bill C-571, is an extension of the previous bill, which now provides for an exemption to that prohibition. Only horses raised primarily for human consumption that are accompanied by a complete medical history will be transported for slaughter for meat. This expansion of Bill C-322 better confirms the trade regulations and would fulfill Canada's food safety requirements.

Most Canadians do not realize how much horsemeat we sell all over the world. In 2013, more than 72,000 horses were slaughtered in Canada. That is nearly 1,400 killed each week. It is important to reiterate that Canada has a horsemeat industry worth $19 million, 85% of which is for export, and employs 500 Canadians. We do not want to take any livelihoods away from the people who make a living from it.

The U.S. eradication of its horsemeat industry in 2007 now leaves only two countries in North America that use horses for slaughter, Mexico and us. There are only five processing plants across Canada. Two are in Quebec, two are in Alberta, and one is in British Columbia.

While the consumption of horsemeat is not very popular with Canadians, there is a growing interest in Quebec, where it is often sold in supermarkets. Horsemeat is also eaten in many other countries around the world, over 15 that we export to, including France, Russia, all the “stans” in the Russian orbit, China, and Italy.

I believe that this bill achieves the necessary boundaries to sustain the horsemeat processing sector while respecting those who choose to incorporate this type of meat into their diets.

Bill C-571 proposes that we continue with this industry and that we breed horses the way we breed other livestock, such as cows and pigs, to ensure that these animals are not injected with chemicals that might hurt the food chain, because the rest of the animals in our livestock industry are not. These animals would not be injected or fed anything that would render the meat unsafe. All the bill is saying is that there needs to be some sort of assurance so that we do not endanger human health.

Some argue that this is an overly emotional debate. It is not, actually. There is a lot of evidence showing that horses not bred for slaughter carry medications that could harm people. A couple of years ago, Belgium authorities notified the European Commission about the reported presence of two forbidden substances in horsemeat imported from Canada.

The whole issue of the humane treatment of horses sent to slaughterhouses is another issue, but it is important to address it here.

I am a horse owner. My parents were from the Netherlands in Europe, and horsemeat was a staple of their diet. Sometimes it can be emotional for me also, but it is an industry, and it is very important.

We also have to address how we treat these animals before they are slaughtered. There have been many documented cases of cruelty and neglect in Canadian slaughterhouses. The larger issue is that when these great creatures are with us, they should be treated in an humane manner, which is not currently the case in many instances. The reality is that our current transportation regulations for horses are poor, allowing for horses to be transported for up to 36 hours, without food, water, or rest, in confined trailers.

Bill C-571 would impose certain limits on the horse slaughter industry that did not exist before. The main objective is to have safer horsemeat to export around the world. The legislation will help modernize regulations in the horsemeat processing sector in terms of food safety. It may also pave the way to adjusting the transportation of these animals when they are sent to slaughter for human consumption.

In conclusion, as the agriculture critic, I believe that Bill C-571 is a step in the right direction. The question today is not whether we should we be using horsemeat or disposing of horses in this way. The question today is whether horsemeat is safe. We have to make sure that it is safe and that there are no chemicals or medications in the meat when we sell it or consume it ourselves in this country.

The bill is a step in the right direction for maintaining and improving the horsemeat processing sector in Canada, which is still a big industry. We support the bill.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 30th, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second petition is in support of my bill, Bill C-571 that comes under here as Bill C-322 to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 31st, 2014 / 3:25 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise this afternoon to present three petitions.

The first petition is relevant to the private members' business of earlier today. I thank the hon. member for British Columbia Southern Interior for his work to bring forward Bill C-322, An Act to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act (slaughter of horses for human consumption), to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption.

I certainly hope that other members will consider this bill carefully.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 28th, 2014 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to present two petitions.

The first petition is in support of the bill I introduced in the House, Bill C-322, which would amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption and horse meat products for human consumption.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

March 5th, 2014 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last but not least petition is in support of my Bill C-322 to prohibit the importation and exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

February 28th, 2014 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, in my second petition there are hundreds of names from B.C., Ontario, and Quebec in support of my Bill C-322, an act to prohibit the exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption, mainly because horses are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited in the food chain and, thus, people would like us to support this bill.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

January 29th, 2014 / 3:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have over a thousand names of people from Ontario, B.C., and Alberta, who are in support of my Bill C-322 to end horse slaughter in Canada. Petitioners point out that horses are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used at any time to food producing animals destined for human supply. Petitioners would like to see the bill enacted.

Meat Inspection ActRoutine Proceedings

January 29th, 2014 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-571, An Act to amend the Meat Inspection Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Act (slaughter of equines for human consumption).

Mr. Speaker, the bill I am proposing would prohibit the sending or conveying from one province to another, or the importing or exporting of horses or other equines for slaughter for human consumption, or the production of meat products for human consumption.

However, it also provides for an exception to that prohibition. That exception is that if the horses or other equines are raised primarily for human consumption and if the horse is accompanied by a medical record that contains its standardized description and a complete lifetime record in chronological order of medical treatment then this meat would then be acceptable.

We do not have a system that has stringent regulations right now, and in the name of food safety, the bill fits in with the new Safe Food for Canadians Act. It is an expansion of Bill C-322. It conforms with trade regulations and it tightens up the whole aspect of food safety.

I would urge all members of the House to support the bill, especially all of those hundreds of thousands of people who supported Bill C-322.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

November 27th, 2013 / 3:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two sets of petitions with hundreds of names from Hamilton and Brampton, Ontario, and Courtney and Comox, British Columbia. The petitioners are in support of my bill, Bill C-322, saying that horses are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used at any time in all other food processing animals destined for the human food supply and that they are being sold for human consumption in domestic and international markets.

They call on Parliament to adopt legislation based on Bill C-322 to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 31st, 2013 / 12:20 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is a set of hundreds of petitions that add to the thousands already in support of my Bill C-322 and the fact that horses are ordinarily kept and treated as sport and companion animals, are not raised as food-processing animals, and are given strictly prohibited drugs throughout the course of their lifetimes.

The petitioners are calling upon Parliament to amend the Health of Animals Act and Meat Inspection Act and to prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.

Health of Animals ActPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 30th, 2013 / 3:15 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the second series of petitions deals with my Bill C-322. Folks are saying that because horses are commonly administered drugs that are strictly prohibited from being used, at any time, in all other food processing of animals destined for human supply, and because horsemeat products generally being sold for human consumption in domestic and international markets are likely to contain these prohibited substances, they call upon the government to enact Bill C-322, which would prohibit the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as of horsemeat products for human consumption.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

October 18th, 2013 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have over 2,000 names here in support of my private member's Bill C-322 in regard to horse slaughter. Petitioners are calling for a prohibition on the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.

These names come from Ontario, British Columbia and Alberta.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 12th, 2013 / 4 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have another petition in support of my Bill C-322, which calls upon the House of Commons to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act, thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption, as well as horse meat products for human consumption.

Animal WelfarePetitionsRoutine Proceedings

June 7th, 2013 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, the last petition has over 100 names in support of my Bill C-322 mainly from Calgary, Alberta.

The petitioners call upon Parliament to amend the Health of Animals Act and the Meat Inspection Act thus prohibiting the importation or exportation of horses for slaughter for human consumption as well as horsemeat products for human consumption.

Health of Animals and Meat InspectionPetitionsRoutine Proceedings

April 22nd, 2013 / 3:30 p.m.
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NDP

Alex Atamanenko NDP British Columbia Southern Interior, BC

Mr. Speaker, my second petition is signed by thousands across the country in support of my Bill C-322, to prohibit the importation or exportation of horsemeat for human consumption.

Drugs are commonly used in these animals, and that makes the meat unfit for human consumption, among other things.