We are all aware of the problem the thoroughbred industry faces with our injured and aging horses ending up at slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada. I believe I have come up with a solution to not only protect our thoroughbreds but to save the lives of people consuming tainted horse meat in other countries. Children who eat horse meat are at the most risk. Aplastic Anemia is on the rise and horses that have been treated with phenlybutazone are the cause.
Phenlybutazone, (bute), is a substance given to almost every racehorse at some point in his life. Any horse that has ever received even one dose of bute is banned for life from being slaughter for human consumption. I personally do not know of a horse that has not ever been treated for a high temperature, a mild colic, or been given bute as an anti-inflammatory. In asking track veterinarians most agree 90-95% of horses at the racetrack have had bute, making them unsuitable for slaughter. There are 17 other drugs that also have lifetime bans from slaughter including nitrofurazone, the most common leg sweat and wound ointment at the track.
By placing a small but easily recognizable freeze brand on horses who have received a banned medication I believe we will greatly reduce the number of thoroughbreds that are slaughtered. At the same time we will put in place a system to take care of them when they become aged, injured, or unwanted.
The brand will be voluntary and the decision to brand will be made with a veterinarians assistance. Freeze branding is safe and almost completely painless.
This brand will signify a horses’ meat is contaminated and unsafe for human consumption. I am currently in the process of registering the brand in counties in Texas where horses cross the border and notifying every Texas sale barn and known slaughter buyer about the brand and what is stands for.
Notices and photos of the brand with a description of what it represents will be sent to the holding pens at the border and all known feedlots where horses are ‘fed out’ before completing their journey to slaughter.