Equine scientists debunk horsemeat health risk

News
Oct 14, 2011
by WLJ

Four prominent equine scientists, Drs. Don Henneke, PhD, Sheryl King, PhD, PAS, William Day, PhD, and Patricia Evans, EdD, have written a strongly worded letter to the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology in regard to a February 2010 paper “Association of phenylbutzone usage in horses bought for slaughter: a public health risk” by Nicholas Dodman, Nicolas Blondeau, and Ann M. Marini, pointing out the unscientific, politically motivated erroneous conclusions of the paper. The letter points out the fallacy of “mixing sound research conducted on humans with unrelated sound research from horses.” The clear message of the four equine scientists is that the journal paper’s authors “attempt to formulate an unfounded and unsubstantiated conclusion that horsemeat derived from American horses contains residues of phenylbutazone that are harmful to humans. This conclusion is not supported by the research cited or any other research...”

The paper’s authors, as well as the so-called experts credited with contribution to the article, are all linked to extremist animal rights organizations that have been attacking America’s farmers and ranchers. The Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, and their animal rights activist cronies continue to try to discredit the animal agriculture industry’s commonsense, factual reasoning for the need for humane horse processing in the U.S.

“We are heartened that scientists have stepped up to challenge this flagrant attack on the hard working, tax paying horse people of America,” says Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis, one of the leaders of a nationwide grassroots horse industry organization, United Horsemen. “The journal article is penned by scientists and uncredentialed lay people known primarily for their radical animal rights political views.”

“Facts are stubborn things;” wrote founding father John Adams, “and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

“Thanks to dedicated scientists insisting on strict adherence to the scientific method,” says Dave Duquette, working cow horse trainer and president of United Horsemen, “we have the facts, science, and evidence to disprove this blatant attempt to fool Congress and betray America’s farmers and ranchers.”

The equine scientists conclude their letter by stating:

“As equine science Instructors, we strive to present factual information to our students in an unbiased manner. The topic of horse slaughter is controversial and emotional. No horse owner looks forward to making end of life decisions concerning their animals. Humane euthanasia, whether it is done at the veterinarian’s facility, the owner’s facility, or the slaughter facility, is not an easy decision to make. We believe that the decision should be left up to the individual horse owner. In the current economic climate, the availability of humane euthanasia must remain a viable option for the health of the horse industry. The publication of this obviously biased article by such a reputable source raises real concerns about the value of the peer review process.

We trust that future acceptance of articles by Food and Chemical Toxicology concerning the horse will be properly reviewed prior to acceptance and publication.”

The letter authors also issued a detailed advisory to Congress regarding the unsubstantiated claims in the journal article, and the evidence for the safety of horsemeat produced from U.S. horses. — WLJ

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