The European Union is the primary consumer of horse meat shipped from Canada and previously, the United State, therefore European import laws are important to the American horse slaughter issue.
Notes, quotes and links to relevant documents:
- Council Directive 96/23/EC of 29 April 1996 on measures to monitor certain substances and residues thereof in live animals and animal products and repealing Directives 851358/EEC and 86/469/EEC and Decisions 891187/EEC and 91/664/EEC, Official Journal of the European Union (pdf)
- Legislation that protects people from potentially harmful residues of veterinary medicines, pesticides and environmental contaminants in meat and meat products.
- Imports of Animals and Food of Animal Origin from non-E.U. Countries: provisions of guarantees equivalent to EU requirements on residues of veterinary medicines, pesticides and contaminants
- This brochure, current as of 8/6/2013, explains Council Directive 96/23/EC in lay terms.
- Commission Implementing Decision of 1 August 2013 amending Decision 2011/163/EU on the approval of plans submitted by third countries in accordance with Article 29 of Council Directive 96/23/EC, Official Journal of the European Union (pdf)
- This is an update for Council Directive 96/23/EC. As of 8/1/2013, the United States still did not have an EU-approved plan for residue testing of horse meat. Check the chart in the "Annex" section.
- Letter from European Commission Health and Consumers Directorate General to member nations (in this case, Ukraine), regarding imports of meats from third (non-EU) countries.
- The letter was apparently distributed in 2010 though there's no date in the text. It states that some countries exporting horse meat don't control for chemical residues in a way that meets European standards, and that the EU intends to enforce certain standards identified in the letter in order to protect its people. It requires that individual equines have recorded identities and that medical records are kept accordingly for a minimum of six months before slaughter.
- This is pretty funny. As far as I know, this just doesn't happen in the United States. Equine Identity Documents for horses sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico are no doubt nearly always fraudulently created some time during transit to slaughter.
- The letter contains a phrase that corroborates the notion that the EU will strengthen its controls on residues in horse meat from non-EU countries in 2013: "The Commission services are anxious to facilitate the necessary corrective measures to ensure compliance with our import requirements. Therefore it is proposed to constantly reassess the situation during the following three years, during which third countries are expected to strengthen their control systems."