Recently, Europeans have grown increasingly concerned about the safety of American-sourced horsemeat being shipped to their continent from Canada. Here are the relevant facts:

Tens of thousands of American racehorses are sent to Canadian slaughterhouses each year for the express purpose of human consumption.

American racehorses, practically all of them, receive phenylbutazone (PBZ, bute), an anti-inflammatory, as a matter of routine.

PBZ has a laundry list of grave, if not potentially fatal, effects in humans: According to an FDA newsletter from 2003, “Phenylbutazone is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia and deaths. In addition, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as determined by the National Toxicology Program.”

PBZ does not have a safe withdrawal period like some other drugs administered to food-producing animals. Dr. Ann Marini, author of a Food and Chemical Toxicology medical paper on the subject, says (Horseback, 2/8/12) that “if a horse is administered one dose of phenylbutazone, the horse cannot enter the food chain.” Ever. Accordingly, PBZ is banned for use in food-producing animals in the US, UK, EU, and Canada. In short, Dr. Marini says (Toronto Star, 7/30/11), “there’s no horse in (the U.S.) that is eligible for slaughter for human use.” Not one.

Horse meat back on the menu at 'Taxi Jaune' restaurant, Paris, France - 23 Jan 2007

Armed with this information, which has been readily available for years, how, then, can American horsemen continue to dump bute-laced meat into the food supply? To those paying attention, the answer is obvious: Men who would allow their erstwhile pet-racers to be strung up and slashed aren’t likely to lose much sleep over a Frenchman’s health. Horseracing’s moral bankruptcy, yet again.