Alberta affected by horse meat scandal

Frozen food maker Birds Eye said it would withdraw some products after it found traces of horse DNA in one of its ready meals sold in Belgium.

Credits: REUTERS


CALGARY -- The horse meat controversy in Europe is having a ripple effect on Alberta.

Bruce Flewelling, who sells horses for slaughter, said he was told last week by the facility he sends his animals to that it couldn't accept any for the time being.

Alberta ships horse meat to Belgium, France, Switzerland and Japan.

"The pounds of meat we're shipping to Europe has been cut in half," he said, adding that's frustrating for Albertans affected. "The scandal had nothing to do with our horses."

Flewelling said he knows of only two facilities in Alberta that slaughter horses. He estimates 1,000 horses are slaughtered in the province every week and says the number includes old or crippled animals, none of which are raised for slaughter.

He anticipates he'll be able to start selling horses again next week, but is unsure how quickly the local industry will rebound.

"It's a big concern -- to start with, it looked like they were going to shut the doors," he said of export of horse meat overseas.

"I think it will take awhile; I think it will rebound but I don't think it will come back to what it was."

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