Equine Q&A

Apr 16, 2009

Q1 Why should I fill out an EID?

All equine which may be used for food must be presented with a completed and acceptable Equine Information Document (EID) at the time of slaughter starting July 31, 2010. In the event that the animal becomes unwanted, if the owner wants to keep the salvage value and salvage options with respect to human consumption of their animal as high as possible, they will need to accurately fill out an EID for animals they wish to sell.

Q2 Will all equine owners need to fill out an EID?

It is not mandatory that all equine owners fill out Equine Information Documents for equine they own. The requirement applies to equine which may be used for food.

Q3 Why do we have to keep track of medication used starting January 31, 2010?

Slaughter facilities handling equine in Canada will need at least a six month history of medication use for equine brought to the facility starting July 31, 2010.

Q4 When do I need to fill out the EID?

The EID can be filled out any time before the sale of your equine, but it is important to keep track of medications used and illness occurrence during the time you own the animal, either on the EID itself or another record used to fill out the EID before you sell your animal.

Q5 How do I include pictures of my horse in the document?

A5 A digital camera is very useful for taking the required pictures. A little computer work can lead to a page containing the required pictures. This page can be printed with a colour printer. Alternatively, the colour pictures can be formatted or printed by many retail outlets which currently offer this service.

Q6 What are non permitted drugs?

Non permitted drugs are drugs that have been determined should not be given or fed to equine which may be used for food. The list of non permitted drugs is available in section E.5 of this annex.

Q7 Is Phenylbutazone is banned?

The use of Phenylbutazone in equine for medical reasons is not currently banned in Canada. However, Phenylbutazone is not permitted to be used in equine animals that may be used for food. (See Question and Answer 6)

Q8 Do we have to keep a record of feed supplements or nutraceuticals?

It would depend on the ingredients contained in the feed supplement or nutraceutical. Most feed supplements contain in addition to feed ingredients, vitamins and minerals which do not have withdrawal periods, so they would not need to be declared on the EID. Similarly, nutraceutical formulations of substances that naturally occur in the body do not have withdrawal periods. If, however, the supplement or nutraceutical did contain a drug ingredient, the supplement/nutraceutical would need to be declared on the EID. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian.

Q9 What is a withdrawal period?

A withdrawal period is the minimum number of days or hours that must expire since the last treatment of a specified medication or vaccine (used as per label directions) before the animal may be slaughtered for food.

Q10 Where do I get the information for drug withdrawal periods or intervals?

The product label should be checked for withdrawal periods established for equine. Also section E.6 of this annex contains a list of drugs for which a 6 month withdrawal period is required. Section E.7 of this annex contains a list of drugs that are safe to be given or fed to equine which may be used for food. Withdrawal intervals for named drugs will be included with this list. With respect to drugs given under a veterinary/client/patient relationship that can be safely given or fed to equine which may be used for food that may not appear on the list, your veterinarian must be consulted before use. Consult with your veterinarian about the possibility of obtaining a valid withdrawal period determination from a credible source before use of the drug.

Q11 What do I do about recording withdrawal periods for drugs my veterinarian tells me are safe for use in other food producing animals, but have no label instructions regarding the use in equine destined for food, or have a label statement that says not for use in equine intended to be slaughtered for food?

See the answer to question 10.

Q12 Are these new rules expected to change?

Yes, these new requirements are only the first step towards strengthening Canada’s food safety and traceability system for equine.

Q13 Will imported horses be subject to the same requirements?

Yes, imported horses when presented for slaughter at Canadian slaughter establishments will be required to meet this new Canadian standard for equine meat production in Canada.

Q14 Will these requirements only apply to meat products exported to the European Union?

No, these requirements will apply to all equine presented for slaughter in Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) inspected facilities.

Q15 Who will be responsible for checking the EIDs before slaughter?

The primary responsibility for compliance to requirements in slaughter facilities inspected by the CFIA remains with the operator of the establishment. The establishment operator will be required to ensure each equine presented for slaughter has a complete and acceptable EID covering at least a six month consecutive time period before slaughter. The CFIA will oversee the effectiveness of the operator’s ante mortem review procedures with respect to the EID.

Q16 Is it possible to include more than one horse on an EID?

The EID represents the minimum information required prior to slaughter in an acceptable format. However, certain conditions may exist that would allow for multiple equine animals to be included on one EID type document such as holding a group of equine for a six month period with a recorded inventory control system. If common medical history, medication history and owner declaration can be made and recorded in an acceptable record format deemed satisfactory to the CFIA, a common EID may be acceptable. The CFIA must give prior approval to this record format and system prior to use. See section E.4 for further details.

Q17 Are non permitted drugs not to be used in an equine presented for slaughter for the life of the animal or just for 6 months?

The non permitted drugs are listed under section E.5 of this annex. Non permitted drugs are not to be used in equine intended for food production. During a transition period, the EID will be reviewed to determine if equine have or have not been treated with non permitted drugs during the 6 months prior to their slaughter. A longer “certification period” will eventually be requested.

Q18 If I sell my equine at an auction, does the auction become the owner, that is have care and control of my equine, for a period of time and need to fill out an EID?

No, the buyer of the animal assumes the care and control of the equine after the last date of care or control indicated by the previous owner’s EID. The final date on the EID filled out by the previous owner will be the date the animal was delivered to the auction premise in this case. Any medication use on the auction premise is to be declared to the buyer by auction management. Generally this information is given to potential buyers from the auctioneer as the animal is sold.

Q19 Along with the EID I have completed, I am forwarding a previous EID completed by a former owner to the buyer of my equine; am I responsible for the information on that previous EID?

No. Each owner signs for the dates of care or control indicated on their own EID.

Q20 Why were these requirements created, was horse meat not safe to eat?

Meat products produced at registered facilities in Canada are produced and inspected to ensure they meet current requirements including safety standards. Canada already has procedures in place to detect and control potential residue issues in the meat supply. These new requirements for equine will enhance food safety as well as the ability to trace back equine meat products in response to international customer requests and Canada’s own objectives.

Q21 Will all horses intended for food production need to be placed into a feedlot?

No. The new requirements ask for a documented history for at least six months. Grouping horses for six months in a pasture is an option, but is not required.