Phenylbutazone, horse meat and human consumption

download-4 I am not a medical doctor, but I don’t think you need to be a medical doctor to add up the facts below and draw the conclusion that phenylbutazone (bute) is not harmful for humans.

Reports show:

  •  70% of the annual thoroughbred foal crop goes to slaughter
  • 19% of the horses shipped to slaughter are thoroughbreds.

In addition, it is widely known that the horse racing industry is suffering from a dependency on performance enhancing drugs.  While Phenylbutazone (bute) is not considered a performance-enhancing drug, it is a legal to administer and often overused in the racing industry.  Dr. Sid Gustafson reported in New York Times Article “Now virtually all racehorses run on bute and Lasix.”

SO Follow my logic here….

  • If all racehorses run on bute
  • 130,000 horse go to slaughter for human consumption each year
  • 19% of those are racehorses

Therefore (130,000 * 19%) 24,700 of those horses slaughtered are racehorses that have been administered bute.

On average there is a 60% yield of meat from a horse, and a racehorse weighs roughly 1,100 pounds.  If you calculate 660 pounds of horse meat per horse each of the 24,700 racehorse slaughtered, you derived that 16,302,000 pounds of horsemeat from racehorses was consumed by humans last year throughout the world.

The big question is “How did the consumption of over 16 million pounds of horsemeat impact the health of those who consumed horse meat tainted with bute?” ~ If Google search deaths from phenylbutazone you will find no relevant deaths for humans.  If you search the academic databases you will find only sparse literature on the topic.   See example below:


I personally feel if we are going to put forth an argument against equine slaughter we should make it a strong argument with no obvious holes….


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9 Responses to Phenylbutazone, horse meat and human consumption

  1. Jan Sterling says:

    that is why they want to send wild horses to slaughter they have no drugs in their system – right now over 45,000 wild horses being held by the bureau of land management could be sent to slaughter

  2. Most disease is idiopathic – without known cause. If you ask someone what caused their pancreatic cancer or lymphoma, unless it is a very specific cancer such as mesothelioma (caused by exposure to asbestos) there is no way to determine the degree to which the disease was caused by a genetic inheritances or somatic changes during our lifetimes.

    Phenylbutazone or “bute” was at one time marketed for humans use under the trade name of butazolidin. It was a Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory (NSAID) used for arthritis and other inflammatory ailments that worked by inhibiting an enzyme that synthesizes chemical mediators called prostaglandins. It was ultimately withdrawn by the FDA for causing a wide range of serious side-effects including blood dyscrasias which damage the bone marrow. It remains however, on the market for treatment for horses and is an
    effective anti-inflammatory. It is also prohibited in the food chain as residues of bute and its metabolite, oxyphenbutazone are not known to have safe limits.

    It would be a difficult task indeed to collate data for some of these diseases and cross-reference them against the consumers of horse meat from North America. In the absence of such a study disproving a correlation, the precautionary principle should be invoked.

  3. JanWindsong says:

    Heather Clemenceau’s first sentence makes it crystal clear: disease is idiopathic. Meaning diagnosis can be clear but cause unknown. Horsemeat from horses slaughtered after consuming drugs prohibited in food animals is not debatably unethically unintentional. Marketing meat from said equines can neither be rationalized by “waiting periods”. There are no loopholes in prohibiting the slaughter of animals who have been administered drugs prohibited. It is the law.

    Complicating the simplicity of following the law by teasing out analyses of conjectured pasts is assisnine unless you, Janine, are willing to subject your family to a continuous diet of meat from doctored horses. Let’s say exclusively – for science sake.

    I know where you are going with this. The kill buyer market is very lucrative — keeping the trade going is unjust business for quite a few who propose your same mindset. How else can we keep the lowest rung of humans employed if not by foisting food on a world unsuspecting or ignorant. It’s as bad as allowing illegal aliens so their coyotes can remain busy.
    We have a choice – to do the right thing. That is the choice.

  4. Lisa4horses says:

    This is the point you should be concerned about: horses being slaughtered for human consumption – U.S. horses are “not raised as a food animal.”
    The USDA has no system in place to track horses’ lifetime medical histories, and the reputation of the entire U.S. meat industry is at risk. Testing random samples of horsemeat overlooks the fact that every single horse has a unique, unknown past. Unlike animals raised for food, horses do not spend their lives being prepared for the food chain. Every horse is a pet, riding companion, race horse, show pony or work partner. Each may be a single patient to any number of vets, transferred by any number of owners, and has a unique life story.

    What is the situation regarding phenylbutazone in food in the EU?
    Phenylbutazone is not allowed in the food chain and findings of this
    substance in horsemeat are the result of illegal entry into the
    food chain of carcasses of horses treated with the substance.
    According to EU legislation, treatment of horses with phenylbutazone
    must be recorded in their “horse passport”, resulting in the definitive
    exclusion of the animals from slaughter for human consumption.

    Why was phenylbutazone banned for use in food-producing animals?
    EMA evaluated phenylbutazone in 1997 for the purpose of establishing maximum
    residue limits (MRLs) in food products of animal origin. The data available
    at that time did not allow a conclusion to be drawn on the level of
    phenylbutazone that could be considered safe in food of animal origin.
    As no MRL could be established, animals treated with phenylbutazone
    are not allowed to enter the food chain.

    No new adequate data have become available since then and the recent
    risk assessment carried out by EFSA and EMA confirms that it is not
    possible to establish levels of residues of phenylbutazone that could
    be considered as safe in food of animal origin.

    What are the main conclusions of the joint statement?
    EFSA and EMA conclude that the illegal presence of residues of
    phenylbutazone in horsemeat is of low concern for consumers due to
    the low likelihood of exposure and the overall low likelihood of toxic effects.

    The joint assessment finds that, on the basis of available data,
    it is not possible to set safe levels for phenylbutazone in food
    products of animal origin. This reconfirms the conclusions of the
    previous evaluation carried out by EMA in 1997.

    Therefore the use of phenylbutazone in the food chain should remain prohibited.

    Please advise your readers to contact their U.S. Representives asking for their support in cosponsoring Bill H.R.113 the Safeguard American Food Export Act of 2017.
    Thank you

  5. Pingback: The Science Is In: Exposure To Bute In Horsemeat Still A Big Problem | heatherclemenceau

  6. savinghorses2 says:

    Ok. First Neither of You are DOCTORS. YOU both are using ONLINE INFORMATION THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN TO HAVE BEEN MANIPULATED BY PRO HORSE SLAUGHTER LEADERS. Second, the FDA had alreaxy Addressed this. People have become Sick and Have died however the entire Case was Given gag orders and pullex from Public online sites. The Fact that you are Not a medical dr also brings up the Data on Bute and its effect on humans was determined by a Veterinarian which has NO MEDICAL licesnse to treat or speculate human reactions or care. Theres No completed study on Bute bc they were cancelled and further testing Banned for nearly killing patients…All data was sealed. In horses a single Bute pill is signifigantly larger than the human sized counterpart. In human recommened dosage and frequency was regulated however in horses its as needed according to situation horses size type is injury or amount of pain as well as how many times administered in a lifetime. It Adheres to the horses blood, a test of the kidneys once a horse is deceased is the only reliable test to prove its been administered. The test is only able to be administered after a horse is dead. They refuse to wait the length of time it would take to revieve results on theasses of horses used in the horsemeat trade. Its permanently in the body. It circulates through the blood and continues to adhere to the organs and a test revealed a horse who had received bute one time in its lifetime and not since that for 16 yrs still had bute in its system. Veterinary reviews of animal drugs are not considered in health and safety of humans. Your own theory doesnt also consider the patient consuming horsemeat may be on medications that cannot interact with bute, the amount of bute varies by horse so theres no way to know the volumn and as for no known link to human deaths Online, thats Where they get by with murder because there IS Absolutely NO tracibility. Your argument doesnt consider all the factors and variables. I brought up the argument of Bute Myself 10 yrs ago. The Dekalb, Illinois plant manager told me he knows bute kills humans he just didnt care. Money was money. He had NO liability. They couldnt track the bute because horses have NO tracibiliy. He also said that he didnt care if people died because most of them think its beef and dont know they are eating it! He also said thats WHY they test for it in the tissue of horse instead of the kidneys because tissue tests would give negative results even if the horse recieved bute so they could pass the meat without further tests. This were HiS words. This is reckless of you to try and argue a very life threatening medication without all the information yourself. The online data has been manipulate by proslaughter so we use Actual Books, orginal copies of data from the FDA and USDA etc.

  7. savinghorses2 says:

    The 660 lb estimate has been recalculated because its npt entirely meat. They use the meat, hide, hooves, and some bones from the legs which accounts for weight being less for meat total. I am the one who Originally joined with beef cattle slaughter facility and got the Actual amount of cattle used after slaughter not just meat bit parts then I researched with an Inspector of a horse slaughter plant the Actual parts used and figured the total parts of the horse used. 60 percent in your data is NOT solely meat. Get your facts correct before you print them. When people go out and do Actual research its not a guess. I have relatives in racing and the good doctors analogy is incorrect, however, the percentage of exracehorses should be followed by the Actal FDA banned Bute from the Food chain Entirely, that racehorses themselves are Banned whivh is why they remove tattoos and that the argument you gives bears a resemblance to actually being on the side of horse slaughter. So are You actually against it….or really on the other side.

  8. savinghorses2 says:

    The horse slaughter supporters also changed buts life to an 8 hr life with a 4 hr half life online. I Demanded they prove this data with science since ABSOLUTELY NO studies have been done or completed since the FDA shut the Only one down. The Veterinary field is unable to conduct the tests because it requires testing humans. So before you further humiliate Yourself knows whose false facts you are using.

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