Mr. Hay to Mr. Thomas.

No. 56.]

Sir: Referring to the Department’s No. 53 of the 5th, 54 of the 18th ultimo, and 55 of the 5th instant, relative to the subject of the importation of American meats into Norway, I inclose for your information copy of a dispatch from oar consul at Christiania transmitting an article from the Morganbladet, of that city, relating to the matter.

I am, etc.,

John Hay.

Mr. Bordewich to Mr. Hill.

No. 53.]

Sir: Inclosed I take the liberty to send cutting and translation of an article published in the Christiania daily paper, Morganbladet, April 26, 1899, which will explain itself.

[Page 726]

The old cry about trichinae in American pork has just been ably answered in another Christiania paper by one of the local importers, but this last accusation is more difficult to meet, and I fear it will seriously injure our trade.

I have sent the New York Tribune a copy of the article in question and translation like the inclosed, with some comments.

As I am earnestly interested in the promotion of American trade in this country, I deplore the present state of affairs and deem it my duty to keep the Department posted, so that the evil may be remedied in some way, if it possibly can be done. It is a pity that the many legitimate dealers in honest goods shall have their business injured by a few deshonest importers.

I would also respectfully refer to my dispatches Nos. 50 and 51 on this same subject.

I have, etc.,

Henry Bordewich,
United States Consul.
[Subinclosure.—Translation of article in the Christiania paper Morgenbladet of date April 26, 1899.]

american horse meat to norway forbidden as food in america.

As will be known from a notice in our paper the proper authorities have resolved to enforce a sharper control also of imported meats, that are divided in smaller pieces than one-fourth of an animal.

How opportune such rules are, regarding the import from abroad, will appear from the following article appearing in the New York Herald March 11 this year:

“Pedler David Linairo, of No. 282 Broom street, was last Wednesday in court, accused of cruelty to a horse, and was fined $200 and given sixty days in jail. He was arrested while trying to bring a sick horse, which had broken one leg and was covered with sores and scratches, to a slaughterhouse in New Jersey, where it under the laws of evolution should become sausage.

“Herald made closer investigation and found that there were places outside of Jersey City, where horses are butchered in the same manner as cattle, and where their meat is prepared for human food. The people engaged in this traffic make no secret of it. These establishments are known in the neighborhood as horse factories and the street car drivers can point them out. They are furnished like common slaughterhouses with beams overhead on which the carcasses are hung after the usual treatment. There are also large caldrons for boiling the meat, machines for sausage making, apparatus for preparation of the hides and for cutting, salting, and packing.

“While there is in New York a law that prohibits the butchering of horses for human food in the city, and that also prohibits it for other purposes, except under license obtained from the board of health, it appears that no such prohibition exists on the other side of the Hudson.

“When the reporter of the paper saw Mr. Cornelius J. Rooney, secretary in the Hudson County Board of Health, he admitted that there were places in the county, where horses were butchered for human food. ‘There is no law forbidding it,’ he said, ‘And all we can do is to prevent the business doing injury to anyone. The people employed in the slaughter shop insist that the horse meat is not sold here, but that it is exported to Norway and France.’

“The Herald reporter objected to this and stated that it was demonstrated in the court last Wednesday, that sausages of horse meat were sold to credulous people in this city, Brooklyn and Jersey City.

“‘Our inspector’ answered Mr. Rooney, ‘Examined lately one of these horse factories. The horses that were to be butchered, were not deceased, but they were old and totally worn-out, and the inspector said that death would be the greatest boon that could be shown them. They also observed some of the pickled and in boxes packed meat, which was addressed to a firm in Christiania, Norway, to be exported on an ocean steamer. I do not believe any of this meat is sold here. If it does happen it is done secretly and in such a manner that the inspectors are unable to lay hold of the guilty parties.’

“Herald reporter next made a trip to the horse factories, which are located on the flats between New York and Jersey City, and saw one of them in operation, the building was a large, barn-like structure, which the street car conductor pointed out to him.

“‘There is one of the horse factories,’ said the conductor, ‘And there are two others farther out. Everybody knows them, and everybody that has an old played-out nag, which is of no account, takes it out here and sells it for a few dollars.’

“In the horse factory the reporter found a man engaged with a horse that had [Page 727] just been killed. He stated that the whole production from the establishment was exported.

“‘Where to?’ asked the reporter.

“‘To Norway,’ answered he, ‘people like it over there.’

“‘How much is paid for a horse?’

“‘Well, horses come high now, we pay as much as $5 a piece, but then the hide and hoofs is worth that much, so the meat is cheap profit.’

“‘How many do you kill?’

“‘Fifty to sixty per week.’

“‘Do you eat horse meat yourself?’

“‘No; I do not like it, but many do.’

“‘Where are these “many?”’

“‘In Norway,’ he answered, as he with a knowing smile resumed his work.”