Mr. Hay to Mr. Thomas.

No. 58.]

Sir: I have to acknowledge the receipt of your No. 85, of the 30th ultimo, inclosing copy of your note to the foreign office, urging the acceptance by the Government of Norway of the United States certificates and meat-inspection stamps without the requirement of their authentication by a consular officer of Sweden and Norway.

Copy of your dispatch has been forwarded to the Secretary of Agriculture.

I inclose for your information copy of a letter from that officer relative to the exportation of horse meat from the United States.

I am, etc.

John Hay.

Mr. Wilson to Mr. Hay.

Sir: I have the honor to acknowledge, with thanks, receipt of your letter of the 2d instant inclosing a copy of a dispatch from the consul at Christiania, Norway, transmitting a translation of a newspaper article in regard to the alleged exportation of horse meat to Norway. The consul deplores the present state of affairs and deems it his duty to keep the Department posted, so that the evil can be remedied in some way if it possibly can be done.

In reference to this it may be said that there is a legitimate demand for horse flesh in certain European countries, and that such meat from healthy horses is just as wholesome an article of food as the meat from any other animals. Congress has recognized this fact and has granted to establishments slaughtering horses the same privilege of inspection which is given for other kinds of meat. It should be clearly stated, however, that all such meat inspected by this Department is plainly marked to show that it is horse flesh, and that in case it is exported it must be shipped with marks which clearly show its origin and character.

This Department would make no objection to regulations on the part of Norway requiring that all horse flesh imported into that country should be inspected and bear the official inspection marks; but it does object, and with reason, to discriminations against this product from America when similar goods are imported from other parts of the world which have been neither inspected nor marked to identify the packages as containing horse flesh.

In this connection I may state my opinion that there has not been a very large quantity of horse meat exported from this country. The single establishment at which inspection has been instituted made, I believe, but one shipment to Europe—certainly not more than two—and the business has been suspended. I doubt if [Page 728] the small establishments about Jersey City, which are referred to in the article inclosed by Mr. Bordewich, export much of their product. The indications are that it is sold locally to the purchasers of inferior meats in the large cities of this country.

However, Norway or any other country can protect itself against unwholesome meat by requiring, first, that all horse flesh shall be marked to show what it is, and secondly, that it shall have been officially inspected at the time of slaughter.

Very respectfully,

James Wilson, Secretary.