Les Viandes de la Petite Nation (LPN) slaughter house in Saint-André-Avellin, Quebec, has shut down temporarily.

As reported in the newspaper La Petite Nation, the closure is the result of new regulations from the European Union, which came into effect March 1, 2017. From this point on, horses entering Canada from the United States for slaughter must first spend six months on a feedlot. The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) will only provide certificates for the export of horse meat after this six month period.

“The company is not bankrupt,” Denis Ferrer of LPN told reporters. “The new Canadian regulations and the fact that we can no longer slaughter American horses are some of the factors that caused us to close. It is a combination of circumstances.” Sixty workers have been laid off.

When they were announced last fall, the Humane Society International/Europe (HSI/Europe) said the new rules risked compromising horse welfare by potentially keeping large numbers of horses on feedlots for long periods of time. It is also a concern that with the closure more horses will be shipped to Mexico for slaughter.

A report from the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition stated that “While it’s encouraging to know that the rules are indeed being followed, it is still concerning to know that thousands of horses will be victims in this ‘market adjustment.'”