Interesting Article – Proves My Point(s)

March 15, 2011 § 1 Comment

For those “naysayers” that felt my original article “Horse Slaughter…. Why?” didn’t have enough backup, here’s an article from just over a year ago from Animal People, and here is the direct link to the HTML page that I’ve quoted below:  http://www.animalpeoplenews.org/09/10/Octob09.htm

All bold in article is by me.

Feds to Investigate Horse Slaughter and Welfare

WASHINGTON D.C.–Who wants or needs horse slaughter? The Government Accountability Office is to spend the next few months finding out.
Signed by U.S. President Barack Obama on October 21, 2009, the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2010 included a clause continuing the three-year-old prohibition of USDA inspection of horsemeat, which brought the closure of the last three U.S. horse slaughterhouses.

At the urging of the commercial horse breeding industry, however, the appropriations act also includes funding for a formal investigation of the impact of the prohibition.

“One of the primary arguments of the pro-slaughter movement,” summarized The Horse Channel news web site, “is that the closure of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. has directly contributed toward increased neglect and abandonment of American horses. A Senate report accompanying [the appropriations act] directs the GAO to conduct a study on the state of horse welfare in America as it relates to the end of the domestic slaughter industry. The study will specifically examine how horse welfare, horse rescue organizations, farm industry income, and overall horse sales, imports and exports have been affected by the slaughterhouse closures. Results of this study are expected by March of 2010.”

The difference between the cost of killing and burying a horse and the gain from selling the horse to slaughter is between $250 and $500, depending on the weight and health of the horse.

Inability to sell horses to slaughter within the U.S. does not appear to have inhibited the slaughter traffic. Indeed, the 2008 total numbers of horses sold to slaughter were the highest since 2005, according to USDA data. U.S. brokers sent 56,731 horses to Mexico to be killed, and sent 77,073 to Canada. The number of U.S. horses killed in Mexico alone in 2008 exceeded the total killed in the U.S. during the whole of 2004. The number of U.S. horses killed in Canada in 2008 soared above the toll of 60,736 U.S. horses killed in Canada in 1986, and exceeded by more than 10,000 the sum of 66,562 U.S. horses killed in Canada from 2004 through 2006.

Anxiety that horses exported from the U.S. for slaughter may have been treated with drugs that may harm human consumers in August 2009 prompted the European Union and Canadian Food Inspection Agency to jointly announce that horse slaughterhouses must begin taking new precautions, effective in April 2010. Each horse must now be accompanied by complete heath records showing that the horse has not been given any drug dangerous to humans, or must be quarantined for six months prior to slaughter.

Drugs of concern “range from toxic wormers to phenylbutazone (PBZ), the “aspirin” of the horse world, and even include fertility drugs that can cause miscarriages,” summarized the Equine Welfare Alliance.

The quarantine requirement is expected to steeply reduce the profitability of horse slaughter in Canada. The Mexican horse slaughter industry is meanwhile trying to develop markets for horsemeat outside the European Union, and will soon begin exporting horsemeat to Russia, National Agricultural Products Health Service of Mexico director Sanchez Cruz told Meat International.

About 50% of the meat consumed in Russia is imported, but Russia has for nearly 20 years been an exporter of horsemeat and horses for slaughter, as result of increasing mechanization of Russian farms.

Horse impoundments in neglect cases have increased in 2009, according to data logs compiled by ANIMAL PEOPLE from news accounts, but not by very much. At Halloween 2009, 1,435 horses had been impounded in neglect cases, up from about 1,345 in three of the four preceding years, but the 2009 total appears unlikely to approach the 1,890 neglected horses who were impounded in 2007. The highest total since ANIMAL PEOPLE began tracking horse impoundments was 2,375 in 1998.

The Nevins Farm Equine & Farm Animal Adoption Center in Methuen, Massachusetts, operated by the Massachusetts SPCA, in August 2009 reported receiving a record number of surrendered horses, for the second year in a row: 48, up from 35.

In Maine, where hay prices have more than quadrupled in two years, state animal welfare program director Norma Worley told Sharon Kiley Mack of the Bangor Daily News that impoundments had increased from 32 in 2008 to 50 by mid-September 2009.

Other horse rescue facilities have reported increasing numbers of calls from people trying to place horses. But for many the problem appears to be mostly that economic stress has reduced horse adoptions, leaving the rescues with few openings for new arrivals.
Often horses are not be impounded if rescue placements are unavailable.

“The Animal Humane Society of Golden Valley, Minnesota, investigated cases involving 1,636 horses in 2008–a fourfold increase since 2003,” reported Bob Shaw of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Few of these horses were actually taken into physical custody.
“We are all wrestling with how to reduce the number of unwanted horses,” Minnesota Horse Coalition spokesperson Cherie McKenzie told Shaw. Toward that end, the coalition in September 2009 presented a clinic that castrated horses for free at the Washington County Fairgrounds in Baytown Township.

Promoting horse sterilization–rare until recently–has become a national trend.

“The Kentucky Horse Council has become the latest group to launch an education campaign” against horse overpopulation, Associated Press writer Jeffrey McMurray reported in late October 2009. “Owners who show financial need can be reimbursed up to $100 to have their horse gelded. Similar campaigns have popped up from California to North Carolina,” McMurray said.

Commercial horse breeding has declined, whether because of racetrack closures, the high cost of hay, or the decreased profitability of selling surplus horses to slaughter. Jockey Club registry data released on October 22, 2009 showed a drop of 2,258 mares bred by Kentucky stallions, reported Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald Leader. “Nation-ally, the number of mares bred fell 13.5%,” Patton wrote. The 2009 drop in mares bred was about 7,000, following a drop of 4,000 in 2008.

Of Course I Have Comments!

At the urging of the commercial horse breeding industry…

Why is the horse breeding industry looking to slaughter horses?  Is it because they breed too many and have no options now as to what to do with the “excess” horses?  How about this… don’t breed so many fucking horses!!!!

If you take NOTHING from this article other than this fact, I will be a happy person:  The number of U.S. horses killed in Mexico alone in 2008 exceeded the total killed in the U.S. during the whole of 2004. Now, let me remind you, the horse slaughter plants closed in the US in 2007.

I need to repeat that in big bold letters:

The number of U.S. horses killed in Mexico alone in 2008 exceeded the total killed in the U.S. during the whole of 2004.

One Question

If more horses were slaughtered the year AFTER the plants were shut down… how did the closures cause an increase in abandonment, neglect, abuse, etc.?  Here, let me answer that one for you.  They didn’t.

The Drug Issue

Each horse must now be accompanied by complete heath records showing that the horse has not been given any drug dangerous to humans, or must be quarantined for six months prior to slaughter.

The problem with the statement above, is that Phenylbutazone (AKA Bute) is banned from ever being given to an animal in the food chain.  Ever.  “Phenylbutazone is banned for use in any animal intended for human consumption because it causes serious and lethal idiosyncratic adverse effects in humans.” (link).

A peer reviewed scientific study tracing race horses sent to slaughter for human consumption has found that 100% of the horses in the study group had been administered phenylbutazone, a banned carcinogen that can also fatally damage the bone marrow of humans.” (link)  … and from this same article…

Defenders of horse slaughter have long pointed to USDA testing records which consistently showed no positive results for PBZ. The new study shows that the USDA testing could not have been accurate. Indeed, the study uncovered a pilot test performed by the USDA in 2004 and 2005 that used a different testing technique and found 8.3% of the meat to be contaminated with PBZ. The pilot program had been subsequently discontinued.

The study estimates that sixty seven million pounds of horse meat derived from US horses were sent overseas for human consumption in 2008. If 8.3% of this meat contained phenylbutazone residues, it would translate to over 5 million pounds of contaminated meat.

I honestly don’t know how the pro-slaughter people can just IGNORE this shit.  Seriously!  And that’s just ONE of the drugs… there’s dewormers, etc.  I choose Bute because it’s not something you can just pick up at the local tack store.  Bute is something you have to (generally) buy from the vet.  I know this, because when one of my horses was injured I purchased a container.  And I mean, a 500g container!  Considering that the average dose for an average horse is maximum 4g daily… well, that’s 125 doses!  Needless to say, the vet has it on record that we purchased Bute for one particular horse, but 2/3 of our other horses have been treated out of this same container.

Ok, back to the original article from the top…

Lets see… now that there are quarantine regulations (which I reiterate does NOT change the permanently banned drug issue) the Mexicans have decided it would be cheaper just to sell the meat to other countries that don’t have such stringent laws and regulations in place.  Hmmm… all about the almighty dollar here, huh?

“…for many the problem appears to be mostly that economic stress…

When will the pro-slaughter side factor in the economy?  Apparently the answer is never.

…how to reduce the number of unwanted horses…

Any time I see anyone say “unwanted horses”, I cringe.  I realize sometimes people mean well when they use that word “unwanted”, but there is a better word.  That word is “excess”.  Why is “excess” better?  Because it points directly back to the people who bred the horse.  People are breeding unnecessarily in general, and others are promoting over-breeding – which is why they also promote horse slaughter.

As for the gelding clinics… good.  It’s not widespread enough, and there’s not enough funding yet, but it’s a good start.  And BTW, who the hell WANTS a stallion unless he’s for breeding?  The issues surrounding ownership and day-to-day dealing with it… who needs that?  The education regarding over-breeding is also a good start.  Too many people are still breeding fugly horses out there, and they need to STOP.

Commercial horse breeding has declined, whether because of racetrack closures, the high cost of hay, or the decreased profitability of selling surplus horses to slaughter.

This last point… I’d like to add some words to it.  “Commercial horse breeding has declined, whether because of racetrack closures, the high cost of hay, or the decreased profitability of selling surplus horses to slaughter, the economy, and/or all of these reasons and more.”

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