Horse Slaughter

UPDATE:  When you’re done reading this page, please visit my two other posts:

Horse Slaughter… Why?

Horse Slaughter…. Solutions?

This industry is a particular pet peeve of mine.  I’ve argued with countless “pro-slaughter” people, and they all seem to have the same arguments over and over again – with

Horse on the Way to Slaughter

nothing ever even denting their thought process.  Not logic.  Not facts.  Not statistics.  It’s sickening really, when you consider there are breed registries (namely the American Quarter Horse Association) who actually promote horse slaughter.

But here’s a good business principal for ya; stop breeding animals that there is no market for.  Hmmm, interesting.  And what will happen in fairly short order?  Well (a) people will buy what is available, and better train those animals (b) “new” horses will be harder to find, so the demand increases (c) when demand increases for something, well, the market price increases!

What a fabulous idea.  Create a glut of untrained, mixed breed, low-end horses and then wonder why they don’t sell!  OR, like any good entrepreneur will tell you; research the market, find out what’s needed, and create that.

Update:  I’ve recently written a response to an article about one veterinarians’ opinion on the slaughter issue…  see it here.

The absolute BEST page I’ve seen written anywhere regarding the horse slaughter industry is below.  When you’re done reading, please pay them a visit and read the comments.  Well worth the visit.

And if you’re not convinced, here are a few more:

Illinois News Report

I did not watch all the videos on this page, SharkOnline; I have seen enough of slaughter videos to haunt my nightmares for several lifetimes.  But if you want to see more, just go to YouTube.com and search “horse slaughter” and have a blast watching them!  *drips sarcasm*

And when you’re done reading the article below, please please please visit this article detailing one towns issue with having a horse slaughter house.  Incredible that people can still argue that a slaughter house means jobs, etc.  Actually, it’s so good, I’ve decided to post it as well at the bottom.  Another one to visit and read the comments.

And without further ado, here is the fantastic article, which I’m also going to copy and paste here in case some day it disappears:

WHO’S ON FIRST?

Guest Editorial by Vicki Tobin, Vice President of The Equine Welfare Alliance

EWA Exec Speaks out on Anti-Horse Activists

The slaughter proponent’s arguments bring to mind the old Abbott and Costello routine because you never really know what they are saying. They talk back and forth to each other with neither, understanding the other or making sense.

Each new year brings new arguments and scare tactics from our opponents. When each talking point is disproved, they move on to the next. Every once in a while, they throw a curve ball and resurrect an old argument thinking it just might stick this time around.

We, on the other hand, have been consistent in our message. Humanely euthanize your horse. End your horse’s life by humane euthanasia as we do with all non-food animals in the United States. It is the preferred method by all major veterinarian associations. Any competent veterinarian will tell you that. Veterinarians don’t carry captive bolts in their medical bags or advise their clients to send their horses to slaughter. Veterinarians for Equine Welfare has an excellent updated white paper on this subject.

Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector stated, “The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.”

When the slaughter debate started heating up in the late 2000s, the argument of choice was; what are we going to do with old, lame, sick horses? Jeez, any responsible horse owner knows the answer to that. Pick up the phone and call the vet.

Next was the argument that horses are livestock. While many categorize horses as livestock, that’s not the issue. The issue is that of a food animal vs. a non-food animal. US horses are not raised as food animals but for other purposes. Mounted police are not riding food animals. Therapy horses are not food animals. Race horses are not food animals. The country does not use food animals in military and presidential funerals. Have you ever seen a riderless cow? Dressage, cutting and reining horses are not food animals. Livestock (food animals) do not perform any of the functions that horses perform in our society.

US horses must have maintenance medications that are prohibited in food animals to keep them at peak performance and healthy. There is no tracking of horses as there is with livestock. Unlike horses, you can trace livestock back to the original farm. It is obvious by the opposition to NAIS last year that owners don’t want horses tracked.

This brings me to the “abandoned” horses. If you can’t find the owners to charge them for the crime they have committed, how are you going to certify the horses are free of prohibited substances? A horse that has received a prohibited substance can never enter the food chain. There is no withdrawal period. Those are the EU rules and the FDA rules.

We have been warning of the drug issue for years. We were made the brunt of many a joke and constantly laughed at. We were so ridiculously funny, the EU took notice. It is important to note that all current anti-horse propaganda never addresses the drug issue.

There have been many scare tactics such as the AQHA release in 2008 warning owners that if the federal legislation passes they won’t be able to transport their horse across the street. Senator Landrieu promptly responded with a release stating the intent of the law and we never again saw that argument.

One of the most often used arguments is property rights. Nobody can tell slaughter proponents what they can or cannot do with their property. This is one of the more laughable arguments since there are many laws on the books telling property owners exactly how to dispose of property such as appliances, batteries, toxic substances, cars, etc. There are even laws in certain areas on horse disposal. Owning property does not give the owner the right to abuse the property, especially when the “property” is a living, sentient being.

Now we are hearing how inhumane slaughter is in Mexico and Canada. Slaughter proponents conveniently forget that they never uttered a peep when thousands of horses were sent over the borders when the US plants were open. Why was it okay then but not now? They never mention the inhumane slaughter that took place in the US and dismiss government FOIAs. The truth is that no matter where horses are slaughtered it will never be humane.

They complain of the long distances in travel now but didn’t have any concerns when horses were being trucked across the US to slaughter plants and also to plants in Mexico, Canada and Japan. All documented humane violations in shipping have taken place within US borders and yet, they oppose the slightest change to improve conditions such as a ban on double deckers. It is quite obvious; they have no concern for horse welfare, only lining their pockets. There were years and years of investigations and FOIAs of the domestic plants and never was an attempt made to correct anything.

The latest comments we are seeing is that they will start raising horses for slaughter. I’m not sure what type of business model will survive paying thousands on feed for pasture ornaments to bring in revenue of $300-$600 per horse from a kill buyer.

This is yet another shining example of their refusal to address the issue of excess horses. Instead of addressing the mess they have created, they’re going to start a new population of horses. Slaughter at all costs! One only needs to follow the rules of engagement to be a diehard anti-horse person.

Rule #1: Never admit responsibility for producing the excess horses going to slaughter.

Rule #2: Call horses “unwanted” so you can blame the horse. Call slaughter harvesting or processing so that it is more palatable.

Rule #3: Never take responsibility for horses you choose to buy or breed and transfer all blame to the “radical vegan tree huggers” that oppose slaughter.

Rule #4: Blame the rescues.

Rule #5: Blame the legislators.

Rule #6: Exploit Native Americans for the few that have chosen to go against their teachings and spiritual beliefs that revere and respect the horse.

Rule #7: Blame anyone that dares to speak up publicly for the horses, make sure you publish a list of these terrible people and call for a boycott. Even include celebrities that have raised millions of dollars for farmers. All people that want horses treated humanely must be exposed. Wait a minute. Doesn’t that sound like the organization that they so vehemently oppose? They blast them but when they do the same, it’s okay.

Rule #8: Be sure to present all propaganda to legislators with nothing to back the statements but emphasize it as fact.

Rule #9: Create bogus polls and surveys that slant questions and circulate only to those sharing your view. Then, present the results to Congress as the view of horse owners across the country.

Rule #10: State that all rescues are full and become combative when asked for the data to back the claims.

Rule #11: Ignore that slaughter is still very much available and blame all horse woes on the closure of the plants. To fully utilize this rule, under no circumstance, mention or blame the economy. The impact of the economy does not play a role in the horse industry. That is the only industry in America that would not have been impacted by the economy if the slaughter plants had remained opened.

Rule #12: Ignore the horrific investigations and FOIAs and always state that slaughter is a good thing. After all, it allows irresponsible breeders to breed and dump so they can breed more. It allows owners that are abusing and neglecting their horses to hide their crimes by having the horse slaughtered. Then, chuckle and whisper under your breath, America’s Dirty Little Secret.

Rule #13: Never discuss present society and culture. Always refer to 70 or more years ago when some people were forced to eat horse meat but make it sound like present day and thus, you may be able to create a false market in the US.

Rule #14: Always state, with emotion, that slaughter opponents are trying to change other country’s cultures. With even more emotion, state that the horse meat is feeding the hungry in foreign countries even though the hungry cannot afford the gourmet priced horse meat.

Rule#15: Never mention the largest case of neglect in the US occurred in 2005 when all three plants were operating.

Rule #16: Ignore all studies and data on abuse and neglect.

Rule #17: Be sure to always interject the slippery slope. It is your greatest weapon to scare farmers and ranchers into believing that ending the slaughter of a non-food animal will bring down livestock slaughter.

Rule #18: Never mention that slaughter is a predatory, demand driven business and especially don’t mention that US plants imported horses to fill the demand when demand increased.  In years when the demand was down and fewer horses were slaughtered, just state that there were fewer “unwanted” horses in those years. Don’t ever admit that slaughter houses only slaughter the number of horses needed to fill the demand. Let everyone think they are performing a service to rid the US of “unwanted” horses.

Rule #19: Lobby against any legislation for animal welfare, even if it’s something you feel you should support. At all costs, even good legislation from any animal “rights” organization for the humane treatment of any animal must be prevented.

and the two most important rules…

Rule #20: Never directly answer a question, especially when facts are requested. Doubletalk and then change the subject. It is imperative this rule be invoked when asked to discuss the drug issue and how unsafe US horses are for human consumption.

Rule #21: Learn the art of spinning. Always accuse the pro-horse advocates of being emotional, attack their credibility and spin the facts. This is especially important when indisputable facts are provided. When footage or photos are provided, be sure to state with authority they are fake or have been altered. Always state that because they are against slaughter that they are responsible for the horses suffering.

(The author edited it later to add several more rules.)

Rule #22: Lie with conviction and tell the public that plants will provide jobs and will be good for the state economy. Ignore the $42M loss by Natural Valley Meats in Canada. Never mention that between the three plants, 85% of the workers were not legal citizens. Under no circumstance ever mention the amount of jobs and income provided by a live horse such as veterinarians, farriers, blacksmiths, supply and feed stores, trainers and pharmaceutical companies. And let’s not forget the loss of business to rendering providers. (topic suggested by savethewildhorses)

Rule #23: Never mention the environmental disasters such as the foaming tank at Cavel, improper disposal of waste and contaminated groundwater caused by horse slaughter plants. Completely ignore the $180k in fines still owed to the city of Kaufman TX for violations. (topic suggested by Lisa L)

Rule#24: State with conviction that you have support to defeat the federal legislation when in reality, “donations or promises” were made to legislators to stall, block and stop the bill from going to the floor for a vote. (topic suggested by Lin)

Rule #25: Keep referring to and posting false stories of abandoned horses even after they have been proven false by the local authorities.

Rule #26: Introduce state legislation based on disinformation and never mention food safety in horses. Be sure to discredit any speakers that present facts. Simply make something up like they lived next to the slaughter plant and wanted the land and that’s why they wanted the plant shut down.

Rule #27: Offer raffle prizes to “help the horses”, when in fact, your money will go to humans to be used to lobby for their demise under the guise of a 501(c)(3) that is “educating”.

Slaughter proponents don’t stop at domestic horses. They must target all horses, including our wild horses. Perhaps they haven’t read the EU regulations that state that the only wild equidae meat that will be accepted is zebra meat – or did they?

Rule #1: Ignore mitochondrial DNA studies and start calling all wild horses and burros feral so they can be shipped to slaughter.

Rule #2: Be sure to send and publish propaganda on how the wild horses and burros are overpopulated and ruining the ranges.

Rule #3: Never, never mention the millions of privately owned livestock that have turnedour public lands into a giant feedlot.

Rule #4: Never mention the hundreds of millions of dollars the taxpayers shell out for the private livestock grazing on public lands.

Rule #5: Dismiss and never mention the GAO studies that prove the livestock, not the horses, are ruining the ranges.

Rule #6: Never mention the pictures of the horses that died of thirst laying alongside the fences that cattle ranchers erected to block the wild horses from using the water sources.

Rule #7: Ignore all footage and photos of the healthy, thriving horses being removed from public lands. At all times, state the horses are starving and removing them is for their own good.

Rule #8: Provide your own wild horse and burro population counts. Make up a staggering number and state with authority and conviction the data source is Google Earth and begin circulating and publishing the number as fact in all communications.

The best argument, by far, is that because of the “ban” on horse slaughter, horses are being starved, neglected and abandoned. This is quite amusing since there is nothing stopping anyone from sending their horse to slaughter. 2008 saw the second highest slaughter count since 1995. Shouldn’t they wait until slaughter isn’t available to make such a statement? In one swooping statement, they disprove their own argument and prove our point that slaughter does not prevent suffering.

Why are owners allowing their horses to suffer instead of sending them to the killers? Did it ever occur to the slaughter proponents that owners are holding on to their horses because they fear the horse may end up on a slaughter truck if they sell or donate the horse?

The bottom line is that slaughter proponents don’t have a platform. They have no facts or data to back their statements and as a consequence, they continually have to invent new arguments and scare tactics.

It is time to call the ball game. Call your legislators to stop this insanity and ask that they pass the legislation to protect our horses. Pick up the phone and do it now.

Former Mayor: Horse Slaughterhouses a Drain on Taypayers — Never Mind the Ditches of Blood

POSTED BY JIM RIDLEY ON FRI, APR 9, 2010 AT 1:49 PM

Ditches of blood, dismembered foals, a pox on development, a reek of offal and waste in residential neighborhoods, foreign-owned companies sucking money out of American communities — these are some of the “benefits” we can expect if legislators pass a bill that would OK building horse slaughterhouses in Tennessee. Or so writes a former Texas mayor in an impassioned open letter, as HB 1428 heads to the Finance, Ways and Means Committee 2 p.m. Tuesday.

The question former Mayor Paula Bacon raises, echoed here by T. Boone Pickens: Do taxpayers really want a corporate citizen that pays $5 in taxes, yet clogs up the local sewer system and threatens to drain city finances?

Dear State Legislator:

You will soon be asked to vote on … legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.

As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community, please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.

All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.

The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70’s and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.

I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman. The reports reference “decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion,” containers conveyed “uncovered and leaking liquids,” there are “significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area,” and “Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them.”

Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.
Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a “good corporate citizen.” I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.

o Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading’ the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.

o Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005, despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.

o City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.

o Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as “Boggy Bottom”, but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital, the daycare center, and surrounding areas.

o Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.

o City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as “blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant,” “It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred,” “Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse,” “Words cannot express the seriousness” of recent violations and the “adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant,” and “Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills,” noting also “bones and blood laying in front of the facility,” problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of “dogs and other animals.”

o In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City’s budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines.

o Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory “sludge control plan” to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.

o The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.

o During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.

o Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City’s budget.

Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth’s Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth’s wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.

The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb, IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.

During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city’s legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!

Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.

I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.

The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don’t eat horses, and we don’t raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.

Sincerely,

Former Mayor Paula Bacon
City of Kaufman
Kaufman, TX 75142

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§ 7 Responses to Horse Slaughter

  • CanAmFam says:

    Outstanding article – so refreshing to see the truth being documented!

    Regarding pro-slaughter flogging of the unwanted horse argument, have you seen this? From: http://www.nptelegraph.com/articles/2011/03/01/horse_sense/opinion/60008049.txt#blogcomments

    Horse neglect data
    Published: Tuesday, February 15, 2011 11:32 AM CST

    Despite the continuing claims of proponents of resuming horse slaughter for human consumption, Animal People has found no hint in equine impoundments due to neglect or abandonment of an oft-alleged horse neglect and abandonment crisis.

    The largest number of horses who have been impounded due to neglect or abandonment since Animal People has kept track – which is actually for four years longer than the 20 years that the Animal People newspaper has been published – was 2,375 in 1996.

    This fell to barely half, just under 1,350, in both 2005 and 2006; rose to 1,890 in 2007; then dipped to 1,600 in 2008, 1,450 in 2009, and was 1,132 through Thanksgiving 2010, projecting to 1,235 for the year.

    Merritt Clifton, Editor,
    Animal People, Clinton, Wash.

    Like

  • Not A Breed says:

    Sorry I didn’t respond earlier!
    Thanks for the link, GREAT point!!

    Like

  • jadesong says:

    Thank you for researching what I haven’t, and speaking so clearly for why the horse slaughter industry is corrupt. Excellent and informative and just what I needed to balance what I have be trying to understand. Why do we have this industry and just how big it really is. I’m in Alberta Canada, and want to get more involved to forced the local laws to change and protect horses more here, as the systyem is abusive at a large scale.

    Like

    • Not A Breed says:

      Thanks Jadesong. I am still learning as I go… but the absolute truckload of reasons horse slaughter should be banned is unbelievable. Yet, the pro-slaughter activists just keep whining about “ooh, the poor unwanted horses that are being starved and neglected now…” when the closures in the states have NOT impacted anything anyway! Seriously, really pisses me OFF.

      Like

  • This is BY FAR the BEST article I have ever read on the slaughter argument. For those of you who argue it is a “necessary evil”, please read and realize , it is simply EVIL, and in no way necessary.

    Like

  • Debbie says:

    Great wonderful pieces that have been written hear, it say’s it all so clearly!!! It is a sad thing to read but so very true… Thank You from my heart and the horses!!!

    Like

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