Pearl Snaps

Stories of a cowgirl living life by her own lights

Horse Slaughter: A Hard Sell


By Jesse Bussard

Reports of the reinstatement of horse slaughter have remained constant in news media since the passage of an ag appropriations bill by Congress in November of 2011 that lifted the federal ban on horse slaughter, refunding federal inspection of horse meat. Along with these reports have come recent announcements of plans to build horse processing plants in some states.

One plan for a processing plant slated for Mountain Grove, Mo., in particular has been brought to a screeching halt by local residents. Proponents of the plan did their best to sell the idea to locals touting jobs and tax revenue. However, stories of community stigma, foul odors, and environmental concerns via testimony and public records gathered while the last three horse processing plants in the United States operated were more convincing.

Residents told Wyoming state legislator, Sue Wallis, and Chevideco, the Belgian company to sponsor the plant, “Go home! If we have a horse problem we’ll solve it ourselves. We don’t need her (Wallis) and a Belgium company coming in here.” With that bold-faced response, Unified Equine, run by Wallis and Chevideco, announced they’d look elsewhere.

Since then a plan for a processing plant in Oregon has been announced and hints of the possibility of another in middle Tennessee. Whether these two projects will be met with the same opposition is yet to be seen.

As I’ve said in previous columns, I personally do not feel that there will be any horses slaughtered on U.S. soil anytime soon. The recent shutdown of the plan in Missouri shows me that it’s going to take more than the promise of some jobs and money to convince people that horse slaughter is a good thing.

In addition, a January poll conducted by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), which telephone surveyed 1,008 registered voters, found that 80% of respondents were opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption. The ASPCA’s poll provides further evidence that the general public isn’t buying what horse slaughter proponents are selling. There is an element of questionability as to the demographics of the ASPCA sample pool, but with that aside, the evidence is still pretty convincing to me.

At one time, I was fully on the side of the pro-horse slaughter crowd. But over time, through various conversations and watching the progression of the pro- and anti-horse slaughter campaigns, I’ve become skeptical. Though I may understand the benefits of slaughter, the general public does not, and to be quite honest, I don’t think they want to.

The fact is the concept of consuming horse meat has become taboo and unfathomable to most in everyday society. Americans have not consumed horse meat since during the World War II era. And because of this, the reintroduction of horse slaughter into the United States is a hard, may I say almost impossible, sell.

I’m not trying to be pessimistic here, just realistic. We can sit and argue the pros and cons of horse slaughter until we’re blue in the face. But I have a feeling that all the convincing in the world won’t change the general public’s view of the practice.

In the end, arguing does neither side any good. The reality is we’ve got an unwanted horse problem in this country, and the sooner we stop arguing, the sooner we can start finding solutions.

This article was originally featured as my May View from the Range column for Tack ‘n Togs. You can access a pdf version here.

Related news:

New Mexico Governor to USDA: Deny Horse Processing Permit

42 thoughts on “Horse Slaughter: A Hard Sell

  1. This is a multi-faceted issue. One such facet is irresponsible breeding which has plagued small animals for decades. You are right – we need solutions and unfortunately, the solutions lie within the people and the people don’t accept responsibility easily.

    • I totally agree. Multi-faceted and very conflicted! Irresponsible breeding is a large cause of this issue and the sad thing is I still see it continuing. Where is the outreach and education to help combat that issue? I wonder how bad the issue will get until we do something about it.

      • I’d like to know where you see irresponsible breeding continuing. I have said it before and I say it again, here where we live, at least six ranch breeding programs have been put on hold, or limited the stock they’ve bred to their personal use horses since the closure. And we are NOT alone in this. I, frankly, am tired of hearing this argument. So what, if someone wants to breed a horse (consider the racehorse or performance horse industry) and they want to send it to slaughter when it’s outlived its usefulness to them, I don’t see the problem with that. We’re a throw away society anyway. Why isn’t it okay for this sector?

      • Irresponsible breeding can be seen right here in the Bluegrass state. Thoroughbred racehorse farms breed any mare that can walk. I have friends that work on some of these farms. Some of the mares they breed should have never been bred, whether it’s due to conformational defects or just age. Yes the TB industry did reduce it’s foaling crop last year by about 14% but that still doesn’t justify the breeding of low-quality mares just to produce more foals that might or might not win a race.

        I think that the biggest amount of irresponsible breeding that can be seen though is by backyard breeders. These are the folks that get a horse just because they want one, may have little knowledge of how to care for it responsibly, and then decide that because their neighbor just bought a nice stallion they should breed their mare. Where I grew up in PA this goes on all the time and it didn’t matter what you said to these people they just kept on letting it happen. They figured, oh well if I can’t keep this horse I’ll just send it off to the auction barn or the local horse dealer.

        Not all of us maintain the “throw-away” mentality and as long as a horse is a living, breathing thing they are not dispensable items. I just don’t agree with that.

  2. Laura, irresponsible breeding has very little to do with this issue. And I’d like you to define an “irresponsible breeder”, please.

    It’s no secret where I stand on this issue.

    The general public, sadly, though, Jesse, is terribly misinformed. Most people, when you ask them if they’re in favor of/ or against horse slaughter, will say, against. But if they’re reasonable, thinking, pragmatic individuals, they can easily see the benefits when presented with the facts about the industry from someone in the industry (who manages to stay unemotional and doesn’t resort to name calling); and the current state of the welfare of the animals. People are so concerned with what happens to the horse at death that they forget about the quality of life it leads while it’s alive. We’re all going to die someday. For whatever reason it’s okay to butcher and eat every other animal but a horse. I’m not saying I’d eat it, but I’m certain glad my forefathers did. I’m not sure why the argument is that Horse Processing Facilities are any more environmentally unfriendly than say a beef plant, so if someone could fill me in on that, I’d sure appreciate it. I will not believe a survey taken from the general public, when said survey, I can assure is skewed, in how the questions are asked. And I would be they’re not polling horse owners. If that is the case, please correct me. I will also argue that as a rule, the general public has more to think about than horse slaughter. With this economy most non-horse owners are more concerned with paying next month’s bills, not what’s going on with Mr. Ed. If you corner them and present an ugly picture, why yes, they’re going to be “against” it. I’m sure you see my point.

    Further, there was, until the 70s, horse meat sold in butcher shops across the US. So it went on longer than just the WWII era.

    Again, no one is telling the general public that horse meat will be in their grocer’s freezer. But that is the common misconception. No one is telling anyone that they have to send their horse to the meat man when they get old, or become crippled, but that is a common misconception. No one is admitting that the AVMA considers the captive bolt to be a humane option. No one will admit that the bottom has dropped out of the once THIRD largest industry in GDP (they’ll try to blame it on the recession but as a whole the industry has not been affected by previous recessions so why now?). No one will admit that the closure of the plants has caused horses to be neglected, abandoned and horses sent to slaughter that 6 years ago would have been sold or given away.

    I think as horse owners we should be more concerned with the welfare of the horse during his life than humanizing him at death. I love my horses enough to let them have a purpose in life and death. And so I will send them when it is time.

    • We have had uninterrupted horse slaughter for 30 years. If it were the answer to “excess” horses, why do we still have them? Slaughter is not the answer – never has been and never will be. If the abject failure of slaughter to end the excess horse problem that we are seeing now doesn’t prove that we cannot control population with slaughter, what the heck WOULD prove it? Slaughter is the PROBLEM. Over-breeding to sell to slaughter has become part and parcel of the business model of registries like the AQHA, the Jockey Club, the APHA and other major breeds. They don’t make any bones about it either. The AQHA has made massive contributions to lobby for the return of horse slaughter and so have others. Besides, the economy is in the tank, so what did you expect? The horse business is no different from any other – Economics 101, law of supply and demand.

      We don’t need slaughter. It’s a totally unnecessary evil. Contrary to popular liars, Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette, the rescues have things pretty well in hand and are making many plans for the future: White Paper on Slaughter Alternatives:

      Of course, it would be much easier if the big registries would spend even half their lobbying money on the welfare of the horses they cause to be born, but the rescues haven’t even gotten the courtesy of a REPLY, let alone any help from these horse factories.

      Besides that, slaughter is unbelievably cruel. I know. I saw it at Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX when I lived in Dallas with my horses: Captive bolt study:
      Double Deckers And Horses:
      Dodman Report:

      I know what Dallas Crown did to Kaufman – it’s only 30 miles away. I know four of my personal friends had horses stolen never to be seen again. We were terrified all the time. People wouldn’t sell their horses because no one could be trusted. The killers were well known to acquire horses under false pretenses from sellers who would never knowingly sell their horses to slaughter. Temple Grandin cannot design a humane horse slaughter plant as we see in her plant in Quebec Canada in this investigative report from FORBES:

      Please follow the links on this site for other FORBES investigative reports on horse slaughter. If these don’t knock you out, nothing will. Besides their other sterling qualities, the kill buyers are abandoning rejected horses to fend for themselves: Abandoned Horses Final:

      Then there are the very real food safety issues. Our horses are unregulated non-food animals. As a result, their medications and many other widely used products contain ingredients that are absolutely banned from the human food chain. Banned means banned. Any horse that has been exposed to a banned substance at any time during their lifetime MUST be permanently removed from the human food chain. There is NO withdrawal period. We have no way of tracking these horses or removing them from the human food chain. We don’t even have a way to track substances that DO have withdrawal periods. Bute is hardly the only one, and they all have this warning on the label: “not for use in horses intended for food products.” Surely you horse owners have seen this?

      Food And Toxicology Report:
      Veterinary Report: Bute In Slaughter Horses:
      Horse Meat Is Deadly To Humans:
      Why The Issue With Bute:
      HSUS Letter To USDA Per Legal Issues:

      The European Union – our biggest horse meat customer – is aware of our situation. Last year their inspectors found banned substances and forged documentation in our horses in both Mexico and Canada. As they have been warning for three years, in July, 2013 the EU will no longer accept our horses at their slaughter plants unless we have implemented a traceability system similar to their passport system: Canada has agreed and Mexico certainly will as well: FVO Inspection of Mexican Plant OFFICIAL:
      FVO Inspection Report Canada:
      Canadian Response To FVO Inspections:

      As for that plant that Sue Wallis wanted to open in Mountain Grove, MO, it wasn’t the uninformed that threw her out – it was those in the know. Besides that, the only true statement Wallis made to those people was that no, her slaughter plant would NOT be accepting “abandoned” horses – like ones she and Duquette used to try to make slaughter a “horse welfare” issue. In fact, NO slaughter plant will take old, sick, crippled or heavily pregnant horses. Never have, never will. That was just a bunch of bull from the get-go. To learn more about what ELSE Wallis misled these people about, please read this letter from a local attorney – which Duquette claimed was from the HSUS – who did some digging: MacPherson Law Center to Attorney Dan Erdel:

      No, it is NOT the uninformed who are against horse slaughter. It’s those of us who have done their homework and know what’s REALLY going on. In that poll where 80% of voters were strongly against horse slaughter, 71% of them were HORSE OWNERS. Like me. No Vast Vegan Conspiracy as Wallis and Duquette claim. Just us plain old horse owners who know how cruel and unnecessary horse slaughter is, and who know many of the products they use on their horses are banned from the human food chain. And CARE.

      Emotional? You better believe! My own horse escaped theft by a hair’s breadth back in Texas, and the shock and horror of what happened to my friends’ horses will NEVER leave me. As long as slaughter is available, NO horse is more than ONE sale away from the kill box. Believe it. It’s TRUE. I lived it and I’m NOT planning to do so again. And neither does anyone else who thinks of their horses as friends and family and doesn’t worry about “salvage value.”

      Horse Passports And Why You Need Them: This will cost millions of dollars in tax money. The inspections alone will be around $500,000 annually by itself. The USDA doesn’t even have the funds to properly inspect our own food products. They don’t have the funds to check out the sick and dying horses left in feed lots in Texas and New Mexico by the killers when the slaughter plants rejected them. They themselves corroborated this last.

      • Wow, Suzanne! What a great post! Can I repost this on some of the anti-slaughter facebook sites? Don’t stop speaking out so eloquently against slaughter! You go, girl!

      • Suzanne,

        May I say how much pleasure I took in reading your post, as well as Jesse’s article and most the other posts here. The level of understanding of the issue in this group is very rewarding. I and many others have spent years trying to dig up, document, and spread the truth on this issue and to have it shining here is very encouraging.

        Moreover, your leading statement is dead on. If slaughter is the answer, why are we still mired in abuse, neglect and over breeding. As many here said, this is a very complex issue and the answer will be challenging, but we know that we cannot slaughter our way out of cruelty and irresponsibility.

      • Thank you, John! I must admit though, I don’t see what is “challenging” about this issue. Horse slaughter hasn’t solved ANY problems over the last 30 years – only caused them. Horse slaughter is incredibly cruel, and there is nothing anyone, even Temple Grandin, can do about it. It’s inherent in the nature of the equine species. And, finally, our horses are not fit for humans to eat. Period.

        What is “challenging” here? All negatives and NO positives. It doesn’t seem complex to me. It’s something we cannot do. Nothing challenging or complex about that.

        Thanks again, John, for your comment on my post. Coming from you, that’s a REAL compliment!

      • Suzanne Moore – I thought double decker trailers were banned in the US for horse transport – the article you sited is about Canada?

        And as for the video in the Temple Grandin link – did you read her comments on what was happening? All the horses went down the first time – the movement in the video could be caused by the death process the animal is stunned – it wouldn’t have felt anything. I’v heard her speak. I would trust her word before I would the comments of the reporter.

        You fail to address the rising number of abuse/neglect cases – caused by the economy and the filling up of rescue shelters. At least with slaughter there is a purpose for these unwanted horses.

        I have to laugh at your villainizing the act of slaughter. What do you expect it to be like?? Really?

        Since you put horses on the level as pets. Here is my question to you…would you have problems with horses being put down like you would a dog at a shelter? (I’m sure the animals would be stressed and scared in that situation too…)

  3. Jen, I value you opinion and have always known where you stand on the subject. I see the issue of public perception of horse slaughter very similar to the public perception of modern agriculture. And while I agree with all the reasons you mentioned why horse slaughter is good for the industry, will the general public be able to comprehend that? Even if we put it in a context that is understandable, a majority of the time emotion wins over the science for these individuals. We must learn how to tap into that emotion. While the cold hard facts may say one thing, the approach that is being taken currently is obviously not working. If it was there would be a horse processing plant open somewhere right now.

    • I think we have to start at the beginning- most horse owners weren’t in favor of the closure to begin with- and as such they never thought it would become a reality. So they didn’t put their money where their mouth is (at the time I lived in TX and wrote my State Reps and Senators – who btw, were not among those who thought closure was a good idea). But the animal rights’ groups did, so they have the upper hand.

      Most horse owners, who would like to see the plants opened up, are too busy feeding and caring for their own horses and don’t have the money to spend to help lobby either congress or the field of public perception. The PR battle is being won by the groups with deep pockets.

      Sue Wallis, may not be the best face to put out there. But, she’s the one doing something.

      • Sue Wallis is “doing something” alright! She’s spreading misinformation and is talking up this abusive process of slaughter as any politician who sees only dollar signs and money in their pocket would. She’s definitely not speaking as a horse owner since she does not own horses, and as far as I know, never has. Cattle, maybe, but not horses. Unlike horses in Europe and other parts of the world, horses in America are not bred for slaughter; therefore, they are full of Bute, vaccines, fly sprays and dewormers, just to name a few. It’s a well-established fact that Bute, alone, causes cancer, renal failure and a whole host of diseases in humans. Consequently, American horses sent to slaughter are pure poison! Among the MANY reasons NOT to reestablish horse slaughter in this country, I find this one to be the most damning. The pro-slaughter folks NEVER allude to this simple FACT in any of their pro rants!

      • Linda, thank you for sharing your perspectives on the issue. I do not know whether or not Sue Wallis is a horse owner. However, the topic of food safety which you’ve brought up by mentioning the drugs and other substances that we give our equines to help keep them healthy are a definite concern. Bute is not labelled for use in food animals and I have worried about this particular issue. As for vaccines, fly sprays, and dewormers, many of these substances have been tested and approved safe for use in food animals and are required to have mandatory withdrawal periods observed before animals are allowed to be sold for slaughter. The issue of whether these withdrawal periods would ever be observed in the horse industry are highly debatable. Thanks again for sharing your opinions.

      • Bute is BANNED from use in ANY food animal. So are many other things. And we don’t have any way of tracking these things, banned or with a withdrawal period.

        Sue Wallis is NOT a horse owner and said so herself on her Facebook page. After all her ranting that non-horse owners should not have a voice in this debate.

        And, if you will check out my first post with all the links, you will find that the SCIENCE is on our side. I have nothing against Agriculture. Both my parents were born on farms, and I know a lot about farm life. I DO however have a LOT against the Big Ag Organizations that have spent millions lobbying and purchasing Congressmen to bring horse slaughter back.
        From FORBES:

      • Umm…I realize that that bute is banned from any food animal. But would these horses be entering the human food supply? Or would they be used in pet foods, etc?

        Does the concerns for bute only affect human consumption (which I do not forsee a problem with since I doubt there would be any real market for) or other animal consumption? Would Bute make my dog sick?

      • Bute is actually prescribed for dogs, so no, I would not make your dog sick.

      • Just to make sure everyone is on the same page here, none of this is about pet food. It is about human consumption.

        Horse meat hasn’t been used by major dog food companies since the 1980s. The reason appears to be two fold. Listing it as an ingredient became required by law and that may have discouraged pet owners from buying the brand.

        Secondly, pet food used the entrails and other left overs. This means that wormers in the gut went directly into the food. The most common equine wormer is ivermectin, which accumulates in the brains of some dogs (collie types) causing fatal encephalitis.

      • Dog food companies can not be trusted. And the FDA doesn’t make them follow the rules. It’s kinda how I ended up here.

      • Still, they cannot LEGALLY use banned substances in pet food. And yes, ivermectin can be fatal for some dogs.

      • Yes, we are talking about horses for human consumption only. That’s the usage that is banned by the bills now in Congress. However, there is very little use for horse meat for animals any more. I believe it was Dallas Crown in Kaufman that tried to remain open by slaughtering horses for non-human consumption but there wasn’t enough demand to keep them afloat.

      • Linda- Cows are also treated with fly tags, de-wormers and antibiotics. And for the record, I know plenty of horses from out west go to slaughter never having ever had bute a day in their life. There are also plenty of bute substitues that are being used in the horse industry as well. I’m not trying to argue. I’m just sayin’. And just because you believe Bute to be a “carcinogenic” doesn’t mean you’ll get cancer from eating horses any more than you’ll get cancer from smoking. It may increase your risk, but my understanding of the studies done with regard to bute in people is that they cannot consider it a carcinogen.

      • From what I can tell, the report you posted is from way back there in 1987. Here’s a couple of CURRENT reads for you with regard to Bute and horses going to slaughter in the US:

        If the European Union adopts stricter guidelines for horse meat entering those countries in 2014, our American horse meat will be rejected at the borders, as is the growing practice right now. Yet ANOTHER reason to stop this abusive and INHUMANE practice of slaughtering our horses.

      • How do you know the horses you refer to haven’t EVER had a dose of bute? If they’re not your own horses, there isn’t any way to know for sure. Besides, bute is only one of a host of banned substances. And, being carcinogen is the least of the problems with bute. This is from HorseTalk
        “Children at risk from contaminated horse meat
        September 20, 2011
        A horse advocacy group has highlighted a white paper produced in Ireland which talks of the dangers of children eating horse meat contaminated with banned substances.
        Slaughter opponents have long argued that US horses are unsuited for slaughter for human consumption, as they are not raised as food animals.The use of a handful of drugs, including the common anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone (bute), render the meat unfit for human consumption. Under European regulations, there is no safe withholding period for the drug.
        The Equine Welfare Alliance, an umbrella group for 195 organisation, this week highlighted an Irish Veterinary Journal white paper, released in December 2010.
        The paper gives an inside account of European Union (EU) deliberations that are leading to tough new restrictions on drug residues in animals, including horses, intended for human consumption horses.
        The new EU regulations clearly define food animals and the risk to humans, particularly children, of ingesting horse meat containing banned substances.
        Focusing on phenylbutazone, the paper outlines the extreme dangers to children and warns veterinarians: “It is a statement of fact that if the European Commission on its audit of this country find evidence of bute use in animals not excluded from the food chain, then the product will immediately lose its license Europe-wide.
        “If samples prove positive for phenylbutazone or its metabolite in equine meat of Irish origin, it will be traced back, and the prescribing veterinary practitioner will be in the firing line of prosecution.”
        The paper states: “The difficulty with phenylbutazone is that it, or its metabolite, can cause aplastic anemia in children. If a child were to consume an animal-based product containing even the minutest amount of bute or its metabolite then the child may develop aplastic anemia.”
        Horses have always been shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. The closing of the plants in 2007 did not save US horses from slaughter as the industry began shipping horses across the borders.
        The alliance noted that phenylbutazone is one of the most popular and effective drugs used in equine practice in the US.
        In a 2010 paper in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology, doctors Marini, Dodman and Blondeau found that all 18 of the racehorses that the study tracked to slaughter had been given phenylbutazone.
        The study further explains that the drug can take up in injured tissues and be released back into the blood stream later as the tissue heals, and that there is no acceptable washout period for the drug.
        European Regulations (EU Comm Reg No 504/2008) require all horses in Europe to have a passport, which is effectively a tracking system.
        All passports issued to horses over six months of age will automatically be excluded from the food chain, as will horses with duplicate passports.
        By 2013, the EU has announced that all third countries, including the US, will have to meet the same traceability standards.
        Both Canada and Mexico are instituting tracking programmes based on tagging technology in order to meet the new requirements.
        However, after years of resistance from ranchers and horse owners, the US scrapped a similar programme called NAIS (National Animal Identification System) in 2010.
        Horses in the US are not raised or regulated as food animals, the alliance says. The country has no mechanism to remove animals from the food chain that have received substances banned in food animals or any way to trace horses back to the owner(s) or veterinarians that allowed the animal to enter the food chain.
        It says Congress must start taking food safety seriously and realise the risk to the US for knowingly allowing unsafe food into the foreign markets.
        “Horse slaughter in this country is not used for food production but as a dumping ground for owners that no longer want to be held accountable for their animals and breeders that continually produce excess horses that far exceed the demand for horses. These animals should never enter the food chain,” the alliance said in a statement.

        FR Doc 03-4741 Extralable Use of Bute
        Phenylbutazone is known for its ulcerogenic, nephrotoxic, and
        hemotoxic effects in horses, dogs, rats, and humans (Refs. 2, 4, 5, 6,
        7, and 8). It is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic
        anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths
        (Refs. 7 and 8). The reported adverse reactions were associated with
        the human clinical use of 200 to 800 milligrams phenylbutazone per day
        (Refs. 7 and 8). Hypersensitivity reactions of the serum-sickness type
        have also been reported in patients with phenylbutazone. The threshold
        for this effect has not been defined. Therefore, it is unclear what
        level of exposure would be required to trigger such reactions in
        sensitive people. Moreover, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as
        determined by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) based on positive
        results in genotoxicity tests and some evidence of carcinogenicity seen
        in the rat and mouse in carcinogenicity bioassays NTP conducted (Ref.
        For animals, phenylbutazone is currently approved only for oral and
        injectable use in dogs and horses. Use in horses is limited to use in
        horses not intended for food. There are currently no approved uses of
        phenylbutazone in food-producing animals.
        Investigation by FDA and state regulatory counterparts has recently
        found phenylbutazone on farms and identified tissue residues in culled
        dairy cattle. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
        (USDA’s) Food Safety Inspection Service has reported phenylbutazone
        residues in culled cattle presented for slaughter for human food
        throughout the United States in the past 2 calendar years. This
        evidence indicates that the extralabel use of phenylbutazone in female
        dairy cattle 20 months of age or older will likely result in the
        presence, at slaughter, of residues that are toxic to humans, including
        being carcinogenic, at levels that have not been shown to be safe.
        Because of the likelihood of this adverse event, we are issuing an
        order prohibiting the extralabel use of phenylbutazone drugs in female
        dairy cattle 20 months of age or older.”
        Excellent documentation: Why the Issue With Bute?
        Everyone should read this.

        Besides all this, bute is BANNED by law. Banned by the USDA, FDA, FSIS, CFIA, and the European Union member countries. No matter what your opinion is, it is illegal to knowingly sell a horse that has been dosed with bute even ONE time in his/her life. One exposure to any banned substance and that horse MUST be kept out of the human food chain permanently.

        De-wormers and antibiotics ARE used in cattle – with one little difference. Since the FDA considers horses to be companion animals, they don’t require manufacturers of horse products to run tests to determine drug clearance times for horses. For cattle – which ARE food animals – the tests are required. That’s why some products can be used in cattle but not horses. Drug clearance times are not known for horses.

        YOU may be okay with eating banned substances, but the law says you can’t. Banned means banned.

      • Just which horse owners are you referring to? I’ve owned horses for 35 years. Most of my friends are horse owners as well. None of us would EVER send a horse off to slaughter. It is the ultimate betrayal. No one who loves horses and knows what a horror horse slaughter is like would ever support slaughter. If you would send your horses – or anyone else’s – to slaughter, excuse me, but you do not love your horses “as much as anyone.” Not by a long shot.

        In that poll done by one of the most respected pollsters in the country showed that 80% of Americans are against horse slaughter – and I believe their comprehension is as good as anyone else’s – 71% of the HORSE OWNERS in that poll were just as much against it as any one else – maybe more, since we have so much more to lose if our horses are stolen.

      • Sue Wallis is doing something all right. If the people of Mountain Grove, MO hadn’t had good public servants on their side, Wallis was going to hit them with the biggest scam I’ve ever personally known about. Everyone should read this too: MacPherson Law Center to Attorney Dan Erdel:

        This is from a lawyer that practices in Mt. Grove although Dave Duquette said she was from the HSUS and the town hall meeting where everyone told Wallis NO was arranged by the HSUS. Ridiculous lies. The Dave & Sue show also said Wallis had to move HER from the local gym because the owner had gotten threatening letters. The owner said he’d gotten no such thing and that when he found out what Wallis was pitching he told her no himself. On an internet radio show Duquette said dairy farmers give their cattle bute “every day.” Another ridiculous lie.

        All this and more can be found of the Community Preservation Project’s Facebook page:

      • Yes, the battle is being won – so far – by the ones with deep pockets all right. They’re the ones that got the dedfunding language removed in a closed-door sub-committee with only four members. Three of them had been purchased by The Cattlemen’s Beef Association – the biggest contributor for pro-slaughter – with The Farm Bureau, The Pork Producers and the AQHA right behind them in money paid. Millions of dollars got the inspections re-funded. But that money did NOT come from anti-slaughter people like me. Everything I do is with my own dime.

        With all these big corporations lobbying for slaughter, Wallis rants about the HSUS. Whatever you think about the HSUS, they are the ONLY organization lobbying FOR horses. With all the lobbyists pro-slaughter has, I should think they need to keep their mouths shut about our ONE.

        In a recent poll by Lake Research Associates – one of the most highly respected pollsters in the country – showed that 80% of Americans and 71% of horse owners, were STRONGLY opposed to horse slaughter in the US. Now really, are ALL of these people PETA puppets? How many Vegans are there in this country? Not 80% of us for sure! We will prevail because of sheer numbers and because slaughter is horrifically cruel and our horses are not fit for human consumption.

        Are you not aware that, after finding banned substances and forged documentation in our horses in both Mexico and Canada, the European Union inspectors reported this was “unacceptable.” In response, the EU Commission said that if we don’t have a traceability system comparable to their passport system by July 1, 2013, they will no longer accept our horses for slaughter in their plants – which is all the Canadian ones and the commercial ones in Mexico. Talk about a market collapse! Then what?

    • Does logic, reason, or science ever trump emotion?

      • In my case, yes. And it should in yours too. Would you rather see them suffer or die a quick death and have a use when they die? Mother nature is a cruel bitch, and so are a lot of humans. I think it is completely unrealistic to believe that animals won’t ever be abused, or neglected until we have no starving, abused or neglected people/ or children in this world. And I get really tired of people putting horses on the same plane as people. I’m not saying that’s what you’re doing. But a lot of people who are anti-slaughter seem to live in some utopian society that I am unaware of and in their world, everything is flowers and rainbows. Since you don’t know me, I’ll say this again: Grass isn’t infinite. Life brings hard choices. And the general public should be glad there’s unemotional, logical folks around to make those choices.

      • Have you ever heard of veterinarian assisted euthanasia? That’s what responsible owners do. You actually want to slaughter horses – the worst death that could possibly happen to a horse – because they MIGHT be abused? No one has said that there isn’t a possibility that some horses will be abused! Actually, records show that neglect and abuse actually INCREASE in areas around slaughter plants because they foster a “throw away” mentality.

        I do NOT live in a utopia, I’ve owned horses for over 35 years, and yes, I’ve lost a few during that time too. They had the fear-free, pain-free end to their lives that they deserved. It was still a very hard thing to do because I DO love my horses and there is NO WAY they will EVER end up brutally slaughtered. Have you ever seen a horse slaughter plant? Have you SEEN a horse being slaughtered? I you have, and you’re still for it, God help you. You ARE unemotional – utterly.

      • Sometimes they go hand-in-hand. But if we lived in a world where emotions like kindness, responsibility, love, empathy and caring for others – including animals – were non-existent, what a terrible world for all of us!

  4. As someone not in the ag business I can tell you why 99% of the people I know will never support it. We don’t eat horse meat, so we don’t think of horses as live stock. We ride horses, groom them and they eat out of our hands. We love them and they are our pets. Even people, like myself, who do not have horses think of them this way. To most people this isn’t too different than if some foreign country wanted to open a plant to slaughter dogs for the meat trade in their country. Not happening. They might find a community willing to accept a plant, but the outside forces will probably be enough to keep it from ever getting off the ground. Just like with dogs, it sounds like a strong push needs to be made to stop the over breeding of horses. I will gladly support that.

    Don’t shop, please adopt. Spay and neuter your cats and dogs. And horses. :)

    • Thanks for sharing your thoughts, thedesigngoddess. I am always interested in hearing the thoughts of others. While we may not always agree, understanding each other’s perspectives may help us to find better solutions.

  5. Well put, design goddess!!

    I’ve eaten horse meat, and it wasn’t bad….

  6. “In the end, arguing does neither side any good. The reality is we’ve got an unwanted horse problem in this country, and the sooner we stop arguing, the sooner we can start finding solutions.”

    Well put. This debate can (and most likely will) go on for years to come with a lot of emotion, mud throwing and misinformation involved. While I certainly stand clearly on one side of this issue (I’ll keep that to myself,) I do see that we need to stop arguing “our” solution and work together to look for THE solution.

    Thoughtful post, thank you!

    • WestEastern, thanks for sharing your thoughts! I appreciate your ability to take a step back and look at the entire picture. I feel that all the arguing is getting us no where. The problem still exists and until we get our heads out of the sand, it’s going to continue.

  7. I think “thedesigngoddess” hit the issue on the head. Horses somehow got on the level as pets! And there is a stigma around the word “slaughter” – it’s not a generally a good conversation piece. We also have outside industries showing the public their ideas of what slaughter is. This doesn’t help our cause any.

    I think most people live in a world without slaughter – eggs come in cartons, beef is under glass. There is no connection between the process and the product. It’s much nicer that way. (rainbows and flowers as the Dakota cowgirl has said) I dream of a world where basic agriculture classes are required in every school! Learning about our food system is just as important as other school subjects.

  8. Pingback: Horse Slaughter: A Hard Sell « Pearl Snaps' Ponderings | Stop Horse Abuse

  9. As a horse owner for 20 years I believe the sad truth is people like SD girl speak honestly
    They could care less about horses. They really reflect the biblical statement The root of all evil is the LOVE of money
    Sue Wallis certainly reflects this.


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