The American Horse Slaughter Lobby Fights To Hold Ground

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Hoberman Collection / UIG via Getty Images

The traditional view of American horse slaughter was best captured in a 2007 federal circuit court ruling. “The lone cowboy riding his horse is a cinematic icon. Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse,” wrote one judge in a decision that permitted a state ban on the practice. That same year, under pressure from animal welfare groups, the U.S. Congress cut all federal funding for the inspection of horsemeat processing plants. The domestic practice of killing equines for human consumption came to a halt.

But the change was not permanent, and a backlash from horse owners ensued. Now, just six years later, horse slaughter has returned to the American landscape, thanks to the efforts of a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers, a Wyoming horse poet Congresswoman and a retired Texas Democrat at a powerful lobbying firm. The pro-slaughter contingent argues that a ban on horse slaughter is actually worse than the alternative, decreasing the value of horses, shifting slaughtering to outside the U.S. and increasing the chances that horses will be mistreated in their old age.

Congress lifted the ban on horsemeat plant inspection in 2011 despite the objections of President Obama and 70% of Americans, who told pollsters they oppose the practice. In recent weeks, two small companies have been granted inspection permits. Fuming animal welfare groups are doing everything they can to hold off plant inspections until another temporary or permanent ban is put in place, starting with lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Wayne Pacelle, CEO of the Humane Society, told TIME that he hopes a semipermanent fix can be found when Congress passes 2014 appropriations bills, drafts of which already include a renewal of the 2007 ban. “There’s just no point in a business opening up for a month or two to kill horses,” he said. “We hope that they delay their plans until the congressional funding issue is sorted out.” Pacelle is also pushing another bill that would impose an unequivocal ban on domestic slaughter and the export of live horses.

But success is by no means certain. The current face of the horse slaughter lobby is Rick de los Santos, a man from Roswell, New Mexico who wants to convert his beef processing plant into a horse butchering facility. De los Santos says economic opportunity was the reason for his application for USDA inspection, filed just days after the ban was lifted and granted on June 28th. Horsemeat is considered a delicacy in many countries, and since the 2007 ban, Mexico has been enjoying the product’s healthy profit margin. “Why continue to outsource?” Rick’s wife Sarah asked CBS this year. “I mean, this whole election is going to be about jobs.”

The de los Santos family enjoys the support of a number of members of Congress, some of whom commissioned the Government Accountability Office report that helped lift the ban on inspecting horsemeat processing plants in 2011. The report estimated that the average per head price of a horse in the lowest price category—the kind of horse that could once be sold to a slaughterhouse for between $400 to $600—decreased by nearly 21% when horsemeat processing stopped. It also cited 17 state veterinarians who claimed that the cessation of domestic slaughter was one of the two most significant factors contributing to the decline of horse welfare between 2007 and 2011. “While we all love horses and their contribution to our culture, the ban led to unintended consequences and increased inhumane treatment of animals,” said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who commissioned the report alongside Democrats Herb Kohl and Sam Farr and Republican Roy Blunt.

Members of Congress fighting for horse slaughter still cite the report’s conclusions. “I have serious concerns that measures like [a federal ban on horse slaughter], while well-intentioned, would create a set of unintended consequences with the potential to negatively affect many aspects of the horse industry,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who is vice chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

Goodlatte’s view has been supported by the lobbying efforts of ranchers and slaughterhouses. Former Democratic congressman Charles Stenholm of Texas—“the main mouthpiece for the horse slaughter industry” in Washington, according to Pacelle—works on the issue just a few blocks from the Capitol at the lobbying firm of Olsson Frank Weeda Terman Matz PC. “It prevents the immediate creation of hundreds of good, American jobs,” said Stenholm in one of his critiques of a horse slaughter ban. His clients have included the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Livestock Marketing Association, both of which endorse the practice.

When asked about the new ban promoted by the Humane Society, Stenholm told TIME that the issue is not as black and white as animal welfare groups make it out to be. In his opinion, this is a simple matter of private property. “Why should the United States Congress feel it is their best interest to prohibit horse owners from ending the life of their horse in a humane way?” he said. “I don’t think it is going to be nearly as simple once the Congress has to start facing up to the actual language of that legislation and how it should be done.”

Outside Washington, United Horsemen is the most powerful pro-slaughter interest group. Founded by Sue Wallis, a conservative representative from Wyoming’s 52nd with a knack for writing poetry about horses, United Horsemen’s stance is that owners should be able to make their own decisions about managing their stables. United Horsemen President Dave Duquette claims that the horse rescue centers championed by the Humane Society do not manage equine populations in a healthy way. A number of centers have been charged with animal abuse and cruelty because their facilities cannot handle the volume of horses that need to be rescued.

“The animal rights groups have had six years to come up with a solution to this problem and they haven’t. And we told them they weren’t going to,” Duquette told TIME. He cited Senator Mary Landrieu as an example of a congressperson who devotes time and money to eradicating unwanted pig populations but ignores the horses wreaking havoc on her own state.

But horse slaughter remains a risky issue to publicly promote, given the romantic reputation of horses and the dearth of horse-eating cowboys in Hollywood westerns. It remains too soon to say which side will finally be able to declare victory. “Everybody’s worried about re-election,” said Duquette, who claims that many of his Washington prefer to remain in the shadows. “It’s politics as usual.”

163 comments
LisaLeBlanc
LisaLeBlanc

“It prevents the immediate creation of hundreds of good, American jobs,” said Stenholm in one of his critiques of a horse slaughter ban."

That's right, Charlie. 'Cuz it's the dream of every American girl and boy to tell their folks, "Folks? I wanna be a horse butcher when I grow up!"

Do you REALLY think, if De Los Santos gets his plant up and running, the people who work the kill floor or process the carcasses are gonna be making a living wage, with benefits and a retirement plan? That's probably a 'no'. But it's illustrative of the kind of disdain, for humans as well as horses, that would encourage Mr. Stenholm to see killing horses as a 'good, American job."

Mr. Duquette states that those who oppose horse slaughter had all that time to come up with better solutions, while he and his ilk did nothing to change their part in one of the biggest causes of 'unwanted horse populations': Nobody stopped over-breeding. There's still that unbendable mind-set that every foal has the potential to be a million dollar baby. And nobody who touts the murder of horses as panacea for America's horse woes will acknowledge that 10's of thousands of people DID step up, to the best of their abilities, and try to stem the tide of unwanted and abused animals, to feed them, care for them and provide them a home. Not every rescue organization ended up abusing their charges.

Among the most horrendous miscarriages of justice is the utter lack of enforcement in transporting these animals wherever they are bound for; there is simply nobody Federal capable of or willing to stop the blatant violations in interstate transporting of horses to slaughter plants. And of course, Mr. Duquette remains mute, just as the pro-slaughter contingent at every level, remains mute on any practices regarding horses that cause pain and suffering because this IS America; horses ARE personal property, and by Golly, you better not get between someone who needs to beat the Holy Crap outta his animal for the prize money.

Might be a different argument entirely if pros spoke up. But they don't.

Each and every pile of manure spewed by these twits about the 'unintended consequences' of the cessation of horse slaughter conveniently omit the very fact that the economy TANKED. Was the 'horse industry' not effected by that?

And finally, this tripe:

“While we all love horses and their contribution to our culture, the ban led to unintended consequences and increased inhumane treatment of animals,” said Rep. Jack Kingston, a Georgia Republican who commissioned the report Democrats Herb Kohl and Sam Farr and Republican Roy Blunt."

Mr. Kingston, your words are an offense to the senses and a stain on the soul; the GAO report was not so much commissioned as it was authored to produce a foregone conclusion. It is full of misinformation and misconceptions, which is not surprising because neither you nor your gang could hold your own in a fair fight, and you all knew it going in. Which is why the funding was reinstated, in the dark by a bunch of cheap hoods, without a chance for debate and by holding the budget for that year hostage. You have all placed your own desires and 'values' above the will of the majority of the public, which you are supposed to serve.

This isn't over. We prevailed before. And there is no reason, given that this country's Public survived - very well - the absence of politicians during the recent Shutdown, to think we can't do it again.



birdee1
birdee1

Please encourage everyone to call capital hill. The number is (202)224-3121. You will have to call twice. First, ask your state senator to co-sponsor and pass the Safeguard American Food Export Act(S. 541). Next, call your U.S. representative and ask them to co-sponsor and pass the Safeguard American Food Export Act(H.R. 1094). This is a very easy step for all of us to take. The people are very nice to deal with at capital hill. These beautiful majestic creatures only have us for their voice. Please don't let them down!

BrendaTyrrell
BrendaTyrrell

Members of Congress fighting for horse slaughter still cite the report’s conclusions. “I have serious concerns that measures like [a federal ban on horse slaughter], while well-intentioned, would create a set of unintended consequences with the potential to negatively affect many aspects of the horse industry,” said Rep. Bob Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican who is vice chairman of the House Agriculture Committee."

Now that GAO Report titled, Horse Welfare Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences for Cessation of Domestic Slaughter that was issued in June of 2011 is under fire for fraudulent misrepresentation: 

http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/How_the_GAO_Deceived_Congress-final.pdf

TerraPennington
TerraPennington

People in the USA will soon find toxic horse meat mixed into our beef and pork products.  Our government are going to make us pay to let this toxic meat into the human food supply.  God Help Us All........

DecklinAngeliaLampingMoon
DecklinAngeliaLampingMoon

I can not believe that you state that "under pressure from animal welfare groups, the U.S. Congress.........". It should read ; "pressure from more than 80% of the American people"! The American people have spoken time and time again, we don't want horse slaughter here in America, and we certainly don't want to send our horses across the borders to suffer in foreign Slaughter plants! Maybe a little more investigative journalism would make your story more reliable, more truthful. 

TedPeepLoverWells
TedPeepLoverWells

What absolutely uninformed and paltry journalism. Learn your FACTS before you share in a national publication! It's not about emotion, although all equine slaughter is inhumane and barbaric. It's also an economic and ecological disaster for the surrounding communities, and brings toxic meat into the food chain (because there is little market for horse meat). It doesn't promote jobs, it doesn't answer the unwanted horse population. It only serves the financial interest of a few greedy and immoral few. Check out www.kaufmanzoning.net to see the documentation of what equine slaughter brings to your town. I am disgusted y the poor quality of your journalism.

Maxlynn
Maxlynn

Not only that but Theodore Roosevelt National Park is rounding up its herds of wild horses to sell at public auction in September.  The world seems beyond repair if this can happen.

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

The slaughterhouses are rushing to get their doors open, rushing before they have to eventually close them forever.   President Obama has instructed the path to banning slaughter be run to his desk, he will sign.  The battle is not done. Fight for it now folks!  The AgBill is to go to conference in the next few weeks, let's get it passed with the defunding language and then get those bills banning transport and slaughter passed. 

Even the President wants the slaughter of horses banned!

sharksareamoungus
sharksareamoungus

Its official the cover of Time with the Boston Bomber and then an anti-horse article like this, I have to say in the past 2 days Time Died as the Ultimate Magazine. You people have really blown it this TIME! That's a fact, not a JOKE!

RobyninColorado
RobyninColorado

Let's face it anybody who would kill horses all day long isn't somebody you want to rub elbows with!!

We don't want them in our COMMUNITIES!!.......

Our country is slipping big time!...................

WE do not need to be feeding the foreigners our horses?...This is the USA we don't eat horse. I don't want my tax dollars to pay for the inspections for horse meat for Foreign Countries? ARE YOU PEOPLE FREAKIN NUTS?

There's Rick De Los Santos owner of Valley Meats a known FELON who's application was approved by the USDA with falsified information about his Felonies...What is wrong with you USDA, a known FELON approved for horse slaughter?

Corruption is out of CONTROL in this Country!!

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

The four you named (Jack Kingston, Herb Kohl, Roy Blunt and Sam Farr) were part of a 4-man team to iron out differences in the House and Senate versions of the 2011 AgBill during a late night meeting the last day before the budget expired.  Three of these men without proper authority stripped the bill of the defunding language, this at the behest of a minority interest of foreign interests who have corrupted our political system .  Sam Farr of California voted against stripping the defunding (CA has outlawed every aspect of horse slaughter) but it was too late to present the changed bill for review. Pres Obama got it for signature by midnight oil.  In essence, Mr. Blunt and his buddies, Kingston and Kohl, took their lack of values and took away the horses' only protection against slaughter in the US.  Those who support the slaughter of horses reek of greed, corruption and sometimes stupidity.  Horses are loved by 80% of Americans.  20% want to eat them.  Please insist your elected officials in Washington vote as the majority of Americans want them to.  Pass S.R. 541 and/or H.R. 1041.   Protect our horses once and for all from the crime, pollution, horror and sadness that these horse eaters promise.  There is nothing that can ever be humane about the slaughter of horses. 

Jwildman78
Jwildman78

I have cancelled my subscription to Time Magazine and now question many of their other articles, based upon this reporting.  The money funding these operations seeking approval to start slaughtering horses as well lobby money going to the legislators pushing for this horrific industry is obviously coming from overseas entities.  I have bred, raised and trained show horses for almost 50 years and know that the drugs from wormers to bute and banamine are toxic to humans.  As I have watched my beloved stallions and broodmares come to the end of their lives, they have been provided a calm and dignified end with proper burials.  Anyone who takes on of horse ownership should be held responsible for the welfare of the animal throughout it's life.  These are not disposable items and there is a price tag, not only upon purchase, but most importantly and the end of life.

VickiFancher
VickiFancher

http://www.krqe.com/dpp/news/larry_barker/illegal-horse-racing-runs-wild   could it be our legislators are in bed not only with the big lobbiest greasing their palms to get horse slaughter passed... it is not for the good of old and abandoned horses which btw are rejected from the slaughter plants..  after reading articles on crime, drugs and illicit activities such as horse racing and gambling I  think they are all in bed with each other... what better way to ship drugs across the country in meat... or even money laundering.  Now you should learn millions of dollars are crossing hands constantly by the crime lords.. why would a plant in NM open with a man running it that was shut down for so many health violations?  Infractions?  I think it is all interconnected... crime, drugs, money laundering and horse slaughtering... think long and hard Time.  Your story was so biased but did your really research the environmental problems?  health issues of the toxic meat?  I doubt it... you were told to do a story pro slaughter which you did...   next time think about the issues of why the pro are pushing so hard to use our tax dollars on meat meant for overseas.  Why it is illegal to use the drugs for human consumption but what the hay send it overseas... I think they are mixing more in... 

KarinHauenstein
KarinHauenstein

Let's talk about horse slaughter and the ludicrous possibility that millions in funding to the USDA would go to inspect a process in clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958 for foreign-backed companies and a foreign market that is many times an illegal one:

Bovines and equines (cattle and horses) are both supposed to be "rendered insensible with a single (1) shot" before vivisection, before they hang on the hook, according to Federal Law. A large percentage (at least 40%) of horses regain consciousness on slaughter lines after they are hanging. This fail rate climbs to nearly 100% with wild, untrained or under-trained horses who will not let anyone near their poll without a fight. The captive-bolt is ineffective at rendering them senseless and they are routinely shot in the head multiple times before their vivisection for harvesting is completed. Animal advocates are outraged over this because of the extremity of this barbaric practice. This is evidenced in the following video, as well as many that can be found on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BwPqh43_NkM. And here is the law: http://uscode.house.gov/download/pls/07C48.txt.

You cannot restrain the head of a horse to correctly apply the pneumatic captive-bolt gun apparatus to their forehead. The gun has a pressure-release trigger and use of it on horses requires multiple shots to render them senseless. Some skulls from slaughtered horses recovered at rendering plants have 4 or 5, and sometimes up to 20 or more, holes in them.

The specific fact that equines commonly have to be struck multiple times with the captive-bolt, or shotgun, is what makes commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. a clear violation of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. The meat produced contains dangerous levels of adrenaline and cortisol, in addition to all the prohibited substances and medications given U.S. horses.

Please support the SAFE ACT in Congress today! Call (202)224-3121 and ask to speak to your Federal Representatives. Tell them to support HR1094 and S541!

Ban horse slaughter forever! It is bad meat and baaad business!

Maxlynn
Maxlynn

Oh Mustangman I am so with you.  It breaks my heart that man could be this callous and depraved.

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals." ~Immanuel Kant

Mustangman
Mustangman

A norhtern American Indian legend of creation:

When the great creator finished creating the earth, its inhabitants including people, it became aware that People needed help surviving. When the Creator asked all the other animals on the planet who would be a friend to man they all thought about it and deciced that man was too callous and cruel except one. The horse came forward and said they would be friends with man and help guide. him.

Our return for this kindness, how much f---ing money can we make off of you in life, competition and death for our benifit. Can all the stupid reasons of whay we should not or should slaughter and eat horses. the simple and most correct response is simply 'It's wrong"

"When Morality comes up against Profit, it is seldom that profit loses>"  Shirley Chisholm

Maxlynn
Maxlynn

Well, it is a sad state of affairs that our "elected representatives" continue to bow to the almighty Dollar and turn their ears away from the people who elected them.  They do not pledge allegiance to our flag - it goes like this;

I pledge allegiance to the Dollar, and all of the things it give ME, one nation, FULL OF GREED, with liberty and justice for none.

We need to get these people out of office.  I personally have contacted all my state representatives, President Obama, the entire committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and written to Robert Goodlatte.  I plan to write to that idiot Congresswoman out in WY and Kohl, Farr and Blunt.  I have sent letters to all of my local news stations.  Today is reserved for a letter to Joe Biden.  We need to agitate and get our voices out there.  These idiots are concerned with only money and getting re-elected.  Let's take both away from them by making a loud voice count for something.  It is also sad that Time would stoop to this kind of tainted journalism without doing the research on the horrors created by horse slaughter and the ruination of the towns where these plants were located.  Not to mention that these are some God's most noble, intelligent and gracious creatures who were the backbone for settling this country.  If other countries want to eat them - fine, BUT NOT AMERICAN HORSES - EVER.

VickiTobin
VickiTobin

Backlash from horse owners in 2011? More like underhanded tactics from three legislators as mentioned by Brenda Tyrell. The backlash from horse owners and the horse industry came this year when you saw the defunding of horse inspections pass out of the house and senate committee on a voice vote. No roll call was needed meaning the opposition to horse slaughter was overwhelming. In case you haven't noticed, their victories were not because of support for what they were doing. The Burns three strikes language (on behalf of Reid) was snuck into the bill AFTER it was reviewed, the horse inspections were funded behind closed doors (no debate, no vote) and now, the inspections for plants were forced. A good example of not having support is in Oregon. Duquette's fight against the horse tripping bill in his own home state failed by a 57 to 1 vote. They have no support and have to resort to underhanded tactics. One of their favorite tactics is blocking and stalling bills until the session runs out. If they have so much support, why are they afraid to let the bills go to the floor for a vote?

drcharltonjr
drcharltonjr

Shame on Time for publishing such an openly biased, pro-slaughter article!  It is obvious that the author has not done adequate research on this topic.  I become absolutely livid when I read this type of tripe.  The author needs to go back to journalism school and learn how to objectively research their information and sources.  So what's next, 'processing' America's dogs and cats, there's a market for them in the orient you know.  How about some Soylent Green too while we're at it!  Come on Time you can do much better than this.  Sorry but you've lost a ton of respect from me here...

~"Auschwitz begins whenever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks; 'They're just animals " - Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno, a holocaust survivor~

sharksareamoungus
sharksareamoungus

Who loves ya baby? Kojak! Well who loves the horses are the people actually giving them a good quality of life and we are being battered verbally for treating horses the way they were intended, the cattle people, I own cattle people and I dropped the connotation cattleman from my business cards-I don't want to be mistaken for one the industry standards callous and rude. I earned my living off slaughtering cattle, but I regulated them, cared for them, and yet I cannot see the good in slaughtering any horses. In fact, did you know that they only can use less than 60 percent of the horses bodies so the other 40 percent and add the useless blood and fluids to be disposed of are twice the amount of cattle. So they are cutting horses in half to make money off them, that sounds really irresponsible to me, in fact, in cattle we use 98 percent of the actual cow. That's a way larger percentile. So by the margin of waste production the cattle are a more stable resource for usable products. As well Federal Law Banned horses in the Pet Foods and they want to sell it to other countries who in turn will make pet foods bought by American's and we once again will have dead pets. What, a freaking shock, a dirty under-handed scheme like that not to be outdone by the fact they want to send parts unusable to the rending plants to be made into fertilizer for your precious garden made from horses, no thanks! I will just clean stalls in the horse barn and whalla fertilizer without a horse in it! If they send the body parts to the rendering plants it also gets into the chicken feeds, and eventually into pet foods indirectly, see the scheme coming into full view? We have to stop this once and for all. Or one day your child will come home with an illness they cant explain, the doctor will say you need an emergency room, they will check and check, then send you to a cancer center where they will endure all kinds of issues and eventually it will leak out the kids all ate Mrs. Smith's ponies in the Mac and horseburger meals with a side salad and a juice box. This has to end. All kidding aside these people are really nuts, don't believe me read some of the things written about the lovely, ack! (hairball, really, haybelly) Mr./Mrs. Wallis (sorry vision not what is should be) and see what she has done on behalf of Cheval-sounds likes a badly written porn novel....

sharksareamoungus
sharksareamoungus

Yes! I have had a revelation about the property rights issue the pro-slaughter are bludgeoning their horses with. Did you know each state has laws on criminal abuse and neglect, broke down by the city, country, provence, and rural setting you live in? Well these laws don't allow you to abuse your "own" property. In fact, there are laws against injuring animals at horse shows, even though its your personal property, there are laws against the way you do not feed, water, or in other words neglect your animals even though its your personal property, and there are laws, restrictions, and regulations on what you can and cannot do within breed registries, animal regulations, police jurisdiction, Conservation, and certain locations such as camp grounds, boarding stables, etc, they all regulate what you can and cannot do with your personal property-all to help aid the benefit of the animals. So what this pro-slaughter garbage about property rights is just a bunch of hooey to get caught up in and say its our personal right-when in fact, it is not. Horse slaughter actually falls under the category of animal abuse and neglect which is why they were closed down in the US. In fact, the plants were closed by private citizens who got tired of stolen horses, property damage, the run down local economy and the fact ( we lived by the DeKalb plant) that they stunk. The large organizations were called in because the private parties were getting threats, imagine that, pro-slaughter threatening to do stuff, I mean they just want to steal and kill your animals and shut up horse owners from speaking out, who could imagine they would threaten anyone? So all the mockery and jokery aside, this issue over property rights has simply been to find a way to abuse the animals they are actually personally sick of. In fact, show people sell to slaughter to not have to compete against their has been show horses and get beat by better partnerships. The racing industry has horses snuffed out to NOT race against them and to keep people from breeding the horses to better quality and out do their simpletons attitudes, take for instance Harness Racers who agree with slaughter they don't want someone showing up with a horse from the bloodlines they threw away and have that horse cart run right over them.  So they snuff them out and off to the races again. Then we all know the Tennessee Walker family of in-bred horse trainers who abuse, use, and destroy well performing animals and do anything they can to look pretty, really just ram something up their rear end and you'll get the same high prancing action without destroying their feet and shoving sawdust in the noses. Then lets look at the back yard horse trainer, the men and women who cant tell an apple from a pear. They breed anything! Can't train anything and then they buy sell trade and claim they trained the good ones, killed the bad ones cause they were the worst horses on the planet-not really, the horses just saw through them. So that brings us to the master minds behind the whole slaughter ordeal in the first place. The beautiful property, spacious fields, masses of hay, 200 room homes, they are mass producing, they just put numbers on collars and forget whos who in the first place then they just breed, breed, breed, (AQHA) and then when you go to see the spring stock you look out at a sea of horses with bad legs, deformed hooves, weak tendons, crippled necks, and so, so, so and then they simply say they will go to slaughter truck. That's animal abuse. If you look at all the stories of property rights you see ANIMAL ABUSE, so slaughter is the disposal center for ANIMAL ABUSERS~!~ Which is why they say-I quote_its only for the people who care about "their" property rights and make the choice themselves to be humane. Well hot dog! That's how they come up with humane, with all the horsemeat they ate with all them there drugs in them this actually makes sense to pro-slaughter nuts! They actually are treating their animals so very bad, this does seem a bit more HUMANE! So I have a better IDEA, BAN slaughter, lets take care of the horses, cut back on expensive over breeding that developes more worse horses. And for God sakes, do you realize in the past 6 years there have been several major hurricanes, several major tornadoes, several quakes, an economy collapse, and many other natural things that threw the industry prices off, to be so sure that just the closure of 3 tiny plants was the cause is really tremendously over-valuing an abusive industry. Period!

BrendaTyrrell
BrendaTyrrell

Congress lifted the ban on horsemeat plant inspection in 2011 - Interpretation -3 rogue Senators Blunt, Kingston & Kohl removed the language to defund horsemeat inspections at the last minute.

“The animal rights groups have had six years to come up with a solution to this problem and they haven’t. And we told them they weren’t going to.”  And the horse industry doesn't have any responsibility to fix the problem. Over-breeding continues because those who use horse slaughter as a disposal service for their irresponsibility don't want humane solutions. Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia and it never will be. Responsible horse owners provide a humane end for their horses.

The USDA has said that each horse slaughter plant will cost taxpayers over $400,000 per year in operation costs. This is a waste of taxpayer funds when horses in the US are nonfood animals. With decreased funding, consumers would be better off if the USDA used the funds for foods Americans do eat.

Horse slaughter is all about money and has nothing to do with equine welfare and is even a positive contributor to equine abuse in neglect as outlined in http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/History_and_Causes_of_Equine_Abuse-Neglect.pdf by John Holland, President Equine Welfare Alliance, Inc.

Horse slaughter lobbyist, Charlie Stenholm, "“Why should the United States Congress feel it is their best interest to prohibit horse owners from ending the life of their horse in a humane way?” he said. No one is preventing anyone from ending the life of their horse in a humane way. Since horse slaughter is inhumane, causes significant environmental devastation, loss of tourism, results in businesses relocating to other areas or states and increases crime from the transportation of horses to slaughter, at feedlots, auction houses and at slaughter plants when they were open in the US and now as they are shipped over the borders to slaughter.  Not to mention the serious food safety issue of sending adulterated US horse meat to unsuspecting consumers in foreign countries for human consumption.

Bottom line horses in the US are not bred or raised as food animals in the US and have been given drugs, chemicals, treatments and substances that are permanently banned in food animals. There is a reason that horse slaughter was shut down in the US and there isn't any reason to open horse slaughter plants on US soil and expect a different result. Doing the same thing all over again and expecting a different result is the definition of insanity.

Maxlynn
Maxlynn

Gee, wrong title, should be "Horse for Dollars".Horse slaughter is brutal, unsafe, and irresponsible  and should not exist so it can be used as a crutch for irresponsible owners or as a dumping ground that enables overbreeding.  Horse slaughter is not humane euthanasia; it is a betrayal of our trusted companions.The slaughter process is horribly abusive.The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated blows to render them unconscious and sometimes remain conscious during the slaughtering process. No sane person would propose slaughtering dogs and cats for food as a humane solution to pet overpopulation. That leaves aside the fact that Phenylbutazone ("Bute"), which is one of the most widely prescribed medications for horses, is banned in any concentration in all food producing animals due to the hazards it presents to humans. The entire dysfunctional Congress has sunk below Third World moral values in my estimation.

RachelSpeed
RachelSpeed

One of the biggest problems with the pro-slaughter movement is that it is founded on lies and relies on the American public to blindly believe them without looking into the matter themselves. The truth is that animal abuse and neglect has declined over the last several years. Because of social media, the cases that do occur make it into the press far more and give the appearance that it is on the rise. Slaughterhouses would only provide maybe 25 jobs, and only to people who possess the mentality it takes to be able to brutally kill frightened animals. The ecological effects of horse slaughter houses is devastating, and the towns who hosted such facilities before can happily testify to the damages it caused. The horse market is in the toilet because of over-breeding during a recession, not because of a horse slaughter ban. The same amount of horses we once killed here we now ship to Canada and Mexico, so such a statement is entirely false. Facilities here, if allowed to open, will not be any better than they are in Mexico and Canada. Also, it would lead to an epidemic of horse theft. Wallace and Duquette are obsessed with the slaughter idea because they have all of their money tied up in the hopes of renewing it, not because of their concern for the welfare of the American horse. According to them, anyone who asks them to back their argument with facts or presents them with facts proving slaughter to be inhumane or unnecessary are labeled as radical extremists, or non-horse people. The truth is that slaughter takes away horse industry jobs - farriers, vets, trainers, shows, feed stores, tack stores - these all rely on live horses to thrive. Slaughter also gives a green light to over-breeding, which will further tank the industry. Blaming rescues is useless, because horses end up at rescues because of bad ownership, not because we have a fabled epidemic of unwanted horses running around on our streets. Slaughter will never cure bad ownership. Add to that the fact that horse meat is highly toxic and considered unfit to feed to dogs and cats, and you really are left wondering just what fuels the fires of those who are for horse slaughter, and why they are so willing to jeopardize horse welfare, horse people, and the American public in the name of a few American dollars made by torturing horses. However, if you were to ask them, you would never get a real answer. Please research these facts that are widely available, and come to your own conclusions.

SheriEllenbecker
SheriEllenbecker

I am from Kansas--a real farm state.  It really bothers me that the USA would consider an animal of a complete unknown medical history as a food animal when our cattle, pork and sheep producers are held to such high standards in producing the animals they provide for our meat supply.  This is very much at odds with any idea of food safety.  The idea that a horse who has had multiple owners with no medical history provided can be slaughtered within 72 hours of its purchase and called "fit for the school lunch program" when a licensed veterinarian cannot prescribe a beef steer many of the medicines this given horse has likely received without it being banned from the food chain baffles me.

An to the other end of this issue--Why would American taxpayers want to pay $5 million per year to inspect these animals of unknown history when our food safety budget is being cut by $9 million per year and we do not have enough inspectors to keep our Rocky Ford cantalopes safe to eat here in the USA?  Do we want to spend $5 million so a Frenchman can eat a horse?

SueCarter
SueCarter

IIS THIS REALLY TIME MAGAZINE ? I LOOKED FOR IT TO SAY 'PAID FOR BY THE HORSEMEAT LOBBY' AT THE BOTTOM. HOW ABOUT EQUAL TIME, TIME MAGAZINE? DO YOU CALL THIS BIASED REPORTING ... JOURNALISM?!

TomDurfee
TomDurfee

Since upwards of 80% of Americans are against horse slaughter shouldn't the title read.


The Anti-American Horse Slaughter Lobby Fights To Hold Ground


TerraPennington
TerraPennington

Look like the American people are going to have to mark off beef for fear of toxic American horse meat  that the EU has ban from being imported into Europe.  Got to love Sue Wallis and her fans for trying to kill the American people by marketing toxic horse meat that Mexico and Canada will no longer take.  So sad that we elect people in our government that allow for animals not raised as food animals to enter our food chain. So sad that they want us to foot the bill to pay for USDA inspection on toxic meat when 80% of the American people do not eat or feed our pets horse meat due to toxic drugs.

SarahConfran
SarahConfran

It's never crossed my mind that people wanted to eat horse.

DorisKelsey
DorisKelsey

Good well balanced article!  Great to see the importance of private property rights brought out.  Horsemen as differ from 'horse owners', know the value of processing.  Economics 101 tells us we need a bottom to any market.  Processing is the bottom to the horse market.  The article states that prices have dropped to $300-$600 for "kill" horses.  In my area the prices are closer to $200-$300.  And they don't want young horses.  They want older horses as their meat is more tender.  Those skinny abandoned horses people are commenting on didn't used to exist when we had processing.  When animals have no value, people don't value them!  Sooo many lies being told in the comments.

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

Thank you, Lisa.  And this being August 2014 - it is fitting to report that we have prevailed.  This filthy, polluting plant was shut down for community health reasons and was not able to convince anyone they were able to comply with any resemblance of proper business and insisted on slaughtering horses - which did not go over well with the Attorney General's Office of New Mexico. 

morgansinkc
morgansinkc

@sharksareamoungus I am also against the USDA opening up inspections for the proposed horse slaughter plants in the United States because horses in the U.S. are not raised for human consumption.   As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, having the USDA inspect horse slaughter plants concerns me as well.  

 They are our friends and companions (at least they are my friends and companions), and as such horses  are treated with drugs like cats and dogs to a wide variety of vaccinations, bacterins, topical and oral treatments that are not approved for human consumption. 
We use gloves with topical treatments, because we don't want  equine drugs touching our skin, let alone consuming them. It's not economical to raise horses for slaughter in the U.S., because it takes more money to raise a foal to maturity than the horse meat market is willing to pay.  It's an economical losing proposition.  Therefore,  the USDA has no business inspecting a horse slaughter plant that by default will be receiving horses that are not fit for human consumption. The horses they will be receiving have not been raised drug-free for human consumption. 
As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, the USDA's reputation directly affects many. The European Union, which is where most of the horse meat would go, has a zero tolerance for Bute (Phenylbutazone) , which is routinely given to horses in the U.S. It is estimated that 90% of horses in the U.S. have been treated with this drug, not to mention all of the other drugs. 
There is no good way to test for all of these drugs on every horse destined for slaughter, which would need to be done, since they are not raised for human consumption in the U.S. Many tests would need to be run on each horse, and there is no way to do this in a timely fashion, especially given that the tests have to be run after the horse is dead, and that autopsies need to be performed within 24 hours.  
Most of the horses destined for slaughter are young or middle-aged, and in the prime of their lives. Two that have been rescued from slaughter have gone on and are now showing at the Morgan Grand National level.
Here is  information on what New Jersey has done regarding horse slaughter in the hopes that others will take note: 
http://www.oceancountysignal.com/2012/09/21/dancer-bill-banning-horse-meat-for-human-consumption-signed-into-law/
"The law prohibits anyone from knowingly slaughtering or selling a horse for human consumption."

morgansinkc
morgansinkc

@RobyninColoradoI am against horse slaughter for a variety of reasons, and here is yet another reason.  Horse slaughter is a highly expensive proposition for taxpayers.  Each plant will cost taxpayers $400,000.00, according to this press release.  This issue crosses all party lines. Voters and politicians from all sides of the isle are against horse slaughter for a laundry list of reasons.  

Here is the press release: 
http://moran.house.gov/press-release/moran-statement-usda-decision-allowing-re-opening-us-horse-slaughter-facility
 "According to the USDA, each horse slaughter facility...would cost U.S. taxpayers over $400,000 per year in operation costs."
This is the worst economy since the Great Depression.  In addition to the cost of the USDA inspecting plants, at a price tag of $400,000.00 per plant to U.S. taxpayers, the meat will not even be eaten in the U.S.  Why should we, as American taxpayers, pay for these inspections?
Additionally, we have to factor in the taxpayer expense of police officers who will likely be taking more reports on horse theft and making more investigations into horse theft.  
As a horse owner, the thought of horse theft and stolen horses ending up at slaughter concerns me greatly.  I would hope that it would concern you, too.  Many people think of their horses as family members. 

oddieferret
oddieferret

@KarinHauenstein  

What is in your film is exactly what went on in all of the slaughter plants in the US for years.  The USDA was aware of everything that happened,  so were the Vets that worked in these plants. They all knew the horses were being butchered alive, NONE OF THEM CARED AT ALL.  All of the BS about how how much better the US slaughter plants are than the ones in  Canada/Mexico is all a lie, all of them are run the very same way. Cruelty is something that happens every second. Go  here to see what happens in Canada.

http://defendhorsescanada.org/investigations/chambers-of-carnage click on the Bouvry links as you scroll down. One of the links was inactivated by Youtube necause of a complaint but try it.

The US Senate is the very reason this is even still going on.  Every anti-slaughter bill that has been introduced  for the past 8 years never makes it out of committee.  There is enough cosponsors in the House right now to pass one of the bills H.R. 1094 but nobody in the Senate is interested. The only Senators that are cosponsors are  the original group of about 24 that introduced bill S.541 and that's it. Especially in the Senate all of them are wined and dined by lobbyists from the racing industry and all of the horse registries including the Quarter Horse Association.  With thousands of dollars going into their reelection campaigns why should any of them worry about a animal being butchered alive.

RobyninColorado
RobyninColorado

@Maxlynn 

Agree with you.

Kohl, Farr and Blunt need to be out of office.

Sue Wallis, really needs to be out of office she's part of a bad gene pool.

DebbieTracy
DebbieTracy

@SueCarter Totally AGREE, SHAME ON TIME<<<<< REAL NICE, REAL NICE INDEED>>>>>  What did THIS article give you all?????  OMG what has happened to our moral judgments the good in this country has it really disappeared ???  From What I can SEE and READ it has.....  This horse slaughter WILL come back and haunt you all then keep printing articles like this one...

sharksareamoungus
sharksareamoungus

@SarahConfran They want to sell the meat to foreigners, and to school children in America in lower income schools so we can test it for safety. Sound like a great idea to you? Not us! Please sign the petition on Change.org under animals Petition to Overturn the Legalization of the Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption. Thanks!

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

I can't believe you have read and reviewed the thousands of photos USDA took of horses whose destiny were the slaughterhouses in the US (back before 2007).  After seeing those photos, you would swear the horses had no value - none.  They had been banged up, beaten, broken legs, broken eye sockets, torn off jaws, broken off legs, gouged muscles - definitely valueless to theslaughter "industry." The horses to be sent to slaughter when the US houses open will receive food, water and are kept free of injury because they suddenly have "value."   Well, tell that to the thousands of horses headed over the borders now - standing in trailers for hours whilst the drivers sift through paperwork or get drunk, the hroses jammed into trailers that careen across highways killing many inside and stand in feedlots for days without food or water and injured or just having given birth.  Tell that to the thousands of horses abandoned at the Tex/Mex border because they had been cut out as being too skinny, injured, pregnant or old.  You really need to catch up.  If you do believe this nonsense of bottom value, it is more than likely you own an auction house or are an investor in one of trhe slaugherhouses chomping to open.  The real value of the horse will be realized when it is no longer a disposable inventory, but rather the cherished member of family it was created to be.

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

Nothing about what you said here conveys you the honor of "horsemen."  Your category is "horse eater."  Mucho different!  My best advice to you is, go into mechanics.  That "industry" is okay with words like "processing."  Your Economics 101 class was taken by every one of us and the one thing we all learned, which you did not learn is that some things can't be bought or paid for. 

Maxlynn
Maxlynn

@DorisKelsey The lie being told is that you are human being.  Read the reports - mares in foal during transportation, legs ripped off in transport, eyes ripped out in panic, no water, no food, and horses jammed into vans so far beyond legal capacity that many of them die.   92% of the animals sent to slaughter are young and healthy.  You domesticated them, you bred them, you used them and then you want to sell them off as food.  You are just sick. 

RachelSpeed
RachelSpeed

@DorisKelsey  You have a few grossly false statements here. Old animals are not more tender than young ones. Where did you come up with that? If that were in any way true, we would not slaughter chickens, pigs, and cattle at such a young age. Also, where on earth did you come up with the idea that there were no skinny or abandoned horses before 2007? A quick look at animal abuse and neglect statistics will prove that statement to be horribly wrong. Who have you been listening to? Did you just think these things up? Also, let's call a spade a spade. Slaughter (processing) does not encompass the bottom of the horse market. The bottom of the horse market is made up of poorly-bred horses with poor confirmation that are not suited to be anything other than pleasure animals. If you want to control that bottom and raise it up, then maybe we need to tax over-breeding instead of allowing tax cuts for over-breeding. Then, people would be more selective, and the market would naturally rise because the standards of the "market bottom" would rise. I also do not believe that assigning the name "private property" to a living, breathing entity is entirely correct. Nobody is going to confiscate your stereo if you kick it into a wall, but we have laws that protect people from treating animals cruelly. You may have the right to own an animal, but you do not have the right to abuse it. I really would like to encourage you to do some research from reliable sites before making such grand sweeping generalizations.

DeedieFayCameron
DeedieFayCameron

@DorisKelsey I remember plenty of horses being "skinny" and neglected long before horse slaughter plants closed.  In the area where I lived in the 1980's, a good number of horses were neglected and abandoned because of the recession, yet there was a horse slaughter plant within five hours of that area.  Abandonment and neglect are the result of human error and ignorance.  If kill buyers and slaughter houses want older horses then why is the average age of a horse going to slaughter 7 years old?  What about the mares with foals at their sides sent to slaughter or the ones who give birth in the kill pens?  Who says horses don't have value?  I know where you can get a cute little pony mare, even temperament, good for showing, for $2000.00.  I also saw an ad for a good looking 2 year old appaloosa/snow cap gelding for $2450.00.  Also, a nice Dutch warmblood for $35,000.00.  Plenty of others in those price ranges.  These horses are offered by professional, responsible owners, breeders and trainers.  I don't think I saw a single one for $200.00-$300.00.  Maybe in your area you should STOP breeding for about 15 minutes and give the market time to balance, instead of breeding for slaughter.

DebbieTracy
DebbieTracy

@DorisKelsey  You say WHEN we had processing can you not say SLAUGHTER, and you are wrong WE HAVE HAD slaughter more horses were slaughtered last year than ever before, so I wish if you are going to make a statement correctly do so....  Ask any business man that you do not over load the market when it does not make viable good business sense, to over breed and that is the BIGGEST problem, we have had slaughter for how long now decades and my goodness we STILL have an over abundance of horses my goodness why is this cause we have had slaughter all along forever, so you see Org. and backyard breeders need to SLOW down when this product horses are NOT in big demand, there is an overload of horses , stop over breeding..

Until the dumping grounds of not processing it is HORSE SLAUGHTER is gone will any of us see a difference for the better, it really does not take a rocket scientist to figure this out use your head....  Horse slaughter is not to benefit us or the horses it is for FOREIGN gain's only, WHO would want their tax dollar promoting foreign interest's and tainted horsemeat, I mean we don't even put it in dog food anymore because it was killing dogs, WAKE UP EVERYONE who wants this nothing good comes from it nothing will change NOTHING never has never will...

SueCarter
SueCarter

@DorisKelsey Glad you brought out the Property Rights Issue Doris, That is the bottom line. Look at the dispicable decision in Tennessee where the Tennessee Walker "Trainer" was fined and banned from owning horses. We all know it is his God-given Constitutional Right to beat a horse over the head with a club and burn it's legs with caustic chemicals; any time he wants. Don't you think?

JannaLukens
JannaLukens

@DorisKelsey  I'd suggest that if you are interested in the subject, that you study a bit more - broaden your horizons -  instead of only memorizing Sue Wallis' talking points. I studied Economics 101 myself, but obviously not at the same school as you... There was a little concept called "Supply and Demand".  When you are a seller and want to make money there are a couple of ways to do it.  SUPPLY: You can 1) raise your prices or 2) lower your prices but make your profit through volume of sales. But in order to do this, you have to consider DEMAND. In the horse business, there isn't the same demand for horses that there used to be. So you can lower your prices, but there still won't be enough buyers for your "products". So  that won't work. Alternatively, you can raise your prices. That won't work either, unless you have a superior "product". You can't expect to charge diamond prices for ordinary rocks you pick up in your driveway... It's pretty difficult to make a living breeding and selling horses for $200-$300... especially when the only ones who will buy them just want to kill them and eat them. If you want to make money on horses, ban horse slaughter. People will stop breeding them if there are no kill buyers. Then, with a decrease in SUPPLY, you'll be able to raise your prices. Or maybe you should find a different way to make money. Anyone who worries about this kill buyer "bottom market price" can't afford to own horses. 

Another term in Economics 101 you need to become familiar with is: RECESSION. You're probably aware that we have been in a recession. Not only have horse prices gone down, so has just about everything else (except gas...). Look at land prices these past few years. And like people haven't been able to afford to buy horses, they haven't been able to buy houses. To blame the cessation of horse slaughter for low horse prices is... well... Perhaps  you should go back to school and study Economics 201...

Another talking point you got wrong: They DO want young horses. The younger the better. The most expensive horsemeat at Chevideco is called "sucker meat". (unweaned foals under 6 months of age). Next are the colts and fillies between 6 months and a year. These babies are considered "white meat". Most horses are considered prime "red meat" at about four years old. Whoever told you they want older horses because they are "tender" just plain lied to you. 

And lastly, there are those of us who don't need a dollar sign to make us value life. There are those of us who believe that when we take an animal into our lives, we are responsible for providing the best possible care: food, shelter, water, love, dignity, and a whole lot more. Unfortunately, you've been brainwashed by Sue Wallis. The lies being told are being told by her.

CurtLukens
CurtLukens

@DorisKelsey Now you can really shoot and eat your ride if you want to.  That's not illegal look at Tim Sappington he did it on video and  posted it for all of us to see.  What a nice guy!  In fact give it some bute to easy it's pain before you shoot and eat.  Give it lots and lots of bute.

CurtLukens
CurtLukens

@DorisKelseyNo evidence has been presented that the lack of horse slaughter caused any increase in abandonment or abuse.  The economic down turn (worst since the great depression) is the main reason. During this time the increase in abandoned and neglected dogs and cats has also been reported in significant numbers.  The only documented increase in abandoned horses comes from reports of KILL buyers disposing of horses that were rejected at the slaughter plants.  Beside horse slaughter has always been available in Canada and Mexico.  I actually took economics 101.  what you're talking about is supply and demand.  When you have breeders still breeding at the levels of pre-economic crash and less people able to purchase the animals because of the economy, then the price of the product goes down.  How can anyone believe that when the bottom fell out of the economy that the price of the horse would be the only thing that did not fall   

The average age of a slaughter horse is 6.  If we let those Belgium slaughter our horses one of the delicacies in Europe are called sucklings.  These are foals still nursing on their mothers.  They pay big bucks for them.  I am sure the kind people at the slaughter house would be glad to oblige.  Now we really wouldn't like that, right?  

JanineStarykowicz
JanineStarykowicz

@DorisKelsey Only problem with your story is processing never stopped. The same contract buyers have been at the same auctions, shipping to the same plants that just moved over the borders. No horseman breeds for meat, we value our animals higher than some commodity.

sharksareamoungus
sharksareamoungus

@DorisKelsey so doris, what you are saying is that there were no starved skinny horses prior to slaughter houses closing in 2006? And that the rescues weren't really open rescuing animals prior to that date. Interesting, I assume you drink the same water as Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette and smoke with Roy Blunt lol! Because animals have been starved and neglected and abused since horse slaughter came to town in the 1800's brought to us by the Belgium men who mysteriously died during the operation of the business. So when the horse rescue founded in 1950 was opened to save horses neglected on the plains and reservations, and when wild horse Annie was seeing the abused, malnourished animals being abused more, when the Hooved Animal Humane Society for Equines opened its doors in Illinois in the 80's because they located a herd of starving Arabian horses, when they located so many animals in the 80's they had to open and grow quickly to keep up with the abused animals skinny and starving being located daily well into the 90's when they had come into stricter laws and animal regulations officers had the ability to walk in and check out the premises without a warrant in most places it calmed down, what about the precious GAO report that accounts the animals being abused and neglected by stated prior to this last report which shows all the years before up to 20 years.

JanWindsong
JanWindsong

Sam FArr voted against the three who stripped the defunding language.  Kohl, Blunt and Kingston are the culprits of that act.

Jwildman78
Jwildman78

@JanineStarykowicz @DorisKelsey Yeah, well, except for the QH breeders and the Thoroughbred breeders who account for the majority of the horses that end up in the slaughter pipeline to Canada and Mexico!!!