Thursday, November 17, 2011
Earlier this year the House passed the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill which would continue the prohibition of federal funding for USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants. A ban on USDA inspections halts the issuance of certifications for horsemeat exports, which has stopped operations at horse slaughter facilities and prevented new facilities from opening in the United States. The Senate passed a contradictory Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill which would allow the inspections to take place.
Currently the two versions of the bill are in Conference Committee to iron out the differences. If the Committee does not adopt the House version of the bill, horse slaughter will resume in the U.S. One of the greatest threats to America's horses -- both domestic and captured mustangs -- is the possibility of commercial slaughter. (American Wild Horse Preservation Campaign)
According to Americans Against Horse Slaughter, over 100,000 horses a year are hauled by the truckload hundreds and often thousands of miles to European owned (primarily Belgian) slaughter plants in Mexico, Canada and beyond. These are riding horses, show horses, carriage horses, race horses, children’s “outgrown” ponies and wild horses. Their meat is shipped to places like France, Italy, Belgium, and Japan for human consumption. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) reports that 92% of horses slaughtered are in good condition and able to lead productive lives. The majority are butchered in slaughter houses not because they are sick, old or unwanted( still no excuse for slaughter) but because they bring a better price per pound for meat. They were bought at auctions by kill buyers who stuff them into single and double decker carriers where they are terrified, suffer horrific injuries, and go without water, food, rest or medical care. Undercover footage taken by HSUS shows many horses still conscious when they were shackled and hoisted by a rear leg to have their throats slit; horses giving birth on the killing floor; horses with visible broken bones being whipped in the face by slaughter house employees or being stabbed to death.
Slaughter is a brutal, painful, and terrifying end to a horse’s life. There is NOTHING humane about it. If you don’t believe me, or you think it is an appropriate solution to dealing with the “excess” and “unwanted” horses in this country – go to http://www.animalsangels.org/images/stories/pdf/animals_angels_horse_slaughter_compilation_report_-_short_paper.pdf and also read the 906 page USDA report with 500 photos obtained by Animals Angels under the Freedom of Information Act at http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/ .
What is the alternative to slaughter? How about responsible ownership and breeding? Now there’s a novel concept! How about breed associations, corporations, and individuals financially supporting equine sanctuaries and rescue organizations? And if a horse is suffering, the average cost of veterinarian administered euthanasia and disposal is under $300. Euthanasia is gentle, painless death. Slaughter is the most hellish death imaginable.
"If we see cruelty or wrong that we have the power to stop, and do nothing, we make ourselves sharers in the guilt." (Black Beauty by Anna Sewell)