Economics, equine laws and lobbies strain horse ownership

ST. GEORGE – Horses in America and their owners are facing challenges. While equines will always capture the hearts of men, equine laws and lobbies are in tension and horse owners and breeders are facing increasing costs and realities that, for some, offset the benefits.

Dry climates are cutting away at agricultural production, and the trickle-down effect is being felt all the way down to the individual farmers. Feed and gas prices are at record-setting highs, and pushing farmers to reevaluate what animals they choose to raise. Horses are not immune to the reality check many owners are facing.

According to a July 2012 report by the National Oceanic And Atmospheric Administration 71 percent of the country is classified as being in a state of abnormally dry to exceptionally dry. And this is no blip on the radar. Besides causing nationwide problems, this is costing local farmers money, resources, and even livestock.

“The cost of keeping horses has gone up dramatically in the past three years,” local horse owner Sheri Peterson said. “The price of hay has doubled.”

The actual price increase on hay isn’t the only problem horse owners face; because hay used in this area is grown so far away, soaring gas prices and increasing property values are running up the cost as well. Combined with all the other costs associated with raising horses it is becoming too much, and local farmers are steering away from raising horses.

“I used to run 30 horses, and raise 10 to 15 new foals every year,” former Lions Club member Karl Hutchings said. “But when the no slaughter law went into effect, plus the high prices of hay because of the droughts, I now am back down to five horses.”

Controversy is not new in the area of equine law, but tensions are increasing between the two sides of what might loosely be called the horse slaughter laws. In short, while there is not a per se ban on slaughterhouses, laws enacted over the past half-decade removing appropriations for funds to cover inspections have effectively closed them down; the practice of transporting animals across the Mexican and Canadian borders for slaughter is stirring dissension with legislation introduced to defeat or govern that practice.

The Agriculture and Energy Committee, part of the National Conference of State Legislatures, released a statement on the status of the horse industry as part of its 2009 Legislative Summit. In it, they addressed the 1970 Horse Protection Act, and how it applies today.  Although the policy statement expired this August, it is informative. In part, it stated:

“The loss of secondary markets has decimated the equine industry, severely impacted the livestock industry as a whole, and by eliminating the salvage value of horses has significantly reduced the market value of all horses.”

One equine law attorney, Alison Rowe, in her equine law blog Aug. 14, 2012, analyzed existing and proposed law impacting the equine and slaughter industries. In it, Rowe argues against any proposed ban:

“The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. That’s about where we’re headed if our federal government kowtows to the radical powerful anti-horse-slaughter lobby, and enacts an outright prohibition of horse slaughter.”

A recent letter, Aug. 17, 2012, from the Animal Law Coalition to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, argues an opposing side of the issues in light of some recent movement towards reestablishment of two different slaughterhouses, according to the details stated in the letter.

Even when horses are old, injured, or simply too expensive, owners are forced to look for other methods of relieving themselves of such a financial burden. Horse auctioneers are aware of this, and buying-prices dropped from $3-500 down to around $20 per horse. Horse owners are spending more on gas to get to the auctions than they receive from the sale of their animals.

And, as happens when push comes to shove under economic pressure, these elements have increased the frequency of domestic horses being released in surrounding areas, only to fend for themselves against wild animals.

Legislation introduced one year ago for the 2011-2012 congressional session, H.R. 2966, the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 and its companion bill in the Senate, could further impact the industry, negatively or positively depending on your point of view, if enacted, as could reappropriation of funds for inspections making the horse product industry again viable.  Both prevention bills are currently sitting in Committees.

 

Joyce Kuzmanic contributed to this article.

Email: ccaldwell@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2012, all rights reserved.

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38 Comments

  • Jo-Claire Corcoran September 13, 2012 at 5:33 pm

    What you and the esteemed Allison Rowe have completely negated to take into consideration is that horse slaughter is about food production, nothing more and nothing less. We do not raise horses in this country for food and therefore they are not raised under the same food safety guidelines our producers of food animals are required to meet. The full consequence of this fact will soon become very apparent on Aug 1, 2013, when the new EU Food Safety requirements go into effect. This will eliminate every US horse from being eligible for slaughter for human consumption in the EU. The EU market accounts for 80% of horse meat produced. Other countries are in the process of adopting the same food safety guidelines so they can do business with the EU. We do not have a “passport” program in this country and the passport must be applied to the horse prior to the age of 6 months for that horse to be eligible for slaughter for human consumption.

    Horse slaughter is a supply and demand driven business, it doesn’t matter how many horses breeders want to slaughter, it matters what the demand is in other countries for horse meat. Horse meat is not sold to poor countries to help feed their poor but to appease the appetites of wealthy diners.

    The slaughter plants don’t want the old and sick horses, they want young healthy horses. The average age of a horse going to slaughter is age 7 with no horses over the age of 10. If you are breeding for quantity instead of quality in a depressed economy, then shame on you for not have the business acumen to adjust your production to meet the demand of the horse world. Oh and that does mean live horses. Live horses contribute billions of dollars to our economy every year, do note I stated LIVE horses. Dead horses do not need veterinarians, or feed stores or tack stores or horse trailers or the trucks to pull them with. They don’t need hay, and their riders don’t need apparel, no sawdust or shavings are needed for dead horses, no barns need to be built… nothing, dead horses need nothing.

    Your concern about horses dying and what to do with their bodies? how many humans in this country will die over the next 10 years? I guess we should send our aged and injured off to the slaughter plant too… ever heard of Solyent Green? Our live horses contribute much to our economy, to our lives, their earn money for their owners, their trainers, their jockeys, their groomsmen, their breeders. Dead horses do not. If you are so hard up that you must take your life long companion, that old horse who has given so much to you, to the slaughter plant for a last 150.00 perhaps you shouldn’t be in the horse industry/business.

    • Joyce Kuzmanic Joyce Kuzmanic September 14, 2012 at 6:59 am

      Jo-Claire, thank you for addressing further what we found to be a complex subject. In counterpart to the argument of Alison Rowe’s blog, we then provided the link to the Aug. 17, 2012, letter from the Animal Law Coalition to the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, which does address much of what you bring up. The discussion is included because regardless of what side one positions oneself on the issue of horse slaughter, it was argued by one of our sources interviewed that the elimination of slaughterhouses has had an economic impact on the care and feeding and breeding, even the purchase and sale, of horses generally. A factor, not the only factor. And, of course, we leave it to each of you trusted readers to form your own conclusions. Again, thank you for adding to the discussion – you and others, do take time to consider the links provided.

      • Suzanne Moore September 14, 2012 at 9:22 am

        Excuse me, but do you realize that we are sending MORE horses to slaughter now than we did when the domestic plants were open? The instant the domestic plants closed, the kill buyers from Mexico and Canada were right there to take up the slack. The “loss of the slaughter option” is 100% fictional – never happened even for one day. This is absolutely nothing but pro-slaughter propaganda.

        We always shipped thousands of horses to slaughter in Mexico and Canada, and we would continue to do so even if we reopened domestic plants.

        Many things have impacted the horse industry in the last few years, but lack of access to slaughter is NOT one of them.

        w

  • Jo-Claire Corcoran September 13, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    In addition to my above comment, there are other factors affecting the cost of horse ownership. http://www.eqiunewelfarealliance.org has a presentation on what those factors are and how they impact horse owners and horses. One such factor is more corn is being used to produce ethanol, less hay is being planted as corn for ethanol and soybeans are more lucrative cash crops. This has a direct impact on, not only horse owners, but anyone who eats beef, etc in this country.

    The GAO report, which was not an unbiased document and does not have one study behind it, and which they have refused to release the documentation to back up the report, is based on anecdotal information. However, the GAO report found that on high end horses, those who are bred for quality, those breeds which restrict breeding and are more selective, had suffered only about a 140.00 loss across the board, now if you can’t afford to take a 140.00 loss on a horse and you are breeding horses as a business… again, you need to get out of the business.

  • Elizabeth Dana September 13, 2012 at 7:24 pm

    – Thank you for bringing to the attention that it is not worth sending horses to slaughter.

    There are other options that are cheaper and provide compelling support that a ban on horse slaughter is the most intelligent decision to make.

    THe slaughterhouses were closed in 2006 for VERY GOOD REASONS.

    Health reasons, cruelty, crime, environmental poisening (what do you do to 400 dead horses A DAY), bury them in a landfill, burn them, or spred the blood in lagoons like Canada does that runs into their streams when it rains. EEE Or West Nile Virus- you choose which one to die from.

    . With the drought , a $20 horse can be donated to a rescue and written off income taxes, , sold to a riding club, given to a charity or veteran’s group for therapy or euthenized by a vet in the pasture and the body to a rendering plant for zoo food for large animals .

    Allison Rowe, a pro slaughter advocate does not realize the full details of horse slaughter which is the financial and economic ruination of towns where slaughterhouses were located, the increase in violent crime, the decrease in property values and the herendous destruction of the environment. Look at KaufmanTexas and statements by Mayor Bacon of the $200 million dollar damages left by the Canadian Boviary Corporationorporation , which by the way is a FOREIGN CORPORATION which paid NO INCOE TAXES and left town.

    Paying any or using ANY taxpayers money (it costs $5 to 10 million to inspect every year one horse slaughter plant) is fiscally irresponsible when they are taking away WIC, Food Stamps and School Lunches from the USDA budget for 2013-2014.

    Canada and the UK have already BANNED New Mexico horses and throughbreds due to disease and drugs making the meat . The horses are 1500 pounds to 2000 . Think of how much medicine you give a horse and how often (wormer, salves, straggles, colic, bute…) over 250 drugs for horses. These drugs ARE linked to Leukemia in children.

    What about horses with disease, cancer, viruses that are shipped cross country through healthy cattle and horse country. Horses and cattle share diseases and that is why New Mexico horses are unfit for slaughter by Canada . The EU , UK and Canada by 2013 will accept no horse for slaughter without a life long
    use of medicines and drugs.

    The markets ARE SHUTTING DOWN and closing their borders.

    We can not afford new inspectors for horse slaughter houses as we do not have enough inspectors for our own food supply. They cut $10 million out of the USDA budget already. I can’t eat USDA Lettuce without a Listeria outbreak!

    Now the horses. The ROAD TO HELL is in Canda and Mexico. We don’t eat dog, cat or horse in this country. They don’t even put horsemeat in pet food because it is toxic. Why would we even want to ship horses to Hell?

    Lastly only a very few people are going to line their pockets, the kill buyers and then the exporters who sell to Belgium. Buy a $20 horse sell it at $500 to the meat buyer, ship it to Mexico and sell to Japan, Germany and Italy or Belgium for $2500. Sort of like illegal drugs and illegal gun marketing.

    Horses turned loose have a place that will can go for FREE called a Horse Rescue. Ask any ASPCA . There are about 50 in each state. They train, care for and adopt out the horse to cover the vet fees and if not healthy or sound, they euthenize with a vet.

    So we NEED TO BAN slaughterhouses, crime, pollution, stench, brutality, bloody piles of offel, rats, snakes and vultures crawling into town with mosquitos and carcuses.

    The road to hell is paved with bloody footsteps of pro slaughters profiteers on the backs of taxpapers.

  • Beverly Levitt September 13, 2012 at 7:28 pm

    There are so many things left out of this piece that are important to this industry and our Nation.

    First, we still slaughter, slaughter of horses has never stopped. We ship to Canada and Mexico and always have, even when slaughter plants were open here. The excuse that the trip is too long and hard doesn’t fly because in some areas of the US that would still be an existing problem, as well as if this were a concern by pro slaughter, then why weren’t they screaming this years ago?

    Second, we failed miserably in having humane plants here, proven by our own USDA reports on the plants. Information any well versed author would have investigated to give an unbiased and well informed article. Horse slaughter by the captive bolt violates our own US animal cruelty laws for livestock of one (1) strike insensible. Already proven in our slaughter plants when we had them and proven still today in Canada at their state of the art slaughter plants. From transport to slaughter the welfare of this animals is non existent. Our FDA categorizes horses as companion animals, not livestock, because they are not raised for slaughter in our country. It is not the old, lame and sick horses going to slaughter and a first year reporter having done any research at all would discover this quickly. Horses going to slaughter are young, sound, fat and healthy, most under the age of 10 years old. The main breed being the Quarter Horse due to the breeder association encouraging foals dropped on the ground in a time that it should be discouraged due to the economy we live under. Every other business in this country has had to make adjustments by supply and demand due to the state of our economics, yet the small fraction in the slaughter industry or breeders feel they should carry on as they always have. Not a very realistic expectation and not one our horses should pay the price for.

    Third, there is no mention of the fact that our horse meat is full of BANNED substances such as bute, banamine, ivermectin to name just a few. Bute is banned from ALL animals for consumption in the United States and EU, yet we have a select minority in this country who think these laws should be ignored when feeding foreigners. Could it be that their wallets are far more important to them than the possibility of 10 to 20 years down the road our Nation being sued for our government knowingly allowing tainted meat to be fed to innocent folks around the globe? If we are sued, it will be justified, because our government is guilty as sin for allowing this to continue. The EU will soon no longer accept our meat, so this industry wants to cater to other countries, aimed towards China. I guess people over there deserve to be poisoned by our Nation in the minds of those seeking profit?

    Fourth, It is the tax payer who will pay in excess of 5 million a year in taxes to fund USDA horse meat inspection to feed folks in other countries what 80% of Americans do not believe should be on a plate, being our American horses. As the majority left to foot this bill, why would we want to waste our much needed USDA inspection funds to feed foreigners with little if any return for our dollar, with profits going to foreign countries that have proven in the past it cost us in damages with no return? A payment of $5.00 in federal taxes on a 12 million dollar profit by a foreign country while costing local tax payers of the towns they are located in. From environmental violations, crime increase, hospital welfare increase and real estate values further being bottomed out, loss of potential commercial businesses and yes……horse theft, leaves any sensible person to question the ethics of those politicians who continue to sit on these bills. The answer is easy as to why………follow the money trail.

  • Elizabeth Dana September 13, 2012 at 8:48 pm

    Hey Chris – did Allison see a you tube video on orse Slaughter before she suggested “our good intentions paved the road to hell”….

    She might learn something if she ACTUALLY SAW A HORSE SLAUGHTERED..

    Ah She is the Devil’s Advocate …..tee..hee how appropriate……the Road to Hell …does she chase ambulances or just throw her card through the ER doors?

    Hey everybody needs a lawyer..even a horse killer…

  • Susan Ross September 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    Secondary markets for salvage. Does Ms. Rowe not have even the most rudimentary knowledge of the basic premise behind the “Law of Supply And Demand”? Roughly just under 100,000 horses are slaughtered each year in the years when horse slaughter was legal in the U.S & subsequent years when the options became Canada and Mexico. Prices for slaughter horses are governed by the principle of supply & demand. They are not static nor are they equal between Can&Mex, nor is price determined solely by lb weight. Each individual horse is graded on a scale of #1-4 based on specific criteria related to expected quality&quantity of lean meat based upon body type& priced accordingly.

    If a SH has a higher demand for #1 horses the prices for those increase while price for horses graded #2-4 decreases. If there is a higher supply of horses prices decrease dramatically.

    So lets look at who really benefis from horseslaughter.

    It is most certainly not:
    1) The horse owner who’s horse is further devalued by increased numbers of horses available to be slaughtered.
    2) The huge number employed in the industry and supporting businesses such as vets,farriers, feed, hay,bedding, tack and equipment suppliers, sales companies, consignors, trainers, training,boarding, & breeding farms, farm equipment and truck&trailer dealers,horse transport companies, advertising media & marketing companies, and insurance companies who write policies on horses, workman’s comp, property & liability.

    3) Individual states and the federal government losing untold billions of tax dollars and business revenue which will correspond with an increasing debt load for unemployment, food stamps, medical care and subsidized housing for the unemployed & potentially an increased crime rate for some attempting to provide provision for their families.

    4) Local communities with foreigned owned slaughter houses which add a miniscule amount of jobs yet create millions and millions of dollars of environmental damage for someone else to spend decades to clean up. Local property owners who have seen their home values plummet even in a stable economy as a result of the blighted black eye their community has become.

    5) The average American struggling to keeo their heads above waterwho will be irresponsibly taxed and possibly taxed to the tune of multimillions of dollars for USDA inspectors solely for the benefit of private corporations which do nothing for Americans accept expose them to possible disease pathogens and known carcinogens.

    I am sure many could add to this list which is just off the top of my head. The reality is there are truly only a few who benefit: kill buyers, the slaughter plants, and Big Ag lobbyists.

  • Kaye Killgore September 14, 2012 at 9:39 am

    Horse slaughter reinstated in this company would only benefit the foreign companies who own the horse slaughter plants and who sell the meat to themselves at a loss, then sell the meat to the foreign markets at a huge profit. They pay negligible taxes to the country they are in, pay minimum wages to employees, and cause environmental problems. They are not good neighbors.

    I have never once heard a horse owner brag that their horse brought big money to them as a result of a sale to the kill-buyers. I have heard them brag that their horse won a race, won a ribbon, excelled in dressage, jumping, trail riding, working cattle, etc., but not that they raised their horse for meat. The bottom line is that we do not raise horses as a part of the food chain.

  • James September 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    I agree with the honorable and knowledgeable Mrs. Alison Rowe who actually does know what she is talking about.
    Animals do not have some sort of human-like ability to feel pain and suffer as humans do. People used to believe that nonsense way back when they also believed that the earth was flat some 360 years ago. Just because someone tries to make a buck pushing kooky animal liberation theory does not mean it is true.
    The bottom line is that the false dilemma of so-called animal cruelty is sending jobs out of the US at a time when American families need jobs and people in the world need meat to eat. Slandering horse meat is irresponsible. Beans and corn do not provide the superior protein that meat provides, I don’t care how many times some kooky vegan tells you different.
    Besides, PETA also agrees that horse slaughter is more humane than the terrible plight horses are going through now.

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/nationnow/2011/12/peta-horse-slaughter.html

    • Beverly Levitt September 14, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      James…….have you ever been to a horse slaughter plant and heard the screams? I think not and in fact highly doubt you’ve been to any slaughter plant. The only other conclusion I could possibly draw from your statement that animals don’t have the ability to feel pain or suffer would be because you work factory farming, the scourge laid upon the good American farmers that helped to feed this country.

      Jobs held here by slaughter plants were minimal and mostly held by illegal immigrants and criminals. Facts that are already well documented and proven. The job is both mentally and physically bad enough, along with low pay that these are the people used by foreign owned countries that run the slaughter industry for our horses. You may chose to drink the kool-aid, but it would behoove you to actually check the wages and types of people and the small amount that were actually employed by the last 3 standing slaughter houses in the US.

      What you will find is illegal immigrants and criminals were the majority hired and that’s not likely to change. Crime rates rose drastically and dropped just as drastically when the plants were closed. Foreign Corporations that owned these plants paid SQUAT in federal or state taxes. The plants wreaked complete environmental disaster in every town they were in. The plants cost the towns tax payers a years budget to fight their violations with the plants never being one single fine. Medical needy or welfare medical cost rose in each location. Real estate values dropped and commercial prospects declined.

      These are points to consider without ever going into your insane idea that animals don’t feel pain or suffer. When in fact the not only feel the pain, suffer horrendous cruelties from transport to death, but also demonstrate extreme fear in the entire process. They are capable of recognizing, smelling and knowing death is impending, through their sense of smell, hearing and site. It always amazes me to meet a man that is so closed minded as to think only humans are capable of feeling pain, fear or don’t have the ability to suffer. Decent hunters will do all in their power to make sure an animal does not suffer on the kill.

      We as a human race evolved long ago from the notion that the world was flat, that it was okay to behead people in a crowd or string a man up. We also evolved from taking a mate by grabbing their hair and dragging them home or paying a dowry to buy their mate in most civilized worlds. There fore your comments and examples leave us to wonder if you think we should travel backwards in our understanding of how nature works or how man should feel compassion for those without a voice.

    • MorganG September 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

      James, give me a break. Ever see an animal limp? That is a response to pain. Ever see an animal mope around when a familiar companion dies? Ever see the videos that are everywhere where the horses in the slaughter line are terrified? Being in a state of terror is suffering to me. It is you that are using theories that were in fashion about the same time the world was flat. So if seems that all your comments completely ignore modern science. Even the nutritionist who stated that you needed the proteins available in meat came out and reversed herself when she learned more. She was a promoter of meat eating. And as far as PETA, the vast majority of advocates want nothing to do with them or their wackjob leader. Especially not after their statement about horses. Actually their point was the transportation aspect of the practice but even when slaughter was practiced in this country horses still were on the road for hour upon hour. There were few slaughterhouses as most communities are smart enough to not want these businesses in their towns especially since they can see what this industry did to the other towns. Not everyone who cares for animal welfare is an animal liberationist. You are just using that to insult people whose values you obviously are completely uninformed about. And finally hear this and hear this well–WE DON”T MAKE A DIME FROM SUPPORTING ANIMAL WELFARE. WE SPEND OUR OWN MONEY–LOTS OF IT AND WE SPEND HOURS UPON HOURS FOR A CAUSE WE BELIEVE IN. NO ONE IS MAKE ANY MONEY AT ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • T.W. Youngs September 15, 2012 at 12:19 pm

      Actually MorganG your wrong. the Dallas SPCA had a full blown investigation on this very fact and it was proven that not only Dallas, but several other humane shelters where making a profit that way.

    • Heather Clemenceau September 15, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      Were you not aware that animals have a central nervous system and a limbic brain, which is all that is required in order to sense and interpret pain reflexes?

      I’m glad you’re on Allison Rowe’s side, quite honestly. Keep up the good work.

    • Mary September 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Animals do not feel pain? And, FYI, PETA has now opposes horse slaughter.

    • T Geiger September 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm

      James you really have no clue. Please go spend a month helping an animal rescue help with the horses. I am certain you will learn that they have feelings, they are social, they have family bonds to both other horses, animals and even to people. Please James spend some real time with horses before you make such a ridiculous statement. If you think opening up slaughter of horses in the US is a good idea Again READ the facts it has ruined every community that has had them. Horses are not raised for human consumption in the USA and will hopefully never be. FYI read some of DR Robert Millers articles, I think he states they learn 10 times faster than a human, they see better, respond quicker, better sense of smell… in many ways they are superior… just saying. ~T

  • T.W. Youngs September 14, 2012 at 2:52 pm

    I’m amazed at the total and utter lack of itegrety posted her today. Each one of you that posted against Alison and her point of view haven’t the sand in all of you combined to take on such a hot button topic like this. Ya’ll hide in the shadows and take your petty snipes at Alisons candid look at a real problem, but NONE of you have the grit to do it in the open and say it to her face, let alone use evidence that is factual as well as current. A few week ago a lady tried to use Youtube video as how they slaughter horses here in the states. She stated that the slaughter plant kill the horses using a 22 long rifle. The truth of it is that Mexico and Canada they use barbaric methods to kill the horses. I agree with this statement. But when the US had slaughter plants, the feds said no, no, no! You will have to use a captured bolt gun to kill all Livestock over 400 lbs.
    I for one have been to 2 of the Horse slaughter plants in the US. Crown, in Kaufman, Tx. and BellTex in Ft. Worth. One of the previos woman that posted try to convince me that She, has been to Every plant in the US. I say Bullshit. Cause if she has, how did she get in? I was let in cause of a warrent and TSCRA. I was there to recover a stolen Horse. The color, brand, and I.D. chip in the horse identified it. So the horse was recovered, and sent back to his owner. UI was only let on the premisis because of that fact. Not cause i wanted to see what was going on. Not to mention, niether of the afore mentioned plants would let anyone on the kill floor with a video camera let alone not being an employee of the plant and be on the kill floor.
    Have I taken this personal ? Yes i have. Instead of all concerned coming together to find a viable solution, the Far left of center have taken the stance that we can take care of everybodies horse and all the unwanted ones as well. These are the same folks that see horses as having the same rights as humans. The sad fact is that it truely breaks my heart to see a horse slaughtered for human consumption. As it does for most that have earned a living from them. But the pain is far worse to watch the abandoned and starving with no relief for them. So if ya want to follow the likes of Jo-Claire Corcoran, Elizabeth Dana, and others of like minded sentiment. Fine, do so. but be warned, Like Alison said,” the road to hell is payved with good intensions.

  • Linda Horn September 15, 2012 at 8:56 am

    For James, and anyone else who shares his opinions, if you have an open mind about animals, pain, sympathy, and even EMPATHY, I hope you take the time to thoroughly read this article, published in Scientific American in 2007. There have been other scientific studies since then, including one which discovered empathy in chickens. http://www.scientificamerican.com/blog/post.cfm?id=do-animals-feel-empathy

  • Michelle Storace September 15, 2012 at 10:19 am

    I have read the comments and I have some very simple questions ? Have you seen any of the SICK videos of Horse Slaughter ? Is there really anything else to say ?? We can all talk about all the other things involved all good information. Also I have NOT heard anyone talk about the HAY being SHIPPED to CHINA. It goes on and on. Hear is the thing WE DO NOT EAT HORSES……… PERIOD and you better PRAY to GOD we DON’T start. If you don’t think the DOG’S and CAT’S will be next you are sadly mistaken 🙁

  • T.W. Youngs September 15, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    For Linda, I gree with you that animals have the ability to feel pain, sympathy and empathy. Elephants prove this on a daily basis. If anyone disagrees, Call Ringling Bro’s, ask to talk to Dr. Wiess. she’ll conferm this fact. I don’t agree with James as far as animals dont feel these emotions, but I do agree with him as far as that these animals are personal property and no one has the right to tell you, me, or any other person how to dispose of said property.
    Has any one of you seen an animal chemically euthenized? I have, from the healthy to the very sick. They suffocate to death. You dont need to take my word for it. Ask any Vet. they will tell you the same thing. It’s hard to watch an animal basically die like that and it isnt kind. for the animal nore its owner.

    • Heather Clemenceau September 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Guess what? You don’t have the right to abandon your car by the side of the road, and in most jurisdictions your neighbours will complain if you litter your property with junk either. You don’t have emminent domain over your property, so there is always going to be someone to give you the “what fer.” You don’t know anything about humane euthanasia – animals do not SUFFOCATE – they are given an anesthetic that suppresses their central nervous system, followed by a barbiturate overdose that causes a heart attack. They do not feel anything.

      • T.W. Youngs September 17, 2012 at 8:20 pm

        Maybe Heather you should ASK what is used for eauthenasia solution. Nothing much, just the drug they used in WWII for surgery. Its called PHEANAL BARBITOL, Now the spelling may not be correct, but since I was married to a vet, I definatley have first hand knowledge on what is used. And yes HEATHER, they do SUFFOCATE. Maybe you should ask a VET and get straight on this one. Besided you wanna do some good, get your own friggin worthless country straight, from what I can see, They have a hard enough time keeping folks alive cuase of ya’lls government sponsored health care.

        • Heather Clemenceau October 7, 2012 at 10:49 am

          Pentobartibol. I’m quite well versed in animal physiology thank you, having a degree in computational biology.

          And FYI, Canada treats all patients equally, and doesn’t prioritize them according to their ability to PAY. So you got the premise backwards, y’all.

  • Michelle Storace September 15, 2012 at 2:36 pm

    ANIMALS ARE NOT PERSONAL PROPERTY THEY ARE LIVING BREATHING BEINGS. BUT OF COURSE THAT IS THE WAY THE SO CALLED HUMAN RACE GETS AWAY WITH THEIR BARBARIC ABUSE OF ANIMALS.

    • T.W. Youngs September 17, 2012 at 8:21 pm

      They Are personal property, read the Law Michelle Storace

  • CanAmFam September 15, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    It is interesting that the headline cites “lobbies,” as an issue straining horse ownership.

    Were you aware that the pro-horse slaughter lobby spent $3.5 million in donations to legislators in the last session of Congress to get politicians to oppose the slaughter ban? That animal welfare groups were outspent by the horse slaughter lobby by 7.4 times in the House and 11 times in the Senate? Or that of 20 groups registered to lobby on the horse slaughter issue, only two were against slaughter, and that even completely unrelated groups like the American Dairy Association and Poultry Association lobbied in support of butchering America’s equines?

    Just want to make sure you’re blaming the right lobby for buying the votes to support the nefarious horse slaughter industry.

  • Elizabeth Dana September 15, 2012 at 8:57 pm

    Mr. Youngs- I would like to state that horses are viewed as a money aking profitable business and that others view it as an emotionsal issue.

    It is true that Monsato making billions on engineered food.It is true that British Petroleum makes billions on drilling in the Gulf Coast.

    It is a known fact that the Mexican Cartels make Billions of dollars shipping illegal drugs to the United States.

    It is true that young children in Thailand are sold to businessmen, raped and snuffed out for money.

    It is true that there are human sex slaves and runaway children who are sold for sex against their will.

    It is true that these all make money off something legal or illegal. Does that make it ethical or right. No.

    So even though people make money off killing horses and selling toxic meat does that make it right?

    You say yes because it cleans up unwanted starving horses ? How by preventing drought, unemployment, disease, horse accidents, sickness of owner, divorce in family, overbreeding and greed? It seems like you are saying that slaughtering horses fixes all these social, economic and medical issues?

    If a horse is starving and can’t be sound then shoot in in a pasture and put it down. How simple is that and humane.

    No that won’t work because no one would make money on it anert best and kindest thing you could do for a horse to end the suffereing.

    Bottom line are you in it for the money or for the horses. Cut out the horse shit . Any proslaughter wants to make money period.

    • T.W. Youngs September 17, 2012 at 8:11 pm

      oh please that line of arguement is below you, Try again Dana

  • Kat September 16, 2012 at 1:46 am

    13 REASONS TO PROHIBIT HORSE SLAUGHTER & TRANSPORT TO SLAUGHTER

    SOCIETAL:
    1.) Experience at the last US horse slaughterhouses shows slaughter plants raise crime rates, horse theft & domestic violence in communities (most employees are not local but rather immigrants so it doesn’t address local unemployment either).
    2.) It’s inhumane, horses are different physiologically & SH design would have to be completely remade for them to be humane. Yet even the so-called humane plant in Canada designed by Temple Grandin recently failed to meet humane standards for the req’d 95% and was only humane for 40% of the horses. Humane treatment of animals has a direct correlation to humane treatment of humans.
    3.) We owe future generations a more humane world because it’s well understood a society which treats its innocents best is also best adjusted & least violent.

    ENVIRONMENTAL:
    4.) Past experience proves quality of life is lower via environmental violations such as smells, sounds, blood/offal spills, sewage & septic system failures (Kaufman TX had homes w/horse blood coming up sink drains; closed Canadian plants left a polluted river, mountains of offal & tainted-blood soaked ground).

    FOOD SAFETY:
    5. ) Clinical studies show US horses are given many drugs & substances banned for use in food animals, many with no withdrawal periods so humans, especially children, are endangered by this toxic “food”. Short list: phenylbutazine (bute), steroids, wormers, fly sprays, DMSO, narcotics, anti-anxiety drugs, bronco-dilators, stimulants, muscle relaxers, toxic snake venom, diuretics, too many more to list. These can cause cancer, stroke, heart attack, liver/kidney failure & more.
    6.) US horses are not raised as food animals, not tracked for life as required for US & EU food animals.

    ECONOMIC:
    7.) Towns w/horse slaughter suffer severe depression of real estate values. Residents & prospective buyers fear horse theft & ugly environmental issues.
    8.) The US horse industry prospers on LIVE horses, not DEAD ones who no longer drive the economy in dozens of sectors (real estate, construction, equipment, barns, fencing, tack, supplies, feed, services such as vet, farrier, insurance, etc.).
    9.) Americans do not eat horse (save for a few extremists who are not prohibited from harvesting their own horses for their own personal use), no viable US market.
    10.) US food safety budget must be focused on what we consume, not fund inspections of foods eaten by a few extremists & foreigners. Scarce funding must go for the greater good.

    ETHICAL:
    11.) As an international leader, the US cannot ethically continue to allow toxic carcinogenic “food” to be exported endangering people abroad.
    12.) Pro-slaughter, many who will benefit financially, were very clear in their Jan 2011 Summit meeting (videos) where they said that it would not be financially possible to take all steps needed to attempt to make horse slaughter truly humane (video, 24/7 outside monitoring, plant design that precludes use for other species, etc.). In other words, if ever they build a plant you can expect every corner will be cut to make $, focus is on money and not ethics of humane treatment.
    13.) Horses are simply a cultural icon and for that alone, they do not deserve to be eaten by people in a country that already has an overabundance of food. This is the animal with which we built this country, won wars, plowed fields, transported goods, worked ranches, won Olympic medals, soothed our souls, healed our wounds and treated our handicaps. There are statues depicting great American horses all over this country – no other animal inspires like the horse. We still partner with them unlike any other animal and based on that trust & partnership alone they just do not qualify as a food source.

  • Michelle Storace September 16, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Elizabeth and Kat I LOVE YOU BOTH. THANK YOU so much for the things you have posted 🙂

  • Mary September 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    If you “take this personal” (sic personally) consider this:

    American horse meat is toxic (Bute and other substances causes cancer in all people and aplasic anemia in children); As of July, 2013, the European Union will ban US horse meat unless it can been proven that those horses have ingested no toxic substances–a virtually impossible task.

    Horses cannot be slaughtered “humanely:–see kaufmanzoning.net for FOIA requested photos (not from “the internet);

    Horse slaughter devastates communities in which plants are located in economic, environmental and social terms. These consequences include: lack of other business development due to stigmatization of the community; plummeting property values; horse blood backing up into toilets and bathtubs; horse blood in the streets; increased vermin due to rotting flesh; dramatically increased crime rates, particularly rape and assault.

  • James September 17, 2012 at 12:58 pm

    Animals should not have rights the same as humans for many reasons. Among those reasons includes the fact that they have no moral responsibility. They perfectly well in our religious moral construct. They are essential to efficiently feed us, our military and the world. They help the US be and remain a world super power by supporting the heavy machinery industry that history repeatedly proves is essential to international first tier status. Besides, there is no way to prove animals feel pain and suffer the same way as do humans. Clearly, it is a response to stimulus. But, let us test the hypothesis that animals feel pain. So, let us decide, exactly what is an animal. Well, an animal is something that is not a mineral or a plant. That means, rightly so, that coral and sponges are animals. If animals have human-like mental abilities that explain their behavior including the ability to feel pain and suffer, then SpongeBob SquarePants could be real. And so could Mr Ed, the talking horse.
    But, such abilities were discredited long ago by Descartes. The resurrection of the kooky idea that animals have a human-like ability to feel pain and suffer the same as animals, and therefore should be entitled to rights, came from the opinion of one person who says he got the idea from something someone said to him. That’s right. Notwithstanding the Scientific American, a magazine that, sadly, has been printing articles by activists for some time now, there is no science, no studies, no proof whatsoever that animals have such human-like abilities.
    The healthy skepticism of Descartes is healthy for us today. The Scientific American blog post discussed empathy among rats, but seriously, rats eat each other when one dies and the survivor gets hungry. Will humans do the same. Sure they will. But not every time the way rats will. I guess with a rat, empathy [or what some fancifully refer to empathy] only goes so far.
    They say the only way to be a healthy vegan is to cheat on your diet.
    Ever hear of http://www.LierreKeith.com?
    Don’t be goofy and ruin your body. Eat meat. And horse meat is a lean meat such as is elk. It is very good for you.
    I heard years ago that a tradition at one of the Ivy League schools was a horse meat steak on the last day.
    Aren’t there fewer than 1% vegans in the US? Don’t be the 1% nut job. Eat meat. Even the father of animal liberation eats shellfish. Ah, if only more of us could afford such an extravagant diet.

  • James September 17, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    Animals should not have rights the same as humans for many reasons. Among those reasons includes the fact that they have no moral responsibility. They fit perfectly well in our religious moral construct. They are essential to efficiently feed us, our military and the world. They help the US be and remain a world super power by supporting the heavy machinery industry that history repeatedly proves is essential to international first tier status. Besides, there is no way to prove animals feel pain and suffer the same way as do humans. Clearly, it is a response to stimulus. But, let us test the hypothesis that animals feel pain. So, let us decide, exactly what is an animal. Well, an animal is something that is not a mineral or a plant. That means, rightly so, that coral and sponges are animals. If animals have human-like mental abilities that explain their behavior including the ability to feel pain and suffer, then SpongeBob SquarePants could be real. And so could Mr Ed, the talking horse.
    But, such abilities were discredited long ago by Descartes. The resurrection of the kooky idea that animals have a human-like ability to feel pain and suffer the same as animals, and therefore should be entitled to rights, came from the opinion of one person who says he got the idea from something someone said to him. That’s right. Notwithstanding the Scientific American, a magazine that, sadly, has been printing articles by activists for some time now, there is no science, no studies, no proof whatsoever that animals have such human-like abilities.
    The healthy skepticism of Descartes is healthy for us today. The Scientific American blog post discussed empathy among rats, but seriously, rats eat each other when one dies and the survivor gets hungry. Will humans do the same. Sure they will. But not every time the way rats will. I guess with a rat, empathy [or what some fancifully refer to empathy] only goes so far.
    They say the only way to be a healthy vegan is to cheat on your diet.
    Ever hear of http://www.LierreKeith.com?
    Don’t be goofy and ruin your body. Eat meat. And horse meat is a lean meat such as is elk. It is very good for you.
    I heard years ago that a tradition at one of the Ivy League schools was a horse meat steak on the last day.
    Aren’t there fewer than 1% vegans in the US? Don’t be the 1% nut job. Eat meat. Even the father of animal liberation eats shellfish. Ah, if only more of us could afford such an extravagant diet.

    Third sentence edited.
    Thanks.

    • Heather Clemenceau October 7, 2012 at 10:53 am

      Scientific American prints articles by animal activists? Are you sure they aren’t factual articles about animals? You can’t possibly be serious, however you are seriously uneducated.

      I’ve not eaten meat for 22 years. Look at me and tell me I’m ruined…….

  • JJ Slice September 17, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Looks like the animal lovers society flagged this article and emailed all their friends so that they would all come comment and make a stand.

    No sense in trying to debate intelligently with them. They are unwilling and disinterested in contrary views. They do the same thing on environmental articles. Especially any article that might question their one-sided positions.

    Having owned, sold, and raised horses for 30 years. There is no question that the ban on horse slaughter has impacted the horse market. Every single person that has owned a horse for a long enough time period to see the difference tells the same story.

    Government regulation of markets ALWAYS has an impact. And lobby groups realize that to accomplish their objectives, the best and easiest way, is to convince the government that they have a need to step in and regulate. Environmentalists and animal rights groups are masters at using the government to accomplish their agenda.

  • T.W. Youngs September 17, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    All you pansy waist *** aren’t worth warm *** poored out of a boot with the instructions ritten on the sole.

    *** Editorial deletions: Commenter, tame your tongue please.

  • T.W. Youngs September 20, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I’m flabber gasted at the amount of people that have commented on this subject and that same amount all in the name of humanity. This will be the last I post in this subject.
    From where I see things, and its just my point of view, I see people rallying in support of the horse. Which is a good thing. Ok, I get it. And in a wierd way I agree with alot of what you are saying. In the U.S., the horse is not considered a food animal, but they are Still legally considered LIVESTOCK. I myself would never kill a horse for food. Not becuase it’s unsafe to eat, but because I’ve spent my whole life caring for the species. But I guess that is what really seperates ya’ll from me. I have taken a stance on this subject being on one side of the river and ya’ll on the other. I personally would be happy to never see another horse slaughtered for human consumption. That would tickle me to death. But thats not how the world works. From a realistic point of view, that will never happen. Ya just cant stop people from what they want to do if its legal and in a another country with their own laws. My guess is that the vast majority that has posted on here has probably never spent any real amount of time abroad, atleast not much past the toureesta aspect. I for one have.
    I do feel a little regret at my language, and my bluntness. I do get wound up. but one of the things that just sets me off is the pure and simple stupidty that I see on most of these posts. And further more in the name of Humanity! Wow, imagine my shock when i see educated people saying what a shame a horse is slaughtered for food, and we stopped the Slaughter Plants. But now have created a greater problem. Allowing them to starve and be turned loose to fend for them selves. Now what is worse, giving them a dignified end, no matter how much we disagree with the end purpose,( And I mean a humane clean death) or with no alternate solution around, and folks dropping there responsibilies and letting them starve and die a horrid death. Have any one of you ever seen up close a starved dying animal? I have, and it broke my heart. I was 12, and a older rancher down the road died. Before anyone knew what had happened, his 3 horses started to starve. By the time the old rancher was found dead, those same three horses strved to the point that recovery was impossible. I still can see the one sorrel mare, as I walked up to her. She lifted her head and looked at me. Almost as if to say, please end it, just shoot me. If it hadn’t been for my father, I probably would have. He did me a favor that day, he put the mare down. It took me a long time to get over that. I swore I never wanted to see that kind of thing again. Though later in life, i seen that same thing again, mainly because I was married to a Vet, and she was called out on alot of animal cruelty cases. The point is that I dont blame the Rancher for dying, he was very old and lived alone. No one checked up on him on a regular basis. That made that incident an unfortunate tradgety. But the other I do hold responsible. there was nothing wrong with those folks, other than they CHOSE to starve their animals. Either by not knowing better, or by pure meaness. either way the one that altimatley suffered the most was the horses of the later.
    All of you scream and yell what a shame that our country allow horse slaughter, but really have none of you have an alternative plan to care for the horses that are abandoned, neglected, starved, or cut loose to fend for them selves. Ya’ll do this in the name of humanity, but ignore the outcome and jump up and down for joy at your success saying,” We did it, they wont slaughter another horse!” But what really is the out come? More unwanted horses, and more starving, abandoned, & neglected. So I aske all of you what did you really accomplish? Instead of fixing a problem, ALL OF YOU made it 100 times worse. Bravo for you, good job, way to go.
    I should feel sorry for all of you but I dont. Mainly cause my view point will more than likely fall on def ears and blind eyes. Maybe some day you will see what you’ve done and honestly there is a special place in hell for people like ya’ll. So I’ll say this, SHAME ON ALL of you!

  • Joan November 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    One could say I’m an “objective observer” in all this since I don’t own any horses (but did as a child) and am not in any equine-related business. I’m just a horselover who still feels and hears the rhythmic cantering hoofbeats in my dreams. 🙂

    After hearing the arguments of some horse owners who are pro-U.S.-slaughter as well as an acquaintance of mine who is a vet, and after hearing his position and reading all the comments above (as well as on other sites), I am still in favor of banning U.S. slaughterhouses. As someone wisely stated above, if a horse is suffering a bullet to the head is the most humane thing to do (a bullet costs what — pennies?). Why in the hell aren’t these horse owners taking responsibility for their animals?! They should be BANDING TOGETHER and POOLING RESOURCES if necessary to CUT COSTS. Furthermore, if the VETS are so concerned about the animals’ welfare, then why aren’t they offering low-cost euthanasia services to strapped horseowners in these tough economic times? That would no doubt reduce the number of “turn-outs,” which to me is a horrific way to treat any domesticated animal. Just because LEGALLY a horse is defined as “livestock” DOES NOT MEAN that it reflects the way our society views the animal. Our laws are FREQUENTLY obsolete, way behind the times. Horses are NOT cattle or sheep. Our LOVE AFFAIR with EQUINES is well documented and needs no recounting here.

    One aspect of this that I don’t get is the Dairy Association and Poultry Association lobbying for these slaughterhouses. Why?!

    ENJOY YOUR HORSES WHILE YOU CAN, folks! Full implementation of UN’s Agenda 21 is right around the corner (Obama committed the U.S. to a deadline of 2019). By then, nobody will have ANY land on which to keep a horse. (Google Agenda 21 for Dummies).

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