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Two Applications in For Horse Slaughter; Opposition Gears Up

USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) won’t admit it has received either request, but the agency now has two formal applications for inspection of horse meat-for-export processing facilities.

As Food Safety News reported earlier, Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM previously filed the first application for equine inspection services with FSIS. The agency has now received a second application for horse slaughter from Unified Equine Missouri for an equine processing plant at Rockville, MO, according to the company.

While FSIS will neither confirm nor deny that the two applications exist, suggesting that the only way get information about them would be to file a Freedom of Information Act request to the agency, one of the most experienced animal protection attorneys in the country is already marshaling the opposition.

Both applications follow the deal by President Obama and Congress to end the 2007 ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States.  The deal clears the way for FSIS to make its continuous inspection services available for equine production.

Unified Equine’s Chief Executive Officer Sue Wallis told Food Safety News that her company is in the process of acquiring the Rockville processing plant, previously used for beef, and making necessary changes to the facility required before FSIS will conduct a walk-through inspection.

Wallis, who also serves in the Wyoming House of Representatives, says Unified Equine wanted FSIS’s input in advance, but the agency declined for legal reasons. “So we are proceeding with our plans to renovate the existing facility, which was USDA certified for beef, and to install our humane handling system designed for the unique characteristics of horses, ” Wallis said.  “Once that work is completed we will be moving forward with our grant of inspection request.”

FSIS officials, according to Wallis, have told the company that the agency is in the process of reestablishing equine inspector training and drug residue plans for horses. Congress cut spending for inspecting horse slaughter about a year before the last three equine operations closed in 2007.

Wallis, who is also U.S. chair for the International Equine Business Association, says international protocols have not changed much since the U.S. got out the business. That goes for European Union regulations, which remain virtually the same as in 2007. Unified Equine Missouri plans to be an all-export operation.

Horse exports from the U.S. to Canada and Mexico since the ban have increased so much that 74 percent of the horses processed north of the border last year originated in the states, Wallis says. She thinks that percentage is probably higher for Mexico.

While the two plants work on their applications, attorney Bruce A. Wagman with the San Francisco office of Schiff Hardin LLP is working to make sure neither plant ever begins slaughtering horses.

Wagman, who represents the Humane Society of the United States and Colorado-based Front Range Equine Rescue, has filed 90-page petitions with both USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over the rules and regulations that will govern horse slaughter in the U.S. if and when it resumes.

To supplement his petitions, Wagman has already submitted a 29-page document listing 115 “banned and dangerous substances commonly given to horses sent to slaughter” to illustrate that U.S. horsemeat is uniquely unsuited for human consumption.

Until settling in Rockville, Unified Equine was mostly shopping Missouri for the right existing facility in a welcoming community after the company got a chilly reception in Mountain Grove.

New Mexico’s Valley Meats is an entirely different story.

Everyone from New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez on down has gone on record opposing the Roswell horse slaughter proposal. And a pile of an estimated 400 tons of dead cattle outside the former beef processing plant is not helping make the case for owner Rick De Los Santos, who could not be reached for comment.

FSIS’s Ron Nelson in January 2010 notified state officials about the pile of old dairy cows.  “He calls it ‘composting’ but by all appearances rotting would be more accurate,” Nelson wrote.  “I am told that during fly season the pile literally moves due to the maggots.”

Nelson guessed the pile was about 15 feet high and “full of bones and animals parts.”

Front Range Equine Rescue has called upon the State of New Mexico to fine Valley Meat Co. for waste disposal violations.  However, New Mexico’s solid waste chief said the pile had composted since January 2010 became a certified compost facility.

For her part, Wallis promises that Unified Equine will follow standards established by the International Equine Business Association, including video surveillance and fail-safe testing and traceability protocols.

Horses have been exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter since the U.S. ban, raising concern about inhumane transportation and disposal practices.

© Food Safety News
  • I have to assume since she’s intimately involved in horse slaughter that Sue Wallis chose to be untruthful with you regarding changes to European Union regulations regarding horse meat.
    http://veterinarynews.dvm360.com/dvm/Veterinary+Equine/EU-standards-could-signal-new-challenges-for-veter/ArticleStandard/Article/detail/682251
    http://horsetalk.co.nz/2012/04/28/american-horse-meat-risks-explored-in-hsus-report/
    I would say the same thing will be discovered about everything else she’s said.
    You also realize that her horse slaughter plant will take inspectors away from meat plants used to process meat we consume. So our food just became that much less safe, while Sue and her Belgium buddies reap profits at taxpayer expense.

  • JC

    Very torn on this issue. I hate to think of horses that have once been raised as family companions being slaughtered. It is a shame that these horses were probably once someone’s pet, but now are no longer wanted and being abandoned. People are irresponsible, and coupled with the fact that the economy is really rough and people can’t afford to care for their horses anymore.. horses are feeling the burden. If horse slaughter is going to happen, I’d rather it be in the U.S., under federal inspection with humane slaughter regulations, than in Mexico where they basically stab the horse in the spine until the spinal cord is severed, and hoist the concious horse up in chains to be exsanguinated.
    The issue still saddens me.

  • JC, and that pet horse you’re lamenting is given medications that make it unusable as meat.
    These plants will do nothing about the unwanted horse population.

  • JC

    Agreed. The unwanted horse population will always be a problem, and the slaughtering plants won’t do anything to help it.. but if it is going to be done, which it always will be in Mexico and Canada.. I’d rather the horses have less distance to travel and be given a more humane death than they would otherwise have in Mexico. If Europeans and Mexicans want to eat medicated meat, let them have it. Not our problem.

  • JC

    It is too bad there aren’t more low cost euthanasia clinics.

  • Kathryn Ireland

    I have also been hit by the downturn in the economy but I’ll be damned if I subsidize the safety of my food by a Rep. from Wyoming who seems to have completely neglected her own State in order to line her pockets with money from the decadence of foreigners. My taxes Ms. Wallis will not go to pay for your fancy vacations and feed your over bred spawn. NO way. No how.

  • thriddis

    Shelly,
    How can they do nothing about the unwanted horse population. If a family can no longer feed its horse and cannot pay to have the horse disposed of, this gives them an alternative to letting the horse stave to death or force volunteer groups to feed who are also going broke.

  • Debra

    Shelly, you are wrong about a horse slaughter plant not helping the horse population.Every unwanted horse that is disposed of gets 1 more off of someones feedbill.Horsefeed is high and getting higher and if you think anyone is going to be raising horses for slaughter only, think again,cattle is much more profitable they cost less to feed and bring more.I only hope that this united states plant does get to open. The way these poor horses that are currently being slaugtered in mexico is horrific and people that are protesting the United States facilty are making horses suffor.There are not going to be big horses populations because breeders are getting out,there has been a lot less foals rasied as the big breeders turn to cattle.A horse slaughter facility in the United States is so much better as the current system we have in place now.While you are protesting it, remember there long hot painful trips to Mexico where they are treated so inhumanely,and then think about the shorter trips to the ones that will be built in the united states and where someomes watchful eye will be there for them.

  • Kathryn Ireland

    But it is our problem, and seems so very easy for you people who seem to not care to turn a blind eye.Let them eat cake. got Marie Antoinettes head chopped off !!!It’s our problem that those of us already feeling the pinch are going to have OUR taxes spent on something we don’t eat in this country. I don’t understand which bit you don’t get. I actually tend to like other people in other countries and certainly don’t want to poison them. They are our allies. We scream when the Chinese send us tainted pet food , well what the heck will we be famous for? America’s reputation abroad is already shakey, without being accountable for wanting to poison them with tainted meat.

  • Joanne Clay

    How can anyone in good conscience send a food product overseas that is toxic? Horses are not part of the food chain – they are medicated just like humans, dogs and cats. “Bute” known as “horse aspirin” in the equine community is routinely given to horses (as the word aspirin would imply) Bute causes cancer, bone marrow degeneration and miscarriage. So you say you don’t care about those who choose to eat horse flesh? Well what about the unsuspecting children who have no choice but to eat what is put in front of them? What if your child went to a friends home and unbeknownst to you had horse burgers? Would you knowingly give your child a serving of meat that comes with that kind of warning? Of course not! Horse slaughter is predatory, inhumane a betrayal to the animal that North America was founded on the back of. This is about greed and an easy disposal system for irresponsible breeders and owners. End the slaughter of horses in North America. Its simple – do the right thing for the right reasons.

  • Wallis is being modest. She is not only “U.S. chair for the International Equine Business Association”, she is its founder. In fact, she IS the “International Equine Business Association”.
    She renames herself every year or so. It was “United Organizations of the Horse”, then she seems to have merged into “United Horsemen’s Front”, which became “United Horsemen” and now IEBA. In reality she has no business experience at all. If there is money in this, it is OPM, and will soon be gone.
    Pull a D&B, if there is one it will be shorter than the name.

  • Jedi44

    If horse slaughter is to be legal again in the U.S then what happened in Florida will continue to happen in different states closer to these slaughter plants. Horse theft and over breeding will continue because those who do that will have an income and an income closer to home. I feel equine slaughter increases the amount of unwanted horses and crimes. This also means PMU farms will benefit in America if these plants open up.
    What should be going on is instead of opening slaughter plants. Our Congress/Senate need to come up with humane ways of controlling the horse population. I can think of two ways, Strict Breeding regulations and an End to PMU production.
    Also most horses in America have been given medicine and vaccines which are banned to give to any animal going to slaughter.What is even more disturbing is in order to get lean equine meat the horse must be starved. American Equine meat is not safe for anyone to consume and equine slaughter can never be humane. Equine Slaughter is not the answer to fix the unwanted horse issue, nor will it save our economy.

  • Kathryn Ireland

    thriddis.To euthanize a horse roughly costs one month of the animals up keep. A talk to a vet can give you a world of info on how to go about it. There is also a woman in Colorado that upon proof of the euthanization will reimbuse the person half of the costs. She will do this also on proof of gelding. It’s crazy to think that slaughter is an alternative. I think of all these people on Craigslist with their back yard stallions and often they are the ones supporting horse slaughter.

  • JC, in 200, a horse trailer hauling horses to a kill plant in Indiana overturned on I44. Several of the horses were killed, but most survived. The Humane Society of Missouri was able to nurse the horses back to health and find them new homes.
    Horses are hauled just as long going to plants in this country as they would be hauled to Canada and Mexico. And horses will die just as bad a death, regardless.
    There is no humanity in this decision, only greed. Let’s be honest about what horse slaughter really is all about.
    thriddis, what Wallis tried to hide from the reporter for this piece is the changing laws regarding horse meat in the European Union, still the primary recipient of the meat. Even the meat going to Japan will still have to meet the EU importation rules, because the plant can’t change the process based on which country gets the current week’s output.
    Your pet horse will not be going to this plant.
    The family pet isn’t the issue: the issue is horse race breeders and others who indiscriminately breed horses and who don’t care about what happens to them once their no longer. This is where your “unwanted” horses come from. And these horses will also not be acceptable under EU regulations.
    I’m not making this stuff up. Everything I’m saying is _easily_ verifiable on the web.

  • JC

    European governments are well aware of the fact that the horses from U.S. are not raised as livestock and can/do harbor residual medications in their tissues. If they want to continue to import the meat, that is their government’s problem. We are not poisoning them, their government is allowing them to consume meat which is unfit for human consumption. And I think the hispanic community just doesn’t give a damn. If they did, they wouldn’t be sneaking onto people’s private property and slaughtering their horses to sell or eat the meat.
    Slaughter is not intended to “fix” the unwanted horse problem. As long as people keep back yard breeding, as long as people who have no business owning or training horses are buying/selling/training, as long as the cost of owning a horse is too great and the cost of having a horse euthanized & disposed of is too great; we will have unwanted horses.
    Slaughter in the U.S. is simply a way to prevent further suffering of the unwanted horses that are here. Of course, a properly placed bullet and a backhoe are a cheaper way to go.
    I’d rather shoot my horse square between the eyes than send him to an auction where the person who gets the highest bid may be the meat man from Mexico.

  • JC

    Agreed Shelley. I am not trying to argue the point, but if horses arrive in terrible condition at a U.S. plant, enforcement action can be taken. If the horses arrive in Mexico that are non-ambulatory, or in poor condition that resulted from their transport, i.e. injuries resulting from fights, broken legs, lacerations, dehydration, etc., there is no one there to write up violations. No enforcement will be taken. No inspectors… So they can keep doing it without penalty! Here at least USDA can take enforcement action that would lead to fines or whatever else if the horses are not being transported according to federal law. I see plenty of horses in the kill pen that are not race horses. I see Amish buggy horses, Amish draft horses, lame horses, old horses not worth a dime to anyone, ponies, and LOTS of horses with behavioral problems. In fact, Temple Grandin lists behavioral problems as one of the major contributing factors of a horse making its way to auction/slaughter. Which leads me to my previous comment about people who have no business owning horses. If you look at photos of the types of horses that are sent to slaughter, you do not see healthy unwanted racehorses. Lots of younger, lots of older, lots of grade/unknown breed type horses.
    It is sad. Again, I am torn. But I have to think that if Temple Grandin is not against horse slaughter in the U.S., it might not be a half bad thing.

  • Diana B

    I don’t know if Sue Wallis is ignorant, fibbing, or if the author misunderstood; but there is a huge untruth in the article. It says:
    Wallis, who is also U.S. chair for the International Equine Business Association, says international protocols have not changed much since the U.S. got out the business. That goes for European Union regulations, which remain virtually the same as in 2007. Unified Equine Missouri plans to be an all-export operation.
    In 2008 EU passed new regulations requiring that all EU horses eligible for slaughter carry a document for life recording their medications. A transition period was allowed for imported meat/horses where an owner affidavit would suffice for the drug history. As of July 1 2013 that transition period will be over, and US horses will not be eligible for EU meat, unless they are raised in an approved program where their drug history is tracked.
    Quite a change from the 2007 situation.

  • JC, you’re somewhat incorrect again about what happens to in the Canadian and Mexican plants, because the European Union also enforces standards of care of the horses while at the plants–and it sends inspectors to these plants. There’s a great deal of concern in Canada right now because of new EU regulations for next year. Bluntly, I wouldn’t be surprised if Canada no longer accepts any US horses starting next year.
    Regardless, opening up plants that treat horses abysmally is not the answer. The answer is a complete ban of horse slaughter and transportation of horses for horse slaughter. This, and fining breeders who abandon horses or who neglect them, as well as the development of an overall horse management plan at the national level.
    Anything else is not a humane solution. Let’s not pretend it is.
    Temple Grandin believes she can design any plant to be humane. However, she’s not been able to successfully design a humane plant for horses. She isn’t the gold standard when it comes to horse care.

  • Steve Stapp

    Normally when it comes to Slaughterhouse Sue I’m all over it but this group of comments pretty much covers the issue. She says she speaks for the horse industry yet doesn’t own one. Personally I think she’s looking desperately for her 15 minutes of fame whether it be good or bad but I’ll be damned if a horse is going to die for her self promotion.

  • Ted

    Leave it to Shelly always to be arguing her rote HSUS agenda positions, shallow and transparent as they are, in the face of overwhelming good sense. Oh well, such is the lot of the paid shill — all in a day’s work, eh Shelly?

  • blueprints

    So, when are they going to implement the tracking system for horse medications then? As you may know, the EU has had to implement a a costly and complex horse passport system for ALL horses there, whether they are going to slaughter or not, to track the medications horses receive over their entire lifetime because these medications are cancerous to humans. The EU has had the passport system in place since 2004 and an accompanying microchip since 2009. The EU is finally realizing that the US has no system for tracking medications that US horses receive, making them ineligible to be imported as human food. This will be strictly enforced starting in 2013 — something that the Canadian horse slaughterhouses are also worried about because over 50% of their slaughtered horses come from the US. If you want to slaughter US horses, then all 9 million US horses will need a passport of similar. Note: there is no acceptable withdrawal time for bute. If a horses ever receives even one does in it’s life, it is ineligible in the eyes of the EU because of the toxic effects it has to humans. Also, according to our own food laws, it is absolutely illegal to be slaughtering horses as human food for the very same reason.

  • Ronnie

    Sue Wallis keeps trying. Totally obsessed with killing horses. She heads up sooooo many organizations with a few members and/or only herself!!! Actually, she is soooooo good for anti-horse slaughter. A spokesman for horse slaughter that wants to feed the “hungry *world” horse meat filled with toxic drugs. That baby developing brains need this horse meat nutrition! She thinks it is so cute for a young woman to be naked inside her freshly killed bloody horse…and displayed on the internet~ Ms. Wallis says she “loves horses.” Ms. Wallis states slaughtering horses is doing them a favor and adding to their welfare. Helloooooooo! HORSE-SLAUGHTER-CAN-NEVER-BE-HUMANE. Horses are NOT livestock. Horses are majestic, noble, intelligent animals that were instrumental in settling America and died by the millions aiding our soldiers in battle, WAR!!! Just think, the horse is given the honor of being the riderless horse with boots backwards for presidential funerals. Now, that is very “telling.” For-the-horse!

  • And here’s Ted’s contributions to the arguments: everyone here who doesn’t agree with him is a paid shill. You have to ask yourself, Ted: who do you think you’re impressing with your off-topic personal attacks?

  • My apologies to the Food Safety News folks for another off-topic comment, but one I hope they understand.
    Ted, you have accused me of being a “paid shill”, supposedly for HSUS, multiple times at this publication. I have one thing to say to you now: prove it.
    Prove I am some kind of paid shill. Disregard the fact that if you search on my name in Google–and that’s Shelley Powers, not Shelly–A little box opens to the right of the page that provides quite a bit of information about me. No where in this information is there anything about me working for any animal welfare organization.
    So put up, or to be blunt, desist in making deliberately false assertions. Because I’m tired of you using the cheapest shot you can in order to undermine my legitimate interest and involvement in these discussions.
    I don’t care if you disagree with me–vehemently, strongly, disagree. But at least keep your arguments on topic and stop spreading misinformation.
    I won’t ask FSN to ban you, because I believe commenters should take care of their own trolls (and I’m pretty sure FSN would’t, anyway, and to the publication’s credit–this technique is used, too often, to suppress legitimate discourse). I do hope FSN allows this comment through.
    Again: apologies for off-topic remarks. I won’t address Ted again.

  • Deb

    I am so sick of you people that dont know the head from the tail end of a horse but sure can voice your opinions. Untill you have spent your life with horses and know the REAL truth you really need to shut up and stay out of it. Open your blurred minds and do a reality check. 90% of what I read on these posts just verify to me that you don’t have a clue as to what is better in the long run for the animal. Do your homework and do it with a open mind and research both sides not just what you want to hear and not with a bleeding heart that will only cause more pain than what is being propossed.

  • Monika Courtney

    The serious public health threat of horse meat is evident, to all but Wallis. Horses are not raised for human food consumption,the presence of toxic drugs makes horse meat even dangerous enough to be banned from dog food. The ignorance and greed of Wallis add only more bad taste to the national disdain that is looming over her proposed plan, which will affect the health and welfare of any state with a public health risk. Bute, Clenbuterol, PBZ (horse aspirin), Stereoids and Banamine… are not a cocktail to be fed to unsuspecting humans. Also the risk of a potential Trichinosis outbreak is unsconscionable. People do not eat horses in America, period.
    If Wallis’ bloody lust for horse flesh would indeed be initiated by a concern for the “welfare” of horses…, one can wonder why the country so vehemently opposes such ideas. There are alternative solutions, horses need no slaughter plant, only a second chance.Hay banks, special programs within rescues, cost-reduced humane euthanasia (by licensed vet) or programs such as the Arizona Dept of Agriculture’s Equine Rescue Registry –
    http://azcapitoltimes.com/news/2010/10/26/state-agriculture-department-launches-registry-to-help-abandoned-horses/
    are available. Wallis is nothing but a self-appointed, grotesque entrepreneur, who is using people’s naivete and economic pressures for personal gain. http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/medications.php
    It is the strong position of VEW members that absent any formal regulation/structure by the United States with regard to medications and food safety withdrawal schedules for equines entering the food chain, horsemeat derived from any U.S. horse can never be regarded as safe for human consumption.
    Furthermore, VEW member veterinarians strongly object to the AVMA and AAEP position in favor of horse slaughter for human consumption. For the AVMA and AAEP to condone the human consumption of meat derived from equines that have not been raised or medicated in a manner consistent with food safety regulations is, in our opinion, unethical, disingenuous, and dangerous.
    So any targeted state is on America’s map for national outrage, tourist boycotts, contamination / sanitary hazards, bad reputation and shame, increased crime, hiring ondocumented workers, brainwashing a new diet of horse carcass which is unfit for human food, misbranded or adulterated (laced w. ingredients not approved for food safety standards) and Wallis’ view on wholesomeness a total insult. People wake up, Wallis is corrupt and never witnessed the slaughter of a horse – which is most predatory and inhumane – have the courage and see http://www.kaufmanzoning.net then you’ll rethink the bile Wallis spews to unsuspecting horse folks and vulnerable towns !

  • MJ Wilson

    Dan, your last comment is totally pro, you say that SINCE the BAN, horses are NOW shipped to Canada and Mexico, quit trying to mis-lead the tax payers who have save 25 million since the foreign owned US horse slaughterhouses were closed, thousands upon thousands of horses WERE ALWAYS shipped to Mexico and Canada, and in fact the USDA imported 7k head of horses in 05 for slaughter at Cavel Inc., Dekalb, IL for human consumption, they were filling the QUOTA. Horse slaughter is a predatory, supply and demand dirty business which does nothing but torture horses and poison people anyone involved with it are bottom dwellers, why not tax the over-breeders of these long-lived luxury animals for every foal they produce. Stop the FOAL MILLING! We’ve had enough!

  • GEMO

    None of us prefer the sentencing to death or slaughter of any animal, regardless of the species; but, the reality of it all is, that we need horse slaughter houses as a practical alternative and solution to govern the horse population. Public Laws forbid burying a horse on your own property these days because of possible contamination of water sources and supplies; so, what’s the practical alternative or solution? I agree that the need of unnecessary suffering needs to be resolved in all slaughter houses, regardless of species . . . cow, pig, chicken, etc. As for horse meat for human consumption, if it is untainted and USDA inspected, it is an excellent source of meat protein and an alternative to beef, pork, poultry, and other human-grade meat sources. If that is too hard for the U.S. human meat industry to consider, use horse meat for carnivorous animal food diets, just as other animal sources are used. The horse industry has crashed since the close of horse slaughter houses, and reopening of the horse slaughter houses is the only resolution to the over population of horses in the U.S. Do you really think that hunter’s get the shot exactly right for an instant kill every time, or slashing the throats of cows and pigs is a quick death, or wringing the necks or cutting-off the heads of chickens is instantaneous demise? Sit-back and give serious thought to all animal slaughter solutions, not just that of horses; if you’re going to sympathize with one species of animal, sympathize with them all; but the end result and reality-check has been the same for thousands of years of animal slaughter for human and animal consumption. Citizens within the U.S. need to ban together and offer better solutions to the overall humane slaughter of animals for whatever the meat by-product use is and not the concentration of one species.

  • GEMO, this makes, I think, the 50th time I’ve seen you copy and paste the exact same comment to a discussion. The _exact same comment. You can find the other incidents easily, just by searching in Google on the first sentence.
    Are you even interested in this discussion? Because if so, I would find it refreshing to hear something a bit more original.
    Just a suggestion.

  • Lisa LeBlanc

    I’d like to address ‘Deb’, who seems to be slightly misinformed about the existence of horse people who don’t want their animals slaughtered, not only because they don’t want any part of their animals sent overseas to grace the plate of some snobby-a** European but we also bristle at the notion of putting a dollar in sue’s pocket – a dollar she has not earned by raising an animal for food but by the poor unfortunates and overbred excess brought about by breeders who don’t give a damn.
    “Wake up.” “Get real.” Blah and BLAH. There are thousands of horse people who make their living from horses, and thousands more who just love the ones they have, who know first had how hard it is to keep a horse but don’t see throwing them into a meat grinder as a viable alternative.
    “Get real”; I detest wannabe know-it-alls who think butchering a horse is the only way to show it you ‘care’.

  • Kathleen

    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.

  • Excellent post, Kathleen! Just about says it all.
    However, I want to address GEMO (again) and all the others who failed Economics 101 or are pretending they did because they are pro-slaughter shills: From the day our domestic plants closed we have been sending just as many – if not more – horses to slaughter than we did when our domestic plants were open. This being the case, can ANY of you explain WHY we are still seeing “unwanted” horses? Could it possibly be this Great Recession we are still in? The price of everything dropped out the bottom – that’s what happens in recessions. Why do you seem to think that the prices of horses would be any different than any other “product?” And frankly, I’s SICK of your whining. The recession is hard on everyone – just go talk to all those people who can’t pay their mortgages and can’t sell their homes for as much as it would take to pay off the mortgage. They will LOSE THEIR HOMES. Thousands have already. Now, that’s something to cry about – not failing to get the price you want because you are irresponsible and don’t SEEM to understand that slaughter is driven by the MARKET, not by how many horses might be available.
    Not only that, the slaughter plants do not accept old, sick, injured, abandoned, abused, crippled skinny horses. Never have, never will. And Sue Wallis and Dave Duquette both have stated publicly that their plants wouldn’t be accepting this type of horse either. Only the very best would be slaughtered in THEIR plants. So much for all this being about horse WELFARE!
    Maybe in the days when horse by-products were used in pet food and other things the knacker man would take this type of horse, but what we’re discussing here is human consumption horse slaughter, and horses of this type are not slaughtered for people to eat. In fact, there is NO ban on horse slaughter for non-human consumption products – there just isn’t any market. We haven’t used horse meat in dog food for decades because of contamination and zoos are backing away from it for the same reason. Horse blood used to be used as a carrier in human medicine, but that also isn’t done any more because of – you guessed it – contamination.
    Actually, in all but a few states, you can slaughter your OWN horses and eat them any time you want. You can even share with your family and friends. You just can’t SELL the meat across state lines.
    And, Deb, I HAVE been doing my homework – for 35 years. The same length of time I’ve owned horses and lived in Dallas, TX in the shadow of Beltex on one side and Dallas Crown on the other for 15 years. I KNOW what it’s like living near those horrors. I know what horse slaughter looks and sounds like. Actually, that’s why I was willing to leave my home town and move here to Indiana, my husband’s home state in 1992. Just the year before my own beloved gelding escaped being stolen by a hair’s breadth. Several of my friends were not so fortunate. I just couldn’t take in any more. Go to http://kaufmanzoning.net and see for yourself. I KNOW all this is true because I WAS THERE.

  • JC

    Suzanne, plants in the U.S. certainly did accept old, sick, and injured horses. Check out the USDA inspection report with photos from the inspections over the last few years before slaughter was banned. It was horrifying. Horses with eyeballs hanging out of their heads, horses with completely severed tendons, broken legs, infected gaping wounds, downers that could not get up were left in the trailer or lot for a while before being euthanized. The ones that could walk were slaughtered. This plant was a horrifying mess even though it was under inspection, and I hope they were just a bad egg but it was sickening that it was THAT bad.

  • Nelle Verela

    We ate horsemeat in WWII and thought it was good.
    Why do people have such a bleeding heart for horses? Have they never raised a pet steer who ended up at the slaughterhouse?
    Humanely slaughtered horses are much better off than those put out to starve to death a day at a time.