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Robert Redford Calls for Horse Slaughter Ban

Just as the U.S. Department of Agriculture recommended a grant of inspection for what could become the first U.S. horse slaughterhouse following a five-year federal ban, actor Robert Redford has made a public call for banning horse slaughter, via a letter written to horse welfare organization Equine Advocates.

“Horses have always been very important in my life and I feel strongly that they need our protection from any kind of abuse, especially slaughter,” Redford begins. He goes on to compare the treatment of horses in the U.S. to the treatment of dogs and cats, and laments the desire of a “small group of special interests” who want to breed horses to profit from their meat.

“The entire slaughter process is cruel and inhumane and perpetuates abuse and neglect without consequences, in addition to condoning a violation of our nation’s cruelty laws,” he continues. He also highlights the concern that horse slaughter allows for a “swift cover-up” of horse theft.

For now, the future of U.S. horse slaughter remains up in the air, as the Obama Administration has suggested excluding money for inspectors at horse slaughterhouses from the 2014 budget. Beyond that, Congress may choose to extend the five-year ban.

Food Safety News published a report on the potential for horse slaughter to begin in New Mexico yesterday.

© Food Safety News
  • Robert Redford a true American!

  • dee

    Why bother to steal a horse just to slaughter it? Doesn’t make sense when there are all those cheap and free horses out there. The day of stealing horses for commercial slaughter is pretty much past. I do understand that horses are stolen in some places for local slaughter, but the ban would not affect that since that slaughter is normally done as backlot illegal slaughter in the first place.

    • Dee, killer buyers DO get the free horses and low-cost horses that are advertised on Craig’s List by lying to the owners about wanting to give the horse a good home; and they also get cheap horses at all the horse auctions, and from the race tracks and breeders who don’t even give the public a chance to buy or adopt their horses before calling the killer buyer to pick them up. BUT, that does not stop horse theft because greedy, immoral people always want MORE, sohorse continue to be stolen for slaughter! After California banned horse slaughter their rate of horse theft immediately dropped by 35% and has continued to drop until it’s down by 88%. Believe me, if a horse slaughterhouse opens up in your state, horse theft will be rampant by people who need quick cash, like meth addicts for example.

    • The horses are stolen and then sold to a kill buyer. Fast money. Also, some horses are stolen and slaughtered “on the spot” to sell the meat to underground markets.

    • Well the people with those FREE horses obviously don’t want them going to slaughter or they would take them to an auction and sell them for slaughter themselves. So they obviously wont GIVE them to kill byers. Except in the cases of the kill buyers deceptive tactics of posing as a good home. At any auction in the country, the kill buyers are still BYEING as many or more horses as ever . So what doesn’t make sense is your reasoning no one would still steal a horse and sell to kill Byers for a little fast easy money.

    • Its a quick buck and it happens all the time

  • Ray Webb

    Why he doesn’t spend his money and feed all the neglected horses? Pay all the cost for vets and and renderer at the end of their days!

    • Karin Hauenstein

      He very likely does. Robert Redford is a horse owner.

    • “All the neglected horses”? That’s a myth being propagated by the small group of greedy people who want to profit from slaughtering horses.

      There are 9.2 million horses in the USA. Only 1% of American horses are sent to slaughter each year, and they were not being “neglected” and certainly were not “at the end of their days”!

      USDA statistics prove that 92.3% of slaughtered horses are young, healthy horses, less than 8 years old, and in good-to-excellent condition before the killer buyers get them and truck them to slaughterhouses where many of them arrive dead or so sick or crippled from the torturous truck ride they can’t get up; so the slaughterhouse workers shove electric cattle prods up their anus to try and get them up, and if they still can’t get up they drag them with chains to the kill box. 40% of the slaughtered horses are conscious when they’re hung upside-down by one hind foot and butchered.

      10% of horses each year are humanely euthanized by a veterinarian or die of illness or injury while in the care of responsible owners, who would never dream of sending them to slaughter.

      I’m sure Robert Redford donates a lot of money to charity, and probably does donate to animal rescue and animal welfare societies. Here’s the true facts: “Horse Slaughter: Fact vs. Fiction” http://www.examiner.com/article/horse-slaughter-fact-vs-fiction-part-i

    • ziggypop

      How do you know he doesn’t?

    • All the “neglected” horses as you call them are a poor excuse to open up the slaughter industry. Slaughter has always been an option for anyone who chooses to use it. There is no reason to starve or neglect a horse. Canada has a huge starvation/neglect problem, yet it has several horse slaughter houses there! There is simply no connection between neglected animals and availability of slaughter.

    • Why do people bye horses that don’t want to except responsibility for there care? They can.do what 99 % of the other horse owners do; drop them where they stand in their peaceful familiar surroundings. Either with a bullet to the head or actual humane euthanasia. For a dollar a a horse can be humanly put down by a correctly placed bullet to the brain while he is happily eating his last bucket of grain. This can be done with honor, caring and gratitude given the horse. Which is what many honorable ranchers and country people have always done. Rather then sending him down the road for slaughter for a few bucks and an end filled with terror. If in a rural area as the majority of horses are, the horse is not then even required to be buried as it has no toxic euthanizing medicine in it to poison the predatory animals. As the coyotes and other predators dispose of the horses body in a months time. Just as they do dead deer. And when there was no profit made on selling the horse to slaughter ,(which is the REAL reason for horse slaughter) it stops the never ending cycle of over breeding to supply the profitable horse slaughter market. Gloria Eighmey

  • Just what we need to add to our food source… tainted meat. Ya no thanks! Go get em Robert and we will fight the good fight with you all the way!!!!

  • Paula Todd King

    We need more people like Robert Redford rallying against horse slaughter. Reopening horse slaughter in the United States is an irrational decision. When you get beyond the inhumanity of the slaughter process itself which is cruel and barbaric, when you get beyond the lies that only old and sick horses will be slaughtered, there are a number of other reasons as well. Horses are not raised for food animals and all horses have been treated with drugs unsafe for use in animals for human consumption; if horses are slaughtered in the US all the meat would be exported – do we really want to export unsafe meat to other countries? The Horse Slaughter will be paid for out of our pockets. In a discussion with the USDA I learned it will cost the American Taxpayer $250,000 just to get the doors open at Valley Meats. And despite the fact that horses are slaughtered in a separate plant, the meat can be processed right alongside our beef, pork and other meats. Cross contamination is not only possible but likely. Also, in a time of sequester when USDA is having to cut back on its Food Safety Inspection Service, it does not make sense to train new inspectors for this industry that does not even serve the United States.
    As far as all the neglected horses – yes there are neglected horses just like there are neglected children and people who abuse their horses should be prosecuted. But that is not where the horses from slaughter are coming from. 70% of the horses that go to slaughter are Quarter Horses. Horse Slaughter serves mainly as an enabler for irresponsible overbreeding in the horse industry. Don’t be fooled by Pro Slaughter Propaganda. Responsible horse owners will care for their horses and have them humanely euthanized when they are old and sick. As it is, if someone cannot take care of their horse and they make the mistake of selling at auction – what they don’t know is that in most cases it will be picked up cheap by a kill buyer and go to slaughter.
    Just because you can make money doing something doesn’t mean that you should. We need to ban horse slaughter, the transport of horses for slaughter and the import and export of horse meat. If you want more information please visit New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter to sign petitions, get the latest updates, and find out who to call. The Agriculture Lobbyists are working hard to see that horse slaughter reopens. We need to make sure it never does.
    Support the SAFE Act, H.R. 1094, and S. 541 – call your Senators and Congressmen and tell them to do so. Tell them also to support the 2014 Budget which de funds USDA horse slaughter inspections. And if you live in New Mexico where we do not want this industry, Call Gov. Martinez. She can ban horse slaughter by Executive Order.

  • Robert Redford is awesome.

  • Karin Hauenstein

    Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

    With the captive-bolt, which was developed for use on cattle, stunning is ineffective over 40% of the time when applied to domestic, trained horses (the ones full of prohibited drugs and medications.) This is due to the fact that horses’ heads cannot be restrained as cattle are and accuracy is very difficult. Horses will routinely break their own necks if restrained. The captive-bolt is ineffective at stunning wild, untrained or under-trained horses nearly 100% of the time. Everyone who knows horses and has any experience at all with wild horses knows that it is near impossible to get anywhere near their poll which is a very vulnerable area to every horse. To get near a wild horse’s poll with a captive-bolt apparatus and have an accurate shot is technically, practically and virtually impossible. This is the reason why we find so much carcass evidence documentation of severe abuse to slaughtered horses. The captive-bolt process itself is so ineffective that many horses are shot multiple times or vivisected while conscious. This is a definite violation of the Humane Slaughter Act which mandates slaughtered animals to be rendered “senseless with one (1) shot.”

  • Since this is “Food Safety News” I don’t understand why this article doesn’t include any information about the danger of eating adulterated US horse meat. The FDA classifies horses as companion animals, not livestock, because horses are not raised for food in the USA, and therefor, they are regularly given banned medications, performance enhancing drugs, steroids, pesticides, and wormers that are not allowed for use in animals for human consumption. Recently, the EU banned the import of US horse meat for human consumption because it’s not safe!

    We don’t even use horse meat in our pet food in the US because dogs were dieing from eating it in the early 1970’s, so why would we allow our adulterated US horse meat to be shipped to foreign countries for foreigners to eat?

  • Susan Setzke

    Thankfully, we have people like Robert Redford. I noticed, however, that this is an article associated with “food safety” and there is no mention that one of the main reasons many people are opposed to horse slaughter, other than the totally inhumane nature of it, is that horses in America are unfit to be slaughtered for consumption, human or otherwise. Since horses in America are considered companions; not food animals, they are routinely given drugs during common health care practices that are toxic if consumed. These drugs can, among other things, cause cancer and are potentially fatal. The European Union, one of the biggest markets for American horsemeat processed in Mexico and Canada, has recently banned this product due to the unsafe factors surrounding it. Why then, would we ever wish to consider bringing this practice back to America and risk compromising our food safety?

  • Sherrell McKinnon

    Thank you for taking a stand against horse slaughter. In New Mexico we eat chili not horses!!!

  • wwstick

    Whats next? Old people who arent covered by OBAMACARE now being shipped to foreign countries for food? How inhumane are we going to get? I see us as a nation in decline. For many reasons, not the least of which is killing horses.