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10th Circuit Lifts Injunction: Horse Slaughter Can Legally Resume in U.S.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver has lifted its emergency injunction from early November, clearing the way for the slaughter of horses before the year ends for meat for export from any of three establishments USDA has found eligible for equine inspection services.

In removing the emergency injunction, the 10th Circuit found those trying to stop USDA from inspecting horsemeat production “have failed to establish a likelihood of success on appeal.” It means that further review will not be expedited of a New Mexico trial court judge’s ruling favoring USDA’s position on horse slaughter.

Blair Dunn, attorney for Roswell, NM-based Valley Meat Co. and Gallatin, MO-based Rains Natural Meats, says his clients are “pushing full steam ahead” to begin processing horsemeat under USDA inspection. Rains reportedly has horses on the premises awaiting slaughter.

Sigourney, IA-based Responsible Transportation, also approved for equine inspection services by USDA, switched over to beef operations while the horse slaughter issue was being litigated.

Keaton Walker, founder and owner of the Iowa company, says his business will continue to process beef and could even sell the business by January unless he can be certain it can process horsemeat under USDA inspection.

Twice before, the three businesses requesting USDA inspections for horse slaughter were given the green light, only to run up against another court injunction.

This time, however, opponents of horse slaughter may not have any other federal court options left. Their appeal to the 10th Circuit will continue on a non-emergency basis that will likely take several months. But, in the meantime, federal Judge M. Christine Armijo’s ruling will stand unless and until the 10th Circuit issues further instructions.

That reality left opponents with only one other play, intervening in state regulatory processes. Larkspur, CO-based Front Range Equine Rescue (FRER), the lead plaintiff in the federal case, has filed a 90-page brief with New Mexico regulators and intervened in Missouri, raising state environmental and toxic deposit issues.

For the past two years, the Obama administration and Congress have placed no budgetary restrictions on USDA to prevent equine inspections. Such restrictions existed for about five years, and no domestic horse slaughter has been legally conducted since 2007. However, attempts are under way to reinstate the budget restrictions on horse slaughter inspections.

All sides agree that the slaughter of more than 100,0000 U.S. horses continues annually after the animals are exported to Mexico and Canada. Various factors, including a major drought, high feed prices, the “Great Recession,” and, quite possibility, the end of domestic slaughter options, have contributed to record horse abandonment and starvation in recent years.

© Food Safety News
  • BB

    Let the comments begin…………………

  • gatorepi

    Until the equine rescue community is ready to provide feed, water and care for the 140,000 or so unwanted horses per year (which they are not), properly transported and processed horses for meat production is the best option. Let’s get on with it already.

    • horselover0903

      Need a job? Have no soul? Never seen a video of horse slaughter? Never owned or loved a horse?
      D. All of the above. You’re a complete idiot.

    • Amanda G

      It’s not the responsibility of horse rescues to care for these horses, it’s the responsibility of the owner. Irresponsible owners and breeders are the cause of the unwanted horse population. They should not be allowed to profit off of it. If this is your reason for horse slaughter then you have to also be supportive of slaughtering dogs and cats for human consumption.

    • Janna Lukens

      There are so many reasons why horses MUST not be allowed into the food chain, (with the most logical one being that horsemeat is unfit for consumption). There is absolutely no way to humanely or “properly” transport and butcher a horse alive. But as long as inhumane commercial horse slaughter is an option for the greedy, unethical, sociopathic over-breeders and kill buyers, there will always be an overabundance of healthy, young horses to “process” for profit at the taxpayers expense. Horse slaughter is unnecessary. It is a self-perpetuating excuse to exploit our companion animals and their owners for the predatory Profiteers. Equine rescue community??? I always wonder why you pro-slaughterphiles always try to shirk your responsibilities, accusing and blaming the good, compassionate folks who are always there to clean up your mess. Why don’t you provide feed, water, and care for your own horses – including finding them good homes when you’ve tired of them? Stop breeding them. Horses are NOT disposable.

    • Curt

      The number of so called unwanted horses that you pro slaughterphiles quote is always the same number that have been sent to slaughter. These were not unwanted they were paid for and sold for profit for a meat industry. There is no such thing as an unwanted horse. They just weren’t given a chance to be placed in a good home. The average horse that go to slaughter is 3 to 7 years old and in perfect health.

    • Caty

      So many of us do try to save as many as we can! But kill buyers have deep pockets to purchase horses, hence, that’s how they make so money. Many private people sell their horses directly to the kill buyer. Numerous others are stolen, or given to someone who promises to give them a good home, and in return, they send to the kill buyer for a quick profit. Kill buyers often drive up the prices by threatening to send them to slaughter. Maybe we should work on a solution, and slaughter is not one! It creates more problems then it helps. Most Americans think of their horses as pets, not cattle. We don’t eat our horses here!

    • Livestock owner

      Exactly. well and simply stated. I’ll low-ball that number to 15000 horses that are being fed using taxpayer dollars. Do the math. At a cost of approximately $100 per month per horse that calculates to $1.5 million per month of taxpayer dollars. $400,000 for inspection per year vs $1.5 million per month. No brainer. These are the overpopulated horses on our BLM property alone. And guess what there will be that many again next year. It’s called conservation in wildlife. The FDA may state and label drugs for horses as companion animals, but the IRS states they are livestock if you claim feed, water, pasture rent, vet serviices, farrier services on your Schedule F income tax.

      • Lori Hahn Wiedemeier

        Well, guess what, Livestock Owner? I own ten horses, and I CAN’T claim them as livestock on my Schedule F because the IRS doesn’t consider mine livestock. Why? Because they are companion animals that I don’t sell for a profit or use as a part of my farming business. This is the case for the VAST MAJORITY of horses in this country. Most horses in the US today are people’s pets, not riding the range chasing cattle or running on the track. It’s about time the majority of us horse owners stopped getting the short end of the stick. We don’t get tax breaks on all the things we buy for our companion animals/horses, so we should at least get some guarantee that our companions don’t magically become “livestock” once they get into someone else’s hands.
        I can only assume you are one of those who is using horses as part of a business and therefore get to claim them on Schedule F. That’s great for you because then all your feed, vaccines, vet work, and everything is non-taxable PLUS you get to sell off your horses when they’re of no use to you anymore. It’s win-win for you when it comes to horses. No pesky limitations on what drugs you can give your horses when they’re sick, nothing like those pesky green tags on calves proving what vaccines you’ve given, etc. when it’s time to take them to the auction house.
        I’m not like you. Believe it or not, a lot of people aren’t like you. And yes, I AM a horse person. I’ve owned horses for 33 years. I’m also one of the people currently working to take in all those “unwanted” horses. The problem is I end up paying $200 for a horse in good flesh at the auction to keep it out of the kill buyer’s hands. I would much rather not have those guys in the game at all so I could use the money I’m spending to purchase horses to actually feed and vet them instead. Not that you would care, since your main motivation is to squeeze that last dime out of your horses when you take them to auction.

      • deborah lee

        The BLM under pressure from the ranching industry has chosen to treat mustangs like feedlot animals byt rounding them up illegally, and sell them to kill buyers.
        The cost, is what the big ranchers are not willing to pay because it eats into their own profits. The smaller ranchers could likely run their animals alongside mustangs, but it’s another politics game that costs everyone money while the players do nothing but argue over whose fault it is.

    • deborah lee

      The cost of euthanasia is less than the cost to transport animals.
      Also, over-production of horses, an animal that can live up to 30 years, for sports where they peak at 3-4 years is overproduction.
      The industries involving horse, including horse feedlots, PMUs, ejecting mustangs from the land, are the culprits – not the mythological starving horses.
      Those wandering around are often rejects from horse slaughter.
      The rescue community is providing feed, water, and care for horses.
      More than the industry over-breeders are!
      Same problem as in cat and dog breeding.

    • kcgonly

      Wow. Your response it totally uneducated and impulsive. First, my husband doesn’t even like horses and thinks it is a bad idea for the following reasons: 1) Horses are vetted differently than cows. They are given all sorts of injections that haven’t been tested to see if they are bad for humans, since they were considered only riding animals for so long, and since businesses pushed this through before changes were made to compensate for this. 2) The push to get horses on the block was driven by money. It causes overbreeding and “unwanted” horses but they only want the healthy ones. So it doesn’t decrease abuse or get rid of unhealthy horses. Do you want to eat sick horse meat? 3) It increases crime near processing plants because horses are stolen…no one can stop that and everyone knows who is doing it but can’t seem to prove it.

  • Curt

    Slaughter is a profit driven industry motivated by a demand for horsemeat, and has nothing to do with the numbers of excess or unwanted horses. Slaughter actually encourages over breeding and adds to the problem of horses in need. The USDA has confirmed more that 92.3% of horses that end up at slaughter are healthy; they are not unwanted, neglected or abused. Horses are in need right now because of the economy and, in fact, slaughter is still available which further proves that lack of slaughter does not result in excess or unwanted horses. Just the opposite!

    • Nicole

      If they were not Unwanted then how did they end up there?? I think unwanted isn’t the right word to use in this instance. I think what you mean is that 92.3% of horses at the slaughter house are usable/ridable and not malnourished neglected or abused. If they were wanted they would not be in the slaughter pen. I have rescued a few from the slaughter pen, but unless the USDA decides to regulate breeding of all animals then we have no other choice. Puppies/ Dogs/Kittens/Cats all get euthanized every day on a regular basis. There is never such a thing as a cheap horse!! The over population just cause horses to go into homes that were not prepared or knowledgeable of horses. Then from there they end up in rescues where tax dollars and others hard earned money is needed to support these “wanted” horses. Don’t even get me started on how much the gov spends on BLM mustangs every year. There are many sides to the issue and I love horses, but we cannot save them all and we as people need to realize that. That doesn’t mean don’t protect them when we can, that means lets not kill ourselves over a horse. They darn sure wouldn’t kill them selves over us . . .

      • Lisa Austin

        If kill buyer’s and breeders were heavily regulated…..I’m sorry but I do not think, I have ever had to slam on my brakes or swerve around a wild horse crossing a road while driving, like I do deer. Marge, I agree with you..

      • deborah lee

        They’re mostly bred for either meat, mustangs, PMU foals.
        Humane slaughter of horses has not been developed.
        Recommendations, even by Temple Grandin are not followed at Canada’s largest horse meat breeder.
        When rodeos and the slaughter industry treat animals like “meat-on-the-hoof”, humane treatment is not their priority.
        Mustangs are costing so much because the beef industry demands that they be removed even if it’s cattle, not mustangs, destroying the land.
        it’s against the law, so why is it happening and why such secrecy?
        It’s not about saving all the mustangs, it’s about preventing systemic reduction of numbers to the point of extinction – just like the genocide on this continent.
        That’s the real reason, whatever excuses are given. Follow people’s actions not their “nice words”.

      • Shane

        to Nicole, apparently a crony of $ue Wallis I see from her thumbs up vote for you:
        circular reasoning : that they are unwanted is proven by the fact that they are in the slaughter house and they are in the slaughter house because they are unwanted. See the problem there ? They are unwanted only by your junk breeder friends and race horse breeders who don’t think they will ever make them any $$$.So they dump them off at auction. Kill buyers outbid families or rescue organizations who would have given them a good home. Stop the junk breeders and make the race horse industry and get rid of the kill buyers and you will not have any “unwanted ” horses. Problem solved. But then the criminal industry would dry up and your friends like $ue wouldn’t make any profit. What a shame ! The BLM wasn’t compelled to round up wild horses thereby spending $$ on that as well as keeping them in holding pens. Everyone knows it is overgrazing by cattle that is the problem on public lands, not wild horses.

  • susanm

    More than 80% of Americans strongly oppose horse slaughter and don’t want it reinstated in this country. That should be enough reason to not be sitting here discussing this issue. As it is, it took a few corrupt legislators, Sen. Blunt, MO, Now Retired Sen. Kohl, WI, and Rep. Kingston, GA, to even put us in the position of allowing the possibility of horse slaughter back in this country when they took it upon themselves to “quietly” remove the defunding language for horse meat inspections in the 2012 budget; in the eleventh hour. Horses in this country are companion animals. The FDA classifies them as such allowing them to receive drugs otherwise banned in food animals, Therefore, U.S. horsemeat is adulterated and unfit for consumption by both humans and other animals alike. In addition, it will cost American taxpayers approximately $400,000.00 annually to inspect these plants leaving no benefits whatsoever for Americans. We MUST ban horse slaughter or risk compromising our food safety, the well-being of our horses, and the ethics and morals of this country. Please contact your elected officials and ask them to co-sponsor the SAFE Act, HR1094/S541, to effectively ban horse slaughter in this country!

    • Ashley

      You do not sound like an authentic horse owner in the least. My grandmother has owned over 60 race horses in her life. It was a complete scandal and betrayal for real horseowners to discover auctions were selling to kill buyers. She retired her horses immediately, never racing them again to withdraw support of racetracks holding auctions, and clearly an industry gone to the devil. They all lived out there days with her. Euthanasia by injection IS THE ONLY HUMANE DEATH FOR HORSES! PERIOD! they fall asleep with morphine like.injections and pass away peacefully. It costs money, but don’t lie to yourself the public that being forced with bull hooks, electrical prods and violent abuse to corral you in a uniform line to witness the horse ahead suffering repeatedly blows to the head, failing to render unconscious, are then impaled in the gut and hoisted in the air why they are gutted like a fish and skinned while conscious. ALSO, 90% of all horses that go to slaughter every year are in good health. Studies have been done to support this. The horse breeding, racing, and cattle industry have created a surplus of horses that are tossed in the garbage like tissue for profit.

      • susanm

        I’m confused. I don’t understand why you feel that I don’t sound like “an authentic horse owner?” I currently own 5 horses and have owned horses for the last 41 years. I am an horse/ animal advocate/activist; fighting against atrocities such as horse slaughter. I am glad that you seem to be on the same page as myself, opposing horse slaughter and understanding the horrible ramifications of allowing such a barbaric practice. The fact that your grandmother was a part of the racing industry and realized the corruption and abuse of the race horse/breeding industry; thus choosing to do the ethical and moral thing for her horses, is both commendable and appreciated. We’re fighting the same fight here. So!?

      • Ashley

        Susan- that was for TD. my apologies. Thanks for remaining diplomatic and level. I’d don’t know I could have done the same. Lol.

  • John B

    Very well stated Marge! Agreed.

  • Shane

    Several important inaccuracies here, Dan Flynn, in a report that partly cribs from Jeri Clausing’s always pro slaughter bias from the Associated Press feed. There is absolutely no scientific evidence and never has been of “record horse abandoment and starvation in recent years” as you ought to know was based on a skewed GAO report which has since been discredited. Also, there is no causal relation between “ending domestic slaughter options” and alleged rises in abuse or starvation. This is called the genetic fallacy, Dan Flynn : the assumption that because an event (shut down of U.S. horse slaughter plants) happened before other falsely reported events (horse abuse and abandonment) it was the cause of the latter. Of course that no more follows than saying because the rooster’s crow was before the sun rise it caused the sun to rise ! So this claim is both invalid and unsound – based on the false premise that “journalists” never bother to investigate that some spike in horse abuse and abandoment has occurred at all ! That is nothing but a myth concocted by pro horse slaughter profiteers.

    people attempting to protect states from the disastrous health and environmental effects of resuming horse slaughter are not “intervening” in state regulator processes as if they were outsiders doing something extraordinary, Dan Flynn ! States are supposed to protect the health and environment, including food safety and water purity at risk because of the resumption of horse slaughter in this case threatened in New Mexico and Missouri. That is subtle sophistry in choice of words ! What triggered their interest in doing their regular job was the threat of the resumption of horse slaughter, not the “intervention” of pro horse advocacy groups ! As usual, Dan Flynn, you are buying into the backward logic of pro horse slaughter advocates !

    No where in this article, Dan Flynn, do you point out the highly relevant fact that last June, Congress again voted to delete funding for USDA inspection at proposed horse slaughter plants. Nothing in that has been changed ! Only the series of government shutdowns and budgetary crisis delays have prevented the Moran Amendment from kicking in yet – as it will soon ! I wonder why, Dan Flynn, why you deleted that information from your story? Technically
    speaking, for this reason, horse slaughter remains illegal in the United States and no federal judge has overruled what it cannot !

  • Judye Michaels

    Many people feel that horses shouldn’t be trucked “so far”, i.e., into Canada and Mexico, to be slaughtered and that slaughter, if performed in America, would be done within the rules and regulations of the USDA and be “less inhumane”…. For those who wish to learn the FACTS, I beg them to visit http://www.kaufmanzoning.net and LEARN just how “humane” slaughter was when performed in America and how much it cost us as Americans to put up with it and then get it stopped in our country. The environmental devastation, the increases in crime rates, the decreases in property values, the workforce comprised of illegal aliens, the sewage violations with horse blood and tissue coming up drains and out of faucets, the vermin, the stench, the sounds of screaming horses — that’s what you get when slaughter comes to town…. Additionally, the last slaughterhouse to close paid $5.00 in taxes to the IRS on $12,000,000.00 worth of sales of products. Why does every middle-class American have to pay their fair share of taxes? Why do we have to pay the price of cleaning up after their blights to our country? Why do we have to be worried over the safety of the food we and our children eat? Why can’t the predatory, greed-driven, crime-infested industry of horse slaughter be stopped in accordance with the wishes of 80% of Americans?????

  • 14151617

    When the earth under our feet is dead.The air we breath unbreathable.The oceans devoid of life.All the forest gone.When the living creatures are no more.
    Then and only then when all the lifes blood that can make a dollar has been drained dry will our Government,Corporations,greedy politicians and money grubbing businesses be happy and satisfied
    We the people no longer matter to any of these Groups.

  • jrstark

    Why is Food Safety News not talking about food safety? Why, when major horse meat contamination scandals continue to rock Europe, do these companies want to add to the problem? They just arrested 21 people in France for sending laboratory horses into the food supply; this is not against the law in the US. There is not even any way to track university research horses sent to auctions frequented by kill buyers. Europe does not want our drugged, stolen, and not-raised-for-food horses.

  • EduAg

    Who are we to tell agricultural industries that they are not valid, or unwanted, when legislation supports it and most of the general public is only educated by the radical groups that oppose it?. Questions and concerns should be focused on how to make horse meat available and safe, not to outlaw it all together. When those who oppose horse slaughter are starving to death, ask again if they will accept the meat. We must explore all means to feed the growing population.

    • Shane

      I see Sue Wallis is supporting you EduAg so already I suspect you are reality-challenged ! If those who oppose horse meat are starving one day, and they were fed it they would die so that isn’t much of a choice you give is it ? Why would be trying to accomplish the impossible by striving so hard to make horse meat “safe” might I ask do you and your friend Sue Wallis have some psychopathic need to see others forced to eat it ? We must explore all means to feed the growing population ? Well slaughtering horses sure as hell won’t be it will it ? Who are you kidding ? The horse meat they would have shipped from Gallatin (which I believe will never open) would be going to feed wealthy Japanese not starving people anywhere ! You don’t know what in the hell you are talking about !

    • TomDurfee

      Get an education if you are worried about feeding the masses it will be done with grains etc not by feeding the grains to animals first. Anyone believing EDuAg just do a little research for yourselves

    • deborah lee

      “Exploring all means to support a growing population” would be to use less land mass for meat production and cheap, health-reducing carbs, like corn.
      I don’t think you really mean what you’re saying here – just spouting the latest in the status quo.
      Crime rates and animal abuse accompany horse slaughter – look at the data.
      Animal abuse is related to human abuse.
      Desensitization to any abuse, reduces a person’s ability for compassion to one another … this info. is not new, just ignored by those who don’t hope to profit from it directly.
      The rest of it pay for it every day, though.

  • savinghorses2

    Food safety news is about politics and money first Food Safety to them is no longer of relevance. Contact Congress because there has to be a greater voice of reason to say no to slaughter and food contamination.

  • dk

    Do the facts matter at all here? The FDA classifies horses as non-food companion animals. We have 115 drugs that are clearly labeled “not for use in horses intended for food. Why would anyone want to eat U.S. horses?

    • susanmeanslily

      Horses are classified as Livestock Under the USDA FSIS.
      “The Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) provides that there is to be an inspection of horses and other equines, among other species, to assess whether the carcasses of these animals are not adulterated, can be passed for human consumption, and are eligible to bear the mark of inspection (21 U.S.C. 604).”

  • Brian LaRoche

    What a disgusting situation, we need to start boycotting goods and travel to the countries who eat horsemeat.
    Horses are like big dogs, would anyone consider slautering digs for meat?

  • Jodi Braford

    thank you Maggie . . . in another lifetime, I would have been out there with Wild Horse Annie, and fighting for injustice . . . I grew up in a hunting family, I hunted too and I would hunt as humanely as possible if I needed the meat . . . but as I get older, I hate to kill anything, I will not kill a spider or a barn swallow . . . I dearly love my horses . . . *****We have to look out for the “BACKLASH” I remember the year the PMU farms were cut back, it was close to the holidays and PMU farms were told that half were dropped and the other half were cut back, it was a year of drought, horse farms were folding, at one of the horse auctions out west, trailers were backed up to the sale, a law had just been passed to save foals, it was put in place so that when their mommas were sold to slaughter, they could not be shipped with, so they would not get trampled in the slaughter trucks. A horseman shipped his whole herd of well bred Arabians, a lady went and bought a well bred mare & her foal saving them, when she went back to pick them up, her foal had been killed-because so many of these horses were going to slaughter and the sales barn was swamped, this law meant to save the foals from being shipped & trampled, caused the deaths of many & a foal that was bought to be saved, the guys working the horse sale had beaten the foals to death with baseball bats.***** I have spent 30 years in the horse industry and you have to look at everything, we need to support each other and help each other choose the best road, we have to trust each other to do our best, some might not, but running to the government constantly and seeing things only with “OUR EYES ONLY” hurts everyone, causes the government mess we have now, socialism & communism . . . this is AMERICA, WE HAVE FREEDOMS here that we have taken for granted . . . we need to be responsible & teach others by example to do the same . . . RESPECT FOR EACH OTHER IS WHAT IS LACKING HERE . . . RESPECT & FREEDOM bring about WONDERFUL things!

    • Jodi Braford

      Starvation and abandonment is CRUEL . . . shipping miles & miles to a foreign country to be tortured to death is CRUEL . . . NO, you will not see a lot of us old time horse breeders ship our own horses, BECAUSE, WE TAKE CARE OF OUR OWN, we do our best by them & take care of our horses, which in an ideal world, if everyone did that, we would not have this problem . . . this is not in any way an ideal world . . .

  • Susannm Gallagher

    you dont have to be a horse owner to realize that this practice is not only cruel but inhumane.why would you want to eat horsemeat? or cat or dog meat? isnt that just as disgusting?

    • rancher

      Dog meat is not that tasty; I unknowingly had some in Thailand many years ago. Now horse meat is a different story. Excellent fare. Pass the cheval.

  • BB

    This was sent to us yesterday (from FSIS):
    “On December 13, the Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit denied the plaintiffs’ motion to have FSIS enjoined from granting federal inspectors or assigning federal inspectors to commercial horse slaughter plants during the appeal process. As previously noted, a briefing schedule was promulgated on November 15. As the initiators of the appeal, plaintiffs go first and their opening brief was originally due December 26. On December 2, plaintiffs notified FSIS that they were going to request a 28-day extension on the deadline for filing their brief and asked for the agency’s position on said request. The agency took no position and the Appellate Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion on December 3. Their opening brief is now due January 23, 2014. Under the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, our response will be due 30 days later, on February 22, 2014.”

  • Melissa Strand

    Horses are not meat animals! They are domesticated work animals! Mine are part of my family! I hope that the idiots that eat horses get sick from the shots and medicines that horses get. Watch a video on horse slaughter and look deep into a horse’s eyes before you decide to support this. Sickening!

  • TomDurfee

    To the
    contemporary eye, that may make it sound as if horse meat is healthier than
    beef. But that’s only because we have ample sources of calories and fat
    available to us. For most of human history, that hasn’t been true. Medieval
    residents of Northern Europe would have
    certainly appreciated the higher calorie, higher fat content of beef. Even
    without the scientific ways of discovering precise fat and caloric intakes, it
    would have been easy to notice that a serving of beef left you feeling more
    full than a serving of horse.

    What’s more, the
    different digestive systems of horses and cows mean that cows are more
    efficient eaters. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology
    found that horses eat 63 percent more than cattle. This isn’t just a matter of
    bulk. Horses also eat more “digestible material” with actual
    nutritional content than cows, according to the study.


  • Dren

    Ironicly, after 25 years in the horse industry I have met no pro slaughter advocate who will send their own good riding/breeding horse to the butcher when he gets unuseful. They will gladly send everyone else’s but never their own. I feel that if we allow slaughter then those who send their horses should do so for free & then get to watch the process. The meat could then be donated to the group who needs it. Lots of protine there you know. Who would turn that down? Btw, I do eat meat, how ever I eat meat that I know. I know it lived & died ethicly. Horses are seldome handled or killed ethicly in this situation. Automation & processes are just not set up for it.

    • susanmeanslily

      I’m a lifetime horse owner. I’ve sent horses over the years to “run-through” at sale barns knowing they would go to slaughter. I have known many, many other horse owners who have done the same. I’ve also had horses I took out back and put a bullet in them because I didn’t want them to go that route. You do what you want with the horses you OWN. When you try to tell other people what to do with the horses they OWN, you will run into a brick wall. I believe in animal welfare laws, but I believe in property rights, and horses are a property that can be bought or sold.

      • Lauren

        See this is the primitive attitude that uneducated people have when they need an easy excuse to deal with the lives of animals however thy wish. To believe that animals should still be considered property in this day and age is just ridiculous. Animals – horses in this case – have beating hearts just like humans. While my opinion here is quite philosophical in nature, ask yourself why a horse deserves to die some terrible death when you no longer have any use for it? Would you offer the same fate to your children if they weren’t athletically inclined or perhaps weren’t smart? I would like to hope not. Why are animals, horses, so different then? This of course says nothing to the fact that again, horse meat is not at all fit for human consumption. Put all my philosophical thoughts aside and that totally factual point still remains. We don’t raise horses for meat in the United States. They are not cattle. They cannot be processed for meat like cattle. Therefore, not only is horse slaughter just plain inhumane, it’s a health violation under law.

        • susanmeanslily

          Animals are property. Obviously you are an animal rights advocate and you don’t believe in owning any animals.

  • susanm

    TD, the majority of the “horse owners” are opposed to slaughter and are included in the more than 80% of all Americans who strongly oppose it. The reason for this is simple. True horse people would never consider selling their horses for slaughter, period. Slaughter has nothing to do with a humane death nor does it have to do with horse welfare or ending abuse. Never has and never will. Slaughter has always been an option which is why you see horses at sale barns going to slaughter. It is the easy dispersal system for irresponsible horse owners/breeders. Personally, I’m sick and tired of hearing these same ‘ole reasons; why we should allow horse slaughter in this country. It’s purely about the money, not the well-being of the horses. Instead, why don’t you rationalize ethically and moralistically and understand that nothing will change until horse slaughter is banned and the corruption has been stopped.

  • Susanne Ruby

    I couldnt agree more. We are being treated as slaves. Being told what to think and what is going to be done to our world with or without our consent. This needs to STOP now.
    The small but powerful and rich tell us what they are going to do, and we have to put up with it no matter how we the people feel about it. NO. We do not have to put up with this. Let us tell our representives and go to Washington with our wheel barrows.

  • Penny Zielstorf

    If we don’t get the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE)
    Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541) passed there are over 50K horses being stockpiled in
    holding pens costing the American tax payer $445.00 per year per horse that is
    a total of over 22 million per year we the tax payers are paying. These beloved
    horses are pure no meds of any kind run in their veins. The government will use
    this ploy to convince the remanding public these horses need to go to slaughter
    to recoup our money. If we can get the (SAFE) act passed it will stop all
    transportation and slaughter of all horses. Our friends in Canada are also
    working to pass Bill C-22 which will stop the slaughter of all horses there.
    This must be stopped we can be the voice for these beloved animals, please
    share please pass the word. I love my country but I sure hate the people
    running it.

  • Penny Zielstorf

    Have you viewed a horse being slaughtered, or do you work for the BLM or USDA.?

  • dk

    Take a 30 seconds to sign the petition to help stop horse slaughter in Missouri. We need signatures now. Thank you.


  • deborah lee

    There are people doing just that every day.
    It’s not all about the rescuers. It’s the rampant over-breeding to feed more horses into money-making industries that chew up horses and spit them out.
    Most people involved in horses are encouraged to toughen up and man-handle their animals. Of course, they’r used to the idea that the “knacker’s” is the way to go, because they’re fed myths and stories about humane horse slaughter.

  • deborah lee

    We have a disposable culture that didn’t start with horses, and it won’t end there. The attitudes we have toward horses depends on the person. They aren’t regarded as livestock legally. Having too many horses raised for trivial reasons creates a glut and an attitude that they are only things, which they are not.
    It’s not the first time living beings have been treated as things, or humans, for that matter.
    Regulations are often not followed. Do some research.
    When property is more important than a life, it shows a sick culture.
    The history of this attitude goes back a long way, with barbaric attitudes that allowed for the slaughter of neighbors as well. A little research will show the roots of the sickness that we can use to justify or ignore any cruelty, if there’s a buck in it.

    • susanmeanslily

      I come from a farming/ranching background. The animals we raised were always well cared for, appreciated and were fed before we ate. Our survival was dependent on how well we cared for our land and livestock. I think coming from that sort of background puts things in a different perspective. Horses are raised and owned to be useful. Sometimes they find their way into our heart and they are kept for their lifetimes. Usually that isn’t the case. When they are no longer useful, they are sold for the best price possible. The more desirable the horse, the more they are worth. The least desirable have the “killer” base price. I don’t see any difference in eating beef, pork or horse. All animals should be well treated in their lifetime and put down with as little stress and pain as possible. There should be heavy penalties for any mistreatment of any animal.

      • Lauren

        “… heavy penalties for any mistreatment of any animal.” Hmm then you ought to explain how horse slaughter isn’t abuse. And you really should think differently about horse meat compared to beef or pork. I’m actually going to assume you aren’t who you say you are anyway, but if you really are pro-slaughter then you better be willing to eat what is killed – tainted, toxic, dangerous horse meat. See what kinds of health problems you have down the road…

        • susanmeanslily

          My parent regularly ate horse meat. I would buy it if it was available in stores, was USDA inspected and was less expensive than beef. I think a lot of people would…there are numerous people in the US that come from horse eating cultures. Your horse, if you own one, might not be safe to eat. I’ve had horse throughout my life and have only once had one that had bute. I buried her after I shot her, after owning her for 22 years. Death is inevitable. Any problems with animal welfare of any species going to slaughter needs to be fixed. I’m assuming you’re vegan?

  • dk

    Please sign the petition to help stop horse slaughter in Missouri and share, share, share!

    For those of you on Twitter, please Tweet URGENT: Require Rains Natural Meats apply 4 site-specific waste H2O permithttp://chn.ge/1iatIwK

  • Kathy Heinisch

    Aside from the inhumane issues..there is one other huge undeniable problem. Horses are not raised as a food source in the USA. Commercial Slaughter is for Food from animals bred and raised by dedicated producers under food safety guidelines, regulations and protocols, with the ability to trace back. Horses should not be and never should have been the exception to all food safety regulations. Try sourcing all other meat producing animals in the same manner..unknown origin,unknown health/medical/drug history, gathered at random by killbuyers whose only obligation or care is to fullfill quotas for the plants they contract with..watch those markets collapse as consumers find out. Our American Horses Bred for everything under the sun OTHER than food have NO place in the Human Food Chain or in the Consumer Markets Here or Abroad. Also the Residue testing rates set forth by USDA are not sufficient to protect any Consumer that would choose to eat horsemeat..1 test/sample per 300 head may be enough for purpose bred, regulated, traceable animals….randomly gathered horses ….no way.

  • LouieCocroft

    Some, if not all, of these substances are not detectable by either lab or blood testing.


    People have been pumping horses full of substances to get
    them to run faster as long as they’ve been sitting on top of horses and racing
    them against other horses for money. The difference between a win and a place
    can be literally a nose, so it makes sense that trainers would use everything
    at their disposal to give their horses an edge. Many—including myself—would
    argue that these enhancements, along with shi**y breeding, have been the
    largest contributor to the decline of the thoroughbred horse and the 34-year
    Triple Crown drought. Just like “Mean people make little mean people,” as the
    saying goes, “Unsound horses breed little unsound horses.” Covering up lameness
    issues with drugs only contributes to that factor—but that’s not stopping
    anyone from juicing up horses….

    New York Times on Dermorphin:
    Turning to Frogs for Illegal Aid in Horse Races – New York Times

    Cobra Venum:
    Cobra venom said to be in Biancone barn – Horse Racing – ESPN
    Jul 4, 2007 – One of the materials
    confiscated by Kentucky Horse Racing Authority investigators during the June 22 search of
    three Keeneland barns …

    vet testifies about cobra venom | xLocal | Kentucky.com


    Dec 4, 2008 – The veterinarian at the center of a notorious horse-racing medication case said on Wednesday that he never gave cobra venom to an active …

    Equine Chronicle » Milkshakes, Snake Venom, and Now Frog Juice …
    Aug 23, 2012 – Milkshakes, Snake Venom, and Now Frog Juice, What Will They
    Think of Next? – Just another Equine Chronicle weblog.

    ON HORSE RACING; Cocaine Case Proves Testers Are Gaining …

    CachedFeb 28, 1989 – There is
    a line in an old blues song that says ”cocaine
    is for horses,” but until recently, horse racing’s cocaine problems were
    confined to the …

    Barred From Training Horses in New York for 10 Years …
    Oct 12, 2011 – The New York State Racing
    and Wagering Board revoked the license of the trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. and barred him from New York …

  • Kay

    It’s about time that the plants can open up again, more us jobs & less horses starving & being humanely destroyed.

  • ny bronc buster

    Finally rational thought has prevailed!!!! Those 80% percent that don’t agree with horse slaughter? 78% of them do not own horses nor do they contribute to rescue efforts. Even if the bill is delayed again, another 140,000 will be slaughtered in mexico in 2014. The people have spoken.it will begin again next week. No more mysterious executions in mexico. You have been shown rational reality!!!!

  • LouieCocroft



    Kudos to Arthur Hancock for his brave article of condemnation of race-day drugs for

    It takes great courage to publicly probe the issues in our industry that are slowly eroding
    what was once a noble endeavor.

    Most folks in this business are afraid to make a public statement for fear of being ridiculed
    for criticism of anything that is wrong with the Thoroughbred industry.

    Unfortunately, race-day drugs are just one of many insidious issues in breeding, sales
    preparation, racing and retirement of our horses. Let’s look at the pervasive
    evidence that continually invades the news and some items just in the last two

    Take for example an article published recently in The New York Times, “Despite the
    evidence, trainers deny a doping problem.” This article was written in
    response to congressional testimony two weeks ago by horse-racing
    representatives that, “Thoroughbred racing’s drug problem was a

    The evidence alluded to is that Bob Baffert was investigated by the California Horse Racing
    Board for the sudden deaths of seven horses in his care between 2011 and 2013.

    The investigation revealed that Baffert was giving every horse in his barn the

    thyroid drug, thyroxine,

    in spite of the fact that none of the horses had a thyroid problem.

    Another example in the Times article, which is more common, involves Todd Pletcher and a horse named Coronado Heights, who broke down at Aqueduct and had to be euthanized.
    The horse had chronic joint disease and had been given 17 injections in the
    seven days before.

  • susanmeanslily

    No one is forcing anyone to sell their horses. People who sell their horses lose their rights to that horse, so if you have an attachment to your horses and don’t want it to ever go to slaughter, don’t ever sell it. Pretty simple.

  • susanmeanslily

    If you are concerned about your horses being stolen I would suggest you have a meeting with your local sheriff and follow his suggestions. I think it would be very doubtful anyone would steal a horse when so many are trying to give them away with no takers. As for diseases, unless the slaughter house borders you and your animals are in contact, I think it’s very doubtful that would happen. I would contact your state veterinarian if you have doubts. People who sell or give away their dog or cat have no way of knowing whether that animal might end up in a shelter. I bred show dogs many years ago and had all purchasers sign a contract that if they couldn’t keep the dog to contact me and I would help find a new home or would take the dog back. If you are concerned for the safety of a horse you are selling, I would consider such a legal contract. Horses have to be treated under animal welfare standards, so if you witness neglect or abuse, you should report it.

    • MorganLvr

      Oh my GOD! Have a talk with your local law enforcement! Back when there were the two horse slaughter plants were operating the horse theft probelm was SO bad, the State took note of it and tried to come up with programs and methods to help horse owners protect their horses. Didn’t make the slightest bit of difference. Some people hired guards for their horses when they were in their paddocks at night.

      Three horses were stolen right our of their stalls at my boarding stable – right under the noses of the foreman and owner sleeping just a few yerds away with a full view of that barn.

      One taken was in the stall next to mine, one was across the barn aisle and the last down a few stalls. They could just as easily taken my horse instead of the others. Maybe this wouldn’t bother YOU, but it got to me big time! Like a lot of horse owners before me, I ended up moving out of Texas – where I was born and raised – because it was the only way to protect my horse.

      And you want to start this mess on American soil again? I don’t think so, dearie.

  • susanmeanslily

    As a horse owner, I believe there is a need in this country for horse slaughter. The owners of the horses selling at auction by the pound must agree with me. The USDA is responsible for testing meat for safety. As Akaye said, if you don’t like it, buy the horses from the meat man.

    • kcgonly

      The problem is that you don’t understand which horses go to auction. The healthy ones…they don’t want ones who have been abused and starved and people who don’t want them usually know more about them than you do. If they live near one their horses are stolen…no Sheriff is going to stop that. They also take wild protected horses and make it so that horses go up in price. If you are a horse owner and want this…your desire must be driven by money. Go check out a slaughter plant and then say this.

      • susanmeanslily

        Any horse that I own that I don’t want to ever be slaughtered will be retained by me. If you sell or give away the horse you own, you are taking the chance it may end up in the Slaughter Pipeline. Why would anyone steal a horse when there are loads of people that can’t give their horse away? As for your statement that, “your desire must be driven by money”, horses are a commodity. Most horses are for sale for the right price. Some horses are seen by their owners as a member of their family. Any animal can be kept as a pet. Potbellied pigs were the craze for a few years, but pigs are raised in a for-profit business. I wonder how many Pot-bellied pigs ended up eaten when their owners weren’t able to/didn’t want to keep them anymore?

        • kcgonly

          Your answers are non sequitur. Also, there are people on this exact answer chain who live near plants and have neighbors horses stolen so your question isn’t an answer. Answering a question with a question is just an evasion. Anyway, I stand by my original thought that you are not doing any information gathering before you state your stance.

  • susanmeanslily

    Speaking of Special Interest Groups “owning” politicians…I give you Attorney General KIng of New Mexico…bought and paid for by…(drumroll, please)…HSUS!
    BTW, I hear he will be running for Governor in the next election!

  • susanmeanslily

    You are the one that sounds like a troll! You are definitely living in a fairy tale world.

    • MorganLvr

      LOL! You are living in a fantasy world if you think anyone buys your worn out, discredited propaganda.

  • Lauren

    It’s an evil necessity if you subscribe to the idea that it is acceptable to be irresponsible with the lives of animals. And horses are not “humanely” slaughtered. Not here and not anywhere else. If you believe this then go to a slaughterplant yourself or watch the videos on YouTube. Slaughter is simply considered the end-of-the-road in an industry that supports quantity over quality. If you and any other “real” horse person, or human being for that matter, want to change this end-state then you would keep your horses for the duration of their lives just as you would children/other family members, you would volunteer/send money to horse rescues that do actually provide some reprieve for horses that do not have homes for one reason or another; and you would educate yourself on the negative impact the horse slaughter business has on the American taxpayer AND the fact that horse meat is dangerous for human consumption in the first place.

  • Lauren

    That’s cute. The horse industry and the business of horse slaughter is rampant with “problems.” I don’t know the statistics off the top of my head so I won’t dare act like I do, but USDA inspections are flawed and underfunded. The drugs given to horses bound for slaughter aren’t hardly recorded and the transportation of the animals leaves many injured and malnourished at the slaughter pens. And if I recall, the USDA does not consider horses to be livestock or “property” in this manner. They are considered companion animals. You can disagree with this all you want, but if it is written in legislation then that is what horses are by law. And it’s all well and good for you or anyone else to consider them property with the rights to do as you please with such a thing. What this comes down to is the fact that horses cannot be legally accepted as meat animals because of the drugs they are given throughout their lifetimes. Won’t be long before this gets across many a judges’ desk. It is a health issue to process horses for meat in this country and probably elsewhere too. It would be well within a state’s “police power” to shut down any horse slaughter plant just based on that. Horses never could and never should be considered to have potential as a meat product. Their meat is toxic to humans and so would any waste product that could contaminate the environment around a horse slaughter plant.

  • susanmeanslily

    USDA Inspectors are required by law to inspect every single carcass under Federal Regulations.