A recent article invoked America’s cowboy culture as the only reason we don’t eat horses, but there’s much more to it than that (“Horse Slaughter Issue Won’t Go Away,” Oct. 25). While it’s true that this country was founded from the backs of horses and the image of a wild horse galloping across the plain is the greatest symbol of America’s spirit, the fact of the matter is that American horses are raised to be competitors and companions–not dinner.


The horse slaughter process, whether it occurs in the U.S. or across our borders, is brutal and terrifying. HSUS investigators have documented unthinkable cruelty time and again. The FDA and the European Union have banned the use of phenylbutazone in animals raised for food because of its cancer-causing properties, and the drug is as common in American horses as Aspirin is in people.


Americans don’t eat horses, and they don’t want them inhumanely killed and sent abroad as a high-priced appetizer. Nor should horse slaughter exist as a crutch for irresponsible owners or as a dumping ground that enables overbreeding.  The majority of owners find decent and humane outcomes for their horses, selling or leasing them, donating them to therapeutic riding or mounted police programs or relinquishing them to a rescue or sanctuary.


The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176/H.R. 2966) would ban the export of American horses for slaughter and end this inhumane practice for good.


Keith Dane is director of equine protection for The Humane Society of the United States.