UPDATE:  Since originally published this morning, USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) public affairs staff have provided Food Safety News with copies of the applications for equine inspection services.  The FSIS officials did so in part to illustrate that most of the applications are not complete in the sense that items are missing or not filled out correctly, meaning, an  official says, they “are not even close to having a walk through with FSIS.”  From those applications, some additional information has been added to this story. One thing is certain. The future of horse slaughter in the U.S. is being fought out mostly in small towns. From Larkspur, Colorado (population 234), the anti-slaughter Front Range Equine Rescue group Thursday disclosed the names of four more horse slaughter applicants. The four are in addition to New Mexico’s Valley Meat, which is located outside Roswell (pop. 48,386).  The five in total have applied for federal meat inspection services under the “equine” option on USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service forms. Valley Meat’s application, filed Dec. 13, 2011,  has been known for months both because Front Range Equine Rescue has been opposing it, and because the business has gone into federal court in hopes it can get a federal judge to order FSIS to provide inspection services. The others are managed to stay beneath the radar, until now. They are:

  • Rains Natural Meats, Gallatin, Missouri (pop. 1,791). Located in rural Northwest Missouri, Rains is a division of Pro Show Enterprises Inc., also based in Gallatin.   In its Jan. 15, 2013 cover letter, manager David Rains writes: “We area already starting the changes in our HACCP Plan to address drug residue in horses.”
  • Trail South Meat Processing in Woodbury, Tennessee (pop. 2681). Trail South is listed in one foreign trade directory as a supplier of boxed frozen horsemeat to Asia and Europe. Founded in 2012, Stanley Dobson is listed as chief executive officer.  It is owned by Trail South LLC based in Auburntown, TN.  Its application is dated June 1, 2012.
  • Oklahoma Meat Co. in Washington, Oklahoma (pop 520). Ahsan Amil is listed as the owner/manager on the May 18, 2012 application.  Washington is just 30 minutes south of Norman, home of the University of Oklahoma.
  • Responsible Transportation, Sigourney, Iowa (pop. 2059). Work is reportedly underway in Southeast Iowa to turn the old Louis Rich Plant north of town into a horse slaughter facility. Responsible Transportation LLC wants to be up and running by late spring or early summer 2013. It has the editorial support of the local newspaper, the Sigourney News-Review.  Keaton Walker is president and chief executive officer for Responsible Transportation LLC.

  USDA’s Des Moines district office wrote Responsible Transportation on Dec. 26, 2012 to advise the firm that it “cannot begin operations until a Conditional Grant of Inspection is issued, and provided a worksheet that needed to be completed “before or during” a walk-through. Valley Meat is owned by Sarah and Ricardo de los Santos, and was previously a beef plant that ran into financial problems and was forced to cutback operations. Some of Oklahoma’s top lawmakers have been moving legislation to lift the state ban on horse slaughter as long as the meat is processed for export only.  At the same time, new efforts are underway in Congress to re-impose the ban on horse slaughter that was lifted more than a year ago after being in place for about five years. Originally, USDA declined to provide copies of the applications outside of the  formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) process, but since the request filed by the Colorado horse rescue group was approved, FSIS opted to provide them to Food Safety News. With no domestic “sale barn” option for disposing of horses since the last legal horse slaughter plant closed down in 2007, some experts say the “unintended consequences” have been more cruelty to the animals now than before.  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) of Congress documented those concerns in a report two years ago, and the Obama Administration and Congress opted to lift the ban a year later.

  • ScottHurd

    The failure to harvest this protein under USDA inspection leads to neglect and abuse. See my blog at Meatingplace and the AVMA position on horse slaughter for details

    • BerksBound

      There was horrendous abuse documented by USDA when we had US plants. Reports, including pictures of horses arriving at the TX and IL plants with eyes bludgeoned, legs torn off and dead are publicly available.

      AVMA is in the pocket of Agribusiness and refuses to acknowledge the well-documented cruelty of this sordid industry. Their being complicit in this brutality inflicted to horses throughout the slaughter pipeline will be exposed soon.

    • Smithereens

      ScottHurd, what’s your hard evidence of the above? I’ve seen this claim made many times, but never seen any supporting data. I’d be very interested to see what you have.

    • Smithereens

      Hi Scott, what data are you using to support your claim that “the failure to harvest this protein under USDA inspection leads to neglect and abuse”?

    • Harvest.. Process.. Don’t sugar coat it. It’s inhumane horse slaughter

    • kathygregory

      “Harvest this protein” – love the euphemism, Scott. Let’s see; what’s more appalling…the fact that you’re a veterinarian pimping horse slaughter, or that you once served as a “food safety veterinarian and policy advisor to the Secretary of Agriculture”? You of all people are aware that American horses are NOT regulated as “food animals”, yet you are willing to bend over for the meat industry and assure everyone how “safe, humane, and healthy” horsemeat is.
      That the AVMA sides with the cattle/livestock industry on this debate is hardly surprising. The USDA is the largest employer of veterinarians in the US — they, along with the cattle and livestock industry, pretty much “run the show” at AVMA. It’s the reason why the obsequious leadership at AVMA can’t support a ban on horse slaughter; they are obligated to protect the “turf” of the livestock industry, which is slaughtering animals. You and your indefensible position to promote horse slaughter despite the unenforceable food safety standards and inherent cruelty are a disgrace to the veterinary profession.

      • Morgan Griffith

        thank you for pointing our Scott Hurds conflict of interest to others who might not know of his dubious credentials.

    • That may be your opinion, but it is one not based on facts. You can blog your opinion all you want, but it is still nothing more than the regurgitation of pro-slaughter propaganda.

    • Barbara Griffith

      What do you mean “harvest this protein”? Horses in the US were never meant to be used as food.
      No one eats horse meat here and they never will. US horse meat is contaminated with Vet Drugs that humans are not supposed to ingest. Drugs like Phenylbutazone which was banned in food animals in the 1950s by the FDA because of the serious side effects and deaths it caused. 99% of all US bred horses is given this drug when they need it for pain. The FDA said that there is no safe levels of Bute in animals intended for human consumption and bans the administration of this drug in any horse sent for slaughter for human consumption.

      • fearnot

        funny thing this drug comment,.. for years horse meat was shipped from the USA to other countries where NO ONE dropped dead from eating it

        • Cancer did develop,again please enlighten us as to where you are getting your knowledge ? Dave Douchette and Sue Walruses book of horse slaughter ?

    • Smithereens

      Scott Hurd, let’s identify you properly. You’re a veterinarian and former deputy and undersecretary for food safety at the USDA who’s well aware of the immense drug exposure that U.S. and foreign consumers face from US horse meat tainted with phenylbutazone and about a hundred other drugs. Yet yesterday, you told Dr. Oz that you can eliminate the risk of horse meat contamination in the U.S. by visual inspection at the slaughter house. It’s alarming that with your knowledge of phenylbutazone, clenbuterol, banamine, etc. (to name only a few) that you would suggest to the audience that “after that horse is euthanized, their organs are checked for health” without mentioning that less than 1% of organs are tested for drug residues. And testing the organs (kidney) is the only way to assess the presence of phenylbutazone in horses. Why did you leave that out? Further, your comment above suggests slaughter as a remedy for abuse and neglect. So you’re saying that aside from healthy, drugged horses being ideal slaughter candidates, that abused, neglected horses are too? I realize you’re a vet, but where on earth is your concern for people? You misled Dr. Oz and his listeners, and here you’re trying to suggest slaughter eliminates abuse and neglect without offering any proof. Who do you think you’re fooling?

    • ziggypop

      Repulsive to call a mammal, with the exact same physiology as you, merely protein. To back such inhumane slaughter is appalling since you are a veterinarian, and should be protecting animals, of all species from cruelty.

      What is more troubling is that you did not discuss all the drugs Americans drug horses with and the dangers of these drugs in our food? That is completely unethical and galling as you are the “Food Risk” modeler and create policy!!! You of all people are aware of how unscrupulous meat producers and slaughter houses are, as you were at the USDA during one of the largest beef recalls of 143 MILLIONS tons, You are not some meat neophyte and are well versed the fraudulent practices of the horse slaughter pipeline. And yet you dare to protect the money and greed behind the barbaric horse slaughter, and at great cost to human health.

      Your words are simply ads paid for by: American Farm Bureau I(and subsidiaries) , Cattlemen’s Association, American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, et al, and the Koch Brothers PAC ALEC.

      About Scott Hurd.

      Scott Hurd is currently an Associate Professor and Director of the Food Risk Modeling and Policy Laboratory at Iowa State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine in Ames, Iowa. He served as Deputy Undersecretary for Food Safety at the USDA in 2008. In this position he directed all federal meat and poultry inspection. He has been at Iowa State since 2004, after 12 years in the USDA Ag Research Service, Ames IA, and the NAHMS, National Animal Health Monitoring System in Ft Collins, CO.

    • Annie Sezso

      How does a respectable person in a position as Associate Professor at Iowa State University and Director of WHO Collaborating Center for Risk Assessment and Hazard
      Identification in Foods of Animal Origin, with both DVM and PhD designations,
      in good conscience not only justify exporting contaminated horse meat but also
      knowingly facilitate lying and subterfuge in order to circumvent European Union
      import regulations. Americans do not keep “passport” documentation on
      our horses and we dose them regularly and routinely with prohibited and toxic
      substances. Both of these are eliminating infractions of the upcoming EU import
      regulations that by their laws eliminate American horses from their food
      slaughter pipeline.

      Beside Big Ag support, Iowa State University receives millions of dollars
      annually in direct tax appropriations and as an Iowa taxpayer I fail to see how
      this behavior is appropriate, on top of statistics showing 80 percent of
      Americans oppose horse slaughter outright. It is also discouraging to
      note that the above Iowa company, Responsible Transportation, has already
      received taxpayer funding for its feasibility study in 2010 and I can only
      wonder how much taxpayer funding has been granted for the rehab construction
      considering the risk involved in an industry that is not approved, may in fact be
      banned, and at best is dependent upon annual funding approval. And it is a
      disgusting lie that this company, Responsible Transportation, is one of seven
      finalists in an Iowa Business Plan competition just for a plan to reopen a
      horse slaughter plant. Temple Grandin couldn’t engineer a humane commercial
      plant, don’t insult my intelligence that some whiz kid, Keaton Walker, can
      either. I for one am tired of the strong arm of Big Ag, greedy and
      legally corrupt crony politicians, and self serving and blatantly wasteful government spending.

      Unfortunately, secrecy has played a large part of this up until now, and that must be rectified.

    • Again you demonstrate you sir are an idiot,, If you approve this then you should also be charged with Bio terrorism as it is no different and the American public will be contacting their Congressmen and Senators and demanding it be seen as such.Why do you eaters not realize that the fraud has been removed and the 10 fold demand will now be a 10 fold decrease anyone investing money into these plants would obviously have more money than brains,, And no AG GAG Bill will stop the exposure of cruelty and the little houses of horror will come tumbling down.You also need to educate yourself on something call funding,, The USDA is crippled and the American public’s meat is in jeopardy why the hell would we want more taken from our own inspections so fat foreigners can dine on our horses.I hope investors know what is coming before they loose their hard earned money.

    • Jo-Claire Corcoran

      Spain has 91 approved horse slaughter plants yet they have suffered thousands of abandoned and neglected horses last year. Canada has horse slaughter yet they too have neglect and abuse of horses. I think it’s amazing how you completely skipped the entire post about slaughtering a non-food animal which has not been raised under food safety guidelines. The FDA has banned bute, clenbeuterol, furosamide, etc as has the EU and the CFIA, to name only a very few, yet those are drugs our horses are given on repeated basis, throughout the country. Greatest number of horses going to slaughter plants are Quarter horses and TBs, TBs, which have come straight from the track – please do not even attempt to say they do not go straight to slaughter. That has been proven time and again. How can you, a veterinarian and former Under Secretary of the USDA, justify the slaughter for human consumption of a non-food animal?

      The AVMA’s position on horse slaughter was not made by polling their members and as such is not representative of the members. Also calling it harvesting does not change what it is, which is slaughter. We don’t refer to cattle slaughter as cattle harvesting, instead you and your side have decided to try and sanitize what it is.

  • Striking to me is the level of interest in a niche industry supporting overseas consumers and profiteers. Here’s some additional information to round out the very vague story here.

    The “top lawmakers” pushing for horse slaughter in OK also happen to own family run Livestock Auctions, no conflict of interest there, right? The de los Santos Slaughterhouse was cited for cruelty to animals and not adhering to the Humane Slaughter Act when slaughtering cattle – but they’ll figure it out for horses? They’ve also been fined for improper carcass disposal and having piles of dead bodies and offal lying around their yard, baking in the sun.

    How the USDA can justify spending millions of tax dollars on inspecting meat, well known to be unregulated, tainted and toxic, for a foreign market while facing massive budget cuts and fuloughs for meat inspectors is completely beyond me. The GAO report also suggested that we end the slaughter of horses as well as their transport across the borders to slaughter. That, and only that, will end the needless suffering of animals never intended for the food supply.

    The “sale barn” never closed. The slaughter option has been available at countless auctions across the country, proving that having the slaughter option doesn’t help with population control or welfare issues. Even without slaughter, the sales barns will be able to continue to sell animals – only a scant 1% of the 9,000,000 + horses in the country are ever sold to slaughter. We could easily absord the animals via reduced breeding, owner responsibility and rescue/retirement/sanctuary programs.

    Finally, the Obama Admin. and Congress had the lifting of the “ban” (horse slaughter defunding language previously included in the Ag. Appropriations laws) tucked to them via a back room deal involving three crooked legislators and an omnibus bill that would have shut down government had it not been passed and signed into law.

    Please, everyone call your legislators and ask them to support the S.A.F.E. Act! The time has come to stop the predatory, unacceptably inhumane and completely unsafe practice of commercialized horse slaughter for human consumption. The Equine Community is ready to step up, we just need the Meat Industry to get out of our business!

  • BerksBound

    “No domestic sale barn option,” is entirely incorrect. Horses are sold to slaughter at auctions all over the United States for slaughter. In 2012, more American horses than ever before.

    By the way, the ONLY ones making claims about “unintended consequences” and “more cruelty to animals” are horse meat lobbyists, who also support puppy mills and horse tripping, and despite tens of thousands of horses going to Mexico and Canada when we had U.S. plants, never said a thing then.

    Horse slaughter was horrendously cruel when we had it in the United States. Bringing it back is not going to do anything except host the community-killing cruelty on our soil. The answer is to ban this entirely unnecessary and predatory business once and for all. 80% of Americans are opposed to it, and it’s high time for the politicians to start listening to the will of the people and not to horse meat lobbyists.

  • susanrudnicki

    This article is extremely short on specifics and data. Mr Flynn writes a ” beef plant that ran into financial problems and was forced to cutback operations.” How come Flynn is so uninformed of the legal failings of the plant? The New Mexico meat plant the de Santos owned was shut down for numerous sanitary, illegal “composting” (simply piles of dead animals in the open on a concrete pad) and offal disposal violations. The NM authorities complained about this operation for months and this information is openly available. The deSantos are being portrayed as some kind of beleaguered small business suffering from persecution by the authorities. They are NOT—they are a renegade business trying to skirt the laws intended to keep the food supply safe, and now want to profit from the drug laden domestic horse slaughter pipeline. Horses are not raised as food animals in America, and Mr Flynn is irresponsible in not relaying this public health menace in this piece. This is not some kind of hearsay—it is documented fact of the danger of toxic meat from horses. Phenylbutazone and a raft of equine drugs, wormers and performance enhancers are clearly labeled “not for use in food animals” and ONE dose disqualifies the animal for human consumption. There is NO allowable withdrawal period. ‘Bute was shown as a potent cause of aplastic anemia and other blood dyscrasias when it was tested as a human drug in the ’40’s. It was removed for a GOOD reason, sir.

    The European “passport system” for verifying the drug free tracking of European slaughter horses has been found to be thoroughly corrupted by blackmarket trading in passport numbers and identities. So that is not an answer, either.

    Secondly, see the FOIA documents at http://www.kaufmanzoning.net if you want a complete look at the horrific conditions suffered by the small town of Kaufman, TX for decades with the bullying, foreign owned (Belgian) horse slaughter plant. These scofflaws destroyed the business climate, relied on former criminals and illegals for the killing floor employees, clogged the sewers with blood and offal in constant violation of their already generous discharge permits, and failed to pay taxes for the decades they occupied this municipality. The demoralized citizens of Kaufman struggled without help from the state authorities till their legal fund was dried up and the city was almost bankrupted with this fight to kick out the horse slaughter plant. The 2007 law at the Federal level finally took it out.

    All you folks uninformed of the facts need only listen to the media frenzy around the horse meat scandal unfolding in Europe to get a feel for the mess this “business” would cause our country. There is no reason to spend our tax monies for inspection of a foreign exported, toxic product when the government is reeling from cutbacks for the inspectors of beef, pork and poultry already.

    The AVMA are in collusion (Mr ScottHurd tries to legitimize the stance here) with the big horse breeding registries, which use horse slaughter as a “culling” outlet for their egregious overbreeding schemes and investment money sequestering advice. The idea that a veterinary organization would endorse the oxymoron of “humane slaughter” is a crime against the pledge of their Hippocratic oath “to do no harm” It’s all about profit and money and discarding all but the most exceptional specimens—and slaughtering the rest.

  • underthebluesky

    How many horses do you personally own, how many rescue groups do you send money to
    so they can buy expensive hay to feed the thousands of unwanted horses in this country? The economy is still tight and people, who own horses, when hay was inexpensive, now face that question of: who do I feed my family or my horses $250/ton hay.
    How are these rescue groups helping people who would like to keep their horses are you people finding hay for them our just telling them to tighten their belts. According to my large animal Vet there are close to 150,000 unwanted horses in the United States, according to the livestock board in my state they find horse turned loose to fend for themselves on a monthly bases. It’s by far more humane to send a horse to slaughter where it doesn’t go to waste than to let the animal starve to death in someone’s backyard farm or get hit by a car on the road.

    Finally; who do you people think you are to tell someone or another culture what they can and cannot
    eat…shame on you.

    Yes, I own and care for my horses to the end.

  • ”Harvest” such a sweet word used by pro slaughter supporters to describe inhumane horse slaughter. The Europeans have a scandal on their hands and there isn’t a market for U.S. horses. Even the Canadians are re-thinking this disgusting vile business overloaded with crime and deception. Incredible that we are expected to foot the bill with our tax dollars for inspection of a food we are opposed to eating in this country. The U.S.D.A. has cutbacks and is set for more in the very near future. I want my food to be inspected here,in the U.S. not pay for some foreigners gastronomical dining experience in an over priced French Bistro. The sheer economics of horse slaughter at this time is obvious it’s a bad investment. Load of ghouls supporting a despicable industry. We owe these animals respect. America was built on the back of the horse, not the cow.

  • ”Harvest” such a sweet word used by pro slaughter supporters to describe inhumane horse slaughter. The Europeans have a scandal on their hands and there isn’t a market for U.S. horses. Even the Canadians are re-thinking this disgusting vile business overloaded with crime and deception. Incredible that we are expected to foot the bill with our tax dollars for inspection of a food we are opposed to eating in this country. The U.S.D.A. has cutbacks and is set for more in the very near future. I want my food to be inspected here,in the U.S. not pay for some foreigners gastronomical dining experience in an over priced French Bistro. The sheer economics of horse slaughter at this time is obvious it’s a bad investment. Load of ghouls supporting a despicable industry. We owe these animals respect. America was built on the back of the horse, not the cow.

  • shoshone101

    Markets will not be so easy to come by after all the bad press. When these slaughter houses go belly up who clean up the mess and pay the bills??

    • Gayle

      Good Ole American Taxpayers get the clean up tab. And better yet, the past foreign owned horse slaughter plants paid no U.S. income taxes. how sweet the foreigners have it to do this ugly deed in the u.s.

  • Why the provision for export only? Because it is OK to poison non Americans with tainted meat but not US citizens? No domestic horse gets through life without exposure/consumption of one of the substances that are supposed to take them out of the food chain. Why does horse wormer have an FDA warning on the side of the box that says “Not for horses intended foir human consumption?” Horses are not grown in this country with the intention that they will be for human consumption and thus they are given alot of medications and even fly spray that make them unsafe to eat. Has anyone talked to the folks down in Texas about the plant that closed there? Zillions in fines for horse blood and by products in the water system, almost nothing returned in the way of taxes. Take a look at kaufmanzoning.net.

    • ziggypop

      I have been saying the same thing. What kind of monsters are they are that they are willing to jeopardize Russians, Japanese, and Europeans health, in the name of credulity and greed.


  • ziggypop

    Well, it has been proven that where there is horse slaughter, there is a marked increase in VIOLENT CRIME, and decrease in home values. Horse slaughtering requires a very different psychology, as they are not a meat animal. It mostly attracts released from prison criminals and illegals.

    Also required is a very different sewage capability, that taxpayers would have to pay to update to handle quite a large increase in blood. Horse have far more blood than does cattle. Then there is the disposal of the carcasses, that tends to get a little smelly.

    The pipeline to slaughter is horrific in and of itself. These guys do not care about illnesses in these horses or known carcinogens in the horses’ meat. No scruples in those who enjoy rounding up horses to kill.

    I wish someone would tell us why tons and tons of illegal horse meat has been shipped into this Country and where is it?

    And why is the USDA NOT watching out for you and me over these alleged horsemen wanting you and I to be complicit in their horse abuse and toxic tainted meat our TAX expense?

    • Gayle

      Just wonder if horse meat has been shipped in to the US. from Canada to be fed to large animals in zoos.? Now some zoo’s are also choosing NOT to feed horse meat to large cats in zoos due to the drugs. Our wonderful USDA needs to start collecting the 100’s of thousands our famous Kill buyers owe to them in fines,, why is it they dont collect those fines..?? They just enable them to keep on keeping on doing what they do while breaking laws while making a hefty sum from the horses going to slaughter from auctions.

    • fearnot

      the answer is obvious. it is because you don’t pay enough taxes..paying more taxes is the solution to everything.. just ask the government

    • fearnot

      yu are correct horse have more blood.. blood i good for fertilizer and for spraying in dog kibble for taste.. why is the disposal of the carcass any different than any other type of livestock.. they render horses all fo the time..

      • ziggypop

        You are wrong about the blood. It flows via the public systems sparky.

  • ScottHurd, I have not read your blog, but Sir you surely know that horses have not been raised for food production. That being said, these animals are given drugs that are not allowed in food animals. These drugs are toxic to humans (there is a reason that horse meat is no longer allowed in dog food, it was killing the dogs and any animal that was eating this product) and so why should we assume that it would not hurt humans. Sir, the animals that have been slaughtered from the US in Canada and Mexico have shown that these animals are contaminated with the banned drugs. How can you as a responsible American think that it is okay for this meat to be sold to unsuspecting consumers?? We do not have to keep track of the drugs that are given to our horses like is required for all other slaughter animals. Again, I ask since it has been shown that toxic horses are being sold for meat, how can you condone us poisoning the world.

    • fearnot

      can you cite a source that says horsemeat in dog food killed dogs? my dogs ate it for years and lived full healthy lives..

      • Horsemeat killed dogs of certain breeds; notably collies. This was due to the use of a wormer that was toxic to them. American consumers protested the use of it and refused to buy dogfood made from horsemeat. That’s all it took: a simple quiet boycott changed an industry.

        • fearnot

          Can you please source that for me? Ivermectin is the drug you are speaking of.. and it is used in all sorts of meats that dogs eat cattle, pigs, goats and sheep.. it is actually used IN dogs to prevent heart-worm and other worms.. it is not toxic in horse meat any more than it is in any other meat.. in fact .. it is a miracle drug ..you do have to be careful when giving it directly to collie typr dogs.. but their is a safe level even for them. Horsemeant is safe for other animals to eat.. even humans

  • Nancy Thompson

    “Some” want slaughter….most don’t. “Unintended consequences”? That never happened! Unregulated breeding,irresponsible breeders and drought are the reasons we see more being auctioned. There are no more going across the borders then before so that excuse is lame. “We need a place to take our sick and old horses”? Most horses taken to slaughter are young and healthy with plenty of life ahead of them.There are many options available for horse owners besides slaughter. Adoption,networking them to find homes,gelding clinics to prevent breeding,start hay banks to help those who need a hand feeding and keep their horse.Use some of that money burning holes in your pockets to help other rescues, help start new ones up,Hold breeders responsible for breeding when times are hard,skip a few years and help steady the market.The whole country was not affected by drought,there is hay available. There is hay available on line at the hay exchange.Here,I see it for $2 a bale. Slaughter is only a means of disposal for the breeders and owners who no longer think they can make money from this horse. They are not trash to dispose of,they are not raised as food animals. I for one do not want tax dollars wasted on helping a foreign owner make a fortune from killing our horses. I do not want what few inspectors we have pulled out of our food lines to work in a horse slaughter house so a foreign owner can kill them and and sell the meat to ignorant gourmet diners .Ignorant as in not knowing most horses here are not safe to eat. Just because the kill-buyer swears the meat is drug free doesn’t mean it is.They could care less who eats it just as long as they get their money. They have shown many times over how easy it is to fake papers. That was also proven in Europe in the midst of the meat scandal….it can be done. Europe starts refusing American horse meat in July…who’s going to buy it then? Slaughter is a huge waste of time and money,money we don’t have to waste. We all need to work together and find other ways to help the horses,help the owners and help the market to bring prices for horses up….killing them is not that answer.

  • RonnieVR

    States are now scrambling to open horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. similarly as some Americans are scrambling to buy guns…*BEFORE THE BAN. With the “horse meat scandal” pervasive in Europe, & now in Asia, the world now wonders what’s in the “beef” their eating. Most importantly, the word is spreading concerning the documented hazard to human health from eating horse meat. All horses are given chemicals/drugs, some NEVER leaving horse flesh. Aplastic anemia is just one devastating medical condition. Horses are now deemed “companion animals.” The designation, “livestock,” is outdated. We do not eat our dogs & cats. We would not so inhumanely slaughter our dogs & cats & rabbits & ferrets & …. Horse slaughter can NEVER be humane. Horses are massive “fight or flight” animals. The brain penetrating captive bolt to stun before slaughter rarely works. The butchering begins, horses dangling by one hoof, writhing, flailing, screaming. Support the Federal bill to ban horse slaughter! Thank you.

  • Smithereens

    Scott Hurd, as a veterinarian and former deputy and undersecretary for food safety at the USDA, you are no doubt aware of the immense drug exposure that U.S. and foreign consumers face from US horse meat tainted with phenylbutazone and about a hundred other drugs.

    Given this, it is concerning that you told the studio audience of Dr. Oz that you can eliminate the risk of horse meat contamination in the U.S. by visual inspection at the slaughter house. With your knowledge of phenylbutazone, clenbuterol, banamine, etc. (to name only a few), why would you tell the audience that “after that horse is euthanized, their organs are checked for health” without mentioning that less than 1% of organs are tested for drug residues? You know full well that testing the organs (kidney) is the only way to assess the presence of phenylbutazone in horses. Do you want people eating tainted horse meat without knowing it hasn’t been tested? It would seem so.

    Your comment above about abuse and neglect is telling. So tainted meat is “protein.” And eating “protein” saves horses from being abused. That is some convoluted—and dangerous—reasoning.

  • Morgan Griffith

    The GAO report referenced only had anecdotal evidence they received by calling some state vets who stated it “seemed” as if there were more horses being abandoned. There were reports of horses being abandoned in the fed and state parks near me but in researching these claims there were no such incidents. They also refused to list their references in violation of FOIA. This report wasn’t worth the 2 million (at least) that was spent on it. Criminal guardians of horses who starve and abandoned their horses were doing this when slaughter was up and running in the US and are still doing this even though there are auction houses to send their horses to. If you are a heartless, uncaring guardian of an animal you will abuse it no matter what circumstances surround you. Why is it that some of the rescues of starving horses have come about even though the guardians were living a life of luxury? Slaughter does nothing to legislate morality, it just gives a cheap and/or profitable means of dumping your overbred horses. The same can be said of dog and cat abuse although there are thousands of county run shelters. You either live a life of responsibility or you live a life that shirks the same while expecting others to pick up your pieces.

  • ziggypop

    The owner of the potential Iowa plant has the gall to pr spin his house of cruelty as euthanasia? Seriously folks, he is already scamming the public as slaughter is NOT euthanasia is any way shape or form. Look it up. It is brutally hellish!!!

  • America was built on the back of the horse, not the cow.

    Exactly James! Well said my friend!

    • fearnot

      yeah all of those “cows”.. aka steers and cows ..that were driven across the plains never made a whit of difference to the building of American.. and when the cowboys ( note they are not called “horseboys” horse died .. guess what .. they ATE them they did not “euthanize” them..as did the Indians and any other sensible person. if you want a horse for a pet and you want to euthanize it when the time comes and bury it in your front yard ( oh wait that is not legal).. bury it in your back yard.. oh no that is not legal either or cremate it you have a choice..horse are starving all over the country.. a slow painful death that no one wishes on any man or beast. What is YOUR solution to the ever increasing problem?

      • Anne Boleyn

        You don’t keep a horse in a “yard” like a dog. Most folks who own horses have pasture, and I’m unaware of any law against burying horses in a pasture. My mother has buried 5 horses over 15 years in her pasture. Costs about $150.00 or so to get a backhoe out to dig the ditch- a very small amt of money in the course of horse ownership, believe me. By the way, cattle grazing did little to build America or its’ economy. Ranching is a welfare institution. Hate to say it, but it’s true. Taxpayers pay a hefty price to keep burgers on the table.

  • Don’t we pay for USDA?? If thats the case as an employer…c ya wouldn’t what to be ya!! Pretty sad that these so called applications r even worth looking at ..its called a SHREDDER! What applications! Just sayin !

  • Obama Admin. and Congress opted to lift the ban a year later? ?? Hardly, The language was very conveniently removed in the Ag. Approp. bill by 3 specific senators in a special committee. This bill had to get thru or the country would not been in running order. So, can’t say we are able to put this on Obama, its amazing how much power 3 certain senators had in this whole horse slaughter ordeal. I believe Blunt from MO. was one of the senators, Herb Kohl, and one more Senator. . Congress did not vote to fund horse meat inspections. Anyone who takes their horse to a public auction, has an extreme chance of their horse being purchased by someone that buys for slaughter, either to Mex. or Canada. Canada stopped taking TB’s allegedly due to the drugs given to them.
    I find it amazing how our Govt.finds millions to roundup our wild horses/burros and may now fund a foreign owned horse slaughter plant to kill horses to send the meat to foreign lands; while our land is contaminated with horse waste products. YUP, leave it to America. All for the almighty dollar will the owners feel they Can do what they wish with their animals, even if it is cruel, inhumane, barbaric, torture that their horses suffer in the slaughter pipeline. Shame on those who want a few dollars to send their horses to public auction. Those horses have rights too, a right to die without being tortured while still alive, etc. Humans are disgusting; and irresponsible. Slaughter is NOT a solution.

  • elizabeth dana

    Did you notice that this horsemeat sent from Mexico and Canada ended up in Europe and now pets foods are being recalled as well as beef for humans with horsemeat in it from 27 companies and NO ONE ..not the FDA or the USDA is DNA testing American Food from these suppliers? This is so odd that when no one should touch horse meat with a 10 foot pole, there are 5 Maddoffs wanting to line up for a ponzi scheme. If they can beat the European Shut down on July 13, 2013 that bads horsemeat with drugs and scoop up all those free drought horses they can make a fortune selling to CHina because China is no longer happy eating rat meatballs (true ). So that is why they do not want to sell for human consumption here BUT it will land back in our laps in one form or another!
    I support the SAFE Food Act HR 11094 and S 541!!!!!!

  • AmieSF

    Valley Meat Company had NUMEROUS violations and was shut down because they couldn’t slaughter & dispose of cattle properly. I’m so sick of hearing de los Santos’ sob story. He is a bad businessman who lies and inhumanely treats all animals!! Why doesn’t anyone report the truth about Valley Meat Co.? No, but it seems he has convinced people that all he wants to do is give people jobs and make a living off killing animals! He is BAD!! Investigate that!!

  • Horses are not raised for Human Consumption Commercially in the USA. The American
    horses that meet their fate in the slaughter plants were not intended
    ,raised or regulated as all other meat producing animals are in this
    country. They have NO place in the Human Food. Horses are legally
    permitted to have numerous drugs administered that are *banned* for use
    in ALL other food producing animals. No other meat product produced in
    the USA is sourced by kill buyers gathering animals completely at random and taking
    them to slaughter for the consumer markets. Horses should not be and
    never should have been the exception to any and all food safety
    regulations! Slaughter for Human Consumption is for Safe regulated Meats, from animals with full traceability, not a “disposal” system for displaced unregulated Horses.

  • fearnot

    the reason zoos are choosing not to fed horsemeant is the expense.. not the drugs..

    • You are misinformed and to the extreme.A man by the name of Moses in Florida picks peoples horses up and shoots them and then will sell the carcass to big cat sanctuaries but they are no longer buying either because of tumors and cancers in the big cats.There is a saying (ignorance is bliss)

  • it’s call a free market. It’s not like the US government is funding these slaughter houses. You make a bad investment you suffer the loss. Just like any other company would do. Where are you guys getting this idea that everything always falls back on “the taxpayer”. Paying taxes is your civic duty, i don’t like paying them either, but quite crying about it all the time. Move on.

  • Jan

    Exactly my point, but he’s not paid, it’s more like paid off!!

  • In fact, Isaiah, I do rescue horses. It’s my career of choice after about 40 years of working with horses in many different venues. I currently manage an Equine Protection and Farm Animal Program for a 140 year old SPCA that was founded in order to rescue and protect horses in 1872. We’re full service now, all animals, but have maintained an active equine rescue presence dealing mostly with state seizures for neglect and abuse. We also offer a Safety Net Program which provides owner assistance via food share and/or “rescue in place” for horses at risk. In addition, I’ve helped to found an Equine Welfare Council recently in the hopes of being able to expand my reach and network the various area’s rescue efforts. I’ve rescued, rehabbed, retrained and rehomed – or euthanized if necessary – hundreds of horses. I’m not afraid of hard work or walking the walk but am not willing to buy up horses just because some people think it’s a great idea to create to many of them. Horses are starving because their owners don’t feed them. Slaughter was never banned and the option has always existed. It’s an option which encourages over breeding horses and in turn over rescuing them. It isn’t helping, won’t help and can’t help. Americans don’t eat horses and 80% of the population is against horse slaughter. Slaughtering and butchering horses will NEVER EVER improve the quality of life for each horse in the US. Just think about that for a minute… Are you actually suggesting that by sending 1% of a mostly healthy equine population to a horrific death, you improve the quality of life for a horse being starved by someone with no intent to send them to slaughter? Exactly how does being dead improve one’s life? You’ll have to explain that to me, I’m confused…

    • Willy

      Good for you Suzanne, don’t break your arm patting yourself on the back.
      I could you 50,000 for hay for some horses that need it, just let me know and I will tell you where to send the check. I respect the person who has the horses but she really needs to know that she has an addiction and is getting beyond the years of being able to take good care of them, she has tried to send them to the slaughter house but because of the animal rights laws they won’t take one unless it is 1200 lbs. That animal and human abuse is on your shoulders.

      • CindiLoo

        Willy, I’m not sure how Suzanne sharing viable, humane options available to horses is patting herself on back. Irresponsible, from the racing, show, and pregnant mare urine industries predominantly, are the sources of too many horses. Slaughter is NOT the answer and never will be. Forcing those irresponsible industries to have retirement programs for their horses is one of the answers.

    • Michelle

      So Suzanne, Please explain why, since the slaughter was “banned” within the U.S. there has been a dramatic increase in cruelty, abuse, and neglect within the equine industry alone. As well as the dramatic downfall of the Equine economy? I applaud you for what you are doing with these horses in trying to help them, but you have a one-track mind like most people do about the horse slaughter.

      • Suzanne Bryant

        Horse neglect tends to rise and fall in concert with the economy. It’s not a secret that almost directly after the last foreign slaughterhouse on American soil was shuttered, the entire economy collapsed. I’m sure you’re aware of the recession that commenced in 2008, right? Not surprisingly it affected the equine market as well as owners’ abilities to care for horses. I’m sure it’s what drove down the price of horse meat, as well. I don’t have a one track mind, I can think of lots of ways we can help maintain a healthy population of horses, none of which need to be slaughtered.

  • fearnot

    I beg to differ.. plenty of people keep horse on as little as a 1/4 acre.. it is against the law where I live to bury a horse. Horses are livestock.. i cannot bury a cow or pig on my property. ranching is a ‘welfare operation”.. LOL I guess cowboys are not a part of this historic landscape of America… you must live in the city

  • sybil miller

    In FACT, there is still and always has been a “sale barn” option for horse owners, and it is commonly used across the country every week. — since the closing of plants in the US in 2007, the slaughter of U.S. horses has continued and actually increased in recent years, only the location has changed (from the US to Canada, Japan and Mexico). In 2012, the number of US horses sent to slaughter increased to over 176,000. Those numbers are down so far for 2013 due to the horse meat scandal in Europe, and the EU will not be buying horsemeat processed in the U.S. as we do not raise horses as food animals here. There is no link between the cessation of horse slaughter in the US and any increase in neglect (which is always stated as a “reason” for the return of slaughter to the US but is never backed with any documentation.) The actual numbers of horses slaughtered from the US for human consumption is documented by the USDA, and to repeat, those numbers increased between 2007 and 2012, they did not decrease and therefore, the argument that no slaughter plants in the US has led to either neglect or lower prices for horses is fallacious.

  • Killing horses is evil. End of story.

  • Lol,,, I guess You are really on the lets say sheltered side because America’s food animals are given drugs banned in food animals in 160 other countries. So who in the world is going to want to buy toxic horse meat of which we now know contains Ractopamine. You really do not know what You are talking about.Educate Yourself and then come back,, If your not to embarrassed by running your mouth about something you so obviously know NOTHING about,,,

  • Lol,,, who do You think operates the export facilities ?? Again,, La,la,la,,,, The USDA.Maybe You might know what a FOIA is.. Regulate this,, These are the documented facts of horse slaughter in America.Nothing has changed nor will it.


  • Lainie

    Many people rescue. many people feed. But we are all getting sick and tired of rescuing and feeding other peoples responsibilities. We could all have so much more fun with our own horses if we weren’t cleaning up other peoples messes. Humane euthanasia is and always has been the best option for horses who are no able to be cared for rather than let them starve. But that costs money. Its better to get a few bucks and send them on down the road for someone else to either kill or rescue right? No sense being a responsible owner when you have kill buyers (vultures) ready and willing to give you a few bucks for a horse that is the wrong conformation, color, not winning a few 49 cent ribbons, not fast enough……. fill in the damn blank. I got a news flash for you dear…. the slaughter plants wont take old, sick, skinny or lame horses.

  • lover of appaloosas

    Veterinarians in Tn and Ky wholly support horse slaughter. Not one has had the courage or decency to oppose it. If people really begin to know the truth the AVMA. And big again have been it bed for years. Not one vet in this area offers discount euthanasia. Sorry meant big agriculture.

  • dk

    I am asking you to re-consider your expensive position on horse slaughter. It’s a highly expensive proposition for taxpayers.

    Each plant will cost taxpayers $400,000.00, according to this press release. This issue crosses all party lines. Voters and politicians from all sides of the isle are against horse slaughter for a laundry list of reasons.

    Here is the press release:


    “According to the USDA, each horse slaughter facility…would cost U.S. taxpayers over $400,000 per year in operation costs.”

    This is the worst economy since the Great Depression. In addition to the cost of the USDA inspecting plants, at a price tag of $400,000.00 per plant to U.S. taxpayers, the meat will not even be eaten in the U.S. Why should we, as American taxpayers, pay for these inspections?

    Additionally, we have to factor in the taxpayer expense of police officers who will likely be taking more reports on horse theft and making more investigations into horse theft.

    As a horse owner, the thought of horse theft and stolen horses ending up at slaughter concerns me greatly. I would hope that it would concern you, too. Many people think of their horses as family members.

  • dk

    I am also against the USDA opening up inspections for the proposed horse slaughter plants in the United States because horses in the U.S. are not raised for human consumption. As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, having the USDA inspect horse slaughter plants concerns me as well.

    They are our friends and companions (at least they are my friends and companions), and as such horses are treated with drugs like cats and dogs to a wide variety of vaccinations, bacterins, topical and oral treatments that are not approved for human consumption. We use gloves with topical treatments, because we don’t want equine drugs touching our skin, let alone consuming them.

    It’s not economical to raise horses for slaughter in the U.S., because it takes more money to raise a foal to maturity than the horse meat market is willing to pay. It’s an economical losing proposition. Therefore, the USDA has no business inspecting a horse slaughter plant that by default will be receiving horses that are not fit for human consumption. The horses they will be receiving have not been raised drug-free for human consumption.

    As a grower of corn, wheat and soybeans, the USDA’s reputation directly affects many. The European Union, which is where most of the horse meat would go, has a zero tolerance for Bute (Phenylbutazone) , which is routinely given to horses in the U.S. It is estimated that 90% of horses in the U.S. have been treated with this drug, not to mention all of the other drugs.

    There is no good way to test for all of these drugs on every horse destined for slaughter, which would need to be done, since they are not raised for human consumption in the U.S. Many tests would need to be run on each horse, and there is no way to do this in a timely fashion, especially given that the tests have to be run after the horse is dead, and that autopsies need to be performed within 24 hours. The owners of the proposed Gallatin, Missouri horse slaughter plant say they will have the University of Missouri test each horse. That would mean dead body parts would need to be shipped from Gallatin to Columbia, and the University of Missouri does not perform testing on the weekends.

    Most of the horses destined for slaughter are young or middle-aged, and in the prime of their lives. Two that have been rescued from slaughter have gone on and are now showing at the Morgan Grand National level.

    I would like to send you information on what New Jersey has done regarding horse slaughter in the hopes that you will take note:


    “The law prohibits anyone from knowingly slaughtering or selling a horse for human consumption.”

  • Michelle

    This is why we need to re-open the slaughter in the U.S.! So that these animals aren’t sent to these horrid places that commit these acts in Mexico! The U.S. has regulations on these facilities that outlaws that kind of cruelty. I agree with your statement of gelding and hormones for mares to help lower numbers of horses. But that still doesn’t help that fact that theirs horses out their that aren’t even worth fixing because they’re either so mentally broke down from abuse and neglect that their untouchable and dangerous to humans or so beaten and worn down from disease that there’s no recovery for them.

  • Michelle

    Ø 2011
    report from the Government Accountability Office indicates horse abuse and abandonment have been
    increasing since inspections ceased, prompting those that favor horse slaughter to point out that cases of horse cruelty have increased.

  • Michelle

    I’ve been researching this topic for a while and I’d like to ask: Why are we not attacking the Jockey Club instead of horse slaughter in the U.S!? This is a quote I found “The Jockey Club, the breed registry for thoroughbreds in
    North America, annually registers about 33,000 new foals.” Seems to me the Jockey Club is producing the majority of the problem. These Thoroughbreds are raced until they break and sent to Mexico where they reach horrid deaths. So why not stop this all together?

  • Karin Hauenstein

    Isaiah, you do not know what you are talking about. Since I have consulted with a USDA slaughter inspector who tells me there are no regular tests performed on beef for “harmful drugs” in the meat. They only look for visual clues of recent inoculation. In fact, less than 2% of the beef produced in the U.S. undergoes any tests for harmful contamination of the meat (pathogens like E. Coli and Salmonella.) And that is only if there is some sort of red flag raised. They plain do not perform regular tests on meat, period.

  • 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.”

  • darlene from tn

    Recently near my home in TN, a farm has been collecting horses, after a month or two a large trailer pulls in and packs the horses inside, hauling them off to slaughter. These horses are USDA animals, it is really hard to see these animals and knowing their fate. My granddaughter wants to just cut the fence and let them loose or just take a couple and hide them. She has already looked up the penalty for stealing a horse and feels the punishment is well worth the effort. People who have no thoughts about the slaughter of horses either way, have never watched them play, feel the love they give back, hugged a horse, etc. I don’t know how to stop this and I don’t know how to help her understand something that I don’t understand.

  • Jane cheuvront

    All four of these Companies that want to open Horse Slaughter plants.
    Not goin happen. Little do they know they are in for a battle.
    Hasn’t sunk that we will not tolerate horse slaughter in the U.S.A.