U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack told reporters Wednesday Congress should come up with a better solution for handling unwanted horses than slaughtering the animals for meat for human consumption. His comments came as USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service has five at least partially completed applications to slaughter horses for human consumption, probably only for export, under active review. Rather than offering a specific alternative, Vilsack seemed to be thinking outside the box, saying horses might help veterans who’ve returned from war or be used for equipping prison inmates about to be released with job skills. Vilsack said there needs to be “a third way” to deal with the nation’s horse problem, instead of relying on just killing the animals or slaughtering them for human food. Just as they are required by federal law to provide continuous inspection for beef, pork, lamb and poultry slaughtering and processing, USDA’s meat inspectors are required to provide the same service for qualified equine businesses. Since Congress and the Obama Administration lifted the ban on horse slaughter for human consumption, five pending applications have been filed and one has appealed USDA’s delay into federal court. USDA prefers renewing the ban instead. Vilsack said that since the last inspected horsemeat slaughterhouse closed in 2006, science has improved on monitoring equine drug residues, a consideration which is getting attention in the current application process. After the ban was imposed, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) of Congress studied the issue of unwanted horses in the U.S. and found sharp increases in starving and abandoned horses after the domestic slaughterhouses went out of business. It is a burdensome trend for many tribal and county governments.  A brisk business exists, however, for exporting live horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. The five applicants for horse slaughter are: Valley Meat of Roswell, NM; Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, MO; Trail South Meat Processing of Woodbury, TN; Oklahoma Meat Co. of Washington, OK; and Responsible Transportation of Sigourney, IA. — Food Safety News is currently conducting a survey that you may have missed if you have a pop-up blocker installed.  Please take 5 minutes to tell us a little about yourself and why you read Food Safety News. The information you provide will remain confidential and will help us improve our service.  Thank you!  – The Food Safety News Team

  • austinpuccio

    Editorial: Humane end for horses not really goal of slaughter legislation
    By World’s Editorials Writers
    Published: 3/19/2013 2:27 AM
    Last Modified:
    3/19/2013 8:14 AM
    In Oklahoma, it appears, being connected to a family business can qualify
    a legislator as someone with special expertise to propose legislation
    that would benefit that business.

    At least that’s the view of Skye McNiel, R-Bristow, who has proposed
    legislation that would allow horse slaughter in Oklahoma. She’s
    something of an expert on the business, because her family operates the
    largest horse auction house in the state.

    She admits that legalized horse slaughter in Oklahoma could mean
    financial gain for her grandparents’ auction house, which is managed by
    her family. She used to work there, too, but now just helps out

    But other horse auctioneers also would benefit from horse slaughter, so
    that makes it OK for her to be proposing this legislation, she

    “It’s no different from an attorney running a tort reform bill or a
    pharmacist running a pharmacy bill,” McNiel said. “I’m from rural
    Oklahoma, and I run rural legislation. I mean, who better to understand
    policy than somebody who lives it every day?”

    Well, it’s one thing to understand an issue from a firsthand
    perspective and propose legislation to address it. It’s quite another
    for one’s family members to profit from the legislation proposed.

    But the biggest problem with House Bill 1999 isn’t that McNiel’s family
    members might benefit from it. The biggest problem is that this effort
    isn’t really about a humane death for unwanted horses. It’s really
    about money, pure and simple.

    The pro-slaughter forces insist that a slaughterhouse is the best way
    to deal with growing numbers of abandoned, neglected horses. Really?
    Then why does industry data show that the vast majority of American
    horses now going to foreign slaughterhouses are healthy and relatively
    young? Is it perhaps because a younger, healthier horse fetches more
    money than a sickly old one?

    The argument that irresponsible horse owners should be allowed to
    profit off their bad behavior just doesn’t sell. Let’s at least be
    honest about what’s going on: This is about making money.


    It should be noted that over 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter and horse meat consumption. Horse slaughter is being pursued by a few special interests strictly for financial gain, nothing more. The fact that an entire food system can be altered to accommodate this, and be paid for by citizens that overwhelming oppose it, is a stark reality of political system today. It should also be noted that this “sharp increase” in unwanted horses is heatedly contested in other arena’s. These numbers were presented to the GAO by pro slaughter representatives, which the GAO was also mainly comprised of. The population numbers and counter argument did not receive an ear or a seat at the table.

    Thank you for the coverage on this issue. I just wish it had been more thoroughly investigated.

    • Actually, those numbers of “unwanted” horses by pro-slaughter advocates were thoroughly investigated and found to be either mistakes or actual fraud. The abandoned horses we’re seeing now in the desert southwest are those rejected by the Mexican slaughter plants and abandoned by the killers that brought them there. Over 5,000 at last count.

      We’ve had uninterrupted access to slaughter for over 30 YEARS. We can see that it’s obviously NOT the answer to overpopulation – surely it would’ve worked long before now. That’s a load of bull. In fact, ti’s slaughter that enabled all this obscene over breeding why the likes of the AQHA and some others.

      • upbeatred1

        70+% of the 176,000 horses that went to slaughter in ’12 were quarter horses. 20+% were thoroughbreds. Responsible breeding is the key to the end of the problem. Ethics go out the window in favor of the bottom line. Commerce without morality is a social sin, and it is becoming a cancer.

  • ziggypop

    There is another way.

    STOP BREEDING SO MANY and expect others to do your dirty work!!!

  • “A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.”- Old Proverb

    I’m afraid this is a bit of drudgery from the USDA secretary. Sustainable options that maintain horses who’s market value is best assessed by the pound have never existed. The USDA had a distinct opportunity here to support sustainable animal agriculture standards. He clearly could have supported food safety practices by assuring the public that withdrawal periods for the drugs commonly used on horses can be found and the drugs can be labelled appropriately. He could have clarified that Bute clears the horse more than 4x faster than in cattle (5-6hr half-life for horses, >30h for cattle; MERCK Veterinary Manual) . Therefore, a safe and very managable withdrawal period can be found for Bute in horses as well.

    • AnnieMond

      This clearing time must be referring to detectable levels in the BLOOD, but not in the muscle tissue…big difference.

    • There are NO WITHDRAWAL PERIODS FOR BANNED SUBSTANCES! Did you miss that when I answered you the first time? Go back and read what I said about bute – no one KNOWS what a safe level is because humans vary SO widely in their reaction to this drug. There is NO way to know what level it would take to be safe for individuals who are sensitive to this drug. And these reactions are not necessarily dose related anyway. It’s unconscionable to take the risk.

      From the USDA on Extra Label use of bute

      II. Phenylbutazone

      Phenylbutazone became available for use in humans for the treatment
      of rheumatoid arthritis and gout in 1949 (Ref. 1), but is no longer
      approved, and thus not marketed, for any human use in the United
      States. This is because some patients treated with phenylbutazone have
      experienced severe toxic reactions, and other effective, less toxic
      drugs are available to treat the same conditions (Refs. 1 and 2).
      Phenylbutazone is known for its ulcerogenic, nephrotoxic, and
      hemotoxic effects in horses, dogs, rats, and humans (Refs. 2, 4, 5, 6,
      7, and 8). It is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic
      anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths
      (Refs. 7 and 8). The reported adverse reactions were associated with
      the human clinical use of 200 to 800 milligrams phenylbutazone per day
      (Refs. 7 and 8). Hypersensitivity reactions of the serum-sickness type
      have also been reported in patients with phenylbutazone. The threshold
      for this effect has not been defined. Therefore, it is unclear what
      level of exposure would be required to trigger such reactions in
      sensitive people. Moreover, phenylbutazone is a carcinogen, as
      determined by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) based on positive
      results in genotoxicity tests and some evidence of carcinogenicity seen
      in the rat and mouse in carcinogenicity bioassays NTP conducted (Ref.
      For animals, phenylbutazone is currently approved only for oral and
      injectable use in dogs and horses. Use in horses is limited to use in
      horses not intended for food. There are currently no approved uses of
      phenylbutazone in food-producing animals.
      Investigation by FDA and state regulatory counterparts has recently
      found phenylbutazone on farms and identified tissue residues in culled
      dairy cattle. In addition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s
      (USDA’s) Food Safety Inspection Service has reported phenylbutazone
      residues in culled cattle presented for slaughter for human food
      throughout the United States in the past 2 calendar years. This
      evidence indicates that the extralabel use of phenylbutazone in female
      dairy cattle 20 months of age or older will likely result in the
      presence, at slaughter, of residues that are toxic to humans, including
      being carcinogenic, at levels that have not been shown to be safe.
      Because of the likelihood of this adverse event, we are issuing an
      order prohibiting the extralabel use of phenylbutazone drugs in female
      dairy cattle 20 months of age or older.
      We will continue to monitor the extralabel use of phenylbutazone
      and will adjust the scope of this prohibition should we find that
      extralabel use in other species or classes of animals presents a risk
      to public health.

      This drug is BANNED – NO withdrawal time – by every country in the WORLD. The Merk Manual was not referring to the bute that remains in the tissues of the kidney, liver and other organs for YEARS – HOW long is unknown.

      I’m afraid you don’t know more than all the scientists in every country that don’t know how low the residue should be as not to trigger a reaction in sensitive people. There I’ve posted that about three times. That’s enough.

      Besides, bute is not the only banned drug. There are MANY of them. NO withdrawal times for ANY of them. You should read the EU’s view on these substances. They are exactly the same as in the US.

      You are SO ignorant on this subject you don’t even know what you don’t know. You think that what was said in the Merk Manual – probably about the half-life in the BLOOD STREAM – is the same as the residues in the organs and other tissues. This is NOT KNOWN BY ANYONE.

      Bute is banned BY LAW in every country. And it’s a PERMANENT ban. Go pick on something else.

      • If there is no residue, there is no risk. This research made no attempt to prove the existence of PBZ or metabolite in muscle or meat. In the very least, the paper was not properly titled.

      • pe

        Just because you repeat something and put it in capital letters does not make it correct! You might learn something from the scientists telling you important information.

    • Seems like you could easily buy, hold then slaughter to eliminate or at least reduce drug residue. With the proper facilties the horses weight might benifit from a7 day hold period.

      • DianaDVB

        Back when bute was allowed in cattle it had something like a 37 day withdrawal period. A week won’t cut it, and it won’t be eligible for export to EU so what are you going to do with the meat?

      • upbeatred1

        “Seems like” and “might” are not a responsible ideas when it comes to food safety and banned substances. Please, do some research.

      • There is no withdrawal period or holding period for animals which have been treated with any of the banned substances. They are banned from the slaughter pipeline if they have ever had any of the banned substances even once in their lifetime. They are banned because there are no safe dosage amounts for human ingestion.

      • Seems like that wouldn’t matter to the EU who will soon stop accepting horse meat from America. (Gee, Bill, I guess they figured out something you don’t get.)

    • Sheri E

      So why is bute banned in use for cattle, and dairy cows over 20 month of age?
      Why is it that nitrofurazone ointment says ” Do not use in food animals”? I do not understand. Please help me understand why these are banned if they are safe?

    • Wrong again, Bill. Bute is banned. Do you not understand what banned means? Banned meds do NOT have withdrawal periods. They are banned, prohibited, now allowed – whatever word you’ll understand. There are no safe levels in food animals. One dose and they are forever prohibited from entering the food chain. You can pull out whatever manuals and letters you want. The FDA, EU and CFIA have banned bute in food animals. Period. China is also looking at implementing the same regulations and Russia has already banned all meat imports from the US. Not much of a market left for animals that are not raised as food animals….

  • And it’s not a way to deal with sick, old horses. They want the young, healthy,ones for slaughter. Government subsidies for owners struggling to put old, sick horses down would help. Hey, if the US can rebuild nations, take down dictators, et al, we can help with horse care for those that need it can’t we? What about helping when drought conditions make the cost of hay go sky high? Can’t we help Americans anymore?

    • MorganLvr

      It’s not about old horses at all. I’m surprised Vilsack would even say that. USDA records prove that 92% of the horses that have gone to slaughter were healthy, sound, 6-10 years old, no behavioral problems. Those plants wouldn’t even accept old, sick, crippled, unwanted horses.

      Taking care of horses their owners don’t want any more is NOT the responsibility of Congress. It’s the responsibility of the OWNER, and only the owner. Most of them are not struggling. They just want to get money, not pay money and they seem not to care in the least that their horses will suffer greatly. They need to do what they’re supposed to do and hopefully NEVER get another horse.

      • Suzanne, you have simply been misinformed. You seem to believe and portray that the toxicity of Bute is something on the order of nuclear waste. This is of course a gross exaggeration. No one wants to produce unsafe meat. Regulations cannot form the basis for a study that asserts a health risk. Such assertions require epidemiological population data or chemical analysis of muscle tissues showing statistical significance. In sociological terms, Bute is the “fork devil” of the anti-processing movement. The notion that Bute remains in. muscle forever is quite imaginative and entirely unsubstantiated .

    • SEO

      Why should the most indebted nation in the history of time, pay to cover the cost of disposing of millionaire toys, when they get bored or the task becomes messy?

    • I would take a few horses if I could have a place to have one and also help in having one. I am sure many would do so but I do not think that will happen in this system. It will help people with PTSD.

  • This article represents a centerpiece to support the view that Phenylbutazone is a Public Health Risk when administered to horses at varied period lengths before processing for human consumption. This article has been refuted in a letter authored by Henneke et. al. and published by the referreed journal. This rebuttal was authored by Equine scientists who found its quality lacking research quality standards required of equine scientists before publication. Perhaps food scientists should also weigh in on the consistency of this research with reputable research standards normally observed for food safety. http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Food_and_Chemical_Toxicology_FINAL.pdf

    • MorganLvr

      That report by those so called scientists was a bogus Sue Wallis invention. Dr. Hennecke is a veterinarian but he is not a toxicologist and is NOT qualified to pass judgement. The others were Equine Scientists, but that doesn’t nearly give them the qualification to judge a scientific paper in a peer published scientific journal They are not MDs, and besides that, it was quite clear that they didn’t even understand what the report said. A real messed-up piece of junk from those who want to deny the danger from the banned substances our horses are exposed to. You might want to read the actual paper. Those frauds that wrote that letter wouldn’t know a quality report from a bad report – they just wanted to discredit THIS one.



    • Guest

      What do you mean we don’t eat pets?.. A horse is a horse to anyone who doesn’t keep horses, therefore not a pet, then it is meat…as is a cow, a pig, a dog.. a cat….. you would eat one meat but not the other, on principle? How do you rationalize that in your head? All animals are sentient creatures.. you eat one, the principle is the same for all animals.. you would eat a baby cow yes? .. But they are cute, as pet like as a dog if domesticated.. clearly too big for the inside of the house, but they have the same feelings as a dog, they are cute and curious, they make attachments just like dogs, they play with a ball just like a dog would, they make attachments to each other, and to humans, they grieve when the calf is ripped away from the mother, she grieves for her calf for weeks.. .. you make me laugh saying we don’t eat pets… meat is meat, all slaughter is dead rotting flesh. No animal nor bird wants to die to feed our fat greedy faces. “We don’t want to eat pets”, then don’t eat meat full stop! Every animal could be a pet to anyone given half the chance..No one can eat meat any meat and call themselves an animal lover… there is no such thing as humane slaughter.. they are frightened and they are aware they are going to die…. they don’t want to die and be eaten any more than you or your pet does!

    • Shel

      Horses are only pets to some people. I grew up on a farm, we had horses, they were not pets, they were work animals. They had names, but then the pigs and calf did too.
      Do I want to consume horse meat – no, but neither do i oppose horse slaughter. I have seen the consequences of this ban firsthand, and as an animal lover it breaks my heart. Starving horses are not a pretty sight. Horses stolen and slaughtered to collect prized internal organs for consumption is deplorable. Weather anyone likes it or not, there needs to be a way to deal with horses that are not wanted, or that people can no longer afford to take care of.

      • Sarah_VMD

        Horses are not pets-I speak for the horses!

      • upbeatred1

        It’s called responsible ownership. If you can’t afford them for life, don’t have them. Plan financially for euthanasia, if it is necessary. If you are an animal lover you cannot possibly support horse slaughter as the procedure is unbearably cruel. Watch a slaughter video. Really, do it.

      • Kathy Heinisch

        The Human food chain is not intended to “dispose” of horses or any other animal solely because they ” are not wanted, or that people can no longer afford to take care of.” No other species is slaughtered in the USA for Human Consumption for those reasons..horses should not be the exception.

      • I was raised on a farm as well, and our horses worked hard and then were retired to pasture as you don’t slaughter a friend who has given you the best years of their lives. What you do is take responsibility for your own. When their time comes, you don’t ship them off to slaughter to make a bloody buck. You give them the dignity of a decent end or good placement.

      • MiniMe Miniatures

        Oh how I agree with you! I am so sick of these bleeding hearts that are doing nothing to help the plight of the starving & abused equines!!

    • MiniMe Miniatures

      you don’t speak for me!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • The half-life of phenylbutazone in horses is 5-6h (>90%/day withdrawal; Merck Veterinary Manual)Could safe withdrawal periods be found and approved for this and other drugs commonly required to support horse’s health? http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Food_and_Chemical_Toxicology_FINAL.pdf

    • MorganLvr

      No, bute is BANNED for human consumption, and your numbers for the half-life of bute are WAY off, no matter who says so.

      Food And Toxicology Report: http://www.box.net/shared/lqi4hhkg42
      Drugs In Horse Meat: http://habitatforhorses.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/horsemeat-and-drugs/

      Why The Issue With Bute: http://www.box.com/s/e1ae613e90cc9ebbef6e

      Merck must have been referring to how long bute stays in the BLOOD STREAM alone, because it stays in the internal organs almost forever. And, no minimum safe residue level for bute has not been determined because no one knows how low it would have to be for it not to effect the individuals who are extremely sensitive to it. If it’s impossible to determine a safe level, you CANNOT use it in food animals. That’s the law in the US, the EU, the UK and everywhere else that has food safety regulations.

      This is an excerpt from Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk


      In horses, phenylbutazone is metabolized in the liver where it is
      converted to oxyphenbutazone, c-hydroxyphenylbutazone and
      probably c-hydroxy-phenbutazone and follows a bi-exponential
      model of decay. The plasma half-life of PBZ is 5.46 h in young
      horses but is longer in horses older than ten years and those with
      impaired liver function. In addition, PBZ uptake into the bloodstream
      is delayed by food in the stomach (Lees et al., 1985, 1986,
      1987, Maitho et al., 1986, McConnico et al., 2008). Oxyphenbutazone
      is a major metabolite of PBZ and remains elevated up to at
      least 72 h (Lees et al., 1985, 1986, 1987, McConnico et al., 2008).
      Tissue levels of phenylbutazone and oxyphenbutazone were highest
      in kidney. In one study, high levels were also found in liver,
      lung and heart whereas the lowest levels were found in muscle
      (gluteus and biceps) and tendon (Lees et al., 1987). Since the elimination
      of PBZ follows exponential decay, traces of PBZ will remain
      as a contaminant of horse meat in previously treated horses for a
      very long and as yet undetermined period of time.

      Besides, some 70% of equine veterinary medications, plus many over-the-counter products as well contain banned substances – NO withdrawal periods. That’s why US horses can never be considered safe for humans to eat. That’s what we mean by saying horses are not food animals.

      The other meds and products are banned because they are known to be toxic and have no withdrawal period either. Even those drugs that DO have withdrawal periods are impossible for us to track since we have no traceability system at all for horses. We couldn’t ever guarantee that the withdrawal time had passed.

      And, why would we even WANT to do such a thing. We don’t WANT our horses slaughtered.

      • Sarah_VMD

        Sorry Suzanne, Bill’s data are correct-the work you are quoting is seriously flawed!

    • DianaDVB

      EU has been the customer for 80% of America’s horse meat in the past, but they have announced that the USA is not eligible to export horse meat to them because we have not developed an approved drug residue monitoring plan for horses. Such a plan would include tight controls of banned drugs such as bute and a method of making sure no horse that has ever had a dose of bute gets into the food chain. I guess it doesn’t matter what you think of the safety of bute. If the meat is to find a market you have to follow that nation’s regulations.

    • Jo-Claire Corcoran

      Bill, when will ever get IT, those are withdrawal periods from blood and urine… not from the kidneys and tissue. Bute’s is a reuptake drug, which means it’s processed in the liver and it’s metabolites are stored in the kidneys. Upon stress or injury those metabolites will present in the sight of stress or injury and or other tissues. Bute can cause hypersensitive reactions in even trace amounts, those reactions are usually fatal. Hence the reason there is no safe amount which can be determined for humans. I know, I know Bill, you think you know more than all of the Medical doctors, scientists and veterinarians at the FDA, CFIA and EU FSA.

  • isadream

    There is a third way.. Tom Vilsack needs to open up a horse rescue and take in the horses and care for them out of his own funds…its simple and it will not cost the taxpayers any money.

  • Here’s what we can look forward to with horse slaughter in this country.

    This is an example of the types of people involved in horse slaughter. We have to ask ourselves a question: how much of our souls are we willing to toss aside for a few miserable jobs?


  • Allow the folks who grew up on a Farm to be the ones who decide on horse slaughter, not CITY urban dwellers.

  • Schratboy

    As climate extremes continue to directly effect the production of affordable forage, more and more recreational pet (horse) owners must grapple with feeding their steeds vs keeping a roof of their OWN heads.

  • LynnIL

    “Vilsack said that since the last inspected horsemeat slaughterhouse closed in 2006, science has improved on monitoring equine drug residues, ” this might be true but the tests are still expensive and time consuming and American’s will continue to raise horses as pet and companions and will continue to give them drugs to keep them pain free and safe from illness and disease. This will eliminate many horses from the slaughter list and will it really make it worth opening slaughter houses and making the taxpayer pay for them. Stop the slaughter houses now before they start and lets move on to finding new jobs for horses. And start making breeding associations stop encouraging people to breed. Lets breed for quality not quantity.

  • Nancy Thompson

    I don’t get it? If the USDA says our horses are unfit to eat,why are they considering the applications for slaughter?Just because someone says we have too many horses? If there was an increase in abandoned and starving horses,it was due to the drought and the economy not slaughter closing,plus people noticed it more. The same amount of horses have been slaughtered,just being killed in a different place. There are plenty of other options other than killing young healthy horses. Why isn’t our government asking us for our opinions on what to do,we are the ones who have the horses? Instead of listening to a select few,who want them killed,those who stand to profit from their deaths.

  • $20018822

    Someone needs to do more research!!! The GAO report was recanted because it was misleading. The reason there was an increase in abandoned horses was not because the slaughter houses closed, but because the economy tanked at the same time! Slaughter has ALWAYS still been an option! Anyone can take his horse to auction and sell to a kill buyer! There is simply no connection. Canada has several slaughter houses, yet has a HUGE problem with starving and abandoned horses. GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT!! STOP BREEDING AND STOP BOWING DOWN TO THE BIG MONEY!!

  • MaryMatthews

    Mr. Vilsack is right.. horses are not bred in the United States so they should not be slaughtered for food. They should not be used here or in any other country. ONLY animals that are bred for human consumption should be used for food or allowed to enter the food chain of ANY country. I have seen horses pulled from slaughter trucks that were saved and months later they tested positive for drugs that are not meant for human consumption. I have seen horses with cancer and diseases put on slaughter trucks. People need to demand that this stops

  • Mod C

    The closing of the slaughter plants happened at the same time as the economic down turn. People are still hurting because of the economy. I am not sure why the GAO can’t make that correlation. Also it was shown that the herds of abandoned horses were slaughter rejects dumped on the side of the road, not pets or animals turned loose by their owners. 1% of the horse population is slaughtered in America each year. Surely we as a community can find a way to suck that one percent back into the population. If the AQHA would stop making money on slaughter that might help too. The Quarter Horse is not the most popular breed in American for any other reason than over breeding. It is not in high demand, otherwise it would not be slaughtered more than ALL other breeds combined. A whopping 70% of horses slaughtered are Quarter Horses.

  • mkmg365

    Wow how come there’s never any mention of the economic screwup this has befallen everyone? We’ve always had abused neglected and starved horses. Some of the problem is owner caused. They lose their job and rather than start rehoming right then they wait tol the last possible second or they don’t pay board bills. That leaves the board owner with few options. He isnt in the business to rehome someone else’s horse.

    Breed registries that offer incentives for breed breed breed need to stop. How about incentives FOR NOT BREEDING! Farm Bureau is a big part of the problem. They are against any laws that make animal welfare a must. Videotaping animal abuse can land you in jail.

    There is a real vile video on the net showing a slaughter worker who videotaped himself shooting a horse. The video starts out just fine. The horse is happily grazing. The next section shows Tim Sappington leading the horse, scratching his forehead. Then he says “all you animal activists F*** You. And which point he pulls out a hand gun and shoots the horse in the head. All of this happens in about 51 secs. Coming soon to a town near you this kind of mentality!

  • PLEASE CONTACT CONGRESS AND TELL YOUR REP/SENATORS TO PASS BILLS HB2966 AND S1176 NOW. http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml

  • Oh, my, Suzanne. You have been seriously brain washed and misinformed. Dr. Henneke was NOT a veterinarian! He was (Unfortunaely passed away recently) a HIGHLY respected PhD scientist (ever hear of the Henneke Body Condition Score??). All of the other authors are also well respected scientists, most of whom have served on the editorial/review boards of refereed scientific journals. I am a board certified in veterinary clinical nutrition and have both a PhD and Veterinary degree. Unfortunately both medical and veterinary curriculua give such short shrift to nutrition that it is extremel rare to find a straight MD or DVM who has anything but the most rudimentary understanding of nutrition-either human or animal!

  • Excuse me? When was the GAO report officially recanted? It is still available! And the numbers of horses sold across the border to Mexico and Canada HAS increased exponentially in the past years, if you read the weekly public government records on animal exports across the borders.Literally thousands of horses going thousands of miles to uncontrolled ends because financially strapped owners CAN go to the auctions ans still sell to the “kill buyer”.

  • I would suggest that the FDA is very capable of retaining consumer confidence for products of great economic significance to the general public. http://www.fda.gov/Food/FoodborneIllnessContaminants/ChemicalContaminants/ucm055131.htm
    Since safe and managable withdrawal times are likely to exist for all of the medications we use to maintain horse’s health (you may of course choose to consider this possibility or not), I would suggest that the Medical Doctors, scientists and veterinarians at the FDA and USDA could develop assurances similar to the above assurances provided for Benzene. Which is by the way a common polutant that has zero tolerance in the EU but considered safe at 5ppb in the US.
    On the issue of responsible breeding, it may not hurt to take one more step back and look at the science of breeding and why agricultural principles for selection of superior genetic traits are important to understand as we try to conserve animal resources. I’m thinking that the majority of us are not against conserving animal resources… after all, its part of the veterinarians oath. Anyway, everyone who breeds and raises horses in agriculture, works to preserve horses’ value. They breed for value and they train for value. Breeders generally target markets for 1, 2 and 3 year old horses, often they choose to keep their very best horses as breeding stock.
    For breeders, 25% of the foals they produce will be better than expected, sometimes much better. 50% of the foals will be about what was expected. And 25% will have lower value potential than expected, sometimes much lower.
    Once horses retire from the initial use for which they were trained (if they were selected as elegible to enter training in the first place), They retire and may be selected to enter another market, such as when race horses retire to become sport horses. Disposition, conformation flaws and injuries may cause these horses to not be elegible for high value markets.
    The vast majority of horses change ownership several times in their lifetime. The most adaptable horses are the most highly valued as they leave one market and enter another. Once horse’s move from any discipline, (I don’t mean to pick on racing) some horses are simply not selected. Oftentimes this is because the horses previous owner failed to do what was necessary to preserve the horses value. Horses whose value is best assessed by the pound are most vulnerable to neglect or abuse from owners who are unwilling or unable to invest to see the horse recieves even minimal care. Others become housed at places that are poorly designed or maintained and become more likely to sustain injuries.
    It is unfortunate that the choices for these horses are so limited. Since the closing of the processing facilities, the base value of horse’s has fallen and as such, many of these minimal value horses receive less care still. Now horses that are purchased for slaughter must go outside of the country and risk finding themselves at one of the facilities like many have seen in various youtube clips. Meat and leather have always been agricultural by products of the US horse market. US processing facilities are needed and the cost of placing inspectors is negligable compared to the sustainable improvements in these horses care that could be achieved.

    It is important though that the people continue to ask questions regarding the health and safety (for horses and people) of any form of horse use and not allow these horses to go unnoticed or unappreciated. So you can count me in with Sarah Ralston, Horses are not pets. Considering and treating horse’s as such is a very poor way to preserve their value, and I too speak for horses!
    Thats my 2cents. Like all of you, I’m just hoping for the best.

  • Sorry Vicki, you seem to be under the false impression that the rubuttal process is perhaps simply a matter of writing a rebuttal and insisting the jounal publish it. It may be important to note that while none of the authors of the rubuttal were medical doctors, or toxicologists for that matter, Dr Henneke and the other authors did need to first request permission from the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology to submit the rebuttal and then have it approved for publication. These important steps were acccomplished because the rebuttal was determined to have substantial merit by the refereed Journal.

  • Maybe you eat your pets, Coleen, but the rest of us know better.

    • Deedie Fay…I don’t eat pets..I have never eaten pets..I did used to eat meat.. but now i do not.. i don’t eat meat.. full stop.. what I was saying was, there is no difference between one living creature or another., an animal is an animal.. they live, they breath they feel, Nothing on Gods earth gives us a right to slaughter nor eat any of them! :/ We eat them because we live in a world whereby social conditioning says that it is ok or acceptable to kill and eat them.. we gave ourselves that right.. But i do not believe it is ok to eat meat.. Not horses, not cats, not dogs.. not farm animals! I was saying I do not understand how anyone who eats any meat at all can be upset by eating horses because it was deemed by some to a pet like animal.. all animals given the opportunity could be pet like..there is no difference in any meat eating.. non of them want to die to feed our greedy faces.

  • At least Tom Vilsack is evolving, along with the other 80% of the country.

  • Well, go whip yourself up a batch of bute dip for your chips, then.

  • p e

    It always amazes me when people want to dictate how everyone else looks at an issue. For example, the comment that horses are pets… no they are not to everyone… they are livestock to some. But if you want to consider your horse as a pet and kept it forever, then please do so but do not push your believes on everyone else. Another example stated below is that if you buy a horse you have the responsibility to keep it for life… Really! How unrealistic.. join the real world. Many people own horses for a few months before moving it on to someone else. That is the horse business. How did you get your horse? I assume you bought it from someone but with your way of thinking no one would be selling any horses so I guess that makes you part of the problem! While I keep my dogs for life, do I think that this should be imposed on everyone…ludicrous! Legitimate breeders, dog or horse or whatever species so not breed with the intention of keeping every puppy. Many people need to join the real world instead of looking through rose colored glasses. Every animal should be handled humanely until the time of death, that time could be by chemical injection or captive bolt. They just had several bald eagles show up sick from eating a horse that was chemically put down. The eagles are being nursed back to health. Chemical euthanasia is toxic to every animal so how wonderful does that sound! If the animals do not get to the carcass then what about our soil or water sources? People need to take a step back and realize horses have been and continue to be eaten here in the US and around the world…why would we waste hundreds of pounds of meat? Then people want to bring up horse meat as a toxin to people but I have asked many people and no one can give me an example where people have been poisoned. We hear of E. Coli and other problems with beef but I have yet to hear of an outbreak of anything with horse meat. I would like to see the news articles that show this. As for over breeding… breeding has decreased over the last few years but guess what! we still have unwanted horses. But if you have unlimited pockets, please open your yard, ranch, stables up to the thousands of unwanted horses. Typically when push comes to shove, those are the people that say Oh, no I can’t afford to help the horses. Well, then maybe our government should cover the cost like they do with the wild horses.. of course those millions of dollars come from our pockets as well. We like to put human emotions on the animals, dogs, horses, etc but they do not have such emotions.. ie they do not know they are going to be put down… they do not worry about it. It is our emotions that get in the way.. Animals live in the moment.

    • Very well thought out and eloquently said. It is completely unrealistic for a rancher to keep every horse they have until death. Ranchers need useable horses and grass, is a resource to be managed. Without grass there is no hay. Without hay you cannot feed your horse in a drought. People that do not understand the supply chain, or even how resources must be managed, should not be dictating to the rest of us how things should work. Grass is not in infinite resource. I was once told by someone that when you run out of grass you feed hay. But where does hay come from? FROM GRASS- and grass must be managed. You cannot just keep every horse because it makes you feel good. It’s also unrealistic and bad for the environment, like you said to have horse put down. The barbiturates used to euthanize a horse have a 3-4x kill rate- eagles, coyotes, and the like will die from that horse meat.

    • Elizabeth Jenkins Kuhn

      You obviously don’t know most horse owners! I have had my horses, all rescue or adopted from the BLM for over 10 years now! I wouldn’t dream of giving any of them up, much less sending them to slaughter. YOU sound like a typical ‘cowboy’, willing to kill anything just because you can! American’s don’t eat their horses! You sir are a bully and a lout!

  • what horses do you speak for?

  • Butte can be detrimental to a horse and needs to be controlled and monitored and you think it does not stay in the system?. Bill, you need to review the facts with an open mind. As a teacher, I am guessing science/bio, you are talking by logic not reality. HOw ’bout you eat the meat tainted with Butte for a year then come back and tell us how you are feeling. The biggest issue with slaughterhouse is HOW they are treated and killed. It is not pretty. They are kept in killpens, fed only hay and stand around on a dirt floored pen with horse manure and urine all over the place. When taken out to be slaughtered, some have been used for target practice, hit with baseball bats. When struck with the hammer, it is not to kill them but to render them helpless. They are then hung upside down by their hind legs. One person dismembers them then another person comes around to slit their throats so they can bleed out. During this WHOLE process they are alive. To kill them “humanely” takes time and it is all about $$. A friend did an undercover investigation about this, I have seen the footage. I have also seen the horses that were saved, some had bullet holes in their coats, a couple had leg/bones issues, some had foundered. Are there tons of horses starved and abused? Absolutely, just as there are with domesticated animals. There is a congressman in Virginia who has put a bill before Congress asking that dogs be reclassified as livestock. 1st time around it did not pass, but is being reintroduced. Will you support this to? Where will it all stop? What we need is laws for cruelty changed and enforced

  • Horses are also known to be therapeutic for people with Down Syndrome and autistism. Horses have a very calming effect on people

  • problem was, not all slaughter houses were being inspected. The US government decided that there was not enough $$ to properly inspect all slaughterhouses

  • But since racehorses, and those that compete in strenuous events in a wide variety of other sports are frequently injured, to alleviate their pain they are given powerful anti-inflammatory drugs such as Phenylbutazone (Bute) and flunixin meglumine (Banamine) which are highly toxic to humans. Horses regularly are administered wormers and other medications that are dangerous to humans. Additionally since horses have never been bred for food, often records of the drugs administered to them are scanty, or don’t accompany them when they go to sale. So how can we assure the safety of their meat?

  • tparmly@vt.edu What is your statement supposed to mean? More city folks own horses than farmers. Farmers make economic decisions that do not include emotion. When it comes to a horse, emotion has to enter into any decision to end its life, unless you just don’t care.

  • Loreebee/Nina – our daughter made the same decision as you – thanks for posting this comment! We took in an older thoroughbred that was her riding lesson horse when her trainer wanted a younger horse. Now at 38, he can no longer be ridden but has proven to be such a blessing in so many other ways! Thank God for people like you and Purina Equine Senior!

  • Ingredient Name: phenylbutazone
    Trade Names: Phenylzone (Schering), Bute Tabs (Vedco), Phenylbute (Phoenix Pharmaceutical)
    Phenylbutazone (commonly referred to as “bute”) is currently approved only for oral and injectable use in dogs and horses. Use in horses is limited to use in horses not intended for food. There are currently no approved uses of phenylbutazone in food-producing animals.

  • The FDA classifies horses as companion animals, a companion animal is a pet.

  • If i recall correctly, Suzanne is a woman who told me about a year ago that she’d rather starve to death than have a bullet to her head. This was in reply to a blog post of mine about horse slaughter. She said starvation was more humane than a captive bolt. So you can’t confuse her with facts, Sarah.

  • I’ve yet to see what incentives are being offered to breeders. I am one, so please tell me what these “incentives” are.

  • MiniMe Miniatures

    Oh BS!! Afford one for life – that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard of!! You don’t know how life will go down the road – you could be seriously injured, you could loose your job, your home, many things can happen in a person’s lifetime – so don’t go around saying if you can’t afford a horse for life don’t get one because you can’t possible predict what the future holds for horse owners!!

  • Pat1959

    I did not know that horses were considered companion animals, just livestock…out of curiosity, how then can they justify the slaughter for human consumption?

    • Elizabeth Jenkins Kuhn

      All of my horses are “pets”, companion animals. It is a fact that being near a horse can make you relaxed, lower blood pressure, pulse, in fact your whole stress level diminishes! Americans don’t eat their horses, period!!!

  • ced

    People that have never owned a horse often romanticize about horse ownership and grossly underestimate the expense and labor involved in properly caring for a horse. Once reality sets in or circumstances change for these uneducated horse owners, the horses are the ones that suffer. The slaughter market determined the bottom of the horse market for value purposes. Once it was banned, there was no bottom to prices and the market crashed, dramtically reducing the value of even reasonably good horses. Couple all of this with a struggling economy and we have starving and neglected horses worth $0. I am a horse lover and owner that would much rather see horses slaughtered here in the U.S. where we have some control over conditions versus horses being shipped to Mexico to be slaugtered where conditions are reported to be deplorable. We are kidding ourselves if we think banning horse slaughter is a viable solution and that neighboring countries i.e. Mexico & Canada, will not gladly take our horses for their slaughter plants – they will and do. Everyone that opposes it should adopt a couple of unwanted, unusable horses and care for them for 5 years or try to find another caring home for them and then voice an opinion.
    And how about the 35,000 wild horses that continue to propegate and the BLM manages with our taxpayer with no end in sight?

  • darla deedee

    i love vicki tobin love Darla

  • Julie Zent

    People will buy these horses, murder is not to be tolerated. These are wild horses. The idea of
    castrating or feeding contraceptives should be investigated. This is not acceptable….

  • Julie Zent

    There has to be a better way. What if they were people…

  • VPatton

    WOW! You sure said it all!! Thank you! But what can we do about it, that’s the question? I’ve wanted horses for a long time. My husband and I bought 5 acres about 3 years ago and were about to build a barn when he got sick and passed away in June. It’s still my goal to take in unwanted horses, but it makes me sick when I hear about the way they slaughter these poor animals!

  • Cat Power

    It doesn’t matter if they are old, sick, cripple, young, healthy or sound. Horse slaughter is inhumane period!! No horse should be sent to such horror. Think about it for those of you who think this is a solution! Ever seen a horse frightened and panic! Imagine yourself knowing you we’re going to be killed in the most horrific and painful manner you can imagine. That’s what these poor soul’s go through. Why isn’t more emphasis put on finding alternative solution’s? I despise knowing that the public’s tax dollars are going toward’s paying for this brutality to our horses. We’re paying for something we don’t want!!!!! As far as horse meat being tainted. Who cares! Horses shouldn’t be slaughtered in the first place!! As far as provided job’s, there are other job’s out there and besides, anyone that would work in one of these hell holes is sick and deranged; they should be put out of their misery by being shipped to slaughter. Why do people think because they have higher intelligent’s that it’s O.K to decide the fate of animal’s and nature? Why does man think it’s O.K. to hurt and harm animal’s, to neglect them, to treat them like garbage with no feeling’s. There sure are some greedy and unconscionable people in the world that need to be extinguished themselves! As for the good, caring people of the world…. We will continue to fight to save the horses!!! You other folk’s will have to answer to a higher power. May God Bless you and give you a conscientious. PRAYER’S for the horses that this brutality of horse slaughter end’s forever!

    P.S. And for you selfish people that use horses for your own personal gain and exploitation. STOP Breeding and throwing away your horses when they no longer serve you! Is winning really all that important! Well, my guess it is….. Pathetic!

  • Cat Power

    Just curious…. Did you see anyone bid on the grey horse and the other 2 that despicable man brought in? I can’t imagine how anyone could turn their back on his horses like this. There is no way he could have a conscience. This is so sad and breaks my heart. I hope that wasn’t the slaughter plant, but an auction where these poor soul’s had a chance at being saved. God Bless our horses and protect them from the evil hand’s of men who choose to betray them.

  • debra heverly m.d.

    we need to not only ban horse slaughter in this country but also ban live export to mexico and canada for slaughter as well – a trailer ride for a horse over thousands of miles to only face slaughter at the end is as cruel as cruel can be – get a grip people – find honorable work and honorable lives – horses help us, work for us slaugher is not an option

  • C. Stone, PharmD

    this “survey” is defective* (0r DeCeptive?), it doesn’t even wORK! i, as a pharmacist, EXPECT MORE TRUTH from our FDA!!!

  • Jana Westfall

    Has anyone ever thought of gelding the wild ones? Since the horses are already being caught for slaughter or auction, gelding seems to be an alternate, effective and inexpensive way to resolve the wild horse issues.

  • Jana Westfall

    Has anyone ever thought of gelding the wild ones? Since the horses are already being caught for slaughter or auction, gelding seems to be an alternate, effective and inexpensive way to resolve the wild horse issues.