Monday, November 27, 2006
Horses were never meant to be raised for food
Three months ago, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming passed a bill to finally end the slaughter of American horses for overseas human consumption.
Horses were never meant to be raised as a food source. They are not livestock. They are sentient beings, taught to trust us and be our companions.
It is an extreme betrayal of trust that we even consider sending them to the slaughterhouse. And the most shocking part is that these horses have become "What's for dinner?" in France, Belgium, Italy and Japan.
Some will tell you that it is only the old and infirm that end up at the slaughterhouse. Not so. Over 92 percent of the horses sold at auction and ending up at the slaughterhouse are healthy young horses. "Young" meat is desirable for the dinner table.
Let's also be very clear: There is nothing humane about slaughter. It's a horrific, terrifying event for the horse. The captive bolt pistol intended to render them senseless before having their throats slit open rarely hits its mark. Horses are flight animals, and they see the blows coming. They fight desperately to avoid the bolt. Many times the horses are hit again and again, resulting in head and eye injuries. Many are still conscious as they are slit open and hung by one back leg to "bleed out."
It has been suggested that there will be an overflow of unwanted horses if slaughter is ended. I strongly dispute that. Somewhere between 50,000 and 30,000 horses are stolen each year. When California banned slaughter within its borders, the number of stolen horses went down, and there was no increase in neglected or abused horses. There are hundreds of horse rescues working in America to save our horses at this very moment.
Responsible horse ownership needs to be promoted. If an owner cannot or will not pay the cost of humane euthanasia (which is minimal), then they should not have a horse.
Most Americans have no clue this atrocity is happening in the U.S. Every four minutes a horse is brutally killed in a slaughterhouse in America and the meat is going overseas for human consumption. The French and Japanese consider it a delicacy.
This is not about eating meat or not eating meat. This is about killing companion animals for human consumption overseas. Roy Jackson, co-owner of Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro, said it very well: "We have an obligation. We are their keepers." This is about responsible stewardship of companion animals.
The American people are speaking loudly and clearly, and they want this atrocity to end. The House passed this bill overwhelmingly in September, but the Senate's version, SB 1915, currently is languishing in the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. Please call our senators and Senate leaders and urge them to support this bill.
If it is not voted on before this Senate session ends, it dies and the entire process will need to be repeated in both the House and the Senate.
It's time to end the horror for America's horses.
LORRI ROUSH SHAVER writes from Hummelstown.http://www.pennlive.com/search/index.ssf?/base/columnists/1164408025101380.xml?pennoped&coll=1
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