Tuesday, January 2, 2007

It's Time to Renew Our Efforts to End Horse Slaughter in America

The Senate and Congress return to work on or about January 4th, and it becomes time to renew our battle to end the slaughter of America’s horses for overseas human consumption. Back in September, a bill was overwhelmingly passed to end this atrocity. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate, but they sent themselves home early for the Holiday break and never even discussed it. Senate Majority Leader Frist (now retired) refused to place it on the calendar for a vote (one can certainly speculate the lobbyists for “Big Beef” among others had a major financial hand in that decision) and consequently the bill died. It will now have to be re-introduced in the Senate and the House, and in the meanwhile, at least 2000 horses a week will be brutally slaughtered in the three Belgium owned slaughter houses here on US soil.

The slaughter houses are well aware that they are drawing their last breaths and therefore they are killing horses in record numbers. They are importing them from Mexico and Canada, as well as looking for the “meatiest” horses here in America. According to the USDA, over 100,000 horses were killed in 2006, here in America, and shipped to France, Belgium, Japan and other countries to become a delicacy. Pardon moi, but has France been a very good friend to the US of late?

This practice of horse slaughter is wrong on so many levels. Let’s talk about the economics of it first. These three slaughter houses are foreign (Belgium) owned, so they pay no taxes to our government.

Many will argue that it is the old, sick and disabled horses that end up at the slaughter house. This is simply not so. The buyers – who supply the slaughter houses – are paid by the pound. They want the heaviest, healthiest, youngest horses they can get. They go to auctions and purchase horses posing as friendly souls looking for good horses. After all, it’s a rare owner who is willing to sell the family pet to someone who admits they are buying it purely for the meat. Many of the horses are pregnant mares with foals at their sides. The foals are viewed as “veal” and looked as a bonus. It’s against the law to slaughter horses younger than six months of age, but this industry is so completely not policed that law breaking goes on every day.

The actual act of slaughter is so terrifying and horrific for the horse that watching videos of it will scar you for life. I’ve watched a few, and they are burned into my brain. It’s not quick and humane. It’s torturous and often the horses aren’t even dead when they are strung up and “bled out.” Humane euthanasia can’t be used on animals destined to become a food source. The barbiturates used to carry out a “humane” death taint the meat.

Which leads me to another compelling aspect of this awful story. Our horses, just like our other companion animals, are regularly wormed, vaccinated and medicated with drugs clearly listed “not for animals to be used for human consumption!” Therefore, the meat that the USDA is allowing to be exported from this country is literally loaded with toxins. And in many cases, the drugs have been determined to be cancer causing to humans.

It has also been argued that these horses are simply unwanted. I have to dispute that. All you have to do is Google “horse rescue” and you’ll see there are hundreds of ranches and farms who want to take and place horses needing new homes. Somewhere between 30,000 and 50,000 horses are stolen each year. Many of them end up at the slaughter house. When California banned slaughter several years ago, the number of stolen horses dropped drastically.

So, if you own horses keep a really close eye on them. Lock them up at night if you can. Don’t sell or give away your horse without a contract stipulating strict guidelines. Do your research before you sell them. Don’t let your loved pet’s life end in this heart breaking manner.

And please, as the new legislature convenes over the next few days, call, email and fax your Senator’s and Representatives and urge them to listen to the will of the American people. We don’t eat horses in America and we shouldn’t supply them to countries that do.

Please help end this absolute atrocity.

1 comment:

Debra, WI said...

Great Job on your Blog Lorri.
I'm just catching up from the day and was checking out everyone's blog's. Good Job.
Talk to you soon.
Debra

Stolen Horse International

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#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

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I will never forget him...I promise. I am so sorry, #396...I don't even have a name for you...

Why would you take my life? Am I a food source animal?

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