Sunday, June 10, 2007

AVMA's Stance on Horse Slaughter Puzzling at Best

I've been doing some research on the American Veterinary Medical Association because I am very puzzled by the fact that they SUPPORT the continuation of horse slaughter in this country.

I wandered far and wide on their site and found quite a few interesting statements regarding their mission and position statements. What I found was that some of their statements plainly contradict others.

And I must say that I respect Veterinarians very much. I have three wonderful cats, and my vet is one of the sweetest women I’ve ever met.

I'd like to make a few salient points.

I would suggest that veterinarians check out "humane" slaughter videos on Make no mistake about it, there is nothing humane about slaughter of America’s horses!

To the argument that there will be too many neglected horses if the ban is enacted: There has been no documented rise in abuse and neglect cases in California since the state banned horse slaughter for human consumption in 1998. There was no documented rise in Illinois during closure of the state's only horse slaughter plant in 2002 until its reopening in 2004. (

Responsible stewardship of companion animals must be advocated by WE, the stewards. If over-breeding is going on, it must be discontinued. And when our beloved companion animals become old or unwell, we have the responsibility to let them leave this world peacefully, not terrified.

The argument is also used that the cost of euthanasia is too "expensive" for many horse owners. I strongly dispute that. Again, from : The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225, while the average monthly cost of keeping a horse is approximately $200.

Similar issues would be dealt with by an owner of a large dog. I maintain that if you have the money to own a horse, horses, or other companion animals, you are ethically responsible for financially and emotionally providing care for the animal, up to and including the peaceful termination of it's life when/if necessary.

I respectfully ask the veterinarians to educate themselves on this issue, and make an ethical, right decision.

From the AVMA web site (I have highlighted some of the interesting comments):

Veterinarian's Oath

(Adopted by the House of Delegates, July 1969, amended by the Executive Board, November 1999)

Being admitted to the profession of veterinary medicine, I solemnly swear to use my scientific knowledge and skills for the benefit of society through the protection of animal health, the relief of animal suffering, the conservation of animal resources, the promotion of public health, and the advancement of medical knowledge.

I will practice my profession conscientiously, with dignity, and in keeping with the principles of veterinary medical ethics.

I accept as a lifelong obligation the continual improvement of my professional knowledge and competence.

Position statements

Transportation and Processing of Horses

(Current as of June 2005)

The AVMA endorses the American Association of Equine Practitioners' policy on transportation and processing of horses, which reads as follows:

"The AAEP advocates the humane treatment of all horses and believes the equine industry and horse owners have a responsibility to provide humane care throughout the life of the horse. However, a small percentage of horses are ultimately unwanted because they are no longer serviceable, are infirm, dangerous, or their owners are no longer able to care for them.

The AAEP recognizes that the processing of unwanted horses is currently a necessary aspect of the equine industry, and provides a humane alternative to allowing the horse to continue a life of discomfort and pain, and possibly inadequate care or abandonment. The AAEP encourages, fosters and provides education regarding responsible ownership and management that will reduce the number of unwanted horses. In addition, the AAEP supports and commends the efforts of equine retirement facilities and adoption groups.

Regarding the care of horses destined for processing, the AAEP's position is that these horses should be:

  • Treated humanely and with dignity;
  • Transported to the production facility according to the guidelines approved by the United States Department of Agriculture in 2002;
  • Euthanized in a humane manner in accordance with the guidelines established by the American Veterinary Medical Association. [Report of the Panel on Euthanasia]

In addition, the AAEP recognizes that the human consumption of horsemeat is a cultural and personal issue and does not fall within the purview of the association, whose mission is the care of the health and welfare of the horse throughout its life."

Legislation to Address the Issue of Unwanted/Retired Horses

The AVMA has been actively pursuing defeat of H.R. 503/S. 1915, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act and any related amendments to the Agriculture Appropriations bill. Amendments prohibiting funding for inspection of horses slaughtered for human consumption have passed overwhelmingly on the FY 2006 House and Senate Agriculture Appropriation's bills. If Congress decides that horses and other equids are prohibited from being processed for human consumption, it is estimated that each year an additional 65,000-100,000 unwanted U.S. horses would need to find an alternative method of care, or disposal if the horse is euthanized. A congressional ban on slaughter of horses will only lead to a crisis situation if the ramifications of such actions are not addressed. The AVMA is actively pursuing legislation that will deal with these ramifications. This legislation is necessary to insure the humane care and treatment of these unwanted horses, and would be developed with input from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP). The legislation would include the following: Euthanasia concerns; standards for horse retirement centers; proper disposal of healthy animal carcasses; proper disposal of diseased animal carcasses; education for the proper care of horses and disposition options. For additional information about this initiative, please contact Dr. Mark Lutschaunig at (800) 321-1473, ext. 3205,

I certainly would like to see standards put into place for horse rescue and adoption facilities. But more importantly, I want to see the end of the heinous practice of horse slaughter. Period. End of discussion.

Stolen Horse International


The face of death

The face of death
#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

All that is left
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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