Tuesday, October 9, 2007

AVMA Pro-Horse Slaughter - Their Comments Reprehensible

On Friday, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) released a statement regarding the ramifications of the shutdown of the last horse slaughter houses in America.

The first ramification from my perspective is that we in America are no longer allowing the cruel slaughtering of our horses for wealthy Europeans to dine on.

Dr. Mark Lutschaunig, the veterinarian who directs AVMA’s governmental relations claims that neglect and abandonment have increased. The last slaughter house was just shuttered, so I’m not sure how good Dr. Lutschaunig's sample poll actually was. Was there a sample poll? When?

I do know that when California outlawed slaughter, there was no increase in neglect and abuse cases. In fact, horse theft fell by about 34%.

He makes a statement about farms where 50 to 100 horses are being neglected. I’m not sure where these farms are. I do know I follow this subject on a daily basis. On occasion we hear of a case of a highly populated horse farm with starving horses. This is not a situation where owners are being neglectful or have fallen on hard financial times. When you are dealing with that many animals you have an animal hoarder situation. The existence of slaughter, or lack thereof, has no effect on the hoarder mentality.

Dr. Lutschaunig goes on to say "Our profession absolutely loves horses, as we love all animals. And, we're not pro-slaughter. What we are is pro-animal welfare and pro-horse welfare."


The AVMA is largely made up of small animal doctors. I have no “beef” with that fact, but I do think it is part of the reason that the AVMA has gone pro-slaughter. If true equine doctors were polled, I think the results would be a little different. Understanding the equine skull is very different from a cows is the first step. The captive bolt gun that the AVMA endorses is not humane for horses. Nothing could be further from the truth. At best, it’s a brutal, terrifying death, and in many cases horses are cut apart alive.

Dr. Lutschaunig goes on to say that if that ban of horses being transported outside the county for slaughter is enacted, it will be nearly impossible to enforce. Since when is the AVMA in a regulatory position? Isn’t that better left up to our law enforcement authorities? Isn’t that the same as saying that we can’t control the flow of Heroin into the country, so let’s just not worry about it?

Killer buyers are outbidding each other at auctions to get our so-called “unwanted” horses. They are also stealing them out of their slumbering owner’s fields at night, for their value by the pound.

I read today of a killer buyer lamenting the fact that it costs him more to transport horses out of the country to be slaughtered than it did when the slaughter houses were open in Texas. Poor guy is only making about $20 profit per horse.

Since when is the life of a companion animal reduced to pennies on the pound? Are the souls and lives of our horses only worth $20? Haven’t they earned a kinder fate? Are our cats and dogs next?

As the protectors of our pets, Veterinarians are sworn to alleviate suffering of animals.

From the AVMA Website:

Policy statements

Ownership vs Guardianship
Terminology Describing the Relationship Between Animals and Their Owners

The American Veterinary Medical Association promotes the optimal health and welfare of animals. Further, the AVMA recognizes the role of responsible owners in providing for their animals' care.

Euthanasia of Unwanted Animals

The AVMA is not opposed to the euthanasia of unwanted animals, when appropriate, by properly trained personnel, using acceptable humane methods.

Pain in Animals

The AVMA believes that animal pain and suffering are clinically important conditions that adversely affect an animal's quality of life. Drugs, techniques, or husbandry methods used to prevent and control pain must be tailored to individual animals and should be based, in part, on the species, breed, age, procedure performed, degree of tissue trauma, individual behavioral characteristics, degree of pain, and health status.

These Policy Statements seem diametrically opposed to the comments of the Dr. Lutschaunig.

If the AVMA is so concerned with the opportunity and costs of euthaniasia, who not offer free or low-cost euthanasia to owners who need assistance?

So why is the AVMA pro-slaughter?

I don’t know the answer and I can only speculate, but deep pockets want the horses to continue to be slaughtered. Horse advocates want to see our animals kept in this country and humanely cared for. There are not nearly as many “unwanted” horses as the pro-slaughter group suggests. There are however, many unlucky horses that are “acquired” by horse brokers.

I find the comments by the AVMA reprehensible. They are either being paid or, or else they’ve completely missed their mission on this issue.

From where I am sitting, the AVMA is leaving the hen house in the hands of the foxes.

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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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