Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Refuting The Crazy Arguments Supporting Horse Slaughter
Sue Wallis and her ill-advised group the United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) are again spreading their manure across the public press trying to make us believe that they are doing horses a real favor by slaughtering them. Here is a recent press release where Sue offers talking points to her horse slaughter supporters. My italicized words here refute the craziness she is spreading. I own horses. I volunteer at a rescue and have for three years. I fail to see how sending our companion animals to slaughter can ever be construed as a “good solution.” This is a purely profit driven group, with no sense of ethics or humanity. Please read on…note the words that are not italicized come directly from the UOH’s cited press release found here:
Yet another blast from the press. No matter where you live you are probably seeing this kind of thing every day. We are seeing a real upsurge right now in Wyoming because of our press releases about the Unified Equine Programs, but if you live in Missouri, or Tennesse, or Montana, or anywhere else where horse people are trying to find a good solution...you are no doubt seeing far too much. The press loves a controversy, and we are an easy, dramatic story. We need every one of you to stand up, speak out, and counter these attacks.
Seeking a “good solution?” For whom, the horse or the irresponsible owners/breeders?
We cannot let this (or any public expression of misinformation, outright lies, and exaggerations) go unanswered. We must speak with many voices. I have become too much of an easy target, and while I'm happy to share talking points, etc., it will be much better and more effective if it comes from other voices. We really need mainstream agriculture and horse people who understand to tell your story. You all understand that if we lose this battle over the hearts and minds of the pet owning public, that our entire animal agriculture and horse based livelihoods are lost.
Horse based livelihoods are generally based on live horses, not dead ones. And as a “mainstream horse person”, I don’t want there to be any chance my horse ends up in a slaughterhouse. There is nothing humane about slaughter. The horses are terrified. They smell the blood and as they wait their turn to be slaughtered they hear other horses being killed screaming. The slaughterhouses are not designed to properly restrain a horse’s head. They are designed for cattle. With their long and agile necks and their instinct to avoid the killer, they dodge the captive bolt hammer being swung at their heads. It often takes repeated blows to stun the horses and then they are frequently cut apart alive. It’s heinous beyond words.
Humane euthanasia is a fatal injection kindly administered by a veterinarian. The horse dies peacefully and painlessly. The owner can attend the death and have peace with their choice. Euthanasia and body removal costs on average the same as one month’s care does for a horse. If you can’t afford that you couldn’t afford the horse in the first place.
Sue Wallis and her cronies at the United Organizations of the Horse often claim to love their horses and often say they personally wouldn’t have their horses slaughtered. Isn’t that speaking out of both sides as your mouth?
And anyway, since when does anyone deserve “salvage value” on a companion animal? I own two horses and two cats. I couldn’t sleep at night if I even contemplated sending one of them to slaughter so I could get $200 bucks in meat money and save the $300 it would cost me to have them humanely euthanized.
If you want to drive change, you have to get out of the back of the truck. That is what we are trying to do. Animal rights organizations like HSUS/PETA create problems, inflame problems, and make money off of problems...we solve problems, and create value out of good solutions.
The key sentence there is “create value out of good solutions.” How is slaughter a good solution for the horse? Slaughter rewards irresponsible breeders – it allows them to breed and breed, and those horses that aren’t up to snuff (be it thoroughbreds, paints, quarter horses, etc) can be “culled” and sent off to slaughter. Not only do they get rid of the inferior horses they’ve deliberately chosen to put on the ground, they can get a few bucks for their refuse. Slaughter also rewards horse thieves, and even in this day and age they still exist. It terrifies me that my horses could be stolen and sold for slaughter. The thief pulls up, loads horses out of a field and bingo, he’s just made a couple of hundred bucks on my beloved companions. Check out www.netposse.com . Sadly, it happens every day. And it can happen so fast…But the UOH wants to create “value” out of someone’s refuse or the theft of someone’s companion animals…
Here are some points:
1. We, the horse owners and people who make all or part of our living with horses, are the people who care. We are the people who clean the stalls, pay the feed bills every day, are responsible for the care of our animals, and make the hard decisions when necessary.
I am a horse owner, and I assure you I care very much! I pay the bills to have the stalls cleaned, the horses fed, the vet and farrier visits and believe me, when the hard decision needs to be made my vet and I will be there and I will not be looking for salvage value. As a horse owner making the hard decision, I will grieve their loss but I will never send them to a cruel fate so that I can make a few meat dollars. Never. They’ll leave this earth painlessly and knowing they were loved and very much valued.
2. There are fates far, far worse than slaughter. A quick, painless death in a slaughter plant is far preferable to a slow and agonizing death of starvation. Nature is cruel. Death in the wild is often brutal, prolonged, and horrific. Imagine being eaten while still alive as is the fate of many horses turned out to fend for themselves.
We’ve been over the slaughter plant death, and quick and painless it is not. Check out this website: http://www.animals-angels.com/index.php?pageID=563. Animal Angels has done repeated investigations into horse slaughter houses and humane it is not. Additionally, turning out horses to fend for themselves is abandonment and it is against the law. Anyone abandoning any animal should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Once again, UOH is advocating for the criminals. Sue wants to help ‘em out and pay them for the animals they would abandon and neglect. Why would we reward criminal behavior? Isn’t that creating value out of crime?
As far as the wild horses go, which Sue now elects to term “feral” horses (and compares to pigs!), nature will run its course as it does with all species. Horses are prey animals to mountain lions, bears, wolves, coyotes, and worst of all, humans. Wild horses age and on occasion fall sick or get seriously injured…the predators do their job and thin the herds and make use of the body. It may seem cruel, but this is the way of the animal world. How is it better to remove the wild horses from their land and send them off to the slaughterhouse? I guess it’s better in the UOH world, because one again we are creating value. How sad that America’s wild horses have become a target for the profiteering horse slaughterer’s dressed in sheep’s clothing. I think it could be reasonably argued that removing wild horses from the wild is taking the food out of the predator’s mouths. Isn’t Sue real concerned about the “hungry?”
3. Without the option of slaughter, and using the meat to feed hungry animals or hungry people, those who can no longer afford to keep a horse, and cannot sell it, have literally no option...you can't bury a 1,000 lb horse in the back yard like a cat or a dog.
Slaughter is still very much an option. It may not be happening here in the US, but go to any horse auction and you’ll see meat men buying up the cheap horses to fill their trucks to Mexico and Canada. The meat does not go to hungry animals or hungry people and Sue knows that good and damn well. Horsemeat is sold in Europe and Asia for anywhere from $20 to $40 a pound. I don’t know too many hungry folks who can afford that. The reality is that horse meat is viewed as a delicacy, but even the elite European diners are becoming enlightened and appalled about horse meat and demand is falling.
Since the cost of a month’s care costs the same as a humane euthanasia, if you couldn’t afford to kill it humanely, you couldn’t afford to feed it, and you never should have had the animal in the first place, or else you made really bad decisions and didn’t have it humanely euthanized when your funds to feed it were apparently drying up!
4. Some Americans always have and always will eat horse meat. It is what filled the bellies of our soldiers who won World War II, and kept the families here at home fed throughout the 1940s when there was a shortage of all other meat. You could find it on the menu at the dining room at Harvard until the late 1980s, you can still find horse sausage in Scandinavian butcher shops in the upper mid-West. We have been contacted by gourmet chefs, and local food aficionados who want access to a high quality meat, that is very nutritious (50% higher in protein, 40% lower in fat than beef), from well cared for animals that have no disease concerns like mad cow. You can find horse meat on the menus of our closest neighbors in French Canada, and Mexico, and many people have taken the opportunity to enjoy it while traveling abroad. 72% of world cultures consider it just another protein source. China consumes the most, followed by Mexico, then Italy, Belgium, France, all the Scandinavian countries, Russia, Japan, Korea, Tonga, Mongolia, Canada-and since the U.S. is full of people from the Americas, Asia, Europe, and Africa, there are quite a few people who would welcome the availability of a good wholesome meat at an affordable price. While considered a gourmet dish in some parts of Europe where the best cuts are expensive, in by far the majority of markets around the world, with Iceland being a perfect example, horse meat is affordable and about half the price of beef.
I’m skeptical about cheap horse meat Sue…perhaps because of all the crap you’ve already distributed? And do you realize how long ago the 1940s were? But let’s discuss horse meat for just a few moments, at any price. American horses are medicated regularly. They are given Bute (horse aspirin, essentially), dewormer, and a host of other drugs and vaccinations. Bute is a well know carcinogen and it, along with many other horse medications, is clearly labeled NOT for use in food source animals. Unless a horse has been raised solely for meat purposes, the vast percentage of them have been administered drugs that are highly toxic to humans. This is one of the reasons the European Union is now becoming very concerned about the horse meat entering their food system. Read more here:
Sue may term horse meat “nutritious” but I call it toxic poison.
5. All animals, including horses, take nature that we cannot use and turn it into nature that we can use. Try drinking the water that a pig drinks, or surviving on the food that a cow or horse eats.
Not sure the point here…I’m trying, but I don’t see it…
6. It is our core belief that people have a right to use animals, and a responsibility to do so humanely. We subscribe to the same moral and ethical foundation as our Native American friends, that all animals are sacred and must be harvested with dignity and gratitude, but that the most horrific crime is to waste their sacrifice. Contrast that viewpoint with the total waste of at least 200,000 horse carcasses per year which, if euthanized with lethal drugs, become no more than a colossal disposal problem with toxic carcasses that cannot even be buried because of fear that it will leach into groundwater.
The UOH believes “people have the right to use animals.” I take exception to that, and don’t try to sugarcoat slaughter by calling it harvesting. We harvest crops, not horses. Call it what it is…slaughter. I believe all animals deserve to be treated humanely, including food source animals. Horse slaughter is not death with dignity and gratitude. As far as the comment about the total waste of 200,000 horse carcasses per year, it sounds to me like Sue is suggesting that none of us should be allowed to humanely euthanize our horses. That, is going to far!
7. One billion people on the planet today rarely get enough to eat, and another billion do not get enough protein and nutrients for health. Ten million children a year die of starvation. From a moral standpoint, can we afford to put any viable protein source off limits?
So toxic horse meat is a viable protein source? Perhaps Sue means a profitable protein source? Of course viable is defined as “capable of being done with means at hand and circumstances as they are.” And that’s exactly what slaughter does. It doesn’t consider the safety of the consumer. It’s killing them toxic as they are and shipping them off to those Europeans diners without a second thought. Out of sight, out of mind. Cha-ching!
8. The system being proposed in Wyoming will guarantee every horse a good life, and where appropriate, guarantee them a decent and humane death. Once dead, what happens to the carcass is no longer an issue of animal welfare.
Tell me again how this is decent and humane? Tell me again how that toxic carcass is no longer an issue?
9. Under the current situation, the only horses that have any value whatsoever are those that are big enough, healthy enough, and close enough to a border to be worth the trucking to Canada and Mexico where they are slaughtered under systems and circumstances we cannot control or regulate. We feel it is far better to do this under US regulation, and in situations where we can monitor it.
We’re back to creating value and ignoring humane behavior. Let’s reward those over breeding their horses. Let’s reward those stealing horses. Value and again, cha-ching!
10. The system being proposed in Wyoming is being designed by world renowned scientist, Dr. Temple Grandin, who has transformed the beef and pork slaughter industry from a humane standpoint. We will do it right, under regulated and inspected circumstances, and it will be continuously monitored by a third-party video audit system to ensure that no horse is abused and that all guidelines for the correct and proper handling of horses are always complied with. This will be an open and transparent process that anyone who chooses to do so, can see exactly what we are doing.
Yeah, I bet it will be an open and transparent system, Sue. That’s going to cost some serious money and you guys don’t want to spend it, you want to profit from the killing of horses. Have you done any research at all on the criminal element that comes to town with the slaughter house? Have you done any research at all on the environmental impact to the towns where horses have been slaughtered? Perhaps you should read what about the environmental hell visited on Kaufman, Texas by its former Mayor, Paula Bacon, found here:
And after reading that, you would do this to your state, your community?
11. Because of the closure of the US slaughter plants in the US in 2007 by state action in Illinois and Texas, the entire horse industry from top to bottom has been deeply affected. What was a 1.2 Billion dollar industry supporting 460,000 full-time direct jobs, and another 1.6 million indirect jobs has been cut in half. There has been a loss of a minimum of 500,000 direct and indirect jobs, and horses that were worth $1,000 are now worthless, horses once worth $2,500 are lucky to bring $750, horses that would have sold for $85,000 to $100,000 are now being liquidated for $10,000 each. These hard, cold facts all have a very human face in livelihoods lost, in families no longer able to raise their children in a horseback culture, in diminished tax bases for communities.
The poor economy, plain and simple, has driven the horse market down drastically just as it has affected most segments of the economy. This compounded by the fact that horses are actually a luxury – not in the least cheap to own and care for let me tell you – and luxuries are one of the first things people give up in a bad economy. Add the excess breeding by many of the industrialized Quarter horse and Paint horse farms and you end up with horses of no value. A clear mind can see this easily.
12. The animal rights radical agenda (NOT to be confused with legitimate and responsible animal welfare proponents, which we all are) offers no solution except pushing for what is essentially a welfare entitlement program for animals-Medicaid and food stamps for horses so that every old, dangerous, unsound, unusable horse is maintained at public expense for the rest of their 25 to 30 year average life span. What they propose will create a mechanism to shovel taxpayer dollars directly into the pockets of animal rights organizations (HSUS/PETA) so they can continue to pay six figure salaries and put more of their budget into pension plans than to actually help any animals. Last year HSUS spent less than 1/2 of 1% of their almost $100 Million dollar budget on direct animal care. See http://humanewatch.org.
I’ll offer a solution or two. Stop rewarding people for breeding out the wazoo. Stop rewarding thieves. I volunteer at a horse rescue weekly and see the types of horses going to slaughter. Both of my horses were rescued from slaughter and they are wonderful, sane, young horses. The USDA says that 92% of horses going to slaughter are just like my horses. So give up on the old argument about aged, unsound and dangerous horses. Let’s face it, the butchers and diners don’t want old meat. They want it young and healthy!
13. Remember, animal consumption is socially legitimate. Only 2% of the population are true vegetarians, another maybe 5% think they ought to be but don't manage to do it...that is only 7% of the population at most. If we allow the animal rights argument to prevail, than there really is no difference between the heinous and awful crime of killing a horse to use for animal food, (as will be the main use of horses harvested in Wyoming), or human food...and the heinous crime of killing a cow, a pig, or a chicken. The ultimate goal of animal rightists, which is a very, very radical and idealogic agenda, is to end all human use of animals and to eliminate all domestic animals which is to many of us a gross perversion of the moral and ethical underpinnings of our society, not to mention a dangerous, unhealthy, and unnatural way of being.
Okay, Sue, let’s follow your logic. If 7% of the population doesn’t feel good about eating meat, then how do you rationalize that even conservative estimates show that 80% of the American public is opposed to slaughtering horses? It’s very simply because we don’t view horses as food source animals. I am very much a meat eater. I consume meat daily. Beef, pork, chicken, fish – I eat it all. I don’t and never will eat a companion animal. Call me weird if you will, but I simply don’t eat pets. And obviously a majority of Americans feel the same way I do.
14. Those who oppose the eating of horses have never been hungry. Hungry people don't care where their meat comes from, they just want to survive.
They won’t survive long on horse meat…
15. Claims that horse meat is full of drugs that cannot be detected is nothing more than a red herring. The same kind of controls, safe guards, and testing protocols used to ensure that our beef, pork, and chicken is safe and residue free can be applied to horse meat...if it is produced and processed here in the U.S. where we have the ability to regulate and inspect it.
Oh Sue, you are so in denial. How can you sleep at night advocating to sell poisoned meat to unknowing consumers? You love horses…sure you do. You love the cha-ching, cha-ching! You say ” The same kind of controls, safe guards, and testing protocols used to ensure that our beef, pork, and chicken is safe and residue free can be applied to horse meat. It sounds very much like you are actually working to create an new industry in America – breeding horses for meat? I don’t think it’s going to work, because people like myself, the people who own and truly care about horses don’t want them to be food source animals. They are no different from our cats and dogs, but perhaps if you think really hard, you can figure out how to make a few bucks off all the shelter animals we euthanize each and every year. Put on your thinking cap, Sue. Many third world countries love to eat dog and cat. Seems like the path you are starting down with this drivel you are feeding to the American public.
The United Organizations of the Horse is a group of legislators and their cronies who believe they know better than the American public. It’s time for the real horse owners and true horse enthusiasts to stand up and say no more! Americans do not want companion animals slaughtered for human consumption! The UOH is a small number of Americans looking to exploit American horses. They do not know better than you and I. As a horse lover and owner, I very much resent these holier-than-thou know it alls who think they are better informed than I am and are trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the non-horse owning public.
Please contact your Representatives and Senators and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Senate Bill 727 and House Bill 503 which will end the killing of our American horses and their transport out of the country for the same. Horses are not food source animals!!!
- ▼ May (2)
- ► 2009 (37)
- ► 2008 (14)
- ► 2007 (10)