There was a time when I believed the argument that it was better for the horse to be put down at slaughter then suffer neglect or abuse. Many still believe this.
But then facts struck me in the face. It’s evidence, not emotion, that rules on these issues, contrary to what the pro horse slaughter lobby claims. This is not just a bunch of bleeding heart horse lovers.
The reasons why American’s should ban horse slaughter are not just about caring about horses, it’s also in our own, best interest as well as the best interest of our neighbors.
Three prime reasons why American horse slaughter is dangerous to our welfare:
Our health: – between the hormones and the medicines equine athletes are given, American horse meat is unsafe for human consumption.
Our environment: – reports of communities near these plants include such horrible affects range from blood backing up the sewers to the smells of the plant cast offs contaminating the entire area.
Our ethics: – ‘humane’ means compassionate. And the word comes from human.
By denying the horse – or any other animal – a compassionate means to an end comes back and bites back by adding stress hormones to the meat, as well as possible virus and bacterial infections due to a stress weakened immune system.
By allowing the slaughter plant into the neighborhood, we are risking the safety of that neighborhood. Far from creating jobs, it will send quality jobs away because no-one wants their business in sight or smell of a slaughter plant.
Our economy: – In order to prevent cruel stress causing treatment during shipment and slaughter, we would have to fund inspections. We would have to enforce and prosecute those who use cruel transport and slaughter techniques to save a quick buck. We would have to be willing to pay for the clean up and enforce the environmental protection as well.
It may seem complicated or contradictory, but it does begin with ethics. Ethics about both our own food safety and our neighbors. Ethics about the right way to treat any living thing, even one destined for slaughter.
Why are horses NOT food animals: Due to their anatomy and high spirited nature, horses are not killed as easily as cows.Here is the process:
The Sale: Maybe it’s a retired racehorse or outgrown pony. But it’s not always in poor health to begin with. The buyers want meat, not skin and bones. Also it has to be in good health, at the very least not obviously sick. Slaughter plants don’t want obviously sick animals. However, they can’t tell at auction if the animal has been given medication.
The Feed Lot: The owner cares little for the animals health and the reports of treatment in these places is appalling.
The Transport: The horse is crammed into a truck with multiple other horses, if it resists it may be forcibly subdued and injured. Reports include mention of intentional maiming and use of electric cattle prods. They then face a horrible, pain filled journey to the plant.
Here is a big red flag. Due to European union guidelines, the slaughter plant isn’t going to just take obviously sick animals or those with no meat value. Some are actually TURNED BACK or TURNED LOOSE. To die on their own at the slaughter plant. This means the whole ‘overabundance of neglected, sick horses’ is moot. These are exactly the horses they don’t want.
At the slaughter plant: The stun bolt used on cows doesn’t work, often neither does the gun. In Mexico, sometimes they use a knife which only paralyzes, but does not render the horse unconscious.Meanwhile all the horses in line behind hear and smell the panic of the horses before them. This means that when killed you get the meat of a panicked, stressed out animal.
WARNING: GRAPHIC VIDEOS
Horses and Stress: Obviously all these facts add up to one load of meat filled with stress hormones. Stress also weakens the immune system, and makes it more susceptible to disease and infection.
Horses and Drugs
Horses are not considered food animals. Look in the medicine cabinet or trunk of you average horse barn and you’ll find proof. They are treated as athletes or companion animals.
The labels of bute and other medicines do warn against use in food animals. Bute is proven to cause liver failure and other issues when combined with standard house hold drugs in humans. This is only one medicine but I focus on this because it’s as common as aspirin.
In order to be assured the horse doesn’t have drugs in it’s system, you’d have to have a complete record of the horse’s life. You’d have to have drug testing done.
The Economy and Environment: Locally speaking, horse slaughter plants have been disastrous for the local economies. They leave a swath of environmental contamination behind them. No-one wants their town associated with a slaughter plant. It ruins the local tourist industry. Far from giving jobs to locals, they usually hire illegal immigrants and criminals. There are reports of the blood leaking into the sewage! Would you want this in your neighborhood? Let alone house?
Life in a Horse Slaughter Town
Horse Slaughter Plant Proposed
When Horses Slaughter Comes to Town – - Economic Grown and Community Image
When Horse Slaughter Comes to Town (another one)
Applications for Horse Slaughter Mosey into USDA
And where exactly does horse meat go?
Americans in general do not eat horse meat. In some European countries it may be a delicacy. But even they don’t want our hormone and drug tainted horse meat. In fact, they are already embroiled in scandal as horse meat has found to have been illegally sold in place of beef in multiple countries and leading to recalls in such big companies as Nestle and Burger King. Everything from school lunches to prepackaged TV dinners has been affected.
Now considering the health risks, do we really want this in America? Why should we pay our tax money on USDA inspections for foreign investors and a few fat cats to slaughter horses and sell the drug laden meat to foreign criminals to pass off as beef?
It won’t stop animal neglect or cruelty. That involves the human heart. And it won’t get rid of the already sick or neglected. Even if it did, selling sick animals for meat is unconscionable.
We can’t afford it financially. We can’t afford it morally. You want less horses? Stop over breeding. But we are not going to find the solution in a slaughter plant.