Since Congress reinstated funding for horse slaughter inspections, the pro-slaughter industry has been moving swiftly to get this predatory industry going in the U.S. again, but some states are taking action to stop it.
Maine is currently considering legislation, L.D. 1286, which would ban the possession, sale and transport of both horses and horse meat that are intended for human consumption, both to and through the state, and will ensure that slaughterhouses can’t set up shop there.
An estimated 1,500 horses are shipped through Maine every year to two slaughter houses in Quebec, according to Maine Friends of Animals (MFoA). Banning horse slaughter in Maine would close this route to Canada.
“Horse slaughter is bad for the environment, bad for human health, bad for communities, bad for workers and certainly bad for the horses. No animal that has served mankind so long, so well, so nobly, and in so many capacities, deserves such a fate. It is time to end Maine’s complicity in the practice of slaughtering horses,” said Robert Fisk Jr., president and director of MFoA,
Slaughter proponents like to argue that these horses are old and lame and have nowhere else to go and that it’s a humane alternative to allowing them to suffer from abuse or neglect. However, numbers from the FDA indicate that more than 90 percent of horses that wind up in the slaughter pipeline are in good condition. Their only problem was belonging to someone who decided to take the easy way out, instead of exerting the extra effort it would take to place them, or paying for euthanasia.
There is nothing humane about this industry, from auctions and transport to the slaughter itself. Investigations conducted by the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition have uncovered some of the brutality found at slaughterhouses. One worker attempted to stun a horse, which is supposed to render them immediately unconscious, 11 times, while others were heard whinnying and moving after repeated attempts. Under the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act only one single blow is allowed.
Slaughtering horses in Maine, or anywhere in the U.S., also does nothing to address the problems of abuse, neglect and overpopulation – it only provides incentive to keep breeding, which just perpetuates the problems and allows a few greedy individuals and foreign-owned businesses to make a profit off of the suffering of these animals.
Horses are also not raised for human consumption. There are currently 379 drugs commonly used on horses that are banned by the Food and Drug Administration for animals that are slaughtered for human consumption, according to the Animal Welfare Institute. A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology highlights the fact that at least one of the drugs regularly given to horses, Phenylbutazone (bute), is not only toxic to humans, but a carcinogen. Unfortunately, there is currently no way to track them.
Fisk suggested a number of alternatives to slaughter that include
- supporting new and existing horse rescue facilities
- retraining and placing unwanted horses
- reducing over breeding
- approaching secondary horse industries to assist financially
- increasing public education regarding horse ownership
- developing and maintaining resources to assist horse owners with feed and veterinarian care
- as a last resort, humane euthanasia, part of responsible horse ownership
Please sign and share the petition asking Maine’s lawmakers to pass legislation banning horse slaughter.
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