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Horse Slaughter Expected In America

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The reasoning is actually–surprisingly–less nonsensical than one might expect. As it turns out, horses are finding themselves the unwitting victims of the current economic slump. More and more owners cut them out of their household or business balance sheet–especially if they are “damaged goods” i.e. either old, sick or injured. And the same owners are just as reluctant to provide for their humane death as they are to care for them. As a result, the number of abandoned, neglected, and otherwise abused horses, has skyrocketed in the past couple of years. According to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office published last June,

Colorado data, for example, showed that investigations for horse neglect and abuse increased more than 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009. Also, California, Texas, and Florida reported more horses abandoned on private or state land since 2007.

And if you think that the 2006 ban on government-sanctioned horse slaughter in the U.S. saves horses, think again. The same GAO report states that

since domestic horse slaughter ceased in 2007, the slaughter horse market has shifted to Canada and Mexico. From 2006 through 2010, U.S. horse exports for slaughter increased by 148 and 660 percent to Canada and Mexico, respectively. As a result, nearly the same number of U.S. horses was transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010–nearly 138,000–as was slaughtered before domestic slaughter ceased.

The spike in domestic investigations and the sharp increase in the transportation of horses across borders (whose overseeing is the responsibility of the U.S. Department of Agriculture), have strained resources. Meanwhile, the value of the horses sold for slaughter has been dropping. “Unwanted” horses are basically left to die in appalling conditions, and the U.S. horse industry is losing revenue. Hence the decision by lawmakers to bring the horse meat market back to the U.S.–except for California and Illinois where a state ban is in effect.

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Laetitia Mailhes

Laetitia Mailhes is a French-born journalist. After many years as the technology and innovation correspondent of the French "Financial Times" in San Francisco, she decided to focus on what truly matters to her: sustainable food and farming. Find more articles and videos on her blog, The Green Plate Blog.


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9:34AM PST on Dec 29, 2011


9:32AM PST on Dec 29, 2011


9:29AM PST on Dec 29, 2011


2:18AM PST on Dec 28, 2011

Sara G., I also applaud your written statement and I thank you for it ( and I feel the same way).

3:22PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Do this to the horses will end Americas era and make you the coldest souls I know. Without the horses you havn't been able to take the country from the Natives and trail cattle around. Yes I know, there are another timeline now and horses don't have the same status in modern world where money is the only thing that matters, shame on you Obama! As they said, you know the country from how they treat there animals...

6:44PM PST on Dec 9, 2011

The slaughtering needs to STOP.

3:22PM PST on Dec 8, 2011

Sarah G. - Thank you, your statements were very eloquently put. I feel the same. What a travesty!

7:30AM PST on Dec 8, 2011

let's end all slaughter.

5:38AM PST on Dec 8, 2011


4:59PM PST on Dec 7, 2011

When will it stop????

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