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White House Ok’s Killing Horses For Human Consumption

White House Ok’s Killing Horses For Human Consumption

In 2006, Congress eliminated funding for the inspection of horse slaughtering facilities. Without a government inspection process, these slaughterhouses could on longer bring their product to market, and the industry began to disappear.

Critics called this a “backdoor ban” and pointed out that defunding slaughter houses only moved the industry to Mexico and Canada where health safety standards and regulations regarding animal treatment are lax or even non-existent. A government report also found that the ban depressed prices for horses in the U.S. and led to a surge in reports of neglect or abuse as owners of older horses had no way of disposing of them. Before the ban, the horse slaughter business generated some $65 million in revenues a year.

Claiming concern for citizens’ health, the Department of Agriculture bill, signed into law Nov. 18, reinstates federal funding for USDA inspection of horse meat intended for human consumption.

“While we have a long way to go, responsible processing represents a vital first step in reversing the unintended consequences to blame for the dismal state of neglected horses and their frustrated caregivers across our country,” said Rep. Adrian Smith, a Nebraska Republican who fought for the change. “Reinstating a humane, accountable and legal management tool is good for horses, good for owners and is good policy.”

According to a pro-slaughter group called United Horsemen, meat processors are now considering opening facilities in at least a half-dozen states, including Georgia, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, and possibly Idaho.

Of course, some animal rights groups are stunned by the quiet approval of this measure.

“What we feared would happen did,” wrote PETA on its official blog. “Rather than have a change of heart and stop killing horses, greedy ranchers who deal in horse flesh simply jammed their “commodities” into tractor trailers and hauled the frightened animals hundreds of miles to Canada and Mexico – a journey most did not have to face before – to terrifying deaths in slaughterhouses there.”

Photos and video taken secretly from inside horse slaughterhouses has repeatedly shown that the horses are not humanely killed.

But even if you take the animal rights arguments out of it, is this really a good policy for the United States as a whole? As a blogger for The Persian Horse points out, re-funding the inspection process for this cruel export business will have little benefit for the American taxpayers who will foot the bill.

Let’s forget for the moment that candidate Barack Obama in 2008 pledged to keep the ban on horse slaughter permanent (another promise to voters reneged?) Let’s forget, too, that American horses are not bred or raised for consumption. Let’s forget that the few countries where horsemeat is consumed (France, Belgium and Japan among them) are ignoring the outright cruelty to horses that raises the hackles of right-thinking Americans. The simple question is: do we want our tax dollars spent to inspect horses who were slaughtered in incredibly cruel fashion (a bolt through the forehead that doesn’t kill them immediately) so foreign owners of slaughter plants can profit? In the midst of a recession when other crucial programs such as Medicare and education are suffering deep cuts, the answer is a resounding, “no.”

TAKE ACTION: If the reintroduction of horse slaughter plants disgusts and disappoints you, please take a moment to sign the following petition.

Stop Horse Slaughter In The U.S.!

Image via ThinkStock

Read more: Animal Rights, Food, Nature & Wildlife, News & Issues, Pets, , , , , , , , ,

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Beth Buczynski

Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog or check out her blog.

158 comments

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7:05AM PDT on May 31, 2013

This is an excellent blog along with the great knowledge.
empire

1:22AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Why would you ask such a thing, Marie W? Horse slaughter was always legal up until about 2 years ago when the A/R activists got the plants shut down in the U.S. People will always have horses that they consider "dispensable" and those who don't want them anymore, so rather than continue to feed them, they send them to slaughter. At least they make a couple hundred bucks. If that's not an option, those people will do one of two things........just stop feeding the horses and let them starve (which is how I got my rescued TB mare) or send them to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered. If that's the option chosen, then the horrors of how it's done amount to more abuse than most of us want to consider and the reasons the plants were shut down here. The point of making that option legal again in THIS country is that the animals will always end up in the same plight, but at least here, we should be able to pass laws to control the process and enforce them. ENFORCEMENT of the laws on the books and making them even more restrictive should be the goal, not banning the process completely. The point is that by shutting down the plants before, they were "cutting off their noses to spite their faces", if that makes sense?

12:12AM PDT on Jul 28, 2012

Is this a hint of famine coming?

11:32PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Also, Lori, there is no relevance to death row inmates being kept at taxpayers expense. I'm against that one, myself. However, those that are against the death penalty have been very vocal here on Care.2 about that topic and justify keeping prisoners incarcerated at our expense for decades because of the thought that possibly one inmate could actually be innocent of the crimes for which they were convicted and sentenced to death. Again, nothing to do with legalizing the reopening of plants to process meat from horses for human consumption for those that legally can consume it, which right now, is NOT in this country, period.

11:29PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

Lori F., I'm giving you the benefit of a doubt as to you not keeping up on current events, nor reading the news or understanding what you read, especially in Care.2. If I'm wrong, then there is little excuse for your far out unfactual comments. "First of all", who is in the White House is a duly elected PRESIDENT, and that remark was pretty silly. It's also unfair, and not even remotely close to reality to accuse Mr. Obama of having priorities "skewed" when you say he should be "saving the planet". Why is he personally responsible for doing that? This country isn't the only country ON the planet, after all, nor is Mr. Obama the only person IN this country who has influence to do what you're suggesting. By approving this legislation (which, BTW, was a few months back) he is merely allowing to reopen those plants which were shut down a few years back, and when that happened, thousands of horses died of starvation and neglect, OR were shipped to Canada or Mexico to be slaughtered.

2:35PM PDT on Jul 27, 2012

first of all, Who are you and what are you doing in White House !!! Shouldn't you be saving the planet or getting our businesses back from overseas or maybe block all trade with China so children don't have to get lead poisoning from the lead paint or maybe find a better way to get rid of garbage being dumped in our oceans etc., etc. etc. the list goes on and on. Oh I almost forgot, the killers on death row are still living thanks to our tax dollars.And where is it they eat dogs ?, I wouldn't eat them either.

11:24AM PST on Dec 16, 2011

stop him.....stop him........don't do this to your horses...don't let people see America do this.

11:13AM PST on Dec 15, 2011

There's just NO EXCUSE for Obama signing that bill. We're going BACKWARDS!

7:07PM PST on Dec 11, 2011

i agree with Debbie W.

3:39AM PST on Dec 11, 2011

I suggest that anyone with questions/comments, go to the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma (open page) and read what at least one Indian (Native American) thinks about eating horses. I hope that between us (encompassing as many tribes as possible) we can change the opinions of the King of America and his minions. Would those and the King's family, sit down to a lovely dinner of bloody horse steak? You can bet NOT!

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