Horse slaughter funding issue to go before U.S. Senate

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Chestnut HorsesCommercial slaughter of horses for human consumption has not taken place in the United States since the last equine slaughterhouse closed in 2007. While slaughter is not illegal, Congress voted in 2006 to prohibit funding for USDA horse meat inspections, effectively ending the commercial viability of horse meat production. This year, Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is hoping to change that.

In June, Baucus called for an end to the restriction on funding for horse meat inspections, citing the Government Accountability Office’s report on changes in equine welfare since the end of American horse slaughter. The GAO report concluded that equine welfare had suffered since 2007, in part due to loopholes and gaps in the system that made enforcement of welfare regulations nearly impossible. The report suggested that slaughter either be allowed and regulated within the U.S., or banned entirely with provisions to outlaw transport of horses to other countries to be slaughtered.

Last week, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved a version of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Act for 2012 that does not have the restriction on funding for horse meat inspections. Baucus released a statement on September 9 applauding the move.

“We’ve seen some pretty shocking cases across Montana of horse abandonment and neglect as owners face tough economic times. This ban is a part of the problem and has resulted in the inhumane treatment of injured and sick horses along with hurting the economy. We have an opportunity here to do the right thing for our farmers and ranchers while improving the welfare of horses,” he said.

Animal welfare advocates counter that equine slaughter is inherently cruel as horses are bred as sport and companion animals, not meat animals. Past research suggests that horses were subjected to cruelty in American slaughterhouses when they were still operational.

A different version of the bill that contained an amendment upholding the restriction on horse meat inspection was passed by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee earlier this year.

The agriculture appropriations bill will go before the full Senate soon, although an official date is not known. To voice your opinion on the bill, contact your Senator by phone or email. To find your Senator, visit Senate.gov

Further Reading
How Humane is Horse Slaughter?
GAO releases report on horse slaughter

19 COMMENTS

  1. I can’t believe this barbaric practice is being re-introduced onto US soil. We all need to write our elected officials and let them know NOW is the time for the national ban on both transport & butchering of horses.

  2. YOUR RIGHT, PKL. IT IS SAD, AND THE DEBATE WILL GO ON FOREVER; THE GOOD, THE BAD, EVERYTHING. BUT THE WORST THING TO ME, IS KNOWING THAT THERE ARE NEGLECTED, STARVING, AND SUFFERING HORSES OUT THERE WHEN THEY DONT NEED TO BE OR HAVE TO BE. THAT’S WORSE THAN SLAUGHTERING THEM. I JUST THINK THERE SHOULD BE MORE RULES TO AND IN SLAUGHTER HOUSES FOR THE HORSES SENT THERE. I AM A HORSE LOVER DONT GET ME WRONG, BUT WE NEED TO REMEMBER THESE ANIMALS ARE IN THE “LIVESTOCK CATAGORY”, NOT THE “PET CATAGORY”. IF PEOPLE WOULDNT OVER BREED IS THE TOP REASON FOR TOO MANY HORSES OUT THERE, IF A NEW OWNER KNEW EXACTLY WHAT THEY WERE GETTING INTO BEFORE BUYING A HORSE, IF GRAIN AND HAY WASNT SO MUCH, I COULD GO ON AND ON. THERE IS JUST SO MANY THINGS THAT HAVE LEAD UP TO ALL THESE “UNWANTED” HORSES I JUST DONT THINK THERE IS ANY “CURE” FOR THEM AND THE INDUSTRY. SO SAD.

  3. Here’s the solution– STOP BREEDING HORSES THAT NO ONE WANTS TO BUY !! Your cremello/paint stallion is NOT that rare and we don’t need to have any more of his babies ! When in doubt geld, geld, geld ! Having a horse that has no skills besides eating and sleeping is not valuable. Heck even trail horses are dirt cheap.

  4. This article bothers me because although it leans towards the middle, focus is trumpeted on Sen Baucus’ call for the end of prohibition on funding for inspections. Sen Baucus is misled and continues to mislead based on some sort of power he believes he holds. Equines are not to be in the care of people like this or those who would slaughter them. That is not the best interest of the animal and never has been. We as a society have suffered crime, despair, sorrow and horror in witnessing the trade of selling, buying, transporting and slaughter of the equine. Stop riding the fence – jump down on either side. For or against – educate us where you think this issue should go.

  5. Like they said, Animal welfare advocates counter that equine slaughter is inherently cruel as horses are bred as sport and companion animals, not meat animals. It really sad how people abuse horses that they dont want. For crying out loud, someone in the world will buy it. There’s no need for cruelty.

  6. I don’t think it’s so bad to slaughter horses but slaughter houses should be humane and not only for horses but for cattle, pigs, and all animals. We don’t need to be cruel to the animals that we keep, whatever the reason we are keeping them.

  7. Horse’s conditions didn’t get worse after slaughter house’s were closed. The old line of take the old/sick/injured/crippled/starved to slaughter is a lie. Over breeding and unresponsable horse owners are and have been the problem all along. Slaughter houses won’t take the starving, nor sick. If starving, there’s no good meat. If sick, then they’ve been given some kind of medication and can’t be slaughtered for 6 mos (and who’s minding that store?). The slaughter houses want your 3-10 yr olds, fat and able to get to the chutes as fast as they can.
    If you do need to put a horse down and can’t afford a Vet to do it or won’t put the needle in yourself, a bullet, aimed correctly is just as fast.
    Don’t give me the other line, puts a burden on farmers and ranchers. Please, they aren’t under any burden, there isn’t a person who doesn’t want a proven/solidly trained ranch horse. Ranchers get a whole bunch more money selling them to someone who wants a good horse then to kill buyers.
    The slaughter house kicked out of Canada in years past might be helping with campaign funds this year. Even Canada didn’t want that slaughter house in their COUNTRY, kicked them out, even if the slaughter house still owed Canada millions of dollars in fines/penalties. Slaughter houses won’t help the financial economy of this Country. They won’t pay taxes, they will pollute the land surounding them, where do you think the sluaghter houses dump the “unusable” parts of a horse. Pollute the rivers/lakes/streams/wells for many miles and not be responsible for any clean up’s. Ignore any penalties/fines incurred and just think what the property value of any land surrounding it will be.
    We don’t eat horse meat, we don’t need to supply Europe with additional horse meat, they have their own surplus problems.
    Yes, let your Rep’s know how you feel. Your opinion counts, no matter if you are with me or against me on this issue. We still have freedom of speach.

  8. Horses are beatutiful creatures, So why kill them, Guess who were the ones to carried your great great great great ancestors. Horses! Guess what, If Paul Revere didnt have a horse, the half of the americans wouldnt have know that the british were coming. What about the tharaputic horses, what would those people do without horses. Just think, what would this country be if we didnt have horses? NOTHING thats what. If you PUNKS think horse slaughter is okay. I would have a few choice words for you buddy!!! And they arent kind words. No matter if it is humane or not, the bible says you arent suppose eat a animal without a cloven hoof. Guess what a cow has a cloven hoof, so doies a sheep, pig, deer but, A HORSE DOESNT HAVE A CLOVEN HOOF!!!!!!!!!! I tell you, horses our like people, they have feelings,emotions and the ability to love just like a cat or a dog. So would you eat a cat or a dog. Let me answer that. NO!!!!!!! So why eat a horse. huh, so you low lives can be proud to kill and eat one of the most beautiful animals in the world. God created horses to enjoy riding them and their love and how much they can teach us, not to kill and eat. You people who think that is okay are SO ASK YOUR SELVES, IS IT OKAY TO KILL OUR FRIENDS. NO FAMILY? NO, SO WHY HORSES!!!!

  9. I like the article a lot! Gotta tell you though we need to bring back the slaughter houses! Those that say things didn’t get worse for the horses after they were closed are people who don’t have a clue! Wake up people slaughter houses are what kept things balanced out in so many ways! Bleeding hearts don’t want to see the big picture! The good the bad and the ugly! They only want to see the bad and the ugly! Me I can only hope when it is my horses time that there is slaughter so that even in death my horse can keep serving a purpose!

  10. Sad, Sad Sad!!
    There is a place for slaughter market, that said, it is not where people raise them for meat….like young draft horses, or race horses, because they did not win, go right in to the trailer shipped to Canada.
    I do horse rescue, and I see what other types of horses are in the pen. Young horses with deformed legs, bodys out of propertion, etc. Who would buy them?? I can only afford a baby or young one, and I give the dealer credit, for at lease picking out the ones that would make it in the horse world.
    People are at fault too, I seen 7-10 year old horses, that are not even halter broke…its not there fault is it?? People sell their horse or colt to the dealer, because it was the wrong color when born….people should wake up and really, really think about “why” these horses ended up at the sale barn, or in the hands of the dealers.

  11. Well debra, why does everything have to serve a purpose? Do you get that, if you sell your horse to slaughter that they will be in great pain? Do you really want to put your horses through that. Poor horses.

  12. If you think horse slaughter is the A GOOD thing watch a video on u tube. There is no peaceful ending to life here! The people who buy sick and wounded horses at auctions, FREE CLASSIFIEDS have but 1 thing on their minds; PROFITS!! Call your local ASPCA or Shelter or any of the resues out there first.

  13. They are treating horses like they are garbage. It’s like they do the dog’s an cat’s there to many around so let’s get rid of them anyway possible. I have two of my own an would do anything for them. I love going out an hear them nicker at me every time they see me. All I can say is they have to be hard up to sell them to slaughter. Its like everything else MONEY! that’s all!!!!!!!!!!!

  14. Perhaps on of my favorite bible verses clarifies the cruelty the horses have to endure, is this caring for the nees of the animal?
    Proverbs 12:10
    The righteous knoweth the life of his beast, And the mercies of the wicked are cruel.

  15. Horse slaughter is not only cruel and inhumane to horses, it is harmful to humans as well. In its lifetime, a horse is given medications and other toxic substances that would be harmful to humans and animals that consume its meat. Horse meat is not sold in the United States, but it is exported to other countries.
    Horses are beautiful, intelligent animals that bring joy and friendship into our lives. We need to protect these sensitive animals from being killed.
    Horses can’t speak for themselves, but we can be their voice. Let congress know that Americans won’t stand by while these precious animals are butchered.
    Please don’t be a bystander, be a rescuer! Follow this link to act today:
    http://act.wildhorsepreservation.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=13157

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