Heller: Horse Slaughter Ban ‘Right Around the Corner’?

by | 04.29.2013 | 11:40am
Dr. Patricia Hogan speaking at Equine Advocates 2013 American Equine Summit

As the days dwindle down to America's race on the first Saturday of May, industry leaders convened at the Equine Advocates' American Equine Summit in Chatham, N.Y., April 27-28, to ensure that one Kentucky Derby winner, Ferdinand, will never be forgotten, and that any American connection to horse slaughter will soon be removed by law – either federal, state or both.

Ferdinand, the 1986 Derby winner and 1987 Horse of the Year, was slaughtered for meat in Japan in 2002.

There hasn't been a horse slaughtered in the United States since 2007, but, according to Equine Advocates founder and president Susan Wagner, more than 130,000 horses were shipped to Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses from the U.S. in 2010. And there are initiatives in New Mexico and two other states to re-start horse slaughter in America despite polls that show that more than 80% of Americans are against it.

Speakers at the Summit said there has never been more momentum to end horse slaughter in the U.S. permanently because of the public health aspects of horsemeat, which caused a recent scandal in England and in other European countries. Consumers abroad were very alarmed that horsemeat contains residual drugs, such as Butazolidin. “It's dangerous to be consumed,” said Florida State Sen. Joseph Abruzzo.

Why would anyone risk eating contaminated horsemeat?

Ironically, this issue, Abruzzo said, has cattle interests on the same page as those trying to end horse slaughter. “Cattlemen are losing money when horsemeat results in lower sales of beef,” he said.

If there's questionable demand, perhaps the end of horse slaughter, at least in America, is near.

“It's here. It's right around the corner and we're going to get it,” said Victoria McCullough, who is the Chairman of Chesapeake Petroleum and has been lobbying federal officials in Washington with Abruzzo, who won election in 2012 on a platform of animal rights. “My No. 1 issue is protecting animals,” he said. “In Florida now, horse slaughter is illegal and it is a felony for abusing horses.”

McCullough decided to do a little investigative work to challenge horse slaughter proponents who say that the horses sent to slaughter are old. “We bought 313 horses at Sugarcreek (a kill auction in Ohio) last May,” she said. “The average age was three. Then we bought 82 horses at Sugarcreek last Thanksgiving. The average age was four.”

Another argument by horse slaughter advocates is that there would be hundreds of abandoned horses starving to death throughout America. But it's been six years since the last horse was slaughtered in the U.S., and the only numbers increasing are the horses exported to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, and the number of rescue groups willing to make a difference. Just last week, the New York Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association announced a new program, Take the Lead, to partner with horse rescues in taking care of race horses no longer able to perform. Finger Lakes already has a similar program.

But, Wagner, whose Equine Advocates Rescue and Sanctuary has given more than 80 rescued or injured equines a new life and a new home, said, “This country is at a crossroads. We need to make sure slaughter doesn't take root here again. New York is one of the avenues for horses to go to slaughter in Canada. We have to stop this.”

New York State Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, the Summit's keynote speaker, and State Sen. Kathy Marchione, are intent on making that happen. They recently co-sponsored a bill in the New York State Legislature that would not only ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption, but also ban the transport of horses to slaughter, effectively blocking their passage to Canada through New York.

“We're proud to be carrying this bill,” he said. “We shouldn't be eating horses and we shouldn't be raising horses to be food.” He even proposed a tax credit for horsemen who bury carcasses and a tax check-off to rescue groups who euthanize horses rather than sending them to slaughter.

Patty Hogan, one of the leading equine surgeons in the country, suggests that veterinarians could establish euthanasia centers as a last resort before sending a horse to slaughter. She testified before Congress against horse slaughter in 2006, even though the American Association of Equine Practitioners supports it. She said she was especially annoyed when the AAEP tried rationalizing its position by calling slaughtering “processing.” “Call it what it is,” she said. “I take real offense at that.”

She, too, believes that health concerns over horsemeat could end horse slaughter. “Our ace in the hole is drug residue,” she said. “I used to work with cattle. There were strict guidelines about feeding them when they're going to slaughter.”

She is one of many speakers who have difficulty understanding how horse slaughter even existed in America. “It really doesn't make any sense to have horses in the food chain,” she said.

Of course, it doesn't reflect positively on horse racing. “You can't have it both ways,” Hogan said. “You can't want the public to love horses and not take care of them when they're done racing.”

Jo Anne Normile, the founder of the rescue organizations CANTER and Saving Baby Equine Charity, put it this way: “These are our athletes. We value our assets before and after the finish line.”

Outside the meeting room where the Summit was held, more than six dozen residents of Equine Advocates were oblivious to the Summit. They were enjoying a beautiful summer-like weekend in their spacious paddocks. Healthy now, they had been rescued from hell. If only Ferdinand had been this lucky.

  • giftoffaith

    I don’t care the reason horse slaughter is stopped as long as it is stopped. Use the drug reason or whatever reason it takes. Horse slaughter is a horrendous thing that needs to be permanently stopped in the United States and we need to end the export of our horses to other countries for slaughter. Dr. Patty Hogans suggestion of euthanasia centers is excellant and humane. If the French want to eat horse, then they can eat their own, the same fo any other country. All I can think is, please, stop this. I believe the majority of our citizens do not want this, so why does it continue to be a threat?

    • Great Post!!!…ty…

    • betterthannothing

      “If the French want to eat horse, then they can eat their own, the same fo any other country.”

      So you care about saving American horses from slaughter but you don’t care about horses when slaughtered in France and other countries because it’s okay as long as they are “eating their own”?

      Isn’t a horse always a horse and equally worthy of your pity no matter where it happens to be standing when facing slaughter?

      And how exactly do you define an American horse (that should not be eaten) and a foreign horse (that can be eaten by the French and other countries)?

      What about foreign horses imported in this country that later face slaughter in America: Do you consider them American horses that should not be eaten or foreign horses?

      What about American horses exported in other countries? Are you outraged about their being eaten? How long do they have to be living in a foreign country to become foreign horses okay to be eaten as they own?

      Is a famous horse like Ferdinand always considered American?

      • giftoffaith

        You may take that however you want. I do not condone eating any horses, however, our culture is our culture and their culture is their culture. I prefer to pick the battles we stand a chance of winning. Right now we need to save our horses. Frankly, you have no idea of my feelings on this subject other than the few lines I type.

        • nu-fan

          Agreed. The U.S. starts many trends that other cultures eventually adopt. We stop it here; they will stop it there!

          • circusticket

            The US starts a lot of bad trends too. GMO food is just one example. Europe has blocked it and yet it’s still sold here without being labeled as such.

          • nu-fan

            Jeepers. You found a couple of exceptions. Good for you. You get a gold star next to your name.

          • circusticket

            Really? Are they exceptions?

            Think about health care, health status, education, nutrition, homicide rate, poverty rate, incarceration rate, etc, etc, etc, etc. We have a lot to fix right here at home, horse slaughter being one of many.

          • nu-fan

            So, explain why the huge numbers of those wanting–begging–to get into this country. Nice try, circuswhatever. Still wonder why anyone who subscribes to the idea of horseslaughtering would go on to a website that celebrates horses?

          • Lonnie S.

            Because everybody that subscribes to horse slaughter are horsemen and woman, horse lovers etc. that really know what is going on in the horse industries they know there has been a major problem with unwanted horse in the US since 2007, they know where some of the horses end up and how they get their.

          • Roisin

            Nobody could possibly be in favor of the brutality of horse slaughter if they truly cared about horses. It is so easy to say I’m a “horse lover” but , as always, don’t listen to what I say, watch what I do ! The “major problem with unwanted horses since 2007” that you cite is not because slaughter has not been available, There will always be the “unwanted” no matter how many slaughter houses are open, mostly because of human behavior such as overbreeding and irresponsible ownership, etc. It is impossible to fix all bad behavior.

          • Lonnie S.

            So What is the answer to the ongoing problem Roisin?

          • STOP breeding too many horses for the market to handle! We are still struggling with the worst recession since the Great Depression. EVERY business was hit and had to cut back. Not horse breeders like the AQHA. They not only did NOT cut back on the number of foals on the ground every year, they continued to pay their breeders breeding incentives!! Of course there’s a glut, but it would solve itself if slaughter weren’t available to support reckless breeding and irresponsible ownership. In fact, slaughter is what started this massive over breeding in the first place. We have an unbroken access to horse slaughter for about 40 YEARS. If it hasn’t solved the over population problem by now, isn’t it time we looked for some other solution?

          • Roisin

            I’m not smart enough to have all the answers. However, I am smart enough to know the status quo is not working. As you well know, the defination of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expect a different result.

            Even though horse slaughter ended here in 2007, slaughter continued to be available and it still is. The “need” for all this slaughter goes back to irresponsible breeding and irresponsible ownership. And even though there are horse auctions all over and they are frequented by kill buyers there is a “need” to have more and more slaughter houses on line.

            That should raise the question of why ? Where are the studies to support this perceived “need”. Another question should be: is the “need” driving the push to open all these slaughterhouses OR is the opening of these facilities intended to create it’s own “need” by increasing the supply of horses for slaughter ????…..a horsemeat industry !! I feel these are important questions that need to be answered.

          • Lonnie ~ YOU are the one who doesn’t know what’s really going on. Either that, or you are nothing but a mouthpiece for the pro-slaughter dim-wits.

            I’ve owned horses for over 35 years, with 15 of those years spent in Texas less than 50 miles from the two horse slaughter plants that were operating at the time. Horse theft was so bad that the State of Texas stepped in tried to find ways for horse owners to better protect their horses. The only thing that helped was shutting those hell-holes down.

            You are NOT a horse owner or lover. And you’re parroting the most ridiculous piece of pro-slaughter propaganda that was ever disseminated in saying that there has been a major problem with “unwanted horses” since the domestic plants closed. Just how is that possible when the Mexican and Canadian kill buyers were still there – we have always sent thousands of horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter – and just waiting to grab up ALL the American horses?There hasn’t been ONE MOMENT when slaughter was just as available as it was when the domestic plants were open, and the total number of horses slaughtered actually went UP. You’re busted. Go peddle your ignorant lies someplace where the folks are as ignorant and uncaring as you.

          • Lonnie, What part of ” THE SLAUGHTER OPTION NEVER ENDED” do pro you not get? (Actually, what you PRETEND not to get. ) What a crock. The pro slaughter people just ignore the recession that has affected all businesses and continue to parrot their proven lie that the closing of the U.S. plants is what caused any and all horse problems, including more unwanted , abandoned or abused horses . When that’s IMPOSSIBLE! Because horse slaughter and the slaughter option has never ended! There are more horses sold to slaughter now than before the U.S. horse slaughter plants were closed. Now 100% are being shipped to Canada and Mexico when before it was around 30%. A little deductive reasoning, please. You can’t attribute negative consequences to something that HASN’T CHANGED. If people wanted to sell their horse to slaughter, THEY STILL COULD. They can take them to any horse auction in the country and the kill buyers are still there buying as many or more horses then ever. Gloria Eighmey

          • You are absolutely right – Lonnie’s responses show just how effective propoganda campaigns are. Say something to enough people – even if it’s a complete fabrication – and it becomes fact.

          • Lol,, Sadly you believe the garbage that the vile pro slaughter greed committee spews. All lies. there are no more or no less going to slaughter.Their BS they spew is due to the fact they cant get their greedy hands on the action and people like you Lonnie fail to research it on your own. They say ignorance is bliss but in the case of shipping toxic horse meat to other countries for food,,,, Ignorance is dangerous and considered bio terrorism.

          • Roisin

            So if we can’t do everything at once, we should do nothing. There will always be plenty to do. Further, issues involving poverty, homicide, incarceration, etc, are part and parcel of the human condition. They have always been with us and always will be. However, that is not to say we will not strive to, at least, make a positive impact on these situations.

            It seems to me, when people are not in favor of a change, the change in this instance being stopping the slaughter of horses, they always bring up all the negative situations in society that are, in many instances, the result of peoples’ bad choices.

          • circusticket

            Europe bans race day use of Lasix. We continue to allow it.

        • Lonnie S.

          What are you going to do with the 160,000 horse you save every year?

          • You ARE a dim-wit! Just WHERE do you think all those horses came from? They came from owners who would NEVER knowingly send their horses to slaughter. The kill buyers don’t care how they acquire our horses – they steal – my friends in Texas whose horse were stolen during those years would very gladly have taken them back. The great number of sellers who are regularly hood-winked into selling their horses to a kill buyer would gladly take them back.

            Then there are the auctions where the killers and the auctioneer sure that the killers get the best, fattest, most healthy and sound horses. The killers regularly out bid – by rigging – the people there who would have bought those good horses to own and ride themselves. The rescues are also there en mass trying to save as many horses as they can. If the rescues didn’t regularly have to waste so much time and resources saving as many of the best horses as they can, those horses probably wouldn’t have needed “saving” in the first place, they could spend it on the old, lame and abused horses that the killers DO NOT buy.

            Yes, the breeders and race horse owners send many to slaughter, but not nearly enough to fill those trailers. That’s the reason the horse slaughter business is called “predatory.”

          • Roisin

            You are so right ! And yes, some individuals are gullible enough to be the mouthpiece for the pro slaughter bunch because they do not think for themselves and often do not give a hang about the brutality of horse slaughter. Maybe such individuals should personally observe the whole process, from auction to the final gutting procedure.

          • Boy that is true. People want easy answers to problems they don’t really want to think about. Everyone who is pro slaughter should have to at the very least watch a video of what really happens. Not to mention all the suffering that comes BEFORE the actual slaughter.

          • The problem is, most pro slaughter people don’t and would’nt care about the reality of how brutal horse slaughter is. You know all those things like compassion , or basic decency is just silly emotion according to them. It just interferes in there ability to make money no matter what the pain or suffering it causes.

          • Lonnie, What you don’t seem to grasp is slaughter is the major CAUSE for (so called) unwanted excess horses. It cost a lot of money to breed and raise a horse. If there wasn’t a profitable slaughter market for these excess horses to be sold too, people would stop breeding them. They aren’t going to continue breeding horses they cant sell . 92% of horses slaughtered are young healthy horses that could and would have been used to fill the live horse use market. But every year they are instead sold to slaughter for profit , which then every year opens up the door for that many more new horses to be bred to fill the live horse market. As long as there is horse slaughter, it GARRENTEIS an endless cycle of over breeding, to fill the supply of the profitable horse slaughter business. Its not about helping unwanted horses. Its just about the money. If people had to freely GIVE there horses to slaughter you would see how fast the number of slaughtered horses would drop to close to none. And the over breeding would end ,as there would be no market for these excess horses. You ask for a solution for to many horses? End the profitable slaughter market option that creates a incentive and demand for them. Over 30 years of slaughter has PROVED slaughter doesn’t work. Gloria Eighmey.

      • Respectfully we (meaning the US)need to worry more about our own backyard than the Rest of the world. I know this may not be popular and I accept that. But until we fix what’s wrong here I don’t believe we can even attempt to help others.

        • Lonnie S.

          Yes maam you are right and the horses only problem are humans

        • That’s what I am doing! I’m taking care that MY HORSES – and everyone else’s too – don’t get stolen and BUTCHERED.

          Isn’t that taking care of our own? We are talking about horse slaughter plants in the US. What are you talking about?

      • Roisin

        There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about 6 weeks ago re the decline in the demand for horsemeat in France and elsewhere in Europe. Of course this resulted in a big drop in the number of butcher shops selling the meat. I predict the trend will continue.
        Also, your points re horse “nationality” is a bit convulated.

    • Barbara Griffith

      Do you know why its a threat? Its because of the US Senate that always blocked any bills to stop the slaughter by not cosponsoring. The last bill that died in committee only had 24 cosponsors. The present bill S.541 has no cosponsors except the for the lawmakers that introduced it. I believe at last count a few days ago there were almost 80 cosponsors in the House of Representatives. Members of the US Senate care more about lobbyists donations to their reelection campaigns than they do to their constituents complaints. Senator John Cornyn of TX is one of the leaders that is against passing any bill to stop it. He is the one that wrote me a letter when the last bill was in committee and flat out told me he would not cosponsor the bill because it would remove the horse owners from being able to do whatever they wanted with their own property, meaning the horses they own. This man is the one that receives the highest donations of all the Senate members and the House members.

      • And there is the reality of politics. Lobbyists should be illegal. The government is supposed to represent the PEOPLE – not special interest groups.

  • Horse Farmer

    Dr Hogan wants to profit by administering drugs to thoroughbreds all their lives and then by euthanasia .There is an obvious need for slaughter judging by the sheer number of horses transported out of the U S. We need an F D A regulated slaughter system in place to ensure humane treatment.

    • debbie

      Look one of the HUGE Backers of horse slaughter is AQHA last year they REG. 150,000 foals, another one is American Horse Council well just look at who is on the board on that council everyone is affliated with Quarter Horses, harness racing, and one Arbain Horse Ass. it is ALL about breeding and money the more they breed the more money they get, then just throw them away when not needed anymore, and by the way 80% of the horses in that pipeline are yup you guessed it Quarter horses, SOOOOO we need to make Breeders be held accountable, not tax breaks, we have a lot of horses because of BREEDING TOO MANY!!
      AND it is NOT HUMANE the slaughter process NOT even close USDA know and documented this, when we HAD slaughter plants many were closed down because of inhumane treatment HERE, and enviromental issues HUGE ISSUE”S…… Honestly this is NOT the way to go, we can do all kinds of things to help horses, set up some programs like disabled vet therapy, children with disablities, clinic’s for helping folks who have to end their horses life, with dignity, respect, this is just a bit of what we can do if we just want to bother?? The gov. wants MY TAX dollar to inspect horse slaughter, I don”t think so, BUT I would not mind at all if they used some for programs that help people and horses at the same time……

    • Horse Trainer

      Horse Farmer you must be delusional. Dr Hogan does over $100,000 a year of free surgeries to save horses that would have been euthanized so they could go on to another career. And she said nothing about charging for euthanasia when this would be the last resort. Please do your homework on Dr Hogan before posting a comment like that.

    • Deedie

      Slaughter them and then what? Sell them to Europeans who already suspect that American horse meat is tainted and the market for horse meat is dwindling? The FDA doesn’t even regulate horse slaughter or inspect horse meat. The FDA considers horses companion animals, anyway. You eat your companions? The USDA inspects horse meat and slaughter facilities. I don’t want my tax dollars going to fund USDA inspections for horse meat for an overseas industry. Do your research.

    • thevoiceoftruth69

      Posts like this are why people like you should consider starting your car in the garage and falling asleep.

    • old horse lover

      Farmer your name says it all.Don’t want livestock(equine)regulated in any way different than the other livestock you raise to kill.Not saying you are a factory farmer.But with all the Ag Gag laws,Right to farm laws the farm bureaus are trying to get into place and the genetic mutation that is planned for our food on top of what is already in it . They don’t want anyone knowing what is happening to our food supply and if horses are given any regulations outside of all fiber they fear a look a little deeper.Just look at the long list of countries that will not now accept our food products because of what is in them and on them.Big AG and Oil with fracking coming into vogue are pushing the wild horses off the range.Just read the American Farm Bureau statement on why they oppose the ban on horse slaughter and welfare is not the reason.There has never been and will never be humane slaughter of horses.It is not particular humane for the other animals.But of course laws are being passed so that no one can know about that.There is an obvious need for controlled breeding not killing the product of irresponsible owners,trainers,breeders.

    • Gloria Eighmey

      Pro slaughter continuely claims slaughter is nessassary because of too many excess unwanted horses. What causes excess horses? Obviously too many horses being bred. Pro slaughter ‘s solution? Having a slaughter buisness that BUY’s 150,000 horses a year.You know, pay’s people money to sell them their horse. Yah ,that sure is a good incentive to stop people from breeding too many horses allright. That sure will solve the problem. What? You mean you’ve been doing this for 30 years and there are still too many horses being bred. Hmm; just cant figure that one out./ For over 30 years the US has continuously sold on average over 100,000 horses a year for slaughter. Yet pro slaughter has continuously claimed there is still a glut of “unwanted” horses for which horse slaughter is the solution. Horse slaughter hasn’t worked. If it had worked, in a few years time there would not still have been any excess horses available to sell to the slaughter market. Certainly not a sustainable 100,000 plus horses a year. Thirty years is enough time to prove slaughter is NOT the answer. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. Isn’t it time we end this predatory buisness once and for all and try something new? It cost alot of money to breed and raise a horse. If there wasn’t a profitable slaughter market for these excess horses to be sold too, people would stop breeding them. USDA statisticts show 92% of horses slaughtered are young healthy horses that could and would have been used to fill the live horse use market. But every year they are sold to slaughter for profit which every year then opens up the door for that many new horses to be bred to fill the live horse market. As in any buisnesses, As long as there is profit to be made in horse slaughter, it GARRENTEIS an endless cycle of over breeding, creating the excess horses that are needed to supply the profitable horse slaughter business. Its not about helping unwanted horses. Its just about the money.

    • Only 1% of US horses are slaughtered every year, & the USDA proved that 92% of those slaughtered horses are in good-to-excellent condition, sound, between 18 months & 7 years old, & could have had useful lives. When horse slaughter & transport to slaughter is banned, big breeders, like the AQHA, will have to remove slaughter from their business plan, so they won’t overbreed 100,000 excess horses a year to cull by slaughter.

      We already had a federally regulated, USDA inspected slaughter system in the USA, but the USDA shut it down after their investigation proved it was so horrendously inhumane that it was impossible for the USDA to reduce the horses’ suffering “to ensure humane treatment.” The head of the USDA, Secretary of Agriculture, Tom Vilsack, is working to make sure horse slaughter does not resume in the US or across our borders.

      “Horse Slaughter: Fact vs. Fiction” . http://www.examiner.com/article/horse-slaughter-fact-vs-fiction-part-i

    • gail0625

      NO …we need a euthanasia system in place where people can humanely put their horses down. Owners need to be held accountable for their horses when they don’t want them any longer. They have the money to take care of them for years and then throw them away.

    • Barbara Luna

      As the Administrator of Turning For Home, the PTHA’s racetrack program at Parx for retired or injured Thoroughbreds program from which NYTHA modelled their own Take the Lead program, I can assure you that Dr. Patty Hogan does NOT want to profit from administering drugs to racehorses.

      She has, in fact, donated thousands of dollars worth of evaluation and surgery in order to allow hundreds of our retirees to go on and have useful lives, rather than being added to the list of slaughter bound or euthanized horses. Without Dr. Hogan, and the other surgeons in our area who have followed her lead, we’d not be able to help the many horses with fractures, chips, and severe suspensory and tendon injuries that come into our program. We have helped 910 horses in 5 years with her help, and that says something!

    • Roisin

      Why is there an “need” for slaughter ? The availability of slaughter enables irresponsible beahvior and the irresponsible behavior, in turn, creates an excuse for pro slaughter people. Also, The FDA has nothing to do with slaughter. The USDA and the FSIS are responsible for the slaughter industry. Also, the inspection system, as it stands, is unable to police the current slaughter houses. Many have been closed due to serious violations, including extreme cruelty and safety violations documented by “whistleblowers” and others, not the USDA or FSIS. However, when the violations are brought to the attention of the USDA it has no choice but to act. So how would it be any better for horse slaughter ??

      As far as profits go, those who are pushing for slaughter are the ones that want to profit, directly and indirectly.

      • The irresponsibility of people is the only real “need” for slaughter. Think how many more unwanted dogs and cats there would be if they could be sold for slaughter. People want easy fixes for their lack of judgement, impulsive acquisitions of animals they don’t really want, their irresponsible breeding, etc. The slaughter houses are thinking money, but they are not the real problem.

        • Roisin

          I guess I ‘m repeating, but when we tolerate something and provide a “fiix” for it (slaughter) we just get more of it. The trend in society today, as Nu- Fan would agree, is to find excuses for all kinds of unacceptable behaviors. This is a dangerous trend because sooner or later what was unacceptable, and should remain so, becomes the “norm”. We become desensitized and therein lies the proverbial “slippery slope”.

      • nu-fan

        Roisin: It always comes back to responsible vs. irresponsible behavior. I wonder if our society hasn’t given a green light to those who make poor personal decisions the go-ahead to continue doing so because we keep excusing their behavior as something outside their control. I don’t buy it and, quite frankly, I am sick of it. The pro-slaughter group: They are disgusting human beings with either very low morals/values or very low ability to do any critical thinking–or both.

  • Richard C

    The pro-slaughter lobbyists can “pay forward” for votes — in a system which seemingly places “donations” to re-election campaigns over common-sense. This will have to be a concerted effort from every angle within the industry – and beyond – to successfully fight the power of walking around money.

  • nu-fan

    Damned right it will negatively affect the beef industry if horsemeat is found co-mingled with it. This isn’t just about the drugs that may be found in horsemeat. It has to do with two other factors: 1) The beef industry will find that many consumers will be suspicious of what they are actually eating and lose confidence in the beef/food industry, and 2) our culture does not eat horsemeat and will find it very objectionable if it finds its way into our food supply. And, yes, there is some real momentum going toward banning this reprehensible activity of slaughtering horses. Let’s do what we can to get it into federal law–SOON– and make certain that the bill includes some real measure that will make this law enforced!

    • Deedie

      nu-fan, I keep saying just that. If the Cattlemens’ Association had any wisdom, they would oppose horse slaughter. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked with who have quit beef altogether because of the horse meat scandal in Europe and the big ranchers stance on slaughtering our wild horses and burros out west. If eating beef is going to cause horses to be slaughtered, the hell with it.

      • nu-fan

        It may be the customers of the Cattlemens’ Assoc. that can bring pressure on this group. Just imagine what would happen if a McDonald’s here in the U.S. had some horsemeat found in it? The effects would not be limited to just McDonald’s but to every fast-food, quick-serve and, frankly, full-serve restaurant. Grocery stores? People may become hesitant in buying any beef products. Frozen/prepared dinner food processors? They’ll likely see their industry hit as well. That could cause a huge amount of damage to our economy. But, that has to do with U.S. horse-slaughering facilities–and the knuckleheads and dim-witted people that support this very lame idea of an industry. What we need to do is to stop it altogether including the transportation and warehousing of any horses bound for slaughter–anywhere!

      • You can include me too!

    • Lonnie S.

      Real measures you mean like the ones that keep the illegals from coming to the US is that the kind you want enforced???

      • nu-fan

        Or, we can just throw our hands up and say: “Let the rum-dumbs continue ruling the world.” Your analogy doesn’t hold water. If that was the case, our society would have no laws whatsoever.

      • Simple, You make the fines so high its not worth the risk. They do it for money. When it can cost them 100 times more then what they stand to gain then they will stop it.

  • Don Reed

    Great to see Bill Heller’s presence in the PR.

    His book about how favorites try & stay upright on the thin ice of summertime Saratoga racing – “Graveyard of Champions” (Blood-Horse, Inc., 2002 hardcover; foreword by Allen Jerkens) – is one of my prized possessions.

    However, if you’re engrossed in the building drama of Tom Fool’s attempt to win the 1952

    At the end of p. 82, AVOID looking at the photograph & caption on p. 83, which will let the cat out of the bag about what happened – before you can finish reading the text!

    Silly editor.

  • debbie

    This is some of the reason’s we need to STOP horse Slaughter: Because it is inhumane as WE ALL really know whether you want to admit it or not, provides NO economic benefit to the country, does NOT reduce the cases of ABUSE or NEGLECT and it esstintially provides no benefit except for the MONETARY GAIN of the select few involved in this disgusting business!!! I could go on and on but this is a short take on it… I really do feel we ARE at a turning point for the better>>>>>

    • Lonnie S.

      It is much more inhumane in Mexico where most of the horse for slaughter now end up after a several day trip with no feed, water or rest to meet the same fate they could in the US in USDA regulated, more humane plants with a much shorter transport time.
      Prior to 2007 this industry was shipping around $42,000,000 worth of horse meat out of the US a year plus creating thousands of jobs to do so, THAT would be of great economic value. AFTER 2007 ABUSE, NEGLECT AND ABANDONMENT increased 60% in the US. A turning point for the better? WHAT are you going to do with the 160,000 horses that leave the US a year bound for slaughter in Mexico and Canada, some flown and shipped over seas to meet the same fate, oh don’t forget about those abandoned and the starving ones that people have walked away from??? You may be right about a turning point but it wont turn the way you people think.

      • Debbie

        SEE you are falling into the trap of pro slaughter listen we have always had slaughter all these years just not here SO why would we have a abundance of abused and neglected horses because we have not had it WE HAVE it is a tactical move it is so people will fall for it, MONEY and DEMAND is all they are interested in even when we had it here years ago there was still an abundance of horses, just like everyone else here is saying BREEDERS AQHA REG.150,000 foals last year 70% of the horses at slaughter yup you guessed it Quarter Horses, this gives them the outlet to dispose of what they don’t want DON’TYOU honestly SEE THIS, if you don’t you had better start doing some research and get the TRUE facts……But I do agree they should not be traveling across borders, that is inhumane, that’s why H.R. 1094 needs to pass, (not holding my breath) BREEDERS need to be held accountable all owners do!!! FINALLY

        • I agree – it is the exact same thing as puppy mills. If it was against the law to sell puppies in pet stores, there would be no puppy mills.

        • Lonnie S.

          Isn’t H.R.1094 suppose to close the border to export of horse flesh of any kind? How do you or anybody else think they can stop horses from crossing when they cant stop them illegals from crossing?

          • nu-fan

            The illegals argument is soooooo old. Knock it off, Lonnie. I am starting to feel embarrassed for you.

          • You make the fines so high it simply is not worth the risk.It would end it. That cant happen until its illegal.

          • Because HORSES are going to be riding in big trucks down roads, not crawling through ditches and over fences in the middle of nowhere. Really?

  • pattif

    How about some of you anti horse slaugher people post of Gov Mary Fallin of Oklahoma’s page and show your disgust.. She was the first to sign this into law and never allowed her voters a options…..you do not have to “like” her page to post.

    • Deedie

      Oh, I called her weeks ago. At least three times. A lot of people did. She didn’t listen. Bought and paid for, I’d say. Not a very nice governor. What an awful thing to be remembered for. Renaming Oklahoma the “horse slaughter state.”

      • indyone

        Yup….she is bought and paid for. Doesn’t she have a family member who would profit from horse slaughter in OK? What an awful state.

  • Beachy

    Humans are allegedly at the top of the food chain…thus, use your brains, problem-solve, and FIND A WAY…we can put men on the moon and in space and can’t find an alternative solution to horse slaughter?!! It’s sad but personally, I could breathe easier with the euthanasia centers.

    • I agree. I actually suggesed to Santa Anita several years ago (via letter) that they consider opening such a center as a non-profit, tax-deductible, venture. Never got a response of course.

  • Beachy

    PS I am still just as sickened by what happened to Ferdinand and Exceller as I was 11 years ago, just as sickened as I am when it happens to ANY horse–but it is especially disgusting when these animals have made people millions of dollars.

    • nu-fan

      My friends know to never mention Ferdinand’s name around me. Still distresses me–a lot– to know that this horse that gave so much to the horseracing industry (along with the money that was made) was discarded like a bag of trash at the end. Horrible! And, shameful that this was allowed to occur because of everyone’s ignorance to his situation. To his credit, though, more people are now coming to the rescue of other horses. That’s his legacy. I’ve wondered, at times, why no one has named a stakes race after him? Maybe, it is because too many still want to keep this a bit of a secret from the general public.

      • indyone

        There should be a race named for him at CD and run every first Saturday in May. But it’s another of racing’s “dirty little secrets”.

  • Badgemash

    While I certainly applaud and support the effort to end horse slaughter, I can’t help but feel that they’re glossing over the deeper cause of the problem, we have too many horses to begin with (if there were 130,000 sent to slaughter in a single year). We have a problem with breeding in the first place. People don’t seem to understand that having a mare is not a good reason to breed it, unless that mare has exceptional qualities that should be passed on with a carefully chosen, equally exceptional stallion, DON’T BREED HER. Same goes for the studs, I’ve seen a lot of stallions that never should have neen left intact. It’s a lot easier to re-home an athletic, well-built horse than a long backed, downhill, short necked critter with bad feet.

    • Deedie

      This is why the AQHA supports horse slaughter. QH breeders use it as a disposal when the foals turned out don’t meet their standards. Pretty sleazy, huh? Not a very nice association.

      • EXACTLY!

      • Badgemash

        Sleazy indeed. The AQHA refuses to take the responsibility that the breed organization should take, their registration is meaningless. I doubt you see many dutch warmbloods or oldenburgs on the truck, those registries have actual standards.

      • Roisin

        High time for the AQHA to make some long overdue changes. That organization is a huge part of the problem from their pro slaughter stance and their breeding policies that contribute to overpopulation. Of course, this applies to the horse industry as a whole but the AQHA is the biggest offender.

    • Gloria Eighmey

      Its IMPOSSIBLE to ever stop the over breeding of horses until all profitable horse slaughter market is ended. Including those being shipped to Canada and Mexico. Supply and demand dictates that as long as there is profit to be made in selling horses for slaughter. There is going to be enough horses bred to supply both the slaughter and the live horse market. If fresh oranges were the equivalent of horses for LIVE human use. And orange juice the equivalent of horses sold for slaughter.There is are going to be enough oranges grown to fill the profitable market for both fresh oranges and orange juice. But the orange juice business doesn’t try and make the outrageous claim that there profitable product is a unfortunate necessity because of all those unwanted oranges. It cost alot of money to breed and raise a horse. If there wasn’t a profitable slaughter market for these excess horses to be sold too, people would stop breeding them. USDA statisticts show 92% of horses slaughtered are young healthy horses that could and would have been used to fill the live horse use market. But every year they are sold to slaughter for profit which every year then opens up the door for that many new horses to be bred to fill the live horse market. As in any buisnesses, As long as there is profit to be made in horse slaughter, it GARRENTEIS an endless cycle of over breeding, creating the excess horses that are needed to supply the profitable horse slaughter business.

      • It’s not even the profit. As long as all the backyard, QH, and Paint breeders have a way to dispose of the horses they’re breeding they will continue to over breed. When there is no auction to sell unwanted horses at they will slow down that breeding. Paint breeders breed for spots – and many many Paints are born with no spots. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met (backyard breeders) who have a hideous mare – but she is palomino or buckskin or grulla and so they breed her for the color. Ditto “colored” stallions – cowhocked, narrow chested, stunted, ugly, etc. For many people that means nothing and they will breed. If the baby doesn’t sell (many many don’t) then they take it to auction. From where it goes to slaughter. End slaughter and the auctions will no longer be full of horses, because there will be on one to buy them.

        • indyone

          My thoughts exactly. Thank you for expressing them so well.

    • Lonnie S.

      Very well said

  • marshall cassidy

    Bill Heller: Great coverage of an important subject! Susan Wagner: Congratulations on following so thoroughly your passion!

    After-racing Thoroughbred disposition is a serious fact of horse ownership before, during and after all the hopes, and dreams, and disappointments of the game. People like Bill and Susan can make a difference, and I believe they are.

  • I hate to disagree with a very established writer who knows a ton more than I could hope to in this life. But ranchers out here in the west HATE wild equids. BLM is spending 6 MILLION dollars despite sequestration just to round them up and clear the way for MORE cattle and oil extraction.

    Florida my a law making slaughter illegal but you should to talk to Richard Kuto who has been fighting law enforcement trying to get them to make people accountable.

    Slaughter IS NOT about private property issues–at least to me. Folks have always had the option of putting their animls down–they simply refuse to accept refuse responsibility. You don’t dump a horse at a slaughter plant because you can’t afford him anymore. I personally have had it with mare owners who continue to breed just to send the mare off days before she’s due. There is a huge disconnect between your action today and the reality some 340 days down the road.

    • Yes they do. They are anti-mustang. They rent thousands and thousands of government acreage for their cattle and they are against anything that could have any impact at all on their cattle.

      • Roisin

        They are a big lobby too. And when it comes to money/costs how much do ranchers pay to run their cattle on public lands ? Perhaps an increase in rent would be a good source of revenue to help feed the mustangs/wild horses. In addition, cattle do a lot more damage to land than horses, which is a cost too. It is time to take a good look at a situation that has flown under the radar for too long.

        • Yes they are. And really, the land where the mustangs live is not really good grazing for cattle. They are also anti-wolf and kill them regularly. They basically are living their lives exactly how they want – using government land and are a law unto themselves.

          • ROISIN

            You are correct. Esentially they “hate” anything they perceive as a treat, whether it is justified or not and their solution is always KILL !! They have had their way for so long they see no reason to compromise or be reasonable. However, everything changes eventually.

  • Gloria Eighmey

    Yes its incomprehensible that our country would slaughter any animal that is not raised for food and so are given banned and toxic substances. And I too think it is a great factor and turning point to help ban all horse slaughter. And this seems to effect a lot of politicians who don’t seem to care about all the other reasons to stop horses slaughter. But even if the horse meat isn’t toxic, 80% of Americans are still against horse slaughter for all the other that the majority of our politicians don’t seem to care about any other reasons. Just the toxic meat. That is plain sad, disgusting and wrong. With or without the toxic meat issue horse slaughter should be, and needs to be banned.

  • Gloria Eighmey

    Yes its incomprehensible that our country would slaughter any animal that is not raised for food and so are given banned and toxic substances. And I too think the toxic meat is a great factor and turning point to help ban all horse slaughter. And this issue even seems to effect a lot of politicians who don’t seem to care about all the other important reasons to stop horse slaughter. But even if the horse meat isn’t toxic, 80% of Americans are still against horse slaughter for many other reasons. Reasons it seems so many our politicians don’t seem to care about. That is plain sad, maddening,and wrong. With or without the toxic meat issue, horse slaughter should be, and needs to be banned.

  • Catherine Brewton

    How in this world did Ferdinand and Exceller end up slaughtered, (I hate that word),…. Regardless of horses not being suitable for consumption, I think is irrelevant unless that fact ends this horrific business. It just pains me to know the fate of these amazing creatures. Greed and evil ……. The bottom line. My PRAYERS go out to all the animals that have suffered and had their lives destroyed because of human monsters.

    • circusticket

      I don’t understand how stopping horse slaughter here will prevent another country from slaughtering another Ferdinand. Our laws pertain to us and not any other country.

      • Roisin

        It has to start somewhere even if other countries continue to slaughter horses. There can be “return clauses” for horses, mainly stallions, sold to other countries

        • upstarthere

          Not just “mainly stallions”.

          • Roisin

            Yess indeed. I should have said any horse because that is how it should apply.

      • indyone

        We can only do what we can do. Just because we can’t stop other countries from slaughtering their horses doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop it here!

  • The AAEP and the AVMA have broken their own Oaths to protect the horse. They are all about the buck not the welfare of the horse.. Being this is the case a boycott to any Vet that is represented by the AVMA or the AAEP. Also boycott any car, boat, or home insurance with FARM BUREAU. Any less monies to them are less for them to push their lies about the horses or waste our time. Let them know we can make them or break them..

    • Yes, that is what is so sad – that vets support slaughter. And they are hypocrites. On the one hand they are pro-slaughter, but on the other hand if an owner wants to euthanize a healthy horse they refuse to do it.

  • FastBernieB

    The more I think about this issue the more complex it becomes. I would never eat a horse. In the past I’ve had two horses (standardbreds) that I had to retire. I was fortunate that both horses had a temperment that enabled them to transition to riding horses / pets. I was able to give them away in each instance to teenage girls and I slept well at night knowing these horses were probably enjoying life a lot more with their new owners than they did with me. I would have kept them in my condo rather than send them for slaughter.Total no-brainer.
    For me it becomes complicated when I look down at my bacon cheeseburger. I’m okay with the fact that 2 animals were “processed” to become part of my lunch. I would never eat a rabbit, a dog or a cat since I’ve had all 3 as pets. Yet dogs are eaten routinely in parts of China, rabbits are on the menu in North America and the rumor is that the occasional cat ends up passing for chicken in Chinese restaurants (not sure about that one).
    I guess the question I struggle with is this: If horses are raised specifically as protein intended for “processing” and human consumption, is that any different than what I see as perfectly fine when cattle and hogs are raised for the same purpose? For health and ethical reasons, performance horses should never be slaughtered for consumption – thats an easy one. But should it be okay to grow horsemeat as a commodity for consumption that requires the slaughter of these animals? I wouldn’t do it but I’m not sure its my place to tell others not to.
    I wish I had an answer that made sense to me.

    • Yes, the more one considers all the sub issues – the more complicated the entire thing becomes. And as someone who runs a horse rescue, many people sleep good at night feeling they found a home for their horse. But often those horses move on to several other homes before finding their way to slaughter. The teenager goes away to college, the family moves, people become unemployed, the list of things that can happen is endless. There is no guarantee of a permanent good home. I was fortunate that as a barefoot trimmer I knew all the clients who adopted our horses. But eventually I came to the place where we no longer rehome horses. There is real risk in it – horses live to be 30 or older. I don’t take in any horse I don’t plan on keeping for the rest of its life.

      The other issue is the whole is it right to raise animals in factory farms. I don’t believe so. I do not eat chicken. I confess I still eat pork – but I feel guilty. Once you realize that all animals are not that different from our pets, slaughter become more distasteful. I do eat meat, but not much. One cow could support me for a year or more. Maybe longer – I haven’t done the math.

      There are not easy answers. And the answers are not the same for everyone.

  • We need to protect our wild mustangs from slaughter and from the destruction of their rights to graze. The cattlemen want to have the land for their herds, and we need to lobby for the rights of one of our national treasures, the mustang.

    • Lhartley

      think of all the wild horses being held in pens in private facilities that we as taxpayers are not allowed to see because they are private. there are THOUSANDS of wild horses i captivity with more every year because of the illegal actions of the BLM. there is where some of this outrage could be directed.

  • Lonnie S.

    The federal government can not nor do they intend to try and stop horses bound for slaughter from crossing into Mexico, the US has a huge problem with unwanted horses as far as the Gov. are concerned Mexico is away to get rid of them, they can not stop the illegals from crossing and taking our jobs, what makes you or them think they can or will stop the horses from crossing that are creating jobs(how ever inhumane they are) and putting millions into there economy. Think about all that. Who are you and US government to decide what other countries eat for that matter people who live in the US eat. Obama ate dog is that ok, did he think it was wrong???
    Horse are not and never have been raised for food. As for bute, it is used in humans to treat arthritic but its not safe to eat meat from a horse that was treated with it years ago? What is the withdraw period on bute or do the people quoted in this article know what a withdraw period is?

    • Roisin

      What is going on inside your head ? One glaring error is the use of bute. No, bute (phenylbutazone) is not used in humans because of very serious side effects.

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