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Court Lifts Temporary Ban On Horse Slaughter

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An appeals court has vacated the ban on U.S. horse slaughter. 

A horse is an American icon. From the pioneers who utilized horses to explore the U.S. frontier, to the equines that have been glorified in movies, to the working cattle horses that helped trail cattle, to horse races and shows, everyone loves a horse, although some perceptions of that horse are more realistic than others.

Never before in our nation’s history has the horse been more mistreated than when horse slaughter was banned in 2007. The ban, pushed by animal rights activists, resulted in horses being hauled long distances to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered, while horses were abandoned on roadsides to starve and die, and horse owners were left with no outlet but expensive euthanasia for disposal of unwanted stock.

The horse slaughter issue has been in the courts numerous times, and the decision has been overturned several times since the initial ban. On Dec. 14, a federal appeals court removed a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter, clearing the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to open while an appeal of a lawsuit by animal rights groups proceeds, according to ABC News.

ABC News reports, “The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted the emergency injunction it issued in November after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and others appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Albuquerque. The judge said USDA followed proper procedure in issuing permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM, Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, MO, and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, IA.”

Meanwhile, HSUS has vowed to keep up its fight to ban horse slaughter in the U.S.

Jeri Clausing for ABC News adds, “The issue has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country's horse overpopulation, and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.”

What do you think about this ongoing debate about horse slaughter? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

 

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Discuss this Blog Entry 31

Scott Christensen (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Yes we all know that the horse is an American Icon. But there has to be a balance of them. I feel that there is a real need for humane slaughter. There are thousands of horses that are starving and it is a sad thing. I am a horse lover and have 3 of my own but this is something that must be. The government is feeding thousands of the mustangs and some that are not true mustangs, that have been removed from public lands. Some of the ones that i refer to as NOT true mustangs that people have abandoned in the wild just because they have nowhere for them and then they are left there to starve. I am totally for a humane slaughter for these unwanted animals.

Ed Fowler (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Today I have seven horses grazing on my ranch, I own 3, the rest are strays that folks who could not afford to care for and just turned loose and they wound up here.

It is sad to see them abandoned and witness their plight as the bunny huggers have sentenced them to this fate.

John R. Dykers, Jr (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Amen. We have removed a noble exit for a noble beast.

I pleaded with Sens. Burr and Hagan and our NC slate of representative in the Congress at the time to oppose the passage of such foolish legislation, but to no avail.

Support Sue Wallis and her efforts in maintaining legal horse slaughter and keep up the good fight against the misleading foolishness of HSUS.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

You just defeated your own stand. To date their is no humane way to slaughter a horse. I guess America is full of fat rich cattlemen who has forgot what a financial crisis people have been through as well.I dont call horses being hit in the face up to 14 times with a captive bolt humane. The cattlemans association is who you should lay blame on. They eradicated the wild horses natural predators so they could over graze HMA's for profit and screw American tax payers. Now you well educated folks go do your research.. there is no such thing as humane slaughter.

Shar (not verified)
on Dec 19, 2013

That is a very contradictory statement about humane death. Do you really think having a predator kill an animal, which can take over an hour while it is screaming, a more humane death? And predators like coyotes often kill for fun, or without eating. I find ewes with their udder eaten. And other sheep with their lower jaw torn off so the coyote can eat just the tounge. THESE ARE LIVE ANIMALS, that I need to shot as soon as I see them. Humans kill animals as humanely as possible, predators do not kill very humanely most of the time.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 21, 2013

I suppose when your eating a big steak that we fat cattlemen put on that plate were not so bad then huh.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 28, 2013

First Scott, there is NO SUCH THING AS HUMANE HORSE SLAUGHTER. Just because you use the word humane in front of the word slaughter does not make it so. Horses are classified as companion animals by the FDA. They are not livestock. Cattle and other livestock that are raised for human consumption are used to being herded in lines that go into boxes where the door shuts and they receive an ear tag, the door opens and they are released, next? Then, another day, they may be herded again into lines, the door is shut and they are inoculated....the door opens and they are released, next? When their day comes, instead of receiving an inoculation, they are stun-bolted and hopefully, it is enough to kill them so they are not aware of what will happen to them next. It is not this way with horses. They are led into that box for the first time in their lives when they are going to be slaughtered, and they KNOW it is not good and fight for their lives. They move their heads to miss the stun-bolt and the majority of the time.....FACT.....the majority of the time, they are alive and conscious when they are strung up and vivisected. Humane, Scott? Far from it. This is how it is done right here in the USofA. This is NOT the answer. The problem in this country is over-breeding by the Quarterhorse Association and backyard breeders who want horse slaughter so kill buyers will pay them for their unwanted horses and then take them away. Responsible members of the industry admit it is time for responsible regulations. As for the BLM and our wild horses and burros. That is about cattle grazing. They want our legally protected wild horses and burros off our public lands and blame all the damage that has been done on our public lands, on them, when there are maybe 60,000 wild horses and burros, including those that have been forced off their legally designated land into holding facilities.....and there are MILLIONS of cattle. Horses roam when they forage and eat several different kinds of plants, most of which cattle do not eat. Because they move around, they do not do the kind of damage millions of head of cattle do. In a recent $40million land assessment study, the largest the BLM has ever undertaken, it was discovered that the BLM excluded all cattle grazing data, rendering this expensive taxpayer paid study useless. (See PEER Reports) Removing our wild horses and burros is not about their over-foraging and not about their over-population. It is about cattle grazing interests wanting more grazing land. And that is what horse slaughter is about.......money. The Quarterhorse Association gets paid for their over-breeding, the backyard breeders get paid for their over-breeding, the wealthy foreign interests get their tainted meat, and the cattle grazers and let's not forget the fracking industry, get rid of our Wild Horses and Burros......all subsidized on the backs of the American taxpayers...who will also have to pay for all the waste water ad environmental violations that will inevitably ensue, not to mention the loss of good jobs that will flee from any area a horse slaughter facility is situated, the rise in crime and stolen horses across the country, and the emotional tole it will take on any community that is forced to see in person the tole it takes on an animal we hold dear in this country. If you want to know what it is like to live in a town with a horse slaughter facility, read the Paula Bacon letter. Ms. Bacon was the Mayor of Kaufman, TX when Dallas Crown horse slaughterhouse was in her town. Read this letter and you will know. Kaufmanzoning.net

Charles R. phelps (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Sure they should re-open the slaughter facilities, this is the humane thing to do.

Ron Freeman, Freeman Bros Ranching (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

When we react to a problem based on percieved ideas constructed around emotional issues, the solutions that are put forth often exacerbate the problem. We have elevated horses to a stature that inhibits all sound reasoning when it comes to slaughter. Our country also has a problem confronting and understanding death. We as a country and society often want to insulate ourselves from these issues. This only complicates finding suitable solutions. Horse slaughter is necessary, not only for a great food source, but also as a protection against overgrazing, starvation and over population. Understanding the natural world would help with a realistic view of this problem.
In a recent editorial, I wrote a few sentences that grasp the core of the problem, "Don't allow the ropes of emotionalism to bind your heart and spirit. Allow instead the threads of faith to cloak you in common sense."

on Dec 17, 2013

Everyone loves horses, but any rational conversation about how to fix the horse overpopulation issue immediately goes off the rails because an overwhelming portion of people in this country try and to ascribe human emotions to horses.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 29, 2013

Ever think of not letting them breed? Castrate the males? Or, are you getting some big thrill out of watching them breed? Or, think your run of the mill colt is the next AQHA Champion? Or the next Secretariat?
Just quit breeding. Get the cattle off the Public Land and the Wild horses will be just fine.

on Dec 17, 2013

What about food safety? The horse slaughterhouses take in randomly sourced horses. That includes horses used for medical research and stolen pets. All frozen and prepared foods would be at risk of contamination, just like in Europe.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Introduce a food safety policy - owner of record must declare all medications used in the last 6 months. Don't believe the safety of EU horse meat has been challenged, although bute is not accepted – just its substitution for beef.
Horses for medical research?

on Dec 17, 2013

They just raided a bunch of places in the south of France, 21 arrests so far. Horses used in medical research had their passports fraudulently changed and the meat entered the food supply. It is against the law there, but not here.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

B. S.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

We in the USA are slowly loosing our freedoms. If I want to allow my horses to be slaughtered that is my business. If you don't want your horses to be slaughtered that's your business. Why do we in this country want to impose our wishes on everyone else?

on Dec 17, 2013

Because you don't have enough horses to keep the slaughterhouses in business.

Susan Humphrey (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

170,000+ US horses went to slaughter in Canada and Mexico in 2012 alone. There are plenty of horses in this country to keep several slaughterhouses in business.

tguide (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

It's about time this got settled. And the HSUS can take a flying leap. They are extremist vegans who have only one agenda....and that is to kill any animal use of any kind...whether it's for food or entertainment. They live off the pocket books of people that fall for the false advertising of dog and cat abuse.

Bruner Stockstill (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Everyone else in the world eats horse except Americans!
I am for the humane slaughter of horses.
I have had several given to me to take care until I could find a home for them. Everyone loves a horse but very few have the money or space to have one. Horse breeding is out of control, just like cats and dogs. It is time for America to wake up to reality.

The people take cry about slaughtering horses have no Idea what they are talking about!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Passing laws against something seldom works. Look how well prohibition worked and how well the war on drugs is working. Both created the incentive/profit for more criminal activity.

There have been improvements in techniques for spaying mares. Perhaps if the no-slaughter folks would promote/fund spaying mares they could cut down on horse slaughter without creating the unintended consequences of slaughter bans.

Rafter S Ranch (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Certianly there should be plants that are inspected and used to process horses. These animals are a great food source for most countries. It is interesting that the people who are making a unrealistic deal out of this are people who do not own horses but live in a dream world. When asked, most of these people do not have a clue as to what really happens to unwanted horses. Why in the world do our politicans not stand up for what is right on this issue.

LantzM (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

The Bison/Buffalo is an Icon that also symbolizes America. More now than ever before, return to healthy populations from extinction and demanding center stage in everything from high end cuisine to your favorite burger.
The horse industry faces a different battle, there are just too many that do not hold value in today's world of horses. It's not the horses fault that cars, tractors, atv and such have taken over its job on the farms. The cost of a years care, training and competition has eclipsed the value of the horse and the desire to compete. The near and sometimes free buy into the industry has placed horses in the care of people who have no clue, with unintended consequences hitting us all, including the horse. FYI, the #1 head trauma reported in North America is falls from horses. Think about that while ya can, before you fall and smack your mellon. We have less daily user of horses than ever in history, but we have more head trauma. There are people who do not belong on a horse, eating it may be a better way for them to invest and participate.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Slaughter has been an option for disposal of unwanted horses since cessation of USDA inspection in the US... The profit margin has decreased due to transport expenses involved in longer distances. USDA export records reveal that US horses exported have remained consistent with pre 2007 US slaughter numbers. The numbers are the same - the slaughter site is different.

Equine Information Documents are a requirement at all horse auctions. The intent is disclosure of medical records - however, it is proven that these documents are frequently falsified in order to expedite turn around time. Feed costs money... Additionally, has anyone given any thought to what would happen if there is no European market, due to the drugs routinely given to American horses? . Seems to me that Beef people would be more concerned about marketing and promoting their own product, which is raised for human consumption, and far less drug infused from start to finish. .

A taxation or licensing of horse breeding operations, with the resulting funds utilized for disposal of infirm and unusable animals, and the gelding/spaying, and rehabilitation and training of those that are salvageable would assist in resolution of the problem, and curtail mass production of "slaughter fodder" (unwanted horses) simply because the animal can breed.

K.McKenzie (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Horse slaughter is an ugly necessity just like the procedures we have in place all over this country to handle the overpopulation of dogs and cats. There are not enough homes or people willing or able to take care of these blessed creatures until their natural deaths...I , personally feel the greater issue here is how do we IMPROVE this procedure for the animals. You CANNOT haul horses crammed like sardines safely or humanely to be slaughtered . You CANNOT group horses of all types of dispositions, sizes, ages, or physical ailments in a safe or HUMANE way. It just can't be done! BUT it IS and WAS so....here is where I think WE as horse lovers need to put our passion! Try to get the BEST and most HUMANE procedures for horse slaughter and transport in this country through our voices to our congress and senate. Let's keep communicating and keep this discussion going and MAYBE some GOOD ideas will surface.

Jes (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

There is no over population of horses there is however a giant problem with welfare ranchers destroying forage for all animals. Humane horse slaughter does not exist. This and the environmental ramifications are why it was closed in the first place. We. Don't. Slaughter. Our. Horses. It's unamerican and filthy.

Frances Jones (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Every year we have 7 to 9 old mares that are retired from the broodmare bands due to age. Before I had a market to regain some salvage value from these mares which was approximately $.50/lb. Now, I don't. I refuse to send them to Mexico and be killed in that inhumane manner so we have no choice but to dispose of them on the ranch. I would love to see the cattle raisers revolt when their avenue of disposal and salvage value on their old and non reproductive cows was cut off at the pass and they had to dispose of them at their cost with no salvage revenue at all.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

If every horse owner was responsible and had the berries to do what was in the best interest in the horse, horse slaughter would not be necessary. If you cannot or do not want to take care of your horse or cannot find it a decent home where it will be cared for properly, the only humane option is to dig a hole and shoot it. If your horse is old, crippled and unable to live a respectable pain free life, shoot it and put it in a hole. Problem is, most horse owners do not possess the brass to handle these issues when they cannot find a home for the horse. Insert horse slaughter, a much better alternative to starving to death. Give me the choice between two lines, knock in the head or starve to death, I will be in the knock in the head line EVERY time.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Dec 17, 2013

Why don't the 'bleeding heart' people spend equally to protect house cats from being slaughtered and eaten, yes, even in the USA, I'm told. Dogs and who knows what else are eaten.
What elevates the horse above the cute, cuddly small animals in the minds of these activists? But, really, isn't it arrogant of us to tell other people what they may, or may not eat???

BTW, where are the "welfare ranchers", and how can they continue 'ranching' if they "destroy forage for all animals"? That statement is ludicrous on many levels!

Government agencies in charge of so called wild horses are the guilty parties in overgrazing of federal lands where those wild horses graze. Allowing those horses to overpopulate the range, and glamorizing horses, many of which actually are feral horses, descended from domestic horses abandoned on those ranges generations ago, has caused that overgrazing. They should be better managed to perpetuate the horses with true heritage of wild horses. The practice of paying people to 'house' excess feral horses off those ranges is not a good solution, either, with exception of when done with self financing, instead of our hard earned tax dollars.

Regarding 'problems' with drugs in horse meat, that can well be solved. It really is tiresome hearing all the fear mongering re. fraud and cheating...........if that were the basis for not slaughtering horses, why have laws about anything?????

mrj

K.McKenzie (not verified)
on Dec 18, 2013

Jes, overpopulation to me is when there is an abundance of an animal that no one wants, in this case it is our horses found advertised in all trade newspapers for FREE and STILL no one wants...And since the ban on slaughter the numbers have risen especially in the aging horse population because some owners DO NOT want to deal with the reality that their horse is not going to live forever. We can't put our heads in the sand we need to figure out the best way to handle this problem.Humanely....it can be done...it more than likely will cost more which we all know is one of the obstacles to get over so we can move closer to the goal. Keep discussing this issue we need the ideas.

Shar (not verified)
on Dec 19, 2013

What predators do to kill is a lot less humane than a shot.

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