My View From The Country

New Mexico Horse Stunt Hurts All Producers

Our industry must address the need to identify and throw out the irresponsible players in our industry.

The animal rights community was abuzz last week, when an individual associated with a proposed New Mexico horse-slaughter plant created his own video. In the video, the individual leads what looks like a healthy horse to a spot in a dirt road, strokes the animal, says “All you animal activists, (expletive) you,” and then shoots the horse in the head. The apparent purpose was to taunt the animal rights community; instead, it greatly bolstered their cause.

I can understand the emotions that most livestock producers harbor toward radical environmental and animal rights people. After all, nobody cares more than ranchers about the land and/or the animals entrusted to their care. It’s part of our code and who we are; thus, it’s totally contrary to our being when someone challenges our commitment to such deeply held beliefs.

But while it’s a sacred trust that we believe and uphold on a daily basis, we also have to realize that there are a few people out there who don’t act appropriately or fail to live up to those standards.

There’s a growing realization in the U.S. that the horse slaughter ban has resulted in a precipitous increase in animal abuse and animal cruelty cases. The horse-slaughter ban has had the exact opposite effect of what was intended by those who supported the law. It’s only tangible results have been to increase animal welfare problems and the abuse of horses, while lowering the overall value of horses.

Just when it appears that common sense and a factual-based approach to the problem is possible, we get an individual making a video like this. It’s bad enough when you get the staged and misleading videos created by the radical activists, but it is far worse when a legitimate video so negatively reflects on an individual who is actually part of the industry.

Of course, this individual was summarily fired. While he may be that one in 100,000 individuals who doesn’t embrace our core beliefs, we still have to ask ourselves how we can find these individuals and eliminate them from our industry. And we have to, because the damage they cause is significant and real.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 11

on Mar 28, 2013

Pretty simple: this is the mentality of those who kill horses, it's a different type of killing. It's not like cattle. Cattle are herded, raised, and determined to be processed. We work hard to keep our cattle within restrictions and make it as easy as possible for our stock to be part of the food chain. However, my personal experience in horses and in cattle is that the element of the people who into killing horses differ in that their demeanors change and they are not as mentally stable as the other processors. So you ask how would I know-I used to work in the horse processing industry wouldn't wish the knowledge I have on anyone. The man who produced the video he is not just the sole person involved in making your industry look bad-every person who trailers, buys, forges documentation on drugs, or runs the slaughter line they are like this or arrive at this in a short period of time. It takes a pretty shady person to do this work, its not like the honest work in cattle, you raise your meat and take it in-you declare whats in it and sell a product everyone anywhere including pets can eat. But in the horse processing industry-this man he's NOT just one person you have to control, there are many many people who make up this particular industry that will bring shame on the livestock community. I read both sides of the issue and the one thing that your side is lacking is the experience to know that this man is what you will be dealing with daily in this-I assure you-its not an isolated incident. As well, keep in mind, this rise in interests fighting against horse slaughter is because all of the innocent horse people who have remained silent are finally waking up to the reality that they are NOT seeing all that pro-slaughter side is claiming, trust me, regular horse people have been verifying facts and when you look at the facts the cdc shows on horse meat issues its hard to dispute. So you are not looking at one person being stupid here. And your statement actually sounds more like a threat, or an insinuation of a threat that he should be "taken care of " be aware important people to your industry look at things like this and consider that maybe their own industry MAY BE getting a little out of control. I am not a pro-slaughter advocate because I don't believe we should manipulate the public from high places for financial gains-maybe that's why I have hundreds of millions to speak for itself, and some people have a few words in print. Use caution in all things.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 6, 2013

You have an agenda, and what you say is a bunch of crock!!!!!!!!! STOP BREEDING so many horses people!! IT IS NOT HUMANE pratice and never ever will be, THANK GOD for the people who care about horses as we ALL should and anyone and I mean anyone who says the answer is slaughter DOES NOT CARE about the horses, it is profit and money greed for ones own agenda!!!! I own horses and would never ever ever agree to slaughter it is MY RESPONSIBILTY to care for them, it is a nasty disgusting business everything about it!!! If it was here it would not be any better than in Foriegn country's don't you remember when we use to have them do you not learn from your mistakes and lessons in life!?!?! Oh my god, this is beyond me can't even fathom it!!! Just a BAD BAD idea to start this up it's CRAZY is what it is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

on Mar 29, 2013

I read where this man actually eats horsemeat and was putting the animal down for that purpose. The animal seems calm and doesn't suffer when he puts it down, but what he says when he shoots the horse makes it seem more like an angry person executing a hostage. Very sad.

JD Golonka (not verified)
on Mar 29, 2013

People all over the world eat things some of us may think is not right, to them its fine. Horse meat in europe,dog meat in asia and latin america. I went to a burro barbque in hawaii, unknowingly. Its not what we eat that matters, nor does your opinon of what I eat matter,well maybe to you. We do need checks and balances in this world. I believe most folks ranch because they love it and treat the land and animals with respect and dignity. Some people are driven by the love of money and well do what ever they deem necessary to accomplish their selfish goals. Some people are just plain stupid, like this guy the articule is about.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 29, 2013

I think this guy probably feels frustrated that his livelihood is threatened by these slaugher ban folks, and he did something without thinking it through. And I hope he regrets it. I agree that it looks like the horse is very calm, didn't see anything coming and didn't appear to suffer, but it looks bad because he's so angry. I hate to see this.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 29, 2013

The video was over a year old. The portion shown was part of a, as I understand. Edited by the animal terrorists who released it. I do not know the e.tire story about the video....

on Mar 29, 2013

I thought this over last night, this morning as well. A week ago I had called the Canada and the EU discussing the horse processing and I am finding out that abattoirs in Ireland are shutting down horse processing in many locations, all the different countries are having issues exposed since the horse meat scandal. I have built my fortune off the cattle industry-I have another fortune in manufacturing and I will say even with the amount of income I have if your portfolio isn't like mine this isn't a good gamble. I am also mulling over what the EU indicated about the ramifications of the unknown medications, risk of Bute and the problems tracing random horses down. So if we have a horsemeat scandal I am afraid I would lose a fortune just with the opening of one slaughterhouse in America. With this man's performance and the statements from Canada I got first-hand I am NOT willing to give up the money and investment I have in the beef industry. So I don't think that its worth the residual effects and if people wish to eat horses they may do so at their own risk without risking America's seat in the Meat industry. Consumer confidence is lower than expected and a few small articles on the consumption of horse meat being up-literally is a fad that Britain stated a story was indicating horse meat sales were up 600 percent. However, some fact checking and it was found out that was because they only seat 20 people-very small, and they claimed 100 burgers a week, once pressed it was 14 extra sandwhiches which averages out to 600 percent based on none sold before. Do the math folks-these are pranks to make light of the situation. I want to base my facts on the beef industry and keep in the money. Its not just symbolic to be the leader in the meats but its critical. I think the horse meat industry will throw this away for you and I. The difference I can stand the losses and can invest in other areas to diversify my portfolio, many farms even large ones cant afford to lose any part of the market and it would cost them deeply. So we need to consider this-the market in Europe is damaged, the Mexican slaughter market was Exposed in Mexico News yesterday, so when we review the world's news on this situation it's not looking promising. Once the fact that horse's are NOT abandoned they are purchased for slaughter is in the light we will not be able to protect the beef industry. We don't need those bad business practices to be assumed in our industry. I worked to hard for my money and people like the man in the video, they are all over the place in the slaughter industry-we don't need this backlash-we got RID of it and we need to keep it out.

HSUS Hater (not verified)
on Mar 29, 2013

First and formost, humanely slaughtering any animal is not something ever meant for viewing. Part of the humane animal handling practices is minimum contact to avoid stress and the fewer the better around the actual point of harvesting any animal. While personally I would never consume horse meat, there are cultures who do and therefore providing a humane end to a horses life. Compare the number of horse animal cruelty cases when we had a viable horse slaughter industry VS now where there isn't. Vastly different and anyone who is opposed on principle had better examine the facts and leave the emotions out of this debate.
All horses eventially will leave tis earth and we as caretakers should makhe sure they don't suffer or starve as is the case with more and more.

Anonymous (not verified)
on Apr 6, 2013

First off, I have horses and it is MY responsibilty to care for them you are always going to have people who do not, it has NOT gotten any worse, that's an excuse the pro slaughter people use it is plain and simple MONEY BIG MONEY and GREED!! They don't care about the horses or people give me a break!! Why the Cattleman's Ass. wants this is beyond me UNLESS of course they want to mix horse meat with beef and get more for your money less cost to them!? American Quarter horse Ass. WANTS slaughter do you know how many foals they produce in a year it would shock you 150,000 YES you read it right so give me a break about helping the horses!!! Go to a video of horse slaughter and see if you agree this is a humane and easy death for a horse!!! I am just a regular person if you will (not an activist) but I AGREE with the horse activist they DESERVE better from all of us!!! IF we have slaughter in this country again it will make the problem with horses worse with no responsiblity at all just drop them off and keep on a raising them then drop them off!!! IT is an unacceptable practice. MOST of the horses are young and healthy in case you were wondering!!! WE ALL CAN DO BETTER for the horse they deserve it we owe it them, there are all kinds of things we can do to help them different avenues!!! Oh my goodness I JUST can't help but wonder why some people have not learned from our mistakes in the past when slaughter was here, they WERE NOT ANY BETTER than foriegn ones many were shut down because of inhumane pratices and sanitation issues and communities where they were, were destroyed... WHY do you suppose Slaughter SUE is picking remote out of the way places to try and start these plants up again!!??? IT is such a terrible idea to start and also with the meat situation if you don't think our meat could be tainted just like the other country's you are very much mistaken, oh but we don't eat it here oh but it's ok for other country's to eat it, oh my god !!!! It WILL get into our meat too !!!! Honestly just a bad bad situation to start up!!!

Anonymous (not verified)
on Mar 29, 2013

BrandRanchCEO has really hit the mark with his reply. How come none of you readers that are thinking the topic here is a "one bad apple" type of scenario respond to his comments? You can't be that naive I'm sure.....

Debbie (not verified)
on May 7, 2013

It is a LIE, that we have more abused and neglected horses since the slaughter has closed, BECAUSE we HAVE HAD IT, that's crap...... Pro Slaughter uses that cause everything they say as to why we need it is lies EVERY single BIT OF IT... IT Is all about MONEY and GREED, and Breeders AQHA can get rid of horses cheaply and quickly disgusting, and yet last year they Reg. 150,000 foals, yup that shows a lot of responsibility, something that group does not have is accountability, it makes me so unbelievably angry..... AND what about all these years with NO testing program for our horses we still ship them overseas for others to eat BUT NOT US oh no, the WHOLE slaughter crap is just that.... I can't even fathom that we have not as a country learned from having the slaughter plants here what a nightmare all the way around the slaughter industry.. SO instead of going forward were are going backward, smart right?? If I were in the BEEF industry I would be paying more attention to their own beef instead of horses how stupid is that folks, we are already leary on anything eating anything with BEEF.... Everything humans touch they kill and destroy, sad, sad world we live in...

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What's My View From The Country?

As a fulltime rancher, opinion contributor Troy Marshall brings a unique perspective on how consumer and political trends affect livestock production.


Troy Marshall

Troy Marshall is a multi-generational rancher who grew up in Wheatland, WY, and obtained an Equine Science/Animal Science degree from Colorado State University where he competed on both the livestock...

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