Many months ago, some friends and I were talking about the proposed ban on horse slaughter and its ramifications for ag. At that time, I didn't consider it a major issue but as one looks at how this issue has evolved into H.R. 503, "The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act," it's obvious it's a major issue for the beef industry.

In our society, the horse has never been considered a meat animal, which reflects my beliefs as well. Horses are unique animals and rightly so. No one is going to be in support of horse processing, but it's a very important management practice.

A recent National Cattlemen's Beef Association editorial equated passage of such a bill as a slippery slope leading to dire changes in livestock agriculture. It becomes especially concerning when one considers some of the supporters of this bill. One can't help but see this bill as a serious threat to our business.

If issues such as these are defined or decided based on emotion, then we have to understand horses are the easy target, but not the last target. Animal harvest must be done humanely and in a sanitary manner, and such laws exist already to provide such animal and human protections.

As a college kid, I worked for a weekly horse auction. The fact is there's a percentage of the horse population that's going to be disposed of every year -- that's the reality. The cattle industry has a vested interest in defeating this bill. We can't let emotion-based restrictions occur, in any business.
-- Troy Marshall