Misguided laws

In 2007, the last horse slaughterhouse in the U.S. was shut down, the end result of a campaign by horse lovers and animal rights organizations to stop the killing of horses for human food consumption.

It was a fight based on emotional appeal and on the part of the non-affiliated and bona fide horse lovers it was made, from their viewpoint, with all of the best intentions.

Opponents argue that domestic horses shouldn’t be used to satisfy foreign palates. Horses played a special role in U.S. history, they say, helping conquer the West, providing the sinews of early commerce and serving as majestic friends — but not food animals.

It was also a perfect battle for animal rights groups who would like to see all slaughterhouses shut down but are quite happy to take what they can get, one step at a time.

“It’s a step closer to the long-term goal of banning slaughter in North America,” said Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States. “There are fewer horses slaughtered.”

Like so many laws that are passed based on passion and pandering to a narrow vision, this one had its own set of unintended consequences.

No one disputes that slaughter-bound horses have it far worse today than before U.S. courts, upholding state bans, ended horse slaughter at two plants in Texas earlier this year and at the nation’s single remaining one in Illinois on Sept. 21.


The forced closure of the last horse-killing facilities in the USA, done at the urging of animal rights activists, has caused a herd of unwanted horses in animal shelters nationwide, according to breeders, ranchers and horse rescuers.The surplus threatens to worsen if Congress passes a bill to ban the selling of unwanted horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.

The fact is that although the law shutting down the slaughterhouses in the US may give a warm glow to those who see horses as an icon animal and may satisfy the animal rights groups ongoing agenda, those horses that have outlived their time will still be dead, although not eaten – and maybe that is what this is all about. You can kill them when they become redundant but for God’s sake, you can’t eat them!

I would guess that very few horse owners have the facilities or the finances to maintain an animal once it has gone lame or simply aged beyond its useful days. As sad as that may be, it is just a fact of life. Those animals will be disposed of one way or another.

Where prior to the legislation they would have been sold to a US slaughterhouse where the methods used can be monitored and controlled, now there is no control.

The American slaughterhouses killed horses quickly by driving steel pins into their brains, a method the American Veterinary Medical Association considers humane. Workers in some Mexican plants, by contrast, disable them by stabbing them with knives to sever their spinal cords, said Temple Grandin, a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

“My worst nightmare has happened,” Dr. Grandin said. “This is an example of well-intentioned but very bad unintended consequences.”

It isn’t the first time that misguided laws have been passed and it certainly won’t be the last. Politicians have a strong tendency to vote where the noise comes from.

All of this could easily lead me into a rant about Canadian gun laws, but I will forego that indulgence.


Tags: ,

5 Responses to “Misguided laws”

  1. vicki Says:

    Perhaps if your blog was posted earlier this year, readers may have believed your comments. You are quoting Temple Grandin. A woman that consults on cattle slaughter facilities. Did you really think she would dismiss her own work? Have you read the investigative reports (complete with police records) that have proven that, with rare exception, the articles portraying abandoned horses and neglect are bogus? Are you aware that the abandonment and neglect statistics are no higher than when the domestic kill houses were open? Since slaughter is still available through the same channels – same kill buyers, same auctions and same feedlots, how do you arrive at the conclusion that ending slaughter is the cause of all horse woes? Where does the cost of hay and the economy come into play? Shouldn’t you wait until slaughter is gone before coming to those conclusions? And more to the point, if slaughter was the cure all, why aren’t the horses going to slaughter now?

    The laws were not passed because of emotions. That’s not to say this is not an emotional issue but there is no reason that a non food animal in this country should be slaughtered – for any reason. The Europeans can slaughter their own horses, not American Horses. If people cannot afford to care for a horse in life and in death, they have no business owning one. If breeders cannot care for the horses they bring into the world, they shouldn’t be breeding. Slaughter only promotes the breed and dump cycle. It’s time people took responsibility for their animals. They made a conscious decision to own or breed and they need to step up and not expect rescues or anyone to bail them out. They created their own mess and they can clean it up. BTW-if the rescues weren’t still rescuing from the kill buyers, there would be more room to take in horses for those owners that have truly fallen on hard times and can no longer afford their animal. The people that abuse and neglect their horses did so when the domestic kill houses were open and they’ll do so when slaughter is gone. There is no correlation between the two.

  2. Thomas Lee Trevino Says:

    Horses have been going to Mexico for slaughter longer than I can remember only secretly. Beltex had a plant in Fort Worth and in mexico. Not until they were shut down and slightly before the Pro slaughter folks cried and lied to the public. Now exposed there still not doing nothing to protect the horses from going to mexico. They have never put any funds to protecting horses from going to slaughter. The AQHA and other associations are the main problem they feed the over breeders with profits and lies. They ignore laws and the will of the American People to abolish horse slaughter. The AVMA and the AAEP knew this for years horses were going to mexico and hauled in Double Deckers and did nothing they have taken an Oath in office to protect the horses and have failed. We will abolish horse slaughter and all sellouts like the senator that holds our bill S311 from passage the same senator Larry Craig that got caught with his hand under another mans Urinals for sex and once found guilty he refused to step down and paid his $200,000 fines with his Campaign funds. We will not tolerate ignorance and sellouts in America. Horse slaughter promote abuse and neglect and also is a employment future for Illegals that pay no income tax if there a non resident. Nor did the US slaughter plants because there foreign owned and based overseas. May the Knowledge of Horse slaughter be Exposed and then Abolished.

  3. lj Says:

    Not to mention that the inspection of horse meat is not nearly as adhered to as the beef in this country is. And it’s not as safe as so many would believe either. We routinely give our horses medicines that are poisonous to humans if consumed. There is no way to eat horsemeat that is safe for humans! Do we care so little for the Europeans as to allow them to eat this meat knowing it could kill them? I’m ever amazed that this point of fact is not brought up more frequently and with more conviction. Hello? We’re allowing people in Europe to eat our poisoned meat!! Is killing people okay now with this plant owners? That is essentially what they are doing!! Horse slaughter is a sensitive and an emotional issue. I won’t say that emotions don’t enter into it. They do!! More than emotions, it’s an issue that screams of being a Right or Wrong issue! It’s wrong to betray the animal who’s been solely responsible for the state of our country today!! These animals have been our friend throughout our history! How is it right to condemn them to death when they’ve done so much. This is such a betrayal to what I deem to be one of God’s greatest gifts to mankind. And what do we do? Murder them in a most torturous way? C’mon people, how can this even be an issue to debate? And BTW the captive bolt does not kill a horse and more often than not, doesn’t even render them unconscious so it’s not at all in any way humane. Ms. Beaver of the AVMA has grossly broken her oath to cause no harm as does any Veterinarian who believes that slaughter is humane. It is cruel and torturous for these horses and I know this because I’ve been to the slaughter house and have seen it first hand. It is ugly and the cruelest end I’ve ever witnessed!! Don’t base your conclusions on these pro slaughter articles screaming we’ll have thousands of unwanted, neglected horses roaming the streets. This is just baloney and not any that should be bought or sold to the American public. I’m not basing my statements over the emotional issues. There are other factors that involve human health that are being overlooked. Get your facts straight and do some research. The facts are easy to find. They’re out there if you want to report truth!! Save some people, Don’t eat horses!!

  4. Lisa Says:

    How do you expect us to believe that horse slaughter was so well regulated here when we can see consistently that our beef supply is regulated so poorly? I don’t know about you, but I would rather have my government inspectors regulating a product in our country that our citizens actually eat.

    Oh, that’s right, the slaughterhouses were paying the USDA directly for their inspections. How many violations would you hand out to your employer who was responsible for paying your salary? No wonder that the courts found that set-up illegal.

    The horse slaughter industry is based on greed, pure and simple. It’s time that those who made a choice to buy or breed a horse live up to their responsibility instead of dumping it and expecting to collect a check.

  5. Horses, Food and Moral Superiority « Totalrecoil Says:

    […] Food and Moral Superiority There have been some impassioned comments after my blog on the closing of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S. The general tone was that the arguments for […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: