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The Fight For and Against Horse Slaughtering in US Begins

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The current article you are reading does not reflect the views of the current editors and contributors of the new Ecorazzi

When the news broke about President Obama signing the killing of horses for human consumption into law, it was like the law was heard around the world. Many animal activists were not happy.

The controversial law is hard for some to believe, and some are doing all they can to ban it, like The Humane Society of the United States. Michael Markarian, president of the Humane Society Legislative Fund told The Washington Times that any state which allows horse-slaughter plants to open “will face pressure.”

“People will not be happy about their community potentially bringing in one of these plants,” he said. “Americans don’t eat horses, and don’t want them butchered and shrink-wrapped and sent to France or Japan as a delicacy.”

Around 138,000 horses were exported for slaughter in 2010, The Washington Times reported. Another 30,000 were shipped for other purposes.

Horse slaughter was never banned completely by Congress, but handed inspection powers over to the Agriculture Department in 1996. Then, in 2006 Congress voted to stop federal inspections, which put a stop the horse-slaughter industry.

The Agriculture Department’s Food Safety and Inspection Service said there are no current horse slaughterhouses operating in the U.S. that produce meat for human consumption; however according to the United Horseman, a pro-slaughter group, slaughter facilities could be opening sooner, rather than later, in Georgia, North Dakota, Nebraska, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana and even Idaho.

The Christian Science Monitor reviewed a study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and reported “that more abandoned and neglected horses in the US – which has 9 million equines – are being sold and processed for meat anyway in countries that may not have the same standard of humane euthanasia that US law requires.”

In addition, with the poor economy, horse owners haven’t had an easy road –  resulting in horse neglect and abandonment. “In Colorado alone, horse abandonment ‘increased 60 percent from 975 in 2005 to 1,588 in 2009,’” the GAO report said.

The New York Times also reported that banning the exporting and slaughtering of horses forced breeders and owners to no longer sell meat, which overall caused their businesses to go under.

As with most issues, some see good and bad in the bill. Even some animal rights groups are supporting horse slaughtering. For PETA, this jaw-dropping law can be used to fuel the fire in order to protect horses from slaughter and export.

Even though in the past five years horses have not been used for slaughtering and human consumption in the U.S., they have been exported to Mexico, Canada and other countries. The banning of exporting seems to be just as important as stopping the slaughtering.

“A law doesn’t change what’s in people’s hearts, and if business people view horses as commodities, ignoring their sensitive natures in favor of the few dollars that their flesh might bring, the horses were sunk from the start,” said David Perle, a spokesman for PETA said. “To reduce suffering, there should be a ban on the export of live horses, even if that means opening slaughterhouses in the U.S. again. But the better option is to ban slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses so that no one is slaughtering America’s horses.”

The ban against horse slaughtering and exporting seems to come down to how Americans view horses. Are they iconic and beautiful beings or do they need to be killed to prevent overpopulation? Is it better to have them slaughtered in our own country, as opposed to sending them over the border and overseas?

Let us know your thoughts.

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  • Annette

    As far as I know, Americans, or people in America don’t consume horses. So why slaughter them? Why add another animal to become a victim of consumption and pain? On top of that, exporting them will reduce he number of horses existing, hence bringing them to extinction. What is the benefit of this? I don’t see any. Horses, like other animals, don’t deserve torture and to be used as if they have no emotions.

  • Anne Marie Duhon

    the effect the lack of slaughter in the us has affected horses care this way. more horses are available for sale for whatever reason and the market has become saturated with horses of all qualities and the value of the horse in general has gone down. horses that before would have gone to an auction barn and gone for over $200 are now going for $20 and people are not selling them at auction barns any longer in the numbers as before. most auctions charge to sell horses and there is a certain number (at the barn near me it is $50 to break even) so instead of running a horse thru the auction and loosing money the horse stays home UNWANTED and most likely to get neglected. no one wants to loose money on something that they paid for unless there is absolutely no choice. the choice of slaughter got rid of the unwanted horse and made more room for the horse with possibilities. slaughter is just one option in an area that needs more choices

  • Anne Marie Duhon

    lets get real here given a choice horses would rather stand belly deep in grass and IGNORE humans unless we come with the bucket. Horses have served man because they had no choice. It working for us was what we chose for them. As for not harming humans snort! there are horses whos whole goal in life is to kill a person watch enough rodeos and you will see a bronc that goes after the rider once he is down and stories abound of the horse that killed its owner or is vicious. (Many of these are the poor babies in rescue taking up the place a GOOD horse could be filling!) people have become way to disconnected from the realities of farming and raising livestock to realize that horses are not pets but livestock and as such have a finite use here. all animals deserve a good life but when that life endangers others or is useless then it is time for it to go. real farmers/ranchers understand this “city” folk dont. they just see a beautiful animal.people need to get back to the real world not some dream world that everyone animal or person has to be saved. it can not be done.

  • Anne Marie Duhon

    why marie going on and on about how bad slaughter is when YOU starved two horses yourself? Remember Dandy and BEAU? You yourself had to dump on my rescue under false pretenses 6 horses that you could not care for. i wish i knew how to post pic of them! You are right tho you are a nut

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