Tuesday, November 29, 2011
United States Legalizes Horse Slaughter Again
With little fanfare, last week the United States Congress finally accomplished something; they resumed federal funding of the USDA to inspect horses to be slaughtered for human consumption. Note a campaign promise of Barack Obama was to outlaw the slaughtering of horses.
Well first there was Kobe Beef. Before you know it, there will be BLM (Bureau of Land Management) Horse. After all, how long do you think in this time of fiscal restraint do you think the government will continue to have the BLM house the wild horses?
Certain parties have argued that horse slaughter continues at the same rate, but we are forcing horses to travel further to be killed and there is no American control over slaughter in Canada and Mexico. The real truth is since the ban on slaughter in the United States, the floor price of horse meat had fallen and breeders have gone out of business.
Those who won this battle claim the horses will be slaughtered more humanely. What a load of bull. Before the ban, there were many complaints documented about horse cruelty and there is no reason to think things will be better. If you slaughter one horse, it may be humane because you have the time to do it right and other horses may not smell the blood. However, there is no way in agribusiness can slaughter, where time is of essence, be humane. Under the pressure to meet production quotas, do you think they are going to stop the slaughter line just because the person who was supposed to render the horse unconscious made a mistake? Of course not, they will just keep going subjecting that horse to an even more horrible death. Being horses will be lined up in the slaughter line, how do you think these flight animals are going to act when they smell the blood and hear the sounds of horses screaming? There is nothing humane about it. As a co-leader of a pro-slaughter group mentioned, in particular they are looking at existing facilities that are already processing large mammals that could be retrofitted to handle horses relatively quickly.
Oh, but what about the fact USDA inspectors will be on the job? Well they were on the job when horses were slaughtered last time where all those documented violations occurred. What about the times when the inspectors are not on the floor as there have been cases in the past when inspectors weren't present. It won't be long until we start seeing undercover videos of inhumane acts before long.
It remains to be seen if the USDA will be complying with the EU standards that a horse can not have been treated with medications commonly used in horse racing legally within 180 days of slaughter and if so, how strict will they be when it comes to enforcing the standard.
This has nothing to do about making horse slaughter more humane. As usual, it is about making money, and the horses have lost big time. It's about breeders (breeders in general, not talking about standardbred breeders) being able to make some money sending horses to slaughter instead of spending money humanely euthanizing horses and disposing of the body. While horse slaughter will not begin immediately as those states who have shuttered up slaughter plants have banned horse slaughter. Any state that has not specifically banned horse slaughter are possibilities for a slaughter facility.
What about horse rescues? The moment the first slaughter facility in the United States is running, the price of horse meat will go up meaning it will cost more for rescues to buy horses at auctions, meaning less horses will be saved.
Now is the time for the racing to make it harder for a horse to end up at slaughter. With horse slaughter coming to the United States, older horses and horses that can no longer race may be worth more dead than alive. It is easier to give away a horse for free when the kill buyer offers only $100 than when they offer $400.