by MACKENZIE MATIKONIS Staff Writer
Horse slaughter may become present again in the United States if a proposed slaughter plant in New Mexico is approved within the next two months.
A ban on funding for horse meat inspections by the USDA created in 2007 was not renewed by Congress in 2011, leaving the possibility for horse slaughter to be present again in the U.S.
However, that does not stop horses from being shipped out of the country for slaughter. Unwanted horses sold to “kill buyers” are loaded into cramped stock trailers and sent to Canada or Mexico to be killed.
Horse meat is not consumed in the U.S., although it is eaten in foreign countries, specifically in Europe and Japan.
Yet foreign nations do not want our horse meat, as most of it is contaminated with drugs given to the horses when they are alive. Europe has a ban on certain drugs used on horses intended for food, and most, if not all, of American horses are given a drug of some sort at one point in their lives.
Racehorses are given drugs every time they run. One drug, Phenylbutazone (also known as bute), is used as a painkiller, and even says on the label not to use on horses intended for human consumption. Yet a majority of the horses sent to slaughter are thoroughbred racehorses.
Racehorses can be sent to slaughter for a number of reasons, usually due to an injury or the fact that the horse just is not fast enough. Selfish owners do not want to waste their money caring for a horse that is not doing anything but sitting around, so they send them off immediately. The horses do not have enough time before slaughter for their bodies to get rid of any drugs, so their meat is contaminated.
This is the same for other horses sent to slaughter. Irresponsible owners decide they do not want to care for their horse anymore, so off to the plant they go.
Most of the horses sent to be murdered are young and healthy. It is a myth that only old and skinny horses get sent to slaughter. Foals, pregnant mares, miniature horses, donkeys, million dollar horses -they all go to slaughter. No horse is spared this cruel fate.
Anyone who says horse slaughter is humane is a liar. It is not humane by any means.
“Horse slaughter is only humane in a world full of murderers,” said sophomore Lindsey Frankel.
On the way to the rendering plant, they are transported in trailers not meant to move horses. They travel for days, sometimes over a week, with no food, water, or time out of the trailer. Horses get kicked, injured, trampled, and killed on the way to slaughter, and the torture has only just begun.
At the slaughter facility, the horses are still not fed or watered, let alone given veterinary care. Some horses suffer injuries so bad they bleed to death.
In order to kill horses at a slaughter plant, the workers use a captive bolt, which only stuns the animals and makes them unconscious. However, the captive bolt was designed for cattle, not horses. Horses have much more freedom of their head and neck than cows, so it usually takes at least one try to get the horse down, and even then it is not always unconscious before being bled out.
“Horse slaughter is inherently inhumane,” said The Humane Society of the United States. “The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment.”
Horses can smell the fear and blood of those before them at a slaughter plant, so they know what is coming. It is not fair to put a creature that worked its hardest for you through this.
Eighty percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter, but yet our government is allowing it to come back into our nation. Not only will slaughter plants ruin the economy of communities around it, such as what happened to Kaufman, TX, but our meat supply will most likely become contaminated like it did in Europe.
“The slaughterers have misled the public and public servants into thinking horse slaughter is necessary and humane, when it is anything but. All American horses can be supported by public programs imposing limits on overbreeding, as well as those by FRER and similar groups that subsidize sterilizations, necessary euthanasia, and offer re-homing guidance. We encourage Americans who love horses to step up to protect the animals they love, rather than letting them endure a prolonged trip to a brutal and horrible end to be served on a foreign dinner plate,” said Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue.
Sensible, compassionate people know how cruel horse slaughter is; they do not try to make money off of other creatures suffering. People need to open their eyes and stand up for what is right. Horse slaughter needs to be stopped.