Did President Obama just authorize the slaughter of horses in the US?

I loved and rode horses as child.  Chester, a spirited, chestnut horse, was my friend and partner on the trails surrounding Walden Pond in Massachusetts.  The two of us spent countless days together, enjoying our exercise and our friendship.  Horses in America are companion animals – friends like dogs, cats and other domestic pets.

Only later, after I decided to devote my career to animal protection, did I discover that horses in America were slaughtered for human consumption – almost 105,000 individuals in 2006, mostly for dinner plates in Europe and Asia.  Thankfully, just as I began my career, hard work by concerned Americans and numerous animal welfare advocacy groups pressured the U.S. government into banning domestic horse slaughter. 

But this week, President Obama signed a government spending bill into law, effectively lifting the 5-year-old ban. This reversal will almost certainly lead to a drastic increase in the slaughter of animals that most Americans think of as pets. Even when they don’t own or ride horses themselves, Americans rarely if ever think of horses as food.

Pro-horse slaughter advocates (strange to think that these special-interest groups exist, but they do) are trying to cast factory slaughter plants as humane alternatives to neglect and abandonment, incidents of which have increased as the U.S. economy struggles to find its way out of recession. 

Less than a year ago, an International Fund for Animal Welfare Emergency Relief team responded to the worst case of horse neglect in Arkansas history, working with partners to help rescue 114 severely malnourished and mistreated horses and burros from a horse dealer who was later charged with 118 counts of felony and misdemeanor counts of animal cruelty.

But slaughter is not a humane alternative even in cases like this.  Horses suffer horribly on the way to and during slaughter.  In fact, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has released shocking evidence of horse abuse at slaughter plants, ranging from broken bones to horses giving birth on the slaughter room floor.

There are clear and obvious alternatives to horse slaughter in the U.S.  Responsible ownership – which should always be a legal requirement – is the best thing we can do for horses.  And in those situations where circumstances force a horse owner to find a new home for their animal or animals, sanctuaries will often provide a second opportunity.  Or in a worst-case scenario and when necessary to avoid suffering, horses should be afforded the same dignity we give to other pets – euthanasia by a trained veterinarian.

IFAW supported the now defunct U.S. horse slaughter ban, and supported efforts to also prohibit the international transport of horses destined for slaughter in Mexico and Canada.  It is time for Congress to pass legislation that would protect horses in the U.S.  

-- NH

Comments: 8

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Thank goodness we don't have the same feeling abouty child abuse, slaughter to aviod suffering is idiotic

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I ride horses, and am a professional competitor, and if he just authorized horse slauter, I think I might just die. If I find out that I have ever eaten any bit of horse, I'm becoming a vegitarian, and starting a huge protest against this crap! Horses are family! They are not meat market animals! I mean, what's wrong with sticking with cows? Why does he have to start bringing innocent, beautiful, full of great potential to their end, only to be eaten? This is so ridiclous! I protest against it!

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

How horrorable, I really liked our new president Obama until I hear he passed this bill.
There are more then enough animal slaughtering in this country and all over the world.
Our country throws out more food, but meat comes too easy. We have more then enough
food if most restaurants did not throw it out everyday. I have been in the food service business for 12 yrs. I have seen cafes and restaurant throw out hundreds of dollars of
food a night instead of giving it to the poor of the employees to take home for their
families. God help our president make better choices on bills.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

I'd like to think I'm current on important issues like this, but did NOT know that Pres. Obama signed a bill which would lift a ban on horse slaughter. I am not happy so far with the President's handling of the environment and animal rights/welfare issues. He needs to care more about our environment and the animals in it and seems very laxed in his desire to do more to help animals.
Thanks for bringing this to my attention.

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Unfortunately we too in the UK are seeing an increase in our native ponies sold for human consumption to the rest of Europe, (horse meat is rarely if ever seen in the UK) and the worry is the transportation and slaughter house practices. I have said this often and will say it again, breeding has to be controlled. If there is a lack of sufficient grazing and in these depressed economic climes not the ability to keep a horse then regulation on the keeping of stallions has to be implemented. If an owner cannot prove the worth of his stallion (which would increase the value of the progeny and hence ensure only valid and knowledgeable owners in the future) then he should be obliged to have his stallion castrated. As to wild stock, in the UK New Forest ponies on their bi-annual round up (for worming and health checks) the majority of colts are now castrated, had this been done a good few years ago we would not have the problem of over population on the Forest and would not have to see these youngsters going on what must be a terrifying journey and on to unregulated slaughter houses. I can remember in the past that there were alot of local slaughter houses for horses, they were, by and large, run by people who had a knowledge and a love of horses. Strange as that may sound, it worked, the sad end for our horses came quickly and humanely (I have worked with horses for over 50 years and have been there for many of them at the end, so I do know) Sadly due to government say so they have closed down. Now it seems to be a 'business', a production line if you will, I would love to see true horsemen back, men who loved horses enough to ensure that the end needn't be terrifying or painful. .

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Unfortunately we too in the UK are seeing an increase in our native ponies sold for human consumption to the rest of Europe, (horse meat is rarely if ever seen in the UK) and the worry is the transportation and slaughter house practices. I have said this often and will say it again, breeding has to be controlled. If there is a lack of sufficient grazing and in these depressed economic climes not the ability to keep a horse then regulation on the keeping of stallions has to be implemented. If an owner cannot prove the worth of his stallion (which would increase the value of the progeny and hence ensure only valid and knowledgeable owners in the future) then he should be obliged to have his stallion castrated. As to wild stock, in the UK New Forest ponies on their bi-annual round up (for worming and health checks) the majority of colts are now castrated, had this been done a good few years ago we would not have the problem of over population on the Forest and would not have to see these youngsters going on what must be a terrifying journey and on to unregulated slaughter houses. I can remember in the past that there were alot of local slaughter houses for horses, they were, by and large, run by people who had a knowledge and a love of horses. Strange as that may sound, it worked, the sad end for our horses came quickly and humanely (I have worked with horses for over 50 years and have been there for many of them at the end, so I do know) Sadly due to government say so they have closed down. Now it seems to be a 'business', a production line if you will, I would love to see true horsemen back, men who loved horses enough to ensure that the end needn't be terrifying or painful. .

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Done! Have called my two U.S. Senators to THANK THEM FOR COSPONSORING S. 1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.

Have also called my U.S. Representative to URGE HER TO COSPONSOR H.R. 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.

The Humane Society of the United States made it easy. Please follow this link:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserActi...

 
Anonymous
2 years ago

Done! Have called my two U.S. Senators to THANK THEM FOR COSPONSORING S. 1176, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.

Have also called my U.S. Representative to URGE HER TO COSPONSOR H.R. 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011, to amend the Horse Protection Act to prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes.

The Humane Society of the United States made it easy. Please follow this link:

https://secure.humanesociety.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserActi...

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