Horse Neglect Case Calls for Horse Slaughter in Nebraska:
Point-Counterpoint

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Horse Neglect Case Calls for Horse Slaughter in Nebraska:
Point-Counterpoint

From TuesdaysHorse.wordpress.com
November 2009

KETV Channel 7 ABC Omaha opens a report with this:

Horse neglect borders on crisis across Nebraska and across the country. Many horse owners blame the problem on U.S. law, which forbids federal spending on inspections of horse meat for sale overseas.

They said the ban has led to the demise of all slaughterhouses for horses in the United States and the collapse of the horse market.

Horse owners contend the result is often neglect and, in some cases, abandonment of aging horses.

Later in the story, it states:

Nebraska State Sen. Cap Dierks said those alternatives [getting rid of your unwanted horse] are few.

“The only place I can take a horse to get rid of it is out in the pasture,” he said. “Dig a hole and shoot him.”

He wants lawmakers to explore alternatives, including allowing kill operations in Nebraska.

Oh, is that another paid mouthpiece for horse slaughter plant owners we hear? Their arguments are predictably the same.

Anyway, consider this.

HORSE SLAUGHTER

This country was built on the backs of horses. Horses revolutionized travel, the military, farming, and enriched our lives in ways too many to enumerate here.

Horses, whatever role they play today — working, sport, therapy, recreational — are companion animals as defined by the AVMA and other veterinary groups. Ending their lives with a butcher’s knife is a gross act of betrayal.

So what? Try these facts.

  1. Horse slaughter is a business. It exists for two reasons. To provide horse meat to people who eat it and make money. No others.
  2. Horse slaughter is inhumane. It is not possible to make slaughter humane for a horse.
    Opening up horse slaughter facilities will not end the abuse, starvation and neglect of horses. That is a human issue, not a horse issue.
  3. Horses killed in slaughterhouses are predominantly young, healthy horses. They produce good meat.
  4. Horse slaughter is a business. It exists for two reasons. To provide horse meat to people who eat it and make money. No others.
  5. If there is a surplus horse issue in America, this can be addressed by controlled and responsible breeding.
  6. Horses are typically bought on behalf of horse slaughter plants by killer buyers at livestock auctions. The number of “walk ins” to a horse slaughter plant represents a tiny percentage (usually less than 1%) of horses killed there. Normally, the best a horse owner can do financially by the time they go to the expense of hauling a horse to a plant or auction and paying their fees, is break even, no matter how much they get from the sale.
  7. There are nearly as many American horses being slaughtered across our borders as there were when slaughter plants were open in the U.S. It is highly likely this year the number of American horses butchered in horse slaughter plants will exceed the national average over the past 10 years.

HORSE OWNERSHIP

  1. Horse ownership is by nature an expensive proposition, and people taking a horse into their lives should be informed and responsible.
  2. Consider adopting or free leasing a horse instead of breeding or buying.
  3. Before you do, be aware that any horse you are responsible for may die while in your care and control.
  4. Investigate the cost of euthanasia disposal or burial before you decide whether or not to get a horse.
  5. If you cannot afford to put aside the cost of euthanasia and disposal, then you should consider postponing getting a horse. The chances are that if a few hundred dollars is going to stress your budget, so is the cost of feed, hay, accommodation, hoof care, dental care, and routine veterinary expenses.

Finally, a quote in the report from Debbie Brehm of American Quarter Horse [AQHA].

Slaughter is not pretty, but it does provide a humane economical way for an owner to relinquish an unwanted horse.

This from an organization that makes millions of dollars from rampant overbreeding of Quarter Horses. According to available reports from horse slaughter plants previously operating in the U.S., seven out of 10 horses slaughtered were Quarter Horses. That is a lot of relinquishing, Deb. That’s okay. You made your money, right?

Horse slaughter supporters in the horse industry inevitably challenge horse advocates such as the Int’l Fund for Horses, saying if we oppose horse slaughter, are we going to take care of all the unwanted horses that ending horse slaughter would produce, and why don’t we ever respond to that question?

Here’s our response. No, we are not.

It is not our job to take care of horses cast off by the horse industry. It is not our job to solve the problems you create. It is, however, our job to intervene on behalf of horses and work to get measures into place that protect them. It would therefore be our job to get laws enacted regulating the horse industry, such as the number of horses allowed to be bred, for a start.