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Friday, December 11, 2009

NYRA Moves in Right Direction

NYRA Adopts Tough Anti-Slaughter Policy
by Jason Shandler
Date Posted: 12/10/2009 10:54:05 AM
Last Updated: 12/11/2009 9:58:47 AM

NYRA CEO Charles Hayward
Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt

The New York Racing Association has announced an anti-slaughter policy that introduces harsh penalties to offending horsemen while encouraging them to support horse rescue and adoption initiatives.

The newly created policy, announced in a Dec. 10 release, is as follows:
Any owner or trainer stabled at a NYRA track found to have directly or indirectly sold a horse for slaughter will have his or her stalls permanently revoked from all NYRA tracks. NYRA requires its horsemen to conduct due diligence on those buying horses and encourages them to support rescue and adoption efforts and to find humane ways of dealing with horses unable to continue racing.
“We are fully committed to protecting our sport’s equine athletes,” said NYRA president and CEO Charles Hayward. “This policy sends the message that horse slaughter will not be tolerated and that those participating in this practice, either knowingly or for lack of due diligence, will not be welcome at Aqueduct, Belmont Park, or Saratoga.”
In addition to its stance against horse slaughter, NYRA also supports numerous equine retirement, anti-slaughter, and research organizations, and has made donations to the following organizations within the past year:
• Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation – Mission to save thoroughbred horses no longer able to compete on the racetrack from possible neglect, abuse and slaughter.
• Columbia Green Humane Society - Dedicated to the protection, humane treatment and well being of all animals.
• Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation – Committed to the advancement of research to enhance the health and soundness of horses of all breeds.
• Exceller Fund – Providing a future beyond the finish line, the Exceller Fund works to transition thoroughbred horses to a second career off the track.
Diana Pikulski, the executive director of the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation, added this:
"This policy is important because it makes everybody involved with a horse aware that they need to plan for its retirement and educate themselves about the options.
"It is also significant that NYRA, NYTHA, the NY Riders and The Jockey Club have already donated $100,000 for retirement in NY and committed themselves to developing a long term plan for retirement funding. We have had several follow up meetings to develop that plan and all the parties have participated."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Consider This.....

Contacts: John Holland

Vicki Tobin

Horse slaughter dream a financial nightmare

CHICAGO, (EWA) – The dream of the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and its affiliate the MQHA (Montana Quarter Horse Association) to bring horse slaughter back to the US may have just been dealt what may be its death blow. The blow came not from anti-slaughter advocates, nor public revulsion, nor Congress, but from a horse slaughter industry insider whose op-ed, Meat plant: a cautionary tale, appeared on April 30th in the Western Producer, a subscription-only Canadian online animal agriculture journal.
“Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses”, says Henry Skjerven, an investor and director of the defunct Natural Valley Farms (NVF) slaughter complex in Saskatchewan, Canada. Skjerven tells the story of how NVF, which had originally been built to process cattle during the BSE crisis, ended in a $42 million financial disaster following its decision to kill horses for the Velda Group of Belgium.
The story broke just as the AQHA and Stan Weaver of the MQHA, were celebrating the passage of Montana bill (HB 418).

On April 5, EWA broke the news that the plant had been closed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December. In his article, Skjerven refers to the plant’s confrontational interaction with the CFIA over the plant’s “composting” and other issues. Unlike beef that can be used in pet food, horse byproducts must be disposed of properly because they contain substances such as the wormer, Ivermectin, which can cause fatal encephalitis in some breeds of dogs.
Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.
During debate over HB 418, the Montana Senate Agriculture committee dismissed evidence of these problems as anti-slaughter propaganda. Even the testimony of former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon was ignored when she told of blood rising into people’s bathtubs in her town. But unfortunately for NVF, the CFIA was not so easily assuaged.
Even Butcher has admitted that any horse slaughter plant that is built in the US will have to be operated by an EU group like Velda because the horse meat market is in Europe and they control it. Now Velda needs a new home, but in his op-ed Skjerven, says, “horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”

In the end, it may not matter that HB 418 is unconstitutional, nor that a horse slaughter plant in the US could not export its horse meat without USDA inspectors, nor that the industry has committed a thousand sins against horses and the environment. If investors in a horse slaughter plant cannot be comfortable in knowing they will make a profit, there will be no plant built.

If Stan Weaver and the AQHA want horse slaughter they may have to do the killing themselves.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

YouTube Video Contest $1000

The Contest
Alex Brown Racing is sponsoring a YouTube contest that will run from Tuesday, February 10 to Sunday May 10 2009. We will offer a $1,000 prize, to be sent to the horse rescue organization of choice of the winning entry, as of Noon eastern time, May 10, 2009. All entries are to be completed, posted and approved, by Noon on Friday April 10, 2009.
Entrants must read and be familiar with the document: Deconstructing the Horse Slaughter Issue: Chapter Horse Slaughter.
The Rules
Anyone can enter, regardless of age and country of origin.
Each video is to be 1 - 4 minutes in length.
Each video discusses specific aspects of the horse slaughter issue as noted in the above document, whether it is to agree, reinforce or disagree with the issues noted in the document.
Each video must be without gory details, PG 13 please.
Each video must use the phrase "horse slaughter" in the title, and the video must be tagged with the phrase "horse slaughter". The video should also be tagged with the phrase "ABR Video Contest".
Each entrant (video producer) can produce as many videos as he or she desires.
Each entrant needs to add his or her videos to the ABR YouTube group and e-mail Wendy.
Wendy needs to approve each entrant for the contest prize via adding a comment to the video (see the rule re: no gory details).
To be eligible a video must be completed and posted by end of day, April 10, 2009 and must be new content as of February 10, 2009.
All submissions must comply with Youtube's Copyright Infringement Policy:
"YouTube respects the rights of copyright holders and publishers and requires all users to confirm they own the copyright or have permission from the copyright holder to upload content. We comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and other applicable copyright laws and promptly remove content when properly notified. Repeat infringers' videos are removed and their accounts are terminated and permanently blocked from using YouTube." If you have questions about how to comply with this policy, please visit:
Determining the winner
The winner will be determined by multiplying the number of comments the video received, by the rating of the video. And then adding the number of views of the video. This calculation will be made at Noon eastern, May 10, 2009
Horse Slaughter: Our Forgotten Veterans Deserve Better BrookePSU
Horse Play - Saving Horses From Slaughter horseplayri
No More Horse Slaughter horsesrule925
End Horse Slaughter thoroughbredlover3
Another Chance: Saved from Horse Slaughter millertime83
Please Stop Horse Slaughter sandyelmore490
Horse Heroes - Stop Horse Slaughter wendyu1
Media Coverage
Friday Fun: For the Heart, Head & Soul Diva Marketing Blog, February 28, 2009
Youtube Horse Slaughter - $1000 - Open to all - 1 to 4 minutes - Over Due: May 10th, 2009 The Video Contest Community, February 26, 2009
Teaching An Old Horse New Tricks Triple Dead Heat, February 17, 2009
Horse Slaughter Video Contest
Video contest on horse slaughter issue Horsetalk, February 11, 2009
Videos To Stop Killing The Horse Racing Stars Triple Dead Heat, February 11, 2009
Horse slaughter...Have your say Gathering The Wind, February 11, 2009
Bright Future Thoroughblog (bottom of entry), February 11, 2009
Breaking News Texas Horse Talk, February 11, 2009

Equine Vet Speaks Out

Equine Vet Speaks Out Against Horse Slaughter
By Lisa Carter, DVM

I am a horse person, a true horse person. I get up every morning at the break of dawn, put on my coveralls, boots, hat, gloves, and winter parka to trudge across the snowy yard to take care of my horses. I feed them, water them, turn them out, clean their stalls, and give them the love that they deserve.
Dr. Lisa Carter and her beloved companion, Black Diamond.True horse people are responsible horse owners—but not all horse owners are horse people. Some people treat their horses like a commodity. They ride and feed their horses, pay for veterinary and farrier care, and brag about them.
The big difference between true horse people and horse owners is the long-term responsibility they take for their horses. True horse people care about their horses, even when they no longer own them or they are no longer "useful."
Taking Responsibility
I currently have a 27-year-old Arabian gelding that I showed competitively on the Class A Arabian show circuit. We won many ribbons and reserve championships. Over time, he became old and arthritic, insulin intolerant, and I was no longer able to ride him.
The easiest manner of getting rid of this responsibility would be to ship him off to an auction house where he would be sold for slaughter. I would make about $200 off the deal and be rid of this high-maintenance horse.
But I am a true horse person. I take the responsibility of horse ownership seriously and know that it is a lifelong commitment. I know that when my geriatric horse's quality of life is gone, I will humanely euthanize him by chemical injection. It is the least that I can do for this wonderful animal.
Easy Way Out
Some horse owners take the easy route to rid themselves of "useless" horses. They send their horse to an auction. He or she is left in a pen for 12-24 hours without food or water, packed up into another trailer (sometimes a double-decker cattle trailer), and hauled hundreds of miles—still without food or water—often incurring injuries during the ride due to the overcrowding.
An American horse enters the kill box at a Mexican slaughter plant.©The HSUSThese horses arrive at a slaughterhouse, which is designed for cattle, in deplorable conditions and are forced into the plant to endure a terrible and painful death.
If they are lucky, they will only be struck in the head once with a captive bolt before their subsequent death. Most are not so lucky. Some very unfortunate horses end up in Mexico, where they are stabbed repeatedly in the neck in an effort to sever the spinal cord. These horses are paralyzed while being butchered, but still fully conscious.
Options are Available
I realize that not everyone has the financial ability to keep a horse that is no longer useful or is in poor health, but shipping a horse off to a slaughterhouse for a quick buck is simply wrong.
There are many options for people that are financially unable to care for their horses—they can relinquish their horse to a rescue organization, sell their horse to a carefully vetted private owner, donate their horse to a riding center, or have a veterinarian humanely euthanize their horse.
What You Can Do
As well as being a true horse person, I am also an equine veterinarian. I cancelled my membership to the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) because I do not agree with their pro-slaughter stance. Their position on slaughter mirrors that of big money making organizations like the American Quarter Horse Association, whose members often use slaughter as a quick and easy way of disposing of "useless" horses while making a quick buck.
Currently there is a bill going through Congress, H.R. 503, known as the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which would make it illegal to slaughter American horses for human consumption overseas, as well as ban the export of horses for slaughter.
I beg all of you, especially true horse people, to contact your Congressman and urge them to pass this bill. Horses deserve to be treated in a humane manner—H.R. 503 will make this inhumane manner of horse disposal a thing of the past.
Dr. Lisa Carter is a veterinarian and avid horse enthusiast and owner.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Found In USNews......

Obama, Congress Should End Horse Slaughter
March 02, 2009 03:25 PM ET Bonnie Erbe Permanent Link Print
By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog

Desperate economic times aren't just bad for people—they're terrible for animals, too. The New York Times ran an eye-opening piece this weekend about the cruelties visited on horses when owners come up short on cash and the courageous humans trying to help the horses. It's worth a read.
Even more eye-opening is a blog entry that's been circulating recently in my part of the horse world (I show in the Maryland hunter-jumper world) about a woman who recently rescued a horse from what's called a killer buyer auction in New Holland, Pennsylvania. The auction is s a disgusting, inhumane locale where blind, bleeding and injured horses are routinely beaten by unfeeling "killer buyers" who sell them for slaughter and "processing" into meat. There is no vengeance painful enough for people who make money in the animal slaughter business, as far as I'm concerned. Here's a link to pictures of New Holland, then read the blog entry below, written by a woman who saved a perfectly rideable, gorgeous young horse from a cruel fate, as the inarticulate, uneducated "meat man" tried to talk her out of it:
Rita and I looked at some other horses, but I couldn't get it out of my mind... The locked eyes earlier, the scared eyes in the kill pen, did I really feed this horse his last treat? I decided I would approach him (the meat guy) again.... He had a smirk on his face this time, but was still very mean....I told Rita my plan was to poke holes in what the horse was worth, by asking it's age, and is he registered, etc.... I walked up to the meat buyer who is standing with the broker who sold him the horse... He laughed at me and said "back so soon?" I said "How old is this horse?" Broker said "5" I asked if he was registered broker said "should be, he got a lip tattoo, he's off the track, they don't race sh*# horses, although this one's crazy, and that's why he's here." The meat dealer then said "You got cash? I said "yes, but not 500.00", he said 400.00" I said "350.00" he said "375.00, let me see it" I took the money out and put it in his hand and he said to me "now look, you gotta go get the horse out of that pen, I ain't goin' in there with all those other crazy horses, and I ain't touching your crazy ass horse, and when this horse hurts you, I don't want you comin' up to me next auction cryin' about it, it's buy at your own risk, and you just did, ( as he shoves the money in his pocket) now go get your horse out of my pen, and good luck to you, cause you're gonna need it!" I then heard him mumble under his breath as I was walking away "crazy ass broad."
This one was saved, but hundreds of thousands are sold for slaughter to Canada and Mexico each year. This inhumane treatment could be ruled illegal. Breeders could be regulated and prevented from breeding more horses than there are caring owners to buy them. Any time money can be made off of animals' misery, the market unfortunately governs. I will continue to write about and expose this ugly underbelly of American society until Congress and the president shut down the slaughter industry.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

HR503 is Back!

John Conyers (MI) has introduced this bill to the 111th Congress. It is currently in the Judiciary Committee. As of 6/3/2009, there are 130 co-sponsors to this anti horse slaughter bill. New Jersey is currently represented by:

Robert Andrews (1st district)
Frank LoBiondo (2nd district)
John Adler (3rd district)
Christopher Smith (4th district)
Frank Pallone (6th district)
Leonard Lance (7th district)
Bill Pascrell (8th district)
Steven Rothman (9th district)
Donald Payne (10th district)
Rodney Frelinghuysen (11th district)
Rush Holt (12th district)
Albio Sires (13)

New co sponsors are in italics. All but one of NJ's representatives in Congress are co sponsors.
There is a companion bill in the Senate. Both NJ senators, Lautenberg and Menendez are co sponsors!

Very Good Suggestions for Racehorses

AAEP Releases Veterinary Recommendations for Protecting the Safety and Welfare of Racehorses
February 16, 2009

The American Association of Equine Practitioners today issued guidelines for protecting the health of the Thoroughbred racehorse. The white paper, “Putting the Horse First: Veterinary Recommendations for the Safety and Welfare of the Thoroughbred Racehorse,” provides veterinary guidance on many issues challenging the racing industry and the care of the racehorse.

Recommendations within the white paper are focused in four key areas: the racing business model, the veterinarian-owner-trainer relationship, medication, and the public perception of racing. Additionally, changes to the structure of claiming races and medication usage in horses intended for sale at public auction are addressed.

“As an organization with the primary mission of protecting the health and welfare of the horse, the safety of the racehorse is one of our highest priorities,” said AAEP President Dr. Harry Werner. “This is a critical time for the racing industry, and we join the efforts of other groups who are determined to make improvements for the health of our equine athletes.”

Key points in the white paper include:

· Continued identification and implementation of procedures and strategies that will significantly reduce the injury rate of horses.
· Standardization and enhancement of pre-race and post-race veterinary examinations with mandatory cross-jurisdictional sharing of information.
· Universal adoption in all racing jurisdictions of the Association of Racing Commissioners International model medication rules which state that no medication should be administered on race day except for furosemide (Salix®).
· Increased racetrack security to ensure compliance by all racing participants with medication rules.
· Provide complete transparency for the veterinarian-trainer-owner relationship in all aspects of health care decisions.
· Development in all racing jurisdictions of a program for the rehabilitation, retraining and adoption of horses whose racing careers have ended.

The white paper was developed by the AAEP’s Racing Task Force, a group comprised of private racetrack practitioners, regulatory veterinarians and veterinary specialists. Dr. Scott Palmer of Clarksburg, N.J., and Dr. Foster Northrop of Louisville, Ky., served as chair and vice chair, respectively. This group is now a standing committee of the AAEP.

“Our premise is very simple: What is good for the horse is good for racing,” explained Dr. Palmer. “In a unique climate of widespread industry commitment to fix what is wrong with racing, veterinarians have made every effort to put the horse first in that process. It is fair to say that particular recommendations will resonate with some individuals and alienate others within the industry. Nonetheless, we’d like to think that if our horses could read this document, they would be pleased.”

The AAEP intends its white paper to provide guidance and support to those who are working to bring meaningful change.

“On behalf of the AAEP, I express gratitude to Drs. Palmer and Northrop and the other dedicated veterinarians who have worked since last summer to develop substantive recommendations,” added Dr. Werner. “The AAEP looks forward to continued cooperation with all industry stakeholders to ensure the health and welfare of the racehorse.”

The white paper is available here. For more information, contact Sally Baker, AAEP director of marketing and public relations, at (859) 233-0147 or

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its nearly 10,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

FDA Says Horses are Companion Animals....

February 12, 2009
FDA Reminds Public of Comment Period Deadline for the Draft Guidance for Industry on Anesthetics for Companion Animals
On December 17, 2008, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published in the Federal Register the availability of a draft guidance document for industry entitled “Guidance for Industry #192: Anesthetics for Companion Animals.” The comment period for the guidance closes on March 2, 2009.

The purpose of the guidance document is to provide industry with FDA’s recommendations for the development of new animal anesthetic drug products for companion animals (dogs, cats, and horses). The guidance discusses information that sponsors should consider when planning and conducting safety and field studies for their proposed drug product. The guidance also provides recommendations on how to analyze the study data and how to present the collected data in an organized package to CVM.
The draft guidance, once finalized, will represent the Agency’s current thinking on the development of companion animal general anesthetic (injectable or inhalational) drug products.
The draft guidance document is available at The federal register notice can be found at: Interested persons may submit written comments on or before March 2, 2009, to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), FDA, 5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061, Rockville, MD 20852. Electronic comments may be submitted to: Identify all submissions to the docket with the following docket number: 2008D-0623.
For additional information about the draft guidance, please contact Dr. Germaine Connolly at FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine, 240-276-8331,
Issued by:FDA, Center for Veterinary Medicine, Communications Staff, HFV-127519 Standish Place, Rockville, MD 20855Telephone: (240) 276-9300 FAX: (240) 276-9115Internet Web Site:

Saturday, February 14, 2009

More Horse Slaughterhouse State Resolutions

Horse Slaughterers Are Piling On State Resolutions
Posted Feb 9, 2009 by lauraallen
Horse Slaughter
State legislators have been introducing pro horse slaughter resolutions on behalf of foreign investors anxious to defeat H.R. 503.
H.R. 503, which is pending in Congress would stop them from using American horses for horsemeat served as a delicacy in fine restaurants primarily in parts of Asia, Europe and South America.
These resolutions are worded almost identically.
The resolutions proclaim that there is an increase in "unwanted" or "unusable" horses, as many as 100,000 or more annually, because of the closing of U.S. horse slaughter facilities in 2007. They claim the closing of U.S. slaughter houses in 2007 had "significant economic impact on the...equine industry". These resolutions call for "processing" or "harvesting" horses, euphemisms for "slaughter", which they describe as "humane". They claim slaughter can be managed through inspections and regulations.
These resolutions, if approved by the state legislatures, would be sent to Congress, as the state's position that H.R. 503 should be defeated.
It is important to voice your opposition to these resolutions. These resolutions are pending in these states:

Montana, H.B. 418 would prohibit courts from issuing injunctions against horse slaughter facilities and impose expensive bonds and high penalties on anyone who challenges a horse slaughter facility in court. The bill also paves the way for a horse slaughter house to open in Montana should it become legal again in the U.S. There is a hearing Feb. 12 on this bill. Go here for more information and how you can voice opposition to this bill.
Arizona, S.C.M. 1001 Find your Arizona legislators here. Contact all Arizona state House and Senate members.
Utah, H.J.R. 7, which has already passed the state House and has been approved by a Senate committee. Contact all Utah state Senators.
Missouri, HCR 19 in the House and SCR 8 in the state senate. These resolutions also call for opening a horse slaughter house in that state. Find your Missouri legislators here. Find all Missouri state representatives and senators. HCR 19 is pending before the state Agri-Business Committee and SCR 8 will be voted on by the state Senate Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions, and Ethics Committee.
South Dakota, S.C.R. 2 has already passed the state House by a vote of 63-1. A separate, second bill, S.B. 114, asks the South Dakota state legislature to spend $100,000 on a study "of the feasibility, viability, and desirability of establishing and operating an equine processing facility in the state. Find your South Dakota state senators here. Find email addresses for all South Dakota state senators here. Find contact information for all South Dakota state representatives and senators here.
ND S.C.R. 4021 will be heard on Feb. 12, 2009 at 11 a.m. by the Senate Agriculture committee. Fax the committee at 701-328-3615 or email A second bill, H.B. 1496 has already been approved by a legislative committee. The committee approved $75,000 in North Dakota for a study of possible markets for horse meat, applicable laws and funding for a horse slaughter facility there. Find all North Dakota state senators here. Find all House members here.
Wyoming, H.J.R. 8 has already passed committee. Find all Wyoming legislators here.
Minnesota, S.F. 133 is currently in the state Senate Agriculture and Veterans Committee. Find your Minnesota state senator and representative. Find all Minnesota state senators and representatives.
Kansas, HCR 5004 Find your Kansas legislators here. Find all Kansas state House and Senate members.
Arkansas H.C.R. 1004, also calls for incentives and support for opening of horse slaughter houses nationally and in the state. This bill has already passed in the state House and is in the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Economic Development Find here all Arkansas state senators, including yours if you live there.
In Illinois Rep. Jim Sacia has introduced a bill, as he did last session for the repeal of the 2007 state law banning horse slaughter. That state law helped shut down the horse slaughter facility in Dekalb, Illinois.
Rep. Sacia's bill, H.B. 583, would also allow horses destined for slaughter for human consumption to be shipped into the state for slaughter with no certificate of veterinary inspection contrary to current state law governing horses. 510 ILCS 65/4 The new law would also exempt downed, sick, diseased, lame or disabled horses from the requirements of the Humane Care for Animals Act governing animals in this condition. 510 ILCS 70/5, 7.5
This means Rep. Sacia and the interests he represents in the horse slaughter underworld understand that horse slaughter is brutal and cruel and so would want to exempt their sordid practice from the animal cruelty laws and inspection requirements.
Contact Illinois state House and Senate members and urge them to vote NO on H.B. 583 and keep horse slaughter out of Illinois.
The horse slaughterers' strategy
These resolutions and bills are a not-so-subtle ploy by the foreign investors that own horse slaughter houses to defeat H.R. 503 which would ban the sale, transport, and possession of horses in interstate and foreign commerce for slaughter for human consumption.
Even without H.R. 503, horse slaughter cannot occur legally in the U.S. There is no point in states appropriating tax dollars for studies when currently horse slaughter for human consumption is not allowed in the U.S. These resolutions will simply insure horse slaughterers can continue to take American horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter.
There is also another goal: to make horse slaughter acceptable to Americans and, in fact, create a market in the U.S. for the consumption of horsemeat. The resolution proposing the North Dakota study says as much. If Americans begin eating horsemeat, the theory is that Congress will be forced to fund ante-mortem inspections. Under current law because these required inspections are not funded, horse slaughter is not legal in the U.S. For more on this.....
Keep in mind when the remaining 3 horse slaughter houses in the U.S. closed in 2007, they were owned by foreign companies, Dallas Crown, Inc.; Cavel International, Inc. and Beltex Corp., which now operates a horse slaughter house in Mexico, Empacadora de Carnes de Fresnillo.
Even when there were horse slaughter houses in the U.S., they were part of a horse meat industry that was only 0.001% of the U.S. meat industry. The foreign-owned U.S. horse slaughterhouses paid little in income taxes. One facility paid $5 in federal taxes on $12 million in sales. These slaughter houses paid no export taxes, meaning the U.S. government effectively subsidized the sale of horse meat to consumers generally in parts of Asia, South America and Europe.
The profits went to the foreign investors. The communities where horse slaughter houses were located were left with horrific odors of dying and dead horses, blood literally running down the streets, and illegally dumped waste. There is no economic or other benefit to these states in subsidizing horse slaughter. Just the opposite. It is akin to supporting dog fighting rings.
Horse slaughter is also not a means of controlling numbers of "unwanted horses". This is a myth perpetuated by the horse slaughter industry that is simply repeated over and over again as in these resolutions. Horse slaughter is a multi million dollar a year business that is driven by a demand for horse meat. Kill buyers buy horses at auction for slaughter, and the USDA has said over 92% of American horses slaughtered, are healthy, not old, sick, injured, or neglected. These horses were not unwanted; they were simply sold at auction, and their owners had no control over who purchased them. Without the kill buyers who skulk around horse auctions, looking for the best potential horse meat, most of these horses would be purchased by others or end up in rescues or sanctuaries.
As John Holland, a free lance writer and researcher on horse slaughter and consultant for Americans Against Horse Slaughter, has explained, "Kill buyers do not go around the country like dog catchers gathering ‘unwanted horses' as a public service."
As Americans Against Horse Slaughter points out, "Just over 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. in 2006. If slaughter were no longer an option and these horses were rendered or buried instead, it would represent a small increase in the number of horse being disposed of in this manner - an increase that the current infrastructure can certainly sustain. Humane euthanasia and carcass disposal is highly affordable and widely available. The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225, while the average monthly cost of keeping a horse is approximately $200."
Also, the horse slaughter industry actually encourages the over breeding of horses. Because owners can make money from the brutal slaughter of their horses, they have an incentive to over breed. As Paul Sorvino put it, "37% of those horses are going to be slaughtered because they couldn't run fast enough....So, it's run for your life." If the slaughter of horses for human consumption is illegal, there is no reward for over breeding.
Sadly, pro-slaughter groups have disseminated disinformation in the media to convince the public that without horse slaughter, there will be large numbers of abandoned, abused and neglected horses. (Even if that were true, which it is not, it is not clear how substituting one form of cruelty for another is somehow a solution.)
Indeed, these reports in the media have proven to be unfounded. A study released last year showed a decrease in horse abuse and neglect cases following closure of the last U.S. horse slaughter house in 2007. Any abandoned or neglected horses are not a result of a lack of horse slaughter houses.
Historically, there have not been increases in abandoned, neglected or abused horses following closures of horse slaughter houses. In 2002 the Illinois slaughter house burned to the ground and was out of commission for some time. Reports of abandoned, abused and neglected horses in the Illinois area were actually on the rise in the 2 years before the fire but decreased afterwards.
Remember the number of horses slaughtered in the U.S. dropped significantly from over 300,000 annually in the 1990s to 66,000 in 2004. There was no notable increase during that time of abandoned, abused or neglected horses.
When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, there was no rise in cases of cruelty or neglect to horses. In fact, there was a 39.4% decrease initially and that rose to 88% eventually in horse thefts. (What does that tell you about this "business"?)
Also, from 2004-2007 5000 horses were imported into the U.S. for slaughter. If horse slaughter occurs because of all the unwanted horses, why would these horse slaughter businesses need to import them? The answer is, of course, they wouldn't. Horse slaughter has nothing to do with controlling numbers of unwanted horses. It is a business driven by a demand for horse meat primarily as a delicacy in foreign countries.
As Americans Against Horse Slaughter puts it, "The ‘surplus horse population' [argument] is a scare tactic."
Horse slaughter is also in no sense humane euthanasia. That much has been established by documents recently released in response to a FOIA request. The captive bolt gun used in the U.S. slaughterhouses did not typically render horses senseless before slaughter. The slaughter houses never bothered to restrain the horses' heads or use only trained personnel to operate the gun.
As John Holland has explained, "In its 2000 report on methods of Euthanasia, the AVMA stated that the captive bolt gun should not be used on equines unless head restraint could be assured. This is because of the relatively narrow forehead of equines, their head shyness and the fact that the brain is set back further than in cattle for which the gun is intended. It is difficult for an operator to assure proper placement of the gun.
"No slaughter house ever found a practical way to restrain the heads of the horses, so by the AVMA's very definition, the process was not acceptable. The result was a very large number of ineffective stuns. These misplaced blows undoubtedly caused severe pain until a stunning or fatal blow was delivered. "
Imagine the pain and terror experienced by horses as bolts were repeatedly fired at their heads many times by untrained operators. Many times horses were still conscious when they were then hoisted upside down for slaughter. For more information on the brutality of horse slaughter in the U.S., click here to read the July 25, 2006 testimony of Christopher J. Heyde, Deputy Legislative Director for Animal Welfare Institute, before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection. Click here to read testimony offered during a Congressional hearing in 2008 about the cruelty of horse slaughter.
Also, listen here to a discussion on WFL Endangered Stream Live Talk Radio about horse slaughter by Laura Allen, Executive Director of Animal Law Coalition; John Holland, journalist and consultant for Americans Against Horse Salughter; Dr. Nena Winand, DVM with Veterinarians for Equine Welfare and Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Tx and leader of the fight to shut down the horse slaughter facility that operated there until 2007. (Download this broadcast!)
Then contact your U.S. representative and urge him or her to vote YES on the Conyers-Burton Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act of 2009, H.B. 503.
Also, tell your representative to vote YES on H.R. 305, the Horse Transportation Safety Act, which will put an end to all transports of horses on double decked trailers.

Must Read Letter by Paula Bacon

Open Letter to State Legislatures Considering Pro-Horse Slaughter Resolutions
Posted Feb 13, 2009 by lauraallen
Horse Slaughter
Former Mayor Paula Bacon
City of Kaufman
Kaufman, TX 75142
Dear State Legislator:
You will soon be asked to vote on ... legislation regarding the commercial slaughter of American horses of which you probably have very little firsthand knowledge. No doubt you have heard from lobbyists and organizations who want you to support the practice, but before you do, you should ask yourself why the residents of Texas and Illinois worked so hard to rid their states of their horse slaughter plants. The answer may surprise you.
As a mayor who lived with this plague in her town for many years, who knows what the horse slaughter industry really is and what it does to a community please allow me to tell you what we experienced. The industry caused significant and long term hardship to my community which was home to Dallas Crown, one of the last three horse slaughter plants in the United States.
All three plants were foreign-owned, and since the market for horsemeat is entirely foreign, the industry will always be dominated by these foreign interests. The corporations involved in this industry have consistently proven themselves to be the worst possible corporate citizens.
The Dallas Crown horse slaughtering facility had been in operation in Kaufman since the late 70's and from the beginning had caused problems both economically and environmentally. I have listed some of the specific issues below.
I will gladly provide you with detailed reports from my former City Manager, Police Chief, and Public Works Director regarding odor and wastewater effluence violations at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in the City of Kaufman.. The reports reference "decaying meat [which] provides a foul odor and is an attraction for vermin and carrion," containers conveyed "uncovered and leaking liquids," there are "significant foul odors during the daily monitoring of the area," and "Dallas Crown continually neglects to perform within the standards required of them."
Therefore, in August of 2005, our City Council decided by unanimous decision to send the Dallas Crown issue to the Board of Adjustments for termination of their non-conforming use status. In March of 2006, the Board of Adjustments voted to order Dallas Crown closed, but the plant was able to tie the enforcement up in the courts until they were finally closed under state law in February of 2007.
Dallas Crown repeatedly described itself as a "good corporate citizen." I will be straightforward in asserting that they are the very antithesis of such.
Dallas Crown had a very long history of violations to their industrial waste permit, ‘loading' the capacity of the wastewater treatment plant.
Dallas Crown denied the City access to their property for wastewater testing beginning October 1, 2004 until July 6, 2005 , despite requirement by city ordinance, city permit agreement, and court order.
City staff reported that a $6 million upgrade to our wastewater treatment plant would be required even though the plant was planned and financed to last through 2015.
Odor problems resulting from the outside storage of offal and hides over several days persisted not only in traditionally African-American neighborhood known as "Boggy Bottom", but at the nearby Presbyterian Hospital , the daycare center, and surrounding areas.
Transport of offal and fresh hides on City and state thoroughfares is conducted in leaking containers without covers.
City documents reveal an extended history of efforts to have Dallas Crown address various environmental issues. Reports include descriptive language including such as "blood flowing east and west in the ditches from your plant," "It has been over 45 days [it had been 59 days] and no apparent cleanup has occurred," "Your system has not improved and subsequently it has gotten a lot worse," "Words cannot express the seriousness" of recent violations and the "adverse effects on the wastewater treatment plant," and "Please be sure trailers are secured before leaving your premises to prevent spills," noting also "bones and blood laying in front of the facility," problems with bones and parts in neighboring yards and the attraction of "dogs and other animals."
In response to 29 citations for wastewater violations, each accompanied by a potential fine of $2,000, Dallas Crown requested 29 separate jury trials, potentially causing yet another economic strain to the City's budget. We could, of course, not afford to litigate in order to extract the fines
Dallas Crown took 11 months to submit a mandatory "sludge control plan" to assist efficient operation of the wastewater treatment plant though City staff requested it orally and in writing many times.
The City Manager advised me that the City would have to spend $70,000 in legal fees because of Dallas Crown problems, which was the entire legal budget for the fiscal year.
During this period, Dallas Crown paid property taxes that were less than half of what the City spent on legal fees directly related to Dallas Crown violations.
Generally, Dallas Crown has the economic ability to prevail, to exceed the constraints of the City's budget.
Dallas Crown had a negative effect on the development of surrounding properties, and a horse slaughter plant is a stigma to the development of our city generally. I have since learned that these problems were mirrored at the other two plants. Fort Worth's Beltex horse slaughter plant also violated Ft. Worth's wastewater regulations several times, clogged sewer lines, and both spilled and pumped blood into a nearby creek (San Antonio Current, June 19, 2003 ). Texas State Rep. Lon Burnam, D-Fort Worth, whose district includes Beltex, and Rep. Toby Goodman, R-Arlington, fought hard against legislation that would have legalized horse slaughter in Texas in 2003.
The horse slaughter plant in DeKalb , IL had a similar pattern. It was destroyed by fire in 2002, and rebuilt in 2004. It was charged and fined by the DeKalb Sanitary District almost every month from the reopening until its closing in 2007 under a new state law for consistently exceeding wastewater discharge guidelines. I can provide you with the documentation of those violations. Like Dallas Crown, Cavel refused to pay their fines for years.
During this time, I learned that an estimated $5 million in Federal funding was being spent annually to support three foreign-owned horse slaughter plants! And when the Dallas Crown tax records were exposed in the city's legal struggle, we found that they had paid only $5 in federal taxes on a gross income of over $12,000,000!
Moreover, the parent company of Cavel has since moved its operations to Canada and continued to slaughter American horses. In Canada they have apparently become even more blatant, dumping huge untreated piles of entrails onto open ground and even using a tanker truck to discharge blood and refuse into a local river.
I have mentioned only the pollution issue, but this is but one negative aspect of horse slaughter. I have subsequently learned of a USDA document containing 900 pages of graphic photos that show the horrors that the horses were subject to. Behind the privacy fences of these plants, trucks arrived continuously and on those trucks was every form of inhumane violation one can imagine from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.
The more I learn about horse slaughter, the more certain I am: There is no justification for horse slaughter in this country. My city was little more than a door mat for a foreign-owned business that drained our resources, thwarted economic development and stigmatized our community. Americans don't eat horses, and we don't raise them for human consumption. There is no justification for spending American tax dollars to support this industry at the expense of Americans and our horses.
Former Mayor Paula Bacon
Kaufman, TX
325-665-2043 cell