It appears that horse slaughter is now part of the “happy meat” spin. “Happy meat” refers to the current marketing campaign by animal agriculture promoting the idea to consumers that if food animals are happy before they are slaughtered, then their meat is happy and people can feel happy about eating it.
At what first appeared to be a breakthrough in thinking in an article by Christa Lesté-Lasserre entitled “Horses Undergo Pre-slaughter Stress, Study Confirms” for the TheHorse.com, she begins with:
That horses endure significant stress while waiting to be slaughtered has often been assumed. But a new study measuring stress hormone levels now confirms that theory, according to Italian researchers.
In the 45 minutes between removal from the holding area and stunning by captive bolt, horses’ norepinephrine levels rose tenfold and epinephrine levels increased to 30 times the base rate, said Elisabetta Micera, PhD, researcher in the department of animal production in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Bari and lead author of the research. Plasma cortisol and beta-endorphins also increased, according to the study.
Dr. Micera admits with her naked eye she could see that the horses she studied on their way to slaughter were highly stressed. These were horses who were purpose bred for slaughter she points out. Horses who had been companion animals or had more human interaction would require another study.
After further discussion of these stress factors in slaughter horses, Dr. Micera states:
The best method to reduce stress during the pre-slaughter phase is to enrich the waiting environment,” Micera said. “Horses want to walk, and they need to be able to maneuver through sweeping, curved corrals in order to stay distracted.”
Enrich their waiting environment? Enter the ubiquitous Happy Meat Heroine Temple Grandin. The article ends with:
Pre-slaughter stress could be improved through the use of humane handling systems, chutes, and corrals such as those designed by Temple Grandin, PhD, professor of animal science at Colorado State University, Micera said.
Italian researchers? Can this be mere coincidence that the Italian Government is pursuing a ban on horse meat? Read more >>
Read more about happy horse meat here >>
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