Unwanted horse and slaughter propaganda travels to Canada

Horses in a pen awaiting slaughter for human consumption.
Young, beautiful, healthy horses awaiting slaughter for human consumption.

Written by JANE ALLIN
Chief Research Analyst

Just as in the U.S., the misleading and malicious notion of the “Unwanted Horse” has now transcended its origin to become Canadian terminology in response to the EU laws in effect for paperwork required in federal horse slaughter plants for horses destined to be sold for human consumption.

The new Equine identification Document or EID must document illnesses and medications for the 6 months previous to slaughter. So what does this denote in terms of the “Unwanted Horse” hypothesis?

A British Columbia news article entitled “New laws in effect for paperwork on horses” starts with this.

“The new documentation required for each horse called ‘The Equine Identification Document’, requires the name of the animal, land location or premise identification number, horse’s markings, colour, pedigree, picture of the animal and a history of drugs or vaccinations given to the animal within the last six months.

A 1200 lb horse that would normally sell for 40 cents per lb would bring $480; the same horse without paperwork would probably sell for $100 because the horse would then have to spend six months in a feedlot to be able to be eligible for the correct paperwork. An estimated 125,000 horses are slaughtered annually in Canada with the meat destined for the European market where for many it is considered a dietary staple.”

Well, no doubt this is true but it fails to address a number of issues and for the wrong reasons. Regardless of the paperwork, or lack thereof, there are many drugs that require a 6 month quarantine; there are substantial costs incurred in maintaining the good health of those horses ineligible for immediate slaughter and; last, but by no means least, effectively ALL horses should be disqualified as a result of the ubiquitous administration of Bute for pain relief. But I digress.

The writer of the British Columbia news article continues:

“The United States no longer has a horse slaughter industry, ironically the industry which closed in 2007 was based on horse welfare issues but the result has been abandonment, starvation, loss of quality horse markets and an overwhelming amount of horses in rescue facilities or simply turned loose. An estimated 170,000 horses per year are considered unwanted in the U.S. “

More deceptively is the author’s referral to the idea that prohibiting horse slaughter leads to “Unwanted Horses” – purely blatant propaganda to conceal the real issue of over-breeding and lack of owner accountability. Use of this carefully crafted definition arose with the formation of the “Unwanted Horse Coalition” (UHC) under the chairmanship of Dr. Tom Lenz, an acknowledged pro-horse slaughter advocate.

“The United States no longer has a horse slaughter industry, ironically the industry which closed in 2007 was based on horse welfare issues but the result has been abandonment, starvation, loss of quality horse markets and an overwhelming amount of horses in rescue facilities or simply turned loose. An estimated 170,000 horses per year are considered unwanted in the U.S. The ban on horse processing has cost the US roughly $26 million annually in lost meat exports.

One person who operated a non-profit refuge in Oregon for many years averaged 2 new horses per year. When the U.S. Slaughterhouses closed she ended up with 95 horses that year. Although originally opposed to horse slaughter herself, she has changed her mind since seeing starved and abandoned animals.

If the horse processing industry was lost the result would probably be 35 to 40 per cent of Canada’s horses would have a negative value and the same welfare issues the U.S. is faced with would be a reality here.”

There is not a shred of truth to these statements. The real issue at hand is not “Unwanted Horses” but rather “Surplus Horses”.

One needs to look no further than the dictionary for synonyms of unwanted: undesirable; unwelcome; of no value; unacceptable; objectionable. Need I continue? On the other hand take the word surplus.

Surplus = an amount or a quantity in excess of what is needed.

33 thoughts on “Unwanted horse and slaughter propaganda travels to Canada”

  1. Its not up to the horses or even our life when we pass. It’s diginity from owners to know that you don’t treat any pet like a peice of shit just because it died. You may want your friends to do that to do but I’ve earned the right to have myself carried honorable from the service of my country.

    Vets can humanely put a horse down I see it all the time. Shooting a horse is a mere from of degredation for the painless owners. I seen many times a shot of the juice and the horse relaxes as it goes to sleep. No different than any Hospice care and I’ve had many friends go through Hospice. Its only diginity that separates the canibal in us.

    So from a person who signs a morgan lover as one the first wild horses to be captured by a U. S. Military officer and turned into a mount you know about the this being the first named for mustangs.

    Lets hope that if you have family and you pass one day they don’t just put you in a garbage can and set it out for pick up.

    One of my biggest fights is seeing people who have a bone yard and while its legal but tasteless it show how people care for themselves in the mirror.

    I’m an advid hunter not a tree hugger and bleed out my deer and other game so I’me familiar with the term.

    We have lots of people who see this column and i would like to think that as being pro about the issue we could actually educate some of whom never seen or heard of these issues.

    Pet owner responsibility is vital and humane.

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    1. I agree with you Ray, but our MAIN responsibility to our horses – or anyone else for that matter – is carried out when they are ALIVE. That is my point.

      If my family can only afford one option – taking care of me while I’m still living, or a large funeral after I pass, guess which I’d opt for? Most people do not have unlimited resources, and no matter what they would WANT to do, they are limited by reality. So, I’m just saying that when you must make a choice, the living come first. That’s all I meant. And I stand by it.

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      1. Yes absolutely.

        No questions there. You must be responsible and committed to anyone or any animal under your care to see to their welfare. Death or abandonment should not be part of it regardless of how dire the situation becomes.

        There are, if you look hard enough, alternatives. It is all about love, respect and accountability. First and foremost in life is how you treat and care for others. That is what life is really about; it is not fame and fortune, riches and wealth, but rather respect for those who inhabit the earth with you.

        Not trying to be philisophical or anything but genuine, but really is there anything more important?

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  2. Ray ~ I still find most of what you are posting incomprehensible. MY point was that HORSES do not care what happens to their bodies after death – all that matters to them is the manner of the death, whether it’s humane of horrific. After that, they can’t be hurt no matter whether they are buried, cremated, rendered, composted or taken to a land fill. THEY wouldn’t even care if they were eaten, but a horse can’t be humanely put down by a vet – except by gunshot which most vets do not use – and then eaten because of the drugs involved.

    Even if it weren’t for the drugs, horses slaughtered must be ALIVE when strung up to “bleed out.” This means stunning, not killing. They actually die from blood loss. “Humane slaughter” is an oxymoron.

    This was MY point. Still not sure about yours.

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  3. Monetary gain is the phrase. I wouldn’t begin to know how to stop the ignorant breeders. My concern is the protection of wild horses and placing them into homes. As long as we have ignorant horse breeders who think they can raise the next Secretariat it won’t stop.

    The BLM has been on this rampage since before when but the fact is that as long as we have the same ignorant sorry ass Don Glenn in there managing we will have the same problem. In order to change we have to have change and start with like the GAO told the BLM to change its managing style and they did, they went from worse to worse.

    Hundreds of words we could talk about but the issue is for me the Protection of the Wild Horses and Burros. It doesn’t matter who thinks there “ferel” or what, the fact is they are protected by federal law just like the laws that protect you and I. When we as a civilized nation start killing off innocent animals or making laws that state if your over 65 we won’t spend money on your health or ideas even after we work all our lives for that benefit.

    Obama administration has killed, mamed, hurt, ruin and many others things our great nation and we taxpayers as whole have the opportunity to “change” this this election including to make the new congress be responsible for our laws.

    I don’t have “excess” animals on our sanctuary.
    I do like having the opportunity Jane to try and get more involved in this process but it seems sometimes that the only ones who do anything are the ones who think they can get rich or raise money to pay there egos.

    To many lobbyiest group state they do things, I challenge anyone of them to show me or anyone where they have done something besides pay congressmen/woman money. Horse slaughter was a state violation not federal law issue. To date it’s still a state issue, state by state. The feds stop the human consumption but they didn’t stop the slaughter issue. States can still crank open a slaughter house.

    The real answer is humanity and what are we going to tolerate.

    If there was away to fund local Sheriffs with money to enforce the actual laws on the books for horses/animals then they could do a better job but we have to pick, national security over animals issues.

    Until we can show the local laws enforcement that there is money to be made by fines, court costs and prevention then we are where we are, stuck.

    I’m always open to see how to stop the ignorant from raising something there is no room for.

    I do about 30-45 investigations a month and the calls just keep on coming. Prevention through Education works until they just don’t care eitherway.

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  4. No one is questioning irresponsible ownership but we aren’t even talking about the wild horse situation here or for the most part pet owners. We are talking about rampant overbreeding at the hands of individuals and/or groups that are exploiting the horse for monetary gain.

    How do you solve this? Are TB owners going to contact vets and clinics to euthanize all of their horses that didn’t make it on the track or in stud service or the nurse mare foals involved? I think not. Similarily all those organizations who pretend to breed for so-called benevolent purposes when in fact the ulterior motive is to make profits on horse slaughter.

    And for your information, here is a list of synonyms for the word surplus : excess, extra, spare, leftovers, remainder, superfluity, overage, oversupply, surfeit, overflow, plethora, glut.

    Note the first word on the list and the fact that nowhere do you see the word “unwanted”.

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  5. Maybe I went to the wrong school, surplus is when you order to much of one thing and excess is when you put to much food on your plate.

    Either way, responsible pet ownership, is the legal question. Like Louisiana when we did Hurricane Katrina every animal had a microchip and pet owners were easy to identify even when they were sold we could trace back and then up to the new owner. I’m not now or ever supporting microchipping on every dog, cat, snake, pet or horse either domestic or wild. Even cows have markers on them and can trace mad cow back within days after the detection but when people choose to drop a horse off on a road or highway because the grass is greener then how is called surplus… it’s illegal and when a car hits the animal people die is some cases or badly injuried. It’s not excess.

    Just plain people being mean instead of just being responsible.

    Living so close to both Kaufman and Fort Worth slaughter plants I know the game and operation. When the FTW plant calls me and tells me they got wild horses in for slaughter they usually just send them to me or make arrangements to have them removed from the plant. It still processes horses for zoo and exotic habitats.

    Lots of people are reading about wild horse issues and want to help but with every day turning up new fighters, how do you know what fight is already fought unless you talk to us old long standing wild horse groups that are very much active and involved.

    Petitions and letters are great tool for relieving stress but whats got to happen is Congress is in control of BLM operation and the law has to be changed and only congress can stop BLM, dead in there tracks. DEAD. BLM is bullet proof until the law is changed.

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  6. In controlling the way horses are slaughtered wether at your local vet’s office or other means that when you can administer a drug that will help them rest peacefully then provide them with the final stimoulous to the end. Its never pretty but the economic side is why anyone does what they do to there animals, all, when they can’t afford to bury you at a cementary where do you think you go, forest lawn anyway, they send you to a city pauper trench line you up and thenbury you with hundreds.

    What we have to do is control the game if its being played in our yard, set up a sequence of events to help the horse, dog cat or whatever thats being euthanized .

    This is humane, controlled euthanization without slaughter. But its still death.

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    1. Uh, Ray, your first post was bad enough, but this one is completely unintelligible. I don’t have the slightest idea what you intended to say.

      Are you trying to make a point about where the bodies go AFTER euthanization? Do you think the HORSES care? As long as I die painlessly, I don’t give a rip where MY body goes after I no longer need it.

      And, what does this have to do with the subject at hand?

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      1. The way to change the inhumane practices is not by closing things down, it’s by changing the practices. When you have the ball you can then set in better practices, i.e. head restraints, bumper guards, remove the bolt and use i.m. methods though slower yet painless.

        Wait till you check out how many veterinarians will put your horse down then call the renderer or yet have it haul to the local dump. Now you may not care when you die or how you’re fried or pickled but chances are your family or owners will.

        Me personally I plan on going to the white gates all beat up and scarred from living life to the fullest and not died living.

        I served my country honorably and deserved to see that any one who cares should know that through domination this great land we call home, these United States has the right to make sure that even animals aren’t treated inhumanely because that leads to mass destruction of mankind as we know it.

        Texas A&M has a great formula for those that bury there animals on premises with a formula for rendering your horses naturally. Dust to Dust and ashes to ashes. You can use the compost solution to regenerate your fertilizer for your fields or plants’ knowing that saves inhumane treatment and makes its more humane for those that can’t afford the vet or bury.

        Unwanted Horses or Abandoned on the subject means there is not any county in this land that has a budget for public dumped horses. No Sheriff will absorb the cost.

        Surplus: what if I have more than you it’s not surplus, but if you decide that you have to many its called surplus! Wrong, its hoarding and breeding farms. These people need to know how to use gelding techniques by the local vet.

        People dump horses because they can’t afford to feed them anymore this doesn’t make them surplus.

        People are dumping there domestic horses on the Arizona Indian Reservations thinking someone will take care of them, not. That’s the poorest of all nations to do this.

        Surplus is being confused with an idiot. Animal owners are 100% responsible for the surplus, over stock, under fed and care of the animals in there possession. Next thing you know we’re going to be dumping children because there over stocked, or surplus. Be responsible, it’s a life, your choice to raise it and now feed it.

        The fastest way to have someone stop raising excess horses is to have them euthanize there own animals themselves. This is a hard lesson learned fast but effective. Making your “surplus” problem a public problem is called animal welfare reform.

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        1. Ray, it appears you do not understand the slaughter process, particularly the business end of it. Slow it down? You must be joking. Your argument bears no resemblance to reason. Overbreeding is the central issue, as I am sure you must be able to comprehend. Perhaps you are simply playing the devil’s advocate. If you are not, then you are on the same par as Temple Grandin. Totally out of touch when it comes to horses.

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        2. I dunno Ray about your definition of surplus. Last I looked it simply meant too many for whatever cause. Moreover the word surplus is synonymous with excess so I really don’t get your point.

          My point is that there is defintiely a difference between surplus or excess or whatever you want to call it and the word “unwanted”.

          And yes, it is overbreeding that is the root cause of this predicament and those who condone and practice it should, in a perfect world, be accountable.

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          1. And many kids are “unwanted”? Its either a responsible parent gone bad or that idiot having 8 children. Again the system is paying for that too. There are agencies out there to help, vet schools to teach gelding practices at license vets clinics, unlike the Alabama woman that was doing it wrong and killing horses. Pets Mart and other have grants to help.

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  7. We must look at these moves to circumvent the laws as real threats to our peace and pursuit of happiness. Seriously, the twists and turns of the authors depicting horses in such meaningless terms so as to allow a future of cruelty towards our animals is, if not laughable, enraging. This will be a long drawn out fight, sort of like the stupid drunken brawls on Friday nights down at the docks. It is very simple – we do not want our horses, your horses, their horses – no horses slaughtered. It’s not an option. Figure it out. And asking Dr. Temple Gandrin will not rise to the level of credible consultation. If you need help, we will help.

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  8. sorry i want to make a couple of points here,

    The one thing of many of what ever you want to call it is the fact that shutting down the slaughter houses only helped a few of the non-profits who were banking there reputation they could do it. Well, the dog barking at the car and the car stopped. So now what is the problem, the dog can’t eat the car so instead he just pisses on it and walks off.

    This is what happen when HSUS screamed about horse slaughter, well in Western Horseman they complained about the killers effect on how they killed the horses while the whole time it was outside the United States and not HSUS or anyone had control over the process. Only after they got the plants closed and they realized that now they didn’t have any thing to fuss about they had to move on to other issues.

    Well this being said HSUS and some of the others who got the machine to stop should have thought it out and realize that keeping the dog barking was notice you knew where it stood. By keeping slaughter plants open you could have controlled the humane treatment of euthanizing while educating the public on birth controls types to minimuize the numbers.

    We don’t support that action in either direction we think its pet owners responsibility to care for there animals and if they don’t, file charges on them for cruelty.

    The price of corn went through the roof when this whole game ended and driving prices up for owners to figure out how to pay for the now more than ever, extra faces to feed and why a solution wasn’t thought out before hand.

    Mexico and Canada only declare you must have documents, microchips in your horse if it’s slaughter bound. It’s easy just to take your horse across the border and then just leave it vacating the rules on 6 months this or health papers.

    West Texas has 900 horses a week crossing into Mexico. Yes, 46,000 plus and thats just one crossing.

    All these groups just wanted money and then just ran off leaving others to figure out the solution would have actually paticipated with other out egos, we could actually have gotten something done. 15 minutes of fame equates to money and they don’t care after they get cash. Federal law, IRS rules specially state the non-profits have to use the money donated to as directed by the donor. Hurricane Katrina brought down many non-profits for raising money then using it for something else.

    Bottom line, if any non-profit wants to get rich in the horse rescue business they might as well open up a pet cementary for unwanted horses. People that can’t afford to euthanize usually turn out the horse on public areas. They can’t feed it or care for it so they dump it. Why can’t we get congress to agree to change the coggins form as we have been lobbying for the past several years to add one statement at the bottom of the form, before the vet signs the paperwork, one line would read, “this horse is in good health and no know sicknesses or diseases” then sign it.

    This would stop the sale barns and ignorant owners from pawning off horses to unsuspecting buyers.

    If the dumb french or japanese want to eat poisoned food then lets not stop them. Why should we worry about how we medicate our animals, we live here not over there. We don’t eat them here so why dictate our care policy for some elses convience.

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    1. You have just proven what the FBI have been saying – if a person can be cruel to an animal, odds are cruelty towards humans is close behind.

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    2. Ray

      I’m not sure what you mean when you say:

      “By keeping slaughter plants open you could have controlled the humane treatment of euthanizing”

      There was NOTHING humane about the way the horses were slaughtered in the U.S. nor was it a form of euthanasia. The same practices were used as in Canada and are well documented- nothing different, so how do you propose the U.S. was in control or could have taken control of the situation and why didn’t they?

      And yes, we all know that the methods in Mexico are far worse, even more despicable if that is possible.

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  9. Vivian,

    With all due respect, I wish you include more ways to “share” your articles. I like to add to my blogger, and many would share on facebook. Good link here:

    http://www.addthis.com/

    When you add this button to your site, folks can share almost anywhere.

    Thanks for all you do!

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