The following is a letter from Sue Wallis and the latest version of her pro-horse slaughter group, sent to Agriculture Secretary Vilsak at the USDA, begging for horse slaughter inspections necessary to export horse meat and thereby saving the US horse industry.
The letter is based on the loosest interpretation of facts, or no facts at all.
Here are the facts:
- The horse industry is in good shape considering the economy providing thousands of jobs and contributing to the gross national product;
- The USDA does not have the budget to do all it needs to inspect and protect foodstuffs for Americans let alone money for this;
- The US still has a disposal system for horses via slaughter — it simply moved across the border;
- Approximately 140,00 US horses are killed for their meat per annum in Mexico and Canada, the same number as when horse slaughter operated on US soil;
- Horse slaughter exists for two reasons only — to supply the demand for horse meat and to make money off of it.
Items 3 and 4 destroy the basis of Wallis’ arguments to “re-instate” horse slaughter. It never left the building. How can you re-instate something that still exists. Nor does the slaughter of US horses need beefing up; it is stronger than ever.
Item 5 describes Wallis and the latest incarnation of multiple versions of her pro-horse slaughter group.
Now the letter.
July 31, 2012
The Honorable Thomas J. Vilsack
Secretary of Agriculture
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Vilsack,
On behalf of the International Equine Business Association and the horse businesses of the United States I am writing to urge your agency to immediately provide the inspection necessary to humanely and safely process horses in facilities that are ready to do so in the United States. The horse industry is already severely damaged because of the lack of market and options, and now with wide spread drought and wild fire damage, the situation is truly dire.
Attached please find an urgent petition, and background information supporting this letter.
USDA stands squarely in the way of enterprises that could offer some relief and a humane option for many of these horses. It has come to our attention that USDA is promulgating directives to states that indicate the agency has no intention of providing the inspection they are required by long-standing U.S. law to provide, and are actively discouraging state departments of agriculture from implementing any kind of state inspection. This singles out one class of livestock owner for economic harm and persecution that is extremely detrimental-leaving many with no option except to destroy valuable animals, or to sell them at pathetically low prices and allow them to be hauled to other countries out of U.S. jurisdiction. In the face of widespread natural disaster, some would say this is the height of hypocrisy and completely counter to the mission of the USDA to promote and responsibly regulate agriculture in this country.
Several horse processing facilities are ready to offer horse owners a fair price for the animals they desperately need to sell — or could be within days — to provide much-needed emergency relief. Markets for the product are ready to accept it domestically and internationally if the meat is USDA-inspected exactly as it was in 2007.
USDA should not stand in the way of much-needed, humane options for horses. Horses and horse people are uniquely suffering as a direct result of federal government inaction, and the Department’s refusal to provide the inspection services federal law requires USDA to provide.
Across the nation, states, tribes and private citizens are working hand-in-hand with the federal government to provide relief to every other breed of livestock, and every other kind of business, yet USDA stands directly in the path of the same relief for the horse industry.
This is a moral and ethical imperative that USDA must address without delay.
Sue Wallis, Chair
Bill des Barres
European Union, Mexico, Argentina
If there really is a glut of horses in the marketplace (even though 140,000 or more are killed for their meat in horse slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada every year), then look no further than horse breeders who obviously need educating on the principles of supply and demand and its economic impact on the horse industry.
Plus, just because there is a market for horse meat does not mean the US should or must supply it.
If you are on Twitter, please tweet @USDA telling them how you feel about the return of horse slaughter on US soil. Only, ONLY if you can be polite. No room for angry statements here; just the facts please. Thank you!