It isn’t right to assume that everyone has heard about horse slaughter and why it exists. We have been working against it for so many years, we sometimes forget that.
So let’s look at some talking points about the slaughter of horses for human consumption, with particular ones relevant to H.R.961/S.2006 (the “SAFE Act of 2019”). There’s also a Take Action section at the end.
Polls taken in 2006 and 2012 confirm that 8 out of 10 Americans are opposed to horse slaughter, regardless of gender, political affiliation, their geographic location or whether they live in urban or rural areas.
Horse slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat by overseas consumers who consider it a delicacy. It is not a service for “unwanted” horses.
Horse slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market which encourages indiscriminate breeding and neglect by providing a “dumping ground” for unscrupulous individuals.
Horses purchased for slaughter are not old, unhealthy or “unwanted” and could continue to be productive.
Predictably “kill buyers” who make a living supplying horses to slaughter plants are interested in buying the healthiest horses for the production of horse meat.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter 92.3% of horses arriving at slaughter plants in the U.S. were deemed to be in “good” condition.
Another byproduct of horse slaughter is horse theft. Horse slaughter plants are aware that horses are stolen to be brought to their facilities but they simply do not care.
When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, horse theft fell by 39.5%. In the years that followed, the State saw the decrease in horse theft rise to 88%.
H.R.961 and S.2006
Although horses are not currently slaughtered on U.S. soil due to a recurring federal ban in the annual spending bill for inspections required by law to export their meat, horses are bought and transported across U.S. borders to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered for human consumption.
Horse slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada see horses as “meat on the hoof” and could care less about their history, medical or otherwise, or how they got there.
Horses receive multiple medications such as steroids, dewormers and ointments throughout their lives barring their meat from entering the human food chain.
Phenylbutazone (“Bute”) — commonly known as the horse “aspirin” and is as common to horses as human aspirin is to humans — is a known carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans.
Horses treated with Phenylbutazone bars them from entering the human food chain.
Dr. Nicholas Dodman, in a paper entitled “Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: a public health risk”, states:
The permissive allowance of such horsemeat used for human consumption poses a serious public health risk.
See also Do Not Use in Horses Intended for Human Consumption: Horse Meat and Its Public Health Danger, by Jessica Rose Sutcliffe.
Kill buyers for the horse meat industry ignore a slaughter horse’s medication history and so do the slaughterhouses — especially concerning Bute — or 8 out of 10 horses who arrive there from the U.S. would be turned away.
H.R.961 / S.2006 (the “SAFE Act of 2019”) is a bipartisan measure that would outlaw horse slaughter operations in the U.S. and end the current export of American horses for slaughter.
Contact your U.S. Representative (H.R.961) and both U.S. Senators (S.2006) in Washington and ask them to cosponsor the SAFE Act of 2019.
If you can’t do it right now, please make a note to yourself, or put it on your “to do” list. It is critical for the safety and welfare of our horses that we all take part. Thank you!