We have been waiting for this for years. Here is our best chance of finally getting the horror of horse slaughter outlawed for good.
The pro-slaughter factions - especially well funded and organized groups like the so-called "United Horsemen" have misled not only our law makers, but many well meaning members of the public as well. They have claimed that the "unwanted" horses such as the old, sick, crippled and otherwise "useless" horses will be left to suffer because their owners "cannot afford" to pay for veterinarian administered euthanasia.
They have said that slaughter is "euthanasia" or even more disgusting, "humane harvesting." and that in the U.S. slaughter was well regulated and humane.
They have even gone so far as to deny the food safety issues in American horses despite the undeniable fact that American horses are not raised like food animals and that slaughter in this country is not intended for food production anyway. The only reason horse slaughter exists here is so the large breeders can breed indiscriminately and have a dumping ground for "culls" that don't meet their expectations, aren't the "right" color or don't have the conformation to excel in whatever sport they were bred for. Slaughter makes it easy for irresponsible, heartless owners to get rid of horses they no longer want for whatever reason.
But now, with the appearance of this Irish Veterinary Paper which clearly describes the lengths the European Union is going to in order to protect its citizens from the drug that is probably the most commonly prescribed drug in American Veterinary Medicine: Phenylbutazone - bute. It is an NSAID, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory, and is used in horses the way aspirin/ibuprofen is used in human medicine.
This paper clearly states what we have been trying to tell our legislators for years: Even minute amounts of bute in horse meat can cause aplastic anemia in children, and even a single dose in a horse's lifetime requires mandatory, permanent removal from the human food chain.
The United States simply cannot continue to knowingly export horse meat containing this dangerous drug - as well as many other banned substances.- for consumption of unsuspecting consumers overseas. It is despicable as well as illegal.
Please contact your own Senators and Representatives and ask them to co-sponsor S.1176/H.R. 2966 The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011.
September 19, 2011
The HSUS applauds U.S. Reps. Dan Burton, R-Ind., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., for introducing H.R. 2966, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011.
“Although horse slaughter plants no longer operate in the United States, many thousands of American horses still endure the long journey to Canada and Mexico to be killed in cruel and unacceptable ways,” said Wayne Pacelle, president and CEO of The HSUS. “Americans don’t eat horses, and we don’t have to be the nation that is the pipeline for horse meat to satisfy the demand for a small group of high-end foreign consumers in Belgium and Japan.”
“I personally believe in the importance of treating all horses as humanely and respectfully as possible,” said Rep. Burton. “I look forward to working with Representative Schakowsky to end the cruelty after decades of effort to stop these practices.”
“I am proud to join Representative Burton in supporting this bill to put a stop to the cruel practice of shipping horses abroad for slaughter,” said Rep. Schakowsky. “As a strong supporter of animal rights and a horse lover, I recognize the need to protect animals that aren’t able to protect themselves. Protecting animals ought to be a bipartisan issue, and this bill is a strong step in the right direction.”
Approximately 100,000 American horses are sent across U.S. borders to slaughter each year. This represents 1 percent of the total population of American horses, as the vast majority of horse owners choose humane euthanasia—not long-distance transport and slaughter—as an end-of-life option for their beloved companions. States have acted to stop horse slaughter, shuttering the last remaining horse slaughter plants in the United States in 2007, and federal courts have upheld these state laws. Now Congress must act to stop the export of live horses for slaughter in Canada and Mexico.
The horrendous end for these American icons sold for slaughter begins at an auction. The journey to and across a border can mean confinement in a trailer at temperatures in excess of 100 degrees for thousands of miles without access to food or water. Once unloaded, the exhausted, dehydrated and often battered horses are recklessly shoved into kill boxes where they suffer abuse as workers’ attempts to render the panic-stricken animals unconscious cause additional suffering.
A recently released GAO report also recommends that “Congress may wish to consider instituting an explicit ban on the domestic slaughter of horses and exports of U.S. horses intended for slaughter in foreign countries.” National polls show that 70 percent of Americans favor a ban on the slaughter of these animals, which hold an iconic place in the nation’s history and its self-image. The HSUS joins Reps. Burton and Schakowsky, along with the vast majority of Americans, in support of this bill to protect our treasured equine companions from this cruelty by banning their slaughter for human consumption.
A Senate bill, S. 1176, was introduced in June by U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La, and Lindsey Graham, R.S.C., and now has 24 co-sponsors.