Investigation on Horse Meat Entering Europe From America

Italian Horse Protection Association
Investigation on horse meat entering Europe from America

In the USA there is no differentiation between FPA (Food Producing Animal) and non-FPA equidae; horses are simply not considered as part of the food chain. US' horses are slaughtered in Canada and Mexico (and perhaps in the USA re-starting in 2012). Horse meat is exported primarily to Europe (France, Belgium, Italy and Germany are the main horse-meat eating countries). The significant point here is therefore that any horse, not being considered part of the food chain, can be treated with any and all drugs which the vet - or indeed simply the owner - considers necessary, with no formal requirements to observe or fulfil.

The European Union, quite rightly severe (although in our opinion not sufficiently) with its own producers, from whom it demands a strict record of all drugs administered to animals destined for human consumption in the name of the health and safety of the consumer, accepts a mere declaration by the owner of the horse that no drug which is inadmissible in Europe has been administered to the animal, or that due time has elapsed between the administration of drugs, and slaughter. This document should also contain all the necessary information for identification of the equine.

Volunteers from the Equine Welfare Alliance (an alliance of animal rights associations, with members in 18 countries among which Italy, represented by IHP) travelled to New Holland in Pennsylvania, USA to a market for horses destined for slaughter in Canada, to see just how these declarations worked. The volunteers photographed as many declarations as they could manage to get their hands on for a moment: they were all actually blank with just a signature and then just stuck onto any horse, indiscriminately. In one case, there are two pages, one with just a signature and no further details about the horse, the other a blank piece of paper with the name and address of the vendor, plus a comment on how strong and healthy the horse is, and the phrase ‘no drugs'. The practice begs the question, even if the forms were filled in correctly, as to what guarantee there is that the vendor is telling the truth? The Equine Welfare Alliance immediately sent their photos to the competent authority in the EU but has to date received no reply.

Take a look at the certificates.

Given the situation, some university researchers (Nicholas Dodman, Tufts University, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Massachussets; Nicolas Blondeau University of NIce “Sophia Antipolis”, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology , France, and Ann M. Marini, University of Bethesda, Department of Neurology, Maryland) put to the test a theory, cross checking the data of some of the animals sent for slaughter with the data banks from racecourses where the horses had run. Those data bases contain the records, required by anti-doping laws, of treatments with phenylbutazone (commercial name: Bute), a non-steroid anti-inflammatory drug commonly used on horses but which is prohibited in Europe for horses destined for human consumption.

By means of a complex procedure, the researchers uncovered information about the data of races of 16 horses out of 50 of those under study. The result of the study is that all the horses whose data was located had been treated with Bute, some of them only one week before slaughter. However the data uncovered was relative to race dates, while not all treatments administered are logged if they are not close to the date of a race. Horse meat exported to Europe, therefore, is very likely indeed to contain traces of prohibited substances, and not only of fenilbutazone.

Read here the full text of the article by Dodman, N., et al. Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk. Food Chem. Toxicol. (2010), (doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.02.021)

After having read the results of this research, we looked further and found a shocking list of drugs and hormones, in every day use on horses in America but severely restricted (or indeed actually prohibited) in Europe because they are dangerous, some very dangerous, to human health. Some hormones permitted in the USA but prohibited, or at any rate strictly regulated in the EU, can be considered so dangerous that some transatlantic health organisations advise, for example: "It is recommended that pregnant women do not handle this product and that the person carrying the container for the oral administration of the product should wear at least two pairs of disposable gloves and be assisted by someone who can open the doors for them, in order to avoid the risk of contamination”.

Digging even deeper we came across something that we would never have wanted to find. Two inspection reports of the EU dated autumn 2010, one in Canada, one in Mexico, following an EU inspection to ensure that horse meat produced there reached an acceptable standard for European public health.

The results of the two inspections are chilling: two slaughter houses in Mexico are completely inadequate, yet anyhow authorised to export meat to the EU. The Mexican authorities “promised” the inspectors that they will not issue export certificates for meat from those two abattoirs. Other slaughter houses “ONLY” had the problem of non-drinkable water, hygiene issues, and, naturally, no check on the veracity of the certificates about drugs. The inspection concluded that the slaughter houses, even though authorised to export to Europe, are not in line with the set standards. Imports to date have not ceased. The situation in Canada is slightly better but even there, apart from some hygiene problems there is absolutely no check on the presence of drugs, apart from the ridiculously inadequate declaration of the vendor.

Read the Canadian inspection report.
Read the Mexican inspection report.

This situation is not only very serious from the point of view of public health, due to the amount of dangerous or very dangerous drugs the consumer is ingesting, but is it totally scandalous, if we think that the authorities who are supposed to watch over these things are perfectly aware of what has been going on since autumn 2010, quite likely even earlier, and who not only have photographs showing how the ‘certificates' are produced, but also have the word of their very own inspectors, who declare in writing that there can be no guarantee for the public health.

As if this was not enough , it is a common myth in some Countries that horse meat should be given often to children and pregnant women, and to cure anaemia. In other words to all those who should be the object of increased health protection. Health protection that the EU fails to give.
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The True Cost of Canada's Horse Meat Industry

Pasture to Plate

The True Cost of Canada's Horsemeat Industry

The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC) presents a fourth investigation documenting inhumane horse slaughter at a Canadian slaughterhouse and provides compelling evidence that the much touted Equine Identification Document (EID) program put forward by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) invites fraud.

Despite past reassurances from the CFIA and industry that horse slaughter plant conditions would be improved, this investigation demonstrates that yet a fourth Canadian slaughterhouse is in violation of humane slaughter regulations.The CHDC has once again received undercover footage - this time from Les Viandes de la Petite-Nation, Inc., in St. Andre-Avellin, Qubec.

The footage was captured on July 13th and 14th of 2011 and was sent anonymously to the CHDC.

Those of us who have examined the video have been shocked and sickened by what we've viewed. We consulted Dr. Nicholas Dodman, an expert in animal behaviour and anesthesiology at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Dodman had this to say: "...my final conclusion, after reviewing 150-plus horse slaughters in this series of videos, is that the process was terrifying for most of the horses and, in many cases, horribly inhumane. The inhumane treatment of horses at Les Viandes de la Petite Nation must be stopped immediately."

The evidence is clear: it is impossible, even in well-designed, conscientiously-managed, assembly-line conditions, to humanely slaughter horses. As Dr. Dodman states, "...many head shy or apprehensive horses...presented the operator of the captive bolt gun with a moving target."

Examples of stun box failures noted:

- More than 40% of the horses were not stunned after the 1st shot as required by "humane slaughter" regulations. Captive bolt pistol placement was poor - some horses were shot into their temples, under their ears or at the base of their brain. These horses showed clear signs of ineffective stunning or revival in the form of remaining standing, standing back up, winnying or head-shaking. Up to eleven attempts were made to stun one horse (Horse 33 Day 1) who suffered for almost 4 minutes.

- While we were not able to see into the area where the horses were suspended and butchered, at times the shooter carried a captive bolt pistol out from the area to hose it off as it became too bloody. This captive bolt pistol was a different style and higher calibre than the one normally used in the stun box. Only with excessive bleeding, such as during bleed-out, would the pistol become so blood covered. Blood was not seen or sprayed off the pistol used in the kill line, which raises the question whether horses were shot while being bled out.

- Over 80% of the horses showed signs of fear: their knees trembled and buckled, they lost their footing and repeatedly fell.

- 14% of the horses vocalized (provoked by stress or agitation). Some whinnied even after being shot.
- Government inspectors turned a blind eye to violations of the "humane" slaughter regulations. Over the course of 2 days a government inspector could be seen looking into the stun box (sometimes with no horse present) for a total of just 3 1/2 minutes. One horse revived (Horse 64 Day 1) while the inspector was observing, but while it seems the inspector requested another shot be given, the shooter simply winked at him but delivered no further shots.

In our opinion, the system brought in by the CFIA to meet European standards for food safety and traceability is flawed and incomplete, and appears to invite fraud. Examples of issues include:

- Incomplete owner information

- Incomplete agent information

- Poor identification of horses/erroneous information given, such as age, colour markings, tattoos, primary location, sex of animal etc.

- Information often appeared to be filled out by auction mart not the owner

- Use of a stamp instead of original signature by agent

The EID system, touted by the Canadian government as a document that ensures "a continuous medical history" on each horse presented for slaughter, is far from a guarantee that food safety is being addressed.

"Dirty Little Secret - Canada's slaughter industry under fire", published by the Toronto Star on July 30, 2011, provided a close look at Canada's horse slaughter system. The article took readers from a U.S. auction (Shipshewana, Indiana) to the door of a Canadian slaughterhouse. This investigation shows what lies beyond that door.

Gary Corbett, President of the federal union representing slaughterhouse veterinarians stated the following in the Toronto Star piece in regard to the EID system:

"(Veterinarians) do rely a lot on the records of the horses kept by the owners coming into the country and there are questions about how accurate or up to date they are. It's at the discretion of the owner. There's no regulatory framework to monitor it. It's kind of like an honour system."

The Star also confirmed that: "While there have been investigation of the 4 plants between 2000 and 2011, there have been no prosecutions, said a CFIA spokesperson."

Finally, John Holland, President, Equine Welfare Alliance, summarized the view of many that "Canada has had a very negative turn in the way people view them on animal issues because of this. Canada is seen as an opportunist in the way it has filled its plants with these animals after the U.S. closed its doors to the practice.

Warning: The written report and accompanying videos contain graphic and disturbing content. Discretion is advised.To view the written report please click here.

To view the written report  click here.
For those visitors who have trouble opening this file in their browser, please right click on the link and save to your computer and open from there.

Due to the massive amount of material uncovered in this investigation, we are presenting only a summary of some of the worst killings from the two days. An in-depth report will be released at a later date.

Dr. Nicholas Dodman's report can be viewed here.

Photo Journey

For further inquiries please contact:

Sinikka Crosland

Executive Director

Tel: 250.768.4803


Twyla Francois
Central Region Director
Tel: 204.296.1375

November 2011

Canadian Horse Defence Coalition
150 First Street
P.O. Box 21079
Orangeville, ON L9W 4S7

"Help us lead Canada's horses away from barbarism . . and into the protected pastures of a civilized nation."
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Handful of Legislators Condemn Our Horses to USDA Approved Abuse With OUR TAX MONEY

AWI Press Release: Handful of Legislators Condemn Horses to USDA Approved Abuse

Jack Kingston

Washington, D.C. (November 15, 2011) – It would appear that some in Congress are all talk when it comes to seriously reducing federal spending and decreasing the size of  government.  Despite overwhelming objections from the American public and the horse community, and despite Congress’ own supposed belief in fiscal restraint, the fate of America’s horses was undermined by three Members of Congress and their staffs behind closed doors this week.  For years, an amendment to the annual Agriculture Appropriations bill has prevented tax dollars from being used to “inspect” horse slaughter facilities in the U.S.   The House of Representatives voted this year to again include it in the Fiscal Year 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill, but three members of the Conference Committee, Representative Jack Kingston,
Herb Kohl
Roy Blunt

Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), and Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) , removed it from the final bill.  A fourth member of the Conference Committee, 

 Representative Sam Farr (D-CA), was the lone objector.

Sam Farr

“I have been in Washington for a long time and this move baffles me.  Both parties talked about making the hard cuts in federal spending and yet behind closed doors, three of the four men thought it was a good use of taxpayer dollars to ignore their colleagues and restore a federal program that will cost Americans at least $5 million a year and pull limited USDA inspectors from ensuring the humane treatment and safety of our nation’s food supply. To make matters worse, this was all done to appease a few foreign companies and Big Ag,” said Chris Heyde, deputy director of AWI’s government and legal affairs department.  “This action shows the true nature of some elected officials—that they are more concerned about helping special interests than doing what they were elected to do.”

Some legislators are trying to disguise what they did as helping the horses, but there is substantial evidence of horses suffering at taxpayers’ expense when slaughter was permitted in the U.S. While a recent GAO report attempted to connect an increase in abuse to a cessation of horse slaughter in the U.S., the authors noted that there was no actual proof other than claims put forward by pro-horse slaughter proponents. 

With this cynical move, there is now only one avenue left for ending the tragedy of the slaughter of horses for human consumption:  Swift action on the GAO’s other recommendation—passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. 

“AWI commends Representative Farr (D-CA), ranking member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, for being the sole member of the Conference Committee to stand up for America’s horses and fiscal responsibility,” noted Heyde.  “We look forward to working with Representative Farr and other Members of Congress on passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.”

The Animal Welfare Institute is calling on everyone who has horses and cares about the welfare of America’s horses to demand that Congress pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act immediately.

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Advantages of horse ownership discussed at Ranch Management University

Advantages of horse ownership discussed at Ranch Management University - North Texas e-News
By Blair Fannin, Texas A&M
Oct 30, 2011
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COLLEGE STATION – Most ranch owners don’t realize the significant impact horse ownership and its contributions have on the Texas economy, according to an equine specialist.

The Texas horse industry has a statewide economic impact of more than $5.2 billion a year, said Dr. Clay Cavinder, an assistant professor of equine science at Texas A&M University.

Cavinder was one of several speakers at the recent Ranch Management University at Texas A&M.
Dr. Clay Cavinder

Dr. Clay Cavinder, assistant professor of equine science at Texas A&M University, discusses horse ownership at the recent Ranch Management University program. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo by Blair Fannin)

“Ranch Management University provides a foundation of knowledge for those who are new to owning land in Texas,” said Dr. Larry Redmon, workshop coordinator and Texas AgriLife Extension Service state forage specialist.

The program features numerous experts in specific disciplines from AgriLife Extension, Texas AgriLife Research and faculty from the department of animal science at Texas A&M.

“Horses are valued at $4.2 billion just in the state of Texas,” Cavinder said. “In terms of comparison with other industries and their effect on the GDP, we are on the same level as the motion picture industry, apparel manufacturing and tobacco industry. So, the horse industry brings a lot to the table.”

Annual expenses are roughly $2,300 for the horse owner when calculating feed, health and other requirements, Cavinder said.

Trail riding, one of the more popular activities, has many benefits with regards to physical fitness, family participation, as well as an emotional outlet for disabled individuals.

Cavinder said individuals also enjoy ‘horse chores’ such as cleaning stalls and use it as an emotional outlet.

A majority of horses now are owned for recreational purposes; most horse owners are not from a rural background.

“In the 1930s, the horse population declined due to the advent of the automobile,” Cavinder said. “Today, the horse population is going back up. People are owning horses for the sheer fun of it. There are a lot of 20-year-olds that grew up having horses, but their parents weren’t that involved with it. Their grandparents were likely more active in it.”

Horse ownership carries with it benefits, as well as responsibilities, he said. Food, water and shelter are three basic responsibilities of horse ownership, according to Cavinder. Nutrition is the largest annual maintenance expense for the horse and is also one of the most neglected aspects of horse care.

The digestive system of a horse is that of an animal that was created to run and move and eat roughage.

“Colic is the No. 1 killer of a horse,” Cavinder said. “Because it can’t vomit, it creates a different set of problems here (that can lead to colic). We do not want to create a digestive upset.

“Because we’re feeding horses concentrate diets, we do have to consider a few special things like distances and time between feeding. If you feed at seven in the morning, feed at seven at night. If you look at the statistics, there’s millions of dollars spent on treating colic.”

Cavinder said a set, routine feeding time each day will help prevent digestive problems.

Horses don’t have gall bladders, which in humans emulsify fat, so they can’t be fed low quality forage, Cavinder said.

“This is why we have to feed nice, high quality feed or hay. A horse doesn’t have the ability to break down and utilize roughage that is very high in structural carbohydrates.”

Cavinder advises rotating grazing of pastures to allow plants to grow before grazing.

“Wait until the forage reaches 3 to 4 inches, then clip the pasture for growth,” he said. “If a pasture gets to the point where there isn’t forage, then throw hay out there.”

Cavinder also advises monitoring horses in the barn and observing their behavior for signs of sickness.

“I always tell students when walking through the barn, don’t neglect to look at other horses,” he said. “When they are sick, they look depressed. They’ll have their ears drooped back and head down.”

Registration is already being taken for the next Ranch Management University program scheduled April 9-13. For information, visit https://agriliferegister.tamu.edu/ and enter “Ranch Management” as the keywords.

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Texas A&M Transport Violations: Deluxe Transport to Slaughter But Horse Found Dead

Texas A & M fined for transport violations: Deluxe transport to slaughter but horse found dead

AA has gained information through a Freedom of information Act Request (FOIA) that powerfully underscores the cruelty of horse slaughter on U.S. soil. Under the most ideal conditions possible - including watering stops during single-deck transport, less packed conditions and multiple cameras with a team of monitors - a horse died in the bottom of a trailer during transport. The study adds to ever increasing evidence that demonstrates horse slaughter cannot be 'improved' into something that is humane.

Texas A &M Truck
Truck & trailer used for transport
The subject of the FOIA is a graduate program study orchestrated by Texas A&M University veterinary professor Dr. Ted H. Friend. The USDA paid for the study. A kill buyer was chosen and TX A&M transported his horses for free to the slaughter plant. The study was designed to 'improve' transport to slaughter by "relieving transport stress." Specifically, the study was to document the effect of providing water to horses in transport at 8 hour intervals.
In his statement, Dr. Friend said that 8 hours was, "the most frequent interval that we could reasonably expect truckers to stop to water horses." USDA regulations require checking all horses every six hours.
The researchers would also be taking blood samples to monitor stress levels in the horses. However, no blood sample was taken from the horse that later died.
Monte Clark of CO, a well known kill buyer, was the owner of the 26 horses. Texas A&M acted as shipper/transporter of the horses, moving them at no charge from Hudson, CO to Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX.
Conditions were as ideal as possible. There had been several practice runs before the study began. A&M used a specially outfitted trailer with 12 video cameras, lighting and watering system.
There were 2 drivers instead of the usual 1 seen on most hauls, and 3 graduate students that followed the trailer to monitor the cameras and water the horses. The professor stated that "our densest compartment [of the trailer] could be increased by 60% and still be under what the USDA considers to be acceptable density."
Trailer Overview
Inside of trailer
As unlikely as it sounds, all involved stated that cameras and lighting in the trailer "malfunctioned" where the dead horse was, though the cameras in other parts of the trailer continued to work properly.
AA believes it is due the presence of a USDA APHIS inspector at the slaughter plant that documentation of the incident exists. He stated that he "overheard" a graduate student telling the plant manager a trailer with a dead horse had arrived. APHIS inspectors are responsible for enforcement of transport to slaughter regulations (9 CFR, Part 88).
In his affidavit it is the driver who most frankly describes the journey's start. He seems more in touch with the condition of horses as they were being loaded in CO than the 'experts', recalling,
"[S]ome horses had cuts above their eyes or cheeks. The horse that fell was one of our main concerns. He did not seem to be in too good of health. He was walking real slow and hair was fallen out. But [ the] owners son, if I am not mistaken said the horse would be alright for the trip....I may not know too much about horses, but I myself know when one is not in good health...."
Dead horse in trailer
Dead horse
Graduate student 1 seemed far less concerned with any horses' welfare. In his affidavit he states Clark let him select additional horses from his "cripples pen", choosing the "healthiest soundest looking horses." However, as they began loading he sees the horse that would die in transport urinate, "the urine looked highly saturated with blood." The student said that later 'Monty' commented that the horse was "going to the right place." The student also states that after they arrived at Dallas Crown and found the dead horse, he told Chris the manager; "He did not seem surprised so I assumed this was a fairly common occurrence."
Student 1 ends his affidavit by saying, "Many of the horses transported to slaughter look pretty bad and this one [the horse that died] did not look any worse off than the majority. I know in the future we will not be transporting any horses that have blood in their urine."
A second graduate student gave an affidavit and also describes the pen of horses with "lower limb deformities". He remembers that the palomino gelding in question had "abnormally long, curly hair" and "appeared lethargic". However, neither of the graduate students in veterinary medicine hesitated when the decision was made to load this horse.
slaughter tag
Slaughter Tag
The trip took approx. 18 hours with one stop for watering the horses in Amarillo. Temperatures inside the trailer reached 97 degrees. Texas A & M was later fined $2,000 for failure to "at least once every six hours check on the physical conditions of all horses," and for incomplete owner/shipper certifications showing any prior conditions of the horse that arrived dead.
During the stop in Amarillo, the students monitoring the cameras stated they were having problems with the lighting system of the trailer and did not notice any horses down in the trailer.
According to the APHIS inspector's affidavit, he "did not ask if there was any [video] tape of the horses or the dead horse" received that day. No explanation was provided. Nobody took blood samples from the dead horse.
A university study with watering stops, lower loading density and video camera monitoring, select horses, yet still a horse dies during transport - How bad is the reality of typical transport to slaughter with nothing that approaches such luxuries? These transports were planned for months, test runs were conducted at the university and graduate students in veterinary medicine were monitoring the horses' welfare en route.
Still this poor horse died a grim death. According to Monte Clark, the palomino was, "going to the right place." No doubt giving horses water is an improvement, but does it make horse slaughter humane? According to every bit of evidence Animals' Angels has gathered since 2006, the answer is unquestionably No.

This is from Animals' Angels the famed international animal welfare organization that gets the story. Follow this link to their web site to find many more stories just as shocking as this one. This is a wonderful organization to help if you possibly can.


Mr President, You Promised!

During the 2008 campaign President Obama  said, “Federal policy towards animals should respect the dignity of animals and their rightful place as cohabitants of our environment. We should strive to protect animals and their habitats and prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect…. I have consistently been a champion of animal-friendly legislation and policy and would continue to be so once elected.”   President Obama  announced that he  had co-sponsored legislation to stop the sale for slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. During the 2008 campaign President Obama  signed on as co-sponsor to the bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. When asked specifically during the campaign, “Will you support legislation …to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption“,  President Obama  gave an unqualified “Yes“. (HSLF questionnaire)
Now is the time for President Obama  to keep that campaign promise.  The supporters of this predatory, cruel and inhumane practice of slaughtering horses have wrapped their arguments up with the flag, motherhood and apple pie.  They have lobbied extensively for the return of slaughter to the U.S. and the continued exports of equines for slaughter for human consumption. They even controlled a June, 2011 GAO report which has been refuted as based on misinformation, unsupported opinions and untruths. Go here and here.

PLEASE SEND THE FOLLOWING LETTER, PROVIDED BY  ANIMAL LAW COALITION  and  EQUINE WELFARE ALLIANCE  To President Obama, Your Senators and Your Representatives.  All Contact Information is provided at the bottom of the letter.


Signatures of more than 6,000 Americans on a White House petition to ban the slaughter of equines for human consumption have been presented to the Obama Administration.  The Obama Administration told us that if we gathered 5,000 signatures on a White House petition, the issue would receive consideration. We actually collected 5,000 signatures very quickly, at least 2 weeks before opponents were able to gather the same number of signatures for a petition started earlier to revive horse slaughter in the U.S.  Of the 4 petitions created by mid-October regarding horses, the slaughter ban has collected the most signatures.
Thousands more Americans have sent letters directly to the White House over the past 3 years and still more have directed letters to their senators and representatives in Congress in an effort to end equine slaughter for human consumption.
We know from a 2006 Public Opinion Strategies poll that nearly 70% of Americans support a ban on equine slaughter. A CNN poll that same year showed a similar result. The support among Americans for a ban on equine slaughter for human consumption has grown: Currently, according to the Popvox poll, 77% of Americans support pending legislation, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 2966/S.B. 1176, which would end the slaughter of American equines for human consumption.
I  hope the Obama  Administration will see this issue as paramount to human health and safety.  It is also about saving communities from a predatory and environmentally and economically devastating practice. It is about stopping terrible cruelty and suffering of animals who are our companions and pets; they helped build this country and still work in the military and law enforcement and provide therapy as well as entertainment in horse racing, shows and other sports and exhibitions. They are not raised for food.
During the 2008 campaign you (President Obama) said, “Federal policy towards animals should respect the dignity of animals and their rightful place as cohabitants of our environment. We should strive to protect animals and their habitats and prevent animal cruelty, exploitation and neglect…. I have consistently been a champion of animal-friendly legislation and policy and would continue to be so once elected.” You (President Obama)  announced that you had co-sponsored legislation to stop the sale for slaughter of wild free-roaming horses and burros. During the 2008 campaign you (President Obama)  signed on as co-sponsor to the bill to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. When asked specifically during the campaign, “Will you support legislation …to institute a permanent ban on horse slaughter and exports of horses for human consumption“, you (President Obama)  gave an unqualified “Yes“. (HSLF questionnaire)

Now is the time to keep that campaign promise, Mr. President.  The supporters of this predatory, cruel and inhumane practice of slaughtering horses have wrapped their arguments up with the flag, motherhood and apple pie.  They have lobbied extensively for the return of slaughter to the U.S. and the continued exports of equines for slaughter for human consumption. They even controlled a June, 2011 GAO report which has been refuted as based on misinformation, unsupported opinions and untruths. Go here and here.
The urgent reasons to ban equine slaughter have not changed, however, since you, (President Obama)  as Senator signed on as co-sponsor of anti-slaughter legislation:
1. The FDA does not regulate equines as food animals. Americans don’t eat horses and other equines.  American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA guidelines established for food animals, making them unfit and unsafe for human consumption. Equines are given all manner of drugs, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives. Equines are not tracked and typically may have several owners. A kill buyer has no idea of the veterinary or drug history of a horse or other equine taken to slaughter, and many of the most dangerous drugs have no or a very long withdrawal period. A typical drug given routinely to equines like aspirin, phenylbutazone or Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. It has no withdrawal period. The FDA bans bute in all food producing animals because of this serious danger to human health. The FDA and USDA would prohibit Americans from consuming horses because of this danger. Yet, neither the FDA nor the USDA prohibits the export of American horses for slaughter for human consumption.  It is a grave risk to public health to continue to allow the export of American horses for slaughter for human consumption in other countries.
2.  Equine slaughter has been devastating to the communities where slaughtering facilities have been located, with significant negative impacts including nuisance odors that permeated the surrounding towns to chronic sewer and environmental violations. Blood literally ran in the streets and waste from the facilities clogged sewers and piled up everywhere. This predatory practice produced few very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overran local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living in these communities dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Good businesses refused to relocate there. As Paula Bacon, mayor of Kaufman, Texas during the time a horse facility operated there until 2007 said, “My community did not benefit. We paid.”
Recently, when officials in Hardin, Montana learned of a plan to build horse facilities in that state, the town council immediately unanimously passed Ordinance No. 2010-01 that prohibits the slaughter of more than 25 animals in a seven day period. The message is clear: Americans don’t want equine slaughter.
Equine slaughter has also been found to increase and abet horse theft in areas where facilities are located or horses are held for transport to slaughter.
3. Horse slaughter is not a means of controlling numbers of so-called unwanted, abandoned or neglected horses, but, rather, is a for-profit operation driven by a demand for horsemeat in some foreign countries. The USDA has confirmed more than 92% of horses that end up at slaughter are healthy; they are not unwanted, neglected or abused.  Kill buyers are interested in buying the  healthiest horses for horsemeat which is sold as a delicacy in some foreign countries.
The rise in numbers of horses in need and drop in horse prices is a result of the worst recession in memory. In fact, if slaughter controlled numbers of horses in need, there would be none as slaughter is still available and horses are sent to slaughter in the same numbers as before the 2007 closings of the slaughter houses that were located in the U.S. In fact, the availability of slaughter actually increases the numbers of excess horses and other equines on the market. Slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market that encourages overbreeding and adds to the problem of horses in need. Banning slaughter would reduce the number of excess horses and other equines.
Also, slaughter accounts for only about 3 cents for every $100 of the equine industry. It is absurd for anyone to suggest a limited salvage market could influence prices in the entire horse industry.
4. America’s iconic wild horses and burros which are supposed to be legally protected on public lands under the Wild Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act, have been illegally sent to slaughter, and, indeed, a Justice Department investigation has been launched to try to stop this. A ban on exports of horses and burros for slaughter for human consumption would greatly assist in the enforcement of this Act.
5. Equine slaughter is not humane euthanasia.  The slaughter of horses and other equines simply cannot be made humane: Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. Horses and other equines, in particular, are very sensitive about anything coming towards their heads and cannot be restrained as required for effective stunning. Dr. Friedlander stated, “These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected.” The Government Accountability Office and dozens of veterinarians and other witnesses have confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and animals are conscious during slaughter. It is simply not possible for USDA/APHIS to make equine slaughter humane and it is a myth to pretend otherwise.
6. The 2011 GAO report confirmed that USDA/APHIS has not – and cannot – enforce humane transport regulations for equines sent to slaughter. Changing a few words here and there in the regulations will not change this. USDA/APHIS allows the kill buyers and haulers to fill out and provide the documentation – which is routinely missing, incomplete or inaccurate – relied on for enforcement. It is impossible to enforce regulations when the information to determine violations is supplied by those USDA/APHIS is supposed to be regulating.
7. Equines are in danger and equine welfare is threatened as long as slaughter remains available, and only a federal law can stop exports of equines for slaughter for human consumption.
I would like to urge President Obama to keep that 2008 campaign promise and support the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 2966/S.B. 1176, and am also asking My Senators and Federal Representative to CO-SPONSOR and Vote YES on H.R.2966 and S.B.1176.  Thank you.
(Your Name)
CLICK HERE TO SEND FREE FAXES TO YOUR SENATORS AND REPRESENTATIVES.  Faxes are sent from your computer.  You do not need a Fax Machine.  You do not need a Credit Card.
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USDA Picture of One Transport Violation at Beltex Corp. in Ft. Worth Texas 2005

USDA picture of  transport violations of Beltex Corp. in Fort Worth, Texas in 2005. There are 899 more pictures from Beltex just like this one. Is this your idea of humane? Picture obtained under FOIA request.


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Action Alert! Observations and Opinions of a Horse Killer (Parts 1 & 2)

These videos are interviews of a horse killer, who for decades, bought and shipped horses to slaughter for human consumption. He and his associates also rounded up Wild Horses for slaughter.
After leaving the business, his conclusion was that the entire industry was inhumane, cruel, lacking in transparency and with a profit margin was so small that it could never be regulated to be humane by any standards.That this was a business that was good for neither people nor horses.

In a word, exactly what we have been saying for 30 years. We have enough documentation to sink the Titanic, but somehow that is overlooked in favor the anti-slaughter disinformation - for which there is no documentation - that is parroted by the pro-slaughter horse registries like the AQHA and the Jockey Club and Big Agriculture as if ending horse slaughter for human consumption could somehow affect them.

I personally find it impossible to believe the entire animal/Ag industries can actually believe the scare tactics of the queen of slaughter mouthpieces, Ms. Sue Wallis and the so-called "United Horsemen" when they claim that we all are "animal rights radicals" bent on closing down all animal Ag and are paid by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and PETA. This is just too idiotic for words and I don't believe this "slippery slope" junk is actually taken seriously by Big Ag. However, it's a convenient excuse for whatever it is they are really afraid of - whatever that may be - and, who knows, it might be true, right?

Actually, no, it can't be true - not even close. But - for whatever reason - they seem to be willing to risk not only horrific cruelty to our horses, the health of consumers overseas eating the meat from a non-regulated non-food animal.They even seem to be willing to severely damage the credibility of our food safety regulations, and, in fact, our entire meat industry. If they can champion the continued export of horse meat that is tainted with numerous substances - phenylbutazone (bute) being the most widely known - without blinking an eye, why should we believe they would feel entirely differently about other contaminated meat products? I'm a confirmed beef eater, but anyone would have to wonder. Frankly, I find it shocking.

Even more shocking is the way these Deep Pockets industries can manipulate Congress to the point that they have been able to block any anti-slaughter legislation for years with no reasonable reason. When a small minority of the people in the horse industry can influence the animal/Ag industry to use their might to block the will of the great majority of Americans who consider the continuation of horse slaughter for human consumption - and that's what we're talking about here, human consumption - a disgrace, well, Houston, we have a problem.

Part 1

Part 2

I ask you in the strongest possible terms to send these videos not only to your own Congress people, but also to the leadership of both the House and Senate and the ranking members of the Committees where both S. 1176 in the Senate and H.R. 2966 are now sitting - and where they will stay, blocked like all the bills before them unless we let Congress know that 80% of the American people want horse slaughter for human consumption stopped and stopped now. Contact these people in Congress and continue to contact them about this issue. Our opponents may be a minority, but they are well organized and well funded. For all the info you need go to: POPVOX.com

 We however do have an huge advantage that the horse bleeders will never even understand. They are doing what they are doing for profit. We are doing what we are doing for our horses. And that makes all the difference in the world.
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I Wouldn't Ask You To Sign a Laundry Slip

This was written by a poster on the "United Horsemen" Face Book page. It's a perfect example of the ridiculous, ignorant and plain silly the pro-slaughter contingent can be. Of course, anyone who would send any horse to slaughter is ignorant and best and evil at worst.
I will now answer this post lie by lie - from experience.
This was posted by X, who is one of the newest contributors to our UHO FB team.
A few of use have been attaching it to the petition when we share it and it's getting
a lot of response.
To those that have asked Me to sign a Petition for the end of Horse Slaughter.
You may disagree with Me, and that's OK....You can delete me if You feel I'm not
"with you"....I'm an American, a...nd Men have died so that I have the right to
My Opinion, and the Right to express My Opinion.

I love the Horse too much to agree with the deplorable Conditions that these Honorable
Animals are forced to endure at the Hands of UN-Regulated, Haulers, and Butchers,
across our Borders.

Then get yourself educated about the many, many available solutions other than slaughter. But you won't do that - none of you who are so concerned about our horses can ever even suggest anything but kill, kill, kill! I would think that anyone who is so concerned could come up with at least one other option. If they wanted any other option, that is. And, for your information, the plants in Canada and the EU certified plants in Mexico are just as "humane" as ours ever were.
It was More Honorable, that they WERE Humanely Euthanized, by USDA REGULATED Processors,
in the USA.

I guarantee here and now that you have never stepped foot in a horse slaughter plant anywhere. Well, I have. I was at Dallas Crown in Kaufman, Texas when I lived in Dallas and was looking for stolen horses that belonged to three of my friends. I still do not like to discuss what we saw there and this was back in 1992. The screaming of the horses was bad enough. I wouldn't have to have seen anything. But I did see. I saw a horse in the kill box fighting frantically to avoid the captive-bolt. I saw another shot miss and hit him/her in the face. I couldn't look any more. The screaming continued as long as we were there. That was a USDA regulated plant in the USA. It was not euthanasia. It was not humane. It was Hell on Earth! And you are an irresponsible, sad excuse for a human being for not listening to people who have been there! By her own admission your heroine Sue Wallis has never been inside a horse slaughter plant.  
Your NOT going to stop the International Processing of Horses Commercially!
You know something, baby. We don't even have to. If we don't stop it ourselves, the European Union will stop it for us. They know our horses are tainted with banned substances. They know the killers are forging affidavits saying the horses are free of drugs because they caught them in an inspection of EU regulated plants in Mexico. They also rejected 30% of US horses in a feedlot this side of the border because they were unfit to haul. Oh, they know what's happening. They are the ones eating this meat.
Right now, Canada and Mexico are implementing the passport system so they can continue to sell horse meat to the EU. By 2013, horses coming from any 3rd country - like us - must be on a comparable program or they will not be accepted for slaughter by anyone. That is, if the EU doesn't just ban them altogether before that because of the idiots who are trying to insist that bute can ever be safe. Rave on. The sooner the ban, the better.
You can NOT convince the rest of the World to stop eating Horse Meat!
I couldn't care less what the rest of the world eats. They can eat all the horse meat they want as long as they eat their own horses and not mine. Besides, they have a traceability system called the passport system where every horse is tracked from birth as to what drugs he/she has been exposed to and when. If a horse is exposed to a banned substance - bute, for instance - there is a place on the passport to sign that will permanently remove that horse from the human food chain. One bute and they are no longer eligible for slaughter for human consumption. That's what we've been trying pound into your rock heads.
We on the other hand have absolutely no way to trace what a horse has been exposed to or when he/she was exposed to it. So, even for drugs that have a withdrawal period, we have no way of knowing if the proper interval has passed or not. That's why our horses are unfit for humans to eat
We as Americans CHOOSE, not to Eat Horse Meat, thats OUR Choice.
You've got a better chance convincing Muslims, to throw away the Koran.
I'm not really sure what the heck your point is here. I agree that as Americans we choose not to eat horse meat and it damn well is our choice. That doesn't mean we're trying to stop others from eating it though.
You HAVE created the worst economic Impact of the Horse on the US Economy in History.
You HAVE created a situation, of MILLIONS of un-wanted Horses being dumped, and
neglected of Veterinary Care, and the basics of Nutrition, because a Horse that
was worth $5,000. in 2007, is now worth $500., and the Basic Care of a that Horse
is more, than the Horse is monetarily worth.
How old are you? 12 maybe. From all your errors in spelling and syntax maybe younger than that. Or maybe you're just as uneducated about everything else as you are about economics. The greatest recession since the Great Depression and the Big Breeders breed just as many horses as before - great business model! Any producer with any brains knows that in a recession you cut production - especially when you have inventory from the previous year which you cannot sell - and wait it out. Economics 101. But not horse breeders. After years of telling us that horse business is a business just like any other, they want very special treatment - a disposal service that even pays them! What a deal! Sorry, but it don't work that way, kiddo.

And, by the way, some of us don't judge the worth of a horse by his/her "monetary worth" I paid $3,500 for my horse back in 2002, and you know what? I don't care what he would sell for now because I wouldn't sell him for $1,000,000. Especially to someone who was going to butcher him. There are millions of people who can't sell their homes for enough to pay off their mortgages. Is the closing of domestic horse slaughter plants responsible for that too? Makes just as much sense.
Your Cause was Honorable, but the Decision You made to Stop US Horse Processing
Commercialy, has backfired, and You have caused more Damage, than You can possibly
imagine, for the HORSE, the Creature that You believe you are Championing!.
You are nuts. No one made you Stop US Horse Processing Commercialy. Good grief! As I have said, we are shipping just as many - if not more - horses to slaughter now than we did when the domestic plants were open. At least that's what the GAO Report said. So, you might want to retract that statement because everyone know it's not true.
You didn't hurt Me, You have sent everyone of those Animals to an absolutley worse
No, babe, you and your kind have sent thousands and thousands of our horses to the most horrid death imaginable - first in our slaughter plants and now in the slaughter plants of Canada and Mexico. By the way, we always sent horses to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, even when the domestic plants were open. It's nothing new. You didn't even know that. You've never seen a horse slaughter plant anywhere, yet you scream and holler to send other people's horses there. You've never loved a horse. You don't even know what love means or you would be looking toward anything but slaughter. Instead, you refuse to look at anything but slaughter. You're disgusting.
If You want to make a difference for this Magestic Animal, from Your Urban Apartment,
Vote to Get American Slaughter Houses back open, shut down the exporters, and and got
to work for the USDA, as an Inspector, and Regulate the HUMANE Slaughter of Horses,
in the USA.
Just when you think this post cannot get any more ridiculous, it does.Who the hell do you think you are so state categorically that everyone who opposes horse slaughter lives in an urban apartment? That alone proves what liars you all are. I was born in Dallas, but I never lived in an apartment anywhere. Yes, for my first 15 years of horse ownership I had to board my horse. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to board a horse in a trustworthy stable? Most of the other boarders were just like me - working full time and spending almost every dime of our disposable income - and often more - to keep our horses. None of us minded because we loved our horses and considered the cost more than worth it. Among these people were the friends whose horses were stolen that fateful night. You pros think about that, will you, for just a moment? These were not unwanted, neglected or abused horses. They were much loved pets whose owners would sacrifice anything for their welfare. And that's where many, many slaughter horses come from. Did you think they all came from auctions? And even there, a lot of people are so naive they believe their young, healthy horses will find good homes at auctions. I totally and completely blame your pro-slaughter lies for fostering the idea that killers buy old, sick, crippled horses and the good horses go to good homes. You idiots! The killers grab all the good horses because they are going to sell them for humans to eat. You don't really believe they buy old, sick, crippled horses for that purpose do you? Surely not! They don't buy those horses
I became so frightened that my horse would be stolen next after they took my friends' horses that my husband and I took our horse and moved to his native Indiana. Now, I live on a farm and can afford to have more than one horse. I only have two though, because that's as many as I can afford to give the kind of care - during and at the end of their lives - that I want them to have and that they deserve. If something happens to me, I have someone I trust who will take them. It still worries me sick that without me they will somehow fall into the slaughter pipeline though. Thanks to people like you, responsible horse owners haven't been able to draw an easy breath in a generation. Thanks SO MUCH.   
If You don't believe me, simply "Google" Mexican Horse Slaughter, I won't post the
Videos on FB...too Graphic, and it pisses Me off, that these same Liberal Americans,
are EXACTLY the ones reponsible for the deplorable demise of this Creature, in transit,
and at our Borders.
I don't have to "Google" anything, honey. I have DVDs full of pictures - nine hundred pictures -  obtained via FOIA from the USDA showing of violations at Beltex in Ft. Worth from January 1, 2005 - November 17, 2005. I'm not going to post them either, but you can see them in all their gory glory at http://kaufmanzoning.com And, while you're there, you might want to notice the opinions of those who had to live with this monstrosity.
Don't be pissed at the Mexicans, and Canadians, be pissed at Yourself...YOU Liberal
Americans did this to the Horse.
Lamb Chop, the only persons I'm pissed at are you and your horse blood-sucking, money grubbing buddies who would sell out your horses for a damn dime.
The Horse deserves better than what You have done, and You should be ashamed of
Yes, the horses deserve better and we'll get if for them, unless the EU has to do it for us - which they will. Have you ever considered what you are doing to the reputation of legitimate, follow-the-rules livestock/Ag producers? No, you haven't. Many people - and not just overseas - are beginning to question our entire meat industry. I can't blame them after seeing the meat industry and cattlemen support the exporting of meat that they If a person loudly supports toxic horse meat, why would they be trustworthy about toxic beef. Toxic meat is toxic meat after all. I am . I'm only stating what's going through my mind, and that of others. I'm from Texas after all. I always believed our Cattlemen were totally on the up-and-up. But, after their rabid support of horse slaughter all of a sudden - they were against it when they had that law passed in Texas banning it. You know, the law that shut down the plants in Texas? Who do you think that law came from? Now, the cattlemen want the plants reopened that their law shut down. What changed? Something did. Was it quality control, or... what?
Again, I love the Horse too much to sign Your Petition.
I never asked you to sign anything. I knew you were too ignorant. And I also know that you never loved a horse in your entire life. If you had, you would search for any answer except slaughter. You know, it's not illegal except in a couple of states to slaughter and eat your own horse. Why don't you toddle on off and do that and leave other people's horses alone.

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"From my earliest memories, I have loved horses with a longing beyond words." ~ Robert Vavra