Letter to the editor: Americans shouldn’t tolerate horse slaughter industryWhile reviewers endorse Stephen Spielberg’s “War Horse,” a movie about the bond between a horse and a young man, the media is salivating at the controversy of reinstating horse slaughter on American soil.
By: Sandy Daily, Mandan, N.D., The Jamestown Sun
While reviewers endorse Stephen Spielberg’s “War Horse,” a movie about the bond between a horse and a young man, the media is salivating at the controversy of reinstating horse slaughter on American soil.
Apparently some folks think we should denounce our compassion toward these loyal animals and instead feed our equine partners to a fringe overseas market hungry for horse flesh.
What is unfortunate about current coverage is the dominance of the horse meat lobby’s talking points. Horse slaughter has never been remotely humane, or even comparable to the slaughter of species like cattle — whether the horses are being processed in the U.S. or elsewhere. Nor has it ever been shown to control equine neglect, after decades of being widely available to American horse owners. It is not a disposal service for old or neglected horses. That is simply propaganda created by the horse meat lobby to make this predatory industry palatable.
The reality is the slaughter industry commands a mere 1 percent of our equine population annually, seeking young, healthy animals in good flesh — precisely those candidates suitable for being riding horses.
This industry’s cruelty is well documented in footage and reports from undercover investigations of the U.S. horse slaughter pipeline, starting with abuse at American livestock auctions where horses are sought to fulfill slaughter quotas, and are beaten with pipes, sticks, whips and prods.
Suffering and cruelty during transport have been shown to be routine. Consider that cattle typically travel less than a few hours to slaughter, whereas horses can endure two days in crowded trailers (whether processed in the U.S. or elsewhere) in all weather, without food, water or rest, to get to the handful of plants the North American market can support. The long, crowded trips have unacceptable rates of catastrophic injury, including lacerations, broken or missing limbs and death. Shippers have also been known to bludgeon horse’s eyes to prevent fighting during transport.
Designed for docile cattle, the process used in American plants is terrifying for horses and ultimately it is impossible to provide a humane death. This was proven in recent footage showing egregious humane violations at a state-of-the-art plant in Canada designed by humane livestock specialist Temple Grandin.
The vast majority of Americans oppose horse slaughter, with polling consistently showing opposition in the 70 percent range. As a lifelong horseperson, I stand with my fellow citizens in calling for an end to American tolerance of this barbaric industry.