Chicago (EWA) -United Horsemen (UH), a 501c3 non-profit organization that promotes horse slaughter, has launched an advertising and editorializing campaign that defies credulity. The campaign is an obvious attempt to derail the Rep. Moran (VA) amendment to the agriculture budget that continues a policy of defunding horse meat inspections.
Horseback Magazine has recently run a series of these self-contradictory articles from the group that has stunned readers. The most glaring inaccuracies are those on food safety. U.S. horses have no production records since they are not raised or regulated as food animals and often contain prohibited substances.
The spin started by calling horse slaughter opponents "anti-horse" and then by firing off euphemisms like "horse processing" and slogans like "taking back the reins of the horse industry", it pirouettes into a frenzy of reality bending distortion not seen since Alice ventured down the famous rabbit hole. In many cases, a paragraph directly contradicts the preceding one.
The articles claim that slaughter opponents have misrepresented a recent European Union (EU) report on drug residues in horses. It then sites the wrong report as proof. The sited report was for drug residues found in European raised horses under their strict micro-chip based "passport" system for tracking medications.
Most inexplicably, text pasted from the report into the ads clearly states that the report does not cover horses from the US, Canada or Mexico!
When challenged about citing the wrong report, spokesperson Sue Wallis provided four new links, two of which had nothing to do with horses, one that linked to a dead site, and a forth that actually linked to an earlier report on Mexican slaughter showing that there were indeed drug residues found in horses!
The most recent report from the EU [Ref. Ares (2011)398056] that triggered the frenzy, documented that residues of banned substances were in fact found in U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico.
As if these articles were not bizarre enough, a stunning admission in the EU report itself states that the Mexican testers did not record the total number of equines tested, thus making analysis of the results impossible!
Worse, all contaminated horses were accompanied by sworn affidavits stating the horses were drug free. The EU plants in Canada and Mexico are considering a ban on U.S. horses because of food safety issues.
Ignoring history, the group goes on to claim that there would be no cost to restoring inspections because the USDA could initiate a "pay for inspections program". This statement ignores the fact that the very idea was implemented by the USDA in 2007 and found by the courts to be in violation of the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
The group effectively advocates scrapping the whole system of government inspections dating back to reforms made after the incredible corruption of paid inspections was first exposed in the 1906 Upton Sinclair novel "The Jungle".
The articles also restate the group’s support of the meat industry by calling for the removal and slaughter of wild horses. While citing the $70M spent on America’s wild horses, there is never a mention of the hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars that are used to subsidize the welfare ranchers grazing privately owned livestock on public lands.
The slaughter infrastructure is one of a few businesses that have not suffered from the recession. In 2010, over 109,000 US horses were slaughtered in Mexico and Canada. The total revenues from horse slaughter average only three cents on every one hundred dollars generated by the horse industry.
Returning domestic horse slaughter will not fix the economy nor will it control the horse population. Horse slaughter only encourages excessive breeding.
A communication released yesterday announced yet another bizarre gimmick to gain support for slaughtering horses. With the recent emphasis on food safety and documented proof that U.S. horse meat is not safe, the group is proposing slaughtering horses to feed the hungry children of the world. Apparently, the hungry should not be afforded the right to consume safe food. And, as if the slaughter industry that buys and slaughters American horses in order to profit from the meat sold as a pricey delicacy would simply give it to the poor and hungry.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
A critical vote is coming up in the House of Representatives on June 15, 2011. Go here for more information and how you can help keep horse slaughter for human consumption illegal in this country.