Pro-slaughter interests have once again used a state legislature to advance their agenda to return horse slaughter to the U.S.
They have pushed through the Wyoming legislature a new law, H.B. 122, introduced by Wy. State Rep. Sue Wallis who is also the self-styled Executive Director of the United Organizations of the Horse, which is said to unite The United Horsemen’s Front, The United Horsemen’s Alliance, and The United Horsemen’s Political & Legal Action Fund. "Front" is probably the most appropo name for this collection of horse slaughter supporters. Front for pro-horse slaughter interests.
It’s not clear that when Wyoming residents elected Wallis as a state representative, they understood she would act as a shill for pro-slaughter interests.
The new law allows the Wyoming Board of Livestock to "send for slaughter" any abandoned, estray, feral, or abused animals under their control. The Board can already sell these animals at auction so including the phrase "send for slaughter" in the law doesn’t add to the Board’s current authority. It just sends the message that horse slaughter is acceptable, even desirable.
The new law also states that the Board "may enter into agreements with licensed meat processing plants to process meat from livestock disposed of by slaughter. The processed meat shall be sold to:
(i) Wyoming state institutions or to nonprofit organizations for no more than the board’s cost for disposal, processing and delivery; or
(ii) For profit entities at market cost for the processed meat."
Wallis says she would like horsemeat made available to the "poor" for the cost of "disposal", processing (aka slaughter) and "delivery". Another front….Because the real benefit theoretically goes to "for profit entities" that would sell it.
Theoretically because, of course, commercial horse slaughter in the U.S. for human consumption is not legal. No state law can change that. Also, there is no market in the U.S. for horse meat. Americans, poor or not, don’t eat horses. The "for profit entities" Wallis is assisting will sell the horsemeat as a delicacy in some foreign countries at great profit.
American communities including those in Wyoming will see none of that profit. When the 3 U.S. based slaughter houses were in operation, profits were siphoned off by their foreign owners. In 2004 Dallas Crown, Inc., for example, which operated a horse slaughter facility in Kaufman, Texas until 2007, paid $5 in federal income tax on $12 million in sales. In the previous 5 years foreign-owned Dallas Crown’s federal income tax was .3% or 1/3 of 1% of gross revenues or sales. Dallas Crown paid no sales tax because its products, horse meat, are sold and consumed in foreign countries. Former Kaufman mayor, Paula Bacon, explains, "My community did not benefit. We paid."
Even the foreign markets are shrinking as the French and Italians consider bans on horsemeat, and the European Union has issued restrictions on imports of American horsemeat that contain substances that make the meat unfit for human consumption. Substances banned range from toxic wormers to phenylbutazone (PBZ), the "aspirin" of the horse world, and even include fertility drugs that can cause miscarriages in women. "PBZ is a known carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia (bone marrow suppression) in humans", says Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) member, Dr. Ann Marini, Ph.D., M.D. But the list of contaminants is not limited to conventional drugs. "Some of the garbage treatments’ that are given to performance horses included iodine-peanut oil injections along the spine, anabolic steroids, cocaine, amphetamines, opioids and even snake venom", explains Dr. Nicholas Dodman, DVM at Tufts University.
American horses are not raised for food and there is no system for tracking drugs or other substances given to them. Horses may have several owners before they are sold for slaughter. The new EU rules will mean that horses coming from auctions and other sources in the US will have to be kept drug free on a feedlot for half a year. For more on how Canada will handle American horses under the new EU rules.
The new Wyoming law is, in effect, another pointless law offered simply to try to make horse slaughter acceptable, even desirable, to Americans who have rejected it in poll after poll. Americans understand the profitability of this sordid practice depends on animal cruelty.
What is particularly disturbing about this new Wyoming law is its astonishing cruelty. As Vicki Tobin, founder and vice-president of Equine Welfare Alliance, points out, "They didn’t even consider that these horses might be adopted out or placed with rescues." It’s true. The only option the pro-slaughter interests gave for these poor animals is "send to slaughter".
For more on the so called "unwanted horse", read Selling the Unwanted Horse, by John Holland