Pro-horse slaughter lobbyists are once again using state bills and resolutions to spread disinformation about this cruel, seedy practice.
They have once again introduced a number of bills and resolutions in an effort to convince Congress to defeat the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727 and also try to dupe the American people into believing that horse slaughter is humane or a solution for so-called unwanted horses.
Please help defeat these bills and resolutions!
Update August 25: Go here for information about a CO law that will allow citizens to check off on their state tax returns that taxpayer money should be given to the Unwanted Horse Alliance, a pro-slaughter organization.
A Tennessee bill has been sent for "summer study".
Also, Idaho, S.B. 1316, passed. This new law exempts the slaughter of horses from animal cruelty laws. Of course, horse slaughter for human consumption is not legal in the U.S. currently. This bill is simply another attempt to get voters thinking that it is an acceptable, humaneÂ practice. Nothing could be further from the truth.
Earlier this year the Idaho senate passed a resolution, SJM 104, that calls on Congress to vote no on the Equine Prevention of Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727 and remove prohibitions to the re-opening of U.S. slaughter houses.
According to the resolution, the closure of the U.S. horse slaughter houses has resulted in increased numbers of abandoned and starving horses, including more than 31,000 held by the BLM in holding facilities. The resolution states there has been a drop in the salvage value of horses, meaning price paid by kill buyers for horses for slaughter.
More disinformation from pro-slaughter proponents.
Of course, horse slaughter for human consumption is still available, so any increases in "abandoned and starving" horses are not a result of the closure of U.S. slaughter houses. Indeed, studies have shown that stories about "abandoned and starving" horses are largely untrue, planted in the media by horse slaughter proponents and repeated over and over until people believe them. In fact, slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat generally as a delicacy in some other countries, not numbers of "abandoned and starving" horses in the U.S. Read more about the economics of horse slaughter that actually results in more, not fewer, excess horses.
Also, the salvage or secondary market for horses is created by over-breeding; slaughter enables over-breeding that results in what are more accurately described as "excess" horses, not "abandoned and starving" horses. Any drop in prices of horses is the result of a poor economy. For more information, read John Holland’s "Selling the Unwanted Horse".
The wild horses referred to in the resolution are only in holding facilities because BLM has removed them from the public lands where they are supposed to be able to live as free-roaming wild animals, free from harassment, capture and death by people. They are not abandoned, starving or excess.
More pro-slaughter state bills, resolutions
In less than a week after it was introduced this year, the Oklahoma legislature fast tracked and passed H.C.R. 1045 which calls on Congress to defeat the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727, now pending in Congress and generally promotes horse slaughter.
OK state Rep. Jerry Shoemake and Sen. Roger Ballenger sponsored the measure.
South Dakota’s legislature once again took up but declined to pass a proposal, S.B. 151, to appropriate $100,000 to "study" the "feasibility, viability, and desirability of establishing and operating an equine processing facility", meaning the taxpayers would fund a study to decide whether private investors should or could build a horse slaughter house in the state and how the state can help…..
South Dakota’s legislature did pass a resolution, H.C.R. 1003, calling for the return of horse slaughter to the U.S. The resolution, exhorts Congress to defeat the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727.
In 2009, South Dakota and a handful of other states passed similar resolutions as well as similar bills that spend taxpayer money to "study" possible construction of horse slaughter facilities and give special judicial protections to horse slaughter houses. South Dakota is the one state that rejected such a study last year as well. It is not clear why any state legislators would support a practice that is not only cruel and inhumane, but leaves communities reeling from the financial hardship, pollution, clogged sewers, costly impact on wastewater treatment facilities, horrific odors, and blood and waste spilling everywhere. These facilities are typically owned by foreign investors and the horse meat is shipped to other countries – Americans don’t consume horses which are their pets and companions. That means the profits go abroad, and they pay no income or sales taxes. These slaughter houses also pay no export taxes, meaning the U.S. government effectively subsidized the sale of horse meat to consumers generally in parts of Asia, South America and Europe where it is consumed as an expensive delicacy.
As former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, site of a horse slaughter facility that closed in 2007, Paula Bacon, put it, "Our community did not benefit. We paid."
Yes, that’s right. These state legislators are basically passing resolutions and bills that will help line the pockets of foreign investors. They are trying to bring back a ghastly practice that devastated our communities where it existed and depends on cruelty for its profitability.
A resolution opposing H.R. 503/S.B. 727 in Kentucky, H.C.R. 47, failed to pass this session. Like the others, it is full of disinformation. These resolutions and bills claim "rising numbers of unwanted and abandoned horses" are the result of the closing of horse slaughter houses in 2007 in the U.S. That couldn’t be true because horse slaughter is still available for American horses. That would also not be true if the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727 passed and no American horse could be sold or shipped for commercial slaughter for human consumption. Study after study has shown there is no connection between "unwanted and abandoned" horses and the availability of horse slaughter. Horse slaughter is a for profit business driven by a demand for horsemeat, not numbers of "unwanted and abandoned" horses. The USDA confirms 92% of horses that are slaughtered are healthy. If everyone stopped eating horse meat, horse slaughter would also stop, regardless of how many "unwanted and abandoned" horses there are. One has nothing to do with the other.
Also, the claim of "rising numbers of unwanted and abandoned horses" which horse slaughter proponents claim is in the tens or even hundreds of thousands, is a myth. There have been a number of reports in the media and by pro-slaughter lobbyists that there are unwanted horses, horses abandoned, horses left to starve. It has become accepted that there is a problem of unwanted horses. This is now repeated over and over as if it is true. Researchers investigating these reports have found, however, they are simply not true. See for yourself the attached investigative reports below including one done during the Montana 2009 legislative session. Lawmakers claimed then there were numerous abandoned horses throughout the state that warranted subsidies and special judicial concessions for horse slaughter investors. The study belied these claims, finding no such "problem".
Horse slaughter is also not humane euthanasia. Dr Nicholas Dodman, BVMS, MRCVS, a veterinarian and Director of Animal Behavior, Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, told Congress during 2008 hearings on the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act that the veterinary profession has never considered horse slaughter humane euthanasia. Go here for more of Dr. Dodman’s and other testimony about horse slaughter that was submitted to Congress in 2008. For information about investigations into the cruelty of horse slaughter….
In 2004 the Government Accountability Office found the most frequent violation noted by inspectors in slaughter houses was ineffective stunning, meaning "in many cases ..a conscious animal reach[ed] slaughter" in violation of Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, 7 USCS § 1902(a); 9 C.F. R. §313.15, 9 C.F.R. §313.50(c). See GAO-04-247, GAO-08-686T. GAO also noted there had been no effort made to stop the ineffective stunning and the records kept by inspectors were so poor, it was impossible to tell even by 2008 that there had been any improvement. In light of efforts to bring horse slaughter back to the U.S. and because it is still legal to ship horses to other countries for slaughter, Animal Law Coalition and Animals Angels have called on the GAO to investigate violations of humane slaughter and horse transport regulations. An investigation should establish what we know to be true, that the profitability of horse slaughter depends on FSIS or USDA giving a wink and a nod to the cruelty.
The Kentucky resolution, H.C.R. 47, was introduced by state Rep. Johnny Bell.
Go here for information about another pro-slaughter bill that passed in Kentucky.
Minnesota bills, H.F. 797/S.F. 755 would define horses as livestock and horse-related activities as agricultural. These bills would also allow horses to be used for their meat, hides and by-products. The bills, however, remained stuck in committee. A Minnesota resolution, H.F. 840/S.F. 133, calling for the defeat of H.R. 503, also did not have enough support to pass.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
In 2009 the Rhode Island House of Representatives issued a resolution drafted by Animal Law Coalition and Equine Welfare Alliance in support of a federal ban on commercial horse slaughter for human consumption. A similar resolution also originally drafted by Animal Law Coalition and Equine Welfare Alliance passed in California, S.R. 30. If you would like help passing an anti-horse slaughter resolution in your state or even a bill to ban horse slaughter, contact Animal Law Coalition for more information.