Montana Governor Allows HB 418 to Become Law


Update May 1: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer neither vetoed nor signed H.B. 418, the pro-horse slaughter bill. That means the bill became law.   

The governor had previously issued an amendatory veto that would have eliminated most of the provisions passed by the legislature. The legislature rejected the governor’s amendments, sending him again the original bill. This time the governor caved into the foreign interests using local politicians to promote their pro-horse slaughter agenda.

The good news is that horse slaughter remains illegal at this time in the U.S. and the special concessions the state will make to entice horse slaughterers are on hold.

For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below.  

Update Apr. 16: The Montana legislature has rejected Gov. Brian D. Schweitzer’s amendments to H.B. 418, the bill that would give concessions to pro horse slaughter interests. 

The legislature has sent H.B. 418, as originally passed, to the governor.  

(The Governor’s amendments to the bill that the legislature rejected are set forth below.)  The bill would prohibit courts from issuing  "an injunction stopping or delaying the construction of an equine slaughter or processing facility licensed ….based on a challenge or appeal of a permit, license, certificate, or other approval issued in conjunction with a proposed equine slaughter or processing facility".

Anyone who files such an action would be responsible for "all financial losses the facility suffers if the court issues an injunction that halts operations".

A bond "representing 20% of the estimated cost of building the facility or the operational costs of an existing facility" would be required for any legal action. All actions would be required to be brought in the county where the slaughter house is located and not in another locale where there is jurisdiction and proper venue, a court that might be less favorable to pro-slaughter interests.

Attorney’s fees could be awarded in favor of the horse slaughterer if the "action …was without merit or was for an improper purpose designed to harass, cause delay, or improperly interfere with the ongoing operation of a facility".

The bill, H.B. 418,  otherwise amends state laws governing livestock slaughter to include horses.  Rep. Butcher’s plan is to encourage the opening of a horse slaughter facility in Montana.

This bill, H.B. 418, proposes to resurrect horse slaughter in the U.S. and specifically, pave the way for building a horse slaughter facility in Montana. 

For more on the bill and the hearings held by the legislature as well as the Governor’s amendatory veto, read Animal Law Coalition’s earlier reports below.

Update Apr. 3: Gov. Brian D. Schweitzer has vetoed Montana H.B. 418! 

But the fight is not over.  The governor is not rejecting horse slaughter; he is rejecting the provisions of this bill that give special treatment to horse slaughter houses. The governor is also proposing some amendments of his own.

It’s called amendatory veto that must now pass the Montana legislature.

Here is what the Governor is proposing instead:

"I begin by saying that my proposed amendments do not prevent the licensing and operation of a horse slaughter facility in Montana.  My amendments retain those aspects of HB 418 that clarify existing law to ensure that a horse slaughter facility, if licensed to operate in Montana, conforms to Montana’s current laws pertaining to all livestock slaughter facilities.

"My amendments are focused on eliminating what I believe is the unnecessary and potentially harmful special treatment that would be granted to one particular industry under this bill.

"Before addressing my specific amendments, I want you to know that, like you, I believe horse owners must be responsible for the health and care of their animals.  Like you, I believe it is unacceptable that any horse would be left starving or to die due to neglect.  I also believe owners should have access to a legal method to put their horses down as necessary and appropriate — due to age, infirmity, or other legitimate circumstances.

"While I understand the value in licensing horse slaughter facilities, it is equally important that any facility approved to operate in Montana comply with this state’s health and environmental laws.  Therefore, a person applying to license a horse slaughter facility who wishes to do so in accordance with Montana law has nothing to fear from the amendments I propose.

"Specifically, my amendments address the limitations imposed upon a person seeking to bring a legal challenge to a license approving a horse slaughter facility.  …..  I believe [these limitations] … are unnecessary, cast too wide a net, and suffer from potential constitutional infirmities.

Section 1 of HB 418 would prohibit a court from enjoining the construction of a horse slaughter facility based on a challenge to a permit or license approving the facility under Montana’s environmental laws.  …  It is my opinion that current statutory standards for the issuance of injunctions already provide sufficient safeguards to ensure the remedy of injunction will only be available to a party under limited and justified circumstances.  … In other words, I believe that the legal standards currently in existence sufficiently safeguard the rights of all parties, and, conversely, that the restriction upon a court’s power to enjoin construction of a facility unnecessarily tips this balance.

Horse running "Section 1 of HB 418 additionally would impose liability for "all financial losses" incurred by the facility as a result of an injunction halting operations of the facility if the person bringing the challenge is ultimately unsuccessful. 

"As a practical matter, and I assume the bill was so designed, this penalty provision would have the effect of chilling any efforts to enjoin the operation of a constructed horse slaughter facility by a person challenging the adequacy of the permit, notwithstanding the real harm that might be caused by the continuing operation of the facility. 

"I am unaware of any equivalent provision in Montana law, and I believe its inclusion in this bill unfairly tips the balance by discouraging a challenger from seeking what would otherwise be a legitimate injunction for the benefit and protection of public health and safety. 

"Again, I believe the current, established legal standards relating to the issuance of injunctions – including the current standards pertaining to an award of costs and damages to persons wrongfully enjoined – are sufficiently stringent and properly balance the competing rights of litigants.  I do not believe special rules are necessary or appropriate for this particular industry.   

"Turning to section 2 of HB 418, I am concerned that this mandatory surety bond requirement, established in the bill at the high rate of 20% of the cost to build or operate the facility, and imposed upon any person who challenges a license granted to operate a horse slaughter facility, would effectively deny citizens access to the courts in Montana, in contravention of Article II, section 16 of the Montana Constitution. 

"I am unaware of any other provision in Montana law requiring the posting of a surety bond as a condition to bringing a challenge to the issuance of a permit under Montana’s environmental laws.

"I also question the language found in subsection (4) of section 2, which authorizes an award of attorney fees and costs on grounds that the challenge was "without merit."  I believe the meaning of that expression is unclear and would, itself, lead to litigation.  Current law already provides courts with well-settled authority to sanction parties or their attorneys who file pleadings in court for improper purposes. 

"As with my other concerns, I see no reason to impose new, special, and undefined standards in this bill, applicable to this one industry, where current law adequately provides for sanctions in proper circumstances.

Horse"In addition to the above amendments, I also propose an amendment to section 12 of the bill.  As written, the bill requires "investor-owned" horse slaughter facilities to be licensed pursuant to Montana’s licensing laws.  My amendment would require all horse slaughter facilities, whether "investor-owned" or otherwise, to be licensed."

Gov. Schweitzer summarized, "I recognize that HB 418 has stirred the emotions of many.  As a current and long-time horse owner, myself, I understand those feelings.  However, I have endeavored to make my decisions on the bill based on what I believe is the correct approach from both a policy and a legal perspective.  I respectfully ask that you support my proposed amendments to HB 418."

Update Mar. 21: The Senate vote remained at 27-23 in favor of the pro-horse slaughter bill on the 3rd reading. H.B. 418 now goes to the governor. Please forward this to as many opponents to horse slaughter as you know!!

Update Mar. 17: The Senate Committee voted 6-3 in favor of H.B. 418. 

Update Mar. 13: The Montana state Senate Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation  Committee  heard dozens of people on H.B. 418 last week.

A vote is expected this week on the proposal to create exemptions from the judicial process for horse slaughter facilities under construction.

Wyoming state Rep. Sue Wallis came to testify in support of the Montana bill. She said babies’ brains will not develop without meat. Not sure where she is going with that….Wallis organized the National Council of State Legislatures meeting where a pro-horse slaughter resolution was adopted.

Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kauman, Texas during the time a horse slaughter facility operated there, testified against H.B. 418. Read Mayor Bacon’s Open Letter to State Legislators.

Jane Heath, Montana Horse Sanctuary and Grassroots Horse Coalition, described, "The supporters of horse slaughter were numerous [at the hearing,] but I don’t think they outnumbered us by much, if any, this time.  They were emotional and kept giving the same few tired arguments in favor …blah, blah, blah.  …The committee asked our side loads of questions, which is great.  It meant that they were really thinking about what was said.

"I want to make a point that I keep getting questions about.  Someone asked me point blank the other day (and I’m glad she asked), "Which is more cruel, to starve to death or be taken to slaughter?"  Great question and one which has been planted well by AQHA.  They are equating two separate issues which cannot and should not be equated.  People who are cruel to their horses are committing a crime.  It’s called animal abuse and it’s punishable by law. These folks keep their horses because they can’t continue their personal dysfunction and sickness if the horse is gone. 

"Yet another example happened to one of the MHS horses this week.  Justin arrived here nearly starved to death in late September.  His owner, Edward Meyers, of Stickney Creek …was found guilty two weeks ago of animal abuse in Helena Justice Court by Judge Wallace Jewell. 

"Testifying against Meyers were: myself, Tahnee Szymnanski DVM who examined Justin upon arrival, Christian MacKay of the Montana Dept. of Livestock who picked him up at the request of the Lewis and Clark County Sheriff’s office, a neighbor of Meyers and the deputy who investigated the case.  The only person who testified on Meyer’s behalf was Meyers who said he needed Justin to be extra skinny for endurance competition.  Oh for heaven’s sake!  Anyway, it was a very clear case of abuse.  In addition, Justin was standing over his dead pasture-mate when the deputy arrived at Meyer’s home that day.  Yesterday, Meyers appealed!

"Abusers hang on to their animals like grim death. The Heydon’s whose case of abusing four horses in the Bitterroot also appealed their conviction.

"Meyers could have taken Justin to the sale ring and so he could have gone to slaughter in  Canada.  But abusers don’t use this as an option.  Nor do they call a Sanctuary and request help.  So slaughter doesn’t cure abuse."

To listen to the hearing, visit the state’s legislative website via and go to the audio archives.

Update Feb. 25, 2009: Wasting no time, the Montana House of Representatives passed H.B. 418 by a vote of 66-33.

This bill will gut state judicial power to grant injunctions for violations of the law in construction of horse slaughter facilities.

It will also make it difficult for citizens to access the courts to challenge the legality of the construction of these facilities.

The bill attempts to pave the way for construction in Montana of a horse slaughter facility.

Update Feb. 24, 2009: Montana bill, HB 418, passed the House Agriculture Committee by a vote of 15-5.

Original report: Rep. Edward B. Butcher (the name is real…) has sponsored H.B. 418, a Montana bill that would prohibit courts from issuing  "an injunction stopping or delaying the construction of an equine slaughter or processing facility licensed ….based on a challenge or appeal of a permit, license, certificate, or other approval issued in conjunction with a proposed equine slaughter or processing facility".

Anyone who files such an action would be responsible for "all financial losses the facility suffers if the court issues an injunction that halts operations".

A bond "representing 20% of the estimated cost of building the facility or the operational costs of an existing facility" would be required for any legal action. All actions would be required to be brought in the county where the slaughter house is located and not in another locale where there is jurisdiction and proper venue, a court that might be less favorable to pro-slaughter interests.

Attorney’s fees could be awarded in favor of the horse slaughterer if the "action …was without merit or was for an improper purpose designed to harass, cause delay, or improperly interfere with the ongoing operation of a facility".

The bill, H.B. 418,  otherwise amends state laws governing livestock slaughter to include horses.  Rep. Butcher’s plan is to encourage the opening of a horse slaughter facility in Montana.

This bill, H.B. 418, proposes to resurrect horse slaughter in the U.S. and specifically, pave the way for building a horse slaughter facility in Montana. 

Rep. Butcher had this to say about his bill, "My concern is to establish a law with strong enough language to provide adequate protection for an investor to build a processing facility.  Montana must protect them from being forced out of business by the ‘animal rights’ radicals who forced three plants in the US to close in 2006 and 2007.  … 80,000 horses per year which have been processed each year, would be a major business with good jobs and a great tax base for Montana. …We need a large number of supporters to demonstrate support and counter the "animal rights" opponents….  I am hoping this [hearing] was on short enough notice that the opponents will not be able to get large numbers of opposition to the hearing…. "

Butcher’s bill, H.B. 418, leads people to believe passing a state law will mean the resumption of horse slaughter for human consumption in the U.S. That is simply not the case. It does not matter how many bills calling for the building of horse slaughter facilities that are passed by state legislatures. Horse slaughter for human consumption is illegal in the U.S. since Congress de-funded the ante-mortem inspections required by federal law.  That is not likely to change for the foreseeable future.

During the hearing before the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Butcher worked to defeat amendments that would have still allowed citizens to seek injunctions in state courts for violations of environmental laws. Rep. Butcher was adamant that it was necessary to except horse slaughter facilities from laws that allow courts to issue injunctions.  He claimed he is protecting the construction of horse slaughter facilities from "frivolous lawsuits". He insisted law enforcement would handle any problems.   

Some legislators did question why the construction of a horse slaughter facility should have special exemptions from the legal process, why citizens should basically be denied access to the courts when it comes to the building of a horse slaughter facility. Rep. Butcher was unconcerned about the limits on judicial power contemplated by his bill. He explained that the horse slaughter operators may go to Poland if Montana did not agree to exempt construction of horse slaughter facilities from legal review.  

Though no state law can change the federal law that currently prohibits horse slaughter in the U.S. for human consumption, one observer claimed an unnamed Belgian company was ready to build a horse slaughter facility as soon as this bill passes. But Rep. Butcher said no horse slaughterers have as of yet shown an interest or discussed plans to open a facility in Montana.

Rep. Butcher also led the charge to defeat an amendment that would have required the horse slaughter operators to give preference to local workers and pay a prevailing wage. Of course, because this seedy operation is not planning to benefit Montanans.  The profits of this operation will go straight into the pockets of the foreign investors.

Some committee members called for an end to amendments that "bog down" this project. Rep. Butcher chimed in that the numbers of unwanted horses have created a "desperate" situation and urged passage of this bill.

Montana horse

Butcher’s bill is simply a waste of taxpayer money and unnecessary intrusion on the right of access to state courts.

Also, the foreign investors anxious to see horse slaughter resume in the U.S. are using these state bills and resolutions to promote opposition to the federal bill, H.R. 503, that would shut down exports of American horses to foreign slaughterhouses, where they are now sent to slaughter, primarily in Mexico and Canada. 

Proponents of Montana H.B. 418 insist horse owners cannot afford euthanasia and, as Butcher claimed during the committee hearings, without slaughter, there will be and, in fact, are untold numbers of unwanted horses. They claimed slaughter in the U.S. was regulated and humane. 

A humane euthanasia solution costs about $45 for a 1200 lb horse. Disposal costs about $220.     

Dr. Lisa Jacobson had this to say, "As a Montanan and practicing equine veterinarian, I strongly oppose HB 418.  I am a member of both AVMA & AAEP; however, these organizations misrepresent the views of their members.  Their pro-horse slaughter stance is not based on a member survey.   

"Equine slaughter plants are documented to be very inhumane.  Documents recently released by the USDA regarding horse slaughter in the U.S. make clear the unmistakable brutality inherent to the commercial slaughter of horses.  Contained in the 906 page document covering eleven months of 2005 are 800 photos, showing horses with their eyeballs dangling, their legs ripped off, and even newborn foals.  (See FOIA documents at

Dr. Jacobson continued, " In a letter to the U.S. Congress, Dr. Kent Arnold, practicing equine veterinarian in Kaufman County where one the last U.S. horse slaughter plants operated and Texas Horse Park board member, put it this way:

‘[T]he notion that horse slaughter is providing a humane end of life for unwanted horses is utter nonsense.  Sick and old horses should never have been in the auction ring or on the slaughter trucks.  Thankfully most horse owners do the right thing and have their elderly and infirm horses humanely euthanized by an equine veterinarian.  Ending horse slaughter will be good for American horses.’"

There was nothing humane about horse slaughter in the U.S. If you doubt that, read this and this.  And read excerpts of hearings held by Congress last year that included discussion of the horrific cruelty of horse slaughter in the U.S.

Horse slaughter is driven by a demand for horsemeat, served as a delicacy in some foreign countries. It has nothing to do with unwanted horses. In fact, the availability of slaughter actually encourages overbreeding of horses.

Dr. Jacobson also raised this issue, "How would we address the horse theft problem?  Is the Montana Department of Livestock going to inspect all of the horses that come to this state for slaughter to determine if they were stolen and then sold, or even stolen on route to the slaughter facility?" It is well known that horse slaughter is associated with horse theft. When California banned horse slaughter in 1998, there was a significant drop in horse theft in the years that followed, as much as 88%.   

Oh, and those jobs? The tax base that Rep. Butcher has promised with the reopening of a horse slaughter facility? Read this.

By the way, horse slaughter for human consumption was shut down in the U.S. by state and federal laws and support of the public, not "radicals", as Rep. Butcher suggests.  

For more on the misinformation horse slaughterers have used to tap the taxpayer for financial support for their terrible animal cruelty, go here.  

Butcher’s bill is simply a taxpayer subsidy for wealthy foreign investors trying to dupe Montana into helping them defeat a federal bill to shut down export of American horses for slaughter for human consumption. It is a giveaway to wealthy foreign investors who are preying on the fears of local residents. Don’t be fooled.


What to Say to Montana Legislators

Rep. Butcher described slaughter to a reporter as "Boom!  The  horse is [dead]." 

Let’s educate Mr. Butcher and other Montana legislators. Please be polite. You do more harm if you are rude.  Tell them to vote NO on H.B. 418, that horse slaughter is animal torture and cruelty and only benefits the foreign investors who operate these slaughter houses to provide horse meat to other countries where it is considered a delicacy.

Tell them horse slaughter has been detrimental to the communities where slaughtering facilities have been located, with no economic benefits, significant negative impacts to these communities ranging from nuisance odors to chronic sewer and environmental violations. Read this and send them the link if they doubt you.) 

Because horse slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat in foreign countries, it has nothing to do with any unwanted or abandoned horses in the U.S.  According to the USDA 92% of horses that are slaughtered are healthy. That is because they are killed for their meat not because they are unwanted, abandoned, abused or neglected. Also tell legislators horse slaughter has actually been found to increase and abet horse theft.

Let them know that American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA guidelines established for food animals, making potentially them unfit and unsafe for human consumption.

These legislators should also know in America horses are an icon of our history, traditions, and culture, revered for their contributions to the building of this country, their companionship and special bond with people.

Read about other states that are considering pro-slaughter resolutions or bills and how you can voice your opposition to them and about the strategy of horse slaughterers to revive this cruel, sordid practice in the U.S.   



87 thoughts on “Montana Governor Allows HB 418 to Become Law”

  1. Since the recent closing of the slaughter house in the US the price for hay has more then doubled. People are now turning unwanted horses free for them to fend for themselves and are ending up starving to death. I would much rather put up with a unplesant smell then seeing a herd of unattended horses dieing because of starvation. Horses are not like cats and dogs, they can not be placed into a humane society for the community to foot the bill. An example for you to run some numbers: A horse eats approximantely 1/2 of hay a month. Hay is (in my area) $220 a ton. Currently the Government has 65,000 head of unwanted horses in their possession. 65,000*12 (months)*220 (price perton of hay)*50% (to reflect 1/2 ton a hay per month)= $85,800,000 a year to feed what is already in the governments hands and that is only for hay that does not include any special needs special grain supplements, vet etc. Now imagine what we will pay when that number of horses doubles? And what the smell will be like when the government starts putting those hoses down because they are not able to afford the feed bill? What will our economy be like then? If we think it is bad now…just wait!

  2. I own the Desert Springs Equestrian Center in Marana, Az. We take in horses that can no longer be supported by their owners. Many of these animals can be saved and adopted out, but many need to be HUMANLY” EUTHINIZED.

    SLAUGHTERHOUSES are torture places. There are better humane ways to deal with unwanted animals. Not to cater to foreign countries for profit.

    L Peters

  3. I run a huge ranch in AZ. The reason that the cost of hay has gone up is the cost of diesel fuel has quadrupled.
    It is not the closing of the slaughterhouses.
    It is the greed of the oil companies.

  4. Would you all rather have horses starve to death and have them suffer for months before finally dying? If you have never seen an animal dying of starvation, it is a horrible site. If all of you are against having this option then I suggest you put your money where your mouth is and start giving money to feed these animals that now have no use. It costs an average of over $2400 dollars per year per horse.

  5. Hello,
    no horse should be put thru the cruelty and torture of slaughter.
    They are not starved and abandoned for that purpose…Killer
    buyers want healthy horses…and the environmenal issues are extremely
    important…hay is coming down AND slaughter takes away the land we
    should be making sure is REQUIRED TO GROW MORE HAY…slaughter does
    not care if every last horse is gone and neither do a lot of developers.
    Open your eyes and see how it is taking away our rights to ride and own.

  6. Cost of hay is simple supply and demand…the supply is constant the demand is the variable. The more demand the higher the price. And slaughter does not take over the farm land…subdivisions for the growing population does…and the farmers and ranchers sale their land because they barely can make ends meet.

  7. How exactly is slaughter taking away our rights to ride and own? Hay is produced in a supermarket it grown off of the land…the land that needs to be watered and tilled there is only a certain amount of hay that can be produced, you don’t just go hit a button and up production. 🙂 And let’s have a dose of reality for just one second shall we? If someone can not afford to feed and care for their current horse, they can’t give it away (and no you can’t just give it away I know of many people who have free horses advertised and they still have them because no one wants them) do you really think they are going to pay the hundreds of dollars it’s going to take to put them down, and have them properly rendered? I don’t think so…and this has already been proven. People are deserting their horses and letting them starve to death. I think eyes need to be opened and see what the shutting down of the slaughter houses has already done to our economy and to those horses that have gone to Mexico for slaughter.

  8. I know of about 25 horses right now people are trying to get rid of…are you willing to take them in? The Desert Springs Equestrian Center right? I will have them look that up and ship them your way…of course you can pay for the shipping when they get there? If these people can not afford to feed and care for them they are not going to pay the money to put them down, bury them and or have the rendering company come to get them to “properly” dispose of them. And personally I don’t care to eat horse meat…but if it saves a dying/starving child then so be it.

  9. Have you ever seen pictures of the horses being slaughtered at these slaughterhouses? Maybe you should and then maybe you would change your mind. I don’t think the fear and stress that they go through before they die is better than any other way. If a horse is starving that is also horrible but there are better ways for these horses to live and there are places that they can go.

  10. Have you ever seen a animal that has been givin a shot to put it down and it gets up thrashing around??????? I have been around animals all my life. I have had the same horse since I was five and am now 33 if there ever came a time where my ole boy was in a situation that he was gonna starve i would definately take him to slaughter. Number one an electric pin gun causes instand brain death. Number two GOD DIDNT PUT ANYTHING ON THIS EARTH TO WASTE.
    The shot givin to animals to put them down causes cardiac arrest…….HMMMMMMMM heart attack is that humaine?
    My buddy had a dog for ten years and she came down with cancer and was suffering bad. He took it to the vet to be euthinizws, after the shot was adminitered the dog jumps off the table squealing in agony running around the room before dieing.
    Now wouldnt a pin gun or rifle shot that causes instant brain death mor humaine. Look at the facts people!!!!!!!!!!

  11. Please note that Front Range Equine Rescue offers a 50% reimbursement for the cost to euthanize a horse and 50% reimbursement for the disposal fee. Program is open to anyone. To apply, submit copy of vet invoice (and hauling invoice if applicable) showing line item expense for “euthanasia” to Front Range Equine Rescue, PO Box 307, Larkspur, CO 80118. Farm call, exam fee, etc. is not part of the reimbursement. This program is designed to help remove excuses for sending horses to slaughter.

  12. Hey, people are putting their money where there mouth is. Rescues and sanctuaries for horses are increasing and many, many people spend thousands every year to save these poor animals from brutal slaughter.  This is a living being, you understand? Not just a commodity measured in dollars and cents?  Plus, a vet can perform humane euthanasia for about $225, just like they do for the nearly 1 million horses that must be euthanized each year but are not forced to endure slaughter. 

    These horses aren’t starving because of the closing of slaughter houses and the numbers are greatly exaggerated, numbers you just accept without question.

    Why don’t you and your pro-slaughter buddies wake up and realize you are just stooges for wealthy foreign investors who want to subsidize their sleazy business with your tax dollars? Your community won’t see a dime of that money and will instead be stuck with the horrific smell, blood running in your streets and waste.  When are people like you going to stop being manipulated by irrelevant social issues or misinformation and start educating yourselves about what is really going on?

  13. It is true that people are spending thousands and even millions to save horses from slaughter but the fact is they can’t keep up with the demand. The FACTS are horses are starving due to slaughter houses closing. These horses have no place to go and are being turned out to fend for themselves. They are being found starved, sick, etc. They are being turned out in state and national parks and even along interstates. These numbers are not inflated. People are just ignoring how bad it has gotten. The rescue centers across america are full and aren’t accepting more horses. That means the rest are left to try and survive on their own. That doesn’t work out too well for these horses that have been domesticated for so long.

    Horses are living beings, but they are NOT human beings, UNDERSTAND? They deserve to be treated well and taken care of but it is much better for them to go to slaughter than to be turned loose. What happen’s when the ones in the wild become vastly overpopulated. We going to open up hunting season for them? Slaughter is better than any of that. There has to be these slaughter houses. They MUST be regulated properly in order to ensure that it is humane and as painless as possible. You people think that those of us who are pro slaughter don’t like horses. You are vastly mistaken. I am pro slaughter because I DO love horses and want them to not suffer. I don’t however try and give them the same rights that we as humans have. The sooner those of you who are against slaughter realize this, and the sooner you get your facts straight, and the sooner you put your closed minded views aside, the sooner the horses will stop suffering.

    Rather than putting all your efforts into stopping slaughter, start putting it into regulating slaughter and making sure it is carried out in the proper ways.

    I sure bet you’ll enjoy that beef you’ll eat for dinner tonight. Are those cows not living beings as well? What about chickens? What’s the difference. Get your heads out of the sand and open your eyes to the truth. Start looking at horses for what they are. ANIMALS.

  14. Where do you get your information? Blood running down the streets! Please! You need to do some research yourself…and FYI $225 to put a horse down? Minimum here is $800 and that is for a 1,000 pound horse or LESS anything over 1,000 pounds is additional by the pound…inaddition to that you have the rendering fee…so you are looking at $1,000 to put a horse down…if I had a $1,000. If you get a discount from your vet to put a horse down that’s your own personal deal not the price everyone else has to pay….and as far as your horse rescues and sanctuaries…if they are working then why did the citizens of Idaho just find 18 horse starved to death on public land? I guarantee the privately owned rescues and sanctuaries are not going to be able to fork over the MILLIONS of dollars a YEAR that’s going to be required to take in all the unwanted horses (which is going severly rise because the horse market has completely bottomed out). I used to be if someone was in a bind financially they could sale their horse or give it away…that isn’t an option anymore…now they are resorting to turning them loose on public lands to fend for themselves and they are dieing of starvation…Try doing more research on your own that isn’t associated with these animal rights sites…your results won’t be as scewed.

  15. We don’t criticize you all for not wanting to slaughter your horses. It is your right. We definately don’t try and stop you or try and force you into slaughtering them. Why don’t you do the same and if you don’t want your horses slaughtered don’t sell it to a killer. At the same time, recognize that it is our right to choose that method. If that is what we see as best for the animal that is under our care then so be it.

    If you people would put as much effort into saving the millions of babies that are killed(aborted) each yr as you do into saving these animals, this country would be much better off. That is MURDER of a human. This is animals. Come on now. Open your eyes for God Sake.

  16. You don’t have a right to treat animals however you want. Michael Vick learned that the hard way. There is  no right to abuse animals which is what horse slaughter is. Surely, you can see that? Go look, if you haven’t.

    Why don’t we work together on humane solutions that benefit animals as well as people. Horse slaughter benefits only a few wealthy investors in foreign countries and leaves our communities with an expensive mess. Don’t you get that?   

  17. Horses are not starving because of a lack of slaughter houses. This is a myth. Basic economics will tell you that one has nothing to do with the other. Horse slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat in other countries.  In fact, there are slaughter houses  available and the same  numbers of horses are being slaughtered in Can/Mex as were here in the U.S. before those closed. So you can see that if you are finding "starving horses", it’s not because of a lack of slaughter houses.   If everyone stopped eating horse meat tomorrow, slaughter would stop. Don’t you see that it has nothing to do with numbers of unwanted horses? 

    You should check out these stories of abandoned horses because they have proven false in every case we checked out. This is misinformation disseminated to create fear. 92% of horses that go to slaughter are healthy, sold by the owner at auction and not abandoned or unwanted. Kill buyers look for the healthiest of horses for the meat. 

    You are spreading misinformation when you just repeat stories you’ve heard with no first hand information.  

    Oh and for the info about the blood running down the streets – talk to Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman TX where a horse slaughter house operated until it was shut down in 2007. Feel free to do some "research" yourself and call her. I’ve posted her number on her Open Letter on page 1. 

  18. Yes, they are living beings that don’t deserve a brutal death.  You are simply repeating misinformation when you say horses are abandoned and dying all over because of the closure of the slaughter houses in the U.S. It’s simply  not true.

  19. I agree they don’t deserve a brutal death. That is why i have stated repeatedly that they should regulate these slaughter houses. It is not misinformation about horses starving. It is fact. What about the ones in idaho they found starved to death in the wild. Is that humane? You need to open your eyes to the truth and stop getting your information just from PETA and animal rights sights. Get your facts straight. I mean FACTS. Not your feelings or your opinions but your FACTS. Also, Horses are being shipped to Mexico daily for slaughter. It is much better to do it here and monitor how it is done than to send them there. I’ve seen the videos and it is much worse there than it ever was here. I have also seen the starvation first hand of horses turned out in the wild to fend for themselves. Don’t tell me it’s not happening cause it is and I’vee seen it. You can’t give a unwanted horse away anymore so what other options do you have? You used to have the slaughter house as an option but because of YOU, that isn’t an option anymore and the HORSES are suffering

  20. How can anyone say that horses are not starving due to no slaughter houses? I realize killers want the healthiest of horses. The unwanted horses are usually healthy. They also can be dangerous. That is why they are unwanted. Yes these horses used to be sold at auctions and now since the killer market has closed, those horses have no where to go so they are turned loose. Hence the starving horses. I have seen it first hand. The facts are true. Look at the reality for a change and get your head out of your ass

  21. Society has a name for people such as yourself. Sociopath When you are no longer wanted, too old to work and need to be cared for, we know what to do with you.

  22. Euthanize these horses humanely, stop over breeding, tax breeders licenses stallions and administer birth control to the wild mares. Cause solved no longer dealing with the symptom rather addressing the cause PERIOD

  23. A SOCIETY CAN BE JUDGED BY THE WAY IT TREATS IT’S ANIMALS. WELL what does that say about those of you who believe slaughter lots and slaughter houses are the way to deal with the horse population……..

    I’m am not nor will not be part of that society. with education comes compassion with ignorance comes greed.
    Euthanize=compassion Slaughter = greed

    Simple Solution.

    Heavily taxing the breeders

    Licensing the Stallions

    Birth control for the wild herds

    Problem solved

  24. Comparing horses to cattle is a night and day comparison.
    The only way to deal with the horse population it to deal with the breeders and administering birth control to the wild herds.
    The symptom is too many horses the cure is stop the breeding lets cure the problem not treat the symptom in very barbaric fashion.


  26. Your pin gun fails more than 50% of the time an the poor animal thrashes and is strung up still awake, aware and in tremendous pain.

  27. IF you can’t afford a horse don’t get one only to let it down in the long run. People are heartless, breeders are irresponsible and the animals pay the price of human arrogance and ignorance. Slaughter is barbaric and un-necessary. Tax breeders Tax Breeders Tax Breeders.

  28. Tax Breeders, License Stallions administer Birth Control to the wild herds. Horse should not suffer the human fool!
    Why would the BLM set aside a determined amount of land for wild horses and let them breed un-checked. Of course there are going to be more horses than there is land. A sensible birth control program would fix that problem. Rescue the current population, train them and find them homes.

    Then Tax the crap out of breeders

    License the stallions and geld the colts that do not receive a license. limit the number or licenses for stallions.


  29. The USDA was required to be at slaughter house facility to oversee that humane practices were taken on behalf of the horses. The FOIA video clearly demenstrates that the USDA stood by and did nothing while these horses suffered at the hands slaughter house personnel (fact).
    You can make all the laws and regulations you want but when the people with the power to enforce them don’t do anything then it’s useless. The only other options available is NOT to open ANY Horse slaughter plants.
    Have you read any of the wording in the documents that are before our congressmen?It’s downright scary. They don’t want ANY regulations put on them. Basically they want to come into YOUR TOWN and do all the damage they can do while making you pay the bill.

    Have you read the letter that the former Mayor in Texas at the Dallas Crown facility. It’s a must read. Not only do the horses suffer but the communities suffer as well.

    The FACT remains that there are a lot horses that need homes right now because of the economy, not because of closing the slaughter plants. If people are being foreclosed, losing their jobs with no place to live, then there is no way they can keep their beloved horses. How do you keep a horse when you have No Income, it’s not because the slaughter plant closed down.

  30. How can you say horses are not starving because slaughter houses are closed? I completely agree that the economy is the biggest problem, BUT, now that there are no slaughter houses and people can’t afford to feed the horses, they can’t sell them, they can’t afford to pay to humanely put them down, then what else can they do? They resort to turning them out. TO THEN STARVE!!!! Reopen the houses, get the horse population under control( in a regulated and humane way), then begin to tax the breeder’s, license the stallions, and begin to control the population. That is what it boils down to. Population control. When it get’s to that point, we won’t need slaughter houses, they will go out of business due to lack of horses going to them and you and I won’t be having this debate. Would you rather see your horse starve to death, have someone shoot it then the wild animals devour it, or sell it at auction and never really know for sure where it is going. I know what i would prefer

  31. Slaughter houses are open in Mex and Can and just as many US horses are going there as ever. You must understand slaughter is driven by a demand for horse meat and has nothing to do with "unwanted" horses.

  32. How about using horse meat to feed other animals like in the zoos, etc? Lions, tigers, etc. need meat. I wish there was an avenue to donate my horse to a zoo, or even the humane society that has to feed a bunch of dogs and cats, or some other facility that could utilize the meat.

  33. Compassion? Empathy?

    Or love for the Almighty (NOT) dollar??

    Are we really shining examples of man”KIND” when we look forward to killing another living being so we can eat it?

    Is it so important to make fun of the “animal rights ‘radicals'” in order to build yet another “shrine” for horse slaughter?

    We are nothing more than another class of mammals. Who are we to say that we are smarter than the animals? And as far as the Bible is concerned, only the Humans were thrown out of the Garden of Eden.

    Look at the MESS we’ve made for ourselves in the WHOLE world right now, with our desire for greed and our selfish desire to get ahead at all costs. Why drag the animals down with us?

    We are ALL connected. What we do to other living beings is felt by ALL the Universe.

  34. As a horsewoman in Texas, it is my opinion that establishing proper breeding standards could alleviate the problem with unwanted horses. Many horse people enter the breeding game for profit, nothing more. Take a look at some of your biggest names within the American Quarter Horse Association – the past presidents & Executive Committee members & Directors. You’re looking at puppy-mill caliber horse breeders within those ranks. They’ve committed a huge crime against this populous breed. The AQHA encouraged the “Legacy Breeders” program which rewarded “years of consecutive breeding” certificates to those who bred horses year in and year out. It sent the wrong message: horse breeding is not a competition. When these horses become crippled and no longer compete at an acceptable level, they are “unwanted”. Where is the breeder’s responsibility? Why is it the horse’s fault that their owner crippled them? Just because a horse is crippled doesn’t mean it deserves to go to slaughter. The reality is that the horse no longer suits the owner’s purposes and the owner doesn’t want to pay for its feed, care, and upkeep. The truth hurts: most people cannot afford to properly care for horses. If people are making payments on land, horse trailers, pickup trucks, and credit cards…eventually something must give. And, sadly, it is the horse itself who gets sent down the road.

    I propose stricter guidelines on horse breeding practices. Everyone knows of someone who breeds for profit, someone who breeds their mare(s) each year because “she’s standing out in the pasture doing nothing”, someone who owns a stallion who rightly deserves to be a gelding, etc. I believe there are responsible breeders out there, but the enormity of the responsibility of breeding animals takes a person with great consciousness.

    If you live near Fort Worth, Texas, you may have seen the horrific sight of horses struggling, thrashing, and crammed into gooseneck trailers headed for the local slaughterhouse. The horses were, no doubt, forced into the trailer beyond its normal capacity. Thank God that place is closed. It is an ignoble death for such noble animals.

    I propose a horse “check off” program where breed registries would collect monies for every horse registered, every mare covered, every horse transferred into new ownership. It is time to be responsible for creating these animals. They are not disposable. If you cannot afford to euthanize an animal, to rent a backhoe, or if you do not own enough land to bury them, please, do not own one. They deserve better than you.

  35. Yes more responsible breeding would help, but you can’t even get people to be responsible with dogs or cats. We need horse slaughter, are you going to take in all the unwanted. Farms are full, mustang holding facilitys are full. In this economy people need this option. They can’t even afford to keep their homes let alone try and continue feeding horses. We just resently had someone take close to 17 horses out to public land and shoot them then cut off there brands. Others are setting their horses loose on public land. This horses don’t know how to survive out there. Most will die this winter, lack of water and feed. You wanted this ban to end cruelty but it has just increased and been brought to your back yard (public land).

  36. People such as yourself should put as much effort into preventing unwanted pregnancy as you do into making sure thousands of babies are born into situations that won’t take care of them and dooming them to die of starvation, abuse, neglect and disease. People like you are the real threat to the welfare of children. You sentence thousands of innocents to death every day because of your shortsighted irresponsible viewpoints.

    Congratulations on that.

    You are someone I would not save before one of my good friend companion animals because you really don’t have the welfare of the humane race as a priority.

  37. I’m not sure where you are living, but $1000 to put a horse down, give me a break. Maybe your horses get euthanized with a gold syringe and a platinum needle. Sounds like you need to do your homework.
    If people like you would be more responsible instead of letting someone else take care of your issues, 18 horses wouldn’t have been turned out to starve.
    Stop making excuses, and using a slaughter plant as your way out. Get responsible and take care of your animals. Maybe you shouldn’t be going out and having that beer every night if you can’t afford to feed your animals.

  38. IDIOTS like YOU are what’s wrong with america these days. I totally agree that people should should prevent unwanted pregnancy. At the same time, you all say pro slaughter peoples facts are wrong and that unwanted horses are not being turned out and starving. Well your facts are wrong as well about babies in this country dying of starvation and things. Also I know of many many people who would happily take those babies if it would prevent the mothers from murdering them. As far as you saying you would save one of your animals before you would me, thanx. I am glad to know that our society has gotten to the point that because we have a difference of opinion, you would let someone die over it. How mature of you. I have never owned, seen, or come across an animal of any kind that I would ever consider saving before I would any human. That just isn’t right. And I love my pets very much but they just aren’t on the same level as a human.

  39. A Cap and Trade system may be the middle path for this argument. I do not approve of the slaughtering of horses, but we cannot turn a blind eye to the market and hope that it goes away. Markets are powerful forces, and without a way to meet the market, we cannot have a solution. I have proposed to the new administration and I renew my call here for a Cap and Trade system on horse slaughter. Cap the number of slaughters per state and per year, put a tax on slaughter that supports horse rescue, and allow companies and breeders to trade their “caps” then ban the export of live horses for slaughter and heavily regulate the slaughter industry.

  40. Anyone who slaughter horses for human consumption is cruel and heartless. Why do so many people think that humans have a bigger right to be alive than other living creatures on earth. That we somehow is of a bigger value than animals. It`s so arrogant, and horrible..

  41. Seriously you ignorant rednecks, how is horse meat seen as cuisine? It is what crackers would eat to stave off starvation.
    Why is eating a human a crime, but it´s acceptable to eat a horse?? I see horses eating GRASS is the GRASS more important than the horse??? It is free, let the horses be free…if you want to kill your horse, I hope it catches on and eats you first!

  42. I think that you have to understand why the majority of horse lovers and animal activists are pro choice it is because we are hoping that people such as your selves will finally abort yourselves out of existence!LOL. I think that God created horses and other animals just as he did the human race and it seems to me if I am correct he destroyed us humans several times? It is sad that the greed of money seems to drive the human race whether it be killing babies or horses or whatever else we can kill to make that almighty dollar. If more want to be Christians would quit judging animal activists and use their christian teachings to love and accept I bet the two groups could come together and help the babies(human) and animals being tortured and slaughtered for the almighty dollar in this country. We have 13 horses who we saved from going to slaughter at the horse sale and I have 4 children who I also support(obviously dont believe in abortion and a christian) and my finances are tight but they are all cared for. I may not drive a brand new truck and have a 40,000 stock trailer but I can sleep at night and I know what I do is for a purpose greater than the drive of obtaining the almighty dollar. I put my money where my mouth is and I think that is a good concept. I hope in the end I will be judged for how I treat my fellow man born and unborn and how I cared for the creatures of this land that God gave me to care for.I see a lot of christians with brand new vehicles, furniture, clothes and the newest and latest everything, however you can tell a person who rescues animals or helps others before themselves. They do not have the brand new vehicle, furniture, clothing and the latest technology but they have that glow of satisfaction and that warm heart knowing that another soul is saved from torture and slaughter.

  43. You are kind to animals, but not to humans. You call us rednecks, which is a very rude comment and stereotypical. What did you eat last night, steak, pork, chicken. How do you think these things ended up in the market. Slaughter is a necessary evil. Everybody needs to live on a farm for a while and experience the real world. Do you know what happens to animals in third world countrys. That is were you need to spend your energy fighting. People are starving for lack of food. If my cattle, sheep, goats, pigs or yes horse would help feed starving children then so be it.

  44. We had a mare who broke her leg and the break was at the top of the bone and our vet told us there was nothing that could be done for the break because it was so high up. He gave us the option to shot her ourselves or we could have her euthinized. It was the worst experience that me and my children have had to experience. Candy was only 10 years old and really in her prime and she was the best horse that you could ask for. We live by the Nebraska/kansas line and it was in the middle of November and we found her in a part of the pasture where you could not get a vehicle into because of the deep creeks going in and out of our property. We stayed with her that night because our vet wanted to check with KSTATES vet program to see if anything could be done for her and they informed us that we would not have the facilities nor the money to care for her the way she needed to be cared for. We had watched Candy suffer all night until early morning and when our vet gave us the only other options we choose to have her euthinized. I do not make much over minimum wage and I knew that it would take a while to pay my vet bill off but I choose to have her put down with dignity the way she had carried my children on her back and had loved us. The vet put the needle in her neck and she struggled a little but my 14 year old daughter,12 year old son and myself held her neck softly and she passed away. Our vet had tears in his eyes and apologized for our loss. We were charged 75.00 for the euthinisia and I payed my vet like I always do.Candy will always be in our hearts and I will never regret letting her die the way she deserved to die. We have been going to horse sales and have pictures of the kill buyers and the horses they leave with and the way these horses are transported and it makes my stomache churn when you see the agony, despair, fear and the pure emotional and physical pain those horses are in.I would ask that you go to some of these auctions and see the beautiful horses ending up going to slaughter. I have lived and looked at the facts and seen the horror of the kill buyers and the way these horses are treated. I have pictures showing these horses being treated like walking steak and the big tough killers hitting them and poking them with the cattle prods. Some of the horses eyes are poked out. bruises on their faces, bones sticking out of their shoulders, flesh ripped off of their flanks. I would like to know what kind of human with a soul feels like this is humane? The only thing that can compensate for that is the almighty dollar and thats what I tell my kids when they ask why someone would do that to a horse!

  45. I live in a third world country and am a vegetarian, you are missing the point, if you are not a redneck, do not be ignorant either, we are not debating starving people in third world countries we are disputing rich jerks eating horses. Eat beans man.

  46. Vegetarians need to stop trying to make everybody else vegetarians, meat eaters need to stop trying to make everbody meat eaters. There is always going to be both sides. If you have never butchered anything then the site of death is going to be horrible. The most human way to dispatch an animal is to shoot it in the head. When this happens the animal is brain dead, it feels nothing, sees nothing, but the body will sometimes act violently. This is normal. For the first time in american history more people live in citys then on farms, which means less people understand this part of life and are less accepting. Humans eat meat, have from the beginning of time. You will not stop it from happening. Do the people who want this ban live in town with a small back yard. Have they ever had to go and try to make a living raising animals. Do you fully understand the amount of money and time it takes to keep large animals. If you ended all slaughter do you understand what that would do to the economy. Do you understand the amount of people who would no longer have jobs. If you want this ban so much then you better start taking in every unwanted horse, I hope you have millions of dollars at your disposal because a lot of these horses are in need of medical care running you in to the thousands per horse. You also need to be an excellent trainer because they also have some training issues, sometimes aggression issues. You need to have good medical insurance for when one finally kicks, or bites. If you have never spent years working with, feeding, raising or rideing horses then you do not understand that there are some that need to go away. They are livestock not pets. I do not invite them in to sleep on my bed. I do not ask them if it is okay with him if we go on a 30 mile ride today. He has a job to do. Do I love my horses, YES. Do I do everything I can to care for them YES. But not all people can do that right now. If you do not have a job any longer then you can not afford to care for the horse. They need the option to sell their horse. With slaughter closed you can not even sell a good horse in need of a good home.

  47. The modern horse appears to have evolved over three million years ago in North America. Crossing land bridges, it crossed to Asia and Europe. It disappeared from this western hemisphere around 10,000 years ago. Around 3,500 years ago, horses were domesticated. and by 1,000 years ago they were widely used throughout Asia, Europe and North Africa. They were reintroduced to America by Spanish and English colonists.

    About 3,500 years ago, somewhere in the steppe region of Asia, horses were domesticated. The spotted horses were especially eye-catching and so they frequently became models for the local artisans. Some of those relics have endured to present day leaving us some record of horses during ancient times.
    The modern horse evolved over three million years ago and then disappeared from this hemisphere 10,000 years ago. The horse returned to North America when explorers Cortes and DeSoto came mounted on magnificent Barbs from Morocco, Sorraia from Portugal and Andalusians from Spain.

    This is a short reference to the history of horses. Why should they die, because man has no use for them, or room for them because monoculture transgenics and industrial farming have swallowed nature? Economically speaking, I would promote sustainable agriculture, that balances human needs and wild life´s basic rights.Importations in foreign economies replaces domestic production in that foreign nation. Exports of monocultures in foreign nations replace independent farming. It seems the economy in the US is not working, and killing horses would not remediate the problem. Perhaps I am mistaken, but wasting the ogallalla aquifier to irrigate corn, and turning independent farming that promotes true democracy in America, into industrial craps by Monsanto is the real economic obstacle America is fighting, the epidemic is not horses,its man´s ego.

  48. I completely agree with everything you said. I am so glad to know that someone on here actually has a little common sense! Thank you!

  49. I don’t think you must sleep with a horse in your bed to oppose horse slaughter. Hey, this is not a service for disposing of unwanted horses. This is a for profit practice that is driven by demand for horse meat in other countries. It has nothing to do with numbers of unwanted horses. Don’t you see if everyone stopped eating horsemeat tomorrow, slaughter would stop? It wouldn’t matter how many unwanted horses there are.

    Simple economics tells us that.

    You cannnot show me a single horse that has been abandoned becasue of lack of slaughter houses. This is a myth.

    Can’t you see you are being duped by foreign investors who just want a free subsidy for their profitable operation? They use myths like unwanted horses to scare you. They will take the money back to their foreign country, the profits, and your communities will be left with the waste, pollution, blood in the streets and stench. Is that really what you want?  

    Horse slaughter is a relic of another age like dog fighting. It is barbaric, unbelievably cruel and has no place in our society today.

  50. The fact is horses are being abandoned due to slaughter houses being shut down. People don’t have anywhere to take their unwanted horses. Yes there are unwanted horses. Some that are a danger to people are just one example. There was a time when killers would buy them but now they can’t so there is nowhere to take them so they get abandoned. This IS the facts. While you are trying to save horses, you at the same time are hurting some horses. I will help you every step of the way to save good companion horses who deserve a good home. I will not try and save one that is a threat to me, my kids, or anyone else.

    Which is better, slaughter houses or someone shooting the horse in the head and then leaving it in the wild for the animals to eat the carcass. Yes, that is happening everyday. That is now where the unwanted horses are going. to feed the wolves and coyotes and such. I would much rather feed someone with that meat than the wild animals. I would much rather put it to good use than waste it. I love horses but come on. Stop making some of them suffer

  51. Look what is farming, a family makes a garden they eat their harvest. Fine, but what is farming in corporate America? If you are not able to afford to humanely as you would your dog take your horse to ¨sleep¨then taking it to a chamber of death for a profit really does not justify you owning one. Corporate America is about profit, think now that you are helping horses, but when horses are killed like chickens investments to ¨help¨ horses would really help by investing in free euthanasia.

  52. Farming in corporate America? whether it be cows, dogs, chickens, cats, or horses, DEAD is DEAD. What does it matter what is done with it after. Whether it for food or buried or cremated. What does that matter. As long as the death is carried out in a humane, pain free manner. That is the whole point. Death is a fact of life on a farm. It is how it is handled not where it is handled that matters. Slaughter house, barn stall, or back pasture. You are still taking the life of the animal. As long as it is done painlessly. At least in a slaughter house it can be regulated. It hasn’t been regulated very well in the past but at least in that capacity it can be. I would much rather see a horse done that way than for some redneck to use it for target practice.

  53. Do you people listen at all. The entire point was that it isn’t done humanely but rather than doing away with it completely and causing another problem, let’s use our efforts to ensure it is done painlessly and the right way. I agree it was not regulated properly or even at all. I can assure you the method’s being used in mexico are much worse tho. We NEED TO REGULATE HOW IT IS DONE AND MAKE SURE IT IS PAINLESS. You can’t see the forest for the trees and we are fighting the same battle. You and I just think that we should go about it in different ways. You have the right to be wrong though. LOL. That was a joke. Please don’t take offense. It was only playful. We both have to be open minded and look for what is best for the horses as a whole. Not what is best for you and I. That is why I believe that managed and STRICTLY regulated slaughter houses are what’s best for the horses. As A Whole. You and I are fighting for two different horses. You are fighting to protect the good horses where the owners turned up on hard times or mostly were irresponsible. I commend you for that battle and I agree with you. I, however, am fighting for the horses abandoned and suffering that are a danger and no one wants them nor can afford them. They are the ones that should be allowed to go to humane slaughter to prevent overpopulation and disease and starvation. They are being turned loose all the time.

    I don’t have the heart to just turn one loose, but at the same time I don’t have the means to take in and save all the unwanted horses. Our government don’t have that means either. Slaughter is an alternative if handled correctly!!!

  54. You took offense at being called a redneck not ignorant. Ignorant is a person that does not want to learn, would you prefer to be dosed to sleep in your warm home or forced into a cold death trap hearing others scream smelling others blood and die?
    you believe in regulation, a vetenarian would ensure that the animal is terminally ill or endangering lives, and end its life in a familiar place in a nearly painless method. Pass your f;n bill when you have some f;n regulations, regulate yrself

  55. Wow. Thank you so much for the expanation of what ignorance is for me. Now let me explain to you what hard headed means. It is someone who turns a deaf ear to anyone who has a different outlook from yours. You can accuse me of being ignorant, that is your opinion. I don’t know where the redneck thing came from but nowhere in this discussion has the word redneck been used towards me. I do think it is funny that you get so mad over my comments when I am not trying to hurt any horses. Let me be clear on this one more time for you. I am going to try and put it in simple terms that even you can understand. I DO NOT LIKE HORSE SLAUGHTER!!!! I COULD NOT NOR WOULD NOT EVER SELL A HORSE OF MINE TO GO TO SLAUGHTER!!! I do however see, read, and understand the fact that people are turning horses loose and abandoning them. The are starving and dying. That is not right. Some of this reason is due to slaughter houses being closed down and the owners not being able to get rid of these horses. The majority of the reasons why this is happening is because of IRRESPONSIBLE OWNERSHIP. People not having a heart, and people not having respect for the animal. All I have ever tried to get across is that if slaughter houses were opened again and they were regulated very very strictly to ensure the horses are put down using the proper methods and handled correctly, then these people would be able to sell their horses at auction rather than just turn them out to die. If they can’t afford to feed them then chances are they can’t afford for the vet to euthanize them. This option isn’t necessarily a good option but it would be better than horses starving. I also would rather see this done than for someone to shoot the horse and leave it there to rot. Yes. That has been happening too. Rather than being an A-hole and talk about something you know nothing about, or categorize me when you don’t know me nor do you read the contents of this page and know where I am coming from or stand for, let’s work together for the good of the horses. I am not someone who would profit from slaughter houses being open so my stance is not for personal gain. It is only one way to help with the problem we have been facing. I am sure there are many other’s out there. We just have to find one, agree upon one, and start helping these horses before anymore suffer.

  56. I’m sick of this ‘…if you can’t afford a horse don’t get one.’ tripe. What elitist, narrow minded, childish language is this? What many supporters of the slaughter ban don’t understand (or just stick their fingers in their ears and refuse to hear) is that many of these horses out here (as in this ‘redneck/ignorant’ demographic sort of out here) are absolutely necessary for a cattle operation. Period. End of story.

    On many of these ranches a large percentage of the terrain is only accessible by foot or on horse back. The most efficient way to gather and move cattle is still from a horse. Most cows are frightened when they see a human being on two legs, (and they usually see this for the first time when they hit the slaughter house), because they have spent their whole lives only seeing human beings perched on the back of a HORSE! You aren’t going to get these cowboys to pony up (no pun intended) for a Happy Hooves Retirement Home for the old, sick, lame and insane. These animals are a tool for survival first when you are worried about how you are going to feed your kids. These horses aren’t kept out here (for the most part) as some self indulgent-I-can-finally-have-my-pony Wish Fulfillment. They work.

    And now they are dying out here in ways that make what would have been a trip to Texas or Illinois like a trail ride. This is becoming a veritable train wreck and if you supported the slaughter ban IT. IS. YOUR. FAULT. TOO!!! You can whine, and finger point, and refuse accountability all you want to (and nearly all of you do… all of the above… with alacrity.), but you people are holding a corner of the proverbial bag for every limping, wheezing, dying starving bag of bones out here. You are also partly responsible for an extra helping of economic hard ship for people just trying to make a living. And the really crappy part of that is… I have yet to find one of you, NOT ONE who will admit it. Not one who will step up and take some responsibility for the mess you helped create. Not for these horses, and you sure aren’t going to help (or even care) about the people that are affected by this as well.

    You people aren’t caring. You don’t love animals. You hate people. Or at least, you hate people that don’t think like you do. The inherent hypocrisy is appalling. A compassionate movement that doesn’t care about the people that get shoved to the way side, is a lie.

  57. “…Hay is coming down.” Maybe where you are. But here I’m paying a little better than $250.00 a ton. That’s up from about $90.00 a ton last year. There is no sign of the price falling. None. Quite the opposite in fact. People are scrambling just to FIND hay, and paying out the nose when they do.

  58. I am not attacking you personally, I am responding to the dufusness you write, I have seen that you bully the good people who love animals and then victimize yourself when I write you in a similar tone. I appreciate you are interested solely in the the needs of animals, but it seems you are a little naive about the matter
    I almost have my masters in environmental sciences and know that if a law is approved and no ordinance is included, then your subjective dispute misses the mark, that this bill is setting an example to other states, and opening the door to corruption and exploitation of innocent creations that do not have a voice to defend their rights to life and their history of self preservation. Hope we find a solution to the problems you observe of animal abuse but it is not in this law.

    The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~Gandhi (1869-1948)

    “I hold that the more helpless a creature, the more entitled it is to protection by man from the cruelty of man” ~M. Gandhi (1869-1948)

    “The measure of a society can be how well its people treat its animals.” ~Mohandas Gandhi

  59. In response to your post, I am pleased with your agreement to my original post about responsible horse breeding practices. I, too, am disgusted by those who own cats/dogs and allow them to reproduce. However, I am bewildered by your comments about “…farms are full, mustang holding facilities are full…in this economy people need this [slaughterhouse] option”. If any farms are, in fact, “full” it is, again, because of rampant stupidity. If a horse breeding facility is “full”, then it is the fault of the horse owners. If the mustang holding facilities are “full”, then it is because of faulty government bureaucracy. The director of the BLM should be ashamed for their handling of the wild horses and burros. The wild horses and burros were on this land long before any broke, wannabe “rancher” decided the government owed them a handout in the form of cheap BLM land leases to graze their low quality cattle, sheep, etc. I know of plenty broke, newly-minted veterinarians who owe Federal student loans who could conduct mass castrations on the BLM wild horses and burros for our government. These wild animals do not deserve to die for a purported lack of grazing lands. What a joke.

    If people are having financial difficulty and can no longer afford feeding their horse, then they should make every effort to sell the horse at a huge loss, or donate the horse to a rescue facility, or pay to have it euthanized. When the economy turns around, I hope these same people develop a conscience and realize that they are too irresponsible to own horses — ever.

    Moreover, there is no epidemic of abandoned unwanted horses roaming the United States. If your story about 17 horses being shot and brands removed is true, then I suggest your state officials hire a real brand inspector who could quickly and easily solve the case. Seventeen horses: easily identified by coat color, brand location, site of killing…it wouldn’t be too hard to figure it out.

    If people want to take action against irresponsible horse breeding, write to your Congressional representatives. The new stimulus bill passed by Obama and Congress allowed continued tax incentives for horse breeders. Shameful!

    The countries who serve horse meat (Belgium, France, Norway) are simply exploiting our abundance of horseflesh. Their own countries are too small to handle the volume of horses that we have here in the United States. Furthermore, start complaining about the Native American tribes here in the U.S. who have LARGE horse herds, breed them like mad, and sell them purely for their meat into Canada. How do you stop that? There are tribes in Canada which do the same thing…just for profit. They could not care less about the horses.

  60. I’m only half way through the comments but I had to stop here and say WOW! I live in Wyoming in a very small rural town. There are horse dying everyday because people cann’t afford to feed them. When they bring the wild horses in I can’t wait to see how many people have turned their horses out! There is such a bigger picture here that some of you aren’t seeing!! Maybe you should start reading some of the news articles from little towns. Then you would see the truth!

  61. They do have Birth Control for wild herds! But some people are fighting it! They don’t think its natural! FYI

  62. I own horses and enjoy the companionship they bring. I am also directly involved in the food business including beef, bison and pork processing facilities. Horses can be handled humanely during processing. Small regional plants can install reduced stress holding areas along with adopting improved methods to euthanize each animal prior to processing.

    I would estimate that 99% of injury occurs during transit and holding. Anyone who has handled large numbers of horses knows that the horse itself is susceptible to aggressive and defensive behavior when introduced into new surroundings. The most important issue therefore is proper handling in transit and at holding faciities prior to processing.

    We need foreign investment as well as local investment to support jobs and the economy. We should not withhold usable food products from proper utilization. I would much rather see equine processed for consumption than to go to the trash heap! The grandstanding in regard to business profit, foreighn investment, and excessive horor stories is in my opinion irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    Simply put we need to proceed with acceptable methods to hold, transport, euthaize, and process equine as an alternative to deal with overpopulation.

  63. Your understanding of horses is limited. These animals are partners. They are imprinted from birth to trust us as leaders. You are a traitor of the equine spirit. You probably don’t know that the USDA accepts a 10% failure rate to stun these animals (prior to the closing of the last US plants) and allow processing while conscious for 10% or less of these disregarded horses. Mexico is without any standards whatsoever. For you to advocate slaughter instead of reduced breeding is irresponsible.

    I wish people like you would keep quiet. You offer nothing enlightening nor useful. I can only imagine a person like you having to fight like hell to catch your horse. Who’d want to be with you.

    Own machinery. It doesn’t bleed like you do.

  64. Reduced breeding isn’t going to help the problem at hand. It isn’t going to fix the problem of overpopulation. I agree completely that breeding should be reduced dramatically and somehow regulated but how is that going to help the problem at hand? It isn’t. Bottom line is that due to overpopulation, if we reduce breeding then horses will still be overpopulated for the next 20 to 30 yrs until they die off. We have to fix the problem and slaughter is much better than them being turned out and starved to death. You talk about humanity. Which would you rather see done. An ANIMAL slaughtered or an ANIMAL starved to death? Any honest person will admit the starvation of horses is much more cruel than the slaughter of them. One other thing. These are ANIMALS. Not human beings. They are not on the same level as we are. Not intellectually, nor in any other way so stop trying to make them sound like they are human. If you want to save them then I think that is admirable. Go save as many as you can. Go save them all and you foot the bill. If you can’t do that then shut up.

  65. Yes, we need foreign investment and should not withhold usable food products from proper utilization. Look at all the dog and cat meat that goes to waste from our shelters when they are humanely euthanized. And think of all the jobs we can produce if we allow China and Korea to set up processing plants for dogs and cats, not just for their meat but also for their fur. However, there are laws that expose clothing that is made from such fur so people won’t buy it. Stores are swearing off of fur made from such animals. In principle, there’s nothing wrong with it. But here’s the bottom line. America does not eat dogs, cats, or horses or wear their fur. Culture transcends economics here. We do not raise them as food animals. The drugs we give horses is indicative of that. As cool and stoic as some might try to be, saying we should look at this whole thing strictly economically, it just can’t be done. Companion animals involve emotions and there’s no getting around it. Nor is there anything wrong with it. It’s our culture, pure and simple.

  66. Let me understand. The absence of slaughter will force people to leave their horses to starve; to abandon them. They have no alternative. I wonder why there is a rise in abandoned dogs and cats? Do those people have no alternative? No shelters to take them to? Some even have the strange logic that says that they abandon their dogs and cats because they don’t want to take them to shelters where they will probably be euthanized. For those people it’s better to abandon your animal to starvation than to euthanize them at a shelter. But for the horse people, it’s better to slaughter them than abandon them to starvation. Starve the dogs and cats and slaughter the horses. Is that the way it goes? Hmmmm. Humans have a thinking process that defies the logic that it claims to uphold.

    Here’s one for you. In 2007 the RSPCA in England said that horse abuse rose (and they have slaughter) while the abuse of dogs and cats went down. It all makes me wonder if there really is this clear cut relationship between the abuse of animals and the availability of euthanasia and/or slaughter. Maybe a lot of people are just plain cruel.

  67. Dear Chair and Committee Members,

    I would like to offer some additional information concerning the 3 hour hearing yesterday on HB 418 a bill that would enable the construction of horse slaughter plants in Montana.

    First I would like to say that I am in the anti horse slaughter business.  A business that keeps horses alive and provides sales and income to veterinarians, farriers, feed stores, trainers, etc..  I am not a crazed animal activist vegan that wishes to deprive infants and children of meat protein needed in order for their brains to grow as Rep Sue Wallis of Wyoming would like you to believe.

    USDA Meat Inspections

    Representative Butcher testified to the committee yesterday that he spoke to the Belgians about the fact that there is no funding available for USDA inspectors for horsemeat and that the Belgians would pay for their own meat inspections.

    In 2005, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate each approved funding limitation amendments barring USDA from using funds to conduct horse slaughter inspections. 

    In response, USDA issued special new rules to circumvent Congress’ decision to de-fund horse slaughter by having the slaughter plants to pay for inspections themselves.

    In February of 2006 a law suit was filed challenging the USDA’s decision.

    In March of 2007 a federal district court ordered a shut-down of a U.S. Department of Agriculture program that allowed the slaughter of American horses for human consumption to be paid for by the slaughter houses.

    Environment Issues

    Representative Butcher testified that the Belgians would build a "state of the art" horse slaughtering facilities in the state of Montana and claims none of the issues experienced in the state of Texas would be experienced in the state of Montana.

    Cavel International located in Dekalb Illinois burned to the ground in 2002.

    In 2004 a brand new "state of the art" horse slaughtering plant was opened in Dekalb Illinois..

    In March of 2007 the HSUS files a notice of intent to sue the Cavel horse slaughter house in DeKalb, Ill. for dozens of violations of the Clean Water Act. 

    I believe former Mayor of Kaufman Texas, Paula Bacon provided you with documentation on the Cavel violations along with the Texas documentation.  If you are in need of additional information I will be happy to provide it.

    Once the plant in Dekalb was shuttered they moved to Canada where they resumed normal procedure and violations of the Clean Water Act.

    In September of 2008 Twyla Francois of the CHDC captures footage of Natural Valley Farms (operated by VELDA the same operators of the Cavel plant in the USA) horse slaughter plant dumping horse blood into Qu’Appelle River Valley.  The river runs along the plant’s property line.  You can view the footage here

    Feedlot Shelby Montana

    In May of 2008 Animals’ Angels did an investigative report of the Shelby Feedlot.  Please read the entire report here

    "Behind the large pen area is nothing but open farm land and hills. Here, the feedlot maintains its dead pit.  Inside the pit were countless horse corpses. The smell was overwhelming. The decaying bodies were not covered with soil, sawdust or straw – providing easy access for scavengers. As a result, the hills around the feedlot were covered with horse bones and decaying body parts of horses.

    MC 75-10-213. Unlawful disposition of dead animals It is unlawful to:

    (1) place all or any part of a dead animal in any lake, river, creek, pond, reservoir,

    road, street, alley, lot, or field;

    (2) place all or any part of a dead animal within 1 mile of the residence of any

    person unless the dead animal or part of a dead animal is burned or buried at least 2 feet underground

    Please take note of the moving violations in the investigative report above for the truck driver transporting the horses from Montana to Canada.  This is typical of most the slaughter truck drivers Animals’ Angels has researched.  If you would like copies of the records please let me know an I will put them together for you. 

    Of course the FOIA USDA records speak for themselves as far as how inhumane the entire horse slaughter process is.  If you haven’t looked at them I urge you to at  the pictures are quite graphic but it is necessary to consider the facts when voting on this bill.

    Also the federal bill HR 503 that would ban horse slaughter currently has 106 cosponsors.  At the end of the 110th congress HR 503 The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act had 206 cosponsors.

    I hope you will take into consideration the information I have provided when voting on this bill.  There is definitely more to this bill than a slaughter house.

    I strongly ask that you vote no to HB 418.


    Lucille Matte

  68. “if you can’t afford a horse, don’t get one”….
    HHUUMM…. Can we put that up about houses, cars, or anything else that we as american’s purchase and have repoed if we can’t pay anymore??? My X husband used to tell me that I could own as many cars in the world that I wanted, but having an animal is a continuos cost. And fought me for years about owning horses. Needless to say he is my X husband.
    He would say that his Jeep and his dirt bike do not fight in the garage and the vet does not need to be called out when one of them gets hurt and if there is no gas in them and he does not have the money, the he doesn’t use them. If the tired on them were bad, it was not imparitive that he get new ones.
    Good thought, but I loved my horses. And I would do anything to make sure that they were cared for. But if I had lost my job, or there was no money coming into the household anymore, I would have had to make the choice to sell them. And I would if that ever came into play.

    Most people do not set out to starve an animal or to be mean to it. ANd for those people that do, or let this happen, shame on them and they should suffer the same abuse. But for the ones that can no longer take care of their animals, selling it is the only option if you cannot feed it.
    Unfortunately things happen in everyone’s life that is unexpected. If you lose your job, there is a lack of money. Normally the first to go is the luxury’s.
    People do not intentionally take their horses to the auction to sell them to the killers. They take them there with the hopes to find them a good home, because they don’t have the money to take care of them. And sometimes putting an ad in the paper just does not get it done.

    I still would rather see a horse go to slaughter then to be abandoned or starved.

  69. The earth is a “living body.” Every leaf, flower, ant, human, dog, horse, cloud, wind, and rain is the “living body.” Do you understand? To kill a horse is to kill a part of yourself. Every being on earth is mortal. Every being on earth is entitled to its life. Human beings, part of the “living body,” were born with high intelligence. Ethical living asks each human to live a life of value. Each human being gets to decide what living a life of value means to them.

    I am a steward of all things living. That means I am a steward of those I love as well as those I do not like. Every “being” is important.

    Our fine country argues about “who has a right to build a slaughter house.” We argue about whether a horse has human rights or not. The “living body” has humane rights. For me, this means that every earthling has the right to die peacefully – with as little pain and suffering as possible. Therefore, having high intelligence;it is up to human beings to provide as kind a death as possible to horses.

    We all will have to die one day. The investor,the animal welfare activist, and the horse. What do we want to be remembered for: that we were able to win an legal argument on how a horse should die? Or perhaps, we want to be remembered for the dollar bills that will line our casket.

    I know, when my final hour comes, I have to climb in bed with myself. I may have just one moment to review my life. I hope that I can say to myself, “Jane…you did the best job you could. You tried to be as kind as possible, you revered the earth’s living body.”

    I was very sick for a long time after I saw videos of horse slaughter. I will never get over it. I had never seen such horror in my life before. It prompted me to save 6 horses from a slaughter house.

    Why do we not have some sort of bill that creates funding for horse euthanasia for people who cannot afford it? Why do we not argue about the best way to fund such a fine thing to do.

    When will we create laws that offer “incentives” for responsible pet guardianship. Perhaps the year 3000. We are lost in our delusions, control issues, and need to agress on one another. Humans do good and humans do harm. We are slow learners. Very sad for the great horses of a great nations to be slaughtered. A deep bow to great sentient beings.

  70. I’ll tell you one thing. I would NEVER, EVER consider vacationing in MT after reading about your new horsekilling law. I wouldn’t even want a layover at one of your airports.

    Big Sky country is now Horse Death for profit country. How dare you?

    Killing horses for meat is not the answer to more jobs or new industries. These kind and gentle animals are led to the slaughter by people–and they trust people because they are intelligent and have been trained to expect to be cared for.

    Say goodbye to your tourism industry! Your state disgusts me.

  71. This is the answer “Simple Solution”. People who think like this should be on government committees to stop animal abuse, but as he eluded, not involved with a society. However, “simple solutions “although costly to some at start up – long term is the exact answer for animal overpopulation. If the unwanted animals do not exist, no abuse. Greed is the underlying cause for horse slaughter and the majority of animal abuse. Who is getting rich off this massacre? Will the US promote any kind of business just to secure a profit for some?
    Then woe unto us-what is the next money making scheme? It scares me to even try to imagine. Animals then people.
    Stop the slaughter-then revisit

  72. And your shallow short sighted attempt at ego gratification disgusts me. So I guess we’re even.

    I’m just as happy that one more insular, finger-shaking, self obsessed, narcissist won’t be showing up here on vacation either. Go hit a California beach and we’ll all be happier.

    Point of note, one small minded person, or one small minded minority group of people will not put a dent in our tourism industry. I think it is indicative of your overly high opinion of yourself and your ‘moral’ platform that you seem to think that it would.

  73. Its not only about new jobs or more money, its about thousands of horses being unwanted and uncared for.There are so many horses,people can’t or won’t care for them any more,so their starving and dying of diseases because people can’t feed or vaccinate them.So ask yourself this is it humane to let them starve or suffer from diseases or a quick death so they don’t suffer?

  74. If you are as young as you sound, I guess you can possibly be excused for your ignorance about horse slaughter. However, ignorance is no excuse, and there is no excuse for such ignorance. The absence of slaughter is NOT the reason for abused, abandoned horses. If you don’t believe me, check this link Or go to my blog and search horse slaughter. Be prepared – it’s ugly.

  75. Where does narcissism come into play concerning horse slaughter? Personally, I don’t know why anyone would want to go to Montana anyway, but, that nonwithstanding, it is not a small minoritory in this country that is oppposed to horse slaughter, it is the majority. Sorry, but Americans don’t eat horses, and if other countries want to, let them eat their own. An afterthought-I sincerly hpoe YOU are never near a horse, you obviously have a blatent disregard, and disrespect, for one of the most amazing creatures on this very small world we live on.

  76. I wholeheartedly agree.I propose a fee of $200 for every horse owned. This would pay for euthanasia in the event you cannot, or no longer wish to, care for your horse, or horses. There, problem solved. If you can’t come up with the $200, you don’t need to own a horse, end of story.

  77. I think any body supporting slaughter houses is ignorant, cruel and cowardly and we should send them to slaughter.

  78. Violent slaughter should never be an alternative to rescue, adoption or humane euthanasia.
    Only the cowardly, ignorant, greedy and evil would support horse slaughter. Its a national disgrace that will be stopped and our majestic, noble and beloved horses will all be protected from the sleazy cowardly horse murderers.

  79. Anne, every animal is amazing in its own way. Humans are ridiculous the way they discriminate between animals. i.e. cats & dogs and horses are our ‘companions’ & ‘helpers’, and cows, pigs, lambs, etc. are for eating. It is hypocrisy when people who eat meat are horrified when cats, dogs & horses are mistreated. This is a great example of how full of BS humans are. Slitting the throat of a cow is just as wrong and sad as doing so to a dog, cat or horse. We don’t eat cats & dogs, and that has freed us up to befriend them, to realise how wonderful they are. We refuse to get to know cows & other animals destined for the slaughter house, we don’t want to connect with them, to realise how amazing they are, because our greed for their flesh is so great. But we are killings millions of these wonderful creature every day. We treat them not as living creatures with feelings & a desire to live, but as products to use. We tear child from mother, not caring that these are animals that suffer greatly from this. Even though we are parents too and would be devatated to lose our child in the same way, we cannot make the connection and feel empathy for them, have pity on them, spare them. We create a living hell for them.

    I personally don’t eat meat, because I am not selfish enough to cause suffering & take lives just to satisfy my taste spuds. We can survive very well without taking life, in fact it’s well documented we can live longer & healthier. These days eating meat is inexcusable. Its unethical and immoral. Strange that so many Christians (& supposed spititual people) eat meat when it clearly says in the bible ‘Thou shalt not kill’ – it doesn’t say ‘thou shalt not kill humans’ but of course humans twist everything to suit themselves. All those eating meat will feel the consequences on judgement day.

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