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Why no horse slaughter?

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  • Why no horse slaughter?

    Let me preface this by saying I am an avid horse lover and rider. I am only posing this question for a paper I need to write for a meat production and eval. class (pigs, cattle, ect).

    So, why is there such opposition to horse slaughter in the United States? Is it only because horses are considered companion animals in the U.S., much like the dog and cat?

    Is the opposition to slaughter simply the less than humane ways (an understatement in certain circumstances) in which it is done?

    There is an excess of horses in comparision to people that have the ability/desire to own them, especially those that can only be pasture ornaments. So the answer of just sell them or give them all a home is fairly unrealistic.

    What are your thoughts?

    (And "simply because it's wrong" is really not what I'm looking for...WHY do you believe it's wrong?)
    WHY am I such a sucker for cute ponies??!!!

  • #2
    There is nothing in this argument that can't be boiled down to "It's icky and I don't like it -- MAKE IT STOP!!".

    And the US of A is fat enough and rich enough that we can afford (at least for the time being) to entertain silly notions such as that. If we get poor and hungry, we might be rethinking that notion...

    Comment


    • #3
      The way you are posing those questions may seem a little one sided, so you may get some one sided answers.

      If you do a search you will find way more information in past debates than anyone can possibly explain here in a few posts.

      Here is one thread touching on that and other related, interesting questions:

      http://www.chronicleforums.com/Forum...ad.php?t=81792

      Comment


      • #4
        I am not against horse slaughter; I am against the sometimes inhumane methods used to put the horses down. I know that I am probably gonna get fussed at or scolded for this, but I think it needs to be said.

        With the hay situation being what it is, and the economy being bad, more people are finding it harder to feed their horses and take proper care of them. I would much rather a horse be put down humanely than have him or her sit in a barn or pasture and slowly suffer and starve to death.

        Notice I said HUMANELY in the above paragraph! The methods used currently are not always quick, clean, and painless for the horse involved. They do need to be. I'd rather none of us ever had to send a horse to slaughter, but it should still be a viable option with the proper regulation and periodic inspections.

        ***Flame suit on and Mountain Dew at the ready***
        Devil Pup 13 May 2010
        Veni, vidi, nates calce concidi
        Molly~4yo Blue Heeler & Dakota Nov 09 Baby Heeler

        Comment


        • #5
          My main beef with horse slaughter is that because of the small number of plants and their location, the system fosters a lot of shuffling horses around- from sale to sale and finally on very long trips to the slaughterhouse. Of course, that's worse now because the US plants have been closed.

          I've always thought it would be better if there were more local, smaller, slaughterhouses, so horses wouldn't have to be shuffled around so much and shipped so long, and even so owners could bring horses directly and have some control over the process.

          I don't think the basic method is any more inhumane for horses than other animals, and I don't think horses are really inherently better/different from other livestock animals, having known my fair share of cattle (all quite capable of being friendly and developing pet relationships with people)
          "smile a lot can let us ride happy,it is good thing"

          My CANTER blog.

          Comment


          • #6
            Caffeinted, why couldn't we suggest that to our state legislatures? I for one had never thought about owner-controlled slaughter.
            Devil Pup 13 May 2010
            Veni, vidi, nates calce concidi
            Molly~4yo Blue Heeler & Dakota Nov 09 Baby Heeler

            Comment


            • #7
              I am opposed to killing PET horses. Just the same as I would be horrified to hear that someones pet cow, sheep, pig, etc was killed. I know it happens everyday and it still upsets me. Seeing horses that are RAISED for slaughter being killed doesn't really bother me that much. No more than seeing a truckload of steers going. Sucks, but it has to be done.

              When a PET is slaughtered I feel like they are being betrayed. Like all that trust was for nothing. I can't really explain it better than that. A pet horse to me is the same as a pet dog, cat, etc. They trust humans and at the very last instant don't understand why someone is hurting them. A horse raise for slaughter is 99% of the time just as wild and unhandled as any steer. They don't know any different. They don't feel betrayed at the last moment.

              I know I am probably giving horses more thoughts and feeling in my head than they really have, but that's how I feel about it.

              I am Canadian and in the long run I am okay with the fact that we still slaughter horses. I DO think it's a necessary evil. I have been talking to local rescues, etc. and there are plans in the works for how we can keep pet horses from being slaughtered. It will start with tagging...like cattle. Me and many others think that horse slaughter needs to be regulated just like cattle. What happens if we have another disease outbreak (mad cow anyone?). How would we track it? Horses and cattle are killed in the same plant. Are we going to know if it came from the horses? Or the cows? I know that horses don't get 'mad cow', but it started somewhere and who knows what other diseases are out there?

              Also..what kind of drugs are horses filled with before slaughter? How many say "Do not give to animals intended for slaughter"? Those horses should never be eaten! People could get sick!! There is a way to play this game so that pet horses are not slaughtered by acting concerned about cattle producers, the slaughter industry, meat packers and consumers!
              It really could work!
              My horses past and present....
              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMOjxvLMJo

              Comment


              • #8
                Someone wants to hire a local butcher to shoot their horse (hopefully just once!) and eat him, that is fine with me. "I" wouldn't eat meat filled with the stuff we put in horses but that's a personal decision! 8-D I have no problem with people eating horse if they are handled humanely.

                However that is the problem. The slaughter industry in this country has shown (forever) that they have no interest in treating the animals humanely at all. In any way at any point. And nobody in law enforcement or the government branch that was supposed to enforce it is interested in doing so (for a variety of good and bad reasons).

                Slaughter also gives the irresponsible breeders and owners an easy out to dump horses and get money for them regardless of their ability to travel. It encourages horse theft both because of the ability to get rid of the evidence quickly and the refusal of the plants to check for stolen animals, brands and esp. microchips. Even though they are supposed to scan every horse first.

                You can find a TON of information on the web right down to the videos. Google is your friend in this case.
                Every mighty oak was once a nut that stood its ground.

                Proud Closet Canterer! Member Riders with Fibromyalgia clique.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I don't think we should slaughter horses because the conditions of the slaughter houses are horrendous and the horses shouldn't have to be tortured because some idiot bred them to be the victims of genetics that most (not all) horses in the slaughter houses are. The ones that aren't victims of genetics are horses who are paying for their owners lack of care for them.

                  I don't think there is anything wrong with eating meat but I choose to be a vegan because I don't like the way we GET the meat from the animals. It's one thing to as quickly as you can kill an animal that you NEED the meat, but it's another thing to now in the year 2008 eat a cow or horse that was most likely tortured it's entire life when we now have tons of things to eat that can keep you healthier and just as fit without torturing those animals.

                  People sicken me sometimes.

                  At least in Europe (this is just what I've heard on fugly correct me if this isn't true) you can just take an unwanted horse to a butcher shop and have someone put a bullet in it's head. The horse dies instantly with no suffering that way.

                  That is all I am going to say =D

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I tend to put all animals on the same level - I don't hold dogs, cats and horses above cattle, pigs, and chickens, for instance. I've considered the argument that slaughtering a pet is worse than a farm animal, but I don't think it is. All of these animals have a desire to live and show complex emotion, including love - if not for people than for other animals.

                    If you agree with this position, I think there are two options - accept all slaughter (as long as it is humane), or reject all slaughter. I've wavered on both positions, but eventually chose the later for my personal life. I am continuing to work on what that means (i.e. it's really difficult to eliminate all animal products from one's life, but that is the ideal I am working towards). So yes, I'm against horse slaughter, but no more or less than other animal slaughter.
                    "The best horse doesn't always when the race."

                    Coax Me Mermaid, 2002 OTTB Mare
                    22 starts, no wins, no places

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Twix04
                      Let me preface this by saying I am an avid horse lover and rider. I am only posing this question for a paper I need to write for a meat production and eval. class (pigs, cattle, ect).
                      I think everyone should approach the discussion from this standpoint. However, many do not.

                      Originally posted by Twix04
                      So, why is there such opposition to horse slaughter in the United States? Is it only because horses are considered companion animals in the U.S., much like the dog and cat?
                      I believe the opposition does hold this in their heart. Nothing wrong it, I have a friend that will not eat shark because he believes that deeply in shark conservation. Furthermore, I understand his argument much better than the horse slaughter one.

                      FWIW, I have pet chickens. And I eat chicken. I also eat beef, pork, lamb, and fish (I know some try to say that isn't meat ). I'm sure I left out many other meats that I eat.

                      That said, my horse is to die with me, not at a slaughter house. Why? Because I owe him a death with me standing there. I don't want him frightened. My horse is lucky, he someone's pet. Cows in general aren't so lucky.

                      Originally posted by Twix04
                      Is the opposition to slaughter simply the less than humane ways (an understatement in certain circumstances) in which it is done?
                      I doubt it. I think the horse being a companion animal is the reason.

                      Originally posted by Twix04
                      There is an excess of horses in comparision to people that have the ability/desire to own them, especially those that can only be pasture ornaments. So the answer of just sell them or give them all a home is fairly unrealistic.
                      There is an excess it seems. Yes, well bred horses are still selling. Lower dollar horses seemed to have dropped in value. It is a problem. The rescues are full. People's hands are full trying to feed their own, much less donate to these rescues. I'm not saying the rescues need to go ahead and either sell animals to slaughter nor just euth the animals...I'm saying that there is a noticable problem. It also seemed to start with eliminating horse slaughter in the US. Now only the healthy ones can make the LONG trip (LONG trip being LONGER than before. I'm sure the horses are thankful ).

                      FTR I'm NOT discrediting rescues. I'm discrediting the idiots that said horses wouldn't leave the US because of the possibility of horse meat rising on the consumers overseas. Gas raised in price, we paid it. Grain has now raised in price...I wonder if people learned their lesson yet? *My* question is how much longer should the horses suffer because of the tree-hugging ignorance?
                      RIP Bo, the real Appassionato
                      5/5/84-7/12/08

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I am an animal lover to the core. I eat meat. I have tried a vegetarian diet, and my physiological make does not allow it.

                        I strongly believe that all animals are created equal. We have chosen our animals as pets. We have chosen which animals are for meat. Look at other countries. It really doesn't even matter what animal we are talking about. Some one some where eats what we declare as pets. We chose not to eat horse because of our emotional attachment to it. Example, In India, they consider cows to be sacred. We consider cow to be DELICIOUS! Just different perception.

                        I believe every animal deserves the highest quality of life with a humane death when needed. (I wish we could do it to humans whne needed also.) I am not opposed to horse slaughter. I am opposed to long transports, inhumane conditions, and slow death.

                        I have 4 horses I love dearly. I will not let them suffer. I will honor them with a dignified death. I have asked my husband if something were to happen to me to either euthanize my horse or release him to a wild horse sanctuary out in Colorado. I do not want my Gelding to ever be handled by some one else. I do not want him to sit in a field the rest of his days if I am not around. My gelding is that unique. I think he would kill someone.

                        If my husband and I cannot keep all of our horses we will either euthanize them or place them very carefully. I would almost prefer to have them slaughtered. I know some of you will rip me a new one for saying this. I do not want their meat to go to waste. I would rather that they go to feed the hungry or feed lions in a zoo somewhere. It is our wishes. It is what we feel.

                        There are too many horses and not enough homes. 3 of our horses are rescues. We will not breed. Too many good horses out there. I would have for someone to have to take our burden if we cannot maintain it.
                        Life is too short to argue with a mare! Just don't engage! It is much easier that way!

                        Have fun, be safe, and let the mare think it is her idea!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by mustangtrailrider View Post
                          I am an animal lover to the core. I eat meat. I have tried a vegetarian diet, and my physiological make does not allow it.

                          I strongly believe that all animals are created equal. We have chosen our animals as pets. We have chosen which animals are for meat. Look at other countries. It really doesn't even matter what animal we are talking about. Some one some where eats what we declare as pets. We chose not to eat horse because of our emotional attachment to it. Example, In India, they consider cows to be sacred. We consider cow to be DELICIOUS! Just different perception.

                          I believe every animal deserves the highest quality of life with a humane death when needed. (I wish we could do it to humans whne needed also.) I am not opposed to horse slaughter. I am opposed to long transports, inhumane conditions, and slow death.

                          I have 4 horses I love dearly. I will not let them suffer. I will honor them with a dignified death. I have asked my husband if something were to happen to me to either euthanize my horse or release him to a wild horse sanctuary out in Colorado. I do not want my Gelding to ever be handled by some one else. I do not want him to sit in a field the rest of his days if I am not around. My gelding is that unique. I think he would kill someone.

                          If my husband and I cannot keep all of our horses we will either euthanize them or place them very carefully. I would almost prefer to have them slaughtered. I know some of you will rip me a new one for saying this. I do not want their meat to go to waste. I would rather that they go to feed the hungry or feed lions in a zoo somewhere. It is our wishes. It is what we feel.

                          There are too many horses and not enough homes. 3 of our horses are rescues. We will not breed. Too many good horses out there. I would have for someone to have to take our burden if we cannot maintain it.

                          I also wish we could euthanize humans that choose it. My Grandmother wanted to die so badly that she stopped eating and just slowly starved to death. Her death was slow and painful!! There was no reason for it. She should have been allowed to die when she wanted to painlessly.

                          I have a gelding similar to yours I think. He is special and there is only one other person in the world I would trust with him. If that person can't take him he is to be put down.

                          I certainly wont rip you a new one for wishing that the meat didn't go to waste. I can totally understand that viewpoint although it's one I wouldn't choose. When I lived on a ranch the dead cattle were just hauled into the bone yard for the coyotes to eat. I just COULDN'T do that with a horse. Thank goodness I never had one die on me there because I would have been insisting on renting a backhoe.

                          I personally want my horses buried nearby so I can visit the grave. Call me sentimental, but it's what I would do. I hate to even think of it though.
                          My horses past and present....
                          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgMOjxvLMJo

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Slaughter is not a substitute for euthanasia. Call the vet, call the huntsman, or call the zoo. When you are too cheap or too squeamish to deal with doing the right thing, the horse suffers.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Unfortunately the horses going to slaughter don't have owners that care about them enough to do those things, and there will always be those kinds of owners (whether it's the BYB, ranchers, etc).

                              There has to be somewhere for all of them to go, and unless people can answer that dilemma, there will be horse slaughter.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                choo diddlely choo!

                                Do a google sarch honey. Go to the library. Conduct some interviews that you can actually reference with a bit more credibility than this forum. There have been oh, about a thousand threads on this topic in the past 12 months here... Search is your friend.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  I quite like that last post.

                                  I have to disagree about any suggestion that inhumane practices are some sort of exception to a rule, based on just six months' worth of personal and other local observation. And this is not specifically about practice in horse slaughter, but in livestock slaughter and livestock welfare more generally. So imagine if you will, the possible generalizations that might be possible.

                                  1. Last month, a livestock slaughter plant in Chino, CA, was exposed for inhumane practices. People screamed about the likelihood of this being some sort of exception, of animal rights activists "planting evidence". I live less than 20 minutes from Chino. Here are my personal observations since Oct 6 2007.

                                  2. Oct 6 - I saw a downed calf in a pen at a livestock auction. A HORSE livestock auction. In Chino. Less than one mile from the slaughter house that has recently been the subject of controversy. The calf was alone in a pen during the sale. The next morning, the horses "left over" for pick up after the auction were mixed in that pen with the calf. I called it in to the local humane office. I don't know if they responded.

                                  3. On a visit to my local "horse dealer" (I use that term very loosely) in February, less than one mile from the Chino slaughter house recently in the news, a friend of mine observed a dead cow in a pen with some of the horses.

                                  4. Yesterday, on a visit to my local "horse dealer" to check on a horse a friend of mine is buying from him, I observed a dead calf on the public roadside, less than 1.5 miles from the same Chino slaughterhouse. It had been hit by a car. Escaped, I guess, due to poor fencing? Maybe this is common. Others will tell me. I called the local humane office. Dead calf on side of road...

                                  I finally "googled" Euclid Stockyards, Chino (actually the home of the horse and one local livestock auction in the same "city"); check it out. Want "google" to be your friend? Yes - as pointed out above - an AR site. AWI. A downed cow incident at Euclid Stockyards.

                                  Chino is a small city in southern CA, with (according to the media) the largest concentration of dairy cattle of anywhere in the country (can anyone confirm that?). One small city, heavily agricultural, less than six months' worth of observations and personal experience from one individual.

                                  Can this be exceptional? At least, for me, one has to question humane practice in large animal industry - in one small city, in southern california.

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Blueshadow, I don't know where you are going with your stories of dead cattle?

                                    There are human kids dying every day at birth, later from diseases and injuries.
                                    People are killed every day in accidents, many in vehicles.

                                    We need to remember, even if we don't like to think about it, that everything born will die, sooner or later and in one way or another.
                                    Death happens in many places and most people try their very best to take care of their animals.
                                    In rural areas, when cattle die, they are pulled to the edge of the road so the rendering truck may come pick them up.

                                    You say some abuse their animals, well, that is PEOPLE that do that, not whole industries, just as some abuse their human kids, spouses and elders.
                                    Those are the PEOPLE we need to fight, not ban what we do because some may conduct themselves in that activity in an abusive manner.

                                    The old trite we don't need to ban alcohol or cars, so no one can drive drunk and kill others.
                                    Last edited by Bluey; Mar. 6, 2008, 09:53 AM.

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      I am forever amazed at the people who state that they support slaughtering horses but that could not imagine sending their own beloved horses to that fate. It just strikes me as hypocritical to say it's OK for someone else's horses but not your own. I applaud Granada for her post...even though I have a different belief than she.

                                      I am rapidly approaching the decision of becoming a vegetarian also. I cannot reconcile the idea that I would support the inhumane farming practices of factory farms in any way with my purchases. I can buy humane certified meats, eggs, and cheeses and perhaps that is what I'll end up doing instead...but I like to think animals of all species deserve to be treated better than plants...and honestly I think plants at least get to sit in the sun in their lives unlike many factory farmed animals.

                                      I did grow up on a farm where we raised our own hogs, steers and chickens and they lived as naturally as we could manage in outside pens/pastures in a way consistent with their nature. I participated in butchering those animals and I agree that killing an animal to eat it is not inherently inhumane if care is taken to do it humanely and with low stress and fear for the animal. What I do find inhumane are the methods those animals are raised and the ways that they are mass processed in assembly lines. Yes, they all do feel fear and pain and affection. They are capable of the same emotions we are.

                                      To say the least, I don't approve of horse slaughter nor do I believe stopping it will have much impact in our industry. It is a drop in the bucket (less than 1%) of our horses that are slaughtered and if anything, I believe stopping it might actually improve the lot of horses in the US in the long run by discouraging overbreeding once the easy out is gone. I sure don't believe in the "sky is falling" propaganda of the pro side as a argument to continue it. I would like to hope that a victory for horses might have an effect of pushing through improvements in farming methods for all animals also...and I thing that is what the meat industry fears the most...having to spend money to make things better for the animals as it will cut into their profits. Too bad.

                                      From Ghandi and it sums up my feelings...

                                      The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        ---"I did grow up on a farm where we raised our own hogs, steers and chickens and they lived as naturally as we could manage in outside pens/pastures in a way consistent with their nature."---

                                        Well, you don't like the way we raise and manage animals today?
                                        Do you like the way we raise humans today and how they live?
                                        Are you raising your kids on a farm or in the city?
                                        Do you let your kids "run free" or are they, like most kids today, being hauled around all day here and there to school and activities, most of them not really that you could consider part of basic "human nature"?

                                        From the moment we bred and make ANY use of our animals, we are already interfering with their "nature", even with our horses, that you surely are or did make some use of, if you are posting on COTH?

                                        These statements you make reminds me, as an example, of the people that want sows have freedom, then wonder why they have so many sow injuries and lose so many piglets.

                                        There are reasons why sows are kept in cages at certain times and it is not to be abusive to them, but to preserve the lives of those piglets.

                                        Of course, we can, as the animal rights people remind us, just not have pigs at all for our use.
                                        Then we would not need to keep sows in crates, if humans don't want to have pork to eat, in the amounts we have.

                                        The same applies to horses or any other domesticated animal, that we take out of their natural environment to make use of them.

                                        Those are questions that every one of us have to decide for themselves.
                                        I did struggle with them when I was very young, then decided that no, sad as it is for the animals that we use them at all, the advantages for all, including the animals, in general, are too great to quit doing so in the name of some utopian world, where the lion lays with the lamb, without the lamb becoming dinner.
                                        Reality won.

                                        Now, as always, we need to make a disclaimer that USE should never become ABUSE, that is abhorrent.

                                        Comment

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