In 2011, the Federal Agriculture Appropriations bill passed for the first time in five years without language that protected the United States from having horse slaughterhouses - by providing funding for the inspection of horse slaughter plants. With this funding provision, horse slaughter for human consumption may begin again in the United States. Already, thousands of American-bred horses are sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter for human consumption. If horse slaughter isn't prohibited outright, these inhumane practices may continue and may just start up in our own backyards.
Many myths abound about horse slaughter. Despite 80% of Americans opposing such a violent, inhumane practice, there are those out there still trying to convince us that it's okay. It's not. Some people say that having horse slaughterhouses in the United States will be a much more humane way of killing horses than sending them across the border. No matter where horse slaughter takes place, it is not humane nor should it be considered a form of euthanasia. These slaughterhouses are cruel, violent facilities. Many horses live their last terrifying minutes with horrific injuries and several are still alive as they are being dismembered.
The Pro Slaughter folks are trying to convince us that banning horse slaughter will result in more unwanted, abused, and neglected horses. Again - this is not true and there is NO evidence to back this statement.. Many states that banned horse slaughter actually showed a decrease in horse neglect. And an overwhelming majority of the horses sent to slaughter (92%) are healthy animals that could live long, productive lives. Instead of shipping them off to slaughter, these animals would have a good chance at life by being taken in by adoption or horse sanctuaries.
Despite what some want us to believe, the ban on horse slaughter for human consumption will not limit the rights of responsible horse owners in the least. Where some opponents to a ban on horse slaughter want to cry out saying that horse owners should be able to do whatever they want with their property, horse slaughter is animal cruelty and the last time we checked, that was still illegal. There is nothing in a horse slaughterhouse that is humane. Again, if an owner can no longer care for their horse, they should provide humane euthanasia or consider adoption. Slaughter should not be an option.
Even after these myths are exposed, there are still plenty of reasons why horse slaughter for human consumption should be prohibited. Horses are an American cultural icon. Americans do not eat horsemeat. Allowing horse slaughter plants to operate in the United States and/or shipping our beloved companions across the border to be slaughtered for human consumption does NOT benefit our country in any way. The profits pour into foreign-owned companies. Further, the FDA has banned many drugs given to American horses from animals that will be eventually consumed by humans. We cannot ensure that horses sent to slaughter are rife with chemicals that are dangerous to humans, no matter where they live.
THLN, along with the ASPCA, the Humane Society of the United States, the Animal Welfare Institute, and many concerned Texans testified in front of the state Senate Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee during a hearing earlier this week in Austin where horse slaughter was discussed. Hopefully we convinced Committee Chairman Craig Estes of all of the negatives of horse slaughter. This practice is inhumane. Our horses shouldn't be killed for human consumption here or anywhere. Are you convinced? Now convince your legislators. Don't know who they are? You can find your legislators here.