U.S. Horse Slaughter Rears its Ugly HeadPosted by Chris Green, ALDF's Legislative Affairs Director on June 28, 2013
It is with great disappointment we learned today that the USDA has issued a permit for a Horse Slaughter plant to open in Roswell, New Mexico––with permits for two more plants in Missouri & Iowa apparently to follow next week.
This would be the first time the abhorrent practice has occurred on U.S. soil since 2007. That was when myself and other animal advocates helped shut down the sole remaining U.S. horse slaughter plant in my home state of Illinois by getting the governor to sign legislation banning the procedure, then successfully defending the law against legal challenges from industry.
Given the horror stories of horses arriving at slaughterhouses with multiple broken limbs and eyes popped out of their sockets, then being subjected to repeated whipping & electric prodding, the U.S. Congress acted swiftly to ban any funding to inspect horse slaughterhouses, effectively ending the brutal practice nationwide. An undercover video report by the CBC exposes similar inhumane treatment currently occurring at horse slaughterhouses in Canada, as determined by expert Temple Grandin.
Today’s decision by the USDA is mind-boggling given that both the U.S. House & Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committees recently approved amendments to renew the ban on inspection funding just last week! However, since those bills won’t be voted on until later in July the USDA evidently thinks it makes sense to allow these three horse slaughterhouses to hire workers and begin operating, only to shut them all down again next month.
While there is no market for horsemeat in the U.S., the meat from North American horse slaughterhouses is shipped overseas, primarily to France, Belgium & Japan. As you may recall, earlier this year Europe erupted in scandal as DNA testing determined horsemeat had been mixed in with beef and sold throughout the EU––including at Taco Bell, hospitals & the British public school lunch system. Due to various performance enhancing drugs given to many horses, this poses a very serious health risk and reveals a deeply troubling breakdown of inspection mechanisms.
Now it is more important than ever to urge your members of congress to pass the Safeguard American Foods Export (SAFE) Act S. 541 and H.R. 1094. This bill would ban the domestic slaughter of horses and prohibit exporting horses for slaughter abroad––including at the Canadian plants in the expose above, and in even worse conditions at slaughterhouses in Mexico. The threat of this atrocity resuming in America is no longer theoretical, it is happening now.
In the meantime, the Animal Legal Defense Fund & other animal advocacy groups will do everything we can to keep these three plants from becoming operational. Your help is invaluable.