Unlike the UK, there aren’t currently any slaughterhouses in the United States, but yet horse slaughter is still legal, and several states like Oklahoma and New Mexico are actively pursuing permits through the USDA to construct and open slaughterhouses.
Horse Slaughter in the United States
In 2011, the Obama Administration lifted a USDA funding ban on equine slaughterhouse inspections. Horse slaughter, itself, has not been banned at a federal level, despite the efforts of many good people and organizations, however, there are unconfirmed reports that the Obama Administration now wants to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter. A federal ban must be the happy ending to this story, but more on that later.
Oklahoma passed a state ban on horse slaughter in 1963 and is now seeking to revoke that ban. Two bills passed the Oklahoma state legislature and are awaiting the Governor’s signature. Governor Mary Fallin is being lobbied to veto this legislation. Stay tuned…
Senate Bill 375, which was passed by a vote of 38-6 with no debate, would revoke the ban on the sale of horsemeat in the state. House Bill 1999, which was passed by a vote of 82-14, would allow horses to be slaughtered in Oklahoma, but only for international export.
Rep. Skye McNiel (R-Bristow) introduced the House bill, saying it was a humane alternative to abuse, starvation and abandonment of horses. But let’s take a closer look at McNiel’s real reasons. McNiel’s family has a financial interest in a livestock auction house, making this a special interest operating at its finest. It seems to us that McNiel is not in this for the best interests of horses as she says, but the best interests of herself, which raises questions of ethical misconduct to us!
New Mexico Legislation
In New Mexico, there are conflicting reports about the USDA granting inspections to the Valley Meat Company in Roswell for the slaughter of horses. The Governor of New Mexico, Susana Martinez, is on record as publicly opposed to bringing horse slaughter to her state. This story is evolving every day. Please keep writing to her, the New Mexico state legislature and the USDA to express your feelings. Together we can stop the slaughter!
Proponents of Horse Slaughter
Proponents of horse slaughter say that it will help those who can no longer afford to keep their horses and will prevent and reduce starvation, abandonment, and abuse of horses. They will tell you that slaughter is needed because this is already happening to so many horses.
We also have “Slaughterhouse Sue” Wallis and the Agricultural Resource Center who believe there would be an appetite for horsemeat. We’ll say it again. Put aside for the moment the morally-abhorrent act of slaughtering horses, horsemeat IS NOT SAFE for human consumption. Equines must be removed from the food chain!
Horse Slaughter is NOT Humane
Despite those we name and shame above, we are thankful for the many good people like Rep. David Dank (R-Oklahoma City), a former racehorse owner who opposes the bill and who says he “would have shot anyone who suggested slaughtering one of his animals.”
The term “humane slaughter” is an oxymoron! There is nothing humane about horse slaughter. Horses sent to slaughter suffer extreme terror and pain before meeting a grotesque end. As a last resort, a responsible horse owner will ALWAYS choose humane euthanasia rather than slaughter.
If this isn’t reason enough to oppose horse slaughter, consider the following that also occur when slaughterhouses are opened:
- Increase in crime rate
- Decrease in property values
- Underpaid workers, along with unsafe working conditions
And let’s not forget the blood of horses flowing through the city sewer system and backing up into people’s homes in Kaufman, Texas prior to the slaughterhouse being closed there.
Public Opinion is Against Horse Slaughter
Eighty percent, or four out of five, Americans are opposed to horse slaughter. As of late last week, a poll on Kfor.com in light of the Oklahoma bills showed 82% of voters do not think horses should be slaughtered for meat.
The only way to stop horsemeat from entering the food chain and to prevent further inhumane treatment of horses is to enact a federal ban on horse slaughter. It’s time to make our collective voices heard.
We believe this could be the year. We are optimistic and engaged in the debate, but we need you to make your voice heard too!