Thursday, July 3, 2008

Horse Meat and Horse Manure

Thank you, Vicki and John Holland for your replies to Dr Williams’ editorial on the increasing dangers of Animal Rights Activism to the Canadian Livestock Industry. You helped prove his point. Allow me my comments and we’ll close the subject on the blog site.

First let me say, I like cattle and steak but am not at all fond of the process that turns one into the other. However killing animals for food is one of the necessary evils which humankind must deal with until such time as the “lion lies down with the lamb”. I also believe that humankind has been given dominion over all the earth, which gives us substantial responsibility towards all creatures. If we are all equally animals then we have no more care about the well being of our “prey” than a wolf for the deer population.

Vegetarianism is not the answer as it does not take into account what to do with the millions and millions of agricultural animals already here. If we part company with them, so to speak, what then do we owe them? Do we just let them starve? Engage in mass slaughter until they are extinct so they no longer "suffer" at our hands?

Agricultural animals make the supreme sacrifice for humankind and should be treated with dignity and respect, and protected from unnecessary pain and fear, in other words, humanely, from birth through to slaughter. Dr Temple Grandin, the world’s leading designer of livestock handling facilities, has devoted her professional life to improving the welfare of animals. The following are quotes from her website:
· I feel very strongly that we owe agricultural animals a decent life and I will be the first to admit that some agricultural practices need to be changed.
The single most important factor which affects animal welfare is the attitude of management. Places that have good animal welfare have a manager who cares about welfare. Places where animal welfare is poor often have a manager who does not care.
To maintain a high standard of welfare during handling and slaughter management, personnel in the abattoir must be attentive to details of the procedure and supervise and train employees. For good animal welfare, a plant must be equipped with well designed stunning and handling equipment which is kept well maintained by trained, conscientious employees.

This brings us to the slaughter of horses for food. There is a great deal of emotional baggage attached to horses since they are viewed as pets by people who “learned about animals from Walt Disney”. No, we don’t need to slaughter horses for food. When they reach the end of their useful life they can be euthanized as we do for dogs and cats and buried deep. Either way they are still dead.

Vicki, you say you are an equine welfare advocate. If that were the case you would have been working to improve the handling of horses at the plants, not campaigning to ban the slaughter of horses for food. Sorry, no, both you and John Holland are into animal rights not animal welfare. You complain the plant at DeKalb fought the law to the Supreme Court, (which is its right and duty to fight stupid laws) and cost you “hard earned tax dollars”. Obviously you don’t mind other people’s hard earned tax dollars going to feed some 20,000 wild horses that are surplus to available BLM grazing land and which cannot be sold for slaughter, or which will be needed to look after horses that used to be slaughtered every year but now have nowhere to go.

John Holland, you claim you work for nothing and feed yourself. Noble of you. I assume Americans Against Horse Slaughter don’t pay you to be their senior analyst? You would have us believe the entire movement was spontaneous and voluntary? And lobbying Congress is free? How gullible do you think we are? All the arguments you and Vicki raise in your comments to Dr Williams have nothing to do with horse slaughter. Tax evasion and pollution are mentioned, improper animal handling is implied. If those are your true concerns, are you suggesting if the horse slaughter plants cleaned up their acts, you would then lobby to repeal the ban? Right.

Dr. Williams can have the last word: The issue John Holland describes is a problem with enforcing the rules on humane handling and tax evasion, which I fully support. What is of concern to me is that horse slaughter is eliminated in the US and possibly in Canada as well, which was/is wrong headed. I doubt the plea of no money involved because one doesn't have a Congressional lobby carried out for peanuts.


  1. Dominion over the earth? Oh. My. God. Give me a break! Who spouts out that Biblical crap anymore?

    Well, on the other hand, maybe you are right. It's because we have "dominion over the earth" that we are gassing our planet and everything on it. I'm sure God's really pleased with what we've done to his work.

    John Holland happens to have dedicated years of his life to this issue and knows more about it in his little finger than you can hope to glean.

    Please. Go ahead with your "dominion" theory. You're really on the right track with that.

    Elizabeth Thompson

  2. I am not advocating for animal rights. Animals will never have rights. I am advocating to end an industry that is not needed or wanted in the US. That isn’t animal rights, it’s animal welfare. Two states have already tried to bring back slaughter and both were shot down before the ink was dry. Horses are not food animals in the US. If the Europeans want to eat horse meat, they can slaughter their own horses. Why should we supply our horses? They won’t take our beef and that is a regulated industry in this country. Why should I advocate for better handling of animal that is not a food animal and being slaughtered as a food animal? That would be no different than advocating for China to slaughter our dogs and cats to meet the demand in their country.

    If you want horses treated like livestock and slaughtered for food, are you prepared for the consequences that come with the required regulations? Horse slaughter was not regulated and the meager and ambiguous regs were never followed. The 1958 Humane Slaughter act states that an animal must be rendered senseless with one blow. That is not possible with horses so by virtue of the act, horse slaughter is illegal. The USDA ignored that rule. All livestock require health papers and chain of ownership. Horse slaughter did not. Horses are given medication that is necessary to maintain their health that is clearly labeled not for food animals. Livestock are prohibited from receiving those drugs. Are you prepared to shut down the racing industry when their horses can no longer receive necessary drugs? The mounted police require healthy horses so horses will no longer be used for law enforcement. What about all the other service sectors? Horses are used to help our returning soldiers with head injuries regain their balance. Horses are used for hyppotherapy and have recently made breakthroughs with the autistic. What about performing horses? All of that comes with regulated livestock slaughter and would apply to horses, just like cows. Or did you think that horse slaughter should continue without any of the regulations required for livestock?

    The pro slaughter advocates claim there is no difference between cows and horses so go for it. Call your legislators and urge them to reopen the kill houses. Tell them you want horses treated just like cows. Tell them that we don’t need the Kentucky Derby that you’d rather the horses be slaughtered to feed Europeans. You may be on to something. If this should happen, just think, the mounted police can start using cows. Perhaps cows can start running in the Derby. Oh, and just think how lovely it will be to see a cow performing dressage. Perhaps they’ll let you choose the musical accompaniment.

    BTW-the horses were on the land long before the BLM took over. The only reason they want the horses off the land is so the cattle can graze. If you get your wish and horses become livestock, I’m sure the BLM issue will go away.

    You can say what you want about John Holland but he has never taken a dime. AAHS is not an organization that is funded. It is a website and forum with information. If you did your research, you would know that. I lobbied with John in DC this past March along with 100 other equine welfare advocates. We paid for the entire trip out of our own pockets and for you to suggest differently just shows how clueless you are. We do not have any organizations backing us. You have us confused with the pro slaughter advocates that have the AQHA, AVMA, cattle associations and Ag associations backing them. Check PAC, every senator that is opposing the legislation received donations from the AQHA and AVMA. Hundreds of thousands of dollars going to senators, professional lobbyists and professional PR firms. We lobby and advocate on our own. I don’t need someone to pay me to speak up for what is just. I am involved because friends and family in the horse industry asked for help in ending this despicable industry.

    Yes, you are correct. Even though Cavel paid no federal taxes, they can waste our federal courts time that our tax dollars paid for. And once again, there is no ban on horse slaughter. Anyone wishing to send their horse to slaughter can still do so.

  3. Yes, horse slaughter should be banned in the US. This process is not humane euthanasia, because the captive bolt system does not render equines unconscious; the captive bolt was designed for cattle whose brain is located close to the front of the skull. Regardless, even the AVMA has categorized horses as companion animals vs. livestock animals. The horse has been mankind's willing servant through wars, parades, therapeutic treatment (both physical and emotional), settling the West, plowing the fields, being a cowboy's best friend, police work, dressage, jumping, racing. steeplechase, transportation, companionship, garnishing our West with his beauty, independence and strength; our symbol of freedom. He honors the fallen by carrying boots in reverse, pulling the caisson, and appearing in numerous statues.
    Livestock, such as cows, have never been, and never will be, representative of these tasks. Then, after the horses' continual and willing allegiance to humans, he is betrayed by being slaughtered for a piece of meat; not to be consumed by the starving, but for the pleasure of wealthy and prurient palates.

    "Show me your horse and I will tell you who you are."

  4. When will I ever learn to never engage in a pissing competition with a skunk. I am bound to lose. The only thing worse would be winning.