Horse Slaughter

Opinions on horse slaughter by a man who has seen it all.

• Article: Horse Slaughter.
• The ASPCA on the ban of Horse slaughter in the USA.
• CBC Report on Horse Slaughter.
• The argument for humane horse slaughter.
• Horse Slaughter in Canada as seen by the Horse Alliance.

Horse Slaughter... Yes or No?

Horse Slaughter.

People have a love for horses. Our world’s history shows that.

Famous horses such as Seabiscuit, who rose from a nothing background to racing fame during the depression, the Lone Ranger with Silver, Flicka a wild horse who is befriended by a boy, to the classic Black Beauty.

People are enchanted with these some fictional, some true horse stories. Horses have raised the spirits of individual people to nations and have done so since the dawn of time.

A true horse slaughter story..,

One of the famous horses of our past is “Buttermilk”, a buckskin Quarter Horse gelding who is saved as a colt from being sold to a slaughterhouse.

As a colt, the horse had been badly abused and was quite mean spirited. Rescued by a cattle farmer the horse became an exquisite cutting horse which caught the eye of a famous Hollywood horse trainer, Glen Randall.

After seeing this gelding perform, Glen decided to buy the horse and name him Buttermilk.

Buttermilk appeared in all but 6 of the Roy Rogers Show and finally passed at age of 31.

What about horse slaughter?

Horsemeat is widely consumed in some countries. And generally, people are free to sell any type of animal food product they wish, provided it is not harmful somehow to human health, there is a market and it is not derived from an endangered species.

This webpage is meant to initiate discussion only. It is a way to introduce the topic and look at it from all perspectives.

This webpage is NOT meant to offer conclusions or opinions in any way on the matter of slaughter which is meant for human consumption.

Why do people like or dislike horse slaughter?

There are several reasons from moral, to social differences, to religious findings, which lead people to define how they feel about horse slaughter for meat and human consumption.

There are also new choices in consumerism which are finding their way into the marketplace.

For example, something called “conscientious omnivory”, is a type of eating which is a consumeristic food choice and purchase pattern where people eat a broad range of food, but choose their animal products based on a belief that the animal has lived in a way that was worth living.

We may choose free range poultry over battery caged birds, or meat from cattle which has been raised in a less intensive confinement.

However, when looking at the life of a horse, it can be argued that, on average,a horse has a good quality of life and as such would provide a lower ethical issue for the folks who would prefer to purchase the “omnivory conscious” meat.

Another view is concerned about the overburdening of ever growing horse populations, in conjunction of the regulation on slaughter practices versus the outright prohibition of horse slaughter as the only reasonable solution.

It is felt that this will have an overall negative impact to the equine community, based on population and other animal health and safety factors.

As noted above, the horse is a historical icon and offers a vital experience to our nations. Some feel this deserves an element of protection and compassion. This opinion is based on cultural intolerances, not directly on the horse.

Legislation has also affected the views of horse slaughter and our equines.

For example, parts of the world have criminalized the consumption of horse meat. The US has passed relatively new laws where as in Canada, the criminal code is generally based in violent crimes and abuse issues.

Horse Meat

One of the ethical arguments generally posed is the belief that horses are different from other farm animals who are raised specifically to be eaten for meat.

There is actually not a large market for horse meat in the USA or Canada and the USA multi-state regulatory successes of the anti horse slaughter movement, has put a decline to the overseas markets of horse products.

• It is reported that in the USA, 300 thousand horses were processed in the 80’s to just over 100 thousand slaughtered for human consumption in 2005.

• In Canada, reports suggest that 60 thousand horses are killed in Canadian slaughter houses annually. However, it is unclear where these horses are originally from Canada, the USA or other.

Did you know.., In the USA, year 2007, the last slaughterhouse producing horse meat for human consumption was closed.

Another concern that some folks have is the stabilization of equine populations for some heavily burdened areas.

In the US alone there is an estimated 7 million recorded horses. Horse meat for human consumption is obviously not the only means of horse population stabilization, but it is an argument which is used to temper the assertion that equine slaughter is not 100% proof positive of animal cruelty.

Groups who suggest that horse slaughter is not 100% proof positive of animal cruelty, also bring recognition to the table of the need for the humane slaughter rights for all animals.

One of the few groups who have challenged the actual methods used in horse slaughter are those falling under the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), National Wild Horse and Burro Adoption Program.

The welfare of horses for slaughter includes the improved humane transportation of equine and the humane killing on the farm.

Another arguement against the abolishment of killing horses for human consumption is the hypothesis that by reducing and / or eliminating this type of rendering, will then result in the increased abuse and neglect of our equine community.

This argument balances on the assertion that people have lost their objectivity with this issue and argue sentiment over science while misusing the term “animal cruelty”.

It is further beleived that the prohibition of horse slaughter will bring about grave risks and over all decline in the welfare of horses, and will in fact ADD to the suffering of horses that exist in the real world.

It goes on to say that horse slaughter prohibition may also result in the increase of animal abandonment and the decrease in overall horse welfare, which will discredit the animal welfare movement as incompetent.

One 2004 report debunks this argument stating that “there has been no discernible increase in cruelty and neglect cases” since the closing of 2 USA slaughter houses and that in fact “released figures show that the number of abuse cases dropped significantly” in one area from the close of the plant in 2002 to 2004.

However, it has never been conclusively proven nor disproven that horse slaughter prohibition will alter the welfare of other horses.

How we feel about Horse Slaughter can generally be seen through 3 different lenses..,

Owners who sell their horses at an auction may be unaware that their horses might be on their way to a slaughter house.

Slaughterhouses may be foreign owned. Product maybe shipped abroad. And in which case, so will be the profit.

The 3 viewing lenses of animal slaughter:

The horse is considered only as a financial entity. It is a commercially producing unit.

The horse is thought of as a horse. However, it is a living or sentient being and as such can feel pain and suffer.

The horse is not necessarily a horse. It is thought of as an icon or spiritual entity.

So, whether we agree or disagree.., or maybe are unsure.., certainly how each of us feels about the slaughtering of horses can be different.

One thing for certain though, is that the conviction to how we feel can be very strong.

However, it is important for us to not look away, but to gain the knowledge and wisdom we need to make “real”, unbiased decisions on how we feel about horse slaughtering for human consumption. We must do this if we wish to unite, with any amount of objectivity, and be able to direct the legislation within our countries.

Yes or No.., How do you feel about Horse Slaughter?

• Are you primarily concerned with how the horse is treated during rendering? Or are you one hundred percent against the slaughter of horses for human consumption.

• Are you against the slaughter of all horses? Or in some instances could this be a potential outcome.

• Does the import and export of horse meat and economy of your country effect your decision? Or do you believe that the export of horse product affects the nation’s economy.

• Are you concerned about the welfare of the equine? Are you concerned about over horse population in some areas and see ethical horse slaughter for human consumption to be a viable solution.

• In your view, with the prohobition in horse slaughter, could there be the potential increase in animal neglect and abuse to unwanted animals.

• Do you feel that there are any differences between the horse and other stock used for human consumption? And if so, what are those distinctions.

Yes or No?

Should there be Horse Slaughter for human consumption?

This webpage is meant to initiate discussion only. It is a way to introduce the topic and look at it from all perspectives. This webpage is NOT meant to offer conclusions or opinions in any way on the matter of horse slaughter meant for human consumption.