Ban More Cruel Than Horse Slaughter

At an early age, people are bitten by the 'horse bug' while reading Walter Farley's "The Black Stallion," and nothing can uproot the romantic, regal, beautiful horse as a notion of personal freedom in horse lovers' eyes. Some, but not all, grow up and out of the dream of owning a horse, and life's realities eliminate even more as the years pass and interests and priorities change. Most quickly come to realize that dreams are not reality.

There are currently 9.2 million horses in the US, and 2 million people own horses, according to the American Horse Council, with a $102 billion impact on the country's economy. In the best of times, a horse can expect several owners during its average 30 year lifespan as the majority are sold within five years of purchase. Just as with all other livestock, the bottom dollar price of a horse was regulated by the current price per pound. In late 2007, legislation was passed that banned the use of horse meat sold for human consumption and closed the three horse slaughter plants in the US, effectively eliminating the horse's monetary value.

Perhaps it is because of the long lifespan that few consider the dilemma of disposal of a 1200 pound horse. Even fewer comprehend the dilemma of what do to with rank, mean, dangerous horses as well as those that are unusable due to chronic lameness or illness. Despite popular belief based on the propaganda spun by anti-slaughter activists, horses sold to "kill buyers" were no longer marketable. As a checks and balances system, this kept the horse market stable and growing with safe, healthy, valuable animals on the market.

The horse slaughter industry continues to exist - outside of the humane regulations that were in place in the US slaughter plants. Now, lame, ill, old and dangerous horses endure cruel and inhumane transport and slaughter in Mexico, where the method of killing is repeatedly stabbing the horse in the back until its spinal cord is severed. No matter what legislation is passed now, there is no way to control what happens to horses in another country.

The result is even less palatable. Horses are left to starve in pastures or turned loose and abandoned. The recent economic downturn has compounded the existing problem as well. Home foreclosures, rising costs of fuel, feed and hay along with costly veterinary care have priced the horse right out of affordability. Millions of horses are for sale, but no one is buying. Instead of a humane end, horses now suffer a long, slow death of starvation.

A recent Time article highlights the conditions of unwanted horses and the impact of the slaughter ban; and how people within the horse industry perceive the current state of affairs: "People who protest slaughter ought to have a bunch of these old horses starving to death in their back yards."

It is ironic that both the Humane Society and PETA were at the forefront of the anti-slaughter movement. As overseers of the pet populations, their main course of choice for population control is euthanasia. Dogs and cats that fall into their hands are euthanized whether they are healthy or ill, even those animals that they purportedly rescue from inhumane circumstances. And, neither agencies have elected to participate in the current horse crisis they helped create, either with intervention or alternatives. What wasn't an over population problem now is a major problem.

Some feel that, in order to shore up the bottom in the horse market, low quality, unregistered horses need to be eliminated to restore the value of well bred, well trained horses. While professional breeders have already cut back on breeding, reducing the future availability of quality horses, "backyard breeders" have continued to breed sub standard animals. One solution would be to regulate horse breeding and limit allowance to those that own quality, registered horses. An inexpensive, cost effective gelding of sub standard colts within its first year of life would reduce a good number of the unwanted horse population.

It is imperative that horse education programs expand. Since the initial cost of a horse has dropped so low, many are buying horses with no idea how to handle, care for and feed them. With the high cost of hay and feed, new owners quickly realize that the initial cost of a horse is minor compared to maintenance costs. On top of this, many new owners find that horses are not like a car that sits out in a driveway waiting to come to life when the key is turned, and become discouraged if not injured. In the end, less than 20% of new horse owners still own a horse five years later.

With the current economy coupled with the elimination of horse slaughter, it is crucial that everyone involved take responsibility for horses, whether it be not breeding, advocating for solutions or educating new horse owners. If the goal was to protect a national symbol, what does this say to the rest of the world about how we take care of the things we have vowed are important to us?

Note: The colt in the photo died three weeks later of starvation. He is one of 25 horses that I witnessed starving to death. I can attest to the extreme suffering.


  1. You've managed to outdo the pro slaughter dribble two fold. You started out with incorrect information and continued throughout the entire blog. To begin with, there wasn’t any ban passed in 2007. All three kill houses were shut down by state laws. The two in Texas were shut down when the courts upheld a 1949 law that was being ignored. The kill house in Illinois was shut down by a new state law. Research would have given you the fact that 96% of horses going to slaughter are healthy and fit, not ill, lame and dangerous-unless you dispute USDA records. Do you think that if you keep repeating false information it will become true? A bit more research and you would have discovered that PETA has NOT been involved in the anti slaughter efforts.

    If the horses going to slaughter are no longer marketable, why are the kill buyers paying for them? If something doesn’t have value and you don’t want it, you certainly don’t expect to get paid for it. Surely you jest with your comment that slaughter provides checks and balances. Slaughter pays people to be irresponsible. It perpetuates the breed and dump cycle. The kill houses are a business. They’re in it for the money. They are not providing a service. They are buying horses, not rounding up abandoned, neglected and starving horses. The amount they buy is based on the demand for meat, not the number of available horses. Remove the incentive and see what happens to all those “unwanted” horses. Just imagine what would happen to the dog and cat overpopulation if the humane societies started paying dog and cat owners to dump their animals.

    I’m curious how you can say horses are livestock. They are not raised or bred as food animals. They race and they perform. The perform services such as hyppotherapy and serve in law enforcement. They are used to help our solders with head injuries regain their balance. They work with autistic. They are companions. If they are livestock, why are they given drugs that are prohibited for food animals? Why are they not required to have coggins, health certificates with chain of ownership? Why aren’t they checked to determine if they’re stolen? When the domestic kill houses were open, they didn’t have any of the regulations required of cattle. Go ahead and make them livestock and deal with the backlash from the racing industry when they have to withdraw all the drugs that are necessary to maintain a healthy horse. The mounted police certainly aren’t going to use horses that aren’t healthy nor will any of the service sectors. Either they’re livestock or they’re sport, service and companion animals. You can’t have it both ways.

    Since slaughter is still an option – same auctions, same kill buyers and same number being slaughtered, how can there be starving horses? You contend that slaughter eliminates this so with your theory, there shouldn’t be any. Perhaps it’s because people that abuse, neglect and abandon did so when the domestic kill houses were open and continue to do so. History has already proven that.

    Responsibility is something we are taught from childhood. If you are going to own an animal, you must take responsibility for the animal. That means care and providing a humane death. If they choose to breed, they are responsible for making sure the horses they bring into the world go to good homes and are responsible for those they cannot place. Why should anyone provide a dumping ground because they breed irresponsibly and can’t care for the horses they bring into the world or don’t want them because they didn’t make the grade? It is not the fault of equine advocates. It is not our responsibility nor is it the government’s responsibility. They made a conscious decision to buy, own, breed and use them for numerous purposes and it is they that are responsible.

    Why is owner responsibility not applicable to horse owners and breeders?

  2. What did you do to help the starving colt? There are laws to deal with this and they need to be enforced.


  3. Lisa,

    That photo was taken on December 10. I started doing whatever I could think of months before. I started by suggesting, then strongly suggesting, that the owners get hay put back for the winter. I offered to help feed a few that were already bad by the end of September, but was flatly refused. "They'll eat when the rest of them do," is what I was told.

    I contacted the Horse Council, the Humane Society all the way up to the state's main office, rescue groups and other horse groups in the area. No response from any of them.

    Finally, a friend called a county sheriff that was a horseman and he came by and immediately charged the owners. The owners were told not to move any of the horses pending investigation, yet the next day, they had half of them hauled off.

    The case did not go to court until the end of January, after this colt, his dam and another TB had already died, and I believe four of the ones hauled away also died. In court, the owner said that she had sold the horses that were hauled off, 12 of them, for $125 for the bunch, not each.

    In the end, the owners were found guilty, fined $168 and were checked for 6 months. They knew when they would be "checked" and they'd put out one round bale for the horses that were left, and they remained skinny.

    Yes, there are laws, and they are worthless since they are not enforced. I did everything I could think of and everything anyone else could think of, but still, those horses suffered an incredibly cruel, agonizing death. I myself could not afford to feed that many horses for long, and I have to wonder if what I did buy for them only prolonged their misery. (I had 4 round bales of quality hay delivered in December.)

    This is one horrible nightmare I will have for the rest of my life. And this nightmare is renewed every time I see another skin-and-bones horse, and there are a lot of them nowadays.


  4. Seems Theresa supports foreign profits without paying taxes or even repecting laws of the state of Texas as based in a 1949 law. These foreigners promote jobs for illegals as they pay little to no gross income tax as well. We US tax payers have paid for the foreigners Inspectors for years which in turn have ignored the drugs that are put in horses from brute to steriods and wormers stating NOT to be used in animals intended for consumption. Elected officals that sellout to the buck to ignore the will of the Majority of Americans that oppose horse slaughter. We respect our horses because they fought in wars with us and transported us when cars and trucks were not around. and now that the economy is going bad Pro slaughter people have to add that haulting horse slaughter is adding to unwanted horses or they say killing the markets I just wish these idots see the light and get an education. Most who support horse laughter dont know the facts or just ignoring the laws because there making money of the flesh of horses like the AQHA,APHA,AVMA,AAEP. banning together to hault the passage of our bills are also the Beef,Pork, and Poultry Industries. Why because they do the same Hire illegals for high profits and lack human health and saftety regulations. Horse Slaughter also promote abuse and neglect records have showed this when California plant shut down and in thoses 5 years abuse and neglect drop also when Cavel burn down the abuse and neglect number also drop. The SouthWestern Cattle Association was getting $3.00 per horse slaughtered at Texas Plants. Horses have always been slaughter in Mexico just behind your backs. The AAEP and the AVMA knew this but kept it hush hush so they can make money for the Overbreeders and papers for profits. There is so much more about these killing plants I dont have the time to write a book about there secretly sins. Remember the horse is a bibical animal Jesus rode on a mule and God will return on white horses. The Pope also condome horse meat in the early 1700s only to be reintroduced from Napolean as he order his troops to eat the dead horses for food. Get your facts before you believe a foreign company that owns a market like bill gates and microsoft.

  5. Some people add horse slaughter as a Nessary evil. Hmm so I guess committing adultry like Bill Clinton did is also conidered a Nesarry evil when the urge comes around. The answer will come clearly once we totally ban Horses from being exported for slaughter. Then we as responsible folks can fix the problems money hungry idots messed up. No responsiblilty toward a life and always committing abuse and neglect its time to punish these idots and not the horse. Your welcome to visit our site which will be running in mid June at SaveDaHorses.org it will have our Top Ten Rescues for Donations which to date we have awarded more than $13,000 to needy rescues every month.

  6. First of all, let me make one thing clear: I, personally, am NOT for horse slaughter. I am also a firm believer in the right to choose. I will not choose to send my horse to slaughter, but I do NOT have the right to tell someone else what they can and cannot do. At the same time, I want to do everything in my power to prevent sufferning inhumane deaths of horses.

    No matter if I find "facts" on the horse slaughter issue, anyone else can find other "facts" to completely disagree. I don't care when or how horse slaughter ended in the US, it did, and it happened at a time that couldn't be worse for the horse industry. I know this because I SEE it with my own eyes. I see the starving horses. I hear about those that are turned loose, and I hear about all the horses that can't be rescued because there is no place to take them to. I don't care what happened before - all I care about is what is happening RIGHT NOW. No matter what the cause, horses are suffering RIGHT NOW.

    You can write all the laws you want on this. You can ban slaughter. You can make it illegal to ship horses across the border all you want. No matter what, those horses will make it across and be slaughtered in a much uglier, cruel way than they were here. Sellers and buyers, like the Time article said, will just say they are breeding and recreation stock.

    Just like it is not my right to tell someone else whether they can or cannot slaughter their horse, it is not my right to tell someone else they can or cannot eat horse meat. I won't eat deer meat, but that doesn't mean that I'm right and all the hunters in the country are wrong for hunting, killing and eating deer.

    Let me point out something here, an important point. Anyone with any idea of what is going on knows that a horse auction is the last place to buy a safe, sound, worthwhile horse. People who sell horses know that if they are going to get what the horse is worth will sell it privately. Kill buyers buy from sales because they know that the horses there probably have very little worth beyond price per pound. Take a walk through the holding pens at an auction. You'll see strangles galore, fleas, ringworm, rainrot, mange, bowed tendons, pin firing, scars galore, etc., and those are the horses that still might be usable. Go through the kill pen and you'll see all that plus deformed legs, broken legs and shoulders and hips, hooves torn away, blind, old, abused, neglected horses that no longer have any use at all. Your heart will break a thousand times over, and you'll hit the shower as soon as you get home so as not to infect your own horse. It's not the horses that did this to themselves, it's PEOPLE.

    Now, this could be a valuable discussion IF we all remain objective and refrain from name calling and insults. That is the only way to come to the agreement that the priority is the HORSES, not our own egos or our own points of view.


  7. “Why is owner responsibility not applicable to horse owners and breeders?”
    I personally don’t know one single professional horse owner/lover that doesn’t do what they feel is right by their legitimate, long time, loyal, equine friends when the time comes. I also know that those same legitimate horse professionals will send a dangerous and/or counterfeit horse to the killers and know they are doing the right thing by taking that animal out of the horse buying publics choices, and very possibly saving some PERSONS life and/or limb.
    What right do you or anyone else have to dictate whether or not another horse owner feels the counterfeit dink HE/SHE owns or has acquired is better suited as a steak on a Japanese mans dinner plate, than pumped full of poison and feeding worms in a land fill????? SOMEONE OR SOMETHING IS GOING TO EAT THE MEAT REGARDLESS. So why NOT humans? Explain that one to me.
    Your argument about “we Americans don’t raise horses for meat” is about the most illogical, worn out, & limp argument I’ve heard (over and over) from your camp. Pardon me…but as the old saying goes “what does shit have to do with apple butter???” We “Americans” don’t eat GOATS either, but LOTS of American farmers raise MEAT GOATS for slaughter for food in other countries, and LOTS of Americans have goats for PETS so…..how is it that an animal can’t be BOTH livestock and/ or companion animal? You all damn well know the answer to that, and the answer is OF COURSE they can. Some goats are people’s companions and some Goats are FOOD.
    As far as the word “raise” well I guess that would depend on your definition of “raise”, many farmers don’t “raise” the cows they sell for slaughter either. You may not be aware of this but there is a whole segment of the cattle industry where ranchers buy existing cattle to “feed lot” aka- (fatten and resell for slaughter), and guess what? That’s the SAME THING many of the starved horses you see the kill buyers at horse sales are also doing, yep…buying to “feed lot”. I should also point out here that in the case of neglected/starved horses the kill buyer is often the first “home” this animal has had where the groceries came in on a regular basis.
    You said:
    “Responsibility is something we are taught from childhood. If you are going to own an animal, you must take responsibility for the animal. That means care and providing a humane death. If they choose to breed, they are responsible for making sure the horses they bring into the world go to good homes and are responsible for those they cannot place.”
    This is the classic “In a perfect world” argument. Nice thought, but waaay too far from reality. Do you mean something like the “humane death” that all those responsible dog and cat owners provide to the road kill we dodge each and every day on our roads?
    What about the “good homes” that turn out to be not such “good homes”? i.e. like maybe the equine vet that lives not 10 miles from me that owns & breeds constantly a whole herd (aprox 100) of substandard QH’s that she starves and neglects? Hell…if you can’t sell a horse to a HORSE VET and get it a “good home” for it then what do you use as a good guess? Let’s face it, a “good home” is always a roll of the dice & if you don’t think so, ask any kid that’s been through foster care.
    Which also brings me to the debate on what is and isn’t “humane” euthanasia. Since there is no possible way to try various forms of euthanasia/slaughter/execution/killing (lets face its all the same end result) out and report back on the subject, there is no way to know for certain what is or isn’t the best way to do it. PERIOD. At least about this fact let’s be brutally honest.
    Just prior to the execution of Saddam Hussein, Dr. Michael Boden (world renowned forensic scientist, writer, and fox news contributor) stated that death by hanging if done “properly” was the MOST humane method of execution that there is. He went on to state that it was in fact proven to be MORE humane than lethal injection. The reason he explained is that death by hanging causes instant brain death (just like the hammer gun that was used for horse slaughter in this country) and that since the brain is the hard drive for all sensation it is the very least painful way to die. On the other hand…. he went on to explain that with lethal injection where the heart is stopped first the brain then remains alive for several minutes and therefore the amount of pain/fear/and sensation ones feels until the brain dies (some minutes later) is unknown.
    Euthanasia therefore IS NOT the same as being “put to sleep” for an operation! Of which I am well aware is a misconception many people seem to desperately (even if erroneously) hang onto. The only thing we can say for sure is that death by lethal injection LOOKS “nicer” ( or LOOKS more like falling asleep) to us than a body being hanged up and dressed out for meat. The hard fact is that instant brain death by the accounts of doctors and scientists is the best (quicker & less traumatic) method for the one doing the dying. So…I ask you, what is REALLY “humane” The Needle, or The Hammer Gun? Assuming of course you believe the scientific facts presented by Dr.Boden, and not the emotional ranting of the anti-slaughter propagandists.
    and….Once again what right do you or anyone else have to make that judgment call FOR ME concerning MY animals? Maybe I’d rather their lifeless bodies’ feed people instead of worms, and maybe I think it more humane that they be put down via a brain death method than a lethal injection of poison that only mimics a sound “sleep”. How dare you legislate away MY OPTIONS!

    On some of your other comments:
    “If the horses going to slaughter are no longer marketable, why are the kill buyers paying for them? If something doesn’t have value and you don’t want it, you certainly don’t expect to get paid for it. Surely you jest with your comment that slaughter provides checks and balances. Slaughter pays people to be irresponsible. It perpetuates the breed and dump cycle.”
    First off: PEOPLE perpetuate the breed and dump cycle. Slaughter or no slaughter has nothing to do with it. If you think not, I’d ask you to take a hard look at all the undisputed NECCESSARY dog and cat kill shelters EVERYWHERE in this country. Oh I forgot…they give their execution plants a fancy name and self proclaim what THEY are doing is “humane” so it sounds all warm and fuzzy and that makes it okey dokey to the tree huggers. Sorry…”Humane Societies” are nothing more than an execution service that will ALWAYS be in BUSINESS because of WORTHLESS ANIMALS and un-restricted breeding.
    Horses going to slaughter are no longer marketable to the PUBLIC. The kill buyers then buy them for a bottom dollar price PER POUND because NOBODY else will buy them for i.e. riding, driving, racing, breeding, etc. I have PERSONALLY bought hundreds of horses from such sales and I can tell you first hand that EVERY SINGLE ONE of them had a hole in them the size of Texas! In other words a behavioral/health/neglect or some other problem that made them HIGHLY unmarketable to the general public. Some of us devoted highly skilled and knowledgeable horse people would buy, re-train, vet, fix hooves, and generally rehabilitate these animals and a good number of them would go on to become solid citizens as a result. However… even when this was possible there were more of these horses than willing horsemen/women with the skills & desire to rehab them. So… a resounding YES horse slaughter provided “checks and balances” for these unmanageable numbers of unwanted, undesirable horses. Now with the “do-gooders” eliminating any bottom dollar value of these low end horses that entire segment of the industry has now vanished. GOOD JOB!... NOT! Now they ALL end up on a truck headed to Mexico!
    Which brings me to yet another point, UNENFORCABLE LAWS.
    WTF did the anti-slaughter people really think was going to happen with this ban? Did they really think that AMERICAN horses wouldn’t be tagged for other purposes crossing the borders, and STILL end up at slaughter plants? GOOD GRIEF! That’s not rocket science! Once in another country OUR legislation is USELESS! And the end result is: HORSES SUFFER MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, meet the EXACT same end, only without the humane practices of U.S. USDA inspected slaughter.
    The biggest difference now is that the American OWNER that ships a horse to auction is paid little to nothing due to the high cost of the long distance shipping. This only further pushes American horses into the stray dog and cat category. Turning horses in the eyes and pocket books of the American public to now rightfully being branded as worthless “hay burners”. To quote a man I met recently at a sale that was your typical new wave (since they are almost free I ought to have one horse owner), “ya know…I called one of them there farriers and can you BELIEVE he wanted $60 to put shoes on my horse! Like I’m going to pay $60 to put shoes on a $100 horse! Are those guys NUTS?” What do you imagine he and the ever growing numbers of others like him would think of a $250 vet bill????????????????????
    So much for Americas “icon”. What a joke.
    No….Theresa was right, it’s a ban more cruel than slaughter.
    Hrslady, life long horse lover, owner, showman, judge, farrier, and riding instructor.

  8. I have to stand behind & support pro slaughter proponents. I have been doing Equine rescue & rehabilitation for well over 20 years now. And it has never been so bad as it is currently. Never before have you had to struggle so hard to get law enforcement or humane officials to move on an abuse case. In far higher than 50% of the time the agencies "enforcing" current laws and statutes have no where to go with these animals. And our county, city & state government budgets are so stretched already there is no money to fund any new rescue or humane soceities. Therein lies a great amount of our trouble. And if horse owners thought hay was pricey during the drought of the past couple of years, wait until this year. I'm trying to buy hay already... while it's not yet been cut. No one is selling it here. Numberous are not cutting it this year and the hay fields are standing overgrown and uncut. There will be no hay available and due to offroad deisel running at just under $5.00 per gallon what is available will be too high for your average owner to afford.
    I'd like to know what anti slaughter people propose we do when the hay is not available and the grain is too expensive? Where do you want me to ship this starved & abused, lame, sick and old horse to?

  9. Hrslady, the humane societies don’t pay people to dump their animals. The kill houses pay people to dump animals. They want to keep the flow of horses coming. Surely you don’t think they are ridding us of unwanted horses. I’m guessing that you think the over breeders don’t have common sense. If someone was able to breed and breed and get paid to dump their mistakes and the incentive was removed, i.e, we are not going to pay you to be irresponsible, you don’t think they have enough sense to know they’re going to be stuck with a lot of horses? You don’t think they have enough common sense to breed responsibly so they have grade horses that they can sell and place? There will always be those that don’t take responsibility but the vast majority will adjust, just as they have in past years.

    Since you seem to know all the answers, tell us where the 300,000 horses have gone every year that aren’t being slaughtered? The slaughter counts were over 400,000 (including exports) and dropped to under 100,000 in a few short years. There were no horses wandering the streets, no increase of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Where did all those horses go?

    Yes, horses are expensive and the pro slaughter greed is coming through your post in volumes. Perhaps if there wasn’t so much over breeding, that $100 horse would be worth more and maybe then you’d take responsibility and shoe your horse. Perhaps if owners took responsibility for their animals , you wouldn’t see what you’re describing. You offered no answer why those horses aren’t going to slaughter? It’s the same auctions and same kill buyers. If they would have sent their horses to slaughter when the domestic kill houses were open, they can do it now. So why aren’t they going? All those unmanageable horses were owned by someone. Why aren’t you directing your anger at them? They are responsible for those horses. Why do you give them a pass? The equine advocates did not create the problem. Contrary to your comments, the vast majority of horses going to slaughter are not from individual owners. They’re quarter horses and thoroughbreds from rodeos, racing and other horse professionals. But the pro side never lets facts get in the way. The pro side always faults us for stating facts, statistics and yet, they cannot dispute them. They change the subject, refuse to answer direct questions and keep repeating the same hearsay information over and over again. Why is it the AQHA is bragging about their 5 millionth registration? Tell us how many of those 5 million have been slaughtered. Why isn’t the AQHA promoting responsible breeding? According to the USDA, the largest breed count going to slaughter are quarter horses. You don’t see a problem there? I work with rescues across the country and many of those so called unmanageable horses are not unmanageable and those that are, are amazing when properly trained and cared for. I know, it’s so much easier to dump them than to take the time or responsibility.

    What humane practices are you referring to at the domestic kill houses? It wasn’t much better than what is going on in Mexico. Again, if you want horses slaughtered for human consumption, why should horses be exempt from the regulations in place for cattle? Just more greed? You want to them to be sport, service and companion animals when you can use them and then wave a pro slaughter wand and they become cattle.

    Unenforceable laws? Mexico charges a hefty import tax if the horse is going to Mexico under the guise of sale or show. It will be cost prohibitive not to mention the paperwork that is required – none of which is required for slaughter bound horses. There is money to be made by Mexico if they’re not slaughter horses and you can bet, they’ll collect it. Once again, you would know this if you bothered to do a bit of research. And I’ll bet you will keep repeating that it will be unenforceable, won’t you?

    We never said it would be eutopia but it has to stop somewhere. The pro folks have had over 20 years to fix the problems and you see how well that is working. The industry will right itself just as it did in the 90s when we slaughtered over 300,000 less horses per year. Horse slaughter is done in this country. Two states have tried to bring it back and it was shot down before the ink was dry. The industry suffered a another blow when the AG in Texas recently ruled kill houses cannot ship through DFW. Instead of fighting us, why not work with us to find solutions so our horses are safe? There are many ideas being discussed such as a retirement fund for race horses. Many owners and rescues are already working through the details. Why not get the AQHA to set aside some of the registration fees to help owners that are truly in need? Instead, they spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on senator donations and professional lobbyist to stop the AHSPA. It’s mind boggling that they claim to have the horses welfare in mind and do the exact opposite.

    Anonymous Horse Rescuer, the meat men aren’t buying starved, abused, lame, sick and old horses. They buy them for the meat and want healthy horses with meat on their bones. I hear the same thing from the rescues that I work with only they are blaming it on the economy. Horse slaughter is still available so that argument should be held until there isn’t any slaughter and maybe it would be believable. Interesting that most legit rescues post with their organization name. Any reason why you didn’t?

  10. Theresa,

    Thank you for doing what you could to help those horses. Unfortunately, the law does not always work as we want it to, but that doesn't mean we should give up on it either. You may have the opinion that you shouldn't be able to tell people what to do with their animals (the private property argument), but the truth is, private property is regulated all of the time. Just because you own something, doesn't mean you can do whatever you darn well please with it. My husband is a cop and he will tell you some people don't have a clue (well, that's the censored version) and that the system doesn't always work. But that doesn't mean that he stops working. It doesn't mean that people stop trying to keep making things better.

    I'd like to respond to some other comments posted by others, but don't have the time tonight (maybe tomorrow). I would warn the pro-slaughter faction of holding up the wonderfully regulated USDA plants as the humane system to return to. It is not a stretch to say that our own meat products in America are poorly regulated by the USDA. Anyone listening to the news in the last six months can give quite a few examples. The Europeans don't want our beef, refuse to use the growth hormone we give our milk cows, but they'll eat horsemeat when they have no idea what drugs the horses were given before they were slaughtered? It makes absolutely no sense to me. (Just for the record, I don't eat any commercially produced meat or poultry, only buy from farms that I have visited and TRUST.)


  11. Vicki, you are so off on your own facts you really should refrain from pointing that finger. You also know absolutely NOTHING about the horse kill industry other than the crap some anti-slaughter propagandist has fed you. That much is obvious. For several years of my life I attended as many as 3 slaughter sales a week as I was dating a fellow that hauled for the killers to the central weigh station in Indiana. I’ve forgot more about the horse kill industry than you will ever in your lifetime know. You are talking pure crap.
    Meat horses BEFORE the ban were the worst of the worst, the lamest of the lame, and the most unmarketable animals on the planet. A number one most desirable meat horse (yes horses are graded like any other livestock) is a horse over 12 years old, cresty necked, and preferably hopelessly foundered (the less they move the more tender the steaks) Now does that sound like a healthy usable horse to you???? To ride or use in any way what they were buying would have been CRUEL!
    I’ve delivered horses to kill sales that would rear and flip over on you. Do YOU want to take on one like that? Your heart can bleed in more ways than one you know. A person like you might just try to drag a ding dong like that home to "fix" and someone like me would ship it to the meat man to protect you from yourself.
    Or...how about the mare I bought once at a sale that was guaranteed sound, broke to death, and had show points. You couldn’t have asked for a nicer acting horse. Bought on a Saturday, and after the pain killers given to her at the sale wore off so lame by Thursday that she wouldn’t rise from lying on her side to come up to eat her dinner. By the next Monday I had her at the vets office who informed me that this mare had a hole the size of a dime in her navicular bone ( a bone only as wide as a nickel) He told me the mare was unsafe to ride, unsafe to breed, and in fact unsafe to lead or even be around. He told me that this bone was ripe to fracture and when it did she was going to go down violently, that there was a high chance of any person near her getting badly hurt or even killed. He told me point blank she had no value to anyone for anything and the best thing I could do is ship her to kill and re-coupe what money I could to invest in another horse.
    Id paid $1,200 for the mare and she brought $600 back at auction because I was HONEST about what the deal was and made sure she didn’t end up as somebody’s KIDS horse. YES for behavior and manners she was THAT GOOD. Good enough to get someone’s child killed and for no real fault of her own. You would NEVER have looked at that mare and known what was wrong without X-rays and provided she was on bute. So there is a prime example of a horse people like you see in a kill lot and blow an O ring about. Sorry but that’s where she belonged! Never mind the jackass that sold her to me did not worry about whether or not me or my family’s life was at risk riding this "guaranteed in every way" horse.
    I know YOU would lecture me that I SHOULD HAVE put the mare down, paid the Vet AND for the back hoe, and the operator, and hoped it was legal to bury her under my old oak tree (BTW it was NOT) and turned this $1,200 lie into a $2,200 or more lie. Sorry....although I was very disappointed about the situation (I really liked the mare) & sad as it was, I wasn’t attached to any great degree in little over a week’s time, AND I NEEDED to recoup what I could on the mare so I could buy another horse for myself. THANK GOD there was a strong kill market at the time. Now maybe YOU could afford to dump more money in a sinking ship, and maybe YOU couldn’t do what I did, BUT....you keep skipping over the fact that YOU have NO RIGHT to dictate how I FEEL about it, or what I want/need to do to remedy MY unwanted horse problems. PERIOD.
    I have been very active in the horse industry all my life. I’ve owned my own horses since I was 10 and I’m almost 50. I’ve seen what the horse industry was like when horsemeat was a DOLLAR a pound when well broke GRADE geldings would bring $2,200+ up at kill sales to private parties because of a strong kill market. I saw it when breeders would scout the kill sales in hopes of finding a well bred crippled mare that was breed able and affordable. I saw how then only the very bottom of the hopeless barrel actually went to the killers, because there was a auction full of the public looking to see if they could find a "bargain" horse either for themselves or for resale. I also see it now. NOBODY wants those horses now & they are being dumped, neglected, starved, and cussed on every corner. The value of ALL horses is in the TOLIET, and with no kill market it was headed this way regardless of the economy of which just happens to be exasperating the situation by sheer coincidence. Nobody that had any business breeding still is. All the legit breeders are folding up shop all over. HOWEVER.... all the backyard clueless idiots are at it in full force as always. The collectors can afford to purchase in numbers like never before, and you can’t sell a sane, sound, legit horse for even just 2 months worth of professional training. Never mind the thousands of $100 horse’s that aren’t worthy of a $60 shoeing. This whole mess is a lose, lose, for horses.
    If all that’s not bad enough we have people like you that think they are going to play honest on the Mexican side of the border????? My GOODNESS you are either very, very, young, and just don’t know any better, or very, very, naive. Hrslady

  12. Geez, you guys, I don't have time to keep up with all of this. Maybe later today.

    My only comment for now: I'd hardly consider the "Livestock Marketing Association" an unbiased source regarding this issue.


  13. So are you saying the USDA is a liar? Are you saying the rescues I work with are liars? I’ve seen the thousands of horses that have been rescued. The meat men want meat. There is no meat from a starving horse.

    Your entire post is laden with dollars. No mention of the welfare of the horse, just money. Money that any horse owner should be prepared for before taking ownership. Don’t you think that they horses aren’t being bought because of the economy? People can’t afford anything, right now. They wouldn’t be able to afford them if the domestic kill houses were still operating. If you don’t have money, you don’t have money. Since slaughter is still available, just as it was when the domestic foreign owned kill houses were operating, how can you blame the closing of the kill houses?

    I also find it amazing that you approve of Belgium and France setting the prices for our horses. These are OUR horses. Shouldn’t we be determining their value, not foreign owned companies? BTW-there is no ban on horse slaughter. Or are you referring to that 1958 Humane Slaughter Act that the USDA never upheld? The act states that an animal must be rendered senseless with one blow. Horse slaughter cannot comply with this so by virtue of the Act, it is illegal to slaughter horses. Of course, this is one of the many regulations that USDA never enforced and why we have legislation pending to do their jobs for them. If the HSA was enforced, all that was needed was to amend the act to include a ban on the transports but in typical fashion, regulations already in place are ignored and other avenues are taken to gain enforcement.

    My goodness, you have proven my point that pro folks won’t answer direct questions, tenfold! As far as my age, I haven’t been carded in decades. Naïve? No, not naïve. I’ve been involved with this issue for several years and have done my research. I don’t take bogus articles and hearsay as fact. As far as Mexico playing nice; they are not benefiting economically from horse slaughter just as the US did not. When there is money to be made (you should understand this) they aren’t going to pass up income to turn the other way to help the kill house owners. The import tax goes to Mexico, not the kill house owners. They would be playing “nice” with themselves and you can be assured they would be collecting the import tax. If the kill house owners pay them off, it is still taking the cost of slaughter up significantly and would eat into their profits. They’re in it for the money and when their profits start nose diving, this wonderful service they provide for us, will end.

    Theresa, the LMA is a cattle association and use arguments that have already been proven wrong. I could send you many links that dispute their assertions. Have you been reading the anti slaughter efforts that have been gaining momentum in Canada, the UK and as of a few weeks ago, there are organizations in Mexico that are building momentum. I'm sure Beltex and Cavel are not happy campers!

  14. Vicki, you also are not answering many of the points Ive brought up to you. i.e. No repsonse whatsoever to your lame claim that an animal cant be both livestock and/or companion animal. Remember I gave the goat as an example, or the point that whether you want to believe it or not all horses arent "Trigger" and some of them are dangerous and unmanagable. Ive also not heard you offer to feed these rogues for 30 or more years of their natural life. Hell for that matter I havent heard you offer to pay the vet to put them down and bury them on your farm either. What about that? Most people would shoot a dog that bites, and dig the hole themselves, but a horse is a WHOLE different story. Dont even bring "rescues" up with me. That whole thing makes me ILL. Ive seen, read in newspapers, and seen every bit as much neglect coming out of rescues as the worst owners out there. As far as what Ive seen a "rescue" is nothing more than some collector trying to get tax free donations to support their horse habit. Until rescue is regulated, inspected, and licensed its not a viable answer to anything.
    Also you make broad generalized claims to support your stance that are based purely on your opinion and not the current facts to date.
    i.e. you state that horse slaughter in this country is gone forever. I guess you are unaware that Cavel is taking the case clear to the Supreme Court? Or that there are now hearings going on where legislators are starting to wake up and understand the unintended consequences of the terrible mess they have made with their "do gooding". http://www.farmanddairy.com:80/news/livestock-marketing-association-horse-slaughter-ban-losing-ground/
    So there Id have to disagree with you. I think once a few senators daughter's or son's die on a highway from hitting a dumped horse with their car the whole mess will right itself and the plants will reopen. The one good thing that will come of all the anti-slaughter "lets save em all" nonsense is that y'all have made enough noise this time that our law makers will know first hand how bad of an idea it really is. You say my posts that money is a continued theme. WELL HELLO! Money whether or not you "In a perfect world" pipe dreamers want to believe or not, MONEY is a KEY fact of life. It takes LOTS of money to properly care for even a single horse. Ordinary people (not like Bo and Willy with their Hollyweird millions)have to pick and choose what they can and cant spend their money on. If shipping a hopeless cripple or bad actor to a sale is against your personal ethics, I say thats fine, BUT... keep your nose out if MY business and MY pocket book! You want to end horse slaughter???? its the easiest thing in the world. Hows about you and all your "save em all" rainbow chasers get together and hit all the sales all over, every week, and BUY UP EVERY shit horse out there and give him a forever home! All you have to do is outbid the killers, its EASY to do, I assure you, Ive done it HUNDREDS OF TIMES. Oh.....you dont have the MONEY to do that? Well....gee.
    Lets face it, regardless of how brutal the slaughter is in Mexico it STILL beats the hell out of a life of chronic pain and/or slow starvation and blantant neglect in someones pasture. You are right killers want fleshy horses and before the ban the vast majority of neglectful horse owners would ship the horses they lost interest in to the meat sale BEFORE it was a skeleton. Why? MONEY of coarse! Now....they just shrink and shrivel to death right where they stand not worth the trucking bill to get them to the sale. HOW THE HELL IS THAT BETTER THAN BEFORE? WAKE UP and smell the coffee people. Firing squad? or Death Camp?, Dead? or Dying? I know which Id rather pick for my fate.
    Vicki, I am staunchly pro slaughter because I love horses not in spite of that fact. I am staunchly pro slaughter because I see that too many owners are a fate far worse than the hammer gun. Ive assisted vets, ran with farriers on calls, and suffered through the frustration of trying to get someone turned in for neglecting horses. Ive been drug numerous times through the HORSE VETS place here near me and seen horses negelected to a degree that would make your hair stand on end and your breakfast come up. Ive been to waaay too many places where I shake my head and think they would be FAR BETTER off on a meat truck with at least some end in sight. All these things were going on all these years and BEFORE the ban. Post ban its getting FAR, FAR, worse. The less horses are worth, the less more and more people concern themselves with their feed & care. Unfortunatly...thats human nature and your not going to change that. While one might take the $40,000 Dually to the truck wash weekly, the 78 ford with the flat tire rusts and rots in the drive.
    I will ALWAYS support horse slaughter for those reasons and the fact that I KNOW you CAN NOT preach responsibilty to
    irresponsible people and change a DAMN THING and there ARE fates FAR worse than death in a slaughter house at the farms aka "homes" of some. After attending many, many, such sales Ive seen it all. Unvetted infected wounds, proud flesh the size of softballs on legs, every conformation defect you ever saw in the books, elf shoe foundered feet, crazy horses, dangerous horses, horses that were aged and never touched, and horses that made you scratch you head and wonder why they were at such a sale until you got them home and saw the X-rays. This is the care and concern the typical UNWANTED horse recieves, and the TYPICAL kind of horse that ends up at the kill sale. I dont know if your friends in rescue are just starry eyed dreamers, or plain old owner blind but GOOD, SOUND, QUALITY, VICELESS, WELL TRAINED, attractive horses NEVER went to the killers. They COULDNT AFFORD THEM.(gee that money thing again) Prior ban the checks and balances kept the industry healthy.
    I could listen to logic on this subject if your camp ever talked any. They never do. Its always all this emotioinal "save em all, BUT just dont ask ME to feed them" crap. If instead you lobbied for BETTER slaughter practices, laws restricting hobby breeders, tax write offs eliminated for horse breeders dont make profit or lose money intentionally for a deduction on another lucrative venture they have, educational programs, more empowerment for humane officers, and a structure in place in every state so they can handle large numbers of seized horses in neglect cases. I would even applaude needing a vets certificate that an animal was a certified "lost case" before allowing it to sold per pound. For sale barns that have kill buyers present to have to post that fact in plain sight. etc. But all I ever hear from the anti-slaughter crowd is that they ALL are wonderful perfect pets and deserve to live their entire natural lives out. Oh...BUT, BUT, in someone ELSES pasture! on someone ELSES DIME!

  15. OK, let me see if I understand:

    *Those that oppose horse slaughter are primarily opposed to horse meat used for human consumption.

    *Those that don't oppose it see it as a viable way of disposing of unwanted/unusable horses.

    *Horses have no value beyond the symbolic/emotional.

    *There is no way to offset the cost of horse ownership by buying and selling.

    *Since horses have no monetary value, they are more likely to be neglected, abused or abandoned.

    *Horses have become so inexpensive to purchase that, instead of 'fixing' or maintaining, some owners don't see it realistic to spend more money on a 'throw-away' commodity.

    *Laws in place to protect the horse are not enforced.

    *Millions of horses are suffering now.

    Yes, there are other factors at play here, one of the biggest is economic factors across the board.

    *Today, right here and now, there is no horse slaughter in the US. It's a done deal.

    *Today, there are exponentially increasing numbers of neglected and starving horses.

    *Today, there are few choices of 'disposing of' dangerous, maimed, deformed, unusable horses.

    *The currect economy is squeezing the horse industry with high fuel, feed, hay and other costs involved in properly caring for a horse.

    *Today, it is near impossible to sell a horse, unless it is very high quality and within a specific niche. (Not too sure about this one.)

    *Today, the humane laws, legislation and agencies in place are worthless.

    Let's just say we agree to disagree on the horse slaughter issue, ok? If you can fill in any points I might've missed, please do so. Once it's solid and agreed on, what I'd like to do is start another post about potential solutions to the current horse crisis. I don't have a lot of ideas about that, so it'll be up to you to generate them. Maybe we can come up with something that will work! I sure hope so, for the horses' sake!

    So, what do you say?


  16. As far as the source that both Theresa and Hrslady have quoted from the "Livestock Marketing Association", c'mon, let's be real. It reads like a report card from their lobby day. What do you expect them to say? I can do a google search and find the same news coming out of DC from the anti-slaughter side in 10 seconds.

    I will respectfully agree to disagree with Hrslady's assessment of horse rescues. I will agree that yes, some are not legitimate, and some are in way over their heads. However, to paint that picture of the entire rescue industry is not only unfair, but inaccurate. I contribute to some very good rescues that are good stewards of their donated funds and do an excellent job of caring for and rehabilitating horses. And yes, at times, my money has gone to euthanasia costs.

    If you'd like to direct me to a link with a new discussion, I'd be happy to join in when I have the time. Actually, Theresa, I can't say that I agree with your last list either, so maybe it's better to start over.


  17. Lisa, could you tell me which points need to be redone? My goal is to summarize, then move forward, incorporating the ideas of everyone, regardless of their stand on horse slaughter.

  18. Correction to my previous post: when I said I could do a google search, I meant to say that I could find the anti-slaughter side saying that their efforts are going well and that lawmakers were very responsive to their meetings as well. It's like you said, anyone can find "facts". However, when one has "MARKETING" in their title, well, it means they are trying to sell you something. You don't have to buy it.


  19. Hi, Theresa. No, we are not opposed to horse meat for human consumption. We are opposed to American horses being slaughtered for any purpose. Of course buying and selling are a way to offset ownership but I hardly think $200 from a kill buyer offsets the cost of ownership. There are many solutions being discussed and implemented, some of which I have mentioned in previous posts. All of them start with stopping the over breeding.

    I’m not sure where you got your assumptions but there are not millions of horses suffering. In fact, a report was released today by the Animal Law Coalition that studied the statistics from January 2006 through March of 2008. You can find it here www.petabuse.com The overall result was that there are not an increase in numbers and in fact, they are slightly better than 2006, when the domestic kill houses were still open. The study’s methodology and supporting data are available to anyone by request. Of course, if incidents are not being reported so they can be investigated and confirmed, the data wouldn’t be in the report. Since it’s illegal to abuse or neglect an animal, we assume that the proper authorities are being notified. If anyone disputes the findings, we welcome the facts you have that support your findings. We would all welcome the opportunity to discuss solutions and work together but we will not entertain slaughter as being one of the solutions. It hasn’t done anything in the past 20+ years to fix the problems that exist. Perhaps one talking point at a time so we stay on subject. Once we post it to death (LOL!), we move on to the next talking point.

    Hrslady, the two plants in Texas took it all the way to the supreme court with the same argument and were refused a hearing. The same will happen to Cavel. They’ve already had the 5th district court rule against them as well as the 7th circuit court of appeals. They are done. I attended a few of the trials and the judges and defense lawyers made mince meat of them. One lie after the next. I have some of the trial transcripts if you are interested in reading them. I find it curious that you don’t have a problem with France and Belgium using our court system. You do realize that they didn’t pay any federal taxes but have no problem using our hard earned tax dollars for ridiculous law suits without merit. We pay for the courts and the judge’s salaries.

    Again, how do you explain the same amount of cases of abuse and neglect when the kill houses were open? That’s not emotional, that’s fact. We absorbed over 300,000 horses per year that weren’t slaughtered. That’s not emotional, that’s fact. I didn’t once say that we shouldn’t slaughter horses because I love them and because they’re beautiful. I said we shouldn’t slaughter them because they are not livestock. They aren’t raised as food animals. The services they perform could never be done with livestock. Livestock could never participate in the sports and performing that horses do. A cow in the derby? A cow performing dressage? That’s not emotional. If the horse is dangerous, why would you want to feed him for 30 years? Isn’t that when you call the vet and have him euthanized?

    Aren't race horses good, sound, viceless and well trained? They are the second highest count of horses going to slaughter after the quarter horses. Pure Thoughts just rescued every horse that was at Sugar Creek for one day. I will bet you that those horses will be placed. You can go to their website and read the details, if you are interested. The meat men left without one horse that day. Christy Sheidy from Another Chance 4 horses (featured in the HBO segment) places hundreds of slaughter horses each year. Check out Maines and Tails Organization and see the magnificent horses Ellen has rescued from slaughter. Old Friends is the benchmark of rescues and the only rescue that accepts stallions. Michael Blowen has over 30 retired race horses and is currently in the process of expanding. All of his horses will live out their retirement at his farm. I could give you 30 more rescues with the same stories. The information is out there but it is so much easier to take the articles that are being circulated by hired PR firms as fact. Don't you see the themes in the articles? When one doesn’t work or we investigate and publish the facts, they switch gears. Before the abandonment stories started circulating, they were trying to twist the language of the bills to scare people into believing it would ban all transport. When that didn’t work, they started with abandoned horses. When we investigated and proved them false, they started with the neglect and abuse. It’s so transparent. We presented the facts, the sources, the police reports and findings and they still continued to print the same articles and info on blogs. And every time we have a victory, such as the recent refusal to ship horsemeat from DFW, another slew of bogus articles is published. All of the information in the articles can be researched but it’s so much easier to just keep repeating them whether they are true or not.

    I did answer your question. If you say they are livestock, then treat them like livestock. Withdraw the drugs, make the owners provide coggins and health certificates with chain of ownership. Have you figured out what that will do to the racing industry alone? Cattle have to follow the regulations from birth. Why should horses be treated differently? Goats are not being slaughtered by the thousands.

    As I’ve said and you have confirmed, horses are very expensive animals to maintain. If someone is not prepared to take on that responsibility and doesn’t have the means to provide the care, well then, common sense would dictate that you don’t buy a horse and if you have a horse and are struggling, you certainly don’t breed them. And just who is responsible for the sh** horses that are out there? Somebody owned them. Somebody bred them. Why should you or I be responsible for them? You bring up valid points about human nature and the irresponsible that won’t change. I don’t doubt what you say is happening but not the dramatic numbers published in articles. It has always happened- with or without slaughter. Look at the hoarders. They start out with good intentions and things go terribly bad. Many don’t have a clue what is happening and don’t see the squalor they’re living in. It’s the same with horses. That is a totally different mindset and they don’t take their horses to slaughter. You have to start somewhere to fix it and slaughter isn’t going to do that. Just think of what the rescues could do if they weren’t constantly rescuing from the kill buyers. That money could be used to take in horses from owners that are truly in need. Nobody has all the answers but I bet if we worked together, we could start making it better one step at a time. Once the retirement fund for racehorses gets going, that will take care of the TBs. Then you start on the next group, quarter horses. Perhaps they should stop using artificial insemination. That will dramatically reduce the foal counts. There will always be the irresponsible but you try to minimize that.

  20. Wow, Theresa, you are attempting a huge undertaking. I am not addressing your points individually, but only explaining why I am against horse slaughter, so take from it what you can. I am only speaking for myself here...

    Generally, I don't have a problem with animals being used for human consumption. That being said, in our mainstream culture, there are animals that are not consumed--dogs, cats, and yes, horses. I know that horses have been consumed in the past in America, but I would also argue that many things that have been done in the past are not done today.

    Back to the consumption argument. Speaking for myself, I do have major issues with the current state of what factory farming and slaughter have become, not just for horses. That is why I roll my eyes and dismiss any arguments when the pro-slaughter side talks about returning to humane slaughter. There is nothing humane about how most of our farm animals are raised and slaughtered today. USDA regulation of our meat industries is a joke. Most farm animals are treated solely as commodities... cram them in, fatten them up, pump them full of antibiotics, and dump all of that waste wherever no one is going to put up a fuss. Feel free to send this comment to your Livestock Marketing Association. They need to wake up and realize that citizens are fed up with their industry's lack of respect to their consumers.

    I am not trying to disrespect farmers. I do still eat meat, but as I said earlier, choose to only buy from people who respect their land and animals. I have been to their farms, seen their animals, and know these people by their first name. They love what they do and don't cut corners to make a buck.

    Sorry for the rant, but it gives you an idea of where I am coming from. As far as slaughter of any animal goes, well, how many people do you know that want that job? I am not talking about your skilled, neighborhood butcher, if you even have one left. Large scale plants are set up to take all of the skill out of the process, so what you are left with are low-paying, low-skill, dangerous jobs. Who do you get to work in those jobs? Lots of illegal status workers who won't complain to OSHA when they get a few fingers sliced off.

    The horse slaughter industry was no different. A couple of years ago when I was finishing my master's degree, I worked in an agency not far from Cavel in Illinois. My supervisor also lived in Sycamore, so I heard quite a bit about it. It was reported that Cavel routinely exceeded wastewater limits imposed by the local environmental agency. They were closed at least once during that time that I remember due to not being able to get their waste into compliance. I believe that they were actually trucking it out at one point because they couldn't get back up and running otherwise. Good for those local residents, but bad for some other unlucky location. And what happened when the local governing board pushed too hard for compliance? Cavel brought in their attorney to argue the fines. I believe that Cavel paid a fraction of what they were originally fined. While I no longer live or work in Illinois, I'm glad that Cavel is gone.

    Are there horses in trouble? You bet. Is going back to the slaugtherhouses the answer to this problem? I say, hell no. The horse slaughter plants were foreign owned, were poorly regulated (I hasten to even use that word since the plants were paying the USDA directly), and caused more harm to the local communities than the handful of low paying, unskilled jobs that they produced. It's time to go forward and figure out what to do next.

    Lisa (Aren't you afraid that you asked now?)

  21. Lisa,

    Heck no, I'm not afraid I asked! I appreciate the logical, well-reasoned answer - and I agree with you.

    But, the answer to the dilemma as you state it would be to do away with capitalism and mass consumption. I'm ok with that. I took a course during my undergrad years called, I think, "US Hegemony" and it explained The Whole Thing. At the end of the semester, the doctorate student teaching the course offered one solution to the whole mess: Community level economies. In other words, banish all the borders that hold people in but not big business and allow each community to sustain itself, and work trade agreements per needed goods. I'm not sure that would truly work nowadays, but it was the only solution to the economic, agricultrual, biological mess the world is in now.

    Idealism aside, what I think you're saying is that the problem always existed, and I agree with that, so now it's time to truly come up with solutions to neglected and abused horses.

    The problem with euthanizing dangerous animals is the disposal of the body. Slaughter at least eliminated that huge challenge, and used the parts for other things instead of just throwing it all away. If we could come up with a solution for this part of the crisis, we'd be in good shape to help all the rest.


  22. Vicki,

    Hrslady and you are in agreement on that part of things, that we need to curb the overbreeding that is happening.

    I'm not entirely sure about this, only heard it one time, but isn't there something about claiming farm status on taxes that means you have to breed every year? Oh, I so hope not!

    I mentioned earlier that it would be relatively inexpensive for owners to geld a colt in its first year. I think it's less costly to geld a horse than it is to spay or neuter a dog or cat!

    So, now we have to figure out how to do it that eliminates all the irresponsible breeders.


  23. This came in via email to me:

    Hi T.

    Hey I've been reading your blog.
    I don't have time to post to it, but you can give some facts to ponder.

    1. Beef in Japan is 35.00 a lb. That's they buy an eat horse meat. In Japan it's not a delicacy it's their source of cheaper meat..
    2. Japan has lifted the ban on our beef.
    3. There has not been any growth hormones used in milk and beef cattle in over a year. USDA and FDA has outlawed the use of them. That is why Japan has lifted the ban on our beef, they are importing it by tons.

    USDA and FDA test milk daily for BST. Any milk producer caught using it gets shut down, no dairy can afford that. They won't take that chance.

    Beef is tested for growth hormones, again beef producers can't afford being shut down and fined.

    I don't know where these people get their information but it sure as hell isn't the Farm & Dairy Journal nor any of the Ag Journals.

    Also tell then to quit putting all the blame on breeders for the thousands of unwanted horses. Most all breeders I know have quit or backed down to only a couple of foals for them selves. So it's not breeders as much it's the assholes brining all those damn useless PMU horses out of Canada. And slaughter is legal in Canada, Yes Canadians eat horse. I bet they didn't know that.

    But with ten's of thousands PMU horses coming in this country every year our sale barns are full of them. Tell them to leave Canada alone and let them dispose of their own the way they always have. Leave those worthless PMU horses up there. Quit brining them here.

    Oh and why should any of the Associations create a fund to save unwanted horses.

    Why don't the anti-slaughter people do it themselves, they are the ones who want to same them, they should be the ones to feed, house and vet them.
    Put their money where their mouths are.

    Shit the USHS doesn't use any of the 30 million they get every year to save any animals, it all goes to legislators for more laws to take away our rights.

  24. I agree that capitalism is not going away any time soon, nor do I want it to be. I really do believe in the power of the consumer and the ability to change the marketplace. If the organic industry wasn't doing so well, why are the big companies trying so hard to get the standards relaxed so they can get a piece of the action? I am very active in telling companies what I like, don't like, how I will spend my money. Sometimes, I actually get results.

    As for mass consumption, the market certainly is adjusting that for a lot of folks, isn't it? People are losing their big houses and can't afford to keep filling their gas tanks in their huge vehicles. GM has just announced today that they are closing a plant in the county in which I live because they believe that they can no longer profitably produce the large SUV's made here. I feel terrible for the loss of jobs, good paying jobs that were able to sustain families. Times will be tough here for years. Will people re-examine their values and realize they don't need the big house, car, boat, and 4 horses in a field? I hope so.

    Everyone makes choices with what they buy, how they live, what they take care of and responsibility comes with it all. Animals are not disposable when they become inconvenient. Too many people have that attitude and that has to change.


  25. Lisa, I live about one hour east of DeKalb, former home of Cavel. You are correct regarding the environmental fines. They were fined repeatedly and just ignored the fines. It wasn’t until they reached over 100k that the DSD finally got serious. The residents were up in arms and they finally had a hearing because, of course, Cavel appealed the fines. I attended a few of the sanitary district hearings and it took every ounce of energy to keep my mouth shut. They had a typical ambulance chasing attorney from out of state. Mr. Compassionate, Jim Tucker (plant manager) was sitting about two feet from me and sat there with that arrogant smirk of his. Two employees attended but didn’t speak English so they weren’t called on. They did end up paying a reduced fine.

    I can’t speak for the two in Texas, other than what Paula Bacon (former mayor of Kaufman, TX) told me about Dallas Crown in Kaufman, TX but Cavel ignored laws and regulations. After one of their many TROs from their appeals on the new law, two foals were born on the kill house floor in a two week period and he wanted to slaughter all of them. The first two are doing fine. He wouldn’t release the second mare and baby until finally, under pressure from several groups and at long last, the inspector stepped in. He chose the rescue and both mother and baby died within a short time. When they were ordered shut down when the courts ruled that the kill houses were violating the withdrawal for inspection fees by paying the inspectors, several rescues were there in no time and he fought turning them over until the bitter end. The horses became known as the Cavel Miracle horses because they were the only horses to see the inside of a kill house and walk out alive. Two of my friends adopted three of the horses and they are precious. One was a blind mare (it is illegal to send blind horses to slaughter) who gave birth shortly after being rescued. It is also illegal to send a late term mare to slaughter so it was a double whammy for poor Snickers. Both Snickers and her baby are doing fine. The other, and last of the horses to be adopted, was adopted by a friend who is very prominent in anti slaughter efforts. She is doing fine, as well. I may have the incidents reversed because they had so many appeals going for so many different shut downs, I can’t keep them straight.

    You are absolutely correct about the illegals. When Cavel filed suit after our law was passed, only ten employees were named in the suit. Yet, Tucker would get in front of the reporters saying how awful it was that 55 (sometimes is was 67) employees were losing their jobs. The others couldn’t be named in the suit because they were not legal citizens. Another incident that didn’t receive much press was when one of the double deckers had an accident in front of the plant and slid into a ditch. No vet or inspector was anywhere to be seen to inspect the horses. Tucker being Mr. Compassionate, made sure those horses moved to the front of the line and were slaughtered first.

    These were not isolated incidents. And isn’t it curious that if you FOIA Cavel, none of these violations are listed. France and Belgium are clever and expert at navigating our legal system. The sad thing is that we let them do it while they laughed all the way to the bank. All the while they were appealing and crying about the lost revenue (Cavel was a very small percentage of Velda’s profits) they were busy setting up shop in Canada.

  26. Geez, I am not going to get to sleep soon, am I? Theresa, please ask your friend:

    If the USDA and FDA have banned all growth hormones in dairy cows (for over a year now), why are many states having problems KEEPING r-BGH labels put on their milk? I mean, if it was outlawed, there wouldn't be an issue, would it?

    Yes, many dairy producers and grocery chains will no longer allow it. That's great news. But it's still out there, just ask Monsanto, its maker. They're behind the push in these states to declare the labeling illegal.

    But that's enough for tonight. Back tomorrow.


  27. Theresa, what a goal! I don’t think there is any way to eliminate all irresponsible breeders. I would think that if they can’t sell or dump what they’re breeding, most will realize they need to make adjustments. Gelding is another viable option. I’m not sure on the cost but I do know there are several states with mobile clinics that will geld for around $50.

    I must vent on the comment by the poster that said we should put our money where our mouth is. We have! The groups I’m involved with have raised close to $1M to rescue slaughter horses. A friend out east, that has a rescue, is paying close to $3k per month to board slaughter horses she’s rescued. You know, the worthless horses. They are descendants of Nijinsky, Impressive and Secretariat. These worthless, dangerous and untrainable horses are doing level 1 dressage and enjoying life. The associations, like the AQHA, promote slaughter with their breeding practices. The majority of horses going to slaughter are quarter horses. Since they are the biggest contributors to the excess horse problem, they should be part of the solution. Look at the millions the racing industry rakes in. Take $1 from every ticket sale and you’ve got a retirement fund. BTW-the $30M the HSUS rakes in to the 501c3 does not go to lobbying or legislation efforts. That is illegal. They have a separate 501c4 that is for lobbying and legislative action and doesn’t raise anywhere near that amount.

  28. Hi Vicki,

    Gee, we have probably crossed paths at some time or another and not have known it. I graduated from Aurora University, which is probably real close to you.

    I didn't know about horse slaughter until a couple of years ago. My first reaction was one of shock. I probably would not have known had I not been working and going to school in the nearby area. However, at that time, it was all that I could do to hold a job, go to school and work at an unpaid internship without losing it. Now I actually have time to do reading for pleasure!

    Just a wild guess, but I bet that the PMU issue is not a news flash to you. Me neither, but it is another point of discussion.

    Great point about creating a retirement fund with racing proceeds. Really, it's the least that they could do. I have two retired racing greyhounds that came from a successful adoption program. Lots of other issues with horses, but it would be a great start.


  29. Small world, Lisa. I’m in Naperville!

    I wasn’t aware of horse slaughter either, until about 2 ½ years ago. There are still a lot that don’t know, hence, America’s Dirty Little Secret. I suspect after the HBO segment, that has changed.

    The PMU issue isn’t that big any longer. There isn’t anywhere near the amount being rescued as in years past because they are usually sent directly to slaughter in Canada. A friend of mine started the PMU rescues (Ipswich Equine Rescue) in the early 90s but no longer rescues PMUs. Pure Thoughts is still involved but I don’t know of any others. That’s not to say there aren’t any, just none that I work with or know of.

    There are few different programs underway for TB retirements. One of the rescues I work with is working with Gretchen Jackson and a few other owners to get their fund moving. Today, the Kentucky Humane Equine Center issued a press release with their program for Kentucky horses. Seems a lot of organizations are stepping up except the AQHA and AVMA. They’d rather spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations to senators and professional lobbyists rather than doing something for their horses. Their most recent hire by the AQHA was Burns, Mr. Slaughter, himself…

  30. Vicki,

    There is a new discussion started. I think if you click on "Featured Posts" on the side of the page, it will take you to the new one.


  31. Ooops, it's the Kentucky Horse Park not the Kentucky Humane Equine Center that issued the press release.....

  32. Horse slaughter is one of the major issue in todays society. What can be done to stop this concern?

  33. WOW!!! Sounds like the Vicki chic needs some hormone injections herself... And maybe a breath of REALITEY. Anyways, it is America and were all intitled to our own. She can eat all the horse she wants to besides sounds like she set in her ways. Some people are helpless, can't tell someone who knows everything, anything...
    some people are cole hearted ssssnakes....

  34. Why kill these beautiful majestic animals just to help feed stupid ass holes that don't know the first thing about agriculture! Believe it or not horses are very smart animals and they do have feelings wheather people want to believe it or not. What would happen if some smuck wanted to kill american dogs for overseas comsumption..... I know alot of people that would jump on the band wagon to stop that shit, why not for horses too?