Opposing Horse SlaughterPublished February 18, 2013
According to Hoofpac political action committee, the majority of horse lovers and American voters oppose horse slaughter. Additionally, according to Straight from the Horse's Heart, results of a nationwide poll conducted in 2012 by Lake Research Partners showed that 80% of Americans oppose horse slaughter, regardless of their political affiliation, gender, or where they live.
Sadly, many people think that horses destined for slaughter are old, unwanted or disabled. They believe that slaughter is humane euthanasia. However, a study made by Dr. Temple Grandin and confirmed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture showed that 92.3% of horses sent to slaughter are healthy.
In spite of the strong opposition to horse slaughter, the ban on horse slaughter plants for meat for human consumption has been lifted and the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Services (FSIS) is gearing up to start issuing permits which will once again allow horse slaughter plants to start opening in the United States.
While horse slaughter plants for meat intended for human consumption are not yet in operation in the United States, horses are sold to “killer” buyers and transported to Canada and Mexico where horse slaughter plants are operational. Their meat is then shipped overseas to tickle the taste buds of diners living in countries where the meat is considered a delicacy.
In this country, horses are not raised for meat. Besides the ethical issues associated their slaughter, horses aren’t fit to be food; they are commonly given drugs such as steroids, painkillers, de-wormers and other medications making them totally unfit for human consumption. Many of these drugs, such as aspirin and Phenylbutazone (“Bute”) have extensive half-lives and in turn remain for a long time in a horse’s system. Bute is a carcinogen which can also cause aplastic anemia in humans.
So the recent flurry of articles featuring stories about horse meat showing up in beef products in European grocery stores that has been circulating around the Internet and making newspaper headlines is not at all surprising to me. In fact, it seems that the “chickens have finally come home to roost”, clearly illustrating the dangers inherent in horse meat.
According to the San Angelo Standard Times, Britain’s Food Regulator announced yesterday that six horse carcasses testing positive for an equine painkiller may have contaminated the human food chain in France and consumers may have been purchasing these products "for some time."
While Sally Davies, Britain’s chief medical officer, claims that horse meat that contains “Bute” is a low risk to human health, the drug was removed from the market for humans in the United States several years ago.
After horse meat was discovered in food products labeled as beef in several countries, authorities are now testing thousands of meat products across Europe for the drug and for horse DNA. Better to be safe than sorry. After all, who can attest to just how much horse meat possibly contaminated with dangerous drugs is safe for humans to consume?
This writer strongly subscribes to Hoofpac’s motto, “Keep America's horses in the stable and off the table!" How do you feel about horse slaughter? Tell us in a comment.