Will Horse Slaughter Lead to Horse Meat in Supermarkets?Published May 29, 2012
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Since horse slaughter plants producing meat for human consumption remained legal in the Mexico and Canada, they remained open. Untold numbers of fit and healthy horses were purchased at auctions by "killer buyers" who shipped them out of the country; their meat destined to tickle the palettes of European epicurean diners. These horses are the innocent victims of the horse slaughter industry.
Last December, as part of a funds allocation effort to keep the economy afloat, Congress passed a new bill dropping the prohibition on inspections, setting the stage for horse slaughter plants producing meat for human consumption to open. As a result of this ban being lifted, regretfully horses can be legally slaughtered for meat for human consumption, resulting in a growing interest developing in building horse slaughter plants in our country.
According to the Billings Gazette, Wyoming State Rep. Sue Wallis (R) announced that the company of which she is C.E.O. within the next year is considering building one of the only horse slaughterhouses in the United States. The company, located in Riverton, is presently seeking investors to help finance the plant, at a cost ranging between $2 million and $6 million dollars.
However, Wallis claims once the plant is opened, with its capability of processing up to 200 horses a day, 50 new jobs would be immediately created - a good thing for the local economy. Horse meat produced by the plant would be targeted for sale to ethnic markets in the United States, and for consumers abroad. It’s also rumored that the meat could be used to feed prisoners and school children.
But even before the Riverton facility is built, Wallis’ company, Unified Equines, is already working on plans to open two other horse slaughter plants in Missouri and Oklahoma. Wallis added that her company would only purchase privately owned horses, since wild horses living on public lands are federally protected. Wallis, who professes to love horses, along with other horse slaughter proponents, claim horse slaughter is a humane alternative solution for horses that are old and unwanted, and who might otherwise be abandoned or starve.
In justifying horse slaughter, Wallis said, “We love our horses. We absolutely do not want them to suffer. And we’re going to do everything we can to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
What is most alarming about this rhetoric is that horses have never been raised for their meat. They are our beloved companion animals who serve as our partners. Horses are even considered family members by many people who own them. Most of the horses that end up purchased by killer buyers are healthy and sound, capable of re-training and leading productive lives.
For example, according to an article on msn.foxsports.com, Neville Bardos, a three year-old chestnut gelding too slow to continue racing, was up for sale. If the owner couldn’t sell him, he would be purchased by a killer buyer destined for slaughter. Fortunately, Boyd Martin, a professional horseman, took an interest in the retired Thoroughbred, and bought him for $850. Recognizing his talent as a jumper, Martin began re- training him. Today Neville Bardos is on the short list to compete as part of the United States Equestrian team at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
All horse slaughter must end. Horses are companion animals. We don’t eat dogs or cats, so why are horses any different?
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