Monday, August 4, 2008

Economics & Horse Slaughter Myths

Economic realities & the unwanted horse / slaughter myth
For a rational economic examination of the unwanted horse issue, please read horseman Alex Brown's well-researched piece on Horsetalk NZ. Here's the link: from the well documented cruelty of horse slaughter to feed wealthy Europeans, and air-shipping live American foals to Japan for sushi, where the foals stand in pens waiting their turn in full view of the diners, the economic reality is that horse slaughter is a highly profitable DEMAND-DRIVEN industry that makes a whole lot of money by getting American horses onto upscale dinner plates in Europe and Japan. Fact: US horse slaughter numbers rise and fall with demand in Europe, not how many so- called "unwanted" horses we have. Fact: Study after study shows that horse stealing and abuse cases actually decline when horse slaughter is outlawed. Humane euthanasia is not provided by the kill buyer's double deck trailer and the grim ride to Canada or Mexico ... and what follows. Humane euthanasia is provided by licensed veterinarians whose mission is to limit suffering and treat the animal with kindness and compassion. The option of calling a veterinarian for humane euthanasia has never been limited by any proposed legislation to end the abusive practice of horse slaughter. I welcome the day when horseman's groups of all persuasions sit down and discuss workable plans, including registration fees and responsible breeding programs. With 70-90f the American public strongly opposed to horse slaughter, and US taxpayers subsidizing the horse racing business, taking a zero-tolerance policy to slaughter at its tracks is an opportunity to help the public relations problems and loss of fans the industry faces following the death of Eight Belles, drug and whip violations and breeding out soundness in favor of speed. Frankly, seeing an offspring of Dynaformer (Barbaro's sire) recently rescued from slaughter (with a $150,000 cover fee) makes it hard to believe the argument that a veterinarian's fee was too much to pay or that the horse wasn't worth retraining to a second career. Now is the time for the horse racing industry to take the moral high ground by protecting all its equine athletes from slaughter for human consumption overseas.
Susan, Saratoga Springs, NY

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