Saturday, October 3, 2009
Pro-Slaughter Sue Speaketh - Defendith her Position, er, ah, well, tries to, anyways
Pro-Slaughter Sue's ( a breeder of quarter-horses, defends her "honorable" pro-slaughter position. Below is in reply to an anti-slaughter advocates inquiry regarding her pro-slaughter stance;
".... Though I have not personally witnessed the slaughter of horses, but I have witnessed all sorts of other kinds of processing plants, I know what happens there, and I have butchered almost all of the meat our family eats myself. I also have visited with a number of the veterinarians who went on the American Association of Equine Practitioner’s (AAEP) trip to inspect the Mexican horse processing plants. They were very impressed by the professionalism and the handling of the animals in both an European Union inspected plant, and in a Mexican government inspected plant. One fact that you should know is that currently ALL US horses that go to Mexico for processing, go to an EU inspected plant, without exception. That is the only way they get over the border. They are transported in specially designed trucks with all rounded corners, and the truck is sealed as it crosses the border and the horses have been inspected, and then a government/EU inspector breaks that seal at the processing plant. The horses are handled gently, and are only moved with flags, no hotshots, no abuse of any kind. At the plant, they are humanely killed—quickly, painlessly, and with an absolute minimum of stress to the animal—the AAEP vets were able to watch everything, go anywhere they wanted in the plant, and take pictures. The horses are not terrified. They are not abused. They do not witness the procedure happening to other horses. There is no screaming. There is no “coming back to consciousness while they are being cut up.” All sensation ends in less than 30 seconds. The veterinarians watched a good number of horses be killed, and reported that it was all done very well. Here is a link to the report in the Journal of American Veterinary Medicine Association from March, 2009, Horse slaughter conditions in Mexico explored by American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) group.
Even at the Mexican government inspected plant, which of course, only processed Mexican horses, the veterinarians reported that the facilities were not quite as good, but that they did use a capture bolt mechanism, and that all of the horses they watched be killed there were killed humanely.
Because of these professional reports, and my own experience, I have concluded that the horrific videos of horse slaughter that are being smeared around the internet are either a:) a completely fabricated hoax designed to emotionally manipulate people like yourself who truly love and care for horses; or b:) filmed at some back yard “mom and pop” butcher shop that is completely unregulated, even by the Mexican government.
For most of us involved in agriculture, we believe that it is our moral and ethical responsibility to care for the animals we own. To us, a very humane death in a processing plant is far, far preferable to a miserable, and prolonged, and painful death of starvation and neglect. We would never allow this to happen to our horses. So, if we have a horse that we cannot use, or cannot sell, then the only honorable option is to put that horse down…to humanely kill it. We know that once a horse has been humanely killed, for whatever reason, for mercy or for processing, that once the horse is dead all legal, moral, and ethical obligations to the welfare of that live animal ceases. We believe that whatever happens to the carcass is entirely the right, responsibility, and prerogative of the owner. Period. For animals that have been trusted companions, loyal partners, and pets, this will generally mean a respectful burial or cremation depending on the owner’s philosophy and resources. For others the most appropriate option might be delivery to a rendering plant or a landfill. Rendering plants reduce animal carcasses to oils and useful by-products such as soap, glycerin, lubricants, inks, cleansing creams, shampoo, glue, antifreeze, explosives, and paints. Most small animal shelters utilize rendering plants for carcass disposal, as do livestock producers who occasionally have carcasses unsuitable for processing. Because horses are traditional food animals in most of the world, there is a viable export market for horse meat. Many horse owners either need, or wish to recoup the monetary value of their unusable horse, or a horse they can no longer support, and are comfortable with this solution; especially if they can be assured that their animals are humanely killed.
The American Veterinary Medical Association has approved three methods of humane euthanasia of horses: 1. Bullet; 2. Capture Bolt; and 3. Overdose of barbiturates. Of the three the captured bolt mechanism is the most reliable and certain. Our old vet who takes care of our horses will give a horse a lethal cocktail, wait until they start to go unconscious, and then puts a bullet in their brain because he has seen far too many of them not go down with just the drugs, and they flail around and suffer, so he makes it certain. But, you really have to know what you are doing to kill a horse with a bullet. It has to be very, very precise and in exactly the right spot—many, many people trying to do the “right thing” for their horses have been dismayed and emotionally traumatized because they were trying to honorably shoot their horse that they are emotionally attached to, and have to shoot them over and over and over, and they still don’t die.
So, for me, personally, providing that the horse that I have sold is not suffering (in which case I would put them down immediately here on the ranch), but if they are dangerous, untrainable, or otherwise unusable my myself or others, I would much prefer that they go to a US processing plant where I know it would be regulated by both the US government and the EU food safety systems, and would be humanely handled. It does not bother me, in fact, it suits my ethical view point that the carcass would be utilized very thoroughly to feed people, to feed other animals, and to produce many, many useful by-products. Other options just result in 1200 pounds of toxic waste and a disposal problem, and for people who make part or all of their living from horses, a complete and total financial loss. A humane processing option does provide some residual, salvage value that can be reinvested into productive, useful livestock. As it is, there is simply no market at all for unusable horses. Consequently the value of all horses, 98% to 99% of them that would never see the inside of a processing plant, and yet the value of all horses has plummeted by 30% to 80% nation-wide.
Basically what we have done by closing the US plants is take what used to be a valuable asset—something that you could take to the sale and get much needed cash for if you lost your job, or lost your home—and turned it into a very expensive liability with no options.
Another point that I would like to make is that no jurisdiction in this, or any other country, can let one specie reproduce to the point that they are destroying their resource base for themselves, and every other living creature, and are starving and dying—not feral dogs and cats, not deer, or elk, or bears, or wolves. And yet, this is sadly, exactly what is happening with the wild horses and burros on our public lands.
I really appreciate that you took the time to write and ask. I don’t think many people outside of the rural, agriculture world have heard, or understand our view point, or that we absolutely, unequivocally have the well-being of all horses in our hearts. Because I suspect that many people have exactly the same questions and beliefs that you do, I am going to post your question, and my response on our “frequently asked questions” page on our website."
Founding Leadership Team
United Organizations of the Horse