One of the most contentious issues for many animal welfare advocates is what happens after a horse is hit with a penetrating captive bolt or bullet. The PSAs will tell you that the horse is basically brain-dead as soon as the bolt or bullet hits them, while anti-slaughter people have some real concerns. It is a major issue because it speaks to the whole pain and suffering issue. If we are to believe Slaughterhouse Sue and her tribe of the uninformed, horses sent to slaughter spend their days relaxing in bucolic surroundings with ample food and care. When their time comes to end their days on this earthly plane, they are gently ushered into a pristine room and are rendered senseless before they know what is going on. They are handled all the way through by caring and compassionate people and they likely have harp music playing softly in the background throughout the process. There is no dispute that they are bled out aka exsanguinated while they are still technically alive, but the PSAs will say the horses will not be `aware’. Other than the blood and gore aspect, it almost sounds like a fairy tale. It reminds me of the parent that tells their child that the family dog went to live on a distant relative’s farm when they actually had it put to sleep. They will tell you what they think you need to hear so you’ll be ok with it. Unfortunately for Suey, animal welfare advocates are not children and are well aware that the picture she paints is anything but the truth.
It would seem our PSAs are, once again, confused. This is hardly surprising as they normally eschew any facts, research or data that does not support their misguided mission. While there can be some movement of a body after brain death occurs, PSAs have been quite unable to distinguish that from purposeful movement. One of the main ways you can tell if actual death has occurred is eye response. Even when a horse is euthanized under ideal circumstances any competent vet will check the eye for response before considering his job complete. Simply, if a horse can still blink when you move your finger towards its eye, it is not yet dead and still aware. A dead horse will not be able to look around, get to its feet nor will it be able to aim a kick at somebody. While there may be a few flickering breaths, a dead or senseless horse will not display rhythmic breathing. All of these things have been recorded and documented in the very Canadian slaughter-houses that Wallis plans to model her empire on. Not a single horse was checked for insensibility. I have linked it before, but if you need a reminder you can check out this link:
If the footage is too disturbing, I suggest you read the indexes which will give you a listing of horses that were not cleanly stunned and what occurred after. It should be noted that in these instances a .22 rifle was used to knock the animals down. Many of the animals listed were very aware and able to feel pain and fear. If you recall, Temple Grandin has outlined that 100% of animals at slaughter must be rendered insensible prior to hoisting. For the mathletically challenged among the PSA crowd, that means even one horse is too many.
Since Slaughterhouse Sue and her band of buffoons keep telling us that administering a kill shot with either a captive bolt or rifle is so easy, I’m wondering why it goes so wrong in these slaughter plants. It mainly doesn’t go right due to placement issues. Horses are typically brought into the kill box unrestrained. They move their heads around a lot which makes it nearly impossible to place the bullet or bolt correctly. There is a relatively small area on a horse’s head that must be hit accurately and at the proper angle in order to effectively render the horse unconscious. For bigger horses that enter the kill box it becomes even more difficult to be at the proper angle to knock them down in one shot. In cases where a captive bolt is used, it is recommended that the horse’s head be restrained and the strength of the cartridge must be appropriate for the size of the horse. As we know, they do not use head restraints for horses in slaughter houses as they are considered inhumane and, at the present time, the animals are not haltered and held for killing as Temple Grandin has suggested. That would not be cost-effective as far as labor or time when they have a target of processing one horse every two minutes.
After I wrote one of my initial blog entries about Rockville, there was a lot of whining and finger-pointing when I mentioned they types of workers that a slaughter plant usually employs and the effects on a community. While most ranchers, hunters, sportsmen are quite capable of killing an animal and dressing it out a few times a year, have you ever thought about what kind of person could stand there and kill animals, all day, every day? Thankfully I’m not the only person that wonders that. University of Windsor Criminology professor Dr. Amy Fitzgerald wondered the same thing and completed a study linking slaughterhouses to violent crime using the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report database, census data, and arrest and offence reports from 581 U.S. counties from the years 1994 to 2002. Her findings showed support for the `Sinclair Hypothesis’, which suggests the propensity for violent crime is increased by work that involves the routine slaughter of other animals. I will link the full report with all the research data as well as a summary article for those that don’t want to read it all. It was a very involved study. In short, Fitzgerald found that with an average sized facility (175 employees) the number of arrests will increase 2.24 and reports 4.69. The larger the facility, the worse the problem. Those may not sound like big numbers, but add that to an extremely small community like Rockville, Missouri. Remember, this was a study on VIOLENT crime.
In doing her study, Dr. Fitzgerald controlled such factors as new residents moving into a community once the facilities open, high numbers of young men and immigrant workers. Yup, there is that dreaded `I’ word the PSAs got their panties in a wad over. Immigrant. “Some residents started to recognize that crime rates were going up and started complaining, and the SLAUGHTERHOUSE COMPANIES were quick to blame the immigrant labor pool they were relying on” is what Fitzgerald said. She compared slaughterhouse communities to those communities that hosted comparable industries aka dangerous, repetitive work not involving the killing of animals. There was no rise in crime in those communities and in some cases, the crime rates dropped. More studies will be needed to figure out if the workers are committing the crimes and why it is going up. The questions that researchers have is whether working in a slaughter-house desensitizes workers to killing or is that type of work attracting less sensitive people to begin with. I don’t think it’s a huge leap to surmise that anybody that loves horses is not going to end up working in a slaughter-house. I’m sure the PSAs will puff their chests out and tell us all that they could and they love horses too which is complete and utter bullshit. They may have their fragile egos tied up in their horses, but you don’t love them if you could stand and kill hundreds of them a day or even watch. Don’t forget, we aren’t talking about old, sick or infirm animals that you would be putting out of their misery. You would be killing young, healthy animals that struggle to survive in the kill box. If you still think you could do that, I don’t want you living anywhere near me or my loved ones.
So, that’s the scientific explanation. What about hearing from the actual work themselves? I feel that their own words are more powerful, so here are some quotes from workers that worked on the kill floor processing hogs. I don’t see how it would be the least bit different for horses, if not worse. The source is linked at the bottom of this blog. I strongly suggest people take the time to read it. These are the words of the people who couldn’t continue killing animals. What does it take to be able to do this as your career?
“When you’re standing there night after night, digging that knife into these hogs, and they’re fighting you, kicking at you, trying to bite you – doing whatever they can to try and get away from you – after a while you don’t give a shit. You’re just putting in your time. And then it gets to the point where you’re at a daydream stage. When you can think about everything else and still do your job. You become emotionally dead.”
“So I go to their supervisor, a USDA veterinarian, and tell him workers are being hurt by live hogs…He’d be like, “Hey, I’m coming down.” And he’d tell everyone in advance. The main foreman would tell me the vet was coming down, then he’d crank up the stunners, walk around picking up pipes, and warning everybody, “Whatever you do, don’t use no pipes, the government man is coming down.” The vet would look around and say, “I don’t see no live hogs.” After that, he’d tell anyone who complained, “Hey, I’ve been down there, I’ve seen it. There’s nothing wrong with them hogs.”
“[The managers would] say, “That’s just muscle reaction, nerves. It’s not alive.” I’d say, “Then why’s the damn hog trying to bite me? Just how stupid do you think I am?”
“My wife…couldn’t take the bitching any more. I’d blow up at the drop of a hat, come home every night and find something to complain about, take my frustrations from work out on my family.”
“Today, if somebody gave me a choice of going without a job or working for [the slaughterhouse], I’d go without a job. I’d mow lawns, fix cars. I’d do anything before I’d do that again.”
I don’t know about everybody else, but I think the sources of this information are all pretty credible. Slaughterhouse Sue and the consortium of ignorance will discredit and minimize every single fact that does not further their agenda. People need to realize that Suzy lives in sparsely populated constituency whose numbers are rumored to be mostly made up by her inbred clan. The only thing this creature has been successful at is pumping out kids at an alarming rate. As an animal welfare advocate I want these issues addressed. If I lived in one of the communities that she wants to host a slaughter plant I would DEMAND it. So far the only thing I’ve seen from her is lies and chicanery.