While the majority of citizens celebrate Independance Day, our PSA counterparts are celebrating the announcements of inspections being granted in Iowa and soon, Missouri. This is in addition to the little shop of horrors in New Mexico getting their go ahead last week. Despite issuing these grants of inspection, the USDA has requested that congress reinstate the ban on horse slaughter (http://rtfitchauthor.com/2013/07/03/usda-approves-second-horse-slaughterhouse-but-renews-bid-for-ban/). It seems that almost everybody except the PSAs realize this is neither progress nor a good idea and it will fix nothing. At the risk of being redundant, I’m going to try to round-up their bestest arguments for slaughter and address them here. They always like to accuse antis of ignoring these issues, so I’ll try to set them straight with some actual facts. Aside from Wikipedia, the PSAs aren’t really big on documented facts, but we’ll use them for our purposes today.
One of the main things I see PSAs wetting their panties over is that with domestic slaughter available, horses will once again have a `base value’. The actual fact is that less than 2% of American horses are sent to slaughter. This number really hasn’t changed much since slaughter ended in 2007. In fact, the only thing that really changed since then was the location of where it was happening, yet the market still dropped. Kill buyers, feed lots and slaughter trucks have remained in business pretty much as usual. I’ve heard that some have made a killing (pun intended) with these low prices that are actually tied to the economy and not the availability of domestic slaughter. For those of us capable of abstract thought, that means that the prices of horses just might be dependant on something other than slaughter. Go figure!
Apparently, with slaughter returning to the US, horses won’t have to endure the long rides to slaughter-houses according to the PSAs. That’s propaganda. The fact is, there were only three operating horse facilities by 2007 and they were in the mid west. That means that horses on either coast still shipped just as far before and will continue to do so. Further, the PSAs say that US slaughter is a good thing because it means they will be killed right here at home and handled more humanely. This is also a huge lie. Horses closer to Mexican and Canadian borders will still go to those countries and the handling of horses in those slaughter-houses is no different than the US ones will be as they, too, are run according to EU regulations. Nothing will change. Some of the more stupid PSAs have even talked about having slaughter houses all across the country. Where are all these horses to support these facilities going to come from when we barely supported 3 plants before with a larger horse population?
The PSAs all seem very concerned about `waste’ as far as putting a horse down and not slaughtering it. I wonder, since they are so concerned with waste, if they all donate the bodies of their loved ones to science rather than wasting them by putting them in the ground? If not, what’s the difference? The fact is that slaughter has the potential to create even more waste coupled with unneccessary death. At the present time there is no possible way to test a horse for all banned substances while it is alive. They like to throw around drug withdrawal times, but the fact is those are strictly for performance levels and not for tissue contamination. That means that those carcasses that are contaminated, that they happen to catch before they enter the food chain, are wasted. Considering we know it is the young and healthy that are slaughtered for human consumption, I’d say that’s a pretty big waste of a life. It is also not feasible for them to test each and every carcass no matter what they tell you. If you have any doubts about that, you can refresh your memories by reading this: (https://shedrowconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/07/12/anybody-want-a-bute-burger/)
I bet most of you didn’t realize how environmentally conscious most of our PSA pals are. Yup, they slaughter their horses because they don’t want to contaminate the ground water. The actual fact, and I have asked for this repeatedly, is that nobody can provide me with an actual study on the effect that proper disposal or burial of a horse has on the ground water. The one thing that they all refuse to acknowledge or discuss though, is the environmental impact of slaughter-houses. In fact, their flagship slaughter-house that is ready to open, has been cited for violating the federal Clean Water Act in the past. (http://www.frontrangeequinerescue.org/documents/release.vm.apr30.pdf?_r=1&). If you need to know further details on the impact of being the host community for a slaughter-house, you can read all about Kaufman, Texas here: (https://shedrowconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/the-truth-about-kaufman/). The fact is that horses are not the only large animals that die and not every death is a planned one. Every state has guidelines for disposal that are easily looked up. If you aren’t prepared to have a large animal body hauled away and disposed of properly, then I suggest you don’t own large animals. Period.
Slaughter beats starvation. That’s what I keep hearing anyhow. However, we know that starved horses don’t go to slaughter and it’s a gross assumption that everybody starving horses is doing so because of no slaughter. No slaughter-house is going to buy up a bunch of skinny horses because there is no money to be made off them. The fact is, people mistreat horses regardless of whether or not there is a slaughter-house within spitting distance or not (http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Study_of_Equine_Abuse.pdf). Not everybody that abuses horses does so because they can’t slaughter them. If that was the case, I wouldn’t have so many PSAs named and shamed on here for starving and abusing their horses. I do know one thing, and that’s that you can be saved from starvation, but you there is no return from slaughter.
Slaughterhouse Suey and her IEBA cronies love to talk about how professionally and compassionately all horses will be handled in their new slaughter emporiums. They have even held super secret, member only meetings discussing training and hiring of these employees. Ummm yeah, because everybody that loves and cares about animals really wants to spend their days killing them. In fact, Valley Meats in Roswell, NM, has been shut down for its mishandling and abuse of cattle in the past and now they’re going to get to do it to horses soon. However, according to PSAs, mistakes happen and we shouldn’t expect absolute perfection. One bad kill out of however many is no big deal. At least it’s not unless you happen to be the recipient of that one bad kill and we all know that it’s not abnormal at all for them to miss their first shot. They hold Temple Grandin in high esteem and talk about her standards quite a bit. You can read about her standards for humane horse slaughter here and decide for yourself if this will ever happen : (http://www.grandin.com/humane/questions.answers.horse.slaughter.html). Oh, and if you recall Tim Sappington of the horse snuff flick fame, he was/is an employee of Valley Meats. Need any more proof about what it takes to kill animals for a living?? Look here: (https://shedrowconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/07/14/death-dying-and-the-hand-that-delivers/)
Horses are property and nobody should be told what to do with their property. I feel like I’ve talked about this a thousand times before. Even if you do agree that horses are property, it doesn’t mean you get to do whatever you want to them. By the same definition, dogs, cats and any other animal is property. Yes, you can buy them and sell them, but no, you don’t get to abuse them. It’s a lot like having children. Mostly, nobody is going to tell you how to raise your kids until you push the bounds of common sense and then you get intervened on. God knows there are enough PSAs that would know all about that! The real problem we have right now is that we don’t have the resources and manpower to address every instance of abuse right now. Laws and penalties aren’t harsh enough to be a deterrent. Part of the reason for that is that the PSAs vigorously fight any anti-cruelty law that is put on the table because they want the right to abuse animals. Horse tripping? Awesome! Dog fighting? Good, clean, American fun! Big licks and soring? The survival of the gaited horse industry! Do you see a pattern here? They tie our hands in addressing abuse and neglect and then whine that not enough is being done about it. Unless the solution and answer is slaughter, that’s the way it will always be.
According to most PSAs slaughtering horses is not about money, but a necessary evil. Well, at least they can admit it’s evil even if they do contradict themselves with astonishing regularity. They say slaughter saves the horse industry and gives horses value but it’s not about money. Make no mistake; it’s ALL about money. Time and again, I have seen antis propose other methods in addressing their concerns such as free or subsidized euthanasia, knacker trucks, etc. and they outright ignore them. Of course none of those options are going to supply them with beer money or give them money to go get more horses to breed and mistreat, so they won’t look at them. They get downright enraged when they hear of people giving money to rescues or rescues asking for donations. Or, at least the do if the rescue in question does not support slaughter. The one true fact that they will not acknowledge is that it is actually live horses that drive the horse industry. Boarding stables,farriers, tack stores, equine vets, horse trailers, feed stores; all of these depend on live horses to survive and those are just a few of the businesses tied to the horse industry. A slaughter-house may have 20 or so minimum wage employees that may or may not be documented workers. Most of us can do the math on where the money in horses actually is.
By no means have I covered all the lunacy the PSAs like to spew to back up their blood lust. I’ve merely scraped the surface of their greatest hits. Like Slaughterhouse Suey and Douchebag Duquette have attempted to lay claim to the term `industry’, they are now laying claim to the term `animal welfare’ while trying to discredit the anti-slaughter people as activists. I guess by definition, some of us are, but that’s not really a bad thing. They are merely labels and buzz words used to push their agenda. I don’t really care what anybody wants to label me as. I’m all about the animals and what is in their best interests (https://shedrowconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/animal-welfare-vs-animal-rights/). They’ll tell you that you can’t know anything about horses if you don’t support slaughter and I have to call BS on that too. I just don’ t need their approval on how I make my living. I get enough here in the real world. It seems to be the PSAs that feel the need to crow about their `accomplishments’ online as if that justifies their brutality. Any asshole can beat and abuse and animal into submission. It’s just not every animal that will submit and that is why they are so desperate to have slaughter return. Where else are they going to hide and dump their mistakes? Happy 4th to everybody! Please make sure your horses are secure and safe if they are near fireworks. Remember, we wouldn’t be celebrating this day without the contributions of our equine friends. Surely there is a better way to honor them than slaughter?