Bringing back horse slaughterhouses to the US? No way

Unbelievably, the Wall Street Journal is reporting on a movement to bring back horse slaughterhouses to the United States. The flawed reasoning – There are so many horses, in the wake of the ban on slaughterhouses, that we have to go back to inhumanely killing them.

It seems some animal-welfare groups are joining with ranchers and horse owners in calling for a return of the slaughterhouses.

I am completely against this movement. The direction of this debate is way off track and flies in the face of what we really need to be talking about. THE problem lies in an over-breeding of horses, as the case with cats and dogs.

The horse racing industry has been dumping horses that are no longer of value to it into the auction process, to be sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. It’s horrible. With this latest option, the process will just be a little easier for those people.

What we need to do is slow the breeding and somehow get people to take personal and full responsibility for their animals. Anyone purchasing or adopting an animal should take responsibility for its care through to the end of its life. For some reason, those in the horse racing and greyhound racing industries seem to think personal responsibility doesn’t apply to them. They just dump dogs and horses like old appliances.

I know tough times can fall on people and that is where animal welfare and rescue organizations can help. But when irresponsible people over-burden the rescues with homeless animals, it becomes a major problem. And it is a major problem for horses, dogs and cats.

If we turn to slaughter, it offers the folks who are responsible for the over-breeding of horses a license to continue their practices. Don’t want your horse anymore? No worries, sell it to a slaughter-house.

We need to get the heart of the horse overpopulation problem. We SHOULD NOT promote the primary causes by reestablishing slaughterhouses. And sorry to folks who don’t like regulation. But people who continually do the wrong thing and show they refuse to do the right thing should be regulated, especially when lives are at stake. In the case of cats, dogs and horses, that’s millions of lives lost each year.


7 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Gail Storm on January 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm

    I’m just wondering what you think should be done with dangerous rank horses that can’t be handled or ridden safely by humans? The amount of cost to hold on to a horse is HUGE. It’s a lot of pasture or hay/grain and the cost for 25-30 years would be unthinkable. Or what about a horse that has an accidental injury that means the animal is unusable for riding and the family can only afford one horse or has space for only one horse and would now be stuck with no horse for the children to ride for the next 20 years? There’s all kinds of scenarios I could go into. What about all the wild horses that are starving to death. A slow agonizing death it is too. Should they be allowed to suffer for months or put an end to it quickly and feed starving humans and zoo animals? I’d just like to know what the answers are to all the problems in the horse world. I just read another article where 200 horses in Montana are slowly starving to death due to the economy and a rancher losing his place and just turning the horses out. Shall they just let them suffer and die slowly or put an end to it quickly and at least feed starving zoo animals or something. No one in MT is stepping up to care for that many horses, no can afford it and those horses are here on this earth already so there’s nothing we can do to change that now. Suggestions for the answer to the problems? You can’t regulate horses in the wild, they just won’t do as we ask and not reproduce.


  2. Posted by terissa curtis on February 21, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    The problem, as many believe is not the overbreeding of horses or owners not taking care of them. People who once could afford to take care of the horses they loved and cherished can no longer afford to. It comes down to putting food on the table for their families or taking care of their horses. And although the options of rescue groups or giving horses away to good homes is nice, it’s not always feasable. The people who own the horses can’t find anyone to take them. They are forced to let them starve and turn them out to defend theirselves. People don’t have the money to euthanize the horses and they can’t take care of them. What are you going to do? Slaughterhouses are a necessary evil that the United States needs to bring back. It’s very likely that a US slaughterhouse is going to much more humane than sending the horses to Mexico or Canada on an overcrowded, underventilated trailer for several hours. With the right guidelines and proper inspections, bringing the slaughterhouses back to the US can be a very positive thing. It may also help get the economy back on track.


    • Posted by Tom Grady on February 21, 2011 at 9:32 pm

      One area of concern is horse racing. where too many former racers are being sold for slaughter. Maybe, if we forced the horse-racing industry to care for its horses and take full responsibility for them, it could lessen this problem.
      Rescues are now going to the auctions and trying to buy as many as possible. If the race horses were taken out of the mix, maybe the rescue could save the horses that are living with struggling families.
      I wish we could reach a day when horse, dog and cat rescue was only about helping struggling families. But to get there. we need to cut down on the number of people and entities that are NOT being responsible – such as horse racing and dog racing.


  3. Posted by Joan Williams on April 5, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    This is a direct quote from the facebook page of David W. Moore who is running for state legislature in North Carolina.
    *I am a strong supporter of premier Horse Racing initiatives in the Carolinas; The 1 billion dollar a year enterprise,10,000 new jobs, 500 million in new construction, and tripled farm revenue impact is paramount to the success of the state and region*

    Then he goes on to say:
    YES to stricter state laws regulating puppy mills, and prosecution of domestic animal abusers
    YES to permanently ending gaschambers in the Carolinas

    Now how can a person say he is against one aspect of animal welfare and then promote one of the cruelest sports?


  4. Posted by theresa meeks on April 13, 2011 at 2:20 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more in the sense of people taking responsibility for their horses, over breeding is a major problem and the rescues are set up for those that can no longer afford their horses. HOWEVER, i was one of the do gooders that didn’t want horse slaughter in the US and having worked for animal shelters and the love I have for the animals, etc etc. But, I live in New Mexico and every weekend the sale barn in Los Lunas sells over 1,000 horses that take that horrific trip to Mexico and are slaughtered in Juarez in the most inhumane fashion imaginable. If you want the gorey details, look it up. The fact remains that the horses are suffering worse now than ever with the death they meet in Mexico. Northern state sales to slaughter buyers go to Canada. Of course the bottom line is over breeding and irresponsibility. BUT, in the meantime something HAS to be done to bring it back in the US and to come up with a more humane way of doing it. I have two elderly geldings and I’m a single mom and when their time comes, we will be eating mac and cheese for a week so I can have the vet do it humanely, but not everyone thinks like this so PLEASE reconsider HUMANE slaughter in the US and then go to work on pressing the racing industry etc. Thanks


    • Posted by debbie on April 29, 2011 at 4:20 pm

      iam against slaughterhouses but if the U.S can at least find a humane way for this to be done,i would sleep alittle better knowing that these poor animals are being done in a humane manner and not suffering the way they do now i go to bed at night tring to find a way to come up with the money to buy at least one horse from a kill pen and give it a forever home. i have two horses that will never leave my home i will humanely put them down when the time comes and they will be buried on the home they have known most of their lives. so i hope something is done so these animals don’t suffer in the hands of inhumane people.


  5. Posted by Riley on June 23, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    Horses are livestock and should be treated as such, there is a market for horses in the dog food industry and if there is a demand for the meat in other countries then people should be able to meet the supply. as long as the slaughter is humane then so be it, just like with cattle, pigs and goats. There is no difference, also the horse market would benefit and the quality horses would start to bring the prices they should at sales instead of the bottoming out that we have been seeing since this obsurd no slaughter has been established.


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