Actually, they have high fences to keep the animal rights terrorists from burning them down like they burned down the plant in Illinois and have burned down research laboratories, animals and all.
1) Why do you prefer that horses have to stand on a truck for 18 hours or more to be hauled to Mexico where there is no control over the actual slaughter process than to have processing plants here in the US? - I don't want them to be transported for up to 24 hours without food, rest or water (which the law allows) to get them to Oklahoma in the same condition. And honestly, there isn't much control over the slaughter process here either. The plants have high fences for a reason.
There can be as much control over American Processing Plants as is written into their permits to operate. American industries, as a whole, do not 'self regulate' very well. So, I would hope, like the modern, new hog and cattle processing facilities that have been built in the last 10 years, horse processing facilities would be planned and built around safely and humane horse treatment. Obviously, any industry started up from scratch can be built and run to any standard.
What fantasy world do you live in? We have child abuse laws and statutes against all kinds of things that can't be enforced. If you don't think horse neglect and starvation have increased since the US plants closed, I invite you to go speak to any 'Country Vet' with a small town Country Practice. [Not the big Equine Centers that have specialized show and race horse practices.] The local Vet Clinic with a large / small animal practice said their horse practice dropped by 75% when the plants closed and the 'saddle horse' market crashed. This was 2 years before any drop in the economy. The Ada Vet Clinic saw such a drop in horse care that when our Vet retired from there, they did not replace him and dropped their horse practice all together. Most Country Vets I have talked to say they have seen a ten fold increase in neglected and starved horses. Any Sheriff's office will tell you that they have had a 5 - 10 X increase in horse neglect cases being turned in.
2) What would you do with the 20,000 to 30,000 horses that are sent to Mexico every year from Oklahoma alone if slaughter was not an option? - Abuse and abandonment are still covered by existing laws. Many of the people who think they have no way out can find someone or an organization to help them if they try. My evidence is the number of people who offer to take in or find feed for abandoned horses when the story hits the news.
1. Where will this plant be built? Maybe along I35 south of Oklahoma City would be a good place. Convenient for all of the horses from other states coming in. Expect a fight from whoever will be its neighbors.
I would expect any new plants to built in very rural areas like the hog plants built in the panhandle. I would not expect any of them to built in urban or suburban areas. Most processing plants in those areas have been closed. I agree -- they do not smell good, but then, a lot of manufacturing and refining facilities don't smell good and don't belong in urban areas. I drove past a paper mill one time and I though it was the awfulest smelling thing I ever smelled.
I, too, find this very offensive. If you do not like the people of Oklahoma why don't you take your elitist attitude and move to another state. If there are not enough 'Americans' to fill these jobs, I expect there will very soon be an immigration bill that includes a 'guest worker' provision to fill the jobs that you and those like you are too good for.
2. Who will work in the plant? This work has usually been done by experienced people coming from a country just to the south of us whether they have work papers or not. They should fit right in with the local population in Oklahoma.
3. Who will end up paying for all of the inspections and litigation the plant causes? Me. USDA and State Health officials are going to be constantly called there to inspect it and State lawyers will be called on to sue them for environmental problems.
I don't know how new plants will be set up. I do know that previously, plant owners offered to pay the USDA Inspection costs. Litigation costs will be paid for by the groups like the HSUS and Animal rights nuts on one side against the plant owners on the other. I do not see how that will affect you unless YOU join a lawsuit against them.
WHAT? Any processing plant built in OK will have a payroll paid to employees working and living in OK. It will provide Oklahoma jobs. Meat sold abroad can only help our horrible 'Balance of Trade Deficit' just like the beef and pork that is exported. It will GREATLY increase the value of all horses sold by Oklahoma horsemen by getting that 'floor price' back up where it belongs.
5. Who will benefit from the meat? Only European companies will make a tidy profit from the meat and spend next to nothing in Oklahoma except lawyer fees.
6. Are the horses we send to slaughter free of the drugs, medication and other chemicals that we routinely use in our horses? Probably not, which means they should not be slaughtered for human consumption. Horses raised specifically for slaughter cost more to raise than beef. I guess that's not our problem.
Only a very small percentage of horses have any medication or chemical residues. Meat tested from the Belgian owned plant in Mexico have had fewer than 1% of meat show traces of anything and not one specimen has shown toxic levels of anything. There are Universities that are testing drugs like Butezolodin right now. So far, I have been told that the 'half life' of Bute in a horse (other than its liver) is less than 24 hours. That means that in 72 hours, less than 1/8 of a gram of Bute is spread out through more than 500# of meat. Someone would have to eat 3 horses (1500# of meat) in one day to get a measurable amount of Bute into their system. While dozens of people have died from 'Mad Cow' disease, not one person anywhere in Europe has ever been sickened (let alone died) from drug or chemical contaminated horse meat. There is a lot greater danger of getting antibiotic contaminated meat from eating beef.
7. Who is going to compensate me when my horse is stolen and the thief drives straight to the gates of the slaughterhouse with phony ownership papers to sell it? No one. At least now, I may be able to catch the horse at an auction or find out where it went for it's 18 hour drive and stop it and hope it's not injured too badly. The slaughterhouse doesn't have time to back check the history of all of the horses it receives and won't care about brands, tattoos or chips if it has a bill of sale.
All slaughter horses are purchased through authorized brokers just like cattle are. For more than 20 years no one has been able to pull a trailer up to any of the cattle or hog slaughter plant and sell a steer or a hog. These horses are micro-chipped at the sale barns before they are loaded onto a truck. Most slaughter horse buyers are also 'horse traders' and buy a lot of horses that they have ridden to see if they are sound, sane and marketable. Those horses are NOT micro-chipped. If they ride good, they will be sold for a profit. If they aren't sound or don't ride, they get micro-chipped and head to the feedlot or packing house. APHIS, animal Identification rules, will have to be followed for horses just like they are going to go into effect for cattle. No one is going to take your horse and haul it to a slaughter house. It may go to a sale barn, but if it is micro-chipped, it will be 'read' before another chip can be put in to designate it as 'slaughter bound'.
Maybe I'm against it in Oklahoma because I don't want it here. These plants have terrible safety and environmental records and have been closed in this country for many reasons besides the ones I asked about.
'They' have terrible safety and environmental records? Excuse me, but 'they' are no longer in existence. Any new plants will be just that -- NEW. They can be set up a good as people make them be set up. The group currently looking for a place to put in a plant have American investors and are working on markets in Asia and South America. They have also found a big market waiting for 'cheval' as horse meet is called, in the US among the ethnic populations that are used to eating it in their native countries. It is healthier than beef or pork as far as protein content and cholesterol, etc. And again, not one person has ever died from eating it.
I am sure I am probably older than you, but I can remember seeing it in meat markets when I was a child.
Any old laws I have found prohibiting its sale (like the 1947 law that shut down the Texas plants) were brought about by the cattle industry right after WWII to protect their market. After the war, the price of beef fell to less than half of what it was. Cattlemen did not want the competition from horse meat and got the State Legislature in Texas to ban its sale. It was that old law that led to the closing of the Texas plants.
Again, I invite you to attend the local sale with me. I think you are 'clueless' as to how the market place works and who actually bids on the horses. Obviously, you do not know how it works or you would not 'demonize' the sale barn owner from the Bristow sale.
I did not proof read this, so excuse all the mistakes.