PLEASE do not turn this into a general discussion of slaughter. There are more than enough of these threads elsewhere. This outlines NEW PROGRAMS that will be implemented by the organized group that intends to bring slaughter back to the United States with humane handling and new alternatives for unwanted horses.
As most of you know, I am a proponent of slaughter since I have not figured out anything else to do here and now. I have always been concerned, like everyone else, about humane handling and whether closer slaughter facilities will mean more horse theft.
The well-known group (United Horsemen) that has helped get the legislation passed to allow inspection of meat has sent out a letter to everyone on its mailing list. [I am on the mailing list but not a member.]
I thought I would copy this letter and see what the real horsemen on this board think of its provisions and of the new programs. Never before have re-training and marketing for resale been a part of any organized 'feedlot' or processing enterprise. I, personally, think it is a HUGE step in the right direction.
United Horsemen is a 100% volunteer and grassroots organization, supported entirely by the hard working, but economically hard-hit horse industry. The industry is slowly recovering from the perfect storm of overall economic decline, and a horse market crippled by a radical animal rights agenda, namely destruction of the secondary market for horses. United Horsemen is battling back, working to relieve the suffering of thousands of horses rendered worthless, at high risk of abandonment, or subjected to long transportation to other countries where they are no longer protected by U.S. law.
The organization's limited resources are focused on this unprecedented opportunity to benefit the U.S. horse industry: The full implementation of two groundbreaking programs in concert with, and ahead of, the re-opening of USDA regulated horse processing facilities in the U.S.
The first program is the Equine Owners Assurance Program (EOAP) providing horse owners a fail-safe method of permanently identifying horses, allowing all International Equine Business Association (IEBA) processing facilities to scan incoming horses prior to purchase for processing. IEBA is a membership organization formed to mutually protect the horse industry and promote equine products worldwide. The second program is the United Horsemen's Rescue and Rejuvenation Program which provides a second chance for horses with potential for on-going service and for those neglected and starved.
This is a program where you can pay a small fee to have your a microchip placed in your horse. All horses arriving at any feedlot or processing plant will be scanned for this microchip. If a chip is found, the last recorded owner will be contacted to see if they want the horse back or if they want the horse to go forward in the process of evaluation, possible re-training or processing if it is not suitable for re-homing. This will catch stolen horses and those that the original owner wants back and does not want to be processed.
With the renewed opportunity for the USDA to provide inspection for horse processing facilities made possible by Congress, a motivated horse industry is moving swiftly, but prudently, to establish humane and regulated enterprises nationally. United Horsemen has advocated and worked to develop high standards of humane horse care, as well as for pragmatic solutions to protect the welfare of horses, as well as the private property rights of owners and businesses to sell horses, and for horses to be used as food animals under regulated conditions. United Horsemen's efforts, in combination with the programs to be launched by IEBA will provide owners who wish to protect their horses from being stolen and illegally processed with strong protections.
Last week property was secured in Oregon to be used, in part, as the location of United Horsemen's unique Rescue and Rejuvenation Program. This program will provide horses with service potential that may have been acquired under IEBA protocols for processing with a second chance through training, re-training, and marketing for other purposes. The program responsibly cares for those horses which are neglected and starved and brings them back to health. Horses that cannot be sold for some other purpose will be humanely processed in an IEBA facility. All proceeds from the sale of horses in United Horsemen programs will be used to further the nonprofit purposes of the organization.
This means that all horses entering a facility in the US will be evaluated to see if they are a good prospect for re-training, or as a prospect that would be worth more to be re-sold back to an individual. They will all be put on good feed to gain weight and be put into good condition. By the time they are fat, the facility will be able to sell them back to individuals when possible or send them on to be processed when they have no other useful purpose that can be found.
In a world of scarce resources, prudent organizations like United Horsemen, just like families and businesses, must make choices about where to focus limited resources to maximize opportunities to meet their mission.
Up until now (or at least when this program gets started), the only way for a horse to get out of the processing system is for a horse-trader / killer buyer to sell to an individual before the horse goes on to a feedlot or goes straight to Mexico or Canada. There have been no other prospects for the thin horses that could not be re-sold shortly after the trader acquired them.
What do you think of a totally new concept like this?