Need thoughts and opinions on horse slaughter
Hello! I am first going to say that as of right now I am neutral on the horse slaughter topic. I am doing a research paper for my Comp I class and decided to write it over horse slaughter. I have thoroughly researched the topic and have found that individuals are very opinionated over this topic. In my research paper I would like to include the thoughts and feelings off individuals who I have personally spoke with. If you have a moment I encourage you to give your input.
1. What makes horse slaughter inhumane?
2. What are the benefits to slaughtering/not slaughtering
3. Do you believe it is possible to humanely euthanize horses and if so would you still be against it?
4. If against horse slaughter, what do you suggest is the best solution for the horses that are homeless, in shelters, cant be properly cared for, etc.
These are just a few questions, any other info is welcomed and appreciated. Thank You!!
maybe the homeless horses could be adopted by other horse owners
1. I think the process (for any slaughter) in general is inhumane. From the traveling, to the holding pens to the actual stringing up with half alive animals and in essence butchering them alive and while they're conscious. In my mind one electric shock does not guarantee a dead animal, nor does it guarantee a non suffering animal, not to mention the mistakes that can be made and make things ten times worse.
2. If the slaughter is humane I believe that the benefits to slaughtering are like any other. There's new meat, thus more opportunities for farmers to make money, also there's population control. I've known/heard of a lot of horse farms where the owner can no longer afford his stock, but is stuck with them. The rescues are already full and can't take anymore leaving people with horses who either abandon them or put them to sleep. In my mind you don't waste a body, not when it can be used for food.
3. I'm assuming this is pre-slaughter, but yes I do believe there is a way to ensure death before the process is done (even if it is improving the tools currently used to 'ensure' death). I grew up across the street from a cattle farm during the slaughter season and the farmer didn't have the heart to string them up alive, so with all of his livestock he put a bullet in their brain himself. That killed every one of them instantly and when he was sure they were dead he strung them up and began. Of course I realize how inefficient this would be on a large scale, but, I do honestly believe that there are other alternatives or ways to improve.
My college actually requires all agriculture students/vet students to take a course in researching more humane ways of slaughter. From what I've observed on my limited visits so far, there are many good ideas on how to improve/change the quality of slaughter and death blow, but the issue lies in trying to convince the slaughterhouses to spend the money on these renovations. Personally I would have 100% no problem with slaughter if they would do their utmost to ensure a humane end.
so, the internet speaking with will be enough?
I don't have a problem with people eating horse meat and I don't have a problem with slaughtering horses. (I dont care to eat it and I wouldn't want my horse to be slaughtered) I do have a problem with the methods of slaughtering horses and they way they are handled and transported. Too many horses and not enough people to own them, in my opinion. Then you get someone that wants a horse (who has little to no knowledge of horses), buys a young horse with no training and it all goes south from there. The horse gets passed around and around because it was never properly trained and ends up slaughtered or abused.
Welcome to the Horse Forum.
Horse slaughter is very necessary. There are several places you can find actual truthful information. The HSUS, PETA and other animal right groups have a agenda to stop all ownership and use of all animals so they spread lies and complete fabrications. If you want truthful information, go to the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Assoc.) and the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) websites. These are Veterinarians that have dedicated their lives to making the lives of all horses better. They no other agenda. They have nothing but the best interests of horses at heart. They see first hand the suffering of horses that are no longer wanted, have no economic value and are being starved to death by the thousands.
Please learn the difference between 'animal rights' groups and 'animal welfare' groups. Animal rights groups think animals have the same 'rights' as people. Most of them do not think animals should be owned or used for any purpose. Animal welfare supporters include all Veterinarians and about horse owners and pet owners. We ALL think horses and all other animals should be well cared for and treated with kindness and respect.
No matter what is done, between 100,000 and 200,000 horses a year are unwanted by anyone. They comprise 1-2% of the total equine population.
Right now, more than 150,000 of them are being shipped to Canada and Mexico to plants owned by European Companies. Horses are slaughter according to EU standards which insure humane treatment and a quick death.
They are NOT stabbed to death. They are stunned or killed by a humane captive bolt gun.
They are NOT strung up alive or half alive. They are dead or unconscious.
They are NOT given an electric shock.
They are NOT hauled in double deck trucks. They are hauled in 'floor trucks' with strict limits on time they can be hauled without being unloaded, fed and rested. Stallions cannot be hauled with other horses.
All of these are just a small part of the lies spread by the HSUS and the other animal rights terrorists.
All I ask of all of those people that do not support slaughter of horses is this: Please tell us what you plan to do with the 150,000 unwanted horses per year that are now being slaughter in Canada and Mexico?
Personally, I think we should spare the horses the long trip to Mexico or Canada. I think we should have several inspected and closely monitored facilities right here in the US. That would add several hundred dollars of value to every horse in the US and would mean every horse would receive better care. It is a fact that people take a lot better care of an animal and feed it a lot better when it is worth $700.00 than when it is worth $100.00. If you do not believe this is true, ask any Country Vet that has a mixed practice in a rural area. Ask how the general care of cheap horses declined when they suddenly dropped several hundred dollars in value when the last American plants were closed.
I'm going to do the best I can to answer your questions, based on my opinions. Please know, though I know /some/, but nearly as much as some on this forum!
1. I think it is the sentimental value that we, as horse owners, have placed on horses that makes horse slaughter inhumane. Many of us in the horse community view horses just below people, and so the thought of systematically killing them can be rather difficult to sallow.
Then, of course, there are those of us who are morally opposed to killing of any animals/living creatures. And that just alludes to the unfairness of taking a life.
2. The benefits of not slaughtering... Well, no dead horses <3
Benefits of slaughtering means we can keep the unwanted horse population down. Animal food prices stay down.
3. Honestly, I'm not sure what my stance on slaughter is. I guess, I think that it is a necessary evil. I do wish the conditions could be improved. Poor neighs.
4. I wish that we (we as an entire country) had more stringent requirements for breeding. That the stallion and mare must both be proven and worthy of breeding. That would greatly cut down on the unwanted horses. I know it's an unrealistic wish, but it certainly would make our lives easier!
I will try to address the causes of so many unwanted horses. It is not OVER-BREEDING.
Ten years ago there was a thriving economy, the Quarter Horse and APHA breeding herd was at least double what it is today, there was a HUGE market for young horses and everything ridable was expensive and able to find a home. There were still 150,000 horses going to slaughter every year. The only difference is that there were far fewer cases of neglect and starvation. In some areas, these have grown to ten fold what they were. The biggest difference is that slaughter bound horses were fat and in good condition and were worth several hundred $ more that they are now. Now, many are thin and in horrible condition when they are finally given up on and set to slaughter.
I live 3 miles from one of the biggest horse sales in this region. Every other Monday evening up to 250 horses go through the local auction. Prices range from less than $50.00 to $3000.00 -- sometimes even more. The killer buyers end up with at least 2/3 of them every sale. Many get no other bid. I seldom see horses that two bidders are on and one of them wants the horse to ride while the other wants to ship to slaughter. Most are sold on 1 bid. The sale manager 'sets the horse in' at what he thinks is a reasonable price and one killer buyer bids the there is no other bid -- period. Everyone there has a chance to buy every horse that goes through the ring.
Most of the horses that get no bids from other buyers are:
1) Old and over the hill. This includes broodmares that no longer breed or carry a foal and horses that are very old.
2) Unsound - many look OK, but the seller will tell people outright that the horse will go lame when ridden.
3) Terribly thin because previous owner did not take care of them.
4) Young and untrained and usually in poor condition.
5) Mean or rank and spoiled. (There are many of these)
6) Ridden through the ring but ride very badly. (Usually really spoiled)
7) Injured. Some have huge healed or partially healed wire cuts and other injuries. (They must be able to put weight on all four legs for the sale to accept them.) Some have lost eyes or have other major injuries.
8) Sick horses. There will be 2 or 3 that go through every sale that are weak or wobbley in the rear end. They are usually suspected of having EPM or other neurological disorder.
9) There are also 2 or 3 horses off of the track that show up with race-plates still on their feet. Usually they have a bowed tendon or some other leg problem.
10) Misfits and conformation wrecks -- horses with crooked legs, parrot mouths, horrible feet, etc.
The ones that I see that are the saddest cases are the healthy, sound but frequently thin horses that are young and no one bothered to train them. There is nothing wrong with them other than the market fell and they had owners that were no longer willing to put training money or time in them. Some are 5 or 6 and not even halter broke. Some come from homes where someone lost a job or was divorced or feed got scarce during the drought and they just dumped the horse instead of handling it. Some have decent breeding and should be registered, but no one sent in their papers. Some are ugly. All were bred with great expectations, but the lag time between breeding the mare and having a 2 or 3 year old to ride let too much happen or change in the breeders' lives.
No one here knows where they will be or what they will be doing 4 years from now let alone 20 years from now when a horse they breed and raise with good intentions will still be going strong. The quality of the breeding stock has much less to do with the outcome of the foal than the current circumstances of the breeder and the Nation's economy.
We have a free enterprise, free market system. This means that we do not 'regulate' what people do with their own horses but let the laws of 'supply and demand' regulate the market. The market regulates the breeders. About 15 years ago, there was such a demand for 'Foundationbred' Quarter Horses that people could not breed them fast enough. Breeders that raised nice ones could get around $5,000.00 for a foal at weaning time. People got tired of trying to make a good saddle horse or trail or roping horse out of horses bred for showing. They were too refined, too small footed and could not hold up or ride decent when they did. Most of the 'ranch type' horses were 'killed off' during the last downturn of the horse market during the 90s. At that time, 350,000 horses were slaughtered per year for several years and most of the old 'foundationbreds' went at that time. So the resurgence of them made for a great horse business for about 10 years. They over-bred the market and then had the crash of 2008 on top of that.
No matter what people do, the demand lags about 5 years behind the supply. So, there is feast and famine for the breeders as well as the horses.
It looks like we are entering back into a place where the demand is again rising because the economy is getting better and the breeding herd in the US has shrunk to its lowest level since the 70s. I certainly hope so.
Take my mare Mia as an example. She was born in 2001, so her breeding was set up in California in 2000. She was sweepstakes nominated, so the breeder presumably thought there was some chance she would be shown. Her sire won national championships. The guy who arranged the breeding, based on a quick Internet search, is still involved in showing horses.
At some point she was sold to a guy in Phoenix for use as an endurance horse. My wife talked to his wife once...she wasn't ridden much because the husband concluded he needed a gelding instead. Since she had no idea that she needed to pick her feet up to clear a 3" rock, and panicked at a 6" gully when I first started walking her in the desert, I'd bet her fearfulness resulted in her being kept in a corral during her time in Phoenix.
She was donated with another of their 6 horses to a charity that sold her. I don't know the whole story, but she was returned to the charity a few months later, 100-150 lbs lighter, with bite marks and afraid of other horses. The charity was told she fought with the big geldings in their pasture and wouldn't submit.
She was sold to me as 'perfect for a beginner'. A few years later, a trainer concluded she had either never been broken to ride, or had minimal training followed by years of nothing.
I don't know if she was born with a very nervous temperament or if she became that way because of how she lived. I know my "Total Newbie Riding Skills" sure didn't make matters better! And I know the trainer's initial evaluation was that she might never be safe to ride, or might only be safe in an arena. The trainer wanted to work with her, but also wanted me to understand that she couldn't promise a safe trail horse at the end.
I spent $2000 on having her trained from the start, and have now spent close to 2 years riding her out. She has almost become calm enough to be considered green broke. We're working now on solo trips. Give us another year, and she might finally be an OK trail horse...:oops:
The breeder in California had no idea that she would end up in Arizona, standing around in a corral and unridden for a few years. I think Mia's ending will be a happy one. I've put enough work into her, and like her well enough, that I'll probably own her until she dies.
The trainer who did so much for her said many of her clients would have put her up for auction instead of sinking money into a horse who wouldn't, in the end, be worth the training bill. And given her fear of strange horses, an auction environment would have driven her totally psycho with fear. She would be the perfect horse to send to slaughter - enough meat, but a nutjob with no value on the riding market and no incentive for anyone to train her.
The guy who arranged her breeding in 2000 never expected her life to be this way. She wasn't an accident. I'm sure a CMK bred mare in California in 2001 had decent market value. She isn't ugly. She is turning in to a sweet, willing mare. But in 2011, in Arizona, I couldn't have given her away.
My point is that the horse slaughter market is not driven by bad breeding. There certainly are bad breeders, and backyard breeders who have no business doing so, but an animal who can easily live 25-30 years will have a life no breeder can predict. No one intentionally harmed Mia. The sad truth is that a horse can be well-bred, never mistreated - at least, not in the sense of being abused - and yet still end up a candidate for slaughter. I wish it wasn't so, but I don't see that ever changing.
I think Cherie has expressed anything I could say .
1) bad people who do not follow the regulations make it inhumane.
2) benefit - the horses do not need to suffer by starving to death or by other abuse
non - benefit -- that many horses are treated with meds not safe for animals used for slaughter or consumption.
3) Vets charge to euthanize.Some people will not or cannot afford the fees . the meat cannot be used for anything afterwards due to the drug that is the system.
4) there is no solution. just as there is no solution on overpopulated dogs and cats, wars ,drug abuse, spousal abuse, robbery etc.
the only solution I see is for human beings to not exist.
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