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Do You Believe in Horse Slaughter?

Horse Slaughter

5590 Views 38 Replies 21 Participants Last post by  jaydee
What's everyone's opinion on horse slaughter? I believe that it is just wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Naturally, horses would never have to go through that and be killed by us humans! :-|:-?
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What's worse? Starving slowly during winter because the owner has no hay, nearby rescues are full, and no one else will take the horse, or a week of stress then it ends?
In the nature a horse might spend weeks dieing from an infection, or broken leg, or from starvation or dehydration, or being hunted and mauled by a predator.
 

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In addition to Apuetso's post, where are you going to find homes for all the horses who are now homeless? It's far better to be quickly slaughtered than to slowly starve to death. Have you even seen horses who have been starved because the owners can no longer afford to feed them? How many sick horses have you seen who are slowly dying because the owner can't afford the vet?
 

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Agree, and over grazing in the wild is an issue. Not just because of the cattle but because of over population of all animals on that land. When you take away natural predators over population and disease are the end result.

I am not against slaughter but I am also not "for" eradication of all wild horses.

Over breeding, careless breeding and lack of training are a HUGE issue in the horse world. A well trained grade horse will always be worth more than an untrained papered horse.

I am for humane euthanasia - whether that be captive bolt or a shot from a vet.
 

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What I don't understand is why people think it's wrong to slaughter horses, but ok to slaughter cows? Why are people horrified at the idea of shooting a deer but have no issue with chowing down on their bacon double cheeseburger? Because horses and deer are cuter than cows and pigs? Is this what we're basing our judgment on? Because if so, I have a big problem with that.

If you're against eating all meat, then I get that. But just some meat? Seems a little arbitrary and superficial. And wild horses would die from predators (which many humans are) all the time. Not sure why you think otherwise.

More important than judging people for what they eat, I think the raising and slaughtering of animals of ANY kind should be heavily regulated. If humans are going to raise animals for the purpose of eating them or their products (milk, eggs), then they should be responsible enough to do it ethically. I don't think an animal dying is the tragedy. I think an animal living in abject conditions, in tiny pens in its own filth and/or being tortured to death is a tragedy.
 

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I think I would maybe have another option in that Poll because I don't agree with the current slaughter house situation in the US which mostly amounts too shipping horses to other countries where the supervision can be poor to non existent
However I do agree that we need supervised carefully regulated slaughter houses in the US, every State should have at least one that's licensed to handle horses
 

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Over 150,000 horses were sent to slaughter in the US in 2005. It probably isn't any less now. Many of these horses were old, sick, crippled, very poor quality, or dangerous. Probably a lot weren't, as well. There isn't a market for rescue horses, the way there is for dogs and cats (of which there is also an oversupply, of course). Because, you have to have extra land and extra money for a horse (even if you don't have the extra time for riding). That's a luxury most people don't have, even if they wanted a horse. So the horse rescue world doesn't have a lot of room for expansion.
 

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The uproar over slaughter has always struck me as odd. Wild horses are feral like dogs. In towns there are pounds which euthanize dogs who are not adopted and people have no problem with that. People are judgmental of breeding cats for instance, but don't argue about the feral horses breeding.

People also judge cattle intensely. They claim the cattle over graze and this is to the detriment of the land and natural animals. I live on a ranch and I promise you keeping land in good condition is a requirement to longevity ranching. Horses used to be managed and useful. Today they are overpopulated and dying. I live where they are abundant and I love horses and think it is awful to let an animal thirst to death or starve.

If slaughter was permitted the horses could again have value to more persons than just the activists who don't understand their plight. They could be managed and profitable to our country rather than a drain. When people profit from something they tend to take care of it.
 

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This is such a tough issue. :( Personally, I wish everyone would drastically reduce breeding until we get our unwanted horse problem solved. 140,000 horses killed in awful conditions a year is just way too many. Really one is too many. I saw a great suggestion years ago about horse people becoming certified in humane euthanization. I think that's a viable option if the alternative is shipping them for a terrifying ride to another country to meet a sad end. We all love this fabulous animal and we are not doing it right. We all owe it to the horse as a species. Just my two cents.
 
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I don't like the idea of horses being slaughtered....however I think it is a necessary industry. There are far too many horses and not enough homes for them. And as others have mentioned, I would rather see a horse meet a quick end at a slaughter house, than starve to death.

However, I do think there needs to be stricter regulations on the transport & care of horses en route to the slaughter house. While these animals are still alive, they should be given food & water and transported as safely as possible.

I also have a problem with the slaughter houses themselves. At least up here in Alberta, the slaughterhouse is designed more for cattle - horses are much slimmer and taller than cattle which can lead to mistakes & injury (rather than a quick death).
 

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I used to live near a Wild Cat (i.e., Tigers, Snow Leopards, Lions, etc.) Breeding Compound. They were a 501c and so existed through zoos paying 'board' on the cats the sent in to breed (genetic diversity tracking was a big part of the program) and donations.

Some of those donations were in the form of 'meat.' Sometimes a horse - old, lame, whatever - would be donated. Domestic horses are wormed, given shots, meds, etc., and have to be certified drug free before being slaughtered for the cat's feed. I donated a turn-out at my ranch as their holding pen. The vet would come and check the horse in; I would feed (only hay) and certify no additional supplements or meds. It wasn't easy, sometimes, to see a horse with severe laminitis and not give it any bute, but that's what I'd signed up for. I'd cold soak or boot or whatever I could to ease pain short of meds.

After 30 days, the vet would do a blood draw and certify the animal was 'clean meat,' at which time I would make arrangements with the butcher to come get the horse.

Those horses had value in the end, but I often wished that more 'unwanted healthy' horses were donated and that the old or lame ones would just be humanely put down (caveat here: if the vet thought the animal was in too much pain to go 30 days, it was euthanized)

If slaughtering horses wasn't so frowned upon, more horses would have come through my place for the cats. We joke and call them glue-factories and dog-food. And when my Mom bred show GSDs, the bitches were fed raw horse-meat (in the 60s).

Sure, I hated going to auction back then and being outbid on nice horses because the lbs on the hoof price was more than I could afford, but I also hate seeing how many poor horses are foisted off on rescues now because there's no other option.
 

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Here's another question to go with this issue. Of course, in order to do this we'd have to have an abattoir in just about every town. Nobody likes to think of 'Pookie' going to slaughter but it is what it is. Right now if a horse is euthanized, by whatever means, it just ends up in a landfill. I would prefer to see that meat given to the poor, used to feed other animals, anything other than the waste it currently is. We USED to eat horse meat in this country, and having been raised in EU, I've eaten it as a child and never thought twice about it. Here in the US, it was fairly common practice to eat horse meat during times of hardship up until 1975. Why would we not make use of the carcass, just like we do cows, sheep, pigs, goats and chickens(all of which are frequently used as pets too)? If we're ever to effectively deal with the numbers of unwanted horses, I think it's something we need to reconsider.
@Horsegirl896, we're fairly civil about this topic because you didn't come on here screaming about how everyone who doesn't believe as you do is completely evil. We may not agree, but it's a topic that needs to be discussed and solutions found. What we're doing now isn't working, we need to find something else. Most of us who have been around horses for a long time (like 50+ years long time) have seen this issue first hand, and have experience on the working side of rescues. My personal experience has made me fairly thick skinned about the topic because, what I have seen is that those who are screaming the loudest about not slaughtering horses are the first ones to say, "What? Take a horse? I can't take a horse! You should take all these pretty ponies and put them in YOUR backyard. Horses are awesome (as long as I don't have to deal with the smelly, dirty things)!". Or change anything about their lives as they live them now, including not getting up at 4 a.m. (especially in winter) to feed, water, pick, groom and otherwise be a handmaiden to a 4 legged critter or 10.
 

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I totally agree that everyone wants something done but few actually can or are willing to. :( That's why when a newer to horses person steps into my life or gets on a forum with obvious limitations but wants to work with a horse and lacks experience, I always try to encourage/help them rather than tell them why they can't or shouldn't. Sure, it's risky and things could go wrong. Life in general is pretty risky. But it could go really right for the horse and human too! :) With so many unwanted horses, we need people to step up and give it a try. I feel like those who can, SHOULD. For example, we had a wild cat deposit 4 darling kittens in our barn over the summer. My husband's take (and several other friends and family) was "not our cat, not our problem". He felt that since we didn't contribute, we didn't need to fix it. Naturally, I did as I darn well pleased anyway. ;) I had them fixed and did first shots and got everyone out to good homes but the two I kept. It cost $500 and tons of time and inconvenience. But you know what? I could and so I did. If I hadn't, she would have continued to make more and more feral cats to become someone else's problem. Maybe that someone couldn't afford to or didn't have the time to solve it.

This unwanted horse problem belongs to all of us. Those who have the facilities, the money, and the ability should be picking up that occasional horse that shows some functionality from auction, kill pen, irresponsible owner, etc. I plan on that very thing as soon as our round pen is done! We are in the process of converting my Dad's pleasure farm into a horse farm, it's going to take a few months because I'm doing right. It's been a dream of mine to take some rescues and polish them up for better lives! Because my husband was Army until his recent retirement, I have only been able to cart my own 4 horses around the country.
 

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Here's another question to go with this issue. Of course, in order to do this we'd have to have an abattoir in just about every town.

...

@Horsegirl896, we're fairly civil about this topic because you didn't come on here screaming about how everyone who doesn't believe as you do is completely evil. We may not agree, but it's a topic that needs to be discussed and solutions found.
It is not illegal to eat horse meat in the U.S. You just can't process it commercially since the USDA de-funded federal meat inspectors. It can't be sold but people can and do prepare it for their personal use. I know several ranchers, Native and non, that eat horse in their house because it is good meat and the beef is a marketable product.

@Horsegirl896 - I agree with DA. You set up a poll and stated your opinion, but didn't shriek at those who disagree. It is very much appreciated.

Range management is so complex, if we discuss the feral horses. I started volunteering to catalog forage and water conditions for a couple gov't agencies more than 20 years ago on an area of several hundred thousand acres (along with an army of other volunteers). I thought I'd have it all figured out by the end of the first summer and end all the controversy.

It was very enlightening to learn about species that I hadn't even thought about before. How what is good for one species may be awful for another. In some cases, how one species uses the land is really good for another. Which species is most important? None of them. Balance is what is striven for. Nature is more cruel and let's populations grow and die off. We people try to ease that.
 

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I do not agree with the current slaughter option. I just don't. Humane euthanasia takes training. Slaughter companies are generally unwilling to give/pay for the training needed to teach the bolt users the proper way to put down a horse. The back up plan, if one goes wrong, is non existent.
I have seen first hand what a misplaced bullet can do. It's horrible. Screaming terror and the look of WTF on an already suffering animal is never pretty. Transportation to, and the holding of horses, at the pens is a joke.
I'll be the first one to say get the gun, call the vet..... end that misery. Quality of life IMO is the first priority. If it is sick/hurting and is not going to improve to the point of having a DECENT quality of life...end it. Quality of life means nothing to people anymore IMO. I've seen some pitiful and gimpy "babies" that I'd have sent across the bridge ASAP if the choice were mine. Suffering isn't right. Dog, cat, Horse, chicken... Not gonna do it.
Rescues around our area are full of old arthritic, lame, special needs & high dollar babies. Why not send that suffering animal some peace and make room for a younger viable animal? I watched 12k+ spent to save an animal who only lived 8 months after he "recovered." His quality of life SUCKED. He suffered seizures, lameness, colic, and was confined to a stall the whole time. WHY?? There could have been 12 more saved for what was spent on him. This is the primary reason I don't do rescue anymore. I personally won't stand the suffering of "Fluffy" to spare a humans feelings.
I just got Tobie. But you can bet I thought LONG and hard about whether I could Love him, train him, house him, and care for him til his death. BEFORE I took him. I made sure, in the event of my death, that he has a home. I made sure, in my heart, that I could make the right decision for him if it should ever come to that. Losing Rascal was terrible for me. I don't know that I will ever quit missing him or completely recover from the loss of him. I had options and financial help, if I had decided to try surgery. BUT his recovery outlook was not good at all. He had already suffered enough. My feelings aside, what was best for him? His favorite pasture spot, forever and pain free, or a very slim chance and huge amounts of recovery pain, time, and possible death in a painful way?? I loved him, what other choice was there? My feelings or his comfort, there was only one choice and it hurt, OMG it still hurts so bad. I miss him every day... My comfort now is in knowing I did what was best for him. Small comfort, let me tell ya, but I know it was best for him. I cry for so many others who suffered because HUMANS chose to let them live a horrible existence rather than show mercy and end the suffering.
Take the responsibility for what you breed/buy for LIFE. Not until you move, go off to school, or become tired of the responsibility of caring for another creature. It's a sickening subject not many care to discuss rationally and with the ANIMALS welfare in mind. As human beings we TAKE the responsibility when WE decide to adopt or purchase that animal. We take on a LIFETIME commitment for the care and quality of said animals life. If you want to do something to help. EDUCATE PEOPLE. Educate people on the results of the disposable mindset we see daily....people need to see the reality of what WE are doing to the animal kingdom. All the rescues in the world won't help until PEOPLE change.
Put legislation/regulation in place to protect the stolen horses, practice HUMANE ends for the horses and I would be all for it. Do I eat cows, chickens and pigs, yes I do. I was raised eating them. They are food animals. BUT they deserve a swift and painless an end as possible. Would I eat a horse, hell no!! But I wouldn't eat a dog either and millions are killed in shelters every year. There has to be a middle ground. Animals everywhere are suffering. Man up and put that animal down if you won't/can't provide for the lifetime commitment you chose. Don't put it on some else to make that decision.
Some of this may seem off topic, but it's not. It is at the heart of the slaughter debate. RESPONSIBILITY. CHOICES. Quality of life. Doing what is right for the animals, not the humans who are failing them.
 
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