Sunday, August 1, 2010

A Letter to Horse Lovers

The following letter is from my friend and fellow equine supporter, Kathryn Webers, the Massachusetts representative for ending horse slaughter and transport to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico.  Kathryn works tirelessly to educate people about the inhumane practice of equine slaughter - in the US and over the borders in Canada and Mexico.

Dear Horse Lover,

Horse slaughter for profit exists under USDA oversight, and their regulations intend to ensure humane transport, treatment at intermediate feedlots and operating US slaughter plants (there are no US plants today). Reality is that USDA regulations allow injuries, suffering, and death through each of those three industry phases. The industry survives because of this dangerous, low-cost bulk transport. Per these unenforceable, ineffective regulations, horses can ship up to 28 hours without rest, food, or water, their injuries from aggression and falls going unattended. None would ship their own horse under these hazardous conditions:

To understand USDA’s failure to ensure humane treatment, consider USDA’s own documents, but be forewarned of their graphic content. This is the slaughter industry:

At plants, the captive bolt gun is applied against a horse’s skull to have it unconscious for slaughter. This device was designed for cattle skulls and frequently fails to stun horses prior to butchering. Repeated blows and bleed-out while still conscious are not uncommon, though prohibited via the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. The suffering is insupportable and Veterinarians for Equine Welfare declare: “horse slaughter is inhumane, and that it is an unacceptable way to end a horse's life under any circumstance.” 
Horses are costly, but that does not justify inhumane treatment. Access to slaughter, via the nearest auction, fails to lessen neglect. The slaughter industry exists because foreigners want horsemeat, creating a quick reward for overbreeding and disposal of excess stock. Responsible owners never allow their horses to go to slaughter.
Suppose the poor US economy is making it tough for horse owners and breeders to maintain their animals. Why is the solution an act that is culturally and socially unacceptable, and having an appalling USDA record of humane violations? Responsible, post-career programs continue to increase across the country, including low-cost gelding, subsidized euthanasia, rescue and adoption. Sending horsemeat abroad as an alternative for good population control is ethically wrong.

Slaughter is not necessary. Humane treatment of the horse is necessary. Those who care about animals must ensure that public policy reflects our values. Send an email today to and join our state group as we lobby Washington for a ban on horse slaughter.
Kathryn P. Webers
Marshfield, MA 02050
MA4Horses (at) gmail (dot) com
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