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Updated on 06/19/2012 3:54PM
Bill would deny funds for inspectors at U.S. horse slaughter facilities
LEXINGTON, Ky. – In a move that could prevent equine slaughterhouses from reopening in the U.S. in the near term, the House Appropriations Committee has voted once again to deny funding for federal inspectors at horse slaughter facilities.
In a voice vote Wednesday, the committee adopted Virginia Representative Jim Moran’s amendment to the Fiscal Year 2013 Agricultural Appropriations Bill. Moran’s amendment prohibits funding for the inspectors. The bill will now go to the House floor for a vote.
Legal U.S. horse slaughter ended in 2007, when plants in Texas and Illinois closed due to legal action and a state ban, respectively. Congress first denied funds for USDA inspections in 2008.
Moran introduced similar language in the Fiscal Year 2012 Agricultural Appropriations Bill, but although the language was adopted in the House’s version, it was removed in conference committee last November. That opened the door to horse slaughter within U.S. borders after a five-year effective end to the practice.
Earlier this month, Unified Equine announced plans to open a horse slaughterhouse in a retrofitted beef processing plant in Rockville, Mo., after residents of Mountain Grove, Mo., strongly rejected the plan. Unified Equine abandoned the plan, citing feasibility issues and expense. According to the Kansas City Star, the plant had planned to buy healthy, mature horses to be slaughtered for markets in China, Mexico, and Europe, as well as for some smaller horsemeat markets in the U.S. The company said it planned to employ about 50 people.
Valley Meat Co. also applied earlier this year to the USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service for federal inspection to allow it to slaughter horses for meat export. That would have opened a horse slaughter plant in Roswell, N.M.
In a study released last June, the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that nearly 138,000 U.S. horses – or roughly the same number as were slaughtered domestically in the year before the practice ceased in 2007 – shipped to slaughter in Canada and Mexico in 2010.
In May, Canadian slaughterhouse operator Viande Richelieu said it would no longer accept Thoroughbreds at its two Canadian facilities. That move followed an investigation by Ohio racing officials that resulted in the highly unusual return of two slaughter-bound racehorses, Canuki and Cactus Cafe. Ohio’s Beulah Park has an anti-slaughter policy. Viande Richelieu, which operates two of Canada’s four equine slaughterhouses, cited the expense and effort of returning the horses as part of its decision.
I'm not a religious nut but... Proverbs 12:10 "A rightous man has regard for the life of his beast, but the mercy of the wicked is cruel." Proverbs 24:11 "rescue those who are being taken away to death; hold back those who are stumbling to the slaughter." Still gonna do my part to stop this robin. Any way I can. Supporting organizations who are trying is better than doing nothing. Would you like a copy of the book by Heller; I have more copies to send out.
Good move by the appropriations committee. The USDA refuses to back the kill buyer claims that the horses presented to Canada for slaughter have never had a dose of bute. EU has tested meat from American horses and found drug residues from prohibited substances. We don't want the USDA sending ineligible meat to EU and getting caught. That would ruin the reputation for the rest of our ag products. In another 12 months none of our horses will be eligible for EU horse meat anyway. When EU final rules go into effect July 2013 all imported horse meat will have to come from horses that were raised in an EU approved program that tracks the horses and his drug history from birth. Some of the smaller horse meat importers may buy ours for a while, until they realize they are eating horse meat not fit to be eaten in the EU.
AND ANOTHER THING... The problem not only lies with breeders, its also a problem with the tracks. Horses that perform @ sub-par or are considered too old to race, don't win enough are prime candidates for slaughter. The high number of injury or death at tracks is the result of "packing/rolling" track surfaces to created inflated pace/speed figures. We have watched too many break down when in reality there wasn't a need for this to happen. This sport has a very dark and clandestine side that can be Corrected if people care enough to make the problems at American tracks an issue. Same with Slaughter. Does anybody have enough empathy to WRITE to legislators in thier state or to track stewards and racing commisioners? I HAVE. I also suppot The Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation through contributions and by God I'm on a FIXED income. If I can do it so can you. So to sit at your flippin'n computer and kavetch one way OR another dosen't cut it.
just this last week, i was at a 4-h horse event, while sitting on the tailgate of a pick-up, having a good horse conversation, with the high sheriff, (who is a avid horseman & his children quilify for the world paint horse show, every year), i was allowed to over hear a conversation he had with a complaining lady. she was demanding that he go arrest, a young man because his horses were not fat enough to suit her. now this young man he didnt really want these horses, because they had belonged to his grandpa & daddy, whom had both recently passed. he had just inherted the farm, with the horses on it. he & i gelded all the studs in the winter of 09. i hauled 12 head to auction for him in the fall of 2010, they were 8&9 year old barron brood mares. i turned around & hauled them home, after the sale because they were all marked NO BID. the boyy has had a run with several bleeding heart groups who didnt want to help him, all they wanted to do was tell him what he should do. never mind the fact that he had no money. on the advise of the bleeding heart group, he had removed the barb wire from the fences. wrong thing to do . this lady was complaining because with slick wire the hungry horses were pushing through & eating on the side of the county road. opon hearing the ladys demand. I WANT HIM ARRESTED. the sheriff turned a very red color in the face, gritted his teeth & turned to the lady , in a soft & polite way he replyed to the complainent. " lady, i dont think i am going to do that. because if i arrest him, i will have to take the horses too. the country is all ready feeding way more horses than it should be. besides that if i arrest him , he will spend his grocery money for bail. then next month ill have to arrest him again, for not providing for his family. & then i will have to feed his family also. i think i will just go help him repair his fence , instead." after its all said & done slaughter is the most humane poilicy. its hard to see or understand that. when you are looking out the window of a penthouse & living in a concrete jungle. the whole thing in a nut shell is there too many horses. the lack of a slaughter market is what has created this terrible situation. you see i love horses also. over 60 percent of what i have accumilated in this world came from the horse industry. my retirement was based on a healthy horse market. ( you think i didnt take a hit). the fact remains we dont live in a perfect world, horse slaughter is a nessasary evil, that we have lived with for generations. what happens without it.? look around. hungry & abused horses. "an ole railbird"
less goverment, rail the the mulitudes. EXCEPT we gonna create a whole bereaucracy, THE HORSE POLICE. theywill go around telling horse farms, how many mares they can breed, each year. what will the penilty be , for a violation? death to the culprates? come ride around the country side with me. i will venture to say ,that in 1/2 of a work day (4 hours) i can show you 100 head of un wanted horses. they are getting fewer by the day though. their dieing of a few at a time. some of the deer hunters are shooting them, to keep them out of their game feeders. now i ask you . is this better than slaughter?? when every single old person & the mentally impared have adequate houseing & care. then & only then should we think that we are well enough off, that we can provide heaith care for livestock. i really dont want to believe that the usa is a country that would take better care of their aging horses than they do of their eldery & mentally impared. but we are headed that way. if you dont believe it, just read the comments on this blog. have a nice day knowing that a 30 year old horse has health care. but 80 year old citizens dont. "an ole railbird " said it .
Wouldn't say the industry is growing. Most tracks are anti slaughter. Retirement farms exist with funding initiatives. We retrain a couple a year for show, pleasure or polo. 30,000 foals sounds high, but not out of line. The industry is ruled by trainers, breeders and owners. They are frequently silent on this subject...along with any other topic of importance in their business. Recent trip to a track to buy an off the tracker to retrain got us a horse...within the hour, other trainers were offering us their horses too....could've gone home with a herd.
What are the viable, realistic alternatives to slaughter? I don't know much about this issue other than it makes me sad to think they are slaughtered. How many race horses are bred and sold in the US each year? I am guessing the average race time for one is about 5 years, but the average life span is probably 10? Seems there would be an excess of them building up that would need care until natural death. Who is willing and able to provide that? Why not limit the number that can be born each year? I am just wondering. Not trying to suggest any solutions.
They should send House Appropriations Committee to the slaughter house! Bastards!
Check the Jockey Club Foal Paper App for 'retirement plans?'.