Backing the American horse slaughter trade is like investing in beach-front property right after a hurricane has slammed into the area, the head of the Humane Society of the United States says.
Chief executive Wayne Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, said the issue of horse slaughter was playing out at the highest levels of government – both as a matter of policy and the actual mechanics of overseeing the industry and its effects.
US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack faced about half a dozen applications for slaughter plants at a time when European authorities were still trying to figure out how some parties in the supply chain swapped out beef for horse, and duped consumers, Pacelle said.
European authorities were also also trying to determine how to maintain food safety standards by allowing trade in a class of animal not originally raised for food, and in terms of the industries from which they originate, are routinely fed and injected with drugs not fit for human consumption.
In Congress, he said, several veteran lawmakers introduced legislation two weeks ago to ban the live export of horses for slaughter for human consumption.
“The notion that the US would resume horse slaughtering at a time when the global horse meat market is in turmoil raises all sorts of curious questions.
“Where does the financing come from? Why would anyone invest in a shadowy business enterprise like horse slaughter, with no domestic market, with congressional legislation looming to ban exports, and with the primary global market of Europe in a tail-spin over the recent horse meat scandal? It’s like investing in beach-front property right after a hurricane has slammed into the area.”
“And why are the cattlemen so hot on horse slaughter?
“Yes, I understand they take a strictly utilitarian view toward animals, and would rather sell off a horse they no longer want for $US200 to a killer buyer than to pay $US200 to humanely dispose of the animal. But aside from that, if the US has a horse meat scandal like Europe does, you can bet that beef sales will plunge here. As was the case with ‘downers’, sick or injured cattle they still wanted to slaughter, big beef is an industry that’s pennywise and pound foolish.
“The whole thing smells like a rotting carcass. One thing you can count on is that The HSUS will not relent in our efforts to protect horses in the US and throughout the world, especially from this predatory, vile slaughtering industry.”
Pacelle’s full blog can be read here.