Horse slaughter already in death throes – advocate

| 2 January 2014 8:45 am

horses-stockThe horse slaughter industry in the United States is in its death throes, even before the first plant has opened its doors, the head of the Equine Welfare Alliance believes.

President John Holland, in a New Year update to members, has voiced his skepticism over reported assurances that a horse slaughter plant in Roswell, New Mexico, is only days away from opening.

The plant, owned by Valley Meat Company, faces two lawsuits – one from the state attorney general and the other from a group of horse advocates – and a wide-ranging spending bill to be considered by Congress in mid-January contains language that would defund the federal plant inspections required for horse abattoirs to operate on US soil.

“One way or the other, I believe we are near the end of horse slaughter,” Holland told supporters of the alliance, an umbrella group which advocates for the protection of wild horses and the end of slaughter.

“There are big things in the wings for the New Year and we have never had such powerful and determined allies in high places. So, without taking anything for granted, we at the Equine Welfare Alliance are already planning for the challenges in a post slaughter country.”

Holland said the New Year had begun amid a maelstrom of alarm calls over the imminent opening of horse slaughter plants.

He said news accounts had repeatedly referred to the Roswell plant being on the verge of opening. Another report suggested the plant had a contract to supply horse meat to to Belgium.

Holland noted that the European food safety agency, Sanco, had repeatedly confirmed that meat produced in the US and inspected by the US Department of Agriculture would not be eligible for importation into the European Union because the USDA does not have an EU-approved program for inspection.

Holland speculates that utterances over the plant’s plans, including the supposed profit margin per horse and details about staff hiring and supply contracts, amounted to an attempt to hype supposed damages and recoup some of their investment from opposing groups that have taken legal action.

“This kind of forward-looking information is highly sensitive in the corporate world. A privately held company would never disclose such information without a good reason,” Holland said.

“Knowing this kind of thing would allow one’s customers to know exactly how much they could squeeze the company in pricing negotiations, and it would allow competitors to understand the company’s weaknesses and vulnerability.”

He noted that Front Range Equine Rescue and the Humane Society of the United States, which are challenging the plants’ federal approval through the courts, had been required to post a bond.

That bond money would be available to the company only if it could prove damages as a result of the legal action, Holland argued.

“So all of this is, in my opinion, an attempt to hype supposed damages and recoup some of their investment from the opposing groups.”

On a federal front, Holland said the defunding language remained in the agriculture budget, before both the House and the Senate, both well supported to date.

“Conference committees have taken almost unlimited powers in the past. For example it was a conference committee that inserted the Burns ‘Three Strikes’ language into the Interior Budget, and another one that brought us the ‘Monsanto Protection Act’, neither of which existed before the budgets went to conference.

“This is all very confusing since we are now dealing with an omnibus budget which replaces all of the individual agency budgets. I can’t claim to know how everything will work as far as reconciliation, but I am assured that we are OK this time.”

The slaughter industry, one way or another, was near the end, he said.


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  1. Penny Zielstorf says:

    We the American people are asking that our government take a stand by passing the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1094/S. 541) to prevent horse slaughter from resuming in our country and to permanently stop the shipment of our wild and domestic horses to slaughter for other countries. Horse meat is not safe for humans this makes no sense why would we take the chance of making millions of people worldwide ill. Please hear our voices we are asking we are the tax payers we are the people. Thank you

  2. Aaron Kersey says:

    The unsafe for consumption myth has been proven false time and time again. The arguments against horse slaughter all return to the same emotionally driven ideals. Horses are pretty. Horses are pets. we ride horses. Horses are majestic. I love horses. Same tired emotion ridden arguments.

    • vicki says:

      Not so, Aaron. US horses are not raised or regulated as food animals. There is no passport system in the US and therefore, no traceability and no way to know what medications have been given to US horses. Horses quite often have multiple owners and without a national tracking system, there is no way to guarantee food safety.

      I don’t know where you are getting your information but it is not accurate. Why not tell everyone where the medications are recorded? Where is the information coming from? Where are you getting medical information on stolen and “abandoned” horses?

      EU reports have not only proven that US horses that have received banned meds are making their way into the food chain but that the paperwork accompanying the horses is falsified. The reports are available on the EU site as well as numerous advocate sites. Perhaps you should stop listening to Sue Wallis and do your own research.

    • Tim Parmly says:

      Okay Aaron Kersey. And your argument for slaughter isn’t the same old tired, proven wrong arguments. Get over it, horse slaughter will soon be abolished in this country and you and those of like thinking will have to become responsible horse owners.

    • says:

      Aaron, horsemeat has not been proven safe. Just the opposite is true. You seem to be just like the slaughterhouse lawyer. He feels he can say anything because there are no reporters anymore, only repeaters. They don’t question his falsehoods. However, the facts remain the same. Horse slaughter is cruel, unpopular and unsafe. Time to end it. Of course, this press release isn’t much different. More of an attempt for attention than any substance.

    • Alexandra says:

      You are completely ignorant. Firstly, unsafe consumption is not a myth. Secondly, horses are not livestock. They never have been and never will be. If we begin to slaughter horses, then why not dogs and cats? Maybe we can be like China where every year they have dog eating festivals. The line has to be drawn somewhere. There are plenty of meat products carniverous humans can gorge themselves on. Horses need to be off the table. PERIOD.

      • R.C. Pearce says:

        Alexandra, where have you been? Are you kidding? Do you not know what happens to the thousands of dogs and cats that are euthanized daily at our so-called “animal shelters” around the country? Wake up! And these are our actual “companion animals”. Horses are not.

        • Suzanne Moore says:

          Euthanasia is NOT slaughter! Horses ARE companion animals according to the FDA which is the agency that has the say on what drugs may be used on food animals. Horses are NOT food animals, so the FDA permits equine medications – and many other products as wel – to contain substances that they ban for any use in any food animal at any time during their lives. NO withdrawal periods for banned substances.

          I’m not sure why anyone would compare the euthanasia of dogs and cats to the slaughter of horses. No one with ANY knowledge of either situation certainly wouldn’t, but you’ve already proved that you have no actual knowledge about either. You’re just another troll trying to start something but only proving your own ignorance and disingeniousness.

        • Kelli F. says:

          Shame on you R.C. Pearce! Horses are companion animals. They are my companions every single day of my life, as are my dog and cat. Who are you to tell people what animals are their faithful, loving companions? They are sensitive, sweet, loving and need people as much as people need them. We need to protect these animals that we love and care for. I’m sorry you see anything with muscle as food. It makes me ashamed of how painfully insensitive and self-centered human beings have become.

        • Tami says:

          R.C.Pearce…have you witnessed a dog or cat euthanized? Horse slaughter? I think not. There is no comparison.

    • Caty says:

      And your proof that it is safe comes from? Please share with us where your information comes from?

    • skippy says:

      All of those who are pro slaughter are banking on two things. First is that horse owners will stay stupid about where there horses really go at auction. Secondly, that breeders will go back to breeding mass numbers of horses (with no decent market) with no concern with where there animals end up. The horse industry has a huge fan base of doing right by these animals. That doesn’t include sucking the last dime out of them. This is a problem the gov. is milking hoping that horsemen will breed for the food chain. It won’t happen with the current lineup. They would have to bring breeders in then convince them that horses are cows. Then the equine slaughter breeder would lose their shirt. The horses have this all figured out even if we don’t.

      • Suzanne Moore says:

        The reason horses aren’t being bred for food already is because it’s too costly. Horses are far more expensive to raise and care for than cattle. Their gestation period is longer and they mature much more slowly.

        The AQHA is all BUT breeding for food right now.

        BTW, it isn’t the breeding, it’s the way animals are raised that makes or breaks them as a food animal.

    • Terri says:

      Aaron sounds like a lobbyist for the slaughterhouses now, doesn’t he? Why don’t you take your ‘captive bolts’ and burn them. How you can be for killing companion animals like this is unbelievable. Why don’t you use your time wisely and advocate for less breeding of the INNOCENT horses?

    • kimberly says:

      Its no myth Aaron,open your mind!!

  3. kathyh says:

    cadmium (0.364 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled horse carcasses from Poland :// /22/11/2012

    Aug 22 Yet another EU recall on horsemeat slaughtered in the UK for distribution to France, May 15/12 for BUTE.

    (Richilieu Meats, Qc.) – Reference Number: 6780Recalling Firm: VIANDE RICHELIEU INC.Date of Recall: 10/21/2011Recall Classification: 2Distribution : QuebecExtent of the Product Distribution : Retail
    2011 –

    Richilieu Meats, Quebec. (2011) (CFIA)

    -European Union
    Chilled horse meat
    Unauthorised substance phenylbutazone (12 µg/kg – ppb) in chilled horse meat from the United Kingdom, 2012-01-18

    List From 2006-2012 – E.U –


    unauthorised substance phenylbutazone (1200 µg/kg – ppb) in horse meat from the United Kingdom 14/06/2012


    31/07/2012 – unauthorised substances clenbuterol (0.0023 mg/kg – ppm) and phenylbutazone (0.0013; 0.0015; 0.0010 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled deboned horse meat and frozen deboned horse meat from Canada


    • Suzanne Moore says:

      That last post about horsemeat from Canada was traced to a horse that actually originated in – guess? – the US of course. Over 60% of the horses slaughtered in Canada, with similar numbers for Mexico – actually come from the US.

      Live shipping them to Canada and Mexico where the horses magically become a “product” of the country where they were slaughtered, not the country where they originated, is the only way we can sell horse meat to the EU. If we did have horse slaughter plants here, the horses would be marked “product of USA,” and the EU wouldn’t accept them. Silly game I know, but that’s the way the regulations work.

      Thanks for the links!

  4. Dennis Davey says:

    Mr. Kersey,with all due respect, there does not seem to be any arguement on this issue in the U.S. A “MAJORITY” of the U.S PUBLIC has spoken NO MORE HORSE SLAUGHTER OR EXPORT FOR SLAUGHTER. It seems politicians who are ELECTED by the PUBLIC to represent the interests of that PUBLIC have got the message.
    A MAJORITY of the Canadian PUBLIC are of the same view as the U.S. PUBLIC however many Canadian politicans have failed to heed the view of the MAJORITY. This ARROGANCE in putting the interest of a very over the interests of the very many will be addressed in our next federal election in 2015.

  5. R.C. Pearce says:

    All of you “protect the horse” people are pathetic. You know absolutely nothing about a horse, and seemingly don’t want to learn about them. You look at pictures and read fiction and think that you know.
    Do you know anything about other animals that are slaughtered for food? How about poultry? If you ever had a pet chicken, you would be up in arms about poultry slaughter. If you ever actually owned some of these crazy horses, you would be happy to see horse slaughter resume in our country.

    • Alexandra says:

      You are in fact the pathetic one and think if you able before you speak, or in this case, write. I have been around horses my entire life, and have owned for about 19 years. So, yes, to respond to your ridiculous comment, I KNOW PLENTY ABOUT HORSES. I also know that people like you have the intellect of a slug and should spare the rest of us your ignorance. Pick up a dictionary and if you can read, learn about the DIFFERENCE between LIVESTOCK and COMPANION ANIMALS. If we must dummy down our explanation to that of a preschool level so you can comprehend, horses are not chickens. Do you understand there is a DIFFERENCE between poultry, beef, pork and horsemeat? 80% of the population of this country disagrees with you. Deal with it, or move to Belgium.

    • vicki says:

      RC, yes, we know about other animals that are slaughtered for food. We know that they are raised as food animals and that horses are not.

      We also know the difference and that the food chain is not the place to dispose of any animal.

    • Suzanne Moore says:

      I’ve owned horses for over 30 years. How long have you had experience with horses? Never? Right.

      You many not like it, but the other animals you name are RAISED for the purpose of being slaughtered for human food. The meds and other substances that can be used with them are VERY strictly regulated. They have permanent ID and health records from birth to slaughter. The slaughter plants are designed FOR them.

      Horses are entirely different – not only in the way they are NOT regulated as food animals – but physically and psychologically they are far removed from cattle, pigs, sheep and other livestock. What can work well for them is totally unsuitable for horses. You couldn’t slaughter them humanely with the techniques and equipment DESIGNED for cattle, etc., even if you WANTED to.

      I have never owned a “crazy” horse, but I’ve seen plenty of them. If they are truly beyond help, their owners get a veterinarian to put them down peacefully and painlessly – which is NOT what happens to horses that are transported and killed in slaughter plants.

      Yes, my aunt and uncle were in the egg business, and I did have a pet chicken. At least I didn’t have to keep him under armed guard to keep the kill buyers from stealing him and butchering him before I even new he was missing. Which is exactly what was happening in Texas during the time the two horse slaughter plants were open. FOUR of my own friends had their horses slaughtered and butchered and it’s just dumb luck the my horse wasn’t taken instead of theirs.

      All of this is WELL documented.

      Now, go away, child, before you make an even worse fool of yourself than you have already.

    • Kelli F. says:

      You obviously are ignorant about how to properly care for and raise a horse or you would not refer to them as “crazy.” Keep you anti-horse speech to yourself. There are millions that know horses and love them for what they are. If you don’t have a use for them, you just want to eat them. How sick and short-sighted of you. People wonder why Americans are so unhealthy. It will only get worse if you add horse meat to the diet. Go figure!

    • kimberly says:

      Pierce ,your a fool!

  6. Melissa Ohlsson says:

    R.C. Pearce- While it’s true that there are “protect the horse” people that are overly emotional regarding horse slaughter, the majority of anti-slaughter advocates are horse owners, like myself, that have been around horses all our lives, so it turns out that you are the one that thinks you know.

    Vice President
    Americas Wild Horse Advocates/Spring Mountain Alliance

  7. Michelle says:

    R.C. , How dare you tell me I know nothing of horses? I own one, and care for him daily. YOU are the ignorant one, and I suspect a troll as well from the pro side. Why do I think this? Because after reading the majority of their arguements on this subject, you sound as stupid as they do.

  8. says:

    R.C. Pearce, you are the pathetic one. Try getting informed before calling names. You must be a troll from the Pro slaughter side. YOu sound as stupid as they do with your weak arguments.

  9. Debbie says:

    Thank You Mr. Holland for giving me more hope that this absurd horse slaughter will end…. None of it makes any sense to me, I can’t connect the dots….

    I wonder if it has along been a ploy from the very beginning, I don’t know but I am still scared it will happen, I don’t trust anyone well most anyone in Washington….

    Horse slaughter IS NOT what We The People want… The reasons why I don’t believe I have to name them all cause we all KNOW WHY…. Praying and fighting hard for us and our horses in this country… Please wish they would move the Safe Act H.R. 1094/S.541 everyone call tell your Rep’s. to co-sponsor this BILL………

  10. Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D. says:

    American horses are NOT raised as a food animal. These horses are allowed to be given many drugs, including drugs BANNED in food-producing animals. The FDA bans over 100 drugs in food-producing animals that are allowed to be given to American horses because they are NOT food animals. Read the label on boxes of drugs/compounds and even fly spray that says that these products are not to be given to horses intended for the food chain. So, the pro-slaughter side wishes to deny or otherwise ignore the Food and Drug Administration and other agencies in the Western world tasked to keep our food safe. And for what purpose……I am sure everyon knows the answer to that question.

  11. Mayda D says:

    Did the slaughter house in NM opened on Jan 1st/2014? Or… Is it still close?
    Someone, please,let me know!

    • Suzanne Moore says:

      No, the New Mexican horse slaughter plant did not open on January 1. And they knew they couldn’t because they don’t have a waste water disposal permit. Blair Dunn lies every time he opens his sleazy mouth.

      Also, the Attorney General of New Mexico had filed a lawsuit against them and asked for a restraining order. He got it, and at a hearing today, it was extended to Jan. 13. There is a very good chance he will get his preliminary injunction at that time.

      Meanwhile, Congress is supposed to vote on an omnibus bill that would again defund the USDA’s horse slaughter plant inspections in mid-Jan. as John Holland explained above.

  12. Karin Hauenstein says:

    This is great news and to be expected. I am very glad that all the lies and propaganda perpetuated by pro-commercial horse slaughter interests is being exposed and this rogue “industry” is dying on the vine.

    Horse slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia!

    With the captive-bolt, which was developed for use on cattle, stunning is ineffective over 40% of the time when applied to domestic, trained horses (the ones full of prohibited drugs and medications.) This is due to the fact that horses’ heads cannot be restrained as cattle are and accuracy is very difficult. Horses will routinely break their own necks if restrained. The captive-bolt is ineffective at stunning wild, untrained or under-trained horses nearly 100% of the time. Everyone who knows horses and has any experience at all with wild horses knows that it is near impossible to get anywhere near their poll which is a very vulnerable area to every horse. To get near a wild horse’s poll with a captive-bolt apparatus and have an accurate shot is technically, practically and virtually impossible. This is the reason why we find so much carcass evidence documentation of severe abuse to slaughtered horses. The captive-bolt process itself is so ineffective that many horses are shot multiple times or vivisected while conscious. This is a definite violation of the Humane Slaughter Act which mandates slaughtered animals to be rendered “senseless with one (1) shot.”

    Please visit this website for more information and important action items YOU CAN DO TODAY to help U.S. horses avoid horrible abuse in the future:

  13. JewelNature says:

    The US Govt should listen to the American people, who are NOT in favor of horse slaughter for human consumption – or are allegations true that Senator Harry Reid is behind the push to clear horses off high country earmarked for wind farms etc? That is still no excuse for inhumane BLM roundups or cruel killing of our brother and sister horse, an icon if America’s West. Horsemeat tainted by drugs abused by the horseracing industry threatens major US meat export markets like China. Karma will kick the Govt in the head if slaughter proceeds.

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