I was so stunned by this news that I waited to comment it on. I wanted to read a little more about the legislation that might very well bring horse slaughterhouses back to the US – and take in some opposing views on the subject.
Congress passed an Agriculture spending bill last month which included a provision to lift a ban on slaughterhouse inspections. With no slaughterhouse inspections in place, the facilities were not allowed to operate here. President Obama signed the bill – capping an odd sort of bipartisanship that is a step backward for animal welfare.
One side is claiming slaughtering horses here is better than slaughtering horses outside of our boarders – in countries such as Mexico and Canada where the process involves practices we might not allow here. So marginally less suffering is better? In a narrow scope, yes. But I say no suffering is better, where if horses must be euthanized it is by injection.
Of course, slaughterhouses won’t use injections because the chemical “spoils” the meat. I don’t see news outlets putting this aspect of the story out there.
Others talk about the suffering of abandoned horses and note the current state of the economy and the drought in some areas of the country is making it harder for some people to keep their horses. It is a sad and troubling situation where so many horses are suffering. But why in the case of animals – for wildlife and pets – is it that killing seems so often to rise to the top as the No. 1 option?
It is incredibly sad. We destroy wildlife habitat in an area and when the deer come into backyards to find food, it’s time to kill them. Too many horses – then lets go with a method to lets folks make money off the situation by killing them.
So instead of helping the horses, our government takes the cruel and harsh route – by opening up more killing fields. Forget that horses are highly intelligent beings. Forget that horses have a keen state of consciousness and self-awareness. Forget even the fact that horses hold a special place in American history. There’s a problem and the only solution some so-called intelligent people can come up with is to offer another option to slaughter more of them and make it easier to do so.
And in an era when science is opening more windows to our knowledge about the capacity for suffering for animals, some elected officials opt for the cruel solution. In an era when we should be moving forward with more humane laws, with a push for more compassion in legislation, a group of elected officials take us a huge step back.
The congressmen and senators who voted for this bill and the President should be ashamed for passing it into law.
Hell, we’ve got animal-welfare groups exposing cruel acts on factory farms as you read this blog post. Pigs and chickens and cows are suffering through insanely cruel and unnecessary acts within our boarders today. Do we really think horses will have it any better because the agriculture department will occasionally come in for an inspection?
Even when factory farms are found to be in violation of animal-welfare laws, little is done to punish the offenders. If a slaughterhouse is hit with repeated violations, will it be shut down? Probably not.
When it comes to animal-welfare, the track record is very poor. We need to vastly improve animal-welfare laws on factory farms and breeding kennels across the board before we even consider adding to the number of animals being sent to slaughter.
And lastly, I’ll leave everyone with this thought:
Let’s put the issue into one sentence, as it might be stated by the people who support this new legislation. “Horse slaughter in the US will be more humane.” In reality, it’s called “slaughter” for a reason. And they are called “slaughterhouses” for a reason. These are terms that are very difficult to spin as humane.