Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Why No Horse Slaughter in Tennessee

Horse Slaughter Plants in Tennessee are once again on the agenda for Tennessee legislators. A bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Andy Holt of Dresden, to encourage opening horse slaughter plants in Tennessee was put off Monday for three weeks.

Here are just a few reasons (with supporting data) as to why I feel horse slaughter plants in Tennessee are a BAD idea:

Horse slaughter proponents argue it as a form of humane equine welfare for so-called “unwanted horses”. The process and mechanics of horse slaughter and the conditions are far from humane. They are horrific. There are plenty of undercover videos showing the graphic process. You can search for and watch such videos online for yourself if you dare and determine if you feel it is “humane.”

No Market & Cost Prohibitive
Slaughter for human consumption in Europe or the United States will not be effective in controlling “unwanted horses.” Due to new strict drug restrictions imposed by the EU (European Union), by 2013, slaughter will be too cost prohibitive a method to use as a means of controlling the “unwanted horse” population, because:

-Effective July 31, 2010, the EU will not accept imported horse meat from countries like Canada and Mexico unless it can prove that certain drugs and steroids were not ingested by the horse within six months of slaughter.

-By 2013, the EU rule will require each slaughtered horse to be shipped with an Equine Identification Document (EID) - a detailed electronic log of a horse's lifetime veterinary record and the drugs it has been given. A number of drugs - including, but not limited to phenylbutazone, testosterone, common dewormers and some antibiotics - must not have been given to the horse in at least the last 180 days prior to slaughter or they cannot be imported into EU nations.” Rachel Whitcomb, EU Standards Could Signal New Challenges for Veterinary Records, Horse Transport and Slaughter, DVM, August 2010, at 2E, Vol. 41, No. 8.

-Under these regulations the only way US horse meat would be acceptable to the EU market is if processors keep the horses in feed lots for 180 days, which is not cost effective, or we breed horses specifically for slaughter and then we are in the same boat as to the so-called unwanted horses.

-If we cannot ship horse meat to the EU because of its regulations, who is going to buy the horse meat?

-Will the market for horse meat in the United States be large enough to support this industry, given the amount of drugs labeled “not for human consumption” given to our horses?

-How will the USDA regulate horse meat for US consumption?

Again, we are back to the same problem of horse slaughter not being cost effective, nor solving the problem of the current “unwanted Horse” population. Better alternative to slaughter: work w veterinarians & vet schools to provide low cost/ no cost euthanasia.

Many other reasons slaughter plants are a BAD idea for communities based on previous slaughter plant history in this country (Dallas Crown and DeKalb, IL) are:
-Horse slaughter plants create environmental hazards and pollution.

-Plants create negative social impact on communities and lead to increase in crime rates.

-Plants deter other businesses from coming into their area.

-Lead to increase in migrant workforce.

-They devalue property.

-Blatant Animal Cruelty occurs- the USDA has documented 900 pages of graphic photos displaying the horrors horses are subjected to in these plants. Not to mention there are plenty of undercover videos on the internet displaying inhumane treatment and cruelty.

Don't take my word on it though, read for yourself the following letter from former Mayor Paula Bacon of Kaufman, TX outlining such problems and issues from her own personal experiences with slaughter plants in her state:

Also see article presented by “The Community Preservation Project” opposing a slaughter plant opeining in Mountain Grove, MO.


There is no time like the present to contact your Tennessee legislators and let them know how you feel about horse slaughter plants in this state. Look up and contact your representatives here. Let Governor Haslam know your position too here or twitter @BillHaslam.
Follow on twitter #NoTNHorseSlaughter

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