HORSE ABUSE, PART 8
WHAT CAN BE DONE ABOUT HORSE SLAUGHTER?
By Rick Dennis
Jan. 14, 2017
As we move into 2017, it has come to my attention that the repugnant business of slaughtering U.S. horses in Mexico and Canada is still an ongoing and viable business trade. Kill buyers still monitor U.S. auction barns seeking new slaughter prospects and the Canadian and Mexican slaughter plants are in full swing.
I recently received a 2013 video, by the Humane Society, illustrating the barbaric killing and dismembering of our beloved horses at a Mexican slaughter plant. The video captures the entire shocking scenario from the stabbing and severing of the animals’ spinal cord with a knife to the final rendering process.
The stark reality of the end-of-life process for our horses can be viewed by clicking on the following link. Caution: This video contains extreme graphics!
Click for Horse Slaughter video>>
2016 SLAUGHTER STATISTICS
Statistical data provided by the USDA Livestock, Poultry, and Grain Market News through Jan. 5, 2017, revealed a total of 103,717 horses, burros, mules and ponies went to slaughter in 2016. A total of 78,077 U.S. animals were sent to slaughter and were transported from the U.S. to Mexico, via, Las Cruces, N.M. The statistics are arranged by breeding males, breeding females, geldings and burros/mules/ponies.
Live Horse Export figures, from the U.S. to Canada in 2016 revealed 25,640 animals were sent to Canada.
ORIGINS OF THE HORSE SLAUGHTER PIPELINE
Theoretically, the three main components contributing to the horse slaughter pipeline are:
Overpopulation produced by:
Over breeding, which includes intentional breed-specific foals and haphazard or backyard or unintended breeding, e.g.: 1) American Quarter Horse – Performance and Racing, Thoroughbred Association, Paint Horse breed, Appaloosa Horse, Morgan Horse, Arabians.
Cross-bred or unintentional breeding: Unorthodox breeding practices such as Multiple Embryo Transfer or ICSI – (Intra- cytoplasmic Sperm Injection).
These two breeding methodologies are scientific processes whereby a single mare can produce multiple foals in a single year by removal of produced eggs. These methods clearly place the small breeder at a disadvantage to the affluent breeder from a production cost and foal production ratio alone. The average embryo transfer per/foal is $3,500 plus the stud fee. The average cost per ICSI foal using frozen semen is $12,500 plus the stud fee.
Unwanted or abandoned horses produced by economic decline.
Today’s economic decline certainly has taken a toll on American lives that, in turn, has caused a downward spiral in horse ownership and participation in the U.S. The simple law of physics “so-to-speak.” For every action, there’s an opposite and equal reaction.
This downward trend and spiral is well documented in horse ownership, class participation at equine events, as well as significant membership declines with nonprofit horse organizations such as AQHA, NRHA, NCHA, etc.
When the choice arrives between feeding your family or paying a mortgage note to house your family or feeding a horse usually results in getting rid of the horse. This unfortunate circumstance usually explains why a significant number of horses end up at low-end sales that, in turn, provide kill buyers with easy access to healthy horses.
BLM management of wild horses and mustangs. This category is included due to the fact BLM-branded animals have been documented being sent to a Mexican slaughter in the past, even though BLM vehemently denies this exists. However, and for the record, statistics state BLM captured and corralled horses that cost the U.S. taxpayer $50 million annually.
The attached video, taken by www.animalsangels.org, documents the unloading process at a Mexican horse slaughter plant in Mexico. An article entitled, U. S. Government selling horses to known kill buyer, is attached hereto.
Click for Animals Angels Video>>
Click for BLM article>>
LARGEST CONSUMERS OF HORSEMEAT:
According to an article in the Huffington Post dated Feb. 17, 2013 there are nine countries that love horsemeat, including: France, China, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Germany, Belgium, Japan, Switzerland and Scotland.
These are the markets U.S. horses are generally destined for.
Click for EU horse meat trade>>
ECONOMICS OF HORSE/FOAL PRODUCTION
All horse/foal production, except for unintended or backyard breedings, are primarily regulated and driven by MONEY. As the old cliche’ goes, “Money Is The Root Of All Evil.” So it is with horse/foal production. Affluent investors seek to make a profit in horse/foal production, 501(3) c nonprofit equine organizations seek to make money on breeding reports, foal registrations, horse ownership/transfer registrations, as well as horse show and/or racing participation. Racing owners seek profits on the racetrack. Stud owners seek to make money on breedings and top mare owners seek to make money on egg or embryo sales.
Furthermore, equine Veterinarians, trainers, farriers, feed organizations, tack suppliers, show producers, arena owners, Pro Rodeo organizations and participants, video production companies, magazines, book authors and supplement manufacturers all enjoy a profit from the horse – myself included.
THE BIG GAMBLE
Each year thousands of horses are produced in the U.S. in hopes of fulfilling a profit derived from the horse. Many foals are produced but many are also washed out, due in part to genetics, age development limitations, debilitating accidents during training or raising, as well as bad trainers, performance or racing accidents and illegal drug use. In many cases these washouts become prime candidates for the horse slaughter pipeline before they are 5 years old. In today’s equine market, horses have essentially become throwaway commodities for many.
I believe this is a dangerous mindset for the beloved horse. A callous, greedy and unyielding mindset will only further fill the slaughter pipeline with an endless supply of unsuspecting and innocent horses. Their only guilt is being of no further financial benefit to their owner. It seems the horse is no longer revered by society as it was in days past. Money has replaced compassion, as well as responsible horse ownership.
Over the years, horse-related nonprofit rescues have emerged in our society under the guise of being a viable alternative to horse slaughter. However, in truth and reality, a lot of these groups have fallen by the wayside in their commitment to the noble horse. Commonplace news articles clearly define the abuse horses are subjected to by being starved. The owners are arrested and prosecuted and the remaining horses are seized by the state for reassignment with other agencies.
The valuable lesson to learn here is to perform a diligent background check on the alleged nonprofit. The best place to start is www.Guidestar.org, a governmental website that lists the 990 tax returns for all nonprofits in the United States.
The main focus of your research is to ascertain whether or not the 501(c) 3, or other designation, is current on their 990 tax filings. In some instances these same rescues sell your horse for a profit and in many cases individuals posing as horse rescues sell your donated horse to kill buyers. If your selected rescue is not current on its 990 filings, abandon that rescue and find a more suitable one.
DETERRING AN OVERPOPULATION OF HORSES
There are many avenues available to the responsible equine breeder to limit the annual foal production, one of which is limiting foal production. I have adopted this responsible breeding practice by limiting annual breedings to a specific number each year. Other practices include: 1) Unwanted stallions and stallions unsuited for breeding purposes should be gelded as soon as possible
2) Equine nonprofits advocating Multiple Embryo Transfers should be lobbied to stop this unorthodox breeding practice that only adds to the overpopulation of horses
3) Lobby the BLM to return to the original ideology of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Essentially, the BLM has upset the balance of nature by removing the predators on our rangelands that would normally cull sick, old, dying and young horses by natural attrition. Essentially, individuals like Forrest Lucas and his company Protect The Harvest have lobbied for years for increased cattle production on our rangelands while demanding the removal of our wild horses and burros as well as predators. (For the record, Lucas has become highly publicized as the benefactor of major equine sporting events. Don’t be fooled by the narrative.)
4) Lobby the Congress and The Senate for the passage of the S.A.F.E. Act. Since introduction, the bill has languished in passage. Passing the S.A.F.E. Act will eliminate U.S. horses from going to slaughter.
5) Stop selling your horses on Craig’s List or low-end auctions where kill buyers abound.
6) Do diligent research on a chosen equine rescue before donating.
7) Only own the number of horses you can adequately take care of and afford to own.
However, the most important mindset to change is the American public and being a responsible horse owner. Stopping horse slaughter begins with us.
“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle!”
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Office/Mobile: (985) 630- 3500
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com