☛ Horse Abuse Part 5 – 6-12-15
HORSE ABUSE – PART 5
HORSE SLAUGHTER: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
By Rick Dennis
June 12, 2015
Sugar Creek Slaughter
No other animal has been so entwined in the history of the United States, as has the noble horse. In the preface of my book “The American Horse Industry, Avoiding the Pitfalls,” I describe the contributions the horse has made in the evolution of our country and it is best described by the beginning paragraph, “In the history of the United States, the noble horse is an American Icon crisscrossing the pages of our history and every facet of our society.”
In “Horse Abuse,” Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4, I outlined in our society the many causes of abuse the horse is subjected to as well as the many legal changes being brought about to protect animals from abuse, including the manner in which animal abuse cases are classified and recorded by law enforcement. The FBI suggests these changes will be used to strengthen punishments for those convicted of animal cruelty and abuse crimes in all 50 states. These changes take effect in January of 2016. Another protective measure in progress for the horse is the introduction of federal legislation to prohibit the slaughter of American horses.
On April 22, 2015, federal lawmakers introduced legislation to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations within the United States, end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad and protect the public from consuming toxic horsemeat. The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942 was introduced to the legislature by Representatives Frank Guinta (R-N.H.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois), Vern Buchanan (R-Florida) and Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-New Mexico). Statistics for 2014 show more than 140,000 American horses were slaughtered for human consumption in foreign countries.
According to the introduced legislation, the animals often suffer long journeys to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico without adequate food, water or rest. At the slaughter house, horses are brutally forced into a “kill box” and shot in the head with a captive bolt gun in an attempt to stun them before slaughter – a process that can be inaccurate due to the biology and nature of equines and result in animals sustaining repeated blows or remaining conscious during the kill process.
“For centuries horses have embodied the spirit of American Freedom and pride,” said Representative Frank Guinta. “To that end horses are not raised for food. Permitting their transportation for the purpose of being slaughtered for human consumption is not consistent with our values and results in a dangerously toxic product. This bipartisan bill seeks to prevent and end the inhumane and dangerous process of transporting thousands of horses a year for food.”
“Horse slaughter is an inhumane practice that causes great pain and distress to the animals and poses numerous environmental and food safety concerns,” said Representative Lujan Grisham. ”The vast majority of my constituents oppose horse slaughter. I’m proud to support the SAFE Act to ban this cruelty once and for all.”
Click for H.R. Bill 1942>>
For the record, I’m not an animal rights activist, quite the contrary. Over the years, as an avid hunter I’ve pursued big game animals of the “herbivore” or grass-eating type all over the North American Continent as well as many species of birds. To date, I’m an avid duck, goose and quail hunter. Being an Alabama native, hunting and fishing has been an integral part of my lifestyle and culture as far back as I can remember. Also, for the record, I’m not an advocate of horse slaughter and never will be. In my opinion, the connection between the horse and American history is so tightly ingrained, it simply deserves our respect and our protection – period.
Contradiction of Terms:
One of the most ambivalent ideologies I’ve discovered in today’s horse industry is the American Quarter Horse Association’s position on the American Quarter Horse. On one hand, they have a Mission Statement which states, “To ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.” AQHA has rules and regulations in place governing the ethical treatment of the horse, including penalties and fines for the violator. On the other hand, AQHA has a not-so-well-known political action arm named AQHPAC for promoting horse slaughter. Political donations are used to promote politicians favorable to horse slaughter, oppose politicians unfavorable to horse slaughter and provide lobbying efforts to change laws favorable to the horse industry as well as individual agendas.
Click for AQHPAC>>
Click for current AQHPAC>>
The irony of the AQHPAC was found during my research in the Members Services section of the AQHA, where AQHA describes the purpose of the AQHA Political Action Committee but did not in any manner, shape, or form designate or mention this organization as promoting horse slaughter. However, my research did locate an article on a website “Straight From The Horses Heart,” published Oct. 11, 2011, by author R.T. Fitch, President of Wild Horse Freedom Federation.
Fitch’s article, “AQHA Attempts to Manipulate Public with Misleading Alert,” says, “Today, in what is a glaring public relations bombshell, the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) issued a Action Alert under an unconscionable headline of “Don’t let our nation’s horses suffer any longer,” where readers are asked to contact their elected officials to ensure that there will be no legislation passed which would prevent the USDA from paying the salary of any employee to inspect horse processing facilities.”
Click for Fitch’s article>>
In my opinion, it’s irresponsible for AQHA to promote horse slaughter knowing and being cognizant of the fact that slaughtered U.S. horse meat could be contaminated with toxins, especially those horses receiving medicines throughout their life span, thereby rendering some U.S. horse meat dangerous and unfit for human consumption. Could there be culpable liability in this practice, especially when many equine medications caution against providing these chemicals to horses meant for human consumption?
Click for Forbes article “How Safe Is Horse Meat?”>>
“Pros and Cons” of Horse Slaughter:
Pros: Those individuals supporting horse slaughter usually recite the same philosophical reasons: 1) to “control the over population of horses in the U.S. and 2) to eliminate sick, starving, abandoned or unwanted horses.”
Cons: Those individuals adamantly opposed to horse slaughter usually recite the common-sense reasoning to eliminate horse slaughter: 1) horse slaughter is an inhumane practice, 2) horses destined for the “kill pen” are subjected to brutal and unnecessary hardships, 3) horsemeat is unfit for human consumption due to the many types of toxins such as: antibiotics, de-worming medications, pain killers – banamine, bute, etc., that a horse ingests during its lifetime, 4) horses are not raised as a meat animal like pigs, chickens, or cows and 5) horses are companion animals and the list of positive reasons go on and on and on.
So if the reasons stated in the Pros are the only reasons for horse slaughter, couldn’t these reasons be changed from a negative to a positive? As a Risk Analyst, my job priority is identifying a potential threat by root-cause analysis, determining a solution to resolve the threat as well as designing a viable means of reconciliation by implementing a set of protocols to eliminate future or potential direct threats of a particular type. Such is the case here. Other than disease, the main direct threats to the American horse are overpopulation, neglect, abuse and slaughter.
A) Overpopulation is directly contributed to irresponsible breeding practices such as backyard breeding, over breeding of a particular industry type, the non-castration of breeding animals and the breeding of more animals than the industry can handle or, in other words, supply and demand. A factor that must be considered is AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule that attributes to the overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year by egg flushing, fertilization and reinsertion into a recipient mare. Still another AQHA contributing rule is frozen semen or eggs, which until recently allowed stallions and/or mares to breed from the grave or after sterility.
B) Neglect is an ever-threatening component of the equation that is usually directly attributable to the economy, except in particular cases where horses are deliberately not cared for properly by their owners for whatever illogical reasoning.
C) Abuse is still another factor contributing to the pipeline of slaughtered horses and is attributable to horses being crippled or otherwise physiologically impaired by human interaction with unorthodox and abusive training practices included.
D) In my opinion, slaughter is the ultimate insult and disrespect for the noble horse. Unlike euthanasia or the intentional killing of an animal for humane purposes, slaughter is a sad commentary as well as an illogical reason to end a horse’s life. After all it’s not the horses fault, it’s society’s fault!
In conducting a root-cause analysis in an effort to determine the exact cause of the overpopulation of horses in our society, one only has to look at the old cliché, “Money Is The Root Of All Evil!” The horse market is based on supply and demand. The more investors it has, the more horses are produced to fill this niche in our society and the more horses are sold. However, like the “law of nature” and the “law of physics,” this comes with a price. There are only so many individuals interested in horses, only so many people that can afford horses and only so many rescues that can handle the large influx of unwanted horses that our society and the bad economy has produced.
Another factor to consider is the end result of horses that are bred to perform in a certain capacity but can’t make the grade. Do these horses, more commonly known as throw-away horses, essentially end up in the slaughter pipeline? The law of probability dictates, not every horse will end up a champion!
The Means Satisfies The End
In the past, I made a recommendation to the American Quarter Horse Association for an increase in registration and transfer fees with this portion set-aside to care for unwanted horses. I never heard back from them. After all, most of the horse rescues are nonprofits, the same as the horse organizations. They rely on donations the same as AQHA, NRCHA, NCHA and APHA. I believe it’s time for the breed organizations and the performance horse organizations to step up to the plate, take responsibility for their actions, come full circle and help in this horse dilemma.
After all, isn’t the horse the one that provided them with their enormous salaries, jobs, and lucrative retirement packages? Without the horse, none of this would exist. Remove the noble horse from the equation and the horse industry would collapse. Therefore, as a viable option, the horse organizations could align themselves with various horse rescues throughout the U.S. and use these set-aside funds to feed and care for horses in distress until they could find another home through adoption, which would be a positive alternative to slaughter.
In one aspect, the proponents of horse slaughter remind me of our politicians in Washington D.C. who send our young men and women off to fight wars in foreign lands because they don’t have the guts to pick up a rifle and join the fighting. Likewise, the proponents of horse slaughter should have to pick a horse, kill it, clean it and butcher it instead of sending it off for someone else to do their dirty work. Perhaps this would change their mindset. The curious nature of the “kill pen” buyers is the average paycheck for a seller is around $500, if they’re lucky.
Another viable solution would be to educate the public on the efforts of responsible breeding practices among horse owners. Equally important is for nonprofits to promote the castration of stud colts not intended for breeding purposes, including financial assistance to the owner similar to programs instituted by the ASPCA. Overall, there are a myriad of common-sense practices that could be instituted by the horse industry as alternatives to horse slaughter and to significantly reduce the overpopulation of horses. Still another alternative to slaughter is to have retraining facilities set up to offer alternative jobs and careers, other than the one they were bred for, i.e. coming from the racing industry and going to other segments of the horse industry. This would provide the unwanted or throw-away horses with a new career and a new lease on life.
The problem with horses, unlike other animals such as dogs and cats, is that horses tend to live long lives if properly cared for. Therefore, with each breeding season, the industry introduces new horses, which in essence is like stacking building blocks. Eventually, the room is filled to capacity. One way to resolve this problem in our industry is to organize a task force with a representative from each nonprofit horse organization to study the growing overpopulation of horses in our society and hopefully resolve this issue with common-sense planning.
However, the overpopulation of horses is not specific to one breed organization such as the American Quarter Horse Association that is merely a sum part of the whole, but relegated to horses in a general sense – including the wild mustang.
To fully illustrate the sum part of the whole theory, my research also revealed another story that no one seems to want to talk about: the horses that make up the Thoroughbred Racing Industry. The following links will undoubtedly provide the reader with an entirely new concept of what happens to the horse in this industry.
Click for Bloomberg/American Pharoah article>>
Click for Forbes article on Thoroughbred Slaughter>>
Click for from Kentucky Derby to dinner plate>>
Click for upcoming documentary>>
Countless Horses Saved With Major Blow To Slaughter Factory:
In a recent article by “Animals Angels,” an announcement was made that Empacadora De Carnes Unidad Ganadera S.A. De C.V., is one of the four plants in Mexico that was approved to export horse meat to the European Union prior to the EU Commission’s decision to ban horse meat from Mexico. The plant, with EU approval number E-20 and MX Establishment number Tif-45, is located in Aguascalientes, Mexico. Prior to the ban, this plant was a major supplier of horse meat destined for human consumption in Europe.
Inter Meats is linked to the Belgium based company Chevideco, which imported the meat from the Aguascalientes plant to Europe. Chevideco, unlike other companies, only deals with horse meat and is one of the most poserful global players in the industry. From past investigations Animals Angels reports the following “kill buyers” had contracts to deliver US Horses to the Aguascalientes plant:
● Triple Crown Ranch of Meeker, Oklahoma
● Bill Richardson of Whitesboro, Texas (deceased).
● Ryan Simon of Cannon Falls, Oklahoma.
● Double JJ Horse Company of Perkins, Oklahoma, and
● Dennis Kunz of Willard, UT.
Click for EU bans horse meat from Mexico>>
There is some good!
In a recent conversation with Jason Abraham of Canadian, Texas, one of the Plaintiffs in the Abraham versus AQHA cloning lawsuit, I learned he operates a very large horse rescue enterprise with a personal remuda of about 1,000 rescue hoses. Mr. Abraham stated, “I rescue between 300 to 400 mares annually, with the percentage being defined as 80 percent Quarter Horses and 20 percent other breeds. The large percentage of the mares are purchased from kill buyers for around $700 to $800 each with the rest being donated to my rescue operation.”
Mr. Abraham also stated, “A lot of my mares are leased out, but a lot of the lease mares are sold to the lessor because they fall in love with them. Now I’m not saying that these horses don’t eventually end up in the “kill pen” because of someone else but at least their going to the “kill pen” at 16 or 17 years of age instead of 4 year olds. I use these mares for recipient mares to carry embryos produced by multiple embryo transfer as do the folks that lease them from me. At least one way or the other, my horse rescue services are keeping them from the slaughter shed.”
In my opinion as an American Quarter Horse breeder, professional reined cow horse trainer and clinician, the fewer horses we have in the industry that are produced by responsible breeding practices, would result in higher prices at the sale barn and private treaty sales. Also, a reduction in horse population produced by common-sense breeding practices would definitely be a more commonsense alternative to horse slaughter practices.
The contributions the horse has made to our country are enormous and include by example: exploration, travel, building railroads and telegraphs for communication, mail carriers, working vast cattle ranches, crop cultivation to feed settlers, war participants, settlement and town building, medical transportation, law enforcement and hunting just to name a few. Today, the horse is our companion, family member and friend. Shouldn’t they deserve to be respected and cared for differently, if for no other reason than their contributions to building and defense of the greatest country in the world – The United States of America?
“Until Next Time, Keep Em Between The Bridle!”
Copyright 2015, Richard E. “Rick” Dennis, all rights reserved.
WIND RIVER COMPANY LLC
Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500
Web Site: http://www.windrivercompanyllc.com