☛ Horse Abuse Part 6 – Horse Slaughter 7-7–15
HORSE ABUSE, Part 6
HORSE SLAUGHTER – A DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD
AQHA Life Member, professional reined cow horse trainer and Quarter Horse breeder Rick Dennis and Dual N For Me, AQHA Jr. Reining Champions.
By Rick Dennis
July 7, 2015
Ever since the introduction of the SAFE Act Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 1214) was introduced in the U.S. Senate in April 2015, advocates on both sides of the aisle have been organizing either in opposition of the bill or promotion of its passage. The bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) and Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD).
The House bill is designated Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1942) and is sponsored by Representative Frank Guinta (R-NH), Representative Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Representative Vern Buchanan (R-FL) and Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM).
HORSEMEAT POSES SERIOUS RISKS TO HUMAN HEALTH:
The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act would prohibit the slaughter of horses in the United States for human consumption, as well as the export of live horses for the same purpose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently bans the presence of 379 common equine drugs in animals slaughtered for human consumption, stating that “The permissive allowance of such horsemeat used for human consumption poses a serious health risk.”
However, there is no procedure in place to ensure that American horses, sold to slaughterhouses and killed for human consumption, are free of these FDA-banned substances. For additional information pertaining the SAFE Act please click on the following link:
Click for SAFE Act>>
AQHA’s STANCE ON HORSE SLAUGHTER:
On July 3, 2015, I received a copy of an AQHA News Bits, a transmittal entitled “Unsafe Consequences” and authored by the new AQHA Executive Vice President Mr. Craig Huffhines.
For political correctness as well as reader understanding, the AQHA 440 transmittal is an inner-office document designed for dissemination to the AQHA Board Members as a means of keeping them informed about the association. This document is not disseminated to the general membership that I’m aware of. In fact, until this document materialized, I’d never read one. Still another interesting fact is this document does not appear on the front page of the AQHA web site, where current news is usually published.
In Mr. Huffhines’ transmittal, the first paragraph really sets the stage of the substance of the article, saying, “As we all know, horse processing in the United States is not a black and white issue, so I want to take this week’s 440 to update you on the latest information. Once again, the Safeguard America Food Exports Act is before Congress. The Act is being positioned as a food-safety effort to protect humans from eating horsemeat that is not raised for human consumption. In fact, the Act, if approved, would ban the exportation of unwanted horses for processing facilities in Canada and Mexico. The ban would mean that thousands of unwanted horses will be sentenced to a destiny of starvation, abuse and neglect. It’s a hellish demise.”
In another paragraph, Mr. Huffhines promotes reopening horse-slaughter plants in the United States, saying, “If we do not like unwanted horses being sent to processing facilities across our northern and southern borders, then perhaps Congress should allow our own USDA-regulated processing plants to reopen. The U.S. plants, with state-of-the-art monitoring technology, will assure humane handling and euthanasia as approved by AAEP and AVMA and a USDA-inspected safe and wholesome end product for export.”
In Mr. Huffhines AQHA News Bits correspondence, he states the costs to support unwanted horses, as well as the costs associated with wild mustangs being removed from the wild ranges or BLM lands. However, Mr. Huffhines doesn’t state the primary reason for the removal of wild mustangs is more aptly due to the encroachment of cattle producers who lease the grazing lands from the federal government, for a nominal fee, to sustain and expand their cattle herds. I refer to these individuals as “Cattle Squatters.” After all the federal lands were actually set aside by the federal government to preserve the land and wild life and are actually owned by the taxpayers of the U.S. and managed by the Federal Bureau of Land Management. History has taught us that U.S. expansion has no room for co-existence or mutual respect. Just ask the American Indians!
Click for AQHA News Bits>>
HORSE SLAUGHTER ALTERNATIVES:
An interesting observation in this 440 correspondence is that it doesn’t offer one alternative to horse slaughter nor does it mention how AQHA contributes to the overpopulation of horses with unorthodox breeding methodologies, e.g, multiple-embryo transfer. A prior study revealed the revelation of five Quarter Horse Racing mares producing 144 foals using this methodology. I believe a study of this breeding methodology would reveal an astronomical number of horses, thus dramatically contributing to the over population of domesticated horses.
Click for mares with over 40 babies article>>
Click for First Prize Dash offspring>>
Click for Fast First Prize offspring>>
AQHA INTER-RELATIONSHIP BUSINESS PARTNERS:
In the Jason Abraham/Veneklausen v AQHA cloning lawsuit, it was determined during direct and cross examination by Plaintiff Attorney Nancy Stone of the existence of inter-relationship business partnerships of AQHA Stud Book & Registration Committee members, as well as members of the AQHA Executive Committee. The business relationships were so well documented by Mrs. Stone that she was able to draw a spider chart of their business investments in the Heritage Place sale barn.
Click for AQHA-Heritage Place spider chart>>
The other surfacing irony outlined these same individuals, while occupying seats on the Stud Book and Registration Committee as well as the Executive Committee, voted for the passage of the multiple-embryo transfer rule which significantly influenced their personal business interests in the Quarter Horse Racing industry in a positive manner. Is this a conflict of interest?
To further illustrate this inter-personal business relationship, one only has to review the outgoing AQHA President Mr. Johnny Trotter’s statement whereby Mr. Trotter openly admits being in a personal business relationship with incoming President Mr. Glen Blodgett in the ownership of a Quarter Horse racing stallion. So is AQHA’s position on horse slaughter a genuinely stated position or is there an underlying factor driving this smoking mirror mentality, e.g., money?
Click for Johnny Trotter Convention Speech>>
Another interesting concept of Mr. Huffhines’ letter is that it doesn’t mention “food safety” or “health-risk concerns to consumers” at all. The Internet is full of articles on the hazards non-inspected horsemeat poses to the consumer due to the voluminous drugs domesticated horses ingest or are administered to them during their lifetime – many of which pose great health concerns to the consumer. One Article says it all, “What’s for dinner – Poison!” Currently the U.S. is not capable of tracking drugs administered to horses on a national basis. Therefore, the slaughterhouses have no idea whether or the not the horsemeat being packaged for shipment to consumer tables contains harmful drugs but more importantly, neither does the consumer!
Also, as an AQHA Life Member I’ve never received a survey asking me what my position on horse slaughter is. After all, a nonprofit is not owned by any one particular individual or group but the sum parts of the whole – WHO ARE THE MEMBERS. Perhaps a vote by the members is in order to determine whether or not the AQHA should or should not be promoting horse slaughter.
Another interesting article that was sent to me is entitled “AQHA Political Action Committee Sets Goal to Derail S.A.F.E. Act Despite Huge Losses!” posted on June 17, 2015 by Heather Clemenceau.
“It’s no secret that the AQHA, the largest non-profit breed association in the world, takes the most destructive and inhumane approach to horse slaughter of any of the breed groups. On the one hand, the AQHA has a Mission Statement stating to “ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times.”
“However, the world’s largest breed registry needs a system to make room for the continuing mass production, hence their business model is to breed as many horses as possible (thus maintaining new memberships and registrations to ensure that they are a self-perpetuating entity) while discarding older or surplus horses and horses with undesirable conformation to slaughter plants.
“The AQHA also has a less-well-known political action committee – AQHPAC – that has set a goal of raising $250,000 by the 2016 elections, in part to fight the ‘malicious agendas of misguided groups like the Humane Society Of The United States.’ Political donations are used to promote politicians who support the “horse industry,” and advance their collective agenda. Of course, you can own several horses or run a training barn or a veterinary practice, but if you’re among the 80 percent of Americans opposed to slaughtering horses, you’re not officially part of the “horse industry” according to the AQHA.
“A specific goal of the AQHPAC is to defeat the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942 that was re-introduced in 2015 to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations in the U.S. and end the current export of American horses to Canada and Mexico slaughter plants. It’s an unbelievable slap in the face to the anti-slaughter advocates who worked incessantly for months to ensure that the previous incarnation of the act could be passed.”
This article is very interesting in that it provides a full disclosure of the political donations made to politicians in the House and the Senate, as well as the individuals contributing to the AQHPAC.
Click for AQHPAC against Safe Act>>
Still another article by Heather Clemenceau illustrates how one Canadian blogger rebuts AQHA’s most recent announcement promoting horse slaughter. Read the comments to see how the readers feel.
Click for Clemenceau wild horse article>>
EFFECTIVENESS OF AQHPAC:
To illustrate the effectiveness and mission of the AQHPAC, I located a $2,500 donation to Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana). The interesting concept of this donation is that Bill Cassidy was the opposing candidate to the sitting Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu. Senator Landrieu is a staunch advocate for the horse and was instrumental in closing the slaughter houses in the U.S. Being in Drug Enforcement in Louisiana during the 1970’S and 1980’s, I had the pleasure of meeting and knowing the Landrieu family: Moon Landrieu, Mary Landrieu, as well as the sitting mayor of New Orleans – Mitch Landrieu.
As politicians, the Landrieu family made great inroads for Louisiana as well as being known as pioneers of their time and bringing home the bacon for Louisiana. Obviously, Senator Landrieu did not fit in the mold of the convoluted thought process of AQHA and the AQHPAC, whose goal is to maintain, support and promote horse slaughter. Therefore, due to a difference of opinion and philosophy, the AQHPAC decided to throw their hat in the ring with Senator Landrieu’s opposition Bill Cassidy whose campaign was continuously shrouded in controversy. In the end, Cassidy was elected and Landrieu was defeated. However, the legacy of Senator Mary Landrieu lives on in spite of the AQHPAC.
Landrieu was one of the most conservative Democrats in the Senate, at times opposing her party’s positions. She came to national attention in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 after she publicly criticized the federal response to the natural disaster. Her opposition to the public option played a major role in the crafting of the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as she did not agree to support it until additional concessions were granted to support Louisiana’s Medicaid system. In 2011, she became a cardinal (chair) of the Senate’s Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee. She chaired the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship from 2009 to 2014, and chaired the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources from 2014 to 2015.
In the weeks following Hurricane Katrina, Landrieu and fellow Senator David Vitter co-sponsored the Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief and Economic Recovery Act of 2005 (S.1765), a 440-page aid package worth an estimated $250 billion. The Bill was read twice by Congress then referred to the United States Senate Committee on Finance.
Another victory for Landrieu is her support and co-authorship of the Gulf Coast Oil and Gas industry revenue sharing bill that affords Oil and Gas payments to the Gulf Coast states including Texas, the home of the AQHA. For the record, I was part of the Hurricane Katrina tragedy where I sustained almost a million dollar loss. Landrieu’s bill was instrumental in the recovery of Louisianians, myself included. Currently Mary Landrieu is the strategic adviser to the Walton Family Foundation.
One would think AQHA would concentrate on managing the AQHA, that according to their 990 tax filings has lost upwards of approximately 22 million dollars in recent times, instead of meddling in a state’s political system simply because a specific State Senator, whose political career has done so much for Louisiana and other states, doesn’t agree with the AQHPAC’s “Kill-Pen Mentality.” verified by Mr. Huffhine’s most recent 440 correspondence.
HORSE SLAUGHTER ISSUES
In a detailed discussion of “Horse Slaughter for Human Consumption,” by Christen Wiser, Michigan State University College of Law, Animal Legal & Historical Center, published in 2013, the author specifically outlines the slaughter industry from a myriad of perspectives including safety concerns.
A myriad of issues surround horse slaughter. Horses are expensive animals to maintain, so there tends to be a continuous crop of “unwanted horses.” Although there is a lack of data to substantiate the scope of the “unwanted horse problem,” its genesis lay in a collection of causes, including circumstances specific to each horse and owner, including backyard breeders, failed or retired racehorses, rodeos, and the nurse mare and Premarin industries that create a glut of mares and “byproduct” foals according to Mary W. Craig, Just Say Neigh, A Call for Federal Regulation of By-Product Disposal by the Equine Industry (2006) 12 Animal L. 193).
If a horse is unwanted by its current owner, it may still be usable. However, if there is no apparent buyer for a horse, the owner may turn to slaughter and euthanasia as the most convenient solution. Slaughter and euthanasia are distinguishable because slaughter is imposed to harvest products from the animal whereas euthanasia, which means “good death,” is meant to avoid pain and distress to a pet or unhealthy animal. Many consider the cost of euthanasia and disposal to be part of responsible horse ownership, but for others, slaughter is more compelling.
However, horses’ dispositions can be considered painstakingly unsuitable to commercial slaughter practices, which are designed for cattle and amplify the experience by treating horses as a commodity when they are accustomed to being handled as a pet.
HORSE SLAUGHTER CONTAMINATION CONCERNS:
Horse slaughter is an imperfect disposal solution because many horses routinely receive a variety of drugs contraindicated for use in animals intended for human consumption. The most commonly used equine anti-inflammatory painkiller is phenylbutazone or “bute” and “Ace” or aceprozmine maleate, a well-known equine sedative. The de-wormers – Ivermectin, and Pyrantel – that barn managers are liable to cycle every six to eight weeks with benzimidazole and tolazoline or moxidectin – are also contaminants.
Drugs not for slaughter animals>>
The EU, the FDA and the USDA prohibit the presence of many everyday equine antibiotics, anesthetics, anti-inflammatory drugs, de-wormers and topical medications in meat for human consumption. The EU, which requires equine “passports” and will not permit a horse that received banned drugs to be slaughtered for human consumption, initiated a stricter interim program in 2013 to ensure imported meat is not tainted. Directive 96/23 requires exporting countries to submit a monitoring plan, Regulation 136/2004, and requests pharmacological records and residue sampling for imported horsemeat.
The U.S. does not currently employ a documentation system for drug administration to horses and most American owners do not consider their animals’ use for human consumption. For additional information pertaining to the following article from Michigan State University:
Click for Michigan University study>>
THE DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD:
Whether an individual is for horse slaughter or opposed to it, one certainty is clear, “It’s a controversial issue!” In my opinion, a study needs to be conducted to reach a “Root-Cause-Analysis” of the problem and remedies need to be identified. Thus far, I’ve heard a lot of talk about horse slaughter but not many proffered solutions, including the demise of the AQHA multiple-embryo-transfer rule, which would greatly diminish the number of horses entering the market on an annual basis from this organization. However, in a recent conversation with Mr. Ward Stutz, AQHA’s Animal Welfare Director, I commended AQHA and Mr. Stutz on their commitment to penalizing those involved in animal abuse with assertive action.
In this matter, as well as in all discussions, we should strive to agree and disagree in our debate of a particular subject. Folks are passionate on both sides of the aisle! Therefore, I would like to see both parties working together to develop common ground on the subject matter. The horse slaughter issue entails not just the horse but equine nonprofits, as well.
Rick Dennis and Dualin Dude, MSRHA/NRHA Jr. Reining Champions.
As a business professional since 1984, I’m very astute in the business world. Therefore, I completely understand the everyday needs of the corporation to maintain financial stability. Equally, I understand the opposition to horse slaughter by the other side, as I also oppose it. However, if we work together, I’m sure common ground can be gained in the middle to embrace what’s best for the horse.
As a final note I would like to remind everyone if it wasn’t for the horse, we probably wouldn’t be celebrating a Fourth of July or Independence Day!
“Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridles”
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