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Who would want to eat a horse? 5-31-18


By Richard E. “Rick” Dennis
May 31, 2018


‘Inside the Issues’: Eating horses has been taboo for most of America’s history, but recently Congress has considered altering U.S. laws to revive the American horse slaughter industry. On FOX News’ “Tucker Carlson,” Tucker interviews Dave Duquette, representing Protect The Harvest, as well as himself as a promoter of horse slaughter during the interview.

Click for a complete view of the FOX News interview with Duquette>>


In an article entitled, “Hermiston doesn’t want a horse slaughter plant on its doorstep” by Richard Cockle in The Oregonian, dated and updated Oct. 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm and posted Oct. 7, 2012 at 12:00 pm.


“ Once wide open to virtually any industry that promised payrolls and jobs, the eastern Oregon town of Hermiston is taking a stand against the latest business poised to land on its doorstep.


“I don’t think the first thing you want to see when you get off the freeway is a horse slaughter plant,” said Mayor Robert E. Severson. “That’s a dramatic reversal for a town whose tallest building is the 73-foot Pioneer Hi-Bred International seed-cleaning elevator and where the Army’s Umatilla Chemical Depot stockpiled rockets, bombs and land mines armed with nerve gas and mustard agents outside the city limits until this past spring. But livability is an issue for Hermiston’s 16,745 residents, and a slaughter plant might discourage other enterprises from coming here.


“We are the fastest-growing community in eastern Oregon. I’ve had people come up to me and say, ‘Thank God that you took a stand against the horse slaughter plant.’ The nation’s last three horse slaughter plants in Texas and Illinois closed five years ago, ending the annual killing and processing of roughly 100,000 of the nation’s 9.2 million horses. President Barack Obama signed the federal agricultural appropriations bill last spring, lifting a congressional ban on domestic horse-meat inspections, in effect allowing slaughter to resume.”




Dave Duquette’s name is nothing new to the horse slaughter industry. His early appearances as a promoter in the horse slaughter industry can be traced back to 2012 and earlier, as evidenced in an article “Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state representative, cattle rancher and slaughter advocate, said four equine slaughter/processing facilities will open in Missouri, Iowa and New Mexico within two months. All are former beef or bison plants retrofitted for horses, she said.


Industry representatives blame the shutdown of domestic slaughter for triggering steep declines in horse values, causing widespread horse abandonment and overwhelming rescue operations.


Meanwhile, a related population explosion among wild herds on reservations is damaging roots, berries and other traditional Native American foods, tribal members say.


Duquette met with representatives of 11 tribes last month in Pendleton, some from as far as the Dakotas, to discuss the slaughter issue. He said he expects tribes to underwrite 51 to 65 percent of the Hermiston plant.




Dave Duquette, a Hermiston horse trainer who is organizing the slaughter effort, said the City Council is missing a bet on a proposal that would employ 100 workers, slaughter up to 25,000 horses a year and inject $35 million into the local economy.


He hopes to have the 20,000-square-foot plant in place by late 2013. Investors have bought 252 acres near the junction of Interstate 84/Interstate 82 for the operation, he said. He also plans a nonprofit horse rehabilitation center managed by the 22,000-member United Horsemen’s Association in conjunction with the plant.


“It would rescue, train and find homes for horses salvaged from the slaughter stream,” he said.


“We are going to try to reproduce this facility in several places in the United States,” said Duquette, who believes the rescue center could be “a role model for the nation. Horses for slaughter would include old, lame and problem domestic horses as well as unwanted wild horses from herds roaming Indian reservations”.


On one hand Duquette wants to slaughter horses by building an elaborate slaughtering facility, as well as duplicating its likeness with other horse-slaughter plant constructions while, on the other hand, Duquette is advocating rescuing some from the horse-slaughter pipeline. Still he thinks it’s good to eat horsemeat.  A dichotomy personification at its finest.




Proponents “sing the same ole tune.  “It’s necessary for the welfare of the poor horse,” a statement that is merely a smoking mirror to elude relevant facts of the actual causes of over-populated horses in this country directly contributing to the poor-horse moniker. Meanwhile “Advocates Against Slaughter” are the ones bringing scientific studies and relevant facts to the table in the quest for dominance in the truth issue. The proponent philosophy is clearly evidenced in the FOX News, Tucker Carlson interview with Duquette.  Duquette thinks everyone would enjoy eating horsemeat, which is a sad commentary for the poor horse, but not for Duquette who wants to open horse slaughter plants for profit throughout the U.S.A.


However, Duquette’s meager quest for illogical rationality is overshadowed by Tucker Carlson’s rapier rebuttals of the subject using historical and sound logic to rebuke Duquette’s illogical rambling’s.




Research has clearly evidenced each horse population has mitigating factorsdirectly contributing to an overpopulation of horses in America. As such, to clearly identify the overpopulation of horses one must separate the overpopulation into four categories:


1) Personally owned, 2) Performance horse industry, 3) Horse racing industry and 4) wild mustangs and burros.


Within category (1), (2), and (3), one relevant factor contributes to each respective category, (e.g. an economic decline in American wealth and earnings) that specifically contributes to more unwanted or unaffordable horses in our society.


Equally, within category (1), (2), and (3) another relevant factor contributing to the unwanted horse population is the  “over-breeding” of a specific group or type.  Still another relevant factor contributing to the over population of horses in Americas society is the back-yard or (unintentional) breeding of horses.


In the performance horse industry, the specific relevant factor contributing to the overpopulation of horses in America is an annual explosion of horses driven by race and/or performance horse breeders trying to ascend to the top of the “Futurity Ladder of Success”.During the process of winning a Futurity, young horses are crippled and are destined for the horse-slaughter pipeline. Therefore, the “Breed More, Kill More” moniker is derived.




Registrants of specific horse breeds or types make a significant amount of money due to breeding, foal registration, futurity entrance fees and horse transfers.  Therefore, it’s in their best interest for these specific horse breed associations to encourage an annual population of horses, (e.g. American Quarter Horse Association, American Paint Horse Association, Thoroughbred Association, etc.).


Actually, in the case of some breeders, a rational person can deduce that the breeding philosophy is “Breed 10 and maybe get one champion,” knowing that the slaughter pipeline is a viable outlet for those horses that are either crippled during the process or don’t make it to the Championship ring. Perhaps if the horse-slaughter outlet were closed, even to crossing borders to Mexico and Canada or internationally, perhaps then a breeder would think about reducing the number of horses he or she produces each year.


On the other hand, wild mustangs and burros are witnessing a war being waged against them due to:


1)         Mismanagement by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and


2)         Livestock grazers, grazing cattle and sheep on National Grasslands at a fraction of the cost they would pay for lease use on private land.


Livestock grazers on National Grasslands have been dubbed the title of “Welfare ranchers” for a good cause, i.e., when required, they receive government subsidy checks to keep them going. Scientific studies have proven over and over again that certain assertions made by livestock grazers against wild mustangs and burros have often times been proven categorically false. However, what they fail to tell you is that the wild horses, burros, wildlife and predators suffer from the encroachment of privately owned cattle and sheep into their native environment.


Another mitigating factor instigated and/or caused by livestock grazers is the reduction and/or killing of predators in these areas that would otherwise contribute to the natural course of nature by killing sick, young and old wild horses and mustangs for survival – The Natural Balance of Nature.


Notwithstanding, it’s these same livestock grazers (welfare ranchers), combined with corporations in the cattle and sheep production business, that are the direct contributing factor for the U.S. Government spending millions of dollars annually in the removal and housing of the wild mustangs and burros, as well as for the removal and/or killing of the predators in these areas. This is a very wasteful spending project – all because of livestock producers.


In my article “Horse Slaughter – Fact and Fiction”, published on July 23, 2015 on, these exact circumstances are delineated and include eye-opening Bureau of Land Management (BLM) statistics.

Click for Horse Slaughter – Fact and Fiction>>



ECOLOGIST CRAIG DOWNER: An Open Letter to BLM. Re: Cloud Herd


Another piece of compelling evidence delineating the mismanagement of the wild mustangs and burros is an open letter to the BLM. Mr. Downer is an ecologist who has extensively studied both the wild horses of the West and the endangered mountain tapirs of the Northern Andes. His authored articles include: Wild Horses, their ecological contribution, their North American evolutionary roots, their great natural and social value and their survival plight.

Click to read the Craig Downer letter>>




According to Dave Duquette, eating horsemeat may be his choice of meat preferences but neither he nor Forrest Lucas’ PROTECT THE HARVEST explains in their dialogue exactly what the ramifications are in opening a horse-slaughter plant in the U.S.A. The following letter explaining the adverse effects of such a plant is reduced to script by Mrs. Paula Bacon, the mayor of Kaufman, Texas, and derived from her first-hand witness, knowledge and experience.


“I am 5th generation in Kaufman, TX, a community that spent many difficult years

trying to deal with a horse-slaughter plant. As a resident, business owner (P.G.

Bacon Lumber Co. “Friendly Service Since 1896”), taxpayer and one who has

served four terms on the City Council, with two as mayor, I believe a horse-slaughter plant is among thevery least desirable things a community would want.


A horse-slaughter plant ranks with a lead-smelter plant and sexually oriented businesses, the dead opposite of economic development. A horse-slaughter plant created expensive environmental problems for taxpayers, profoundly affected our crime rate and stigmatizes the community as ‘that place where they slaughter horses’ — and good development goes elsewhere.


Knowing what such a plant does to a community, people want to do everything

they can to keep a horse-slaughter plant from moving in. A horse-slaughter plant

creates long-term m&o expenses, dominates what people think of your community

and getting rid of them is almost impossible. A horse-slaughter plant is a classic

example of how a bad decision leads to multiple bad outcomes”.

To read the full letter click here>>




One of the “so-called” protectors of our way of life is a 501(c)3 nonprofit started by billionaire Forrest Lucas of Lucas Oil Fame, called “PROTECT THE HARVEST.”  Lucas wants to protect American Society from everything including abolishment from hunting, fishing, rodeo, horse shows, etc.  However, what Mr. Lucas doesn’t tell you is that he is also in the cattle business.  “Therefore, Lucas has some skin in the game” regarding the BLM issue.






For the record, one of the narrator’s of a video, “Horses In Crisis”, that is on the front of PROTECT THE HARVEST’S website, clearly admits all predator control has been implemented by the livestock industry. Coincidentally, in my opinion this is a propaganda film at it’s finest. On one hand the narrator provides a dire image of a suffering horse, while at the same time elevating themselves as the protector of the realm, as well as, at the same time, taking “no responsibility whatsoever” for the imbalance of grazing animals on National Grasslands that ultimately affects the plight of the wild horses, burros, wildlife and predators in these areas.


In order to advance Lucas’s agenda, he has been infusing the Performance Horse industry with hundreds of thousands of dollars in contributions for which he’s using to establish booths at major events to promote his self-serving agenda. In fact, Lucas Oil is the prefix preceding the name of the major events Lucas is sponsoring with nonprofits such as the NRCHA, NCHA, AQHA, etc..


However, I would like to inform Mr. Lucas and Duquette that I’m not one inclined to buy into their propaganda machine as others have. I’m sure the cowboys and cowgirls, as well as the associations, like his cash infusion but like anything else, I’d take his rhetoric with a grain of salt.All in all, my opinion of what’s happening in the plight of domestic and wild horses and burros has two dominate contributing factors as the root cause: Greed and Money!  This is evidenced in the Tucker Carlson/Duquette interview where Duquette asserts, “eating horse meat is good, but fails to tell the audience that his ulterior motive is promoting horse slaughter to enrich himself in hopes of opening horse slaughter plants. 


As usual, just smoking mirrors!


Until Next Time, Keep ‘Em Between The Bridle !


Richard E. “Rick” Dennis

Office/Mobile: (985) 630-3500.


Web Site:


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  1. Great job. I’m going to share in a bunch of equine groups I’m in. Not sure what groups I’m left in but I still have a bunch. We should boycott all horse organizations taking money from Lucas. Thank you for all that you do for the horses. So proud of you and this article for exposing the truth about what they really are – lies and deception.

  2. Thank you Richard from the horses and me.

    You did a great job of exposing their dirty little secrets on this. Duquette is public enemy number one. Wish they’d let you debate him on National TV.

  3. The stats in the middle of this article are impressive and horrible!
    Great job dude!!

  4. If anyone thinks that the opening or closing of a horse slaughter plant is going to have one once of influence on the performance horse breeding industry they are out to lunch because it will not. And the comment about cattle and sheep grazing infringing upon the native animals grazing is nuts. In fact wild horses are not native to this country and therefore don’t possess any preferential right to anything or any land. Most state and federal fish and game agencies have gone to great lengths to eradicate non native species from the environment- Why not horses? Why are they the sacred cow?

    John Primasing

    VP Chief Credit Officer
    Bank of Stockton
    PO Box 1110
    Stockton, CA 95201
    Office: (209) 929-1363

  5. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife

    by Jay F. Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. and Patricia M. Fazio, Ph.D. (Revised January 2010)

    © 2003‐2010, Drs. Jay F. Kirkpatrick and Patricia M. Fazio. All Rights Reserved.

    Are wild horses truly “wild,” as an indigenous species in North America, or are they “feral weeds”—barnyard escapees, far removed genetically from their prehistoric ancestors? The question at hand is, therefore, whether or not modern horses, Equus caballus, should be considered native wildlife.

    The question is legitimate, and the answer important. In North America, the wild horse is often labeled as a non-native, or even an exotic species, by most federal or state agencies dealing with wildlife management, such as the National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the Bureau of Land Management. The legal mandate for many of these agencies is to protect native wildlife and prevent non-native species from causing harmful effects on the general ecology of the land. Thus, management is often directed at total eradication, or at least minimal numbers. If the idea that wild horses were, indeed, native wildlife, a great many current management approaches might be compromised. Thus, the rationale for examining this proposition, that the horse is a native or non-native species, is significant.

    The genus Equus, which includes modern horses, zebras, and asses, is the only surviving genus in a once diverse family of horses that included 27 genera. The precise date of origin for the genus Equus is unknown, but evidence documents the dispersal of Equus from North America to Eurasia approximately 2–3 million years ago and a possible origin at about 3.4–3.9 million years ago. Following this original emigration, several extinctions occurred in North America, with additional migrations to Asia (presumably across the Bering Land Bridge), and return migrations back to North America, over time. The last North American extinction probably occurred between 13,000 and 11,000 years ago (Fazio 1995), although more recent extinctions for horses have been suggested. Dr. Ross MacPhee, Curator of Mammalogy at the American Museum of Natural History, and colleagues, have dated the existence of woolly mammoths and horses in North America to as recent as 7,600 years ago. Had it not been for previous westward migration, over the 2 Bering Land Bridge, into northwestern Russia (Siberia) and Asia, the horse would have faced complete extinction. However, Equus survived and spread to all continents of the globe, except Australia and Antarctica.

    In 1493, on Columbus’ second voyage to the Americas, Spanish horses, representing E. caballus, were brought back to North America, first in the Virgin Islands, and, in 1519, they were reintroduced on the continent, in modern-day Mexico, from where they radiated throughout the American Great Plains, after escape from their owners or by pilfering (Fazio 1995).

    Critics of the idea that the North American wild horse is a native animal, using only selected paleontological data, assert that the species, E. caballus (or the caballoid horse), which was introduced in 1519, was a different species from that which disappeared between 13,000–11,000 years before. Herein lies the crux of the debate. However, neither paleontological opinion nor modern molecular genetics support the contention that the modern horse in North America is non-native.

    Equus, a monophyletic taxon, is first represented in the North American fossil record about four million years ago by E. simplicidens, and this species is directly ancestral to later Blancan species about three million years ago (Azaroli and Voorhies 1990). Azzaroli (1992) believed, again on the basis of fossil records, that E. simplicidens gave rise to the late Pliocene E. Idahoensis, and that species, in turn, gave rise to the first caballoid horses two million years ago in North America. Some migrated to Asia about one million years ago, while others, such as E. niobrarensis, remained in North America.

    In North America, the divergence of E. caballus into various ecomorphotypes (breeds) included E. caballus mexicanus, or the American Periglacial Horse (also known as E. caballus laurentius Hay, or midlandensis Quinn) (Hibbard 1955). Today, we would recognize these latter two horses as breeds, but in the realm of wildlife, the term used is subspecies. By ecomorphotype, we refer to differing phenotypic or physical characteristics within the same species, caused by genetic isolation in discrete habitats. In North America, isolated lower molar teeth and a mandible from sites of the Irvingtonian age appear to be E. caballus, morphologically. Through most of the Pleistocene Epoch in North America, the commonest species of Equus were not caballines but other lineages (species) resembling zebras, hemiones, and possibly asses (McGrew 1944; Quinn, 1957). 3 Initially rare in North America, caballoid horses were associated with stenoid horses (perhaps ancestral forerunners but certainly distinct species), but between one million and 500,000 years ago, the caballoid horses replaced the stenoid horses because of climatic preferences and changes in ecological niches (Forstén 1988). By the late Pleistocene, the North American taxa that can definitely be assigned to E. caballus are E. caballus alaskae (Azzaroli 1995) and E. caballus mexicanus (Winans 1989—using the name laurentius). Both subspecies were thought to have been derived from E. niobrarensis (Azzaroli 1995).

    Thus, based on a great deal of paleontological data, the origin of E. caballus is thought to be about two million years ago, and it originated in North America. However, the determination of species divergence based on phenotype is at least modestly subjective and often fails to account for the differing ecomorphotypes within a species, described above. Purely taxonomic methodologies looked at physical form for classifying animals and plants, relying on visual observations of physical characteristics. While earlier taxonomists tried to deal with the subjectivity of choosing characters they felt would adequately describe, and thus group, genera and species, these observations were lacking in precision. Nevertheless, the more subjective paleontological data strongly suggests the origin of E. caballus somewhere between one and two million years ago.

    Reclassifications are now taking place, based on the power and objectivity of molecular biology. If one considers primate evolution, for example, the molecular biologists have provided us with a completely different evolutionary pathway for humans, and they have described entirely different relationships with other primates. None of this would have been possible prior to the methodologies now available through mitochondrial-DNA analysis.

    A series of genetic analyses, carried out at the San Diego Zoo’s Center for Reproduction in Endangered Species, and based on chromosome differences (Benirschke et al. 1965) and mitochondrial genes (George and Ryder 1986) both indicate significant genetic divergence among several forms of wild E. caballus as early as 200,000–300,000 years ago. These studies do not speak to the origins of E. caballus per se, but they do point to a great deal of genetic divergence among members of E. caballus by 200,000 to 300,000 years ago. Thus, the origin had to be earlier, but, at the very least, well before the disappearance of the horse in North America between 13,000–11,000 years ago. 4 The relatively new (30-year-old) field of molecular biology, using mitochondrial-DNA analysis, has recently revealed that the modern or caballine horse, E. caballus, is genetically equivalent to E. lambei, a horse, according to fossil records, that represented the most recent Equus species in North America prior to extinction. Not only is E. caballus genetically equivalent to E. lambei, but no evidence exists for the origin of E. caballus anywhere except North America (Forstén 1992).

    According to the work of researchers from Uppsala University of the Department of Evolutionary Biology (Forstén 1992), the date of origin, based on mutation rates for mitochondrial-DNA, for E. caballus, is set at approximately 1.7 million years ago in North America. This, of course, is very close, geologically speaking, to the 1–2 million-year figure presented by the interpretation of the fossil record.

    Carles Vilà, also of the Department of Evolutionary Biology at Uppsala University, has corroborated Forstén’s work. Vilà et al. (2001) have shown that the origin of domestic horse lineages was extremely widespread, over time and geography, and supports the existence of the caballoid horse in North American before its disappearance, corroborating the work of Benirschke et al. (1965), George and Ryder (1995), and Hibbard (1955).

    A study conducted at the Ancient Biomolecules Centre of Oxford University (Weinstock et al. 2005) also corroborates the conclusions of Forstén (1992). Despite a great deal of variability in the size of the Pleistocene equids from differing locations (mostly ecomorphotypes), the DNA evidence strongly suggests that all of the large and small caballine samples belonged to the same species. The author states, “The presence of a morphologically variable caballine species widely distributed both north and south of the North American ice sheets raises the tantalizing possibility that, in spite of many taxa named on morphological grounds, most or even all North American caballines were members of the same species.”

    In another study, Kruger et al. (2005), using microsatellite data, confirms the work of Forstén (1992) but gives a wider range for the emergence of the caballoid horse, of 0.86 to 2.3 million years ago. At the latest, however, that still places the caballoid horse in North America 860,000 years ago. 5 The work of Hofreiter et al. (2001), examining the genetics of the so-called E. lambei from the permafrost of Alaska, found that the variation was within that of modern horses, which translates into E. lambei actually being E. caballus, genetically. The molecular biology evidence is incontrovertible and indisputable, but it is also supported by the interpretation of the fossil record, as well.

    Finally, very recent work (Orlando et al. 2009) that examined the evolutionary history of a variety of non-caballine equids across four continents, found evidence for taxonomic “oversplitting” from species to generic levels. This overspitting was based primarily on late-Pleistocene fossil remains without the benefit of molecular data. A co-author of this study, Dr. Alan Cooper, of the Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, stated, “Overall, the new genetic results suggest that we have underestimated how much a single species can vary over time and space, and mistakenly assumed more diversity among extinct species of megafauna.”

    The fact that horses were domesticated before they were reintroduced matters little from a biological viewpoint. They are the same species that originated here, and whether or not they were domesticated is quite irrelevant. Domestication altered little biology, and we can see that in the phenomenon called “going wild,” where wild horses revert to ancient behavioral patterns. Feist and McCullough (1976) dubbed this “social conservation” in his paper on behavior patterns and communication in the Pryor Mountain wild horses. The reemergence of primitive behaviors, resembling those of the plains zebra, indicated to him the shallowness of domestication in horses.

    The issue of feralization and the use of the word “feral” is a human construct that has little biological meaning except in transitory behavior, usually forced on the animal in some manner. Consider this parallel. E. Przewalskii (Mongolian wild horse) disappeared from Mongolia a hundred years ago. It has survived since then in zoos. That is not domestication in the classic sense, but it is captivity, with keepers providing food and veterinarians providing health care. Then they were released during the 1990s and now repopulate their native range in Mongolia. Are they a reintroduced native species or not? And what is the difference between them and E. caballus in North America, except for the time frame and degree of captivity?

    The key element in describing an animal as a native species is (1) where it originated; and (2) whether or not it co-evolved with its habitat. Clearly, E. 6 caballus did both, here in North American. There might be arguments about “breeds,” but there are no scientific grounds for arguments about “species.”

    The non-native, feral, and exotic designations given by agencies are not merely reflections of their failure to understand modern science but also a reflection of their desire to preserve old ways of thinking to keep alive the conflict between a species (wild horses), with no economic value anymore (by law), and the economic value of commercial livestock.

    Native status for wild horses would place these animals, under law, within a new category for management considerations. As a form of wildlife, embedded with wildness, ancient behavioral patterns, and the morphology and biology of a sensitive prey species, they may finally be released from the “livestock-gone-loose” appellation.

    Please cite as: Kirkpatrick, J.F., and P.M. Fazio. Revised January 2010. Wild Horses as Native North American Wildlife. The Science and Conservation Center, ZooMontana, Billings. 8 pages.

  6. Mr. Primasing,
    Since this letter came on the Bank of Stockton stationary, I was wondering if the above statement about horses is your opinion, or that of the bank’s.
    Glory Ann Kurtz, Editor

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