Facts and Fallacies of Horse Slaughter Contains Graphic Content H.R. 503 : T he American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act
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The American Horse SlaughterPrevention Act
H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is a federal legislation that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human comsuption as well as the exportation of live horses intended for the same purpose, making sure that no American horse is slaughtered inside the US nor shipped to be slaughtered abroad.
This bill, introduced on February 1st 2005 by Representatives John Sweeney (R-NY), John Spratt (D-SC) and Ed Whitfield (R-KY), is a new version of the former American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 857) which gained 228 cosponsors in the House of Representatives last year but died after being blocked in the Agriculture Committee by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).
ABOUT HORSE SLAUGHTER
How many horses are slaughtered in the US each year?According to the USDA, the three horse slaughter plants remaining in the US (two in Texas and one in Illinois) killed 65,976 horses in 2004 for human consumption and about twenty thousand horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Together, these numbers represent about 1% of the total number of horses in the U.S., and the entire industry is only 0.001% the size of the U.S. meat industry. It is entirely foreign owned, and pays no corporate taxes or export tariffs. The horse slaughter industry is economically insignificant.
Aren’t these old, sick horses?
According to 2001 field studies conducted by
Temple Grandin, 70% of all horses at the slaughter
plant were in good, fat, or obese condition; 72%
were considered to be “sound” of limb; 84% were
of average age; and 96% had no behavioral issues.
Slaughter plants DO NOT want old, sick horses
for obvious reasons.
Horses at Dallas
regulated by the federal government?
Yes, and it is currently legal to transport horses in
low clearance double decker cattle trailers; legal to
transport horses more than 24 hours without food,
water or rest; and legal to transport horses without
separating the stallions from the mares and foals.
Approximately 30% of horses are injured from
fighting and transportation.
According to federal law, horses must be
rendered unconscious prior to slaughter,
usually by captive bolt. However, some are
improperly stunned, even with repeated blows,
and are still conscious when shackled, hoisted
by a rear leg, and having their throat slit.
The USDA specifies that 10% live vivisection
With their long necks and aversion to
anything approaching their foreheads, many
horses require multiple strikes.
the unwanted horses go?
The annual number of horses slaughtered in the US
dropped from over 300,000 in the 1990s to less than
66,000 in 2004, with no special infrastructure needed
to absorb the thousands of “unwanted” horses that
were not slaughtered. Horses are being kept longer,
sold to others, humanely euthanized, or donated
to retirement and rescue facilities.
The “surplus horse population” is a myth.
cases of horse abuse and neglect?
No. In fact, both the Hooved Animal Humane Society
(HAHS) and the Illinois Department of Agriculture re-
ported that following the burning of the only slaughter
plant in the region, abuse cases quit rising and went
down between 2002 and 2003. California banned horse
slaughter in 1998, since that time horse theft has dropped
34% and cruelty reports have not increased (Dr. Carolyn
Stull). Texas, which had the only two slaughter plants
in 2003, had among the nations highest rates of cruelty
The conclusion is clear, slaughter promotes abuse and theft!
Pro-slaughter groups like AAEP or AQHA believe this is in the best interest of horses.
$20.00 per pound abroad, it does not feed the hungry, horse slaughter houses cater to the rich
animal done so much, for so little in return, as the horse.
the Horse Industry in the United States
the median income for horse owners is $60,000.
The horse industry directly produces goods and
services of $25.3 BILLION and has a total impact
of $112.1 BILLION on the US gross domestic product.
This is greater than the motion picture industry,
railroad transportation and tobacco product
in taxes to federal, state and local governments.
Deep Thought - Compare these stats to the GDP and
tax income of a horse delivered to one of the two
Based on that answer, ask yourself - Is it better
for the economy to slaughter a healthy horse or keep
it alive and productive?
(Hint - if the 65,976 horses slaughtered last year were instead introduced back into the economy, the tax base would have increased by over $11.4 million. The GDP would have increased by over $69.2 million.)
Then ask yourself - Why are the slaughterhouses permitted to stay open?
Things just don't add up, do they?
Jerry Finch Habitat for HorsesA Nonprofit Growth and Learning CenterHitchcock, Texaswww.habitatforhorses.com
July 5, 2004
(Updated April 10, 2005)
in Affiliation with
Habitat for Horses
Lone Star Equine Rescue
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