This image from the VEW website shows a horse involved in the Texarkana Horse Transport Cruelty Case in 2006 (picture © Dixie Wilson/ARTEX). The story is outlined here.
Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of veterinarians from all disciplines who are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter.
"It is astonishing that opponents of a ban on horse slaughter have spread absolute mistruths about horse slaughter to Members of Congress and their staff. From the American Veterinary Medical Association's (AVMA) claim that ending horse slaughter will result in increased animal cruelty to the fantastic notion that horse slaughter provides a humane end for 'unwanted' horses, there is no data to support such positions - quite the opposite. This campaign of misinformation is contributing to the continued suffering of tens of thousands of American horses and as a veterinarian I object," said Dr. Nicholas Dodman.
Dr. Dodman and his group, Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW), support passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 311/H.R. 503), as does the majority of Americans and large sectors of the equestrian and veterinary world. The bill would prohibit the slaughter of horses here for human consumption abroad as well as their export for the same purpose.
While the slaughter of horses on US soil came to a halt earlier this year there has been an increase in the export of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Recent reports revealed that horses going to slaughter in Mexico are routinely stabbed to death with a "puntilla" knife and bled out while still fully conscious.
"The AVMA is part of a coalition misleadingly called the Horse Welfare Coalition," stated veterinarian Dr. Nena Winand, another founding member of VEW who went to Washington, DC.
"The coalition isn't about horse welfare, not a single welfare organization is involved. It's about making money at the expense of our horses and its members include many agribusiness trade industry groups like the American Meat Institute and the Kansas Pork Association," she said.
"In fact, the coalition's associated website, commonhorsesense.com, was originally purchased by a lawyer for two of the domestic horse slaughter plants and counts among its spokespeople Charlie Stenholm, former Member of Congress and current lobbyist for the slaughterhouses.
"While the AVMA and others decry the export of American horses to Mexico for slaughter they are partnering with the very companies that are actively buying and shipping horses to Mexican slaughter plants."
"It is absolutely disingenuous for anyone to oppose the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act in the name of animal welfare," Dodman said.
"Anyone who looks at this issue with a clear mind and open eyes can see that horse slaughter is cruel, through and through. I don't care if it happens here or in Mexico - it's cruel either way.
"Let's face it. Horse slaughter only exists because the industry makes money from it by supplying gourmet markets in Europe and Asia. We are working to set the record straight on Capitol Hill and to be part of the solution, not the problem."
More than 100,000 horses were slaughtered in the US last year at three foreign-owned slaughterhouses. Tens of thousands more were exported for slaughter abroad. The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act would end the practice of slaughtering American horses for human consumption abroad. The bill (S.311/H.R. 503) currently has 37 cosponsors in the Senate and 188 in the U.S. House of Representatives.