Welfare group comment on arabian slaughter position

June 17, 2009

by John Holland

I found the justifications of their pro-slaughter resolution put forward by the Arabian Horse Association officials in the Jurga Report, and cited in Horsetalk.co.nz, to be most enlightening. They give a graphic indication of the true nature of the "extensive research" mentioned in the original AHA pro-slaughter resolution.

Glen Petty is quoted as saying: "Compelling reasons for passage of the motion were conditions at Mexican slaughter facilities and at a growing numbers of farms in the US." I would agree about the conditions in Mexico, but most other slaughter proponents do not. These proponents site the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) which claims to have inspected the Mexican slaughter plants recently and found them to be humane. This was also reported in the Jurga Report. So which is it?

But the second part of this statement is clearly an attempt to associate the effects of the economic downturn with the closing of the US slaughter plants. The linkage could only be true if the number of horses being slaughtered had significantly decreased.

However, exports simply replaced domestic slaughter and the number of American horses slaughtered in 2008 (over 134,000) was the second highest of any year since 1995. It is therefore impossible to assign any effect to a decline in slaughter that never happened.

The study we did last year established that there had been no observable increase in abuse and neglect through the beginning of 2008, but it did find a linkage between unemployment and neglect. Prophetically it warned in the conclusions that a downturn in the economy could cause an increase in neglect nationwide.

This would all be questionable enough, but Petty continued: "It was felt humane slaughter and government regulation was a better alternative to the growing inhumane conditions that have occurred as unintended consequences caused by the passage of HB503."

This is the most illuminating statement of all. First, the bill number was not HB503, but H.R.503, and more tellingly, it passed only the House of Representatives in the 109th Congress and did not become law. A bill with the same number is pending in the current congress. So again, Petty is using the effects of something that did not happen as a justification for their resolution.

If there was any lingering doubt about the nature of the "extensive research" upon which the AHA's resolution was based, Mr Petty has certainly removed it with his explanation.