Horse slaughter dumbest plan since New Coke – Pacelle


slaughter-usA leading American animal welfare advocate says he cannot understand why promoters of horse slaughter push on in a tough regulatory and social environment, describing the proposed resurrection of the industry as the dumbest idea since New Coke.

The head of the Humane Society of the United States, Wayne Pacelle, was commenting as court action loomed in New Mexico on Friday over plans by Roswell-based Valley Meat Company to open a horse abattoir.

Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, said: “There’s just no way to view horse slaughtering as a viable business in the current environment, and its future, from a strictly economic perspective, is bleak as bleak can be.

“Taking a step back from the legal wrangles in the state and federal courts, I am amazed that the people behind horse slaughter continue to proceed with their thoroughly unpopular gambit, given the impossibly difficult regulatory and social environment they find themselves in.

“The only explanation for their perseverance must be that they have some financiers willing to bear the costs in their attempt to march healthy horses on to slaughterhouse floors.

“You don’t find too many people seeking to open up whale processing facilities, or cockfighting arenas, on American soil, because any sane investor knows it’s a fool’s errand.

Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

“There are just too many practical obstacles — legal, political, and social — in the way, even if the proponents had unfailing enthusiasm about the idea of killing whales or fighting roosters.”

Pacelle said backers of proposed slaughter plants in Iowa, Missouri, and New Mexico had learned there was major local opposition to their enterprises.

“They will have to contend with a battery of regulatory challenges, protests, and public criticism if they wish to operate.”

Congress, he added, was likely to shut the door on the industry, at least for the coming year.

“Both the House and Senate Appropriations Committees have language in their 2014 spending bills that forbids the US Department of Agriculture from spending any money to inspect the plants, and that means the plants won’t be able to operate.”

Congress was expected to act on that legislation by mid-January.

“All along, this prospect has been looming, and it defies easy explanation that these slaughter plant operators would go the expense of setting up plants and hiring staff even as Congress acts to put a stop to it all.”

Pacelle said there was a highly uncertain market for American-produced horse meat.

“The industry has relied on markets overseas, principally in Europe. But demand there has been in decline, and according to Animal People, per capita consumption is more than a pound per year in just four of 28 European Union nations.”

Pacelle continued: “Some big money player is probably backing the horse slaughter plants, and allowing them to make totally irrational business decisions. But it’s an economic dead end.

“One way or another, Americans won’t let these plants operate …

“We have a great entrepreneurial spirit in America, but we also have core values. Horse slaughter just doesn’t make the cut as a legitimate business in our great country.”

Friday’s court hearing centers on a lawsuit filed by New Mexico Attorney General Gary King over Valley Meat Company’s plans, looking at issues that include  waste disposal and potential chemical residues in the meat.

Both King and the state’s Republican governor, Susanna Martinez, are on record as opposing the opening of a horse slaughter plant.



9 thoughts on “Horse slaughter dumbest plan since New Coke – Pacelle

  • January 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    There are two sides to every story. For instance the making and selling of a legal product to make a living. The jobs that an industry like this could create are incredible and if horses, like cattle, began to be bred for slaughter then that would solve the drug in the meat problem and until then meat would have to be tested. Fact is, this is a point of view situation. If you believe that a horse shouldn’t be slaughtered because they’re pet and companion animals fine. Don’t push that on people who think they can be eaten. There is no moral reason a horse can’t be eaten. It’s an animal. The meat issues can be taken care of. Please get out of the way people who want to create jobs and go to work.
    Lance Okones

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:23 am

      You don’t know anything about horses do you?

      To the contemporary eye it sounds as if horse meat is healthier than beef. But that’s only because we have ample sources of calories and fat available to us. For most of human history, that hasn’t been true. Medieval residents of Northern Europe would have certainly appreciated the higher calorie, higher fat content of beef. Even without the scientific ways of discovering precise fat and caloric intakes, it would have been easy to notice that a serving of beef left you feeling more full than a serving of horse.
      What’s more, the different digestive systems of horses and cows mean that cows are more efficient eaters. A 2002 study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology found that horses eat 63 percent more than cattle. This isn’t just a matter of bulk. Horses also eat more “digestible material” with actual nutritional content than cows, according to the study.

    • January 4, 2014 at 1:28 am

      Maybe we don’t want to breed animals we don’t eat. Seems to me Europe produces enough unwanted horses that can satisfy their appetite for horse meat.Are you drug free? I remember Hannibal Lector saying something about Chianti going well with his prey…

    • January 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm

      Very interesting exchange of opinion. I do believe, that in no place on earth a horse is being slaughtered with more respect, than in Switzerland. Many of the official slaughterhouses in Switzerland have stil separate processing units, since more than 100 years. A horse is being led into the facility, turned around looking out into the country, when a retracting bolt devise finishes his life. There is no such brutality as beeing seen in youtube clips on the internet. It’s simply the governments of Canada, Mexiko and Argentina that do not pay sufficient attention to the killing process, that so terrifiying puts off the feelings of an entire humanity. Period.
      Greetings, Werner from Zürich-Switzerland..

  • January 4, 2014 at 2:59 am

    I have been raised on horses my entire life. Am currently training my two sons to rope and ride the same as my father done with me. If one of our performance horses went lame today I would much rather him be put to good use , such as meet for animals or possibly even human consumption, rather than leading him to the back pasture and putting a bullet in his head. I have been a farrier for the past twenty yrs. which has allowed me to see the results of no slaughter first hand. if someone has a lame horse and can not afford to pay for equipment to have a whole dug they simply let him stand in pain, or take him out back and shoot him leaving the carcass for the buzzards and critters. I ask, how could this possibly be more “Humane”? I simply ask for everyone involved to spend some time with a local equine care provider and see first hand what theses poor unhealthy/unwanted animals are going through.
    Marc Boyt Ga.

  • January 4, 2014 at 5:27 am

    Lance, you obviously know NOTHING about horses, whereas I CAN speak from a lifetime of experience w/them, 45yrs worth, and we are not fighting this just because we don’t want our “pets” killed, we’re fighting it, because the fact is horses are unlike other animals (who for the record ALSO deserve a humane end!), are fight or flight animals who react more to the fear & stress involved in the entire process from hauling to auction to hauling again to feedlot to going thru the line head to tail smelling the danger & sensing eachothers fear, horses are just different, which is WHY they have always been the chosen animals for centuries helping people build communities, carry us on their backs into battle, providing transportation long before cars, and being our partners in competition, not to mention being a best friend to a little girl when no one else would listen, you clearly don’t understand the difference, but its okay, plenty of more logical, compassionate people do, and will never stop fighting to protect them from a few $ hungry losers who couldn’t care less about the HELL they endure!!!

  • January 4, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Lance: This industry doesn’t create jobs, it creates problems for the communities surrounding those “jobs” with a high rate of employee injuries, very serious ones. Its immoral to have stolen animals killed for someone else to profit from. The US has been victimized by this industry in the past and we NO longer want it. Fact is, this is a point of view situation. Horses are to be properly taken care of and when People don’t want to do that they don’t get the free get out of jail card by slaughtering the evidence. The cruel, horrific deaths these animals experience are separate and different from the other classes of animals used for food sources. As for you and yours you may eat as you wish, but America and our pets will have NONE of it. The few people who will benefit are NOT enough to keep it going. Please Google the Thousands of articles on the Ongoing food Fraud in Europe, talk about not telling the truth! Thank you! Colts Western Shop-where Real Horse Owners and Horse People Tell it like it is. NO means NO! We had it in Illinois and WE KICKED IT OUT! We gained nothing economically but when it closed-tourism Skyrocketed! :Horse clubs opened, shops, farriers, veterinarians sprung up everywhere. So not having it generates Jobs!

  • January 5, 2014 at 12:16 am

    Guys like Lance are paid off by the “business”. They’re here only to aggravate, because their argument does not make sense and is skewed. Wonder who the big money interests are – I can only guess.


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