Opposition to horse slaughter crosses political divide, says HSUS boss

Wayne Pacelle
Wayne Pacelle

The desire to end horse slaughter crosses the political spectrum, the head of the Humane Society of the United States says.

“It is time to put an end to the needless, wasteful slaughter of this American icon,” its president and chief executive, Wayne Pacelle, said.

“That is something that every red-blooded American – Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, Independent, or Democratic Socialist – can and should agree upon.”

Pacelle, writing in his blog, A Humane Nation, was commenting after he co-wrote an article with former Republican Congressman Bob Barr, published last week in the conservative monthly, The American Spectator.

The pair wrote: “Support for ending the cruel and wasteful slaughter of America’s horses spans the political spectrum; it’s not a partisan issue — this is a quintessentially American issue. It’s about our values, our heritage, and what we tolerate as a society. Truly, this is a common sense issue we can all support, and now it is time for Congress to act.”

Pacelle said some people might have been surprised to hear about a conservative like Bob Barr supporting animal protection.

“But that would be a misreading of the core tenets of animal protection.

“For so many people, animal protection is not so much about animal rights or welfare, but human responsibility. It is precisely because we are smart, intelligent, and creative that we should treat our fellow creatures with respect and compassion.

“We should view our power not as a license, but as a call for restraint and common decency.

“When it comes to the humane treatment of horses, how is it a conservative notion to own a horse and then to dump or sell that horse when you are done with him or her? That’s not a conservative value – that’s just selfish and reckless.

“If you have a horse, it’s your duty to provide lifetime care. If you cannot provide that care, you have a responsibility to find a good home for the animal. Or, if that isn’t possible, see that the animal is humanely euthanized.

“Sending that creature on a long passage to slaughter dooms that animal to misery and suffering, and it’s no way to treat these creatures.”

Pacelle said Conservatives also valued the heritage and history of the US, with all its triumphs as well as its pockmarks and troublesome times.

“There can be no question that horses played a major role in the settlement and expansion of our nation, providing essential means of companionship, transport, and sport over more than two centuries. They were never a food source for us.

“Why should we allow our country to become a hub for horse slaughter, for the purpose of exporting these creatures for foreign consumers to eat?

“The current debate in Congress over horse slaughter should be viewed in that light.”

He said the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (H.R. 1942/S. 1214) would ensure that places where horses were slaughtered for human consumption could never reopen in the United States, and it would stop the current export of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

11 thoughts on “Opposition to horse slaughter crosses political divide, says HSUS boss

  • November 3, 2015 at 10:11 am
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    Thank you for this article. Now maybe we’ll see just what America is made of. Protect our horses. Protect our food. Pass the safe act.

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  • November 4, 2015 at 1:01 am
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    Horses do not live for ever. A properly caring Nation will address the need for a Humane, Economic EXIT STRATEGY. We should not wash our hands of the problem by simply exporting it elsewhere. Extreme views aside (on whether or not to eat meat) in dietary terms Horse is potentially a healthy food. So what is wasteful is a toxic euthanasia process which then creates a disposal problem. A well regulated humanely-run horse abattoirs close to centres of horse population could and should be a win-win situation from every standpoint. It is a peculiar problem of westerners (from a good party night to the Iraq war) that we do not plan our exit, preferring to leave it for someone else to clear up after us. That is irresponsible and oh so easy !

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    • November 4, 2015 at 8:48 am
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      My horse passed at the age of 33. He passed in my arms before the vet could arrive. The stable owner, has section of land that he buries the horses that pass. It did not cost much at all, the guy that dug the grave with his backhoe was reasonable and not looking to “rip” people off. With the right culture, the laws and no other choices we can have the right system and it will NOT include horse slaughter. Over breeding, greed and in general, a mind set that does not believe animals deserve a stress free and humane death are the real problems. This country should not be supplying other countries with our horses for meat. That is not our way and no amount of profit should change that. Slaughter is not humane and can never be humane.

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    • November 5, 2015 at 7:06 am
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      Horses raised in the US are not raised for food and are generally given a large number of things that are deemed to make them unsafe for human consumption. If you read any wormer it says that it is not meant for animals to be used for human consumption. Should we quit worming our horses just in case? If they are injured or colic, should we not give them bute to aid in their recovery? You know… just in case we decide we want to ship them to a slaughter plant. We raise our horses as companions and partners, not food. After having a horse for the majority (or all) its life, there are very few of us who would subject our animals to that cruel a fate.

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    • November 5, 2015 at 7:29 pm
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      Exactly. Well stated.

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      • November 5, 2015 at 7:34 pm
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        No horses are raised for food! It is economically unsound. But horses can be eaten and there is no reason to waste the resource. John is right on! There is no reason why horses cannot be humanely slaughtered. And yes, people eat horsemeat if it is available. Horses are livestock, period. If you have a love affair with your horse that is your choice you don’t have to eat your horse. But no one has the right to tell others what they can eat.

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  • November 4, 2015 at 3:05 am
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    Please Keep Fighting Everyone. WE THE PEOPLE is what Our Constitution is for and its coverage is meant to protect all Including the Voiceless animals from brutality. The loss and damages created by horse slaughter is Far and wide. As they spread incredibly damaging rumors to drop prices to buy for slaughter the public is duped And ripped off while animals are dismembered Alive and animals starve to their to keep the Myth of starved horses going to keep slaughters in business. It pops up in Worldwide meat supplies unwanted and unseen its fraudulent in Every way to slaughter horses. Recently its encouraged the Nighmareish underground slaughter for blackmarket to unknown individuals to receive deadly toxic meat. Please stop this continual spin of crime…food fraud..animal abuse…neglect…and contamination with toxic chemicals and medications.

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  • November 4, 2015 at 3:07 am
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    If it were NOT for horses. You would NOT have many of the freedoms we have today.

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  • November 4, 2015 at 11:39 am
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    I live in a country with many knackeries and two export abattoirs that process horses. While there are genuine concerns about the treatment of horses during transport and before slaughter at many knackeries due to the lack of regulation of these businesses, they do provide a necessary service. Like it or not, many people who own horses can’t or won’t provide them with appropriate care and sometimes a humane death may be best for the welfare of horses who at risk of severe welfare compromise due to the neglect or because they no longer serve a useful purpose.

    The slaughter of horses for pet food or human consumption is no more inhumane or cruel than the slaughter of any other sentient species like chickens, pigs, cattle, sheep, turkeys etc. Just like horses, these animals have the ability to experience pain and fear as well as enjoy the good things in life such as relationships with others of their species. The great tragedy for many of America’s horses is that due to the ban on slaughter on American soil, hundreds of thousands have been shipped long distances to be slaughtered in Mexico, sometimes by horrendous methods. This represents a massive failure to safeguard their welfare. Based on the experience of the country in which I live, I believe it is preferable to have properly regulated horse slaughter take place close by where it can be monitored and and rouge operators penalised than consign the horses to more suffering by having it take place out of sight in another country. Banning horse slaughter on US soil has not resulted in less horses being bred or neglected. From some reports I have read, the problem of neglect has been increased since the bans. Certainly it would be far preferable for there to be no need for the slaughter of any horse before the end of its natural life span, but since this is not a goal that will be reached any time soon, there should be options for unwanted horses that don’t involve them being trucked thousands of miles across the country to end up in completely unregulated facilities in a country which has next to no animal welfare protections.

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  • November 4, 2015 at 2:42 pm
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    Horses may have helped us settle this land and fight wars but horses also died just like people did. Some horses had to be shot because they broke a leg or was wounded past repair. Some horses died from natural causes and others have to be put down. Not everyone that ends up with a animal should have one but there are a lot of people that do. The horse market is so low because there is no one that wants a horse that does not already have one. Horses being sent to slaughter is away to up the prices on horses.

    One day there will be to many horses because there are people out there that think slaughtering them is not a good thing but it helps out. What if we stopped slaughtering cattle, pigs, and chickens? What meat would we eat? There are countries where it is part of their culture to eat horses, goats, and oxen. Would you change your culture because some other counties told you that you had to change even though they had not fought to win the rights to tell you to change?

    I may only be 18 but I see the world as limited space. Somethings have to go for others to come. Wars are started when populations are high and still growing which causes more or less a slaughtering of people. Slaughter helps with the animal populations. What is the difference between war (where we send our families to fight and possibly died) and slaughtering of animals? There are several different ways this world deals with things and some should be done away with but others need to stay. And some that was done away with put back such as hangings in the public view instead of making a star out of the people that kill other people on TV.

    I love animals and horses happen to be at the top of that list. But I believe that slaughtering of horses is indeed needed for the world to make it. Humans have anywhere between 60 to 100 years if lucky. Dogs have 20 human years if lucky. But horses can live to be 40 human years but they can also suffer threw the years without people knowing it. Slaughter is one of many things that is natural for a lot of animals and in society. The only difference is that people call war honorable and slaughter disgraceful. But really how disgraceful is slaughter if it is a natural cause? A tiger slaughters a zebra but no one cares because that is his natural habitat. A mountain lion slaughters deers, cattle, horses, dogs, and any other farm animal that it wants because that is what it does to survive.

    Imagine that you was snowed in on a farm. You had 2 milk cows which you use for milk as long as you can, 4 chickens, 3 goats, 2 pigs, and 6 working horses of various sizes. You know it will be weeks before you can try to dig out and go to town. You also need food and away to stay alive until you can make it. You would start with the chickens but they only last a week. The pigs only last a week as well. The cows would be next because you are trying to save the horses so you don’t have to replace them because they cost the most to replace. But you reach the end of the cows and realize that you have to eat a horse which one? I mean the chickens was family but was also meant to eat when they got done with give eggs, the pigs was meant for slaughter anyways, and the cows have milk but they to was for slaughter. The horses was the only thing that was real family and hard to decide which one because little joe had a pony named Montana, sue had a mare named black, your riding horse was named jack. Then you have the three draft horses that helped make the farm what it is in the summer. So which would you pick if it meant survival or death?

    Thanks you for reading my long rant. If you made it to the end thanks again.

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    • November 5, 2015 at 7:24 am
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      I have to point out that a full size market hog (which are generally butchered around the first frost) usually provide around 200 lbs or more of meat. A goat depending on breed is over 50 lbs. They would last for WELL more than a week. Not to mention anything canned or frozen from the garden. Between the other more generally market animals and that, you would have to be snowed in for more than a month or two to reach the point of having to eat the horses

      Reply

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