US horse slaughter threat: “We lost this battle, but we haven’t lost the war”


The fight to keep the doors closed on US horse slaughter plants will now be taken up through the Senate by animal advocates, who are dismayed by the outcome of a key vote this week by a House committee.

Keith Dane, the senior advisor for equine protection and rural affairs with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), expressed his disappointment over the vote count at the House Appropriations Committee last Wednesday.

The committee narrowly gave the nod to a spending bill covering the Department of the Interior which did not contain crucial defunding language that would have kept horse slaughter plants shuttered.

The disheartening vote, he said, had followed months of effort by the HSUS and Humane Society Legislative Fund staff, and countless dedicated advocates to obtain a different outcome.

By a margin of 27-25, the committee had decided to spend American tax dollars to support the possible return of horse slaughter to US soil, Dane said.

“We know that many committee members who voted to support horse slaughter will face a backlash from their constituents,” he said.

“If a member of the committee represents you and your US Congressional district, please take the time to acknowledge their vote. If your representative voted humanely to defund horse slaughter, please contact their office and thank them.

“If a member of the committee who represents you voted to support horse slaughter and spend several million dollars inspecting horsemeat designated for foreigners, please consider contacting their office to politely express your disappointment.”

He urged the public to read a recent blog by HSUS president and chief executive Wayne Pacelle, who provided a list of how committee members voted.

“We lost this battle, but we haven’t lost the war and we still have work ahead of us to make sure that horse slaughter is defunded in the U.S. Senate, and final 2018 Appropriations budget,” Dane said.

“We’ve been in this situation before, and emerged victorious – but we can never stop fighting to protect our horses, and this situation reminds us of how difficult it can be to hold onto our gains and how vigilant we must remain.”

Wild horses in Wyoming.
Wild horses in Wyoming. © Jana Wilson/BLM

The Wild For Life Foundation and Saving America’s Horses expressed their disappointment over the lack of protective language in the appropriations bill, saying the fight is far from over.

The nonprofit groups are also concerned about a push by the Bureau of Land Management that could see captive wild horses being sold without limitation, which advocates fear could see the animals ultimately sold to slaughter.

The groups noted that the House vote on the bill was only part of the legislative process, saying that both Budget proposals will be moving from the House to the Senate.

They said it was vital for the people and groups who sincerely cared about these animals to demonstrate a strong showing of positive support for the Senate’s history in opposition of slaughter.

“We are also adamantly against the removal of the protective language which currently restricts the sale of wild horses and burros by the BLM for slaughter,” said the Wild For Life Foundation’s Jeanne Sullivan, who serves on its board.

Its director, Katia Louise, said: “It’s up to us, to make a win for America’s horses through continued positive change for good.

“By raising awareness and educating the public about the importance of keeping these protections in place, we can win for the horses.

“America’s wild horses and burros need support now more than ever. Together, we are their voice and they need to be heard.”

Latest research and information from the horse world.

2 thoughts on “US horse slaughter threat: “We lost this battle, but we haven’t lost the war”

  • July 16, 2017 at 10:39 pm

    I would never send a horse to slaughter, but I don’t think I have the right to tell other people what to do. If these groups want to make slaughter illegal, they need to put their money where their mouth is. It cost a minimum of $2000.00 per year to take care of a horse. So for 150,000 horses you are looking at over $300,000,000.00. This will double the next year and that $600,000,000.00 will double every year for each year the ban on slaughter is in effect.
    Some people will say, reduce the number of horses by not breading. This will reduce the quality of the remaining horses. Not every horse has value. A lot of them are just plain nags. They have bad legs, knees, hearts, some are blind and incomplete brains. If you stop breading, horses with defects will become dominate. For every good horse there are two or three bad ones. These problems are just not evident to the uninitiated.
    So what do you do with the bad horses. You can euthanize them and bury the bodies. This seems wasteful and not good for the environment. In a world of starving people, it seems more humane to use the meat to help feed children who are starving.
    Even the American Veterinary Medical Association believes the horse slaughter houses it has inspected, kill the horses in a humane manner. This includes the modern facilities in Mexico.
    If this bill passes, more horses will be abandoned and left to starve or die of dehydration. Just look at the mess the BLM has. Too many horses and not enough grass and water. It seems more humane to slaughter these animals, because starvation is a slow and hard way to die.
    Please read this:

    Also read this:

  • July 17, 2017 at 3:46 am

    Mary Kostanski Brost shared a link to the group: United Horse Warriors on Twitter.
    15 hrs ·
    We have gotten word that the Udall-Graham Amendment will be offered this week in the Senate, to continue the DEFUND of #horseslaughter plants in the US. I have a few tweets which I’ll post here.


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