Dallas Morning News letters to the editor
Horses are wanted: killer-buyers outbid others

12:05 AM CDT on Friday, May 28, 2004

Re: Timothy O'Leary's Viewpoints column last Friday, "They eat horses, don't they? Pet lobby pushes issue too far," in support of American live horse slaughter for human consumption in Europe and Asia.

As the adjacent property owner, for years I have seen the horses at the Dallas Crown horse slaughter plant in Kaufman waiting for their deaths.

Despite what the French and Belgian butchers would have you think, these horses are young, fat and healthy. They are harvested by killer-buyers at horse auctions from across the U.S. and brought to Fort Worth and Kaufman in double-deck cattle haulers. The killer-buyers outbid responsible would-be owners looking for pets and working horses. The auction horses are not unwanted; they are just for sale.

What to do with all the horse carcasses? Of the 6.9 million horses in the U.S., it is estimated that 10 percent (690,000) die each year from all causes. Fifty thousand were slaughtered last year. What do you think happened to the carcasses of the other 640,000? They were burned, buried or sent to rendering plants.

If you believe that slaughter is a way to dispose of unwanted horses, you believe a lie. Europeans and Asians don't want to eat old, spent horses any more than we want to eat old, spent cows.

If you believe that live horse slaughter is humane euthanasia, you believe a lie. Get a copy of the Humane Farming Association's undercover video taken at a Texas horse slaughter plant. You will see young, vibrant horses screaming in agony as workers struggle to hit the right spot with the bolt gun. Unlike cows, horses flail about with their long necks, making it almost impossible to get a solid hit on the first try.

This is not about economically disposing of horse carcasses. This is about making money for Belgian-owned Beltex in Fort Worth and French-owned Dallas Crown in Kaufman. They do it by harvesting our young, healthy horses.

Mary S. Nash,