Legislation would save horses from slaughter

August 14, 2003

I am writing regarding a very sad end to a brilliant horse like Ferdinand, winner of the 1986 Kentucky Derby who may have been killed in a Japanese slaughterhouse last year ["Unlike Seabiscuit, many racehorses face a grim finish at the end," July 30].

What most people do not know is horses are being slaughtered here in the United States at an alarming rate. The U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics show that 42,312 horses were slaughtered in 2002. These slaughters took place at two American-based slaughterhouses located in north Texas.

Horses are purchased at auction by "killer buyers" who work for the slaughter plants. These people buy as many horses that will fit into their stock trailers and then ship them to Texas, where they are slaughtered.

Many people argue that these slaughterhouses provide a service: They buy horses that are no longer wanted, are lame, stolen, sick or unusable, even outgrown. They are surplus. The people who sell them win by getting rid of their unwanted animal and make money as well. Many horses arrive at the auction with saddles and bridles to be sold with the animal.

This is not just a four-legged thing. It is a living animal that is part of America's history. Would we think the same if we sold our dogs to slaughter? After all, dog meat is a delicacy in Asia. I think not. Horses are companion animals just like dogs and do not deserve such treatment. Why do we allow such practices to prevail?

I will not even touch the subject of horses in Canada that are bred just so their urine can be retrieved to manufacture the drug Premarin. The drug's name comes from the words "pregnant mares' urine." There are surplus horses from this atrocious practice as well.

Please write to your senators and representatives to co-sponsor the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act when it is reintroduced. This will ban the slaughter of horses for human consumption. It will also ban the trade and transport of horse meat and live horses for human consumption.

You now know that not only am I an animal lover, I am an equestrian. My love for horses would never end in betrayal.

The acceptance of horse slaughter must end as an acceptable practice. It does not need to continue any more. There is a better way do deal with the over- population of unwanted horses. Let's work toward that end.

Melissa Trafton


Copyright 2001 The Free Lance-Star Publishing Company.