Thoughts from a greyhound
Regarding horse slaughter, being involved in
greyhound rescue and knowing the abuses that do go on in our
country, I am appalled and embarrassed at the brutality of the
killings of these beautiful animals! [See related article and
letters, below.] It is very disturbing to say the least that
this is happening in our country, let alone countries overseas.
Viewing some of the pictures made me sick and
so very sad. This must stop now! For God's sakes, have some
compassion - that's what's wrong with this world today. Are we
so callous and cruel? Have we no heart? The laws must change.
There is no excuse for this.
Bayville, New Jersey
"Why is it when we destroy something
humans have made we call it vandalism, but when we destroy
something God has made we call it a sport?"
Related articles and letters:
proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January
letters on horse slaughter article," January 20, 2004
slaughter co. responds," January 21, 2004
companion animals," January 23, 2004
letters skewering horse slaughter company," January 27,
letters requesting balance in horse slaughter reporting,"
January 27, 2004
Six letters shoot down horse slaughter advocates,"
January 30, 2004
Truths and myths surrounding
The AAEP, AVMA, and the Illinois Horse Council
promote the need for horse slaughter yet they do not appear to
honestly understand the reality of the issue; their arguments
are based on speculation and propaganda. [See related article
and letters, below.] Here are some facts to consider:
Fact: HR 857 bans shipment of horses to
slaughter outside of the U.S. as well as inside the U.S. It will
be illegal to ship horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.
Large truckloads of loose horses at the border will not be hard
to distinguish as bound for slaughter. The
"black-market" comment concludes that slaughterhouse
buyers are prone to committing felonies and will be willing to
risk fines and prison. That's like saying people will break laws
anyway so why make laws. It's backwards thinking, and if this
were how we thought, then cocaine and marijuana, and many other
things would be legal.
Fact: The captive bolt is not used as a form
of euthanasia. It is a stunning device used to render an animal
unconscious as mandated by the USDA for food animals. The
animal's beating heart bleeds out a hoisted animal after the
throat is cut.
Fact: The vast majority of neglected and
abused horses are not for sale. They are hidden from sight in
barren back pastures and dark closed barns. Very few find their
way to horse sales. A recent article in Texas notes the rising
amount of neglected horses, in the same state as the only two
operating horse slaughterhouses, countering the opinion that
horse slaughter reduces horse neglect -
Rescuing the horses
Neglect on the rise in Texas and other states
There are many neglect cases in the news
across the country each day of the year. Dr. Temple Grandin's
studies (below) show that very few wind up at the
Another case in point:
Dozens of once-starving horses find homes
Ninety-eight horses discovered near starvation
more than a year ago in a Kingfisher County pasture. Gene and
Janie Richardson rehabilitated the horses. Trial is scheduled
tomorrow for the original owner of the horses, retired Enid
veterinarian Jess Brewer. Brewer has pleaded innocent to 17
counts of animal cruelty.
In Dr. Temple Grandin's study (prior to
California's yearend 1998 slaughter ban law) of 1,008 horses
delivered to a slaughterhouse, she noted only "3% (30 head)
of the arriving horses were skinny and emaciated and 1% (12
head) were foundered or had obvious leg injuries. Ninety-two
percent were in good condition." The most serious injuries
were sustained during commercial transport to the
If the AVMA would care to post their
copyrighted 1999 updated study on transport to slaughter from
Dr. Grandin (and others contributing) on their website, then we
could all share in the latest (yet five-year-old) scientific
Slaughterhouses slaughter "unwanted
horses" - Fact?
For something to be a fact, it must be
testable. In 1992, 243,585 horses were slaughtered in U.S.
slaughterhouses. Ten years later in 2002, 42,312 horses were
slaughtered in U.S. slaughterhouses. (Figures used don't include
horses shipped to Canada.)
That's a 201,273 horse difference.
According to those in support of horse
slaughter, this means that in 1992 we had 243,585
"unwanted" horses but a decade later in 2002 we had
only 42,312 "unwanted" horses - 201,273 more
"unwanted" horses in 1992 than we had in 2002.
What can the explanation be for such a huge
difference in the number of "unwanted" horses?
There's only one explanation that can be
offered, in 1992 there were many more slaughterhouses operating
in the U.S. than there were in 2002, proving that slaughter
actually has nothing to do with "unwanted" horses.
Following this mentality, if we had only one slaughterhouse
operating in the U.S. with the capacity of slaughtering 25,000
horses, then statements would be made that we have 25,000
"unwanted" horses in the U.S.
Fact: So-called "unwanted" horses
are in reality horses that are for sale.
Slaughterhouse buyers competitively bid
against other horse buyers at horse sales (and answer classified
ads) to purchase horses to resell to slaughterhouses for profit.
They don't go around answering calls from people to come pick up
their old, infirmed horses. They are not providing a service.
Horses of all ages and breeds are bought for slaughter, no horse
is exempt from the misfortune of being purchased by a
"Slaughter needs to continue to be an
option available to horse owners."
Fact: Until fairly recently most horse owners
were not even aware that the horse slaughter for human
consumption industry existed. Many are only now finding out.
Many still do not know and are yet to find out. I've been a
horse owner since 1970. It wasn't until I got a computer in 1998
that I found out through the Internet about the horse slaughter
How can slaughter have been a viable option
for horse owners who haven't even been aware that this industry
even existed for the past four decades? And according to
statistics we had over 380,000 "unwanted" horses in
certain years decades ago. How could all of those horses have
been sent to slaughter by owners who no longer wanted them?
Horse owners across the country have only
recently been learning about the slaughter industry by way of
the information highway, the Internet, just over the past few
years. Most are shocked and appalled. Prior to this horse owners
have been kept in the dark, the only way the slaughter industry
knew it could continue to exist.
The AAEP, AVMA, and IHC use typical propaganda
comments to support their views. The words "emotional
issue" and "emotions" are always included. Read
the growing list of horse industry professionals, especially in
the racing industry, and call them emotional. Even AAEP and AVMA
members are outspoken against horse slaughter, stating their
associations don't reflect their views on the issue. These
members too must be emotional? Pro-slaughter propagandist
predictions include "Without slaughter there will be more
cases of neglect and abuse," "horses will be smuggled
to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada," and "this is
just the first attack on the meat industry."
Logical fallacies > Unwarranted
The tendency to make huge predictions about
the future on the basis of a few small facts is a common logical
"It is easy to see the persuasiveness in
this type of argument. By pushing one's case to the limit... one
forces the opposition into a weaker position. The whole future
is lined up against him. Driven to the defensive, he finds it
hard to disprove something that has not yet happened.
Extrapolation is what scientists call such predictions, with the
warning that they must be used with caution." (Chase, 1952)
This logical sleight of hand often provides
the basis for an effective fear-appeal. Consider the following
If Congress passes legislation limiting the
availability of automatic weapons, America will slide down a
slippery slope that will ultimately result in the banning of all
guns, the destruction of the Constitution, and a totalitarian
When a communicator attempts to convince you
that a particular action will lead to disaster or to utopia, it
may be helpful to ask the following questions:
Is there enough data to support the speaker's
predictions about the future? Can I think of other ways that
things might turn out? If there are many different ways that
things could turn out, why is the speaker painting such an
All slaughter advocates have failed to address
the issue concerning common medications regularly given to
horses that are strictly prohibited from being given to food
If horsemeat were consumed in the United
States, the FDA would be forced to test the meat for drug
residue contamination. I'm sure they're aware that most
horsemeat would fail testing. Veterinarians prescribe and
administer these drugs to horses every day yet they never warn
the horse owners not to allow the horses into the human food
supply. Many other prohibited drugs to food animals such as
wormers are purchased over the counter. Slaughterhouse buyers
have no medication records for the horses they purchase unlike
those required for the food animal industry.
The AAEP, AVMA, and IHC would better serve the
welfare of horses by encouraging strong enforcement of existing
animal neglect and abuse laws rather than advocating horse
slaughter as an acceptable means of destroying the evidence of a
Is it acceptable to the AAEP and AVMA to
slaughter young healthy horses who were in the wrong place at
the wrong time and bought by the wrong buyer? Isn't the
veterinarian's motto, "First Do No Harm"?
In the case of those 3 percent of horses in
Dr. Grandin's study who arrived at the slaughterhouse skinny and
emaciated, and the 1 percent who were foundered or had leg
injuries, transporting these animals across the country hundreds
to thousands of miles to slaughter these victims of crime, while
monetarily rewarding the criminal, is not the answer.
Lake Havasu City, Arizona