Illinois Leader letters to the editor
Both sides of horse slaughter ban
Friday, April 16, 2004
I sincerely hope that the bill [SB1921] to ban horse slaughter goes through.
I live in Canada and have done a lot of research on the slaughter process. The
organizations I work with would like to initiate a ban of horse slaughter in
Canada as well. Our horses should not have to die [in order] to become a
delicacy to appease the palettes of people in foreign countries.
Those who work in abattoirs gradually become desensitized to what they are
doing or, according to sworn statements of plant workers, are sadistic when
processing animals for slaughter. Either way the horrific images must come back to
haunt them because what they are doing to horses is wrong and they know it.
Please do the right thing by banning the slaughter of horses and set a good
example for Canadians to follow.
(Mrs.)Sylvia Pemberton
Victoria, B.C., Canada
Anybody who objects to the slaughter of horses for meat does not understand
the economics of disposing of aged, injured, [or] bad tempered horses.
The sheer tonnage of horses in Illinois, all of which will die at some time,
is a staggering number. The Illinois Department of Agriculture received twice
as many complaints of abused horses after the closing of the slaughter plant
as compared to while the plant was operating.
That is, the slaughter option was a safety valve for those who could not care
for an animal.
I own seven head of either registered or purebred horses, one of which I have
had for nearly 24 years. They are all worth far more as live animals than as
slaughter animals but when the slaughter market is there it places a floor of
about $500 value on horses in good flesh. That, likewise, increased the value
of animals which are trained and usable.
I am at a loss to understand the difference between selling an aged, injured,
or bad tempered horse for slaughter, or killing it and hauling it to a
rendering plant. The result is the same: a dead horse that is parted out. Shooting
one and burying it is a nuisance. It takes years for the ground to stop
If some foreigner will buy the meat for the table, that makes more sense than
paying a rendering plant to turn it into dog food.
I also question the accuracy of the statement that it is illegal to eat horse
meat in this country. For sure, it is illegal to pass horse meat off as beef
or any other meat. In the 40's there was a big flap about that issue.
David Snider