I believe that those who oppose this bill are saying that there will be more inhumane deaths because the owners and trainers will be forced to "pay" for euthanizing their own animals. The owners and trainers "should" have to pay to keep their animal in the best health or the most humane death possible. It is their responsibility to see to it that this beautiful creature see a quick and humane departure from this world.
America is such a "throw away" society. It sickens me to think that humans can treat creatures that bring them so much unconditional love, companionship, and quite often money, like their whole existence didn't matter. That horse ran his heart out for you, and what does he get? He gets a front row seat to his grisly, torturous demise.
Daughter of deceased Jockey R. L. Smith
Granddaughter of Owner/Trainer Arthur Kelley
I would like to comment on the guest opinion written by Mr. Trent Loos ["GUEST OPINION: Out to greener pastures," May 18]. Mr. Loos, I am happy for you that you were able to spend many wonderful years with your horse. I have dreamed of horses my entire life. Although I have leased, rented, and borrowed horses, I have not owned one due to life circumstances and financial reasons. I intend to change that soon, but I waited because I believe I should be prepared both financially and otherwise before I take on such a responsibility. In the meantime, I have worked at and/or volunteered with many farms and stables.
I can see that you cared deeply for that horse, which is why I cannot understand why you would want to send him to slaughter. (I assume this is where he went. You did not clearly state who you sold him to.) I will give you the benefit of the doubt, believing that you do not know the cruelty involved in horse slaughter. Some of the other replies have already posted descriptions.
Please understand that this is not just about whether people should eat horsemeat or not. This is about people from other countries coming here and brutally killing our horses. There are a few butcher shops left in Europe which humanely kill horses for meat; one at a time by experienced butchers. I personally could not deal with this, but I will not argue it either.
However, I will argue against a slaughterhouse with their overworked employees (they have some of the highest injury rates in the country) and their "line speed". I will argue that it is legally acceptable for 5% of these horses to have their throats slit while still conscious. I will also argue against horses being shipped in double-deckers thousands of miles cross-country.
You mention that old horses should not die in agony. Slaughterhouses are agony. Lethal injection euthanasia by a vet is a much better option. Not to mention the fact that according to a 2001 field study by livestock expert Temple Grandin at a horse slaughter plant, 75-96% of the horses waiting for the bolt were not old nor lame. Naturally, they prefer younger horses for meat. (As to the eyes being picked out by birds, wasn't that in the Red Pony by John Steinbeck? And wasn't the pony already dead?)
You are afraid of horses being designated as companion animals. Well, here in Illinois, horses are companion animals, and are still allowed to be slaughtered. Figure that one out.
Your USDA comment led me to recall a discussion with a USDA inspector some years ago, who told me that they could not regulate horse care, even though rats were covered. I actually saw it in her booklet. I suppose if they are at the plants, it is only to regulate the meat.
Let us also remember that American horses are routinely medicated with products which clearly state "not intended for animals used for human consumption". What you should be afraid of, is the European Union's intentions of having us regulate our horses' meds. They have met with US officials. The US Animal Identification Plan is more likely to take away your horse owner rights than banning the slaughter of horses.
A few other notes/responses: Many Mustangs have been purchased at BLM auctions for the low $125 adoption fee and were sold illegally to slaughter. I have heard of a few US farms where people actually raise horses for meat. I personally know people who have had horses stolen, as well as someone whose father sold horses to a "well-intentioned" man only to find out later that he sold them to slaughter.
I would like to thank you for mentioning that many vets support the ban because this is true, despite what the American Veterinary Medical Association and American Association of Equine Practitioners claim.
You mentioned US Senate bill SB 2352 which would ban horse slaughter, but there is also US House bill HR 857. Everyone, please write to your US Congressmen to support these bills. You also mentioned the IL horse slaughter ban, SB 1921. It is now called HB 649 and has passed through the IL Senate and is now onto the House. Please write to IL Reps and urge them to support this bill. If you are not in IL, your horses could still end up here.
I am ashamed to live in the "horse slaughter capitol" of the Midwest, and hope that it will soon lose that distinction. Please Mr. Loos, understand that this is about stopping horse cruelty (horse cruelty/neglect cases in IL have leveled off and even dropped some since Cavel's plant burned down in 2002); stopping horse theft (horse theft rates in CA dropped dramatically after their horse slaughter ban was put in place); giving horse owners peace of mind when they sell their horse; and also about meat safety (the Pet Food Institute does not even accept horsemeat anymore). This ban was not proposed to take away the rights of horse owners. Many involved with this ban are horse owners.
It is true that horses have a special place in my heart, but I only argue against horse slaughter due to the many facts which prove that it does not belong here. Thank you for your time.
Mr. Loos is everything that is wrong with today's issue. He feels that he did his "best friend" a favor? You, Mr. Loos, are one frightening friend horses don't need. His best friend Joe suffered a horrible, terrifying end for that a paltry $280.00.
Mr. Loos, I hope that someday you feel the pain and suffering you put that beautiful creature through. He was worth the small amount of money it would have cost you to put him to sleep peacefully but you obviously felt it more important to prosper on the back of your friend (no pun intended). I can only say I am glad I am not your best friend. You are one scary, heartless friend I don't need.
"Two letters in support of horse slaughter ban," April 22
"Constituent urges Rep. Lindner et al to reverse horse slaughter vote," April 15
"11 letters skewering horse slaughter company," January 27
"Protect companion animals," January 23
"Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January 19
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