Three more letters on the horse slaughter issue
The Equine Protection Network (EPN) is a non-profit horse welfare organization based in PA. Our supporters are horse owners and are in the horse industry. The EPN is not an animal rights organization. The issues we focus on are the enforcement of cruelty laws as they apply to horses, and the issue of horse slaughter. The welfare issues that we advocate are backed up by accepted horse industry management practice. Naturally, as Americans we are opposed to the slaughter of our horses, as are the overwhelming majority of Americans.
I have worked in the horse industry my entire adult life and currently own and operate a successful horse boarding facility. I participated in 4-H and trained and showed my own horses to state and regional championships on the American Quarter Horse show circuit. I have worked on Thoroughbred and Standardbred breeding farms that have foaled out winners of the Triple Crown races. And I have worked for a leading commercial horse transportation company transporting horses throughout the United States and Canada. I have also been qualified in the Court of Common Pleas in PA as an expert witness in horse management.
The EPN was notified of a pro slaughter editorial ["GUEST OPINION: Out to greener pastures," May 18] by a long-time EPN supporter who is also a long-time subscriber to the Lancaster Farming weekly newspaper. This article also ran in the IllinoisLeader.com.
The author refers to the slaughter of America's horses as the "harvesting of horses for human consumption". What Mr. Loos does not seem to understand is that horses are not raised as food or fiber animals in the United States; nor are they taxed as food animals. The products we use on our horses are not tested for a safe withdrawal time by the FDA. The products we use on our horses carry the warning label, "Not for use on horses intended for food."
As usual, the author stoops to putting this issue on "animal rights activists." Why? Because he cannot dispute these three facts:
2. The states are not going to be willing to forego all the state sales tax revenue on horses and all the associated products. If horses are food animals, then they must be taxed as food animals-- not sport, recreation, and pleasure animals. I find it very hard to believe that the states would forego the millions in state sales tax revenue so that a handful of horse owners can reap the last $400 from 50,000 horses per year.
3. The products we use on our horses have not been tested by the FDA for use in horses intended for food. I find it hard to believe that the manufacturers would spend the money necessary to obtain a withdrawal time for horses for human consumption. The cost of this testing is not justified by the revenue from the sale of these products.
The largest horse state and the leading agricultural state in the country, California, made it a felony to slaughter a horse in 1998 when over 60% (5 million) of California voters "Just Said Neigh to Horse Slaughter". The passage of Prop 6 did not change the status of horses from livestock to companion animal, nor did the number of horse abuse cases rise according to Carolyn Stull of UC Davis.
If given the chance tomorrow, Americans would overwhelmingly vote to outlaw horse slaughter. Poll after poll always comes back the same-- Americans want horse slaughter banned. The most recent poll of voters in Texas, conducted by Mason Dixon Polling & Research, Inc., Washington, DC, showed the same results in 2003.
The author also plays down the TB racing industry's support
of the ban to end horse slaughter. Paragraph six refers to the TB racing
industry's support of HR 857.
"This debate is similar to other "animals for food" discussions, but it is different because of the unusual division of supporters. I have spoken to a handful of thoroughbred racing enthusiasts who seem to be in favor of such legislation. They believe that if they give in on this issue, the animal rights community might leave them alone on other issues regarding racing horses"
Mr. Loos also uses scare tactics by making the false statement that if HR 857 passes, horses will become companion animals and not
livestock. Mr. Loos, the American Horse Council (now neutral on the issue after the TB racing industry came out against horse slaughter) and other pro-slaughter voices have been passing around that smoke screen since Prop 6. Time and time again they have been proven wrong, yet they continue to spout this fabrication.
The author also mentions "death with a purpose". Sir, I don't think the American public considers horses dying in a slaughterhouse, so that foreign gourmets can dine on American horses at upwards of $15.00 a pound, death with a purpose. I don't believe that the Thoroughbred racing industry or the American public believes for one moment that 1986 Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand's death in a Japanese slaughterhouse served a purpose and gave his death meaning.
Equine Protection Network
I am so saddened by your letter ["Out to greener pastures"] for so many reasons. I promise you there will come a time when your heart aches and is sickened because you listened to "the lie". This lie permeates the pro-slaughter repertoire with flowing, and typical double-tongued standards!
Mr. Loos, when, pray tell, was the last time you went to a slaughterhouse unannounced to see what really goes on? I am not talking about a scheduled visit, where the best butchers kill the weakest horses! What about those healthy, vibrant, beautiful ones that the sloppiest, unskilled, inexperienced butchers kill? There are NO TRESPASSING signs everywhere around those fortresses of blood and doom.
What did your darling companion, Joe, see and smell before he died? Were you even there to comfort him with a touch to his muzzle or a kind word for his soul? Did you even thank him for all of his loyalty and his patience while he taught you how to have faith in such a powerful animal?
Horses are not cows, pigs, or any other livestock raised for food.
That was a very bad error in judgment. You listened to those liars. I'm so sorry for Joe. Gee, what a friend you are!
Horses have helped mankind for centuries. The least we can do, is be kind to them. Slaughter is cruel. Often the horses are hurt in transportation and the stun gun misses its mark.
Horses are stolen and obtained through false pretenses too. In California, where slaughter and selling horses for slaughter has been prohibited, theft has decreased by 34% and their care has increased. Abuse cases have not increased.
Horses are not raised for food, and are loved by many people for their beauty and nobility. Most true and caring horsemen, and many organizations including the thoroughbred industry, as well as the majority of people, oppose horse slaughter. It is past time that this horrible practice be abolished.
"Three letters against horse slaughter," May 25, 2004
"'Pierre' meet Mr. Heimlich," May 20, 2004
"Two letters in support of horse slaughter ban," April 22, 2004
"Constituent urges Rep. Lindner et al to reverse horse slaughter vote," April 15, 2004
"11 letters skewering horse slaughter company," January 27, 2004
"Protect companion animals," January 23, 2004
"Legislation proposed to end horse slaughter in Illinois," January 19, 2004
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