My conversation with Dr. Steve Hicks, Thursday, May 1, 2003  

The letters Dr. Hicks referred to on March 25 from the vet schools at University of California at Davis and Oklahoma State University were letters to Beltex either thanking Beltex for furnishing body parts for study purposes or explaining that someone from the school would be arriving for some inane purpose.  He does have a letter from Dr. Ted Friend, Texas A&M, addressed to the Ag Committee, in support of HB 1324, but Friend only speaks for himself, not Texas A&M Vet School .   

Hicks’ March 25 testimony reads,  “Let me give you a list of the organizations that are for allowing this option of horse slaughter plants to stay in existence.  The American Association of Equine Practitioners which is the largest equine veterinary organization in the world.  Their position is they are for this.  We have letters from several veterinary schools.  Oklahoma State University, California Veterinary School at Davis, Texas A&M University stating that in their opinion that these plants….without these plants the potential of abuse for these unwanted horses is much greater than what these horses face at the plants.”   

He told me that every vet in Betty Brown’s district supports HB 1324.  I said, “Every vet?”  

“Yes, every vet,” he said.  

I said, “How do you know that?”  

He said, “Because I called and talked to them.”  

I said, “Did you talk to David Costello?”  

He said, “No.”  

I laughed, “He’s the vet closest to Dallas Crown.  He’s my vet.”  

He said, “Does he have an equine practice?  I only called vets who have an equine practice.”  

I said, “Of course he has an equine practice.  His wife raises horses.”  

He said, “That doesn’t mean he has an equine practice.”  

I said, “He definitely has an equine practice.  He put my horse to sleep for me.”   


I asked him if he approached Betty Brown or if she approached him.  He said he approached her and told her that if she would sponsor this bill he would give it his full attention. 

He said that the other parts of the country suffer from not having the slaughter option because they don’t have a place for their unwanted horses.  

I asked him how many horses he thought there were in the U.S.   He said he’d heard between 4-6 million.  I said I’d heard just under 7 million.  Then I asked him how many of those horses died each year, what percentage.  He first said 20%, but he scaled it back to 10%.  I asked him what he thought happened to the 658,000 dead horses that were not slaughtered.  He said he thought their carcasses were rotting in the fields.  

He mentioned that there used to be a horse slaughter plant in Palestine and he used to work with them in furnishing body parts for various purposes.   

He did not believe that 90% of slaughtered horses came from outside Texas.   I told him I would try to document that for him.