In an email in response
to questions about a USDA grant involving equine test subjects. Dr.
Theodore Friend of Texas A&M Animal Science Departments writes:
"No rational person can promote the
idea that banning the slaughter of horses in the U.S. will improve the
welfare of horses. The slaughter plants will merely move to Mexico
and the trade will continue under NAFTA. The horses will have to
spend an additional 12 hours or more in the trucks and once across the
border, there will be no oversight. The slaughter plants have told
me that they may move to Mexico anyway to escape harassment and
regulation (and high labor costs), and that will be tragic for horses.
If the plants are run out of the U.S., I am sure that leaders of U.S.
animal rights groups will tell their membership it is a great victory.
However, keeping the plants in the U.S. where they can be regulated and
easily watched is far better for horses. I went to check out the Beltex
plant myself last month after hearing the animal rights line.
There were three different inspectors (not employed by Beltex) in the
back checking the horses, not including the meat inspectors up front.
The plant personnel did an excellent job with the horses and the 40 to
50 horses that I watched were stunned correctly and no electric prods
were used. The condition and treatment of horses going to
slaughter for human consumption in Europe is far worse than in the U.S.
Every horse that is slaughtered in the U.S. for shipment to Europe means
fewer horses are slaughtered in Europe under terrible conditions."*
*This is a complete copy. The lack of paragraph breaks are from
Dr. Friend, not the publisher of this story
Here is a copy of the grant
ACCESSION NO: 0177289 SUBFILE: CRIS
PROJ NO: TEX08586 AGENCY: CSREES TEX
PROJ TYPE: HATCH PROJ STATUS: EXTENDED
START: 07 JAN 1998 TERM: 23 NOV 2003 FY: 2002
INVESTIGATOR: Friend, T. H.; Knabe, D. A.; Wagner, G. G.; Householder,
Martin, M.; Matthews, N.
TEXAS A&M UNIV
COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS 77843
BEHAVIORAL AND PHYSIOLOGICAL RESPONSES OF LIVESTOCK TO PHYSICAL AND
OBJECTIVES: A series of experiments will be conducted that will
determine behavioral, physiological and production responses of
livestock to certain acute and chronic stressors and provide
information useful to improving the well-being of livestock.
APPROACH: One experiment will use a model in which basic behavioral,
physiological, dehydration and health responses of horses during
commercial transport to slaughter plants will be determined. Twenty
tame horses will be transported for up to 36 h in a large commercial
These horses will return every 4 h for an hour during which data will
be collected and one-half of the transported horses will receive water
in buckets. There will also be a group of 10 non-transported horses to
serve as quasi controls, one-half of which will receive water every 4
h. In another set of experiments, the behavior of horses and their
ability to dissipate heat and maintain their balance will be
determined at varying pen densities during transportation in large
trailers. Additional studies are planned that will determine whether
equipping trailers transporting actual slaughter horses with an
on-board watering system will improve the well-being of horses.
NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: The wide range of management practices and
housing systems to which livestock are exposed may elicit stress
responses that contain both physical and psychological components. The
psychological component is much more potent in eliciting pathology
that is associated with stress. This project will develop methodology
that can be used to differentiate between certain psychological and
Alternative management practices will also be investigated with the
goal of improving welfare, health and productivity.
PROGRESS: 2002/01 TO 2002/12
A series of experiments are being conducted that will determine
behavioral, physiological and production responses of livestock and
other species used by humans to certain acute and chronic stressors,
and provide information useful to improving the well-being of
livestock and other species. The field trials have been completed for
a project determining the exercise requirements of circus tigers,
results should be available next year. A related project that is
nearing completion is determining the activity patterns of tigers in
enriched zoo environments. Another series of projects that were
recently completed involve determining the effect imprint training of
foals has on the foals' later responses to training and stress. A
project determining the effects of season on coping strategies of
dairy cattle was also recently completed and results will be available
shortly. A project determining the efficacy of clicker training in
horses was also recently completed and the results are being
Another sutdy was recently completed that compared the variation in
behavior and physiology of idential clone and naturally bred pigs, the
results of which will be published by the summer of 2003. Because of
the success of an earlier series of studies on the transportation of
slaughter horses, a new project was recently initated to investigate
methods of reducing stress on horses transported long distances to
salughter. Trials for this project are expected to last through the
summer of 2004.
IMPACT: 2002/01 TO 2002/12
The horse transport studies have been instrumental in providing a
basis for USDA and Canada to formulate regulations for the transport
of slaughter horses. They have also provided important information for
all people who transport horses. Similarly, the studies on circus
animals are being used by the circus industry and USDA to formulate
guidelines for the transport and management of elephants and tigers.
Imprint training of foals and clicker training in general has become
very popular in the horse industry. However, the results of this
research indicate that both imprint training and clicker training are
of no value. The study on behavioral variation of cloned pigs was the
first of its kind to prove that there is as much behavioral and
physiological variation in cloned animals as in naturally bred
PUBLICATIONS: 2002/01 TO 2002/12
1. Archer, G. 2002. Behavioral, Physical,a nd Physiological Variation
Among Litters of Cloned Pigs. M.S. dissertation. Texas A&M
University, College Station.
2. Sisto, Anne. 2002. Effects of Seasons on Coping Strategies of Low
and High Producing Dairy Cows. Ph.D. dissertation. Texas A&M
University, College Station.
3. Williams, J. L. 2002. Clicker Training: Operant Conditioning and
Secondary Reinforcers in Horse Training. Ph.D. dissertation. Texas
A&M University, College Station.
4. Williams, J. L., T. H. Friend, M. J. Toscano, M. N. Collins, A.
Sisto-Burt, and C. H. Nevill. 2002. The effects of imprint training on
the reactions of foals at one, two, and three months of age. Appl.
Behav. Sci. 77:105-114.
Name: Friend, T. H.