The Malibu Times


Horse bill a winner

Wednesday, July 12, 2006




I'd like to thank Jonathan Friedman for writing his recent editorial "Horse Slaughter is Un-American." I have been involved with trying to get the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) made into law for three years. There are a few additional points to be made about the horse slaughter industry in the United States; it is unnecessary for horse welfare, horses are not regulated as food animals in this country, and HR 503 must be passed as written by its sponsors.

The slaughter industry has nothing to do with saving "unwanted horses" from neglect. In the 1990s the number of U.S. horses slaughtered declined sharply. According to USDA records, 345,700 horses were slaughtered for export in 1990; ten years later that number was 50,400. During this time frame the number of horses slaughtered per year dropped by as many as 79,000, with no rash of "unwanted" horses.

Last year almost 7,100 horses were imported from Canada for slaughter in the United States. How can there be an "unwanted horse problem" if the slaughterhouses have to import them? Practically every horse owner routinely treats his or her horse with products such as phenylbutazone (the aspirin of the horse world) and/or Zimectrin (a de-wormer). These products are clearly labeled "Not For Use On Animals Raised For Food." Meat tainted with these products can cause nasty side effects in human consumers, such as cancer, which is why federal regulations forbid they be given to beef cattle, poultry or hogs. Since no such regulations exist against these products being given to horses, it's likely that tainted horse meat is being shipped to Europe and Asia as you read this.

While it is true that the AHSPA will be going before Congress for a vote soon, there is the possibility that a Congressional opponent will try to attach an amendment to weaken or nullify the bill. Such underhanded moves have been made in the past. While I know Representative Waxman will support the bill, it needs to be made clear to him that this bill needs to be passed with no such amendments attached to it.

Duane L. Burright, Jr.