Letters to Editor


Thursday, September 30, 2010

Horse slaughter

Dear Editor:

I am the former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, where one of the nation’s last horse slaughter plants was finally closed in 2007. I just learned that J. Paul Brown is running to represent your district in the Colorado Legislature. I think it is important for people to know that J. Paul Brown brought horses to Texas and sold them to the slaughter plant during 2004 and 2005 (years I have documents for). I wonder if people in District 59 can support the values and judgment of someone who took Colorado horses, where horse slaughter is not practiced, and brought them to Texas (where horse slaughter has since been declared illegal).

Let me explain, as a mayor whose city served as nothing more than a doormat for this shoddy and cruel industry, why I believe voters might want to consider candidate J. Paul Brown carefully.

Horse slaughter is a foreign-driven operation that supplies horse meat for human consumption overseas, with an appalling record and a wholly negative economic impact in its host communities. The horse slaughter plant in my community violated environmental regulations continually, thwarted economic development, created significant financial burdens directly and indirectly and, once our “dirty little secret” was learned, established a broadly negative reputation for my community. It is not good at all to be the place that slaughters people’s pets and companions for consumption overseas.

Some would say that horse slaughter is a “necessary evil,” or a service. That is simply not true. The USDA reports that over 92 percent of horses sent to slaughter are in good to excellent condition, less than 10 years old, and without behavioral problems. And the conditions and treatment of these horses prior to slaughter are horrific. In a document covering the plant’s operation for just 11 months, the USDA released 900 pages, made up almost entirely of photographs documenting terrible injuries.

I still get calls. Not long ago a couple contacted me about horses they had taken to auction. They realized too late that their mares were bought by a self-described “killer buyer” who takes horses to slaughter. Other times I get calls from people whose horses have been stolen. The motto of the horse slaughter plant that Brown took horses to was, “From the stable to the table in four days.”

Given the facts behind this cruel practice, it makes me wonder why J. Paul Brown would willingly engage in it. Veterinarians for Equine Welfare unambiguously assert that horse slaughter is in no way euthanasia, but a predatory, cruel business for horses and for people. Mr. Brown apparently was willing to travel to Texas to seek out the horse slaughter plant, something Colorado has wisely avoided hosting.

Powerful proponents of horse slaughter have been pushing some state legislatures to pass laws promoting taxpayer-subsidized horse slaughter. Will J. Paul Brown carry the water for the special interests of the foreign horse slaughter market to try and promote this exploitative practice in Colorado?

If Mr. Brown supports the slaughter of American horses to gratify the appetites of French consumers, I wonder, are you comfortable with his decision making and his representation of you?


Paula Bacon