The Bad Guys Lose Big on Horse Slaughter

Never mind the lacquered platitudes that will swallow up tonight's State of the Union speech. Never mind the flood of hubristic presidential candidates starting to run a political race no one is interested in following. Never mind even the start of the I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby trial, the results of which will, in the end, impact the lives of no one but Libby, his family, and the massive legal entourages that have sprung up around the case. The big legal news over the past week is and was a decision last week by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that could finally spell the end of two of the nation's three brutal slaughterhouses whose owners are responsible each year for the inhumane deaths of about 100,000 American horses each year.

The conservative federal appeals court ruled unanimously that a 1949 Texas law prohibits the slaughter of horses for human consumption overseas, a position that had been challenged by Beltex Corporation and Dallas Crown, Inc., two companies operating slaughterhouses in the Lone Star State. The companies had argued that federal regulations trumped the state law. Wrong. And even an attorney for the companies told the Dallas Morning News that he doubts that the U.S Supreme Court will take the case.

If the ruling stands, Texas prosecutors will be free to go after the owners and operators of these awful places. And if and when they do there will be only a single horse slaughterhouse left in the country, in Illinois. And the good news doesn't stop there. New legislation was introduced last week in Congress to impose a federal ban on the practice. Last year, a similiar measure made it through the House of Representatives but then stalled in the Senate. New Congress. New term. New momentum. It's time to finally end this phase of our country's corporate life. Here's how the 5th Circuit put it and I could not say it any better: "The lone cowboy riding his horse on a Texas trail is a cinematic icon... Not once in memory did the cowboy eat his horse...."

By Andrew Cohen |  January 23, 2007; 9:15 AM ET
Previous: One Zany Day in the Life of the War on Terror | Next: Libby, Libby, Libby, on the Label, Label, Label


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Maybe this blog should be re-titled the "Horse Slaughter Blog" or perhaps just the "Obsessed with Relatively Trivial Issues Blog".

Posted by: Ryan | January 23, 2007 10:18 AM

The Libby trial is an obstruction of justice case directly related to the outing of a CIA agent, the complaint was brought at the request of the Justice department, and you feel it will not have far reaching consequences??

Posted by: frances | January 23, 2007 10:56 AM

The Bush administration and the all-about-money Republicans have worked diligently to categorize many issues, this included, as "relatively trivial." I applaud Andrew for celebrating this victory that is perhaps in some minds minor, but that offers hope to the rest of us who remain concerned about ecological well being, inhumane practices against people and animals, and the undeniable fact that today in this country deep-pocketed, lobbying-savvy businesses too often make the rules.

Posted by: Christine | January 23, 2007 12:05 PM

I also, applaud Mr. Cohen for bringing this story to light.
What is trivial about killing 100,000 horses annually? I believe more people would support legisation to end this grisly practice if they knew about it. Where do these horses come from, anyway? Are they bred just for slaughter?
And I thought puppy mills were bad!

Posted by: Cecile Batchelor | January 23, 2007 01:11 PM

Let's see. How could the consumption of horse meat be trivial? Gee, I don't know. Maybe because I think what's going on with Iraq is more important? Maybe because I think al-Qaeda and terrorism are more important? Maybe because the looming structural deficits we face due Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security are more important? Maybe because I think the 50 million Americans who have no health insurance are more important? Maybe because global warming and other ecological issues are more important (and may render other issues moot)?

Maybe for all those reasons?

Cecile, these horses are not bred for slaughter, at least if Andrew Cohen's previous blog posts are to be believed. They are horses that are finished being used for whatever purpose they had before. What is not clear to me is what, exactly, Mr. Cohen expects to happen to these horses now that that we will be accumulating an additional 100,000 horses a year in this country?

Christine, if you were interested in ecological well being, you would be completely FOR getting rid of all horses on this continent. They are not native and, therefore, displace other animals. When people own horses, they must acquire a significant amount of land that must be cleared for horses to graze on. This is land that, otherwise, could be left as more natural habitats for native animals that live here. One of the major ecological problems in this country is the disappearance of "wilderness" -- that is, those areas that we do not touch, that we just leave alone, uncleared and allowed to grow as it pleases. Whether horses are slaughtered is neither here nor there when it comes to ecological well being.

I've noticed a tendency in you pro-horse people to start connecting the slaughter of horses with all sorts of things that are, in reality, unrelated. Soon, Christine, you'll start telling us how stopping the slaughter of horses will stop global warming and bring peace to the Middle East.

Please try to make your arguments logical and, above all else, based in reality.

Posted by: Ryan | January 23, 2007 01:54 PM

Bottom line: If you consume meat for dinner, you should try to eat the next horse you see.

Posted by: Dave | January 23, 2007 03:10 PM

I also like the fact that Mr. Cohen refers to the people he disagrees with "the bad guys". Apparently, Mr. Cohen likes the George Bush view of the world: You're either with us or against us. And, if you're against us, you're a bad guy. You're probably also unpatriotic and trying to help the terrorists, to boot.

Posted by: Ryan | January 23, 2007 04:25 PM

It was clear from your initial post, Ryan, that you weren't anti-slaughter. Now, however, we can see that you're actually anti-horse! Good grief.

Though domesticated horses were indeed introduced to this continent by "explorers" in the fifteenth century, is a commonly accepted scientific fact that horses originally evolved in the Americas. (For reasons unknown, the native horses died out thousands of years before the Europeans arrived.)

You argue that horses should not have been re-introduced to North America. But might I remind you that it has been the two-footed, not four-footed, interlopers who have wreaked the most havoc-- ecological, environmental, and otherwise-- in North America over the past 600 years.

No one here is asserting that horse slaughter is worse than (or linked to) the Iraq war or global warming or terrorism or the situation in the Middle East. Mr. Cohen writes a blog about the law, and it's his privilege to write about any issues that happen to grab his attention-- just as it's our privilege to respond. Together it makes for interesting reading and provocative dialogue, and, Ryan, you in particular deserve credit for keeping it lively.

Posted by: Christine | January 23, 2007 08:04 PM

Andrew Cohen would make an exemplar 1940s Republican. Defending the enviroment and animals, common-sense, bipartisan, and no nonsense. Don't fret about Ryan. He is too Generation X.

Posted by: Oh to have a Blog | January 23, 2007 08:17 PM

I suppose it's a bit less trivial for the horses.

Posted by: Al | January 25, 2007 04:54 PM

Horses are not bred here in America to be eaten. Let those foreigners eat their own damn Horses.They are companion animals to us like our dogs and cats. To compare Horses to cattle is like comparing the Bald Eagle with a pigeon.The Horses that are being bought at auctions are not used up Horses, they are big beautiful Horses. I have raised money to purchase many of them. The USDA states that in 2006 over 90% of Horses that were slaughtered at the three FOREIGN OWNED slaughter plants were from good to great condition. Isn't it funny that the American Quarter Horse Association is against the slaughter ban when the list of slaughtered Horses in 2006 were sorted by breed and the Quarter Horses were on top? Owners will finally be forced to take responsibility for their animals after the ban passes instead of treating Horses like garbage and getting paid to do it. And lastly 100,000 much wanted Horses were inhumanely killed last year, that's less than 1% of the total Horse population here in the USA. A number easily absorbed when the ban passes.

Posted by: Carrie | January 26, 2007 02:20 AM

But to many in this country, they are not companion animals any more than cattle. While horses may be prettier, in the end, they are livestock and to make them "companion animals" would introduce a ton of problemns to the already burdened agriculture industry.

Unwanted cats and dogs are tough to deal with, unwanted horses are impossible to deal with. Making slaughter illegal will not decrease horse breeding, it will just introduce a new problem of lame, sicly horses who will starve to death in a field.

Posted by: Kevin | January 26, 2007 02:47 PM

I don't understand something, Carrie.

On the one hand, you call horses "companion animals". On the other, you say that these horses that are slaughtered are purchased at auction. Those two ideas are incongruent. If someone considers their horse to be a companion animal, he/she would not sell it at auction. I consider my rabbit a "companion animal" and I assure you I would never sell my rabbit at auction.

To me, it sounds as though YOU (and some others) consider horses companion animals, but other people (those selling the horses at auction) do not. Certainly, even if one were forced to get rid of your companion animal, you would ensure that it would go to a nice home where it would be treated like a companion animal -- i.e. you wouldn't sell it.

Anyway, the fact that there is a market for all this horse-selling, horse-buying, and horse slaughtering strongly suggests that not all horse owners agree with you, Carrie. It would be nice if you could make your argument logical and congruent.

Posted by: Ryan | January 26, 2007 03:42 PM

Pretty has nothing to do with it Kevin, I will say it one more time.HORSES ARE NOT BRED HERE IN AMERICA TO BE EATEN. And the inhumane way they are transporting them and killing them is a disgrace. Kevin I dare you to go to and watch the horror show for yourself. People can humanely euthanize there Horses if they no longer want them. At the auctions there are people that don't even know that Kill Buyers are there. One man I told took his 2 Horses back home. He did not want his Horses to be bought by these men and killed in a slaughter house. MANY HORSES are bought at auction and the owners don't ever know their Horse is going to slaughter. That stinks. It's a sneaky bunch of foreigners that own the 3 slaughter houses. THEY are burdens on the towns they are in, they break laws, owe fines and will be shut down one way or another. There will always be people who abuse their Horses and when the ban passes and it will pass, ANY Horse owner that abuses their Horse will finally pay the price for doing it instead of getting paid to do it. The burden that you call it Kevin of having an unwanted Horse is called responsibilty. Would it be OK to take our unwanted Cats & Dogs to a slaughter plant here in America and ship the meat over to Asia? I don't think so.
I can sum this complicated issue up in 4 words. NO NEED JUST GREED.

Posted by: Carrie | January 26, 2007 04:06 PM

Ryan, I have a dear friend who had to sell her Horse Pi that she loved very much because she was going away to school. She sold Pi to a man she knew. She ran into him a while after and asked about Pi. He said he longer wanted her and sold her to slaughter. My friend was devastated to say the least and that lead her to starting her Horse Rescue where I am one of the Directors. Many wonderful Horses are sold at auctions that were once someones friend and longtime companion. These Horses are being purchased by Kill Buyers without many owners knowing. Many Americans don't even know that Horse slaughter houses exist. We plan on educating people on what the real facts are.

Posted by: Carrie | January 26, 2007 04:33 PM

Why would you sell your horse? I'm baffled by this. I wouldn't sell my dog. This doesn't sound like a true companion animal to me.

Plus, I still don't understand why you think your desire to have horses as companion animals should allow you to impose that on everyone else in this country and why that desire means that other people can't buy horses to be slaughtered. It's as if your emotional attachment to horses overrides any sense of principle on this matter. Frankly, if people want to horse meat, why should I stop them? What gives me (or you, for that matter) the right to say no? And don't bring up the whole "foreigners" aspect of it. That just makes your argument xenophobic. So long as I believe that eating animals is OK (which most Americans do), I see no reason why I should stop the horse meat industry, regardless of where the meat is going.

I know people who've had pigs as "companion animals". Should we stop slaughtering pigs? What about cows? Chickens? Fish? Why in the world are you limiting this to horses? This whole thing makes no sense to me. There's no rhyme or reason to this.

Posted by: Ryan | January 26, 2007 06:47 PM

The fate of 100,000 unwanted horses turned into food each year pales in comparison with the horror of millions of carrots wantonly slaughtered to meet the perverse vegetarian agenda. Carrots are cute. Carrots are a cheery orange color that brings a smile to everyone who sees them.

Just because carrots are quiet and calm and inoffensive doesn't mean that they are without feelings. Anyone who will simply take the time to listen can hear them screaming as they are literally pulled from their safe cozy homes by their tender root-hairs. I know I do.

The poor things then have their skin peeled off; they are chopped into bits, boiled and frozen, only to be unceremoniously dumped into the garbage when little Timmy and Sally refuse to eat them. What a sad, horrible waste of carrot potential.

Christine, Cecile, Carrie, Andrew - please don't let this inhumane behavior continue. Join with me, SAVE THE CARROTS, and do it in all caps so the other posters can hear us.

PS: Carrie, do you know where I can get my hands on some of those slaughtered cats and dogs? Nothing better in a stir-fry.

Posted by: | January 26, 2007 09:04 PM

Credit for SAVE THE CARROTS belongs to me.

Posted by: andyhood | January 26, 2007 09:07 PM

Andy can continue to cry over his carrots and Ryan, Kevin, Dave & the other BAD GUYS out there, you are just blind to the cruelty and the lies. You are a small majority and you will not stop the Slaughter Ban from passing and then America's Horses will be safe.

Posted by: Carrie | January 26, 2007 11:47 PM

Dear sweet Carrie. How will they be safe? Who will care for them? 100,000 unwanted horses per year. Are you going to take them? Or will they be left to be neglected, to slowly starve? Horses are only different for you from other livestock because you choose to see them that way. Other people see them as working animals, like oxen or donkeys or camels. Still other people see them as a source of food, like cows or pigs or sheep. There is nothing intrinsic about horses that makes them special - you just see them that way. If you are going to eliminate the one existing avenue for disposition of 100,000 large animals per year, what is your plan to take care of them? I sincerely hope it is something both certain and humane, because there are worse ways to die than in a slaughterhouse.

Posted by: | January 27, 2007 12:31 AM

Whoops, I did it again

Posted by: andyhood | January 27, 2007 12:32 AM

Dear CarrotHead,
Most Americans don't think of eating Horses.And you asked me who will save them? From what? The owners that own them are responsible for them. Less than 1% of the Horse population was slaughtered last year and that number will be easily absorbed. Yes, many are working animals, I have outbid Kill Buyers and saved many Race Horses at auctions where they are tossed aside like garbage after they stop winning. Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was slaughtered instead of being retired somewhere and in my opinion that's like eating Babe Ruth! There's not just one existing ave for Horses after owners no longer want them and you know that. Owners will have to step up to the plate and spend a few dollars and humanely euthanize their Horses. They will soon be forced to. There's not going to be starving Horses on every corner, that BULL ! And if there are than the owners will go to jail for it !

Posted by: Carrie | January 27, 2007 02:16 AM

how many cows, sheep, and pigs, carry our soldiers in battle and search for osama? how many carry riders to gold in the olympic games and win kentucky derby's?
how many are used in police units, therapeutic riding, sports, recreation, search and rescue, etc.?

the number of horses slaughtered are not all "unwanted". horses are aquired through theft, deceipt, and misrepresentation. USDA states that over 90% of horses at slaughter are in good condition. other studies show that 84% are of average age, 74% sound of limb, 96% had no behavioral issues.

when california banned slaughter there was no increase in abuse and neglect - in fact, the theft rate dropped over 30%.

demand overseas for horsemeat is what drives the inhumane business. they will find a way to meet that demand - and it isnt by horses being handed over knowingly.

do some research at

or better yet,
check out excerpts from sworn testimony here

Posted by: mary m | January 27, 2007 12:21 PM

Hey Carrot Top I suppose you like getting screwed in the rear by the foreigner conglomerates here in our US, don't you know they don't have to pay taxes, and they use our tax dollars to operate, you must like it because your defending them so intensely. Public record shows, Dallas Crown, 02, $12,000,000.00 in profits, paid $5.00 in taxes, and our illegal IRS, says hey, great buddy, let's continue to screw the working stiff, because we know they'll take it! Get Real!

Posted by: Marilyn Wilson | January 27, 2007 12:38 PM

Carrie. Either you are blinded to reality or a charter member of a PETA like organization.

I don't, but many people do enjoy horse meat. Many people also enjoy other meats like rattlesnake, ostrich, elk, snails, moose, dolphin, and even rat. Unless you can give me a reason that any of these meats should not be eaten, then let them be. If you have a reason then please give it, and I don't include the "cute and cuddly" or "companion"as reasons. Those, my dear, are emotions.

If you feel eating a race horse is akin to cannibalism, then please see a physician about your issues. It is not wrong or illegal to eat a race horse, even if his stature in the race horse world is well known.

An alternative might be to send the animals to rendering plants to be made into toothpaste, dog food, and garden fertilizer.

Posted by: Mr. Fusion | January 27, 2007 12:38 PM

The argument over whether something is trivial is a bit scary. Is one human death trivial and 50 important? Is it ok to be cruel to one puppy but not to whole litter? Horse slaughter as it is practiced is cruel and inhumane. If you look at Temple Grandin's work, you will see that at least numerous cattle slaughter houses have be redesigned to lower the stress to the animals. Horses brought to slaughter are terrified as well denied food and water on their over 1000 mile trips to the plant. Most horses brought to slaughter are not unwanted old and sick horses, so many people make this specious argument in an effort to feel better about killing these creatures. The plants dont want the old sick horses. The hoses that are killed are yound and healthy animals. Take a look at any slaughter plant video and you will see young and healthy animals, screaming and whinneying in fear. It is not a trivial issue to want to stop cruelty. What is trivial is the people that are too foolish or to afraid to do something about unnecessary cruelty when they see it. A nation that can stand by and watch healthy young horse be needlessly tormented and then killed to be shipped overseas as food, is the same nation that can spawn soldiers such as the ones at Abu Graib. And I would like to believe we are a better country than that.

Posted by: Camilla | January 27, 2007 12:47 PM

Issues happening in our own back yards are also important... not taking away the international politics either, but our country has been based on our humanity as well as our compassion. Horses have never been thought of as a food animal, and the money that is made from horseflesh never benefits any US citizen. Now if you are worried about the 100 or so workers that make minimum wage at the slaughterhouses, I am sure there are more suitable places to find jobs.
Horse slaughter isn't about personal choices, and the slaughterhouses claim that they care about the horses. It is all about greed. Statistics show that 30% of the horses that wind up at a slaughterhouse are stolen. Slaughterhouses in Texas charge a fee for each horse so that they may be checking for stolen horses, yet the microchip scanners never were removed from the original boxes.
People need to be responsible for their animals. Slaughter horses make up 1% of the total horses in the US. It will force people to become more responsible for their horses instead of letting the horses indiscrimantely breed out in the pastures. We are the humans that brought this all about, and we are the stewards who should allow horses the dignity of life. I rescue horses from auctions, neglect and abuse. Slaughterhouses have not solved that problem. How ironic that when Cavel burned down, neglect and abuse cases involving horses declined by a huge percentage.
The horse population will readjust after the slaughterhouses shut their doors... just like it did in California. There are not homeless horses roaming the streets, but there were 2 homeless horses in Oklahoma less than a month ago roaming the streets. A rescue helped them, and now they are happily on their way back to health. Someday they may even make a child smile, carry a rider through a wooded path on a beautiful spring day, pull a carriage, jump a hurdle, dance in a dressage ring or just run free in a field.. mane blowing in the breeze and a tail held high with pride.

Posted by: cheryl | January 27, 2007 01:41 PM

mr fusion
so then, i suppose you think we should open dog slaughter plants and send the meat to china because they eat dog meat?

as to reasons it shouldnt be eaten -horses are not administered to by veterinarians the same as food animals. many common meds are labeled "do not use on animals intended for food" bute is one ex. the equivalent to horse aspirin is carcinogenic.
many rotine horse horse care products also carry the warning label.

Posted by: mary m | January 27, 2007 02:23 PM

A horse was not designed to be ridden by a human. Whether it is down a wooded trail or where ever. They are even less designed to jump over fences or other obstacles with a human on their back. A horses mouth is not designed to have a steel piece of metal kept between its teeth pressing against its palate. And it doesn't matter how much pleasure that gives to the rider. I can not understand how forcing a horse to perform these "tricks" may, in any way, be considered humane.

Yet you consider the "rescue" of a horse to be forced to perform tricks for humans a good thing. Maybe the horse considers it torture. Or maybe even slavery. Whatever, I doubt they enjoy having their heads jerked around while a human kicks their sides.

And, contrary to your assessment, there are cultures that do eat horse meat. Just because Anglo-Saxons and Northern Europeans were not big horse eaters does not mean that those from Southern Europe and Asia don't enjoy it. Or do you consider yourself the arbitrator of what makes for culture?

I say you are a hypocrite.

Posted by: Mr. Fusion | January 27, 2007 02:30 PM

My answer to
Bipartisan House Committee Leaders Urge Colleagues to Vote Against ...
PR Newswire (press release) - all 1 news articles ยป
Dear Colleague,
Last year, the House Committee on Agriculture overwhelmingly rejected
the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act by a vote of 37-3. We strongly
encourage you not to co-sponsor the legislation that has been reintroduced
in the 110th Congress. This legislation, which is being promoted by PETA

Dear Sirs ! This is and out and out lie !! I am a CITIZEN of the United States ,
not a member of PETA, and as such I have a right to my believes and to let my
lawmakers know just how I feel concerning the American Horse Slaughter Protection Act and the WELFARE of America's horses.

and the Humane Society of the United States, is bad for horse welfare, bad
for animal agriculture, and bad for the U.S. economy.

Where do you get this from ?
"The greatness of a nation can be judged
by the way its animals are treated"
-Mohandas Gandhi So how do you want our animals treated ???

Unwanted Horses ?? There are no unwanted horses. These are those horses that
the KILLER BUYERS must buy so they and the SH's can stay in business.There
must be enough "unwanted" horses to supply their demands in Europe and Japan.

Every year in this country there are tens of thousands of unwanted
horses abandoned, just as there are millions of healthy, but abandoned cats
and dogs. As is the case with abandoned cats and dogs, the Nation's
infrastructure of animal rescue facilities for horses is already overrun.
No one has any idea how 90,000 or more unwanted horses that currently go to
the processing plants will be cared for if the plants are closed. That's
90,000 additional unwanted horses every year. What we do know is that it
will cost millions of dollars that are not budgeted in the legislation.

This is also not true ! There will be as many unwanted and abandoned horses
per year as the Killer Buyers must buy to slaughter to for horse meat consumersin Europe .

Millions of cats and dogs are humanely euthanized each year. But
disposal of unwanted horses is not as simple as disposal of unwanted cats
and dogs. It's illegal in many states to bury horses because they are
vectors for West Nile virus.

This is wrong. Vectors pass along the disease, in West Nile it is
mosquitos. Horses are end hosts, not vectors, for West Nile.

But even so they want us to think it is dangerous to bury horses
because they might have West Nile, but it is OK to eat them.

Horse owners who can no longer care for their horses
face a difficultchoice. They can hire a veterinarian to euthanize the animal and dispose of
it at a cost of several hundred dollars. They can try to find adoptive
homes. They can sell the horses at auction. Or they can sell the horses
directly to one of the processing plants. The choice is up to the owners,
and we believe ALL of these options should be available to them.

Should I have the same choice with my dogs and cats. The government tells me
what shots my animals must have...what licenses....I must feed it and make sure
he has water. I can't slaughter it and sell its meat either here in the U.S. or
overseas ! I don't and neither should horse owners. I must not abuse it. And
all these laws should hold true for horses !!!!! When I must I have my animal
euthinized...There is those words again . Euthinize is not SLAUGHTER.
Please look up the words in the dictionary !!!

Strict Federal Laws Already Assure Humane Treatment

These laws are rarely abeyed. I don't understand why the people in law enforcement
do not enforce the horses right to be treated humanely all the way from their stable
at home, to the auctions ,on the trucks, where they are hauled to a feed lot,,or to the
HS plant,

I don't understand why, our horses are not respected by killer buyers ,
butchers at the SH's,or the people who own the business .

The United States is the only country in the world that has regulations
that protect horses during transportation to processing plants. These laws are not enforced..

Have you watched as horses are put into cattle cars and driven miles (some cases ober 1000 miles)with no breaks, no food , stallions with mares, with foals younger then 8 months., and with mares about
ready to foal ?? They get injured ? Do the drivers EVER stop to have a vet check their injured or sick horse ?? Have you watched the vidieo's on the High way 44 accident in Missouri.That shows exactly how the laws are never enforced. Our horses suffer !!

Once at the plants the USDA, by law, is to inspect every horse and report their condition making sure that all have been treated humanely. assures each animal is treated humanely. USDA inspectors are required to shut down the plants in the event of any violation of humane standards.

I want to ask when is this DONE as it should be ? This is just disgusting and NOT true.How many times has a plant been shut down when violations have been found ?A horse is not a cow and will not stand and wait to be shot in the brain by a bolt. NO ,they are a flight animal. They will fight for their lives. I don't know how anyone can look into their eyes and shoot them with that bolt again and again. Or in Mexico to stab them and
stab them to sever their spine so they can be tortured alive right up to the moment
they breath their last. There are video's at

The Humane Society of the United States and other animal welfare organizations
helped shape these laws. The laws for slaughter were NEVER meant for horses !!!
Horses are not raised to go to slaughter as are beef. Horses are also given many
toxic drugs as their lives go on that a beefer meant for slaughter would not be given.

A United Front against Bad Legislation
America must be better then this ! We the people of America...the CITIZENS of this
country do not have to allow strangers from another country(Belgium) to come into
OUR COUNTRY and set up slaughterhouses to butcher our horses so they can sell their
meat back home. No !! It has to stop now !!! We would no more go to India and set up
a slaughter business to butcher their cows to send their meat back to Americans.

Over 200 national, state, and local horse owner organizations, humane
groups, and state and county government associations oppose the American
Horse Slaughter Prevention Act because they know that the processing plants
serve a vital function in assuring a humane, federally supervised
end-of-life option for unwanted horses.

Go to the HSUS .org and watch the videos of their end of life options........
a bolt shot to the head until it eventually hits the brain or the cutting of the spine
until the horse while still alive but parilyzed is tortured until it breathes its last.
Is this what Americans approve of ?????

To find an ever growing list of Prohorse supporters go to National HOrse

The groups opposed to the bill include the Nation's largest and most
prestigious animal medicine groups such as, American Veterinary Medical
Association, the American Association of Equine Practitioners; state and
county government organizations including the National Association of
Counties and the National Association of State Agriculture Departments; the
vast majority of the nation's horse owner organizations, including the
American Quarter Horse Association, Have you hear of OVERBREEDING or Soring ??
and the American Paint Horse Association; and animal agriculture groups,
such as the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, and the National Chicken
Study: Banning Horse Slaughter Will Cost over $500 Million within Five
Years I don't know where they
get this !! The owners of the animal is responsible for that animal !!!
und that if the plants had beenclosed in 2000, the cumulative annual cost to taxpayers to care for these uwanted horses would have exceeded $500 million just five years later.
It appears as if we the people of the United States are underwriting the HS business.
That is nothing I want to be doing.

Please see ,keep in mind this is the web site for the Attorneys of theSH businesses.

legislation, and other facts and figures that explain why
this is bad legislation.
In closing, please give careful consideration to any legislation that
would ban the slaughter of horses in the United States. We would be happy
to provide you with additional information or answer any questions. The
future of American agriculture is at stake.

Chairman, Chairman,
Committee on Agriculture Committee on Energy and Commerce

Ranking Minority Member, Ranking Minority Member,
Committee on Agriculture Committee on Energy and Commerce

"The greatness of a nation can be judged
by the way its animals are treated"
-Mohandas Gandhi

Posted by: Karen | January 27, 2007 03:13 PM

This is my answer the disappointed Cattle Raisers in Texas .I found it interested what they had to say was what we have been telling everyone !! Please listen.
Two of the three horse processing plants in the United States are in Texas-one in Fort Worth and the other in Kaufman. The third plant is in Illinois. All HS businesses are headquartered in BELGIUM.

The Appeals Court rejected the premise that the 1949 law is invalid, saying specifically that it "has not been repealed or preempted by federal law." The Court also disregarded plant supporters' arguments that a ban on the sale of horsemeat does not protect horses against theft or abuse. "It is a matter of common sense not preserve horses as well as completely prohibiting the sale and transfer of horse meat for public consumption."

Americans don't eat horse meat. Its a fact not emotion.If people want to eat horses let them butcher THEIR OWN !! Why must we allow people from other countries come in to OUR country and set up a business that Americans abhor. Should we go into India and begin a business slaughtering their cows and sending their meat back to America ???The facts are that this HS business promotes the inhumane cruel treatment of American horses.I advise all to go to .Watch the videos of the last minutes in our horses lives.They are anything but humane !!

"This law represents an undue limitation of the property rights of horse owners to manage their animals under well-established federal regulation and is an infringement on their basic rights as livestock owners and managers," he declared.

As for property rights I have dogs and cats. The law tells me my dogs and cats must be kept up to date with their rabies shots. The law does not allow me to set up a slaughterhouse for them any where in this country. Nor does it permit me to sell them live to Japan or China where I am aware they will be slaughtered and sold as meat to be eaten by humans.

In theory, the 1949 law would not affect using the plants for humane disposal of old and unwanted horses. However operators of the plants say it would be economically impractical to keep them open without the income from foreign countries, which purchase the meat for human consumption.

So the lie comes out. The horses that are being butchered are NOT OLD and UNWANTED. They

are here admitting they could not MAKE MONEY selling only meat from OLD and UNWANTED horses.

Opponents of the slaughter ban argue the practice constitutes a humane way to kill old animals, but investigations by the society show cruelty and abuse throughout the process. USDA statistics show that more than 92 per cent of horses slaughtered in the US are not old and infirm but in good condition.

That leaves livestock owners without an inexpensive, humane alternative for their animals, says Sherron.

It's expensive to pay a veterinarian to euthanize a horse and then pay a shipper to transport it to a rendering plant. And there are environmental concerns on top of that. In many areas, state or local laws make it illegal to bury a horse on private property or to dispose of the carcass in a landfill."

My sister who is a single working woman as had to call a VET and have one of her horses EUTHINIZED as my sister sat there with tears flowing telling her how much she was loved and will be missed. She had to pay the Vet for several visits that day to check on Breeze and to finally put her down.

Then she called a person with a backhoe had Breeze buried in her pasture. She had her 40 year old gelding pass away .She was able to get a backhoe and have him buried in his pasture.

She continues to have horses. A mare she rescued form slaughter and the unexpected colt that the mare delivered in time. She will take care of her horses humanely. I am sure that your vet will work with you for the fee's and I am sure a place will be found to bury your horse. Or you can send him to a rendering plant.

Sherron pointed out that there are approximately 9.2 million horses in the United States. U.S. Department of Agriculture figures show that about 88,000 horses, mules and other equines were slaughtered in 2005.

"That's fewer than 1 percent," he says, "which is a good indication that slaughter is not an decision horse owners make indiscriminately."

This statement makes the point that there would be fewer then 1 % of our horses that will need homes rather then to be sent to slaughter. There is also birth control....keep the stallions away from your mares !!!.

Supporters of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act

I found a very long list of supporters but take would take up way to much space here.

Nationwide Poll Reveals 7 Out of 10 Americans Oppose Horse Slaughter

August 30, 2006 : 12:00 AM
The National Horse Protection Coalition
As Congress prepares for the September 7 vote on The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503), a bipartisan bill that would end the slaughter of horses for human consumption, a national poll revealed that 69% of American voters are opposed to killing horses for people to eat.

"It is very clear that Americans don't think that horses should be killed for people to eat," said Glen Bolger, a national pollster and founding partner of Public Opinion Strategies, the firm that conducted the poll. "The opposition to horse slaughter crosses all lines -- it doesn't matter what race you are, where you live, or whether you vote Republican or Democrat -- Americans are opposed to horse slaughter by an overwhelming margin," Bolger continued.
Key findings from the poll:
* 71% of Americans believe that horses are part of America's culture and
deserve better treatment.
* 65% of Americans believe that in many states it is illegal to sell
horse meat to eat therefore we should not be killing horses in America
for the benefit of restaurants in France and Japan.
* 64% believe that horses are not raised for food.
Horses are companion
animals just like dogs and cats and killing a horse to eat is no
different than killing a cat or a dog to eat.
* 49% of voters spanning diverse geographic, political party
affiliations, gender and races are less likely to vote for their Member
of Congress if they oppose a ban on horse slaughter.

Posted by: Karen H. | January 27, 2007 03:18 PM

Thanks to Mary M Cheryl Camilla & Marilyn,
But to you Mr Fusion, I am far from blind to the reality of this issue. I help save Horses every day and I am proud of it. And this is not a vegetarian issue this is an American Issue. I stated earlier I don't care what others eat outside our country.
If foreigners want to eat their own Horses that's their business. But I am American
and I have a right to fight for what I think is right. You said it's not illegal to eat a Race Horse, well we don't eat any Horses here Mr Fusion and the idiot foreigners that are eating our Race Horses are paying as high as $30.00 a pound for meat that is pumped up with so many drugs that I don't know how that meat can be passed by the USDA ?? You mentioned that emotions are not good reasons? Well my dear Mr Fusion I think they are damn good reasons. Remember when Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro got injured and the whole country was in an uproar? They sent flowers and eveyone wanted to know what happened to him. They still do.Why is that? What do you think would happen if you read on the front page of this Sundays paper "BARBARO GOES TO SLAUGHTER TO FEED THE FRENCH". What do you think would happen? I think people would get upset even mad and that is an emotion isn't it Mr Fusion? Do you care that America's Wild Mustangs are getting slaughtered? Makes me mad.This is all about money. Do you care Mr Fusion that I have seen pregnant and blind Horses dragged off of trailers at the slaughter houses because they were crushed and arrived DOA. Am I emotional about this? What do you think?You better believe those Belgium owners of those 3 slaughter houses are getting a little emotional themselves because their dollars from murdering our Horses are slipping through their fingers. Is this an emotional issue? You are are God damn right it is !

Posted by: Carrie | January 27, 2007 04:13 PM

US Horse Meat is Unsafe for Human Consumption

The main problem with slaughtering US horses for human consumption is that the meat is unsafe for human consumption because of the medications that horses receive. These medications are not approved for use in any food animals by the FDA and the USDA. The medications are legal for horses as they are not considered food animals by either of these agencies. If we are to continue to allow the 1% of the horse population to be slaughtered by foreign companies for human consumption overseas, then we must either 1) lose an estimated 70% of the current medications that US horse population receives so that the drugs do not enter the food supply or 2) implement a tracking system for the 9 million horses in the US, like the passport system that Great Britain has had to do recently, to ensure that these medications are not used in horses sent to slaughter.

Why is American horse meat unsafe for human consumption?
* Horses are not raised nor regulated as food animals in the US. They routinely receive medications that are banned from food animals such as Phenybutazone or "bute", the aspirin of the horse world. Addition medications include Clenbuterol, Ivermectin, fluphanazine, fluoxetine, methylprednisone, dipyrone, gentamycin sulfate, ketoprofen, Regumate and Lasix -- all clearly labeled, "Not for use in animals intended for food."

What is the usage of bute in food animals in the US ?
* According to the FDA, there is no tolerance for bute in food-producing animals, and they and their by-products are condemned when it is detected. Dairy producers must not use this drug in food-producing cattle and if it is found, those producers will be subject to FDA investigation and possible prosecution. ( Since horses are not considered food animals in the US , bute is widely administered to horses by veterinarians and horse owners.
* The Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (A National Food Safety Project administered through the U.S. Departmentof Agriculture) prohibited the extralabel use of bute in female dairy cattle 20 months of age or older as of May 29, 2003 because of the likely adverse effect in humans. With this action the use of any phenylbutazone in an adult dairy cow becomes a violation of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and one of FDA's highest regulatory priorities. ( Again, this does not apply to horses because the FDA and USDA do not view them as food animals. Therein lies the issue. US horses are not raised nor regulated as food animals, yet 1% of the 9 million American horses ARE being slaughtered for human consumption overseas.
* Veterinarians should be in violation of their own AVMA law by administering bute and almost all of the other medications they give to horses -- "Extralabel drug use is not permitted if it would result in a violative food residue or any residue that may present a risk to public health." (

What are the side-effects of bute?
* Phenylbutazone has been determined to be a carcinogen to humans by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
* Phenylbutazone is also known for its ulcerogenic, nephrotoxic, and hemotoxic effects in humans. It is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths.

Is bute ok for use in food animals in the countries where US horse meat is consumed?
* No. In the European Union, any horse that has EVER received bute in it's lifetime is banned from entering the food supply. They have had to implement a costly and complex "passport system" in Great Britain (a country that is also overwhelmingly against horse slaughter) in 2004 to address this very issue for the 8,000-10,000 horses that go to slaughter for human consumption in the EU each year.

How is the collection of slaughter horses different from cattle?
* US slaughter horses are mainly purchased at auction through independent "killer buyers" contracted by the three foreign-owned horse slaughter houses in the US . The horses are bought from many owners across the country. There are NO medical records to go with these horses. In contrast, farm veterinarians are required to hold each cattle herd's medical records for 2 years for trace back requirements of drug records, illness records, etc.

Aren't there inspections on horse meat at slaughterhouses?
* Yes, there are random inspections of horse meat, but horses are not purchased from one owner in one herd like cattle are. They are bought from many owners at many locations and with no medical records. The horse slaughter houses would need to test EVERY horse to make sure they are free of toxic and carcinogenic drugs. This is NOT BEING DONE. At present, there can be NO ASSURANCE that US horse meat is safe for human consumption. This finding needs immediate action! According to our own laws, it is clearly illegal.

Posted by: Lori Hackman, Geneva, IL | January 27, 2007 05:53 PM

I applaud this article. Finally someone who understands how much the American Spirit has been trampled upon. There is more than meets the eye with horse slaughter. Not only is it inhumanely performed with methods meant for cattle, produces poisonous meat due to the monthly de-wormers that pet horses receive, but it is a DISGUSTING & shameful way to say "thank you" to the ultimate creature that has taken us through the creation of the world as we know it. People who kill horses for their meat are murdering the ultimate example of strength, grace, & friendship. We must set an example for the world, by holding our American Horses right up there with the American Flag.

Thank you.

Posted by: Carolyne Williams | January 27, 2007 07:07 PM

I wish for the new Congress of the United States to pursue honor, in all their decisions, from health care to the Mid-East. The American people desperately want Congress to search their collective conscience to take the best decisions for all.

The American people have spoken and continue to speak loudly, in asking for a ban of the slaughter of horses. Conrad Burns put a hold on the bill and it did not come to a vote in the Senate, after having passed by a very wide margin in the House. This was an example of the worst brand of politics. Americans cannot bear more unacceptable maneuverings within the Congress - elected by the people to represent the people. I speak for the vast majority of Americans when I say that we are deeply grateful to those in government who have supported the ban of horse slaughter. The future of slaughter bound horses rests in the hands of the Congress, once again, after a many year fight to end this horrific and unacceptable practice. This is a matter of urgency, as 2000 horses are butchered every week the ban is not in place. Horse meat is shipped to Europe and Asia and sold for a very high price, while the owners of the three horse slaughter houses in the U.S. paid no taxes ($5/year) until recently and the tax payers picked up the bill (millions) for meat inspection. The political side of this unwanted practice is a prime example of filthy politics driven by greed. Those elected officials who have stood up and been counted, in the fight to stop the slaughter of American horses, have behaved correctly and have demonstrated that they possess a conscience and compassion and know right from wrong. This decision will be based on morals, in accordance with the common standard of justice. To save American horses from the horror of slaughter is right and it is just and will be a moral victory for America. It will encourage goodness and decency, giving guidance concerning how to behave honorably. And it will be RIGHT, as judged by the standards of the average person or society at large. It will demonstrate to the American people who we have sent to Washington can distinguish right from wrong and can be counted upon to make decisions based on that knowledge. The American people demand an end to the slaughter of horses. The government has pandered to the lowest common denominator in this society, concerning the slaughter of our horses. This can no longer be so. Please sign the petition(s) to ban horse slaughter.



Bonnie S. Oliver
West Virginia

Posted by: Bonnie Oliver | January 27, 2007 08:45 PM

I applaud Mr. Cohen for his forward and clear thinking. All those who still believe horse slaughter is humane, or necessary need to wake up and smell the coffee. Eighty percent of all Americans want horse slaughter banned, this has been proven in poll after poll.

We don't raise our horses to be food; we raise them to be companion animals. We teach them to trust us and then when they are no longer useful, some Americans are heartless enough to send them to slaughter. This is the ultimate betrayal.

Did you know that the three slaughter plants in this country pay -no- taxes, even though their profits are in the millions?

But, of course, what do you all care as long as you can use your horse until it cannot work any longer and then heartlessly send him or her off to slaughter. You taught your horse to trust you and do your will, but yet you have no care about his or her fate. You don't care what they face in the kill pen or what they face in transport. Yet, you profess to worry about Iraq or other issues that have nothing to do with this. Anything to take the spotlight off of your callous behavior. Perhaps it's time to view exactly what goes on and remember the horses that you sent to this end: or perhaps they were sent to Mexico, where they believe the more you torture the animal the more tender his or her meat is:

If you use your horses for whatever you do, expect to humanely care for them and not have the option of disposal by slaughter, because this atrocity will be outlawed. If you don't humanely care for them, then expect to go to jail and fined for animal abuse. There are laws in place for that. Would you send your seeing eye dog to slaughter? There is no difference. We teach our horses to trust us and what you and others that are pro-slaughter practice is the ultimate betrayal.

You would rather collect $200 than pay $200 to humanely euthanize. The only name for you all is: Judas.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mohandas Gandhi

Posted by: Marjorie | January 27, 2007 09:40 PM

Dear Mr. Cohen,

Thank you. Your journalistic skills have served American horses well, in the fight to save them.

Yours truly,
Bonnie Oliver

Posted by: Bonnie Oliver - West Virginia | January 27, 2007 09:41 PM

Mr Fusion
It has always been pro slaughter tactics to change the subject when factual information is presented that contradicts the dirty little secret that has allowed horse slaughter to continue for such a long time. This isn't about other cultures, nor is it about what jobs horses have or whether they enjoy their tasks. This is all about horse slaughter and how Americans are sick of our horses being hit in the foreheads with captive bolts,sick of having their throats slit while still alive and I can assure you that horses do not enjoy that.
What other cultures do in their countries have no bearing on us, since no one eats horsemeat in the US.The cries of the horses and of the American people will be heard.

Posted by: Cheryl | January 27, 2007 09:51 PM

Mr. Fusion'
You're an idiot.

Posted by: xine | January 27, 2007 10:46 PM

The difference between horses and other livestock is:

Horses have been bred for centuries to be fast and smart. Other livestock, fat and stupid. Like the pro slaughter people and numbnuts posting here who have no experience with ANY sort of equine.

Posted by: Diane | January 28, 2007 01:01 AM

Thank you Mr. Cohen for providing this story and the debate via comments.

Unfortunately, you have taken much abuse by some people who obviously are pro slaughter. Don't take it to heart, we also have 263 Representatives and Senators who take that same abuse for standing up for America's horses.

Ryan is more concerned about the war in Iraq and other issues here, I too am concerned about our country. But Ryan supports Belgiums who own these slaughterhouses and as mentioned by Marilyn, these slaughterhouses pay only $5.00 on $12,000,000. Go see for yourself Ryan seems fit to allow these foreigners to butcher our horses, pay people in our country 16 cents a pound, pay a share per head to the Cattlemen's Association and send the meat overseas to be sold for 20.00 to 40.00 a pound. Where is that an American sticking up for America as you do with war and such? How do you not see how wrong it is to come into a foreign country, kill their horses, sell that meat and not have to pay that country taxes for being allowed to become a millionaire?

Ryan says that these horses are finished being used. Ryan, you need to read USDA's report where it tells the truth and that truth is 92.3% of horses slaughtered are young, healthy and sound. Go to a slaughterhouse, sit outside and see the 6 month olds, pregnant mares, racehorse, etc. coming in for slaughter. I don't see how a 6 month old or pregnant mare is deemed finished being used. That foal hasn't even started a life yet, still hasn't had a saddle on it's back. That pregnant mare, has use, but they will slaughter her and cut the foal right out of her, leaving it in the trash, sometimes breathing, sometimes crying. (Testimony from slaughterhouse worker). That racehorse has use, maybe not to run a track anymore but he still has a lot of life left in him, just not making the bucks anymore so off to slaughter.

Someone else says that horses are livestock. This is not true. Livestock feed in not taxed, but horse feed is. Go for a loan to "raise horses" and see if you will ever get one. Not now you won't. So much for horses being livestock.

If people did consider their horses livestock for the most part, then why won't the auction houses allow signs to be put up, signs saying if your horse is sold, it is subject to slaughter?

The question about what to do with the 100,000 horses a year. This is all pro slaughter hangs on to. Actually without slaughter, people will have their stolen horses returned to them, people won't be so quick to get rid of their horse to make a buck, killer buyers won't be outbidding everyone at auction, so horses will be going to homes where they are wanted.

The pro slaughter argument is getting old. They are now trying to make it seem that Congress supports horse slaughter and for the most part they don't. H.R. 503 263-146 overwhelming victory in that same house that Bob Goodlatte lives along with the other 3 who signed that letter that can be viewed on the pro slaughter site.

I don't understand why pro slaughter slings harsh words at anyone who is not on their side. The truth speaks, do a search on horse slaughter, read all the articles, then make your own decision. Another thing, pro slaughter was so afraid last year that they had to bully some Senators into killing the bill. Why not let it get a vote. This is America and there is such a thing as due process.

Pro slaughter always attacks those opposed to their opinions and bully them so they feel they need to defend the horses. Well I have been working on stopping slaughter, I won't be bullied, slaughter videos show just what is the truth, I won't argue the facts, they are there, vets are saying it is not humane, horses being hit over and over again with the captive bolt gun, alive when their throat is slit, see the videos, see the coverage of overturned trucks carrying horses to slaughter, see the truth, seek and you will find, if you don't seek the truth you must be pro slaughter.

When slaughter is banned, wait until you see just what happens to these horses that were saved...all 100,000 of them. We have our ways, you will never know! We know pro slaughter is spying on us, trying to counteract what we are doing, you will find out what we are doing when slaughter is stopped.

Posted by: Sharon | January 28, 2007 01:31 AM

Sharon, Carrie, and the other anti-slaughter commenters, I applaud you. I also commend Andrew Cohen for bringing this subject to light.

I will say that deciding what is and what is not "trivial" is deciding what is and is not "stupid" or "normal".

There are other "bigger" things happening around the world, yes. But seriously, I don't think that our brains are SO SMALL that there isn't room in there to think about other things that are affecting the nation, people's lives, and the like.

That said, I am a horse owner and I'm from Texas. I live right inbetween Kaufman and Fort Worth and am disappointed these disgusting enterprises are still in business. I was not aware that they were run by a company in Belgium, which is even more maddening.

What some of these people don't understand is how history would have been different had horses not been used. Something about cowboys riding cows...just doesn't seem right. I can't even imagine Indians galloping across the plains on cows. Much less the "cow express" delivering mail.

If a horse is humanely euthanized for a legitimate reason (not wanting the horse anymore is NOT a good reason) with a drug that will not hurt humans, I'm okay with the meat being sent overseas. However killing live horses INHUMANELY (or not) with the methods outlined in reports, shown with hidden cameras, etc. is absolutely despicable and should be banned.

What some of you also do not understand is that horses are sometimes STOLEN by these idiots working for the slaughterhouses. Horses that people LOVE and have paid for. Horses are not cheap, so to have one stolen is quite a frustrating event, not even counting the emotional toll it takes. Horse owners view it as the same as kidnapping. Dog owners would probably feel the same way.

Let me say this. I feel fortunate to keep my horses in a very safe barn with gates that require codes and a very attentive staff that lives on the property. If anyone comes after my animals or my family, it ain't gonna be pretty.

Posted by: Kim | January 28, 2007 02:23 AM

I see the same tired old excuses from the pro-slaughter bunch. The one that is new is : they don,t belong here because they are not a native species. Bull! It has been proved that all that bunk about horses not native, but reintoduced by the Spainards has to be thrown out with all the books that state the first people came over the land bridge. Horses have always been here. Get your facts straight.
It is obvious that many commenting don't have a clue and are ignorant of the facts. They are trying to throw up smoke screens to cloak ignorance.
Also, obvious that they know little to nothing about horses.
The comments are worhtless and idiotic, better thank a horse for ensuring your right to free speech. Enough of them died in our wars.

Posted by: Break Heart Horse Rescue | January 28, 2007 09:59 AM

I'm so happy to hear that they may finally put an end to those TX slaughterhouses- from what I've heard the people who live nearby have been having trouble with them for years. If they want to slaughter horses let them do it in places where they actually eat horses, perhaps they have a more humane "process" for killing horses than we do here; ours were designed for slaughtering cattle. Americans don't eat horsemeat, why should we supply those who do? Its a nasty, abusive industry and it needs to stop.

Posted by: karen | January 28, 2007 12:08 PM

I commend Mr. Cohen for speaking the truth.

Even if the horses had no toxic chemicals in their systems ... even if they rode in a temperature-controlled trailer with high ceilings, slanted stalls and lined-and-insulated walls ... even if they were fed and watered and rested on the long journey to the abattoir ... even if a single clean blow to the forehead rendered every horse instantly unconscious ... even if they never smelled the blood, saw the hoisted horse in front of them or had time to react to their impending fate with screams of terror and trembling bodies ... even if the plant inspectors took their job seriously, reporting all pre-existing injuries and ordering necropsies on DOA corpses ... even if the auction houses informed every seller that any horse entering the ring can be sold to a killer buyer ... even if the "processing" plant owners were U.S. companies and paid their fair share of taxes ... even if the horses really were old or dangerous or terminally ill ... even if no stolen horse were ever slaughtered -- I would still insist that my democratically elected congressman and senators vote to ban this industry in the U.S.

Why? Because we, the vast majority of American people, demand that our country's actions toward our best friends be as honorable and upright as those best friends are toward us.

We -- those of us not blinded by arrogance, ignorance and indifference -- recognize a lie when we hear one. We refuse to participate in the barbaric betrayal of our best friends. We know we can't legislate all immorality out of existence, but we also realize that private property rights cannot be used as an excuse to murder our friends for money from their meat.

Anyone who can look a horse (a prey animal by instinct) in the eye and say: "Thank you for agreeing to be tamed and trained by us so that kids at camp or with handicaps can ride you ... jockeys can compete on you ... trail riders can camp with you ... cowboys can lasso cows off of you ... wagons and carriages can be pulled by you ... soldiers can fight astride you ... farmers can plow behind you. Thank you for allowing any human being, whether saint or soundrel, to earn a living -- and sometimes a fortune -- off your back, with neither complaints nor demands (except for an occasional carrot). I will now show my thanks by repaying you for your labor and loyalty with a bolt to the brain and a knife to the throat. I know you prefer being slain for your meat than starved to death" is a subject of pity and is in sore need of a course in ethics.

And, by the way, in Texas it has been illegal for over half a century to slaughter horses commercially for human consumption. My state's forefathers had the decency that the rogues running the AQHA, APHA, WHOA, AVMA and AAEP lack. They knew that immorality plus cruelty equals illegality. They also knew when the best of our cultural traditions and icons needed to be protected and preserved. So do the bulk of honest Americans. Including Andrew Cohen.

Posted by: Lucius | January 28, 2007 12:36 PM

I am so sorry to hear that many people here don't like the way horses are slaughtered. How the heck do you think they slaughter cattle or swine? Or, for that matter, any other livestock. I also think some grainy surreptitious footage doesn't make compelling evidence.

If people knew what really happened in slaughter houses they would be appalled. Or funeral homes. Or food processing plants. Or even during many surgeries. It is an ugly world out there. If all activities were banned because of they weren't pretty, we would be living in a much darker era.

I have read only one realistic opinion on why this should be banned. And that person quoted scientific data listing several drugs that may not be used on livestock used for human consumption. If there is a decision made, then make it on facts like this. (Which I know nothing about and therefore can not argue.)

But if you make a decision made solely upon emotion, it will be a bad decision. That is a fact.

Posted by: Mr. Fusion | January 28, 2007 12:54 PM

Gee Ryan, you have quite a few messages about this subject. Is it the proverbial male part envy of the horse that you suffer from? Anyone who supports the killing of ANY animals is not all upstairs. You know nothing about horses as you show from reading your comments.
There are more unemployed lazy people who build condos, apartments and town homes to live in and mooch off the rest of us than horses using pasture. Gee, there goes the water supply, elimination of forest and pasture and the destruction of the ecosystem! In the area that I live, it is being destroyed by over building due to the impact of people to this area. They needed to stay where they were. That's where your wilderness goes, not for horse use. I am positive that you yourself have a much higher negative impact on the eco system than any horse.
If this is an issue that many of us fight for and support, let us do so without the unresearched rhetoric from beings like you. Just reading your messages shows everyone that you type before you think. Funny you would say that the horse is not natural to North America so they should all be gone. Unless you are 100% Native American Indian, which you are not..... Possibly you could return to the hole in the ground you crawled out of.
Thank God, and yes I am a believer, that there are people like us who fight for children's betterment, animals right and ecological well being.
As for the issue about 100,000 unwanted horses being slaughter. Who doesn't want them?? They don't just show up on someone's doorstep one day and no one knows what to do with them. Again, you have not done your research! Of the 100,000 unwanted horses, many are stolen. Even more are given up by the owners who no longer have a use for them after they had given them a lifetime of pleasure. Talk about selfish! The slaughter houses do not want sick horses as they don't make for a good meal. The injured horses? I didn't find any in my research of slaughter houses unless they were injured in transport to the slaughter houses. Please do your research before you make inaccurate statements, which are also lies.
Are horses bred for slaughter? Not really, but for example, there are many Thoroughbreds who after 2-3 years, don't make the $grade$ in racing, so they disposed of in this manner.
Guess what everyone, all issues are important. Iraq, Social Security, Medicare, insurance, terrorism and banning horse slaughter. Do we need to limit our actions to a limited number of concerns? Do you think if we took the issue of banning horse slaughter away that suddenly all the families without insurance would be taken care of? Hardly.
We all have our own passions that we should fight for without thinking one is more important than another.
Ryan, I really feel sorry for you. You have too much hate in you. No saving horses will not stop global warming or bring peace to the world, but ridding negative and self righteous people such as yourself probably would.
Dave, don't choke on dinner.....................
Kevin, if horses are ill and sickly starving in the field, who is to blame, the horses? The horse, if on it's death bed, can be HUMANELY euthanized and buried in that same field. And no, no disease will be placed in the ground. I would no more keep my horse ill and sickly in a field to die, than my parents, children, dog, cat, cow, bird or whatever. How utterly stupid would that be. Just as there are people who don't care about their own children, there are people who don't care about their animals. Horses are smart, working and companion animals. Do you think that people who raise dogs or roosters for fighting have the same or correct thought process concerning animals? Of course not, no more than bringing up their children the best way possible is in their thought process. Lack of knowledge and trying to make money at the cost of the animal are the problems. If practical was your entire reason for being on earth, we can replace you with a robot.
Sorry Ryan, most Americans do not want to eat horse meat. Again, you are making a statement that comes out of your back end. What do you mean leave foreigners out of the equation? They are the main reason this is happening. Horse owned slaughter houses with the meat being shipped to foreign countries. DUH! I don't care which country is the culprit.
Ryan, I have no desire to feed into your statements personally one on one, as someone who has such a personal loathing for horses has a very real and personal problematic issue with them that should be discussed with your therapist. I am however addressing all your comments to hopefully shed light on the correct thought process of this issue without making untrue statements. Please look up the word slaughter and educate yourself on the meaning and what really happens. Although I am directing my comments to you, I really don't expect anything to bright from you in response. I am sure I will get another carrot comment. Ryan, you really have issues and make no mature sense. Anyone who compares carrots to horses could not possibly make a distinction between animals and humans, putting everything in the same food chain. That's a scary thought for the day. Don't forget Ryan, what goes around, comes around including words and thoughts. Ryan, you are a sorry excuse for a human (or are you) and it's hard to discuss a truly serious subject to someone who sounds like he is writing from a padded room in a Turkish jail cell.
Mr. Fusion, (must be related to Ryan) Emotions are wrong? Oh my, I hope you don't have children! Horse was not created to be ridden? Gee, I didn't realize you were having conversations on creation with God about the use of horses. You obviously know nothing about horses as your comments reflect that in your terminology. Just because other cultures do things that are humanly and morally wrong make it OK? Does terrorism, just because a culture sees it as right make it so? Does the killing of whales making them extinct make it right? Does killing of elephants for the ivory make it right? Does the killing of Tigers for fur to the extent of extinction work for you? What a dim-witted comment. Having a horse do tricks is abuse and slavery? Trust me, if you are employed, you are way more abused and a slave then your every day horse. If horses are abused, slaves, unwanted, starved or whatever else atrocity is being done to them, human beings are responsible. Too too many people with your "practical" thought process. Too many Americans have no responsibility because they are given too many freedoms. Freedom is wonderful but abused by too many.
Excuse me, but being a hypocrite is someone who personally says one thing and does another, not comment on what should be. Yes, there need to be more people being arbitrators for some cultures. You obviously have no idea of what is going on around the world to make a comment like that. If there were no arbitrators for other cultures wrongs, other countries would continue with the rape and slaughter of other human beings.
I really don't think the US economy will fail from the slaughter houses being shut down. Don't need to be a financial wizard to realize that. It may however put a few illegal immigrants on the food stamp line.
Shame on people who purchase an animal because it's good for them at the moment. Animals should not be thought of as a temporary thing. If you can't afford a horse, don't get one. If something happens where suddenly you cannot keep your horse, there are many places that will help you. That's like all the people who MUST HAVE that cute little bunny for their children for Easter, just to realize down the road that there is care and expenses involved. We are a throw away society. If you would like, when a horse is sick and ill and is euthanized, I will donate that horse to the horse feed market for shipping overseas to feed the "other cultures".
Read the posting by Carolyne Williams , as she has all the right, researched and correct answers.
Ryan, Mr. (loosely termed) Fusion and others like you. God help you and your thoughts!
I wonder why, with so many more important issues at hand, as you have stated that these guys should be fighting for, why is the horse issue so important to them? Only someone with a personal $$ loss be so adamant about this. Support the inhumane murder of any animal? These people are a few bricks short of a full load with the emotions of a speed bump. Please tell me of one issue that is not emotion based?????????????????????

Posted by: Shelly | January 28, 2007 01:07 PM

Mr Fusion,The Horses are being slaughtered with bolt guns made for cattle and the Horses are being transported in cattle trailers that are too short.They are not cattle and they are not bred to be slaughtered. The laws are changing for other animals as well killed in many slaughter houses across our country. I know a USDA meat inspector who quit her job and is now a hooved animal inspector. She said you would be better off rinsing your chicken off in the toilet before eating it. She saw pigs so confined they were eating each other and had many sores all over them. The cruelty is unreal. Yes, these terrible things are getting out also. The laws will change one by one to protect all our animals from cruelty, even the ones who die to be eaten.

Posted by: Carrie | January 28, 2007 01:13 PM

Mr. Fusion states: "If you have a reason then please give it, and I don't include the "cute and cuddly" or "companion"as reasons. Those, my dear, are emotions."

No sir, they are not emotions, they are "morals". You do not brutally slaughter your companions that you have taught to trust you. It is called betrayal.

You might believe that betrayal is morally correct, but you are in the minority. Eighty percent of Americans disagree with you and thankfully so.

Posted by: Marjorie | January 28, 2007 11:52 PM

When I hear people say that people that don't own a horse should have no say in what others that do own horses do with them after they are "used up" or "done" with them, here is my comment.

I live in Illinois and these trucks hauling these horses to slaugher will be traveling on the roads that I pay taxes to keep maintained. I have to see these trucks on the highways and see the precious lives inside and I know where they are going! I see on the news, the semis that overturn, spilling these animals out onto the highway in tangled masses; where some live animals are buried under the dead! I donated money o the MO. Humane Society to help mend these animals and care for them; so I guess in a way, I should have a say on the issue of horse slaughter!

When the majority of Americans want horse slaughter stopped because we don't care to see this carnage in our backyard. When we respect the life of a noble animal, like the horse, then Congress should listen to the majority and it should be stopped, no matter whether I own a horse or not! I am a taxpayer and a U.S. citizen and my voice should be heard.

Bless you Andrew Cohen for your article! Thank you for being a voice for the horses!

Posted by: Betty Scheldt | January 29, 2007 11:19 AM

Why would anyone be opposed to ending a cruel practice - one in which thousands of horses die cruelly and inhumanely for overseas consumption? Horses are not bred for food here in the U.S and lets not forget the bottom line here is money and the cash earned from selling and processing these animals. People who oppose horse slaughter have nothing to gain except the knowledge or hope that an animal is free from suffering. Thank you Mr. Cohen for writing this.

Posted by: Fiona | January 29, 2007 11:59 AM

All one has to be is a true blue blooded American to see that the slaughter of our horses for profit is WRONG!These are foreign owned Companies who are running these three slaughter houses and does any one of these pro slaughter people know that last year one of these slaughter houses in Texas made over 12 million dollars and paid but only $5.00 in Taxes.All money goes over seas product included.Most of the workers are immigrants from Mexico as not to many true blue Americans are this hard up for money to do such a disgraceful job.That is why these companies have so much money to buy our Government officials and line their pockets.I am ashamed that my beautiful State of Illinois has been bought and paid for and takes the blood money of our fallen horses to allow this corruption to continue.Yes i am against the abuse that goes into this shady business of the stealing of horses,the dirty secrets that go on at auction's, you cant even mention that kill buyers are there or you are thrown out.The abuse in transport to the slaughter houses but more than that i am an AMERICAN and smart enough to see that this is wrong and to be able to judge for myself just who's pockets have been lined with the blood money of our AMERICAN horses!
Beth in Illinois
For more info please see and do a little research before any one speaks again about things they know nothing about.Thanks!

Posted by: Beth Sawyers | January 29, 2007 12:03 PM

I don't understand something, Carrie.

On the one hand, you call horses "companion animals". On the other, you say that these horses that are slaughtered are purchased at auction. Those two ideas are incongruent. If someone considers their horse to be a companion animal, he/she would not sell it at auction. .

Posted by: Ryan | January 26, 2007 03:42 PM

Wrong Ryan. A good friend went thru a messy divorce and had to get rid of her much loved and well taken care of Thoroughbred. Her husband was extremely abusive and she didn't have a lot of time to flee from MD's Eastern Shore to her parents in Nevada. She had four kids and couldn't afford to bring the horse. She brought it to the livestock auction in Delaware hoping he found a loving home. You can't exactly stand at the mall with a sign "free horse".

He was sold to a slaughter house and her kids were all in tears. I rode the horse. He was beautiful and only 5 years old. He should have had a lot of good riding years ahead of him. Instead he went to a dinner table overseas.

And, his story was one of 100,000. Screw the Europeans. Let them eat rats and frogs. Not our horses. Texas obviously is more civilized then France. How would I have known if not for this blog? I'm from New York. But, I love horses.

Posted by: Robin Boerner | January 29, 2007 08:06 PM

Wow, this blog suddenly exploded. I find it amusing that one of you said I must be filled with hate. I only wrote four posts before, two of which were quite short. So, it's all the funnier that so many other posts have written directly to me and, of all things started to put my words in my mouth. As I said, I had gotten the impression from Andrew's previous posts that these horses were, for the most part, finished being used in whatever endeavors they had been doing. Most of you appear to disagree, which frankly is fine by me. I never claimed to know for myself about this.

Moreover, I'm not particularly emotional about this issue, as many of you have assumed about me. I have raised questions about the principles behind your push to have horse slaughter ended. To understand my position, you need to understand that I have a general belief that the government should not get involved in business activities unless there is some compelling reason to do so, typically that someone's rights are being violated by someone else. So, for a situation like this, I require very strong reasoning to be convinced that banning horse slaughter is the right thing to do and, unfortunately, no one has persuaded me with their arguments.

So, let me lay out the questions that you must answer to persuade me otherwise on horse slaughter. Please remember that your answers MUST be principles. I am not swayed by people's personal feelings on a subject matter. I need principles because I believe that the government should act, and should only act, based on principles. Here we go:
1. Why should horse slaughter be banned?

2. If you say that it's because it's inhumane, then I would counter that we can satisfy that principle -- simply find a humane way to kill horses. Based on your posts and despite the repeated mentioning of the inhumane nature of horse slaughter, I suspect that most of you would not be satisfied with a humane way to kill horses.

3. So, if you are simply against killing horses, why are you limiting it to horses? Why are horses special over other farm animals? Why are we limiting this to horses? If it has to do with "companionship", what about those people who don't consider their horses "companions"? Could they slaughter horses? What about people who have rabbits as pets? Would it be acceptable to ban rabbit slaughter? What about people with pigs as pets?
Essentially, question #3 wants to know what the principle is that excludes all other animals in this ban on horse slaughter. Most of the answers given before this post have not given principles that exclude these other issues.

I would love to hear some civil, rational explanations of the above. I would also love it if the people giving answers could stay away from red herring arguments (e.g. complaining about the inhumane nature of horse slaughter when really you're against horse slaughter in general). Hope to hear from you soon!

Posted by: Ryan | January 30, 2007 03:52 PM

Ryan and Kevin bring up some good points. there's really no solution as to where 100,000 UNWANTED horses (If they were WANTED they wouldn't be at a slaughterhouse) are going if this option is taken away. And save me from this "slaughtering cats and dogs" rebuttal. Burying a horse is much different than burying a cat or dog. In fact, it's ILLEGAL to bury horses in a bunch of states. What do you propose we do with the carcass?

Those who think the problem is going away are living in fantasyland. This is the real world. And before you "fix" a non-existent problem, you should make sure you have some sort of "solution."

I found a site ( ) that has some good information if you're interested in reading White Papers, thesis, Congressional testimony....documents based on facts, not pictures of little girls riding ponies and emotional rhetoric.People who want to ban these slaughterhouses are going to cause a bigger mess than they set out to "fix."

Posted by: | February 5, 2007 03:45 PM

Ryan, please refer to my post "US Horse Meat is Unsafe for Human Consumption" to the answer to your question #1. Just the facts, no emotion about it.

Posted by: Lori Hackman | February 6, 2007 12:50 AM

The idiot who wrote before Lori mentioned a bogus site called
He says it has good information.
It should be called It has lies put out by the slaughterhouses that ONLY CARE ABOUT PROFIT. Do you really think they care or give a damn about abandoned Horses? Give me a break ! In that site they say it is SUPERVISED HUMANE EUTHANASIA. It is in fact an illegal alien hitting a Horse in the head repeatedly with a Bolt Gun made for cattle. Our Horses are still alive while hung by a hind leg to have their throats slit and bled out.What a sin. The majority of America has already spoken out on how they feel about killing our Horses in these foreign owned plants for foreigners to eat for profit. On that bogus site it says Zoo animals cannot survive without Horsemeat. BULL !!!I have talked to MANY Zoo's about the meat they feed the animals. Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago uses NO HORSEMEAT AT ALL, they use BEEF. Brookfield Zoo said they are phasing it out and the head of the Nutrition Dept who buys the meat said to me "he would never want to tell his grand daughter her Horse went to slaughter". So others Zoo's can do the same. The Bill will pass you will see and like the Mayor of Kaufman Texas Paula Bacon say's it is UNEXCEPTABLE & UNAMERICAN for anyone to kill and eat our Horses.

Posted by: Carrie | February 7, 2007 12:45 PM

Lori, I appreciate your response. I have read your post and, assuming that you're correct about the use of bute, this should pose a problem for those eating the horses or at least for those countries permitting the consumption of horses.

However, the point that you raise is a process-related issue with horse slaughter -- i.e. not a principle-related issue. That is, the process needs to be improved, but there is no principle against the slaughter and/or consumption of horses per se.

Carrie, your response is out-of-control emotionally and lacking in the kind of logical argument that I said horse slaughter opponents must make to convince me and, hopefully, any principle-minded American that you are right. In fact, your response only serves to buttress the appearance of slaughter opponents as basing their opinions on pure emotion, most likely their emotional attachment to their own horses. Again, if you want to convince people that you are correct, you must address the questions I raised.

Posted by: Ryan | February 9, 2007 12:05 PM

some of these people,i am guessing has never been outside their little apartment complexes way out in the city. You DONT own a horse or you've i'm sure have never even been NEAR a horse in their life that is unless their the bad guys that kill horses. Horses are more than just animals they are more human than humans themselves. people think its like a cow or a chicken dying NO its not.HORSES CAN SMELL THE BLOOD FROM THE HORSES THAT DIED JUST SECONDS AGO AS THEY ARRIVE IN THEIR 3 STORIE CARGO TRUCKS. Horses can smell fear from people so what makes you think they can't from other horses. please think about what you crazy people are doing come on now visit a slaughter house you can sense fear.

Posted by: chelsea | February 18, 2007 12:19 AM

some of these people,i am guessing has never been outside their little apartment complexes way out in the city. You DONT own a horse or you've i'm sure have never even been NEAR a horse in their life that is unless their the bad guys that kill horses. Horses are more than just animals they are more human than humans themselves. people think its like a cow or a chicken dying NO its not.HORSES CAN SMELL THE BLOOD FROM THE HORSES THAT DIED JUST SECONDS AGO AS THEY ARRIVE IN THEIR 3 STORIE CARGO TRUCKS. Horses can smell fear from people so what makes you think they can't from other horses. please think about what you crazy people are doing come on now visit a slaughter house you can sense fear.

Posted by: chelsea | February 18, 2007 12:23 AM

ryan you dont under stand horses do you or have you ever been around horses ,NO pigs, cows,ect, Can they smell the blood of other animals as they die around them?NO horses can! Horses can smell fear in a human we have a smell that horses can smell. I have horses, goats, dogs, fish, cats, rabbits and hermit crabs.None of thoses other animals act in a way that I care ,I would sell them to a guy with gun for 10 bucks any day. my horses NO WAY EVER. If your dog fractured its leg would you heal it then because he could'nt run as fast sell him to the slaughter house to be turned in food? huh? My horses are rodeo athletes if they got hurt I would'nt kill them because I cound make some cash and they would never run as fast agan.PLEASE before you talk your talk, talk to a horse better yet ride a horse.

Posted by: chelsea | February 18, 2007 12:42 AM

I went to the new video. I watched the one I haden't seen. Mexico will contine the way they slaughter horses. I would much rather have this done under US supervision. Canada looked like they employed fairly sane employes as well. But to robin unfortanate as it is, if it was not for the slaughter man your friend would have been standing on the corner with her kids and a sign horse for sale. She had much more important things,(for instance her children) to take care of then the horse. Chances are if he was as good as you say he was, he was sold later by the same man as a rider. Lori you are very correct in your post on those meds are unsafe for humane consumption. But wrong in your assumption that they are not used in cattle swine and fowl. They are required a 30 day dry out before slaughter which is what all slaughter animals need. There is much room for improvement in the slaughter of horses. They are smart but do not believe a old mommy cow can't smell blood and fear cause she can. And when she's through raising calfs for steaks she's boloney. I feel slaughter in the USA is the most humane under regulatons of the US, and after watching the video maybe canada as well. And quite simply stated there is no other realistic way to address the amount of horses heading that way at this time in the US. When the report comes out for 2006 we will be looking at the highest number 125,000 or more in more than 10 yrs.

Posted by: | February 21, 2007 01:26 AM

I just watched the new video I had not seen. This will continue in mexico. Slaughter of animals will allways be more humane in the US under US regulations. And after watching the video possibly canada as well. They seemed to employ fairly sane people as well. Unfortantly if it was not for the slaughter man Robin's friend would still be standing on the corner with her kids and a sign horse for sale. She had more important things in her life to take care of (like her children) at the time And I'm glad that man was there to help her. If the horse was as good as you say chances are he was resold by the same man as a rider later and never saw the SH. Lori you are correct on those drugs not for humane consumption but wrong in thinking they are not used in cattle, swine and fowl. There is a thirty day withdraw on them, all slaughter animals should be subject to this. Horses are smart but do not assume an old mommy cow cannot smell blood and feel fear cause she can. And when she is through raising steers for the dinner table she's baloney. There is much room for improvement in the hs industry but I would still rather it be regulated in the US and Canada. In 2006 you will see horse slaughter numbers at 125,000 or more, the most in ten yrs. There will be a lot of ladies standing on the corner with thier children and a horse for sale sign, without it.

Posted by: | February 21, 2007 01:53 AM

I just watched the new video I had not seen. This will continue in mexico. Slaughter of animals will allways be more humane in the US under US regulations. And after watching the video possibly canada as well. They seemed to employ fairly sane people as well. Unfortantly if it was not for the slaughter man Robin's friend would still be standing on the corner with her kids and a sign horse for sale. She had more important things in her life to take care of (like her children) at the time And I'm glad that man was there to help her. If the horse was as good as you say chances are he was resold by the same man as a rider later and never saw the SH. Lori you are correct on those drugs not for humane consumption but wrong in thinking they are not used in cattle, swine and fowl. There is a thirty day withdraw on them, all slaughter animals should be subject to this. Horses are smart but do not assume an old mommy cow cannot smell blood and feel fear cause she can. And when she is through raising steers for the dinner table she's baloney. There is much room for improvement in the hs industry but I would still rather it be regulated in the US and Canada. In 2006 you will see horse slaughter numbers at 125,000 or more, the most in ten yrs. There will be a lot of ladies standing on the corner with thier children and a horse for sale sign, without it.

Posted by: | February 21, 2007 01:55 AM

Horse feed is not taxed in my state but horses are, as livestock (personal property). And if they are only bringing 16 cents a pound (which they are) how is the slaughter man out bidding loving homes.

Posted by: | February 21, 2007 02:12 AM

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