Horse News

Foreign Governments May Save U.S. Horses While Congress Sleeps at the Wheel

News Release from The Equine Welfare Alliance

The EU and Canada poised to accomplish what the US Congress should have done

EWA Protesting in DC - Left to Right, R.T. Fitch, Craig Downer, Vicki Tobin, Laura Leigh, sitting John Holland - Photo by Elyse Gardner

CHICAGO, (EWA) – Since the 107th Congress (2001), equine welfare advocates across the country have been trying to get elected officials to pass legislation to ban the slaughter of American horses. Polls have consistently shown that the legislation has the support of 70% of Americans, but without fail the bills have been stalled, blocked with secret holds, and left off the legislative calendars. Now it appears the European Union (EU) and Canada may stop horse slaughter before Congress.

Strict new traceability requirements will go into effect July 31st, for all horses slaughtered for consumption in the EU. Additionally, the EU is poised to require Country of Origin labeling of all meat. And finally, the EU has begun investigating inhumane slaughter practices in Mexico.

Despite President Obama’s promise to not allow lobbyists to run the country and his support of a horse slaughter ban when he was in the Senate, the agricultural special interests have continually been allowed to prevent the legislation from moving forward. Public records reveal donations from special interest groups to the legislators blocking the bills.

“When it comes to stopping the slaughter of horses, clearly money talks”, commented Equine Welfare Alliance’s (EWA) John Holland.

Legislation (C-544) was recently introduced in the Canadian Parliament to ban horse slaughter for human consumption, threatening to accomplish what our Congress should have done years ago. It is an embarrassment the EU has to enforce drug policies because our Congress won’t stop the flow of untraceable horses that put the health of European consumers of horse meat at risk.

Moreover, it is a further embarrassment that that despite an unending stream of gruesome undercover videos our Congress continues to allow American Horses to be brutalized. The abuse and cruelty inherent with horse slaughter is well known to our Congressional members. The horrific findings of the recent investigations into Canadian and Mexican plants did not reveal anything that wasn’t prevalent in US plants before their closure in 2007. A US government GAO report in 2004 revealed improper stunning of equines that resulted in horses being butchered alive. A follow-up to the report noted no improvement and a 900 page USDA FOIA report documented horrible transport injuries and yet, the brutal practice was allowed to continue.

Radical WY state Representative Sue Wallis was quoted in The Horse, an equine health publication, as saying the US should be setting the standard for horse slaughter plants. The US already set the standard and it is being practiced in Canada, Mexico and at the US auctions, feedlots and during transport. The US plants also set the standard for the devastating environmental impact on wastewater in the communities where they were located.

Last year, Dr. Tom Lenz, apologist for the slaughter industry and former president of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, visited a Mexican plant and gave it the thumbs up. Less than one year later, they are under investigation by the European Union and depending on the results, could be shut down.

“When a parent suspects a day care center is mistreating children, they don’t schedule a visit to observe” said EWA’s Vicki Tobin. During a recent interview on Alberta Primetime in Canada, humane slaughter expert Dr. Temple Grandin said “I’m sick and tired of going into a place and everything is fine when I’m in there and then it goes bad when the back is turned.”

In Canada, the recent investigations revealed that inspectors were not present on the kill floor for three years and were in fear of the workers. The decades of investigations have proven tenfold that horse slaughter is not and never will be humane.

The overwhelming food safety issue alone is cause to stop the export of horses to slaughter. The US has no mechanism to remove horses from the food chain that are not safe for human consumption.

A peer reviewed scientific study, Association of phenylbutazone usage with horses bought for slaughter: A public health risk that  traced race horses sent to slaughter for human consumption was published in March in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology. One hundred percent of the horses had received phenylbutazone (PBZ), a dangerous carcinogen.

Subsequently, a study was done in California of Thoroughbreds with 99% receiving PBZ. The Horse did a survey of horse owners that resulted in 96% of owners that had given their horses PBZ. PBZ is only one of the dozens of horse medications that are banned in food producing animals.

When Congress and President Bush removed funding for horse slaughter inspections in 2006, it was a clear message that American horses are not food animals. Animals destined for the food chain are raised as such from birth. They do not suddenly become food after years of racing, working, providing service or performing. It is time Congress is held accountable for knowingly allowing unsafe food to enter European markets and subjecting our equines to the most brutal death imaginable.

It is time for Congress to step up and take the lead by passing the 2009 Equine Protection Act before them that will finally shut the US door on this despicable industry once and for all. If Congress does not live up to its responsibility, it is a message to the world about how we regard the health and safety of our trading partners.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 110 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.

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14 replies »

    • America is not free. It is paranoid, coming out with restrictions and rules daily up your yingyang, wasteful, ignorant, sue-obsessed and so unethical. For many decades it has been the leader… the epitome of a free world that is not existing anymore. I have never lived in a more restricted paranoid place in my life. While I enjoy and appreciate a lot here, it is those things that are getting ruined by our corrupt and greedy government here, whose arrogance is now slowly shining thru and the rest of the world sees that America is not invincible. The values of true leadership to the people have crumbled and commons sense died long ago. The all american arrogance that the rest of the world is 3rd country is something I have experienced now for 22 yrs. I guess that is a result of narrow-minded tunnel vision and lack of travels. It is a shame and a pity what America has become.


    • Know why I have lost hope? Call me cynical. Call my crazy. But we are controlled by maliscious foreign investors. We are no country for old men, young men, women, children, animals or land. Our politics are manned by middle eastern puppeteers, and not even China would bother with it right now. How do I know? I’m psychic. But, when the time comes, either China or Isreal will take us out. We the people are more than expendable. They only wait for our pampered asses to get too weak to move. We were sold into this a while ago, and we are almost ripe for dessimation. We will become, not a free world, but a 3rd world; and at that point we’ll see the government change hands. I’ve lost hope. I see there is nothing we can do. They watch, wait and manipulate. Our leaders, Obama, and foreign leaders know this. Our citizens are too sappy, indulgent and idiotics to fight back. It’s been a long process of stripping us of our dignity, and it’s almost over (relatively speaking).


      • We may be the most well armed nation in the world, but that isn’t going to help us if we run out of socks. Shuttering American factories and sending manufacturing (and jobs) overseas has left us vulnerable to those who supply goods we no longer make ourselves.


      • Did is say Isreal? I think I ment Saudi Arabia. Probably be a nationless group though. One with Big mulla!


  1. When a legislator takes money and then acts on that influence, it should be required they state to their constituates just what has passed.It has always sounded like bribery to me. This places all voters on a lower plane than the lobbyists. This sucks and continues the ‘money talks’ aspect. There is no level playing field anywhere. mar


    • I agree with you 100%. Without term limits, it becomes all about them and to heck with the public who put them there. They are supposed to be there to represent all the people, not just the people with lots of money.


    • Your right Mar. They should say, “Dick, here, gave me 300,000 dollars so now Im all for shooting those horses. Just a friendly public announcement folks. So you know where I stand and what I plan to do.”


  2. I agree with you the foreigners care more for their animals and HORSES, than the American gov. officials.

    I am ashamed of Obama and ashamed of the american gov.!!!

    look at this fine Canadian Geographic 4/2010 series about our North American Native species the horse!

    The american BLM treats wild horses like a rat plague and LIES and the Canadians report the truth!


  3. I got NO quarrel with America – it’s Citizens are the finest on Earth. Look at the blog roll of men & women who consistently offer hope, opinion, facts & resources on these Wild & Domestic Equine Advocacy sites. The overwhelming majority of people who are doing desperate work to save American Horses & Burros are Americans, and while I dearly appreciate fellow Advocates overseas adding their voices to ours, all they can offer is their outrage & support.
    I am, however, ashamed of the power structure that places business, corporate interests & mo’ money, Honey, above the Public good. And you can’t hold ALL America responsible for that.
    The best weapon we have against the Bureau right now is To Question Everything. Every time a Bureauist pens a note or goes on Public record, read each & every fact & figure & keep your calculator handy; cite sources & Google the Hell out of it. (Particularly when they give their ‘reason’ for the latest roundup). Get your facts, make ’em pretty (but don’t be snotty) then send a copy to said Bureauist, your representative, the media and Other Advocates – because not all Advocates have the same information. JAM their BS in their face & down their throat.
    And please remember there is a huge distinction between America & Her government.


    • Lisa, intelligent bloggers, concerned and aware citizens are the minority. The majority are just trying to be “happy”, and that’s what the guys who run us want us to be like. Just happy:).


      • I’d wager the folks who Advocate – and opinionate on these websites – are not just tryin’ to be happy. They’re trying to change an entire mindset.
        We talk here, among ourselves, to vent, to inform, to ridicule & to bond. I’ve met some of the most articulate, intelligent, erudite & angry people in here – people I want to emulate. I’ve been told by some that this Advocacy – the one happening right now since the start of the Calico Roundup – is causing the biggest stir, the irritant that’s causing the BLM to backtrack and try & improve their image because more of the General Public is finding their methods reprehensible.
        The Wild Horse & Burro Act is barely 40 years old. From MY point of view – at 50 – that’s not so long ago. Prior to that, Wild Horses had NO protections to speak of – and were nearly cowboyed off the planet.
        I eat my anger & frustration every morning with toast & coffee. It’s become a part of me, like my curly hair. Which makes the occasional victorious crumb intoxicatingly sweet. And the non-Wild Ones aspects of my life a little more precious.
        One of two things will have to occur to make me stop searching, researching, writing, reading and Bitchin’ on the Blogs – Their Freedom to live & die on Their own terms or my departure from this Earth. Frustration be damned; I don’t have any other choice.


  4. “Radical WY state Representative Sue Wallis was quoted in The Horse, an equine health publication, as saying the US should be setting the standard for horse slaughter plants. The US already set the standard and it is being practiced in Canada, Mexico and at the US auctions, feedlots and during transport. The US plants also set the standard for the devastating environmental impact on wastewater in the communities where they were located.”

    This paragraph is plain, simple, and true. This is a very pursuasive point you made.


  5. Yep, I’m pissed. I came onto the advocacyblogs saying, “let’s listen to one another, let’s cooperate. Everyone has a view that’s vital to them. ” but now I see it has nothing to do with viewpoints.

    The gigantic intetnational mess is just too much for our gov to handle.


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