Horse News

Revival of Horse Slaughter to Cost Taxpayers

Horse Slaughter Plants Come with Hefty Price Tag

Photo by Terry Fitch

Last week while you weren’t looking Congress and the president did something the vast majority of Americans oppose. The president signed an omnibus-spending bill approved by Congress that makes it legal to slaughter horses in the United States once again. Polls show more than 70 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter and few if any eat horse meat. Given the fact we are divided politically by a gap the size of the Grand Canyon, recognize that a 70 percent majority is an unheard of amount of backing.

But wait, it gets worse. The reintroduction of horse slaughter plants in the United States comes with a hefty price tag, much of which goes to line the pockets of people in other countries who own these dens of incalculable abuse. The way it works is that ever since 2005, there has been a section of the Agriculture appropriations bill that de-funds (to wit, bars the expenditure of taxpayers’ dollars on) a program for the USDA to inspect foreign-owned horse plants. Now that the de-funding law has been deleted, supporters of the grisly, completely inhumane process of horse slaughter will go back to lobbying Congress for millions of dollars annually to run the inspection program. Without inspection, it is illegal to transport horsemeat across state lines. Once they succeed, horse slaughter will resume here.

Let’s forget for the moment that candidate Barack Obama in 2008 pledged to keep the ban on horse slaughter permanent (another promise to voters reneged?) Let’s forget, too, that American horses are not bred or raised for consumption. Let’s forget that the few countries where horsemeat is consumed (France, Belgium and Japan among them) are ignoring the outright cruelty to horses that raises the hackles of right-thinking Americans. The simple question is: do we want our tax dollars spent to inspect horses who were slaughtered in incredibly cruel fashion (a bolt through the forehead that doesn’t kill them immediately) so foreign owners of slaughter plants can profit? In the midst of a recession when other crucial programs such as Medicare and education are suffering deep cuts, the answer is a resounding, “no.”

Supporters of horse slaughter say the reintroduction of slaughter plants in the U.S. will create jobs. An article in the Desert Independent in Blythe, Calif., this month noted, “Horse slaughter plants operating until 2007…never created a total of more than 178 jobs.” The kind of jobs they do create are of dubious economic value to the individuals who take them and to the communities where slaughter plants are located.

The Independent quotes Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman, Texas, where a horse slaughter facility operated for years as saying, “Horse slaughter means very few, very low wage jobs, meaning workers and their families overtaxed local resources like the hospitals and government services. This so called business brought in virtually no tax revenues and local governments incurred substantial enforcement costs in trying to regulate these facilities. The standard of living dropped during the time horse slaughter facilities operated. Having a horse slaughter facility drove away good businesses.”

Studies have shown that when slaughter plants are opened in rural areas, violent crime quickly rises. Think about it. Horses are sometimes cut into pieces while still alive and screaming. What kind of person would accept the minimum wage to engage in this horrific behavior? The question answers itself.

Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., sponsored the de-funding amendment in the House version of the Agriculture Appropriations bill. He said he regrets voting for the overall bill (which did not include the de-funding language) but felt compelled to do so, to keep the government operating. He said the only alternative is to assure passage of a permanent ban on horse slaughter, which he and other compassionate members of Congress are working to do. Let’s wish them success.

(Bonnie Erbe is a TV host and writes this column for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail bonnieerbe(at)

Click (HERE) to Read Bonnie’s Article and Comment

20 replies »

  1. And why is Barack still in office? Can’t he be impeached? He has broken every promise he made during his campaign and lied repeatedly.


    • No. He did not break every campaign promise; he also didn’t complete them in the context of his promises in their entirety. He doesn’t lie all the time either. He does, however continue to be a great disappointment.

      But he hasalso become a compromising piece of questionable quality of human and surrounded himself with some corporate, special interest creeps for the sole purpose of reelection. It is the system that is killing us/US and the equines and the deck is stacked.


  2. The back room deal done on this by Blunt, Kingston and Kohl should not go un-noticed or without reaction from the tax payers of this Nation. To pull the defunding out of the appropriations budget after the committee has placed it there because their campaign coffers are lined by this predatory business, is just another fine example of our politicians not listening to the majority, but instead to the clink of their mental cash registers at the tax payers expense.

    I believe our insane debt to China is also playing a huge part in these back room deals with the dirty boys we pay. Their goal is to now feed our horses to China, which they have openly said Asia will be their market. The same damn country we protest for their horrific animal cruelties. Brace yourselves folks, because slaughtering of the horse in this horrific cruel way, is just the beginning. China does like dogs and cats. We have many euthanized a year and the pro’s will stop at nothing to make a buck. All the while we subsidize them and pick up the tab and the horse, who built this country, pays the ultimate price, as it watches itself bleed out.


  3. We must help Congress to end horse slaughter forever……We need to be instructed to the best coarse of united effort , no wasting time with petitions that go nowhere, only out and out concentrated efforts………….One more time here is my experience with Slaughter …………………….

    .I forgot to mention that when i was 9 yrs old we lived very close to a Slaughter house, It was on west 65th street in Cleveland ohio,,,, I lived on 47th st…….The slaughter house was right by a skating rink that would go to every Saturday, back then we walked, Louie , it was so Horrible I was only 9 yrs old the smell would invade not only your nose but would invade your very soul, how many times I cried, can you imagine my horror the day I decided to sneak there with friends to see what that horrible stench was, what I saw that day !!!! was enough to make a small child PUKE , and that is what we did all 4 of us, I was sick for days……I saw cows being hit in the head with huge hammers, , i saw men kicking and doing things to those cows that was so disgusting i fainted……. it was the unimaginable horror,I still to this very day have that smell in my nose it never goes away………………… the neighborhood reeked with horror death ,i had to be taken to a child physiologist so did the other 3 children……………. it took a long time to recover from that day……..still today the mention of Slaughter sends such a freezing cold chill up my spine i can barely keep from fainting…………….. What I saw that day will never go away never as hard as i have tired to let it go , I live with this scene……I witnessed that day…………so should the three men that opened those gates to horror hell.. suffer with what they have released ……


    • what a sad story, Arlene! I know the feeling—when my dad came home from hunting with the deer tied over the hood of the truck, and hung it up in our garage, it was like having Hell’s horrors at my house. I finally completely refused the ” tortured bird” tradition this year at the holiday feast and made a completely vegetarian, delicious meal. Ralph Waldo Emerson said–“You have just dined, and however scrupulously the slaughterhouse is concealed in the graceful distance of miles, there is complicity.”


  4. I think it would be in our best interest to write to the President….since 70% of the population is against horse slaughter; I think he should read our letters on how angry we are that he went behind our backs to sign what he did. How can 30% get their way. All the petiitions I signed went “unheard”?


    • We have been writing, emailing, faxing, calling. He, and more importantly his staff IGNORES us/US. Congress IGNORES us/US.

      To your last question…YEP! Ask Ms. Pickens.


      • As I said, you can certainly shame the creeps. It won’t change them, but it will certainly change public perception and eventionally change them…or elections.

        I’m getting fed up with the difference between socially endowed and poverty I don’t care to give a poop; both don’t participate properly.


    • Yeah,,,I understand your anger, but after the election (as a lame duck) we could at least shame him into doing something right and/or keeping his promise.

      If you look at the Republicans…who do you choose?


      • I agree that after the monkey of reelection is off his back—he will be more free to respond to our pressure!-i still think he is our best bet.–If he doesn’t get re elected he can’t do anything about it.–the stupid supreme court “citizen’s united” ruling that corporations are people and can give an unlinited amount of money to anyone they choose was really the last straw in an already corupt political system.—-How about we do something bold–like start a push to have the american wild horse declared a symbol of the United states–and therfore protected. that should get some attention!!


  5. To think, we litterally stopped calling fries, french during our outcry years ago, yet we are willing to allow OUR horses to be slaughtered so they can have horse steak with THEIR french fries. Wake up Americans! 70% Obama! As President, you owe it to the 70% against horse slaughter for foreign consumption, ANY consumption! Mr. President do you hear the horses banging against the walls, screaming in agony when they are pulled through the gates? Will you children be proud of you?


  6. I just couldn’t believe what I read. It was intential like everything else. I think that President Obama is a disgrace regarding Americas equines and those Legislators who support it. I worked for his campaigns both in Illinois and on the national level. I never thought first of all he would appoint someone to the Interior Dept that was worse than any Republican ever appointed. The other ones were terrible, but this man certainly should go to hell for all the back handed deals that he has made. It is money and greed again that drives these people. Is it any wonder people do not trust their government? I too am formaliar with the slaughter process and I will never forget it for as long as I live. When I called the offices of the low life Legislators, I asked how many including the Senator or Representative would like it in their neighborhood close to their homes? Those who support slaughter think it should be in everyone else’s neighborhood, but not their’s. I asked the assistants answering the phones if they would ever feed the meat to their families knowing it contains cancer causing agents. We are literally being sold out by those who represent us in Washington, D.C. Why are we even dealing with China? They have contaminated dog and cat food, continue to send toys to our country that contain lead and the list goes on. I think we should form another political party because obviously no one is listening to us. This just means that we must fight harder and obtain the post cards requested in another blog. I plan on hitting my families, my job and other who do not want slaughter to ever open in this country again. They are ruthless and the money is going to run rampid. What a disgrace to the 70% or more of Americans who have voiced their support for American equines. Obama is the biggest disappointment thats come along in years including 8 years of another president who has driven this country into the ground.


  7. Gail. I’m with you. We must all get together and look for new ways to attack the establishment. This bill must be stopped by another bill – STOPPING SLAUGHTER HOUSES FROM COMING BACK TO THE U.S. This President and his Dept. of Agriculture is disgusting and makes me throw up. Anyone that could sign that bill, under any circumstances, deserve to be kicked out of office IMMEDIATELY. In fact, I think all the people in the govenment should be kicked out and thrown to the wolves. I think the wolves would even throw up. Right now, I am trying to think how I can save an ex racehorse headed for auction on the Second of December. I would need help in feeding her and paying for her board. Any takers. If so, please e-mail at and see if we can put together the funds to find her a boarding location next week, and for her pickup and delivery to the boarding facility. I NEED YOUR HELP. Thank you if you can help.


  8. Why the hell was horse slaughter even an option? How many times have people screamed and thrown things to keep ANY animal humanely treated? Much less torturing animals to death. I think Obama needs to be thrown into the street and see how he handles a REAL ass-breaking job! Try doing things we do for a change and see how well you manage! I want those Congressman and him to go to a slaughter house and join in to see how humane and fun it is to watch them scream and die slowly.


    • The thought is enough to tear your soul to the brink, SLAUGHTER is Never the Humane Answer and never will be it must be Ended ! Where is common decency and common sense Mr. President…………………..??????????


  9. First, I haven’t finalized my decision about whom to vote for, but I know I won’t vote for Barack Obama. If the Democrats do the highly unlikely and dump him, I could conceivable vote for someone like Hillary Clinton.

    Gail’s experience with the future POTUS in I’ll. Is very interesting. I have no memory of who I actually voted for as I went into slot with deep ambivalence. the possibility of a Sarah Palin presidency versus a President with virtually no record of ever doing anything other than being a community organizer. I was also much more bothered by his choice to sit in a church for 20 years where the pastor preached hate. Having lived, worked, and recreated with people of color who gathered because of what we have in common rather than what separates us having also had to fight for trust with students, parents, and even principals stuck in the hate mode that keeps us from moving forward, I was concerned that he held beliefs or hidden hostilities that could divide us rather unite us.

    I find his close association with Wall Street and his choice of staff members from the same Wall Street firms that got us into this mess and his decision to hire hate mongers for key positions. However, I think the most disturbing decision he has made (from a very long list) is his decision that the Justice Department not pursue the new Black Panthers who stood in from of voting sites in Philadelphia with bully sticks with a hostile presence which certainly appeared in video as an attempt to intimidate the minority voters (white) who loved in those or that voting district. Racism is not a one, or two way problem. We have been hard wired to “stick with then clan” since we became what we are—sort of horses who need their herds—and while I readily admit I have not walked in another races’ moccasins, we need to unite based on what we share rather than where we differ. We can’t afford to let hatred divide us and lose the collective wisdom and beauty of our common cultures. I taught writing, sponsored the school newspaper and literary magazines during a number of my teaching years, and there is no way I could be blind to the different ways the races are treated or were 20 years ago. It broke my heart, but at the same time, it steeled my determination to help the students I taught the best education Both in the discipline I taught and in preparing them for situations they might encounter in life. Literature and writing lend themselves to these opportunities. But to get to the point, I have 0 patience with a political agenda that is driven by hatred and envy.

    There is a process that citizens can use to impeach an elected official. Michael Blake and the group he works with ? Posted it on the Internet. I downloaded them and printed them as part of my collection of documents that I might want to use at some point.


  10. You can add “italy” to the list of countries where horses get eaten, often imported in huge numbers from other countries as well, for the purpose. I can confirm, thanks to inside info from slaughterhouse employees, that animals only get dazed by bolt, and once made harmless, the chopping up and skinning starts. I feel sick by writing this, but unfortunately it is the plain truth.


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