Horse News

Equine Advocates Take Horse Slaughter Debate To Air Waves

Story by Greg Groogan, reporter for Houston’s Fox 26 News

Anti-Horse Groups and GAO Muddy Facts on Horses

Click Image to View Video

HOUSTON – The horse-flesh back of the Fitch’s Magnolia home is considered “family”.

No question about it.

“All four of these guys were throw away horses,” said Terry Fitch as she kissed a nuzzling gelding.

Even the possibility their “friends” could some day reach a dinner table in Belgium or France has spurred a need for the Fitch’s to fight.

“The concept of killing your friend, your loyal friend and eating him just doesn’t sit right as a Texan, as American and a self-actualized human being,” said author and horse advocate R.T. Fitch.

By withdrawing funding for USDA inspectors five years ago, Congress effectively shut down American-based slaughter houses processing horse meat for export.

But in the latest budget, that money slipped back in and opened the door for what equine advocates call, “the renewed butchering of an American icon.”

“It breaks your heart, it’s repulsive,” said Terry, R.T.’s wife. “We can humanely euthanize our horses. We don’t do this to dogs and cats.”

But a good many folks don’t see it that way.

At a recent Austin county livestock auction, ranchers told FOX 26 News that without a slaughter market for what they called “marginal animals”, many horses were simply starving because of drought or because financially hard pressed owners are unable to feed them.

A report by the General Accounting Office came to a similar conclusion, noting that since the cessation, tens of thousands of American horses have been shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter.

Even People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is supporting the return of for-profit American horse slaughter as the lesser of two evils.

“The amount of suffering that it created exceeded the amount of suffering it was designed to stop”, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk told the Christian Science Monitor.

R.T. and Terry Fitch contend that if decency doesn’t work to save horses, maybe science will.

Many American horses, they claim, are treated with anti-worm and anti-pain medications containing cancer-causing agents.

“The drugs we give to these animals is carcinogenic to human beings. We are better than that. We shouldn’t be poisoning foreigners with our meat. Animals were not raised for slaughter in this country. If they want to eat horses let them raise their own animals. These are companions here,” Terry said.

While horse slaughtering plants have been located in Texas in the past, state law now prohibits the re-opening of those operations.

Click (HERE) to Comment on Fox 26

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39 replies »

  1. I thought I understood what PeTA was all about….can anyone explain that obtuse comment from the PeTA spokesperson? I mean….they support slaughter??????? Did I get that right?


    • We need comments art the above link!! There are only a few and the one who is pro slaughter is the best written one I have ever read!!!! Please say more there!!!! Send Vicki Tobin, please!!


  2. PETA does not save animals….the ones they get their dirty hands on are killed.

    There are photos available for all to see of the piles of dogs and cats etc.

    Their mantra……a dead animal is better than than life.


    • Thanks, Marge…I knew that when they get involved in anything animal, they want them dead. I remember what they were peddling during the Vick tragedy, BUT….to endorse Human Consumption Horse Slaughter (HCHS)???????

      It’s cruel, it’s animal agriculture (which they despise) and just so supportive of the real enemy of equines, bad owners and a bad industry. I just can’t believe that the quote is correct.


  3. I found this at the PeTA site:

    Now, it seems to me that they have the transport thing wrong because US equines went to Canada and Mexico (and some live ships on canner ships and aircraft) before, during and after the closure of the last 3 FOREIGN owned in the US. The PeTA post/blog is contradictory and yes, the quote by the TV person was “lifted” and appears out of context, somewhat.

    I am going to read the 140+ comments.


  4. HAY! I was also interviewed twice here in the Phoenix area. I did a radio spot and was on the evening news. The horses were the stars, however! They actually behaved with a camera in their faces!


    • yeah for you, that is what we all need to do, is go on radio and tv and advocate for the horses. I was on a radio show today for a second or two about horse slaughter, unfortunately all the dj really wanted to do was talk about “do horses know they are going to die before they get slaughtered?” and “don’t you think if cows knew they were going to be slaughtered they would try to escape too”..talking about the fight and flight syndrome of a horse. I tried to throw in S1176 and HR 2966 but was not given much time to get into the meat and potatoes of it..but everyone we need your voice out there..most people do not know


  5. PETA is anti-animal. They also support trap/kill of cats rather than TNR because Ingrid is basically a self appointed idiot. Go to the Virginia Department of AG and look at their shelter kill rates 95%. I defy you to find one place in which they have actually helped an animal that was not done for the publicity. Spread the word about PETA and Wildlife Society they are both cat/horse hating organizations. We had an incident in PA where a mayor tried to trap/kill cats and her ally good old PETA.


  6. This fight is not about PETA folks. Just like wasting time trying to convince certain wildlife groups to protect wild horses they consider to be feral is a waste of time. Focus. It is about Big Ag and our corrupt system of government that works on behalf of the 1%. If you want to start a campaign against PETA, go ahead, just don’t bring it into this mix and dilute the strength of the fight. And please boycott Kohl’s department store for Christmas and tell them why–Herb Kohl, Wisc.


    • You are correct about PeTA. However, this is about big ag using PeTA to distract and distort OUR efforts. My posts were about understanding the comment from PeTA from the journalist involved in RT’s interview; no one here is making PeTA the issue re: this blog post

      The journalist quoted Peta for the written word interview w/RT…THAT bothers me greatly.


    • I read about a Kohl’s department store boycott, but now it looks like he and his family sold this business off quite a while ago, so scratch the boycott idea.


  7. It’s pretty clear that the slaughter facilitators are getting their point of view in with all the news agencies before any facts can be presented. It’s a swiftboat operation… they’ve been at it for years and are well-funded.

    We need to make these points, in addition to the carcinogenic substances..

    Even with 6 new slaughter hourses in the U.S. most horses would have to travel many hours under the same conditions… like a plant in Kentucky that would service horses from Maine to Florida… so even under the best of circumstances the problem of transport cruelty would not be solved… and yet, that is their main argument for opening new plants. That is a point we must stress…

    Then there is the slaughter of ‘marginal ‘, excess, unwanted. abused, starving, neglected, crippled and old horses they are supposedly saving, but we all know that these horses would never pass inspection, and who would KNOWINGLY eat meat from these horses anyway, especially for $20/lb?

    I am hoping that the movie “Warhorse” which is coming out this week will open a lot of eyes for the people who are not yet aware of this travesty. The timing couldn’t be more perfect with the announcement of the open door to funding slaughter inspections. Even though the movie is about war and not slaughter, it is a display of the relationship and devotion between man and horse. It would be great if we could add an anti-slaughter message at the end of the movie everywhere it is shown. Anybody know Spielberg and whether he is pro or anti?


    • The word ‘marginal’ is a cover word for them. We shouldn’t concern ourselves because they are doing us such a service, is what they’d like you to think. Most slaughter buyers don’t want skinny animals, and that’s many in the current economy. They can get as much as $30-$40 per pound for the meat, but its not good business for them to run a bunch of starved animals thru when they could get top dollar for better weight animals. So when they start touting the ‘we only take in the marginal ones’ please understand that any horse with a rotten owner can turn ‘marginal’ in less than one month. No matter how well bred and what it last sold for.


  8. People who have never been around horses might not understand the relationship that can happen between horses and human … you made it perfectly clear in your video. It brought back fond memories of horses I knew in my life. Thank you.


  9. I have some questions:
    Are burros sold/shipped/slaughtered for meat also?
    I ask this because I am aware of a sale authority shipment of our burros that followed four sale authority shipments of our wild horses (total 77 of our wild animals) – all to the same state and very likely all to the same buyer and all very likely long gone over the border by now.

    Approximately how much (%) of the horsemeat export is consumed by Mexico?
    -Consumed by Canada?
    -Consumed by France?
    -Consumed by Belgium?
    -Consumed by China?
    -Consumed by (other – please list if possible)?


    • US Meat Export Federation (and USDA in different format) has those numbers, but you have to be a card carrying member to access the data. Last I checked they categorize US equines for human consumption as “Beef Varieties”…I kid you not!

      Maybe one of our equine welfare advocates that has access to USMEF might be able to help because USMEF does better data and more real time collection….but ya’ gotta be in the club.


  10. Just a suggestion but if we stand outside in the parking lot of the cinema where “War Horse” is playing we could hand out info about the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R.2966/S.1176 and also about what is happening to our wild horses. Make posters about our wild horses and get handouts from Animal Welfare Institute on the bill.
    Anyway that’s where I plan to be Christmas Day.


  11. @ Grandma Gregg: The majority of horsemeat is consumed in Europe and Japan. The closest slaughter facilities are in Mexico and Canada. YES- our wild horses and burros are included in these shipments! As are stolen family pets, “sick” animals, “marginal” animals from over breeding, and animals that pharmaceutical companies no longer have a use for. Premarin anyone? Yes, it is manufactured using pregnant mares- the foals are also simply an “unfortunate” by product…


  12. Everyone has it right. PETA use to be a good organization, but now I do not see it that way. Its just like anything else. The Horse Eating Monsters will take any support that they can get. God help us all if they open any plants here because we will NEVER get rid of them again. As I see it, we are not doing a very good job helping our neighbors. The Unwanted Horse Coalition lists fund raisers on their website and now are trying to put together a way to unite horses with new owners. They also provide clubs and organizations with funds to provide the gelding of stallions, I would imagine through the clubs local vets.
    Everyone talks about the excess animals, but I don’t recall seeing or hearing of any numbers. The breed associtions don’t want to do such a thing because that just might support the fact that we do not need slaughter plants in this country. Every time I hear the arguement that people do not have the money to provide a dignified death, I offer to do it. I know that there are many more people in this country besides me that would do the same. I am in the process of seeing if we can find a way to have one of the creation companies and the hauling service offer some type of economy rate for horse owners. Its a long shot, but at least I feel I am trying to make a difference. So how many excess horses are there, and how many come from cruelty cases? No one really seems to know. The horse industry is failing our horses too because no one wants to offer a solution other than slaughter. I know some feed companies have been donating feed and another person I know that does rescues has provided hay to Texas and Oklahoma. I would love to get some stats from the different states on the excess horse numbers other than that provided by those who support slaughter. But back to the issue, we cannot get off track on the issue of slaughter. The problem is we have a Congress and an Administration that is being supported by big business and the very wealthy. I have never seen politics so dirty and corrupt as it is now. In the past, people ran for office to actually see some legislation done to protect us. In this day and time, no one cares what constitutents think and promote their own agenda.
    We must come up with a way to counter the faulty stats that Horse Eating Monsters spout. I will continue to defend the horse and its right to a dignified
    ending of its life. However, slaughter is in no way a dignified death.


  13. Click to access Hogan503.pdf

    My name is Dr. Patricia Hogan and I am an equine veterinary surgeon. I
    have been actively involved with the horse industry all of my life. I am originally a New
    Jersey native but was a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s School of
    Veterinary Medicine.
    Several of my patients, such as SMARTY JONES and AFLEET ALEX, have
    gone on to become household names.
    I am surprised that no one ever seems to openly discuss the absolutely deplorable way
    these animals are treated on their way to the slaughter house. Once these horses enter
    the path to the slaughter house, their treatment is not humane in any way. I dismiss the
    triviality of the studies detailing the number of whinnies per hour or the number of horses
    that arrive with or without a broken leg as statistical evidence of humane treatment. Or
    the proclaimed accuracy of the captive-bolt. Sometimes, we as veterinarians (and yes, I
    mean the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) and American
    Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) here) hide behind the term “humane” and it is
    often used as the “catch-all” phrase to make us feel that things are done correctly and
    within the letter of the law. However, the whole act of being taken from an environment
    that is familiar, then thrown into a hostile herd environment, shipped very long distances
    without food or water, and then placed in an assembly line where they can see, smell,
    hear, and sense the terror of what is happening in front of them is not humane.


    • Really? WE need comments there… One of the Pro slaughter folks has written a compelling letter. WE need Vicki or Suzanne to go by….


    Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in US
    By JUSTIN JUOZAPAVICIUS, Associated Press
    Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen, said no state or site has been picked yet but he’s lined up plenty of investors who have expressed interest in financing a processing plant. While the last three slaughterhouses in the U.S. were owned by foreign companies, he said a new plant would be American-owned.
    “I have personally probably five to 10 investors that I could call right now if I had a plant ready to go,” said Duquette, who lives in Hermiston, Ore. He added, “If one plant came open in two weeks, I’d have enough money to fund it. I’ve got people who will put up $100,000.”


  15. SO…Oregon will be the home of a Horse slaughter plant? Do you suppose Oregonians will be happy to hear this? One of the many articles did say that there were tentative plans for a Horse slaughter in the Northwest. I wondered then, just where “they” were intending to build it.


  16. what is it with FOX network. They showed a blurb yesterday on the news about horse slaughter and of course it was slanted by the pro slaughter propaganda…blah blah blah, people have turned their horses loose they are starving. Always the same song and dance, same one they used for years to justify round ups for wild horses. The only ones without tainted meat.
    Isn’t it convient my local FOX channel didn’t mention word one about contaminated meat?

    The FDA can recall thousands of tons of beef because they’re might be a potiential for e-coli contamination but they don’t say word one about carcingens in horse meat, and probably wouldn’t tell you about beef either. Infact cattle ranchers de-worm their cattle with the same product, ivermectrin so obviously they don’t care about the long term affects, only being sued if someone dies from e-coli contamination.

    Bottom line 70% of the populations polled don’t agree with horse slaughter because horses all though by law may still be considered livestock, they are not by the public. They are companion animals. We don’t eat dogs, cats or horses PERIOD.


    • About midday yesterday I saw Sue Wallis interviewed on CNN. Then Melody said she was to be on CNN today. I could not find a clip of the first talk anywhere. Wallis said horse meat is needed for starving children and the Chinese. I hope someone can find these clips.


  17. Shirley, the file is dated 2006, so I’m thinking that Dr. Patricia Hogan’s input must have had some impact on the committee.


  18. It states in Ingrid Newkirks biography “she is an abolitionist who remains commited to the idea that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment.” But says nothing about killing them. Wonder who bought out that organization? Follow the money.


  19. The people who were forced to live in the vicinity of Horse slaughter plants are some of the ones protesting the most. This is a comment that was posted on the Houston’s Fox 26 News website:

    Believe all the pro-slaughter propaganda you want, those of us Texans that lived close to the Beltex plant have lived the ghosts of the slaughter plant. Ask “US” if we want slaughter back in our back yards again? The answer to that is not only no~~~but “HELL NO”! “WE” are the ones that know the real truth that people are so blind to see. “WE” had to smell the stench of the dead horses and it’s accumulation of flies & buzzards, “WE” had to listen to their screams, “WE” know of the cruel suffering that these horses went through, We also “KNOW” of our property value going to squat because of the slaughter plant and it’s contamination. Have YOU ever been to a slaughter plant? Have YOU ever been to a horse slaughter plant? Read all the BS you want on the Internet, BUT DON’T TELL ME that there is no difference. There IS and if you think otherwise I guess I best get my hip waders on. Obuma did not approve horse slaughter in america the other day. The only thing he accomplished is opening up old wounds and nightmares some of us try to forget! I hope this post makes all you “IGNORANT” pro-slaughter people proud of what you accomplished. The only thing our government accomplished (again) is to put a bandaid on an open wound rather than finding a solution to the problem……typical capital hill!


  20. Mar, there are 22 comments there now. One is from Julie Caramante who is with Animals’ Angels. We can still use more.
    I posted part of the VEW peer review paper. The entire report is too long to post there.


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