Horse News

Horse Slaughter Not Welcome in Texas, Again

editorial by Nicole Paquette, Special to the Star-Telegram

80% of Texans Oppose Horse Slaughter Returning to Lone Star State

When it comes to the issue of horse slaughter, the Star-Telegram’s Monday editorial got one thing right: The American people, and Texans in particular, love their horses — but because they are trusted companions, not dinner.

American horse lovers, breeders and owners shudder at the thought of any horse of theirs ending up as a high-priced appetizer in Belgium or Japan.

The facts surrounding horse slaughter make it clear why Americans find it to be such a despicable end for horses. The process is brutal and innately inhumane. Inside the bloody, panic-stricken environment of a slaughterhouse, horses endure torture during often-repeated attempts to render them unconscious.

The USDA documented horrendous cruelty at the foreign-owned plants in Texas prior to their closure, despite the presence of federal inspectors. There’s no reason to believe it won’t be the same if plants reopen here.

The horse slaughter industry was never good for the economy — it was good for the profiteers, and no one else. The foreign-owned horse slaughter plants that operated in Texas until 2007 caused nothing but controversy and problems. They employed no more than a few dozen people in low-paying, highly dangerous jobs. Profits didn’t benefit local economies, but were instead pocketed overseas by foreign corporations. The communities that hosted the plants were constantly beset by pollution and the unending stench of rotten blood and offal. In their quest to improve their profit margin, these foreign-owned businesses did everything they could to avoid paying their property taxes and the fines levied against them for their environmental violations.

The negative image created by these operations caused other businesses to look elsewhere for a place to set up shop.

All of these unpleasant factors led Paula Bacon, former mayor of Kaufman (where one of the plants was located), to say, “As a community leader where we are directly impacted by the horse slaughter industry, I can assure you the economic development return to our community is negative. The foreign-owned companies profit at our expense — it is time for them to go.”

Slaughtering horses at plants in Texas never prevented the illegal acts of horse neglect and abandonment, nor has their export to plants across our borders. In the midst of today’s difficult economic times, neglect and abandonment continue, though the same number of our horses are still being slaughtered. There’s no single fix to the problem of homeless or neglected horses, just like there is no single fix to the pet overpopulation problem. These challenges can be solved only with a blend of wise policy solutions, rescue and sanctuary work and a large dose of personal responsibility.

For its part, the American Quarter Horse Association should stop equating the horror of the slaughter plant with “humane euthanasia.” There is nothing peaceful or dignified about hauling a horse thousands of miles in terrible conditions to a harrowing death in the kill box. The horse industry should discourage the overbreeding of America’s horses and relying on the cruel and predatory killer buyers to snatch up the excess. Reducing the supply of horses and focusing on improved quality are the best and most sustainable ways to give the equine industry the boost it needs.

Opinion polls are clear: The vast majority (more than 70 percent) of Americans and nearly 80 percent of Texans oppose the slaughter of horses. It is absurd to consider repealing a law that has been on the books since 1949 and has continuously been upheld in the Texas Legislature and in the courts. The majority of Texans have spoken, and it is high time we listen.

Horses are members of the family, trusted companions and partners in recreation and sport. Those few but noisy individuals clamoring for slaughter should find other ways to “help” horses, if that is their aim. Let’s start by finally banning horse slaughter all across the country, by passing the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S.1176/H.R. 2966).

Nicole G. Paquette of Austin is the Texas senior state director of the Humane Society of the United States.

24 replies »

  1. I am simply glad to hear this… so do not let Perry or anyone else muscle anything in there!! Stand strong and help saver those burros down there!!


  2. Horse Slaughter (gag reflex me even to print it) Will never be accepted anywhere people who truly know the ramifications of it, and who appreciate and respect Horses…………………………..and It is recognized as a useless barbaric and has no place in a caring educated society……………………….


    • But the state of Texas is now KILLING the burros down at the Big Bend National Park Just stop & shoot. Our Parks & Wildlife Dept. is doing this w/the full governor’s (Rick Perry) approval. going to replace them w/bighorn sheep. Hunters will pay about 60,000 to shoot one.. Blame Rick Perry & his cohearts for all of this. I really do not like living in this state because of the politics.


  3. When I first heard that horse slaughtering was possibly starting up again I was so very upset. I understand a person/company from Belglum wants to start up in Montana and 4 other states. AND the meat goes back to Belgium, France and Japan. Why do we have to supply them with horsemeat when I’m sure there is plenty of cattle, sheep, etc over there. Sick, sick, sick. Anyone that thinks or believes this is for the good of the horse is crazy. Who wants to eat sick and old meat. I’m sorry but it is always a beautiful horse. Someone’s pet, a former race horse or a work horse. They have always been our way of building up this country. Loyal all the way. Let’s all work to keep them safe.


  4. Thank you Nicole! Thank you Texas! Now, the rest of our country needs to get with it, & DEMAND that OUR government STOP this barbaric, inhumane, wasteful & needless practice, BEFORE it can rear it’s ugly head again in OUR country!! Merry Christmas To All, Especially, to All Our Equine Friends, & Advocates!! 🙂


  5. Wouldn’t this be good news IF politicians listened to the American citizenry?!?!

    Sorry, petitions (among other instruments) and public opinion don’t seem to hold any weight with the equine killers.

    Give up? NEVER! Just more documented fuel tender to burn down the horse slaughter “houses” and vote the politicians out.


  6. This is something that I learned from one of our readers that commented:
    Beverly Levitt
    Dec 02, 2011 @ 20:43:34
    Elaine Nash……my fellow equine warrior…..Pfizer has dumped millions into lobbying and campaign donations to our Senate and Congressmen. From 2002 through present reports Pfizer has donated to Senators and Congress non pac and pac as follows :Results 1–100 of 4,680 contributions totaling $6,167,842 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. That does not include lobbying, greasing palms and subsidiaries they may have hidden more under. Scary eh? National Cattlemen’s Association who says if slaughter comes back they will farm horses :Results 1–100 of 1,262 contributions totaling $1,322,106 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. AQHA :Results 1–13 of 13 contributions totaling $7,100 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Veterinarians and AVMA consultants of which the majority was donated from 2006 forward ; Results 1–15 of 15 contributions totaling $9,900 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. Meat proccessors and Packers : Results 1–100 of 4,024 contributions totaling $4,524,117 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics Horse Breeders of which when you scroll through the 9 pages you see over and over thoroughbred and quarter horse: The majority donated from 2006 forward: Results 1–100 of 1,176 contributions totaling $1,086,638 for election cycles 2002, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012. Contributions data provided by the Center for Responsive Politics. You get the picture……I could go on all night.


    • Well, F Bela posted this link at Forbes (and I recommend every advocate hang on to this data for excellent summation reference):

      Ka-rap…the link won’t post…check above post from F Bela about the Forbes piece. I tis great.


  7. Right on Nicole! We in Illinois are glad that its gone! Cavel was like a cancer…the waste that was left was disgusting..I do believe that they left our state owing many thousands if not millions of dollars in environment fines. Let all these foreign companies take horses from some other country. The minority that want slaughter care nothing for the horses, just how much they can put in their bloody pockets. It was tragic regarding those horses left at the border who perished. The “horse traders”, “Killer Buyers” and the likes are cut from the same mold. And Denise you are so right – Even one vote could make the difference. Who ever thought that one Legislator with his cronies could cause so much damage and leave all of our horses unprotected. We need to pass the the bill once and for all.


  8. To view, press left side of mouse and scroll down with icon.
    To the National Cattlemans Beef Association,
    National Cattleman’s Beef Association.
    1301 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
    Suite 300
    Washington, D.C. 20004
    (202) 347-0228
    Fax: (202) 638-0607
    Send e-mail:
    We .the undersigned , are commited to joining onto this beef boycott in order to support all the wildlife throughtout America that is being killed because of the all out attempt to kill ,maime,poison all competive lifeforms on public lands that threaten livestock either through competitive grazing or predatorship of livestock.
    The removal of wild horses from their lawful designated Herd Management Areas, as well as the natural predators that keep their populations under control is no longer acceptable to me as a consummer and therefore I commit to boycotting all forms of beef (except small ranchers who keep their herds (and are certified of doing so) within their privately owned properties).
    As your foundation states below you are suppose to be committed to Environmental Stewartship.
    This is clearly not being done and as a result Americans must use whatever non-violent means to stop the distruction of our wildlife populations now being witnessed from the removal of bison ,wild horses and burros to every other life form that competes with grazing or livestock encroachments.
    Your organizations do this through heavy lobbying reaping a favortism of our public representatives of which we the public cannot compete with.
    We commit to the keeping of this boycott until our wild horses are returned to their rightful HMAs and predators that keep their numbers controlled are allowed to dwell amoungest them as is required under The National Environmental Protection Act and The Wild Free Roaming Horse and Burro Act.
    Therefore be it known to all concern I sign my name and honor to this petition.
    I withhold the right to privacy in regards to my address for fear of reprecussions it may bring forh from any angry members of your organization but I want it to be known that I shall boycott all forms of beef except that stated above until a visable change is made and our wildlife is allowed to return to their rightful places upon our public lands and your commitment to your pledge below is fulfilled.
    Lorna Moffat

    The National Cattlemen’s Foundation
    Our Mission
    Environmental Stewardship – The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers. For nearly two decades, regional and national award winners have been honored for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitat, while operating profitable cattle operations. The Foundation can support the need for continuing education in this area. Environmental Stewardship – The Environmental Stewardship Award recognizes the outstanding stewardship practices and conservation achievements of U.S. cattle producers. For nearly two decades, regional and national award winners have been honored for their commitment to protecting the environment and improving fish and wildlife habitat, while operating profitable cattle operations. The Foundation can support the need for continuing education in this area.


  9. Image: Theresa Batchelor
    Erica Brough / AP
    Theresa Batchelor works with two-year-old quarter horse Baby Girl, who was just skin and bones when she arrived at Beauty’s Haven Farm & Equine Rescue in Morriston, Fla. with blunt force trauma that had broken a bone and caused nerve damage that made it difficult for her to eat and open her eyes.
    By Anne Geggis The Gainesville Sun
    updated 12/24/2011 10:54:39 AM ET


    The horse was skin and bones. A halter was becoming enmeshed into an open wound on her jaw. And “Baby Girl” was smaller than horses less than half her age.

    Just a few months later, though, her caretakers report that Baby Girl is full of sass and spunk. She’ll approach strangers to nuzzle their hands and stretch her neck into a stall to steal what hay she can.

    Advanced imaging, surgery with precision unusual for a veterinary case and treatments of concentrated oxygen have restored the buckskin filly to full health.

    “She is a little chubby,” laughed Dr. Ali Morton, an associate professor of large animal surgery at the University of Florida’s Large Animal Hospital, who performed the surgery. “But she deserves that.”

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    Theresa Batchelor, president of Beauty’s Haven Farm and Equine Rescue in Morriston, first met Baby Girl when she was barely able to stand, unable to open one of her eyes and teetering on the brink of death.

    “It was the worst combination — starvation and trauma — that we’d ever seen,” Batchelor said. “Her body was trying to get through so many things.”

    But somehow, amazing Batchelor and her volunteers, the quarter horse’s spirit was unbowed.

    “She would come by us, and almost want to sit in our laps,” recalled Marcia Williams, an Ocala nurse who volunteers once a week at Beauty’s Haven. “She couldn’t get close enough to us.”

    An unknown, blunt trauma had broken the horse’s jaw. It could have been intentional, it could have been an injury Baby Girl inflicted on herself from being startled and smashing into something.

    Unable to eat normally, Baby Girl had withered to less than 300 pounds, half the horse’s current weight.

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    “One more week, and she would have been dead,” said Batchelor, not wanting to name the nearby rescue where she found Baby Girl. It’s because they still want to work with them, she explained.

    Baby Girl’s condition led Batchelor to galvanize a team of volunteers, donors and veterinary specialists. Together — united on the social media website Facebook — they pressed on. First, Baby Girl had a $2,500 surgery in September to remove bone fragments in her jaw.

    But the infection did not clear up.

    Baby Girl was referred to UF’s Large Animal Hospital for advanced imaging.

    With a three-dimensional computerized tomographic scan, veterinarians saw an infected bone fragment was further infecting the horse’s skull and jaw. The infection was literally a hair — one millimeter — away from getting to Baby Girl’s brain, Batchelor said.

    UF’s Morton said she couldn’t give Batchelor much hope.

    “I would not have felt bad euthanizing her right there,” Morton said, explaining that she couldn’t be sure that the covering of the horse’s brain was intact. Of Batchelor she said, “She wanted to go ahead in the belief that we underestimate what we can recover from.”

    And so Baby Girl went for her second and last surgery in October.

    In the most desperate equine struggles, Batchelor sees something of her own, she says. Batchelor, now 50, was 37 years old with two young children when a tumor was discovered growing in her spine. Doctors, Batchelor said, told her she’d never walk again.

    At 100, this bartender is still the toast of his town

    “The doctors just wanted to send me home and have my family take care of me for the rest of my life,” she said. “If I could have crawled out of the fifth floor and gone out the window, I would’ve.”

    For Batchelor, a retired logistics program manager for the U.S. Navy, Baby Girl’s story is one of a number of equine journeys she has had a hand in since she and her husband sold their Tampa home in 2004 and bought the rescue that recently became a nonprofit.

    But few have generated the support of cyberspace as Baby Girl’s tales have.


  10. I have loved , owned and ridden horses from being a child and having owned horses for 40 plus years. Yhis year is the first time in my life I had to have a horse put down at home. I had this choice open to me. However I find the ban on horse slaughter to be the most stupid decision, do not stop slaughter lets manage it more effectivley. Have facilities that are designed for horses not cattle, animals react differently, in these stressful circumstances.
    I believe banning horse slaughter is encouraging people to just turn hirse loose that have never had to forage for themselves.
    It is the same as going into a Zoo and releasing the animals…( remember the recent incident if that in Ohio.)
    These aniamls then suffer , they can starve to death, be hit by vehicles and die a slow and painful death that way.
    THINK LOGICALLY PLEASE… I love horses too .


  11. True very true. The monied pro-slaughter folks seem to own the Star-Telegram. Why else would they ignore 80% of Texans. We’re very tired of the “so often put to rest” excuse that it is to save the poor unwanted horse from starvation. The most recent example… The several thousand abandoned horses in South Texas were found to be a product of the slaughter trade on Mexico. Traces showed that these horses were refused at the border as acceptable for slaughter because of illness, injury, or impending birth of foals, sooooo it was the Killer Buyers themselves who were throwing the rejected horses out of the trailer and leaving them to starve. So to all the pro killers. Doesn’t seem like your answer solves the problem. Not by a long shot.


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