Horse News

Federal Legislation would Ban Slaughter of U.S. Horses

Source:  John M. Glionna of the Los Angeles Times

“Until a ban is in place, every horse is just one bad sale away from being sent to slaughter.”

horse-meatProposed federal legislation would ban the export of American horses for slaughter, reinstitute a ban on slaughtering them in the U.S., and protect the public from consuming “toxic” horse meat.

The measure, called the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, comes after revelations that horse meat has been mislabeled as beef in Europe, including in IKEA meatballs.

Sponsors include Sens. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) and Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). The bill would outlaw the killing of American horses for human consumption and prohibit transporting the animals across the U.S. border for slaughter in Mexico and Canada.

Proponents of the bill contend that tens of thousands of American horses a year are exported for slaughter in a foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.

A federal ban on slaughtering horses in the U.S. took effect in 2006, but the law lapsed in 2011, opening the door for a New Mexico company to open a slaughterhouse there soon.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its plan to process an application for inspecting horse slaughter at Valley Meat Company LLC in Roswell, N.M.

Valley Meat Company owner Rick de los Santos could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

But he told the Los Angeles Times in December that a new horse slaughterhouse in his state makes sense.

He said he was tired of sitting in southern New Mexico and watching countless truckloads of American horses en route to Mexico for slaughter.

“I’ve seen 130,000 horses a year on their way to Mexico — they go right through our backyard — and I wanted to tap into the market,” he told The Times. “I could have hired 100 people by now. Everyone in our community agrees we need this type of service. And I’m tired of waiting.”

De los Santos said then that he was ready to start killing horses humanely.

“Everything that has four legs that walks can be slaughtered the same way, but we’re ready to do this humanely,” he said. “We’ve upgraded our knocking chutes for giving them that lethal hit.”

But animal advocates say when it comes to horse slaughter, there is no such thing as “humane.”

Horse slaughter is inherently inhumane,” the Humane Society of the United States said in a statement. “The methods used to kill horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses often endure repeated stuns or blows and sometimes remain conscious during their slaughter and dismemberment.”

The Humane Society said horses often are transported to the slaughterhouse “without food, water or rest, in dangerously overcrowded trailers” in which they are often seriously injured or killed.

Animal activists also say that domestic horses receive routine treatment with drugs that could be toxic to humans.

Some of the horses that wind up at foreign slaughterhouses come from the herds of wild mustangs that roam the American West.  The Bureau of Land Management periodically gathers the horses off the range and sells them at auction — theoretically to those who want to adopt them. But so-called “kill buyers” come to auctions too.

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16 replies »

  1. RT – we need to figure out a way for your blog to feed directly to all the Senators and Representative. Anybody know how to do that out there?


    • Gotta push hard before they lock it up in committee to due like all the others have. I hope they fast track it to the white house to be signed.


  2. Okay which is it? De los Santo’s 130,000 horses or Skye McNiel’s 130,000 horses? There both claiming all these thousands of horses come through their state on their way to hell. I’m not debating the end. I’m questioning from which direction are these horses coming from?

    If de los Santo’s is right on the border then that would explain the 130,000.

    But something I like more is this. Strengthen the laws for abuse and neglect. There is something called EyeD. It’s a retinal scan of your horses’s eye and they make a nationwide database. As I understood it last June yes it was in the early days but the databases are there. The technology is there. When a baby is born you have the eye retinal scanned. As the horse matures his eye doesn’t change.

    So when you sell the horse it’s like selling your car. You simply put into the database that you sold your horse to such and such person. Now if that horse is starved abused or sent to slaughter they know who to go after.

    If your horse is stolen–as a responsible owner you would know almost immediately. The first thing you’d do is file with the police department and /or Netposse. This would cover you if your horse was sent to slaughter. Unless the kill buyer shows solid proof that it was you who signed the horse over…

    If you get into trouble financially (loss of income, job home etc)it’s time right then to rehome your horse. You don’t wait til your desperate. Yes, it will be hard on the kids but think about them watching you starve the horse to death. Think about what the long term damages are to their psyche.

    I’m sorry but after listening to folks whining about wanting the right to trip horses and back to slaughter it just makes me sick. I just don’t understand the need for violence and bloodlust. I guess that’s me being an oddity or something. Well I’ve been one before and can still stand tall. Guess I’ll be an oddity again for not being able to understand why folks need to hurt and betray animals like this.


      • There are probably more oddities out there than you realize and thank God for that! (-: You’re right, there’s absolutely NO reason to harm or betray animals!


    • Ditto, Margaret! There must be a lot of us “oddities” out there, who feel the same way as you. Animal lovers are born that way, we aren’t made, it’s natural, or second nature to us. We were created to protect the weak, & the voiceless, we’re normal, it’s “them” who are missing the most important part of their brains, their ability to have empathy, show compassion, have a heart, they’ve lost their humanity!


  3. My confidence in these bills being passed is zero. The U.S. Senate is the group that has refused steadfastly to never allow any anti-slaughter bill to pass. They are all but a few beholden to the racing industry, the cattle industry, horse breeders for donations to their reelection campaigns. Lobbyists loaded with money from the racing industry and all the rest keep the trail hot in DC to the politicians offices when bills like these are introduced. I hope there is another way of stopping the slaughter besides these bills.


  4. The House Bill will be called “The Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act”. Please make sure the threat to our reputation for exporting safe meat is the FIRST thing you mention! THIS is what members of Congress who are pro slaughter will listen to if they won’t listen to anything else. It’s sort of like: “Have you stopped beating your wife?”, only the question would be: “Have you stopped supporting horse slaughter exports for human consumption?” It’s a classic prosecutor’s question when a perp has already admitted to committing a crime. Other possible questions: “Do you think sending potentially toxic horse meat overseas may damage our country’s reputation for safe food exports?”; “Do you think sending potentially toxic horse meat overseas may cause other meat exports to be questioned?”; “Do you think it’s worth putting a $11.8 billion beef and pork export market (2012 figure) at risk for a $65 million niche market (2006 figure)?” I haven’t found the stats on traditional meat packing jobs, plants, and growers involved vs. projected horse meat packing jobs, plants, and growers involved, but I’m sure they’re out there. Everything will have to be verifiable through industry representatives and the USDA, but that’s doable with some research. It would be great to get horse slaughter for ANY purpose banned, but a ban on transport should cover that. And don’t forget SS has already called for raising “clean” horses for slaughter. She’s encouraged her cadre to do it, even if they have to take out small business loans. So many people who support slaughter or are “on the fence” don’t know that. The devil is in the details!


    • Now someone (with the USDA?) has said there would be no way to guarantee horsemeat is kept out of OUR food supply if slaughterhouses return to the U.S. How many more threats to food safety does Congress need?


      • Probably a few deaths traced back to horse meat ingestion like what has happened over there in Europe. Yes there have been a couple of children die and it was traced back to horse meat consumption. I read it a couple or few years ago.


  5. Delos santos is about as low a life they come and now he’s talking like an egomaniac. I hope this ass loses his shirt in the process. I hope the federal bill passes and they shut him down. I hope that he has to go back where he came from, wherever that is. I also wonder who is funding his crappy serial killing plant.


  6. I agree with Terri – It makes perfect sense that a moran and immoral person like that would have a company like this. Barbara, unfortunately the only we will be able to finally protect our horses and other equines is through legislation. This is what closed the slaughterhouses in both Illinois and Texas. The number of bills with bipartisan support is almost null. If you note there are two Democrats and two Repubicans who are sponsors of the bill. It is up to us to make sure that they have the necessary information to vote on this legislation. If you as a constituent do not provide enough documentation he/she will vote based on the knowledge they have. There is plenty of information that can be provided which supports the bill. I would bet my life that the low lifes in Europe are providing the funding behind the scenes. I can’t tell you how they funded the fight in Illinois and I’m sure it was the same in Texas. I’m sure Paula Bacon will make a call for you if you contacted her. I contact my Legislators on a regular basis to make sure how they are going to be
    voting on this issue. We must NEVER give up this fight as all of our equine friends are counting on us.


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