Horse News

My Turn: ‘Nothing Humane about Horse Slaughter’

Source: Paula Todd King as published in The Taos News

Horse Slaughter is the opposite of euthanasia”

I know that horse lovers abound in Taos and the surrounding areas but I wonder how many people realize how close our state is to becoming the first state in the nation to reopen horse slaughter plants. Is that the notorious reputation we want for our Land of Enchantment? Around the country greedy kill buyers and horse slaughter house operators are licking their chops in anticipation of killing off our country’s horses.

Slaughter advocates say that horse slaughter is the humane answer to deal with unwanted horses. There is nothing humane about horse slaughter.

Horse Slaughter is the opposite of euthanasia. There is no way a horse can be humanely slaughtered in an industrialized setting. We should have learned that lesson by now.

In 2006 the USDA stopped inspecting horse slaughter houses for a good reason, horse slaughter is inhumane. As late as 2011 when the defunding of horse slaughter inspections by the USDA expired, the Government Accounting Office, June 2011 report recommended a permanent ban on slaughter.

The captive bolt method of slaughter commonly used for cattle slaughter is not effective or humane when it comes to horses. Horses, flight animals by nature struggle to escape. Their heads cannot be restrained.

The horse skull is much thicker than other livestock, and their brain is located further back in the skull. As a result it takes several painful blows to the head before the horse is stunned enough to be suspended. Forty percent of the time a horse is alive and aware when the butchering process begins. Is this what you would call a humane end of life for your horse?

Horse overpopulation is another piece of propaganda being circulated by pro-slaughter advocates. Horse slaughter merely enables and rewards the continued irresponsible breeding by the horse manufacturing industries of quarter horses and thoroughbreds.

In New Mexico, we are the recipient of unwanted horses from all over the country as a result of our proximity to horse slaughter in Mexico. In 2011, according to a European Union report, over 19,000 horses were dumped at the border to Mexico — rejects from slaughter. These horses were dumped by unscrupulous kill buyers on state, federal, tribal and even private land.

As citizens, taxpayers, horse lovers, are we going to stand by and allow the hideously cruel industry of horse slaughter to dig it’s nasty claws into our country’s horses once again, an industry that will make a few people rich, an industry that is subsidized by taxpayer dollars to the tune of $5 million annually, an industry that has the reputation of environmental pollution that far outweighs the economic benefit.

We can still stop this barbaric industry before it ever gets started in our state.

Several groups including  New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter and Wild Horse Observers Association continue to call on Gov. Susana Martinez to write an executive order to ban horse slaughter in New Mexico.

Martinez has repeatedly claimed that she has no authority, that it is up to the USDA. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, however, has already pleaded with Congress to place a ban on horse slaughter…(CONTINUED)

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24 replies »

  1. She hit all the nails on the head. However, education is still the key. I have never met anyone in my local community that is aware that horses are still slaughtered! I hope that equine advocates will hasten to get billboards up all over the nation, to generate conversation, and that we can get more media to help fight this battle.


    • I agree. Billboards would be good, if people will allow it. If they show a horse hanging up by its legs, before slaughter, that might get the point across. Most people don’t know. Is one of the dirty secrets that this country us. Just read also that there is a place that takes in thousands of cats and dogs and they kill them. I don’t think its that humane either. Unfortunately, someday, mankind will get theirs.


  2. Great letter…I couldn’t have said it better…Laurel, you have the right idea…we must consider springing for some bill boards in the states supporting slaughter. Especially around the airports so that everyone can see what kind of horrible business some of the people are promoting.


  3. Excellent op-ed, Paula. I hope all the newspapers in your state pick it up and run it. I ditto everything Laurel wrote above.


  4. Wow!!! Thank you for posting this R.T. New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter appreciates the exposure. Together we are going to beat this yet.


  5. Great post, keep sharing the truth exposing what is happening with our tax dollars. Keep explaining why horse meat is not safe to eat. The media is not covering this information and people just do not understand all the issues.


  6. great article! we really need to get so much more international attention! I saw the article about Russia banning horse meat from mexico and Canada, do you think that they are aware of the fact that since 2007…thousands of American horses have been sent to slaughter through these countries.! the truth is that, this country knowingly, has been turning a blind eye to this problem, and is intentionally poisoning the men, women, and children of foreign nations! I also read a letter from the former governor of texas, to the new head of the usda, telling him of the horrors he had to deal with in trying to close that plant. he also wrote something very enlightening… something, I am sure would outrage a lot more people in this country! he said, the slaughter house was a foreign owned company, and our government was financially subsidizing this company, with tax-payer (our) money!! because of that fact…it was so much harder to close that plant! he described the horrors, and many violations, not just for the horses, but the environment, health, and safety of his people. this issue needs to be investigated fully, to insure that our tax dollars will never be used to subsidize these houses of horrors! we need to have more media attention and celebrities involved! WE THE PEOPLE.. can do this! come on……call..fax…


  7. Thank you Paula. While I have hopes that the SAFE Act will get through the House, Harry Reid will block it as he always does…we just have to figure out how to get around that…


  8. I would love to know where she got the figure of 19,000 horses abandoned at the border. I’m so tired of hearing the pro-slaughter lies about horse owners starving and abandoning their horses. I believe it is the kill buyer, who has lied to the ill-informed but well-meaning horse owner.


  9. Great article Paula! And thanks RT for sharing with all. Paula is a great inspiration to us all to keep strong and steady–sticking to the facts and the reality.


  10. I have to share the thanks with Patience O’Dowd and all the great folks that help keep us rolling on New Mexico Against Horse Slaughter. And of course R.T.. for keeping us all well informed and motivated.
    What a wonderful group of folks giving voice to the voiceless.


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