Debunking Common Myths About Horse Slaughter and the Protection of America’s Wild Horses and Burros

Source:  One Green Planet

By Susan Wagner, Equine Advocates and Carol Walker, Wild Horse Freedom Federation

Since 2007, when the last horse slaughterhouse operating in this country closed its doors, attempts by special interest groups in ranching, oil and gas, mining, and the gun lobby, to return this repulsive and unpopular practice to U.S. soil have been made at every opportunity. Fortunately, they’ve failed. Horse slaughter proponents love to claim that slaughter is a form of humane euthanasia. Nothing could be further from the truth. Regardless, slaughtering horses for food goes against our very culture, which is why they are not bred for that purpose and never will be.

Equines are routinely given drugs that are banned in animals bred for human consumption, including Phenybutasone or “Bute,” the most common medication administered to equines. Bute is an anti-inflammatory drug and the subject of a 2010 landmark study (Marini-Dodman), which documented a direct link to cancer and serious blood diseases for humans who consume the meat of equines administered with that drug. Bute is just one of numerous medications administered to horses which carry the warning, “Not intended for horses bred for human consumption.”

Horse slaughter is also detrimental to local communities and bad for business. According to Paula Bacon, the former two-term Mayor of Kaufman, Texas who led the charge to close the horse slaughterhouse operating in her community for three decades, when slaughterhouses came to town, businesses left, people moved, environmental conditions were compromised, and crime increased. When the plant finally closed, the crime rate plummeted and the quality of life improved dramatically.

Special interests have also been trying to convince Congress that there is an “overpopulation” of wild horses and burros on our public lands and that these animals are bad for the environment – this is also untrue. Scientific studies have shown that wild herds actually benefit the environment with a positive impact on the growth of vegetation where they roam. The uniqueness of an equine’s digestive system helps provide important nutrients to the soil which benefits the absorption and retention of water on which diverse numbers of plants and other wildlife depend on.

Since passage of the Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971, federal protections for our wild horses and burros roaming our public lands have been chipped away to the extent that extinction will be inevitable unless dramatic steps are taken. The current Administration wants to allow wild horses and burros to be sold “without limitation” (slaughter), and their 2019 Federal Budget proposal contains language to include the outright killing of tens of thousands of wild horses and burros being held captive in Bureau of Land Management (BLM) holding facilities, as well as herds still on public lands.

A five-year investigation by Wild Horse Freedom Federation, which obtained most of its information from Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) documents, proves why so many BLM claims are false, including over 26.9 million acres of land (half the area that was designated as federally protected areas primarily for the wild horses and burros since 1971) being snatched away from these animals over the past 45 years. In addition, the BLM’s idea of what constitutes a “viable herd” is in direct conflict with many geneticists and other experts whose own research indicates that the viability of the herds is being destroyed by the BLM’s unnecessary round-ups and other policies implemented to weaken, rather than strengthen their survival.

There is a tremendous amount of public support to ban horse slaughter and protect our wild herds, and polls show the vast majority of Americans supporting this view. The 1971 Act recognizes the wild horse as an “integral component of the natural system.” But, until we finally pass federal legislation banning horse slaughter, we will have to keep fighting the same fight over and over to protect our wild and domestic equines from this unspeakable fate.

10 comments

  1. Excellent post! The only way we can change this is by overturning those in the House and the Senate first. Then remove all the Mental Midgets in the White House and other committees. HR 113- Safe Food, Safe Horse.Export Act is not perfect but will stop the Export of all horses (both domestic &,wild) and other equines. We must protect horses and burros from being sent out of the US to be used as quote “work animals.” Once our wild horses and burros have left our country we have no control over their safety. The hijacker of this bill is the Republican who heads the Energy and Commerce.

    His name is US House Rep Gregory.Walden from Oregon. His #202-225-6730. Please give this chap a call and thank him for hijacking this bill. Thank him for flooding the Global World meat supply with poison and toxic meat! We cannot become empathetic and frozen in our efforts. Thank you for the stats on the 2010 research. I now can quote the source of this research. If there are special elections or regular elections in your area please make a point to visit and discuss these issues with prospective House and Senate members. I call Rep Walden’s office once a week and would love some help. We can only keep these slaughter plants closed and exports stopped by legislation. The BLM is out of control and has NO respect for the animals or the people. They lack scientic knowledge and are ignorant of the scientific facts. Our only hope is that thru changing the toxic political environment in Washington will change the future of our horses both domestic & wild and other equines! However, we can never give up the fight!

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  2. This report is 377 pages

    A report presented to the National Academy
    of Sciences Committee to Review the
    Management of Wild Horses and Burros
    Prepared by:
    Animal Welfare Institute
    October 2012

    The NAS Study 4
    Summary of 1980 NAS report
    Summary of 1982 NAS report
    Summary of 1991 NAS report

    Science is integral to establishing AML as specified in BLM policy and guidelines.
    Indeed, as discussed in more detail below, a wealth of scientific information is required to be collected and analyzed to set or reevaluate AML. While the specific scientific data necessary to properly and credibly establish AML is debatable, the fundamental issue here is whether the BLM complies with its own policies, to rely on science to set AML.

    If the BLM had and disclosed all data used to establish current AML, the data itself could be subject to scientific analysis to determine if the BLM’s use and interpretation of the data is defensible. Without such data, the only possible scientific analysis of AML is to assess the credibility of the laundry-list of data that is supposed to be collected to set or reset AML, and the credibility of the collection procedures. As to the latter, although
    procedures are delineated, there are significant questions regarding their actual use in the field. While it is unclear if the data needed to set or adjust AML is collected, if it is collected, there are credible concerns about the veracity and completeness of the data, whether the data is up-to-date, and whether or how the data is used by the BLM to set orreevaluate AML

    Liked by 1 person

  3. THANK YOU Colt

    Farm Bill amendment disastrous
    APRIL 25, 2018

    An assault is underway on states’ authority to establish their own laws governing agriculture, American consumers, family farmers, farm animals and our environment. Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King’s measure, HR 4879, was recently added to the Farm Bill as an amendment, and it could effectively nullify hundreds of state laws, including laws passed by the people and Legislature of Oregon.
    For example, a rule prohibiting the importation of firewood that carries invasive pests into Oregon, and our laws regulating puppy mills or banning the sale of shark fins, would be at risk of being reversed. It could also nullify hundreds of other state laws across the country like those concerning animal welfare, food safety and inspection, labeling, pesticides and child labor.
    We must do everything in our power to ensure King’s amendment is not in the final version of the Farm Bill.
    Join me in urging Oregon Reps. Peter DeFazio, Greg Walden, Earl Blumenauer, Suzanne Bonamici and Kurt Schrader, and Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, to oppose this disastrous legislation.

    http://registerguard.com/rg/opinion/36680895-78/farm-bill-amendment-disastrous.html.csp

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