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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.

Image Source: Pixabay

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4 comments on “Debunking Common Myths About Horse Slaughter and the Protection of America’s Wild Horses and Burros”

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5 Months Ago

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5 Months Ago

Where do you people get your "facts"? Slaughter is far more humane that what is happening to unwanted horses since the slaughter houses in the U.S. closed. Ill or injured horses are euthanized by most ethical owners. In my lifetime I have had more than one horse euthanized & donated to a wildlife park to feed their carnivores as long as there were no drugs onboard. If the horse was being treated for an illness then we had them put down & we buried them.
Problem is unwanted horses are being left to starve & die horrible slow deaths due to the fact that people don\'t have the guts to have their senior, ill or injured horses euthanized & there are no longer slaughter houses to take them. If they can\'t dump them with a "rescue" they just allow them to suffer & die. At least when the U.S. had slaughter houses the horses were slaughtered without being trucked hundreds of miles into Canada or Mexico, no food, no water then dumped out of the trucks into over crowded holding pens with no food & no water & slaughtered when they get around to it. Horses slaughtered in the U.S. did not have to be shipped hundreds of miles & as with cattle, sheep, pigs & goats, slaughter was carried out without the animals suffering for days & even weeks. In the U.S.animals held longer than 24 hours must have access to food & water because we have laws governing animal slaughter unlike Canada & Mexico.
There are horses "rescues" that are so over crowded they cannot afford to feed & provide vet care for all of them. More & more we see stories of these so called "rescues" on t.v. or in the news because they have horses who are starving, injured or crippled in a pasture with nothing to eat & the carcasses of other dead horses laying around. The more people see situations like that the harder time legitimate rescues have getting donations to care for the horses they have. People start thinking ALL rescues are just taking the donations for themselves & letting the horses die.
I get what you people are trying to do, but playing fast & loose with the facts is wrong & you can be causing more problems for REAL rescue organizations as well as for animals. Not every animal put on the planet was meant to live it\'s life munching clover & romping in meadows & humans were not put here to be vegetarians. If you choose to be, good for you, but you don\'t have the right to tell other that what they are doing is wrong when you will not accept people telling you that being vegetarian or vegan is wrong. I do wish all human started treating animals with respect & not starving them, abusing & neglecting them, but blaming slaughter & groups of people the way you are in this article is dishonest especially when you do not provide sources. You demonize ranchers, oil & gas, mining & gun lobbies (what they have to do with wild horses I don\'t know), but ranchers & hunters are the best conservationists on the planet next to loggers & timber companies. Ranchers & (ethical) hunters know & understand that proper animal/land management is essential for the rancher\'s livelihoods as well as animals for abundant healthy animals for hunters.
Your article says that some former mayor from Kaufman Texas claimed that crime went up, people, moved away, etc. but WHY would a slaughter house cause that? What years did this so called exodus occur, where is the proof that a slaughter house was the cause all of the ills the former mayor claimed? Perhaps she was a lousy mayor, perhaps it is due to the fact that Kaufman Texas isn\'t a real going concern with a pop. of about 6000 & being about 40 out of Dallas/Fort Worth, the land is still pretty much ranch land. If I remember right, there was no industry & not a lot of businesses in Kaufman, so how did an equine slaughter house coming to town cause the effects you & the former mayor claim?
Do you people realize that many of the "wild" horses are not descended from the wild horses that people like Wild Horse Annie fought to protect back in the 60s & 70s? There are so many domestic horses mixed into those herds that the blood of the true "wild" horses no longer exists in many of the roaming bands. A horse running free is NOT a wild horse.
If you want to do something for horses, go to Canada & stop them from breeding mares in order to get pregnant mare urine & when the foals are born, they are taken away & the mares are bred back again! The foals are slaughtered if they cannot be adopted out. And what do you think happens to all of the mares when they can no longer breed? Guaranteed they are not put out to pasture to live out their lives.
I appreciate what you are trying to do, but doing it honestly will get you more support than when people like me read your articles that contain some facts but also a lot of unsubstantiated claims & partial facts for affect.

Harry Mozen
5 Months Ago

Scientific facts do indicate that equine populations are destroying natural habitat for the natural denizens such as antelope, deer, etc. The herds need to be sterilized, as they are breeding too fast and their natural predator species have been eliminated. We euthanize cats and dogs, dogs our "best friend". Why not horses? Lack of funding.
Without the horse, human "civilization" would be nowhere near the advanced stage we find ourselves in today. We owe the loyal beast an eternal debt of gratitude, and it should be treated with great respect. But that doesn\'t mean letting it take over the natural environment.

26 Apr 2018

Sorry Harry, but the cattle that is being grazed on federal lands do more damage to the environment then the horses and burros.

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