Tuesday, February 16, 2010


Slaughter Alert Part Three

Under the Guise of Euthanasia

© Wild for Life Foundation
Part 1 of a 3 part series
Feb 15, 2010
By Katia Louise

Part 3 of 3: Under the Guise of Euthanasia

Pro slaughter lobby pushing to open horse slaughter plants in 23 states across the US

Article Highlights:

In a recent report by Animals’ Angels USA, where investigations of horse slaughter focused on conditions and treatment of horses at slaughter plants, auctions, feedlots and during transport investigations, it was found that “the instant a horse is designated a ‘kill horse’, handling and treatment change radically from that normally given horses.

• Auction employees use wooden sticks, striking horses with full range of motion and force
• auction workers hitting in face and jabbing in eyes
• transport driver whipping horses over the head, hips and legs

A 2008 report by the Canadian Horse Defense Coalition revealed unacceptable practices regarding the stunning and slaughtering of horses inside the plant. The CHDC report states, “They did not necessarily ensure accurate hitting of the horses with the captive bolt”; further that, “systemic neglect, cruel handling, poor slaughter practices, resulting in immense suffering.”

In 2004 the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the most frequent violation noted by inspectors in slaughter houses was ineffective stunning, meaning "in many cases ..a conscious animal reached slaughter" in violation of the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act.

The USDA affirms that, “Humane stunning procedures are required by the Humane Slaughter Act of 1978, and multiple stuns of an animal are considered INHUMANE.”

According to the Act, animals should be stunned into unconsciousness prior to their slaughter to ensure a quick, relatively painless death.

"The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected." -Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector

As reported by the USDA, ...FSIS observed deficiencies include: overcrowding of animals in holding pens resulting in animals not being able to get to the watering troughs; improper stunning of both normal and downer animals.

The USDA further reports that Employees in three of the five remaining plants used devices such as whips, a length of garden hose, or plastic tubing to drive the animals.

As documented by Animals’ Angels in their 2008 investigation of the Juarez, Mexico Horse Slaughter Plant, horses are killed with a “puntilla knife.(3) “Such a barbaric practice does not render the horse unconscious, it simply paralyzes the animal. The horse is still fully conscious at the start of the slaughter process during which the animal is hung by a hind leg, its throat slit and its body butchered.”(4) – Dr Nicholas Dodman BVMS, MRCVS, and Founding Member Veterinarians for Equine Welfare

Despite countless instances of documented cruelty ...law enforcement agencies continue to look the other way, fines are not enforced and America's dirty little secret goes on and on.

Proponents argue if horse slaughter plants were reopened in the US, that horses would be protected from cruelty by the Humane Slaughter Act which is enforced by the USDA FSIS inspectors; however findings indicate that inspectors have become paper pushers and don’t have access to the slaughter area on a regular basis. “We are the people who are charged by Congress with enforcing HSA, but most of our inspectors have little to no access to those areas of the plants where animals are being handled and slaughtered,” said Arthur Hughes, President of the National Joint Council of Food Inspection Locals.

Many policy makers are being mislead, and or bought out by special interests. Many of those who oppose a ban of horse slaughter have been misled to believe that there are allegedly too many so called “unwanted” and “excess” horses and/or that horse slaughter is purportedly humane.

Proponents are pushing for Americans “to accept and embrace the idea of using horse meat for human consumption”. Legislative action is mounting in 23 states encouraging foreign interests to invest in horse slaughter plants and there are aggressive lobbying efforts to reverse the court actions in Texas and Illinois to re-open horse slaughter plants.

Read Part Three in it's entirety HERE

Read part one of this report to get the facts about the UOH’s newest campaign effort; a nationwide so-called 'Do Not Slaughter' registry.

Read part two of this report to see how the humane argument as supported by the AVMA and the AAEP has been used to influence and mislead certain industry leaders and US policy makers.

Learn more:

Saving America’s Horses - A Nation Betrayed

Monday, February 15, 2010

Horsemeat Derived from Any U.S. Horse Can Never Be Regarded as Safe for Human Consumption

Fact Sheet: Medications and US Horsemeat
(courtesy of Veterinarians for Equine Wefare)

Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) welcomes the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's new policy regarding equine health and medical treatments, but also remains cautious about its actual implementation and impact.

The policy recently announced by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) with assistance from the Veterinary Drug Directorate (VDD) of Health Canada was in response to stricter requirements recently mandated by the European Union. The new policy states that, "it will be mandatory for all CFIA inspected facilities in Canada engaged in the slaughter of equines for edible purposes to have complete records for all animals (domestic and imported) presented for slaughter. These records will include unique identification for each animal, as well as a record of medical treatments administered to the animal for the six-month period preceding slaughter."

It is the united opinion of the VEW that it is beyond the scope of our profession to comment on the culinary practices of any person or country; however, consumer safety of meat produced in our country is very much a responsibility that veterinarians must carefully consider.

Horses, unlike traditional food animals in the United States, are not raised or medicated during their lifetime with the intent of one day becoming human food. Because American horses are not "intended" for the human food chain, throughout their lives they will often have received medications that are banned by the FDA for use at any time during the life of food animals. Click here for list of drugs prohibited for use in horses slaughtered for human consumption.

Approved use of medications in food animals is specifically contingent upon observation of recommended withdrawal times. Withdrawal times have been experimentally determined in traditional food animals; however, withdrawal times for these drugs have not been established in horses. Thus, medications that are FDA approved for use in traditional food animals come with specific withdrawal schedules printed on the packaging, while the same medications, purchased for horses do not include the requisite withdrawal schedule, but simply state "NOT FOR USE IN HORSES INTENDED FOR FOOD".

Unlike the United States, European Union and United Kingdom member countries have a distinct safety policy with regard to horses entering the food chain. All EU/UK horses must carry "equine passports" in which the animal is declared to be either "eligible for slaughter as human food ", or "not eligible for slaughter for human food".

Any EU or UK horse, which has ever received a medication that is banned for use in food producing animals, is forever prohibited from entering the food chain. All food animal approved medications that are prescribed and administered to horses in the EU or UK have strict withdrawal schedules printed on the packaging and all such medications must also be recorded on the equine passport. The EU/UK system is designed specifically to ensure the health and safety of humans that consume horsemeat. In contrast, even with the new CFIA policy American horses treated with medications that are absolutely prohibited by the EU will still be entering the food chain.

It is the strong position of VEW members that absent any formal regulation or structure by the United States with regard to medications and food safety withdrawal schedules for equines entering the food chain, horsemeat derived from any U.S. horse can never be regarded as safe for human consumption.

Furthermore, VEW member veterinarians strongly object to the AVMA and AAEP position in favor of horse slaughter for human consumption. For the AVMA and AAEP to condone the human consumption of meat derived from equines that have not been raised or medicated in a manner consistent with food safety regulations is, in our opinion, unethical, disingenuous, and dangerous.

Click here to view the entire CFIA policy and list of drugs covered. To read VEW's statement regarding our strong opposition to slaughtering horses for human consumption please visit http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Horse Slaughter - Research Proves It's a Demand Driven Business

Trends following the closing of the US plants show several unmistakable relationships. First,
horse slaughter is clearly driven by demand and not by the number of available horses or even
the slaughter capacity.  
By John Holland

For the Full Report:  Horse Slaughter Trends from 2006 through 2009

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What's It Going To Take To Save America's Horses

What’s it Going to Take to Save America’s Horses?
AAHS and WFLF Call On Congress To Step Up For Our American Horses

In a continuing joint effort, Americans Against Horse Slaughter and WFLF Humanion Films are calling on Congress to expedite passage of HR503, The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act which would end the slaughter of equines, both domestic and wild and halt the export of our horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

During the past Presidential election, then, Senator Obama pledged to support animal rights issues. “I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other and it's very important that we have a president who is mindful of the cruelty that is perpetrated on animals." Senator Obama said.

With strong track records on animal protection issues, both President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden co sponsored past legislation to end horse slaughter.

The BLM’s round of the Calico wild horses has become known as one of the most cruel and unwarranted wild horse roundups our country has ever witnessed. Hundreds of thousands of calls to the President by concerned citizens continue to be ignored.

Concurrently, our young and healthy horses (race horses, show horses, ponies and wild horses) continue to be transported across our borders to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered for the sole purpose of wealthy dinner plates overseas. The transport is cruel and inhumane as horses are shipped for days in crowded trucks going without food, water or rest.

The passing of federal legislation to end these cruel horse slaughter activities in America is long overdue. With support from the majority of the American people, we have to ask, “What’s it Going to take Mr. President, to Save America’s Horses?”

See the WFLF video clip presenting this question to the President.


Please take a minute to see if your U.S. Representative is already a cosponsor of H.R. 503 and if your two U.S. Senators are co sponsors of S727. If your Representative and Senators are not yet cosponsors, please make a call and ask them to cosponsor the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act.

To reach your federal legislators, please call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121, or for your convenience, you can use this toll-free number 800-828-0498 and ask for a legislator by name (or ask for extension, last 5 numbers of legislator's office phone)

WFLF Humanion Films is in production on the feature documentary film entitled “Saving America's Horses - A Nation Betrayed”. The mission of the film is for the protection of all equines from slaughter.

Humanion Films is the film label under Wild for Life Foundation (WFLF), a California nonprofit public benefit corporation organized for the purpose of protecting animals from cruelty and protecting wildlife from extinction.

Americans Against Horse Slaughter is a non funded grassroots movement comprised of constituents from all 50 States. Their only mission is to end horse slaughter and the transport of horses to slaughter through the passing of Federal legislation