The Obama administration has made the decision to process the application for horse slaughter inspections in a New Mexico plant. A number of organizations immediately criticized the Obama administration on the grounds that killing horses for human consumption is inhumane and also creates serious health risks to consumers.
Lending their voices to criticism are The Humane Society of the United States; ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals); Front Range Equine Rescue and Animal Protection of New Mexico.
Should the application for inspections be approved, Valley Meat Company will become the first horse slaughter plant in the United States to butcher horses for human consumption for five years.
This surprising move toward reopening a horse slaughter plant plays out against a scandal unfolding in the European Union, where consumers have been alarmed by the discovery in prepared food products of horse meat mislabeled as beef.
Is the author alone when she questions that the federal government is spending resources to mess around with horse slaughter plants at a time when sequestration is looming large and spending cuts could affect food safety inspections for U.S. meat products?
There have been numerous and legitimate concerns raised about health risks associated with horses that have been treated with drugs and are killed with drugs in their systems.
A number of people have already spoken out about the decision to fund inspectors in New Mexico:
Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA Government Relations
If the USDA moves forward with allowing the cruel and toxic horse slaughter industry to enter our country, this administration is leading our nation in precisely the wrong direction. Recent polling shows that 80 percent of the American public overwhelmingly opposes the slaughtering of horses for human consumption, and given the current firestorm of concern and outrage over horse meat entering the food supply in Europe, it is time for Congress to prevent even one more American horse from suffering this terrible fate and stop horse slaughter in the U.S. once and for all.
Hilary Wood, president of Front Range Equine Rescue
The slaughter of American horses for meat is an unnecessary and tragic end for these icons of our nation’s history. American horses will suffer cruel deaths in New Mexico and will continue to be slaughtered abroad. Horse slaughter also brings a potentially toxic environmental threat to the state, with horses’ lives ending with a terrifying death, to be turned into an expensive and possibly toxic dinner.
Lisa Jennings, executive director of Animal Protection of New Mexico
New Mexicans have repeatedly rejected the idea of a horse slaughter plant in our state. Horses are a valuable part of our heritage, and we’re determined to develop a robust safety net for them, not condemn them to slaughter.
Gary K. King, New Mexio’s Attorney General
I still oppose the opening of a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico, and I am concerned about the impact it would have on local consumers. The horse meat scandal in Europe has raised concerns about human health risks associated with consuming the meat of U.S. horses. Many horses may have been treated with drugs prohibited by U.S. and European regulations from ever being administered to animals that enter the food chain. A horse slaughtering plant in our state that produces meat for human consumption is still a bad idea.
Ray Powell, D.V.M., New Mexico State Land Commissioner
As a veterinarian, natural resource manager, and someone who has had the great good fortune to grow up with and around horses, I am very concerned about their health and safety. If a horse is hurt, terminally ill, or has no chance to find a loving home, then humane euthanasia is an important option. I am told the United States Department of Agriculture is considering the proposal to open a horse slaughtering facility in our state. Since we do not have enough unwanted horses in New Mexico to make this economically viable, it means horses would be trucked in from across the nation. We do not have the safeguards and oversight in place to ensure their humane handling, transport, and euthanasia. New Mexico can do much better by these intelligent and gentle creatures and I strongly oppose this ill-conceived proposal.
HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue
Horses are not raised for slaughter in the U.S. and are often treated with a variety of drugs that are prohibited for use in animals slaughtered for human consumption. There is no system in the U.S. to track medications given to horses to ensure that horse meat is safe for human consumption. The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have petitioned the USDA and Food and Drug Administration to declare American horse meat unfit for human consumption because of this food safety issue. The FDA and USDA have not yet responded to the petitions.
The HSUS and Front Range Equine Rescue have already announced their intention to file suit if USDA approves Valley Meat’s application.
President and CEO of HSUS
Slaughtering horses for human consumption is archaic, inhumane and unsafe, given the medicine chest of drugs often administered to horses and prohibited for human consumption. It is astonishing that we may see the resumption of horse slaughter on U.S. soil while Europe is still reeling from a horse meat scandal. Have we not learned anything about the industry’s deception in Europe and the turmoil it has caused?
Valley Meat sued the USDA in order to move its application faster so they could start slaughtering horses. The U.S. beef industry put in its intervention on behalf of Valley Meat! Beef sales are down so why are beef producers risking consumer confidence to prop up the marginal horse slaughter trade?
The HSUS, ASPCA, FRER and APNM urge Congress to reintroduce and swiftly pass legislation to outlaw horse slaughter in the U.S. and ban the export of live horses across our borders to be slaughtered.
Stop this before it starts. After all, we do have the opposing numbers. We must put lack of concern aside because this attack on our horses is readl and fight for our horses. They’ve never needed us more!
HSUS - Stephanie Twining, 301-258-1491, firstname.lastname@example.org
ASPCA - Rebecca Goldrick, 646-291-4582, Rebecca.Goldrick@aspca.org
FRER - Hilary Wood, 719-481-1490, email@example.com
APNM - Elisabeth Jennings, 505-265-2322, firstname.lastname@example.org
Source: Humane Society
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