U.S. horse slaughtering okay'd by Obama, Congress

Mechele R. Dillard's picture

Horse slaughter houses will again be opening in the United States, but the outcry from activists may not come as loudly as one would expect.

Horse slaughtering is again on the table in the United States.

Funding for inspection of horse slaughter houses was ended in 2006, which basically shut them down. This was done with the idea that more horse rescues would follow. However, that is unfortunately not what happened.

Patty Livingston, a horse rescuer in Bethlehem, GA, and president of the Georgia Equine Rescue League, spoke with 11Alive News in Atlanta about the controversial move of putting horse slaughterhouses back in business in the United States, supported by Congress and President Obama. The bill was sent to the president this month; he signed it on Nov. 18, allowing the slaughterhouses to get back to business in the U.S.

But, Livingston indicated that, horrible as it seems, it is the best of the options out there right now. "In 2006 I actually voted to shut them down, not knowing what that was going to mean for our horses," she said. The collapse of the economy led to more horse abuse, Livingston indicated, and abandonment has increased—as much as 60 percent in Colorado, she said, leading to rescue groups becoming overwhelmed and unable to deal with the problem of abandoned and abused horses in the United States.

Slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico have continued to demand horse meat since the U.S. slaughter houses shut down five years ago. So, many old and abandoned horses have been taken across the borders for slaughter—under less humane conditions, Congressman Jack Kingston (R-Savannah) pointed out to 11Alive News.

"In those facilities, particularly in Mexico, the USDA has no jurisdiction and we don't know what kind of facilities they are, if the horses are treated humanely," Rep. Kingston said.

Rep. Kingston did vote to allow horse slaughter houses to reopen, as did various Congressmen from both sides of the political aisle, allowing the bill to be signed by President Obama.

Surprisingly, some horse rescuers, like Livingston, do support the move as the lesser of the evils.

"The cruelty that they endure now is ten times worse than they ever endured when we had slaughter houses in this country," Livingston explained to 11Alive News.

There are over 9 million horses in the United States today; just over one percent, approximately 125,000 are slaughtered each year.

Image: Wikimedia Commons


Submitted by Stephanie M Sellers (not verified) on
America's horses helped build this great Nation. Let's work together to save them from slaughter. This is the best plan: First, cull all breeding incentives. This is upmost. Second, create a foal impact fee for all major horse breeders. Third, remove horses from USDA. These steps will gradually omit over-population and thus halt horse slaughter while making horses more valuable and redeeming their status as America's National Treasure. BUT the Agriculture USDA committee has recently pushed a move to keep horses open for meat inspection. Of course, I do not believe this was done without knowledge of our Representatives, but held as a team move like in a Judge's chambers. Like the New York Times is quoted, 'Horse Slaughter will only die with money.' Let's give it to them. Culling breeding incentives (crazy expenses we hand over to over indulged breeders who utilize horse slaughter to rid of horses that won't be champions) and then apply a foal impact fee. This will stop over population. And it will create MONEY. MONEY will stop horse slaughter! Mail petition from Horses as National Treasure with Stephanie M Sellers.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You will never stop back-yard breeders. Never. You might shut down the top breeding farms that breed good selection of horses, but never the person that has a horse with genetic problems to another genetic problem horse. What crap are you reading?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
You might want to reconsider your state about top breeding farms that breed good horse - where did HYPP come from? A top breed, if I am remembering correctly. And we breeder continue to breed the blood line - knowinig there are issues but the money is there so it will continue. I know of many "top breeders' who continue to breed horse that show a propensity for health issue, but again, the money is there. This is not to say that back-yard breeders aren't an issue. I guess I would rather buy that grade horse that might have a bit of a big head, or feet big enough to support there 1250 lb body that is going to give me 20 - 25 years of riding partnership that a highly bred picture perfect registered animal that is walking around on double OO feet that goes lame in 5 - 6 yrs

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Completely agree. The people who abuse and starve horses are the same ones who would be unaffected by your suggested sanctions imposed on known breeders. Slaughter-houses, however unpleasant, are the lesser of many evils in some situations. The other side of this coin is that reinstating slaughter will ALSO allow many local horse auctions to reopen - where many horses get a second chance. "Billy-bob" might get his starving horse out of the pasture and try to sell it at an auction, where there is a good possibility is could end up in a better home, not necessarily going for slaughter.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
Horrible people do horrible things everyday so now we pass bills to say that it is ok?! what crap are you supporting? you people disgust me.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
If anyone has an answer spit it out ! People are dumping horses and all kinds of animals right & left. The rescues can only handle so many & finding the funds to feed them is a huge challenge. We would all like to keep our rose colored glasses on and say no more slaughter but somebody needs to come up with a REAL solution on what to do with hundreds of thousand pound animals abandoned on roads, sale barns, boarding facilities, etc etc. You want to be part of the solution ? Work on it & quit pointing fingers & name calling.

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
ridden, shown, raced, raised, bred, trained, jockeyed, farriered, boarded, rescued, groomed, worked as a Equine tech, vet, nutrionist, farmed, instructed/coached, judged, AI'd, transported or even cleaned a stall. You don't have anything to say! The horses and the people that LOVE them need this more than anything. Have you ever seen a horse in pain, suffering, starving, sick, or worked with a horse that is so dangerous you fear for your safety, others safety? Well, then you don't "get it."

Submitted by Camelotfarm (not verified) on
Unfortunately, culling breeding incentives will never happen. It isn't the reputable breeders you have to worry about. Good horse still bring good $$. It's the 'backyard' breeder who impregnates anything with a uterus simply for the sake of doing so. It is virtually impossible to eliminate this, ignorance breeds ignorance. What DOES need to happen is policing of already existing laws for humane treatment. Laws ARE in effect that are supposed to keep horse slaughter as humane as possible, problem is, WHO is policing it??? Secondly, throw money at it; WHO is paying for this?? Certainly not MY tax dollars, NO thanks!!

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I 100% agree with you aint no way that my tax dollors are going to pay for the torture of innocent animals

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on
I 100% agree with you aint no way that my tax dollors are going to pay for the torture of innocent animals


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