Saturday, April 14, 2007

Response to Tribune-Chronicle

April 13, 2007

John Parker
240 Franklin St. SE
Warren, OH 44482

Dear Mr. Parker,

In response to your editorial dated April 13, 2007 entitled 'Ban would lead to neglected horses' please consider this:

1. Horse slaughter is a violation of the

Humane Slaughter Act of 1958.

This Federal statute has been amended twice, most recently in 2002 when it was strengthened. This is the legal grounding of the anti-slaughter position. This is irrefutable and it is not possible to defend horse slaughter due to the stipulations of this statute. Therefore, it is illegal to slaughter a horse, or any other equid, in the United States of America.

2. The following zoos no longer feed horse meat to their carnivores:

Austin Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
Brookfield Zoo
Columbus Zoo

These zoos are aware of the drugs that horses ingest that saturate the tissues and are not fully purged by the body. Horse meat is simply dangerous to carnivores as well as humans.

3. Horse meat has not been an ingredient in domestic animal food for over 25 years, for exactly the same reason that all zoos are moving towards eliminating horse meat from their carnivore diets.

4. From the USDA web site regarding Federal Inspection:

"Numbers refer to the amount killed in Federally Inspected plants, and are not necessarily inspected."

The plants are not inspected on a regular basis, and that is a direct quote from the USDA web site. No animal is guaranteed federal protection or humane treatment while at the slaughterhouse.

5. The horse slaughter ban is a matter of Law, not an 'animal rights' issue. It is simply folly to assert that the Humane Society of the United States or PeTA will ever ban the slaughter of animals raised for food, which horses are not. PeTA may want people to convert to vegetarianism or veganism, however, that is a personal choice and not one that will ever be legislated.

6. A ban on horse slaughter will not lead to a ban on the production of food animals or the jobs associated with them.

7. Regarding the organizations that oppose HR 503 and S. 311, the American Quarterhorse Association breeders delivered over 120K live foals in 2006. The majority of horses slaughtered in the United States are American Quarterhorses. It follows logically that far too many horses are bred every year by the AQHA especially. How about legislating the breeding of horses?

8. The American Veterinary Medical Association classifies horses as companion animals. See the following brochure on the AVMA web site that discusses

'How do I know it's time?'

There is absolutely no question that the AVMA is catering to the cattle industry as they have many more bovines to care for than equids. The AAEP follows what the parent organization does. That these organizations support horse slaughter is contradictory.

9. Let us compare the native abilities of the food animals to the horses:

A. Horses have carried our cavalry into battle.

B. Horses, not bovines, porcines, lambs, or fowl, march in Presidential funeral processions.

C. Horses, not bovines, porcines, lambs, or fowl, are service animals as are the dogs on the K-9 units. There are over 90 horses on the New York City Mounted Police Unit and the Mounties do indeed make arrests with the assistance of their mounts. It is a felony to strike a police horse in New York City, Houston, and many states that have Mounted Police Units.

D. Horses are therapy animals for stroke victims, people with auto-immune diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, and for rehabilitation from accidents requiring the improvement of balance.

E. In 1973, 'Time' magazine awarded 'Secretariat' the Athlete of the Year. 'Secretariat' was a horse.

10. The 'Private Property' issue.

When a horse owner has his or her horse (or horses) stolen and slaughtered they suffer not only material harm, but psychological harm as well. These owners can never recover that which they have lost.

One cannot invoke the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution's 'Takings Clause' in this case as the mere existence of the slaughter industry enables the private property rights of horse owners to be violated via their horses being stolen and slaughtered.

11. Unwanted Horses

Only a handful of owners have directly taken their horse to a slaughterhouse for slaughter. The brand managers at the plants do NOT check the brands a horse may bear, or for microchips until after the slaughtering has been done. Horses are for sale and 'killer buyers' look for the youngest, healthiest horses in good weight. These horses would have been sold to a private owner if they could out bid a killer buyer.

Every horse that is spared from slaughter continues to contribute to the economy. Finally, slaughter is not 'euthanasia.'

Are you able to refute my argument based on a Federal statute and an amendment to the Constitution?


Ellen-Cathryn Nash
Founder & President
Manes and Tails Organization