Perverse Effects of the Horse Slaughter Ban

 Posted by on 22 December 2010 at 8:00 am  Animals, Politics
Dec 222010

On OEvolve, Robert O’Callahan reports on the suffering inflicted on horses because of the federal ban on horse slaughter:

This Western Washington farmer reports on how much harm that federal laws banning horse slaughter do:

“When we outlawed slaughter for horses in the USA we shifted some of the market to Canada, and some to Mexico, and for many horses, instead of being slaughtered in a regional plant that means a trip of many hundreds or a thousand miles before they’re slaughtered, often in cattle trailers that aren’t tall enough for the horse to stand upright — an uncomfortable journey, and certainly the last thing that the folks who outlawed the USA slaughter of horses had in mind.”

There isn’t much people can do with useless, but tasty, cheval. “I’ve been to several auctions in the past 3 months where horses have sold for between $1 and $10 each — 800 to 1,000lb animals.” At those prices, I would slaughter themself for my own freezer!

15% of the Snohomish county animal rescue budget is in taking care of seized horses. But then Bruce King’s suggested half-measure: “Maybe we should just license all horses and use the fees generated to fund the rescues that regularly appear. As a non-horse owner, I don’t see anything wrong with all horse owners chipping in to pay for their chosen animal. We do that for dogs and cats.” Grr. I realize that repealing the horse slaughter ban is pretty low on our agenda for repealing all government intrusion laws, but more government intrusion is not the answer!


In a recent post, Melissa McEwen discusses eating horse too.

I’ve ridden horses all my life, and I currently own the two horses pictured here: Lila and Tara.

I’m deeply attached to these horses. As with my general feelings of affection and concern for dogs and cats, that feeling encompasses all horses, to some extent. Yet I see nothing wrong with eating horses, provided that they were raised and slaughtered humanely. (Given my affection for horses, that would be important to me.) If they’re good to eat, they’re good to eat. And by all reports, they’re good to eat.

In contrast, I see so much wrong with the ban on horse slaughter.

Consider what this bleeding-heart ban does and does not do. It does not prevent the slaughter of horses, but merely requires the transport of horses to Canada or Mexico. As a result, it causes much suffering to the horses slaughtered, because they will be shipped long distances in often terrible conditions. Moreover, I imagine that the ban causes more suffering to old horses who could have been slaughtered, but instead are allowed to painfully linger into death. I’ve seen painful old age in my own horses, and I know that humane slaughter would be a blessing in that state. In fact, the farmer-blogger notes that very problem:

What faces many horse owners now is that there is just no good way to dispose of a horse that is lame, dangerous to ride, or that the owner simply cannot afford to keep any more. In my area there are several well-publicized cases of horses being slowly starved to death (there are horse animal hoarders) or abandoned. You take your own horse to a trail, go riding, and find your trailer filled with horses on your return.

As someone who loves horses, I find cold comfort in the fact that the advocates of the horse slaughter ban surely did not intend to cause such pain and distress to horses. Their noble motives are worthless to the horses suffering because of them, worthless to the owners of these horses, and worthless to every horse-lover.

The fact that the ban would result in such suffering could have — and should have — been known in advance. The advocates of this ban were willfully blind, and they are responsible for its ill effects. If they were truly concerned about the welfare of horses, they would agitate for its repeal. Instead, they’ll ignore the problem now that they’ve done their good deed — or they’ll demand more controls that will only conceal the problem — like banning the export of horses for slaughter.

That tells me that they’re more concerned about feeling humane than actually being humane. Speaking as a horse-lover, what deserves to be said about that isn’t fit to print.

Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha