Ban On U.S. Horse Slaughtering?

By: Lindsay Puccio
By: Lindsay Puccio

July 21, 2005

In three slaughter houses across the United States horses are being killed and the meat is being shipped to other countries for food.

In June the House of Representatives passed a bill banning the use of tax-payer money to support slaughter houses. Now a new bill, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, if passed, will ban the slaughter of horses all together.

"We're concerned about the horses welfare and how they're handled and how they are euthanized. We're satisfied that that is being done properly. There is USDA oversight at the plant," said Dr. Tom Lenz, a Veterinarian and the former President of the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

Dr. Tom Lenz feels the bill will only make it worse. He said the ban could result in less humane treatment of horses. "These horses are going to be abandoned and neglected," said Lenz.

The bill estimates that approximately 60,000 horses were slaughtered in the U.S. alone last year, but the question still remains, were they sick and old, or healthy and stolen.

"Horse theft is a real concern and it does happen on nice horse farms all over the country. People can come in and steal them and you have to track them down. If you don't have a microchip in them, which most of us don't, then how do you find your horse?" said Kim Schmidt, a horse trainer and owner of Grayson Farms.

However, some disagree. Lenz said brand inspectors look out for horse thieves. "They keep up on horses that are stolen around the country and they inspect every horse that comes into that plant," said Lenz.

Still some people feel horses are not meant for food, or to be slaughtered. "Horses are a symbol of beauty and honor and history and they're pets. We care for them and love them," said Schmidt.

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