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March 01, 2013

Horse Meat Talk Back: Daily Deception and Callous Cruelty

Today, Taco Bell became the latest European food retailer to be linked to the horse meat scandal. It has now affected some of the biggest brand names in food, and touched a dozen countries.

With Europe still roiled by the controversy, I did not expect to be writing about horse slaughter plants reopening in the U.S. I thought that the horse slaughter business, and its allies in the cattle industry, would have enough public relations sense to not float their ideas when the transgressions of horse meat traders are splashed across the front page of newspapers throughout the world.

AMERICAN_HORSES_TO_MEXICO_2_73331
Kathy Milani/The HSUS

But I gave them too much credit. The horse slaughter enterprise is not only predatory and deceptive, but possessed with a tin ear. In response to yammering and legal threats from the industry, the Obama Administration, according to a report by Stephanie Strom of the New York Times, is poised to process the application of Valley Meat Company, a would-be horse slaughter operation, in Roswell, N.M.

What’s also extraordinary is that the cattlemen’s organizations are also demanding that outcome - as if their daily machinery in the slaughter plants isn’t generating enough meat or profit. They want to slaughter the American horse, by God. It’s a puzzling position since a relatively small horse meat trade can put the entire beef industry at risk due to potential comingling of the products, as happened in Europe. Beef sales have dived in Europe and vegetarianism surged since the horse meat scandal hit. Do they not think the same scenario can play out here in the U.S.?

Here are your comments to some of my previous posts:

Thanks to HSUS and HSI for personally informing the EU that horse meat derived from American horses do not meet food safety standards. American horses are walking pharmacies and should never be slaughtered for food. It is wrong and puts people at elevated risk for cancer, hypersensitivity disorders and blood dyscrasias, especially in children. - Ann M. Marini, Ph.D., M.D.
When is everyone going to understand that the slaughter of horses is not safe for the human food chain and is not humane for the horses? - Linda Frame
It's time for the heinous slaughter of our horses to come to an end. They are loaded with toxins and it's a crime that governments continue to allow this meat to be both imported and exported. And yes, it is likely found in some of our products here in America. I'm done with ground meat and products that contain it until the system is cleaned up. - Lorri Roush Shaver
There are enough animals in this world raised specifically for consumption. It's about time someone is listening. Warnings apparently aren't enough and it takes the sharp edge of reality for people to finally take notice. It’s frustrating. - Denise McCabe
While opposed to slaughter of all animals, I find the slaughter of horses particularly sickening. The noble horse has been a servant of humankind for millennia; exploited for vehicles, entertainment, gambling, etc. Slaughtering horses for food is indicative of how low some human beings will slither to make money. - Ramona Janssen
My dad was raised on a farm, and we had a horse meat slaughterhouse approximately 45 minutes away in a small town. My dad was 95 when he passed away four years ago. I discussed this situation with him, and he told me that horsemeat should be forbidden. Raised on a farm, and of course eating meat, he greatly valued the lives of horses, saying they are highly intelligent and wonderful creatures. Passing horse meat off as beef is despicable. - Joanne
As someone who has been involved with horses for over 50 years from breeding and exhibiting to equine cruelty investigations and national campaigns against cruelty such as horse tripping in rodeos, I am gratified that finally the spotlight is being focused on this horrendous industry in a global way. The EU must be aware that almost ALL North American horses are administered phenylbutazone and other pain killers at some time in their lives....not just race and show horses but breeding, work, pleasure and geriatric horses. If you are perplexed by the EU's past reluctance to address this issue, just follow the money. - Deanna Rowan

Now would be a good time to contact your federal lawmakers to support legislation to ban horse slaughter for human consumption. And please call Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and urge him to deny permits to horse slaughter plants, because we Americans don’t countenance this killing of the animal who helped us settle the country.

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