“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Say WHAT????

I was truly amazed by how fast the comments in the recent, now infamous, slaughter debate escalated past rational or sensible. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre script writers were called to arms. They even borrowed a couple from the Poltergeist and Exorcist writers. We even had raw sewage in the form of blood coming from shower heads and faucets. I was left to ponder the nagging question of which is the sickest puppy? The person thinking this crap up or the one paying attention to it, until now this only came to mind when watching the trailers reality TV show or a particularly bloody “action” movie.
We had one particularly eloquent poster with no “facts” documented, imagined, or otherwise contrived but plenty of name calling and the narcissist idea we made this all up to get back at Kathy Atkinson. It’s not a secret I think Fugly is nothing more than a foul mouthed megaphone for everything wrong with the new age horse mentality culture but that isn’t the point. It appears I am not alone. I ran across this the other day http://uenduphere.blogspot.com/ . Not super informative but funny in a “just desserts” sort of way…
Those responding lead me to believe the American public truly thinks their food comes from the green plastic grass garnishing the coolers at Wal-Mart. Just springs up like little meat flavored mushrooms. It’s assumed when I compare horses to cattle I am lowering my horses to “slabs of beef”. Quite the opposite, I am trying bring these rabid humanitarians an awareness they should already have about cattle and other “food” animals. The process so barbaric when happening to a horse is done 390 times an hour in high speed cattle slaughtering plants, every day of the year. The beef industry, both packers and producers, have worked extensively to make this process better for all. http://www.grandin.com/USDA.FSIS.humane.slaughter.act.enforcement.html The main interest of the packers may be more black ink but better is still better no matter the reason. I suspect allowing traditional meat animals the identity to think, feel, and react to stress and pain would alter the perception of their little worlds. The study of how these animals react to their world is explained very well in this study of handling techniques http://www.grandin.com/references/new.corral.html . No it is not about horses.
The verbal brawl following the horse market opinion column raised a lot of pertinent issues for me. I will be unable to combine them all in one blog post so have decided to address the issues one subject at time. Even the correct term with which to describe the horses in question is hotly debated. Our anti-slaughter friends claim the unwanted horse title was dreamed up by pro-slaughter people. Why does it matter?
First topic, the overwhelming impression anti-slaughter legislation is supported by all educated and humane thinking persons involved in the horse industry leaving only breeders, breed associations and those with some hidden agendas to fabricate tales of pro-slaughter propaganda. The increase in abuse and abandonment are all figments of this same propaganda.
Information is linked to the website from which it is quoted and is available in its entirety on those sites. I feel it is important to back up all information being passed on as factual. “Because I said so”, is not a good reason to believe everything you are told anywhere outside the land of “MOM”.
The AAEP membership. When polled, 85 percent of our membership voiced their support for maintaining humane slaughter as option for horse owners, to be used when horse owners are unable to select one of the other alternatives such as adoption.
The American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) is the world’s largest professional organization dedicated to equine veterinary medicine and is a leading medical authority on the health and welfare of the horse. The AAEP is comprised of nearly 10,000 veterinarians and veterinary medical students who dedicate their life's work to caring for the horse. The AAEP brings together all of its assets from veterinary medical practice, academia, regulatory medicine and research in the pursuit of one mission – to protect the health and welfare of the horse.
The AAEP believes that horse processing is not the ideal solution for addressing the large number of unwanted horses in the U.S. However, if a horse owner is unable or unwilling to provide humane care and no one is able to assume the responsibility, euthanasia at a processing facility in a manner designated as humane by the American Veterinary Medical Association is an acceptable alternative to a life of suffering, inadequate care or abandonment.
H.R. 503/S. 727 and its supporters are well intentioned, but passage of this legislation without adequate funding or infrastructure in place to care for unwanted horses will create a series of negative and harmful consequences. Therefore, the AAEP opposes H.R. 503 and S. 727.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported that 102,260 horses were euthanized for processing in this country alone in 2006, the last year that the U.S. horse processing plants were open for an entire fiscal year. The total number of U.S. origin horses processed in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, increased from 138,206 in 2006 to 140,911 in 2007. Presently the processing plants are closed in the U.S. and the only option for many of today’s unwanted horses remains processing at a facility in Mexico or Canada. Since the 2007 U.S. plant closures, the number of horses being abused, neglected and abandoned, according to many reports, has increased. In the state of Colorado alone, equine cruelty investigations increased by 40 percent in 2007, according to the Colorado Unwanted Horse Alliance’s “Colorado Unwanted Horse Environmental Assessment” of 2008.
U.S. horse trade has experienced a significant shift since the closure of the domestic horse processing facilities. USDA estimates that U.S. exports of horses to Mexico for processing increased from 11,080 head in 2006 to 58,731 in 2008, a 430 percent increase, and exports to Canada rose from 24,866 head in 2006 to 49,895 head in 2008, a 100 percent increase.
This a from an article in the Draft Horse Journal again, please feel free to follow the link to read the entire article. http://www.drafthorsejournal.com/summer2009/lawandhorses.htm
Since the closing of the processing plant in DeKalb in 2007, the Illinois Department of Agriculture has received 730 reports of neglect and abuse in 2008, compared to 461 in 2006. In 2007, the year the plant closed, the number of neglect and abuse complaints rose to 681.
Dr. Temple Grandin, an associate professor of animal science at Colorado State University, called the conditions at horse slaughtering plants in Mexico, “hideous” where horses are many times stabbed in the neck. Grandin stated, “I’m not saying that our horse slaughter plants are problem-free, but even a poorly-run slaughter plant in the U.S. would be preferable to horses going down to Mexico.”
This is an interesting interview with Temple Grandin on the web site http://discuss.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/zforum/01/nation_meat041001_riley.htm . it is primarily about humane slaughter for the traditional meat animals it does make references to horse slaughter such as:
Bronx, NY: What are the differences in slaughter methods for horses and cows? Does a slaughter house that processes both species use the same equipment on them? If not, what are the differences?
Dr. Temple Grandin: First of all, horse slaughter is covered by the Humane Slaughter Act. They use the same methods as cattle. In the U.S., horse slaughter is performed in separate plants, and horse slaughter, when it's done correctly, can be done really well -- just as with cattle. Horse slaughter uses captive bolt stunning, and the plants are very similar to cattle plants.
New York, NY: Are more horses showing up in the slaughter houses, now that mad cow and hoof-and-mouth hit Europe?
Dr. Temple Grandin: Horse slaughter is a controversial area. If all horse slaughter plants were shut down, there would be more neglect of old horses, and many old horses would end up going to Mexico, where their welfare would be much worse than going to a U.S. horse slaughter plant.
Obviously, this interview was quoted before 2007 but the point is still valid. Maybe even more so now.
According to a USDA quote I read recently, there are 815 fixed auctions operating in the country. Throughout the year, and especially coming into fall as we are now, these auctions will sell many thousands of horses and literally millions of cattle (I haven’t taken time to research the exact counts). The HSUS is doing an impressive job of smearing them all with claims against less than ten. Counting the Sugarcreek scandal with horses and four downer cattle claims the total I have been seeing in my Google searches is five. Considering the number of animals handled and Murphy’s law as it applies to livestock, these businesses are doing an excellent job.
written by RH1


  1. Another well written, informative article. Thanks for dealing with the responses one topic at a time. Otherwise, it would be too difficult for anyone to get through. The opinion piece generated many comments, some making absolutely no sense. My wish then, as now was that those commenting would have read the complete article, and commented on that.
    We need to start somewhere with a dialogue. At some point, someone needs to be willing to look past the preconceived notions they have about all of us as a group.
    Only then, can we move forward to solutions that will truly be in the best interests of the horses, instead of those who claim to love them more than those of us they perceive to be on the wrong side.

  2. I just stood a couple of feet from horses that raced in front of thousands of people, plus millions of TV viewers, for the $1,000,000 Travers Stakes in Saratoga Springs.

    To imagine that any of these magnificent creatures, trained and trusting, might be taking the 48 hour double deck trailer ride in a few years is unimaginable. Yet many wanted horses fall through the cracks several years, several sales down the line. Regardless of their history, or what their original owners want, they are all treated the same - brutally - in their last days.

    Regardless of the beliefs of Ms. Grandin, who draws her paycheck from Micky D's, the fact is horses are different from cattle. Even Ms. Grandin does not like the leg shackle method used in horses; that was missing from your quote.

    The new version bovine captive bolt, shortened to prevent as much brain matter from getting in the bloodstream and spreading BSE (mad cow) is notoriously ineffective with horses. Many regain consciousness. Many are subject to multiple stunnings. None of them is given a head restraint, even though the rules for "Captive" bolt require it. This allows them to scream and thrash and have incomplete stunning.

    These are direct violations of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. If the pro-slaughter minority wants to slaughter horses legally, they need to go ask their Legislators to repeal that law, and see how far they get.

  3. All the energy spent on horse slaughter... nobody likes it, we do agree on that.

    How 'bout we find alternatives to it, now that we know the EU won't be accepting our drugged horses pretty soon like they used to. Those deadlines are looming.

    Breed registry fees to cover adoption and retirement? Will that discourage puppy mill style overbreeding like accused animal abuser Ernie Paragalllo, the breeder who had 200 or so starving horses, and sent some of them to slaughter?

    Paragallo's a perfect example of how slaughter and abuse go hand in hand. It should be a wake-up call for a new way of thinking.

    In Honk Kong to register a horse to race you need to pony up $40,000 for retirement. Matched by their Jockey Club.

    We need a paradigm shift here in the US. What we are doing now is not working. If the market does not need all the horses being bred, and the EU doesn't want them with all the routine - and underground - meds when we're done with them, why breed so many?

    Again, breed registry fees to go into a sinking fund for future costs. One idea.

    Other ideas?? Folks in the horse business, step up and be heard. How are YOU solving your "unwanted horse" problem? How will you deal with the drop in demand for US horse meat now that the EU is cracking down on meds? What are some new ways of thinking?

  4. Susan, I agree that there needs to be a more humane method of Slaughter.
    I own a horse myself, and in order to be assured that my wishes for him are carried out, I retain ownership to him. That's what other owners need to do, also. If they sell their horse, it is no longer their decision what happens to the horse. I understand that is difficult for some people to grasp, but it's a fact they need to deal with.
    We on the Pro horse side feel that horses going to Canada and Mexico are treated far more inhumanely than they were ever treated in America. We can't understand why there are those on the Anti Slaughter side who seem to accept the fate they had a hand in bringing about for American horses as necessary when we could be working towards building plants here, and regulating transport and Slaughter.
    You stated that you watched a race where horses competed for $1,000,000. Given the facts that so many of these horses are started so young, and broken down before even making it to the track, and that even the ones who do make it are often injured and then discarded by those who aren't making a profit on them, don't you feel just a little like a hypocrite supporting that industry?

  5. Outside the Box-We agree, we're tired of spending so much time on this issue. Those of us who actually own horses miss the time we could be spending with them instead of fighting for our rights.
    We've been discussing the EU regulations, and there are options that some may not like. One of these is the emergence of a feeder market of horses that will not be given wormer, drugs, or vaccines. Since these horses will be in demand, there will be those who will supply them, and make a profit.
    The last update I read on the EU regulations discusses pushing the date from April to July 2010, with a request of more drugs to be added to the list. There will also have to be a time period for complianc. I read in one article it may be as long as 3 years.
    The Slaughter and abuse argument is not one everyone believes in. Those of us who have owned horses for a long time know that there are those who, for reasons we can't always understand, abuse and neglect their horses. We have laws on the books to deal with them, and those laws need to be enforced. Mr. Paragallo is a perfect example of a person who needs to have the laws of his state fully enforced, and hopefully will never own a horse again.
    It makes about as much sense to compare Slaughter to abuse as it would to compare Rescue to abuse. You could just as easily point out the 3 Strikes disaster, or any number of stories we read about or see on the news concerning "Rescues" that abuse, neglect, and in some cases, kill horses.
    What we need to do here in the U.S. is allow those who own horses to make all of the decisions concerning their horses without interference from the Government, or groups that feel they have the right to make our decisions for us. As long as we are not breaking laws, such as abusing or neglecting our horses, any end of life decision we make concerning our horses should be a private matter, and not subject to interference from anyone else.
    While the idea to simply stop breeding may make sense to those who are not actually involved in the horse world, those of us who are know that there are many bloodlines that we need to preserve so that if we ever DO get out of this mess, there will be good horses. Contrary to what some think, there is a lot that goes into a good breeding program, and anyone paying attention knows that a lot of the responsible breeders have already cut back.
    We've discussed gelding incentive programs, in fact. we talked about them a few years ago. We've discussed training programs for mares so they are useful as more than baby machines. And though some will scream and fight about it, we need to encourage people to attend sales, and buy horses. The "Rescues" and the Feedlot businesses that are making profits on horses that could be bought for a fraction of what they charge are taking advantage of people. And if people attend the sales themselves, and save on the inflated prices, perhaps more horses would make it into homes. We've discussed the necessity of training, even in this market.
    And as much as there are those who hate it, we may as well face the fact that Slaughter is going to exist. We can have it here in America, where we can regulate it, as well as the transport, or we can continue to send our horses to foreign countries. To me, it makes more sense to have it here, and become a model for other countries to follow.
    My hope is that we can bring the market back around, and help people see that horses are actually enjoyable to own. If we can resolve this issue, and people can feel comfortable about being able to buy a quality horse at a decent price, I think we can turn things around.
    The first thing we have to do, though, is be allowed to accept all of the privileges and responsibilities of horse ownership without the interference some are trying to force on us right now.
    We all know there are some terrible people in the Equine community. I think we have plenty of proof that they exist on both sides of the issue. To try to blame and punish the Po horse side is unfair, and will not accomplish anything.

  6. Um,

    Facts? Cowboy you need a dictionary. As a member of both the AAEP and AVMA, I can assure you that neither organization has pooled their membership on the issue of horse slaughter.

  7. Rita, one thing you fail to acknowledge in your post is that there are just as many folks in the horse industry working to ban horse slaughter, if not more, than those wishing to keep it. Horse slaughter isn't necessary to the horse industry, no one has proven that it is. From my point of view, horse slaughter is a black cloud looming over the horse industry causing irreparable damage and is abuse in an of itself. Many conscientious breeders, trainers who train and resell horses, have severely curtailed or even stopped these activities due to the threat of horse slaughter. The horse industry should be maintained by those who care about horses and assume lifelong responsibility for the lives they produce, not by those who are just in it for the money. The anti-horse side has argued that no one raises horses for slaughter, that it's a "safety net" for excess, unwanted horses. If that were true, why now then are the anti-horse folks scrambling to come up with a plan to meet the EU requirements? Why dont' you just tell the truth for once? This isn't about horse welfare, it's all about making a buck from their flesh. Imagine if the puppy mill dog breeders were to try to do the same with dogs, people would be lining the streets to stop them. Why should our American horses be any different? We are tired of living in fear that our horses may be bought or stolen and end up in the slaughter pipeline, which is just as bad a form of animal abuse as neglect and abandonment in our eyes. Slaughter does not prevent abuse/neglect/abandonment; it hides, rewards and pertuates it.


  8. You say in your first paragraph, "They even had raw sewage...blood coming out of faucets and shower heads." You should have been there--really.

    The horse slaughter plant FORCED blood, sewage, grease, offal and 'paunch manure' into the sewer lines with powerful pumps. This caused small cracks in the lines sufficient for large quantities of blood to come up through the asphalt and pool in the streets and ditches in the neighborhood behind the plant. Politically and economically disempowered, residents had to endure this horror.

    Virtually no one had 'backflow devices' on the lines coming into their homes so blood, sewage, grease, offal and 'paunch manure' came into the homes. Typically it came into the toilets and bathtubs.

    You seem determined to just not 'get it,' ridiculing facts and believing or pretending to--that horse slaughter is a form of euthanasia...

    --when in fact horse slaughter IS a horse's worst nightmare.

    I've seen it, heard it, and I know that to believe otherwise is to condone something terrible. I wish you would wake up.

    Paula Bacon
    Former Mayor
    Kaufman, TX

  9. mousemistresz... I think one of the biggest misconceptions concerning this issue is that there are those who wish to keep Slaughter. There ARE those, like the Pro Slaughter side, who understand that Slaughter will always exist, and wish to control how and where American horses are taken. I have found those who have dealt with the reality that it has, does, and will happen, and that we are responsible for that end when it comes. Mexico and Canada are not the answer. Humane plants in America are.
    Horse Slaughter is part of the Industry, and sets the base price for the market. We've discussed this many times. In some way, shape, or form, the kill market always will. You can give it a nice name, but it will remain the kill market. Again, reality.
    You're entitled to your opinion, I just don't agree. There are those who will abuse and neglect animals, including horses, and it has not one thing to do with Slaughter. If it did, how do you explain Jason Meduna and 3 Strikes? This man operated a Rescue supported strongly by many on the Anti Slaughter side. How about Orphan Acres? How about the Rescues we read about on a regular basis that end up abusing, neglecting, and in some cases, even killing the horses entrusted to their care? We can make the very same connection to Rescue and abuse.
    Slaughter is still here, just more horrific thanks to the Anti side, so I don't see how any actions Breeders, Trainers, or dealers have taken can be related in any more than an indirect way to it. We've long said that due to the Economy, coupled with the Anti side's shortsighted actions on the Slaughter front, there could not have been a worse time to cause a further drop in the market, but those who have always acted responsibly, did what they always do.
    Those actually involved in the Equine community watch trends, the market, and the economy, and try to adjust. Any business would. So it is not a shock to see them cutting back.
    I think the Equine Industry should be maintained by those who have an actual stake in it. Those who own horses, and those who have Equine related businesses. I know it is very difficult for some to understand that once a horse leaves your possession, it is no longer yours to control, but that is a fact. Those wishing to provide forever homes for their horses are free to do so. Those who cannot must deal with reality. And it does seem that those on the Pro horse side are a little more forgiving when looking at the situations those looking to sell or give their horses away have found themselves in as of late.
    It should not come as a shock to anyone that there are those in the Equine industry to make money. It gets more than a little tiring to hear it spoken of as a sin. If you stop and think about it, a person caring about their horse will spend the extra money on well made tack, trailers, trucks, etc. It's not a status symbol, as some see it. It is an investment in the comfort and well being of the horse. And supporting the Equine indsutry keeps it strong.
    Why would the Anti side feel the need to scramble to make plans to meet EU requirements? I suppose you've learned nothing from the closing of the plants in America. I know you don't want to hear this, but there are already those purchasing and picking up free horses in preparation for the feeder market. And yes, there is a profit to be made. I don't think anyone has ever disputed that.
    I wouldn't want anyone to live in fear. All you can do is educate yourself as much as possible, and protect yourself and your horse as best you can.
    The Slaughter pipeline can just as easily be the re-homing pipeline. We need to be fair about that.
    Slaughter is what it is- part of the Equine Industry, nothing more or less. Abuse, neglect, and abandonment exist independant of it, and need to be dealt with as the separate issues they are. It makes more sense to enforce the laws to protect the horses before they are in poor condition. It's often too late by the time they reach the sales.

  10. Paula, If this happened it is certainly unacceptable, and the plants need to do something about it.
    I know this is a tough subject, and it is difficult to separate the unsanitary conditions of the plant from the necessity of celan, well regulated, well run plants in the United States. There are those of us who feel plants in the United States are a better alternative than the foreign plants that American horses are sent to. Slaughter is not going away.
    I think we can work together to decrease the number of horses going to the plants, and insist on humane, clean, well maintained plants.
    No one should have to deal with the conditions you described.

  11. Rita, have you not seen the USDA FOIAs and numerous investigative reports into what horse slaughter conditions were like in the US before the plants closed? Do you not recognize abuse when you see it, or are you turning a blind eye? Abuse is abuse, whether it is slaughtering a horse or starving it. The two have nothing to do with each other, as you are apparently aware.

    The foreign owned plants operating in the US were no more humane than those in Canada or the EU approved plants in Mexico. And, we were still shipping horses to Canada and Mexico before the US plants closed, by the thousands. Why weren't you anti-horse folks complaining then? All of a sudden, it's better to have them killed here. Uh, no, it isn't and it never was. It may make you feel better to believe it, but it simply is not true.

    I did not imply that it is a sin to make money in the horse industry, but it is wrong to take blood money for animal that has been raised as a pet, taught to trust people and trained to perform a service, and ship it to a horrible death when it strikes your fancy. It is the ultimate betrayal of an animal that has served mankind and been a partner and a friend. There are plenty of breeders & trainers who do not rely on horse slaughter as part of their business plan. They are just as eager to see horse slaughter end. Ending slaugher will weed out those that do, which can only benefit the horses and the horse industry.

    The dog industry does not rely on dog slaughter to dispose of unwanted dogs. The horse industry does not need to either. Are their a handful of people living in the US who kill and eat their dogs? Probably... but we don't use that as an excuse to open a dog slaughter plant and invite our foreign neighbors to run it. In the minds of most Americans and American horse owners, the horse occupies a similar role in our history and family life, and is entitled to the same protection as the dog. Good grief, we don't even eat our cats and they are merely companions and mouse catchers for the most part.

    You say that horse slaughter will continue despite a federal ban? Where is your proof that this will occur? It's true that some people will break the law no matter what laws are enacted, are we then to throw up our hands and not have any laws? That's crazy.

    Rita, I am not buying what you're selling, sorry. Your spiel is almost ver batim to the testimony that the Belgians gave a few years ago before the plants closed. Are you aware of that? It didn't ring true then, and it still doesn't today. The US does not need the Belgians et al to set the floor price on our horses, for crying out loud. A well bred, well trained horse will always command a good price in a good market.

    End horse slaughter. Weed out the indiscriminate, irresponsible breeders and allow those who breed carefully and conscientiously to maintain our bloodlines. It can be done, and done profitably. The horse industry will benefit and so will American horses.


  12. Yes, we've talked about those, and agree that the plants need to have more humane methods, and better conditions. Many on the Pro horse side were working towards that end when some on the Anti side chose to work towards closing the plants in America. We all know how that turned out for American horses.
    I know it suits the Anti Slaughter rhetoric to say that those on the Pro horse side were doing nothing to improve things before the plants were closed, but it just isn't true. You can say it all you want, it won't change the facts.
    Some raise horses as pets, many don't. That's what some on the Anti side still can't understand. They continue to try to force their mindset on everyone. It doesn't work. I've yet to meet anyone who sent a horse to Slaughter because it "struck their fancy". That's just another Anti Slaughterism meant to work on the emotions of people. The majority of horse owners are responsible people who have a lot of time, care and emotion invested in their horse. The end of life decisions they make are not easy ones, and there is no set right one. Nor are those decisions the business of anyone but the owner of the horse. Those who do not rely on Slaughter are not required to use it. That's one of the great things about living in a free country, the right to choose. Every person should have it. The fact that you dislike one of the choices should not remove it for all horse owners.
    We'll discuss the dog industry another time, as that's a whole different can of worms. And there are those who would disagree on your assessment of the cat's place in the heirearchy. Again, a discussion for another day.
    Of course Slaughter will continue. Do you think Canada and Mexico are closing down their plants?
    And do you see any real enforcement of a transport ban? Riding horses will continue to cross the border every day. Wait and see. It doesn't take a whole lot of imagination to figure out what happens to the riders once they are across the border and away from our protection. But no one on the Anti side wants to hear that.
    As long as there is a demand, there will be a supply. Of course we need laws, but lets have some common sense about it, and stop trying to legislate the morality of everyone because of the actions of a few.
    You don't have to buy anything. And if you think a well bred, well trained horse is bringing a good price today, you must have a really different set of standards than most of us. The market has tanked, and there are lots of well bred, well trained horses that aren't bringing what they're worth. Take a look on any message board, newspaper classified, attend a sale, or just stop in at a feedlot. Of course, you did put in the qualifier.....a good market. Haven't had one of those for quite some time.
    I'd love to end Slaughter. But I'm smart enough to know you don't try to grab the boat as it goes over the falls, you stop it at the beginning of the stream. There are so many things we could be doing to decrease the number of horses that end up in situations that make them susceptible to Slaughter.
    Many of the indiscriminate breeders would not be here had it not been for the cheap horse that became available when the Anti side helped pull the bottom out of the market.
    How about taking some responsibility for your part in this?
    And why not take a good look at some of the Rescues that many of you fund? They are far worse than any Slaughter plant dreamt of being. Then, maybe we can talk.

  13. In response to the upping the fee's of registration, don't think that will work. I sell around 40 horses a year, produce about 35 to 40 foals a year. Sell all my horses from my ranch. Do not take any to the sales. They are all registered horses and I would guess that about 60 percent of them never get transfered into the buyers name.

    With the economy the way it is, I know of a large number of producers who are selling their horses with open registation forms. In other words they are not even spending the money to register their own horses. They are letting the buyer pay for the original registry fee plus the transfer fee, which the majority of them will most likely not do. Some breeders are even making the buyer pay for the coggins and health paper.

    This is something I do not do, but there are many breeders who do.

    As to humans eating horse meat, I ran across this article out of Florida:


    I even read an article which I can't find now about rescued horse facilities are getting leary that those wanting to slaughter for the black market are working the free horse facilities.

  14. Blaze,I agree about the registry fee. There were registration papers that were not transferred before. If something like this is put into effect, and once again, the responsible people are punished for the actions of the few irresponsible ones, even more papers will not be transferred. I suppose the answer then will be some sort of Legislation demanding that papers be transferred, and the need for someone to make sure it is done.
    I agree, we are seeing more "grade" horses already because of the economy. This will just make their numbers increase.
    Why do something to further financially strap the already faltering industry? Makes no sense.
    I read the article, it was sad and disturbing. I hope those involved are caught and prosecuted.
    This is an example of those few people who are irresponsible, and do not do the right thing. Unfortunately, it is the actions of these people that those of us who are Pro horse are judged upon.

  15. Paula, As the mayor of Kaufman you need to be working on updating the sewage system. The problems they were having is more the fault of the people who do not provide proper updated sewage treatment plants and systems than the fault of a company that used the system. If said company was breaking the laws and regulations of said system then they should be held accountable, pay repairs, and the regulations need to be enforced. It has nothing specifically to do with horse slaughter and everything to do with poor sewer systems and lack of enforcement.

  16. As for the FOIA comments. People, do you NOT understand that those pictures were taken to prosecute the offenders?! YES we all know abuse exists, we all know that not everyone follows the rules. This happens in every aspect of life not just horses. Those pictures were taken in an effort to catch and prosecute the offenders of the laws. I guess no one thought they should also be taking pictures of the thousands of horses that come off the trailers of the law abiding citizens to prove that there are people who DO follow the rules. Those pics weren't needed because those thousands of instances were not being investigated.....duh!

  17. Rita, No the US plants were not more humane and they were less regulated than what you see in Canada and the EU plants in Mexico. The investigations and FOIAs we have are all from within US borders. The atrocities continue to this day. They violated every meager regulation on a regular basis. You make light of the sewage issues in Kaufman TX when the information is public and can be easily viewed by anyone wishing to see the documents. Dallas Crown still owes $180k in fines. In Illinois, Cavel was forced to disconnect from the sanitary district. How much more proof do you need? Cavel was state-of-the-art as was Natural Valley in Canada. Same cruelty, same abuse and same wastewater violations.

    The plants and pipeline will never be humane. With the slaughter industry under a microscope for many years, don’t you think to shut us up they would have made changes if they could or if they wanted to? You can stop with the emotional arguments. Releasing investigations is not meant for emotional effect. They are hard, cold, solid facts of what is happening. If we don’t show the proof, you accuse us of lying. When we show you the proof, we’re being emotional. How would you like us to present the facts and proof to you?

    What difference does it make why the FOIA pictures were taken? They are irrefutable proof that the abuse occurred. That is the issue. Instead of admitting what you see with your own eyes, you continue to try to dismiss and do damage control. Sorry, but there is no excuse and any amount of dismissing is not going to diminish the abuse and cruelty that occurs the moment the horses enter the slaughter pipeline. And now you want to extend it for 6 more months in a quarantine that you know will be 6 months of inhumane treatment. The investigations should be a sight to behold. Sick horses with treatment being withheld. How very compassionate and humane.

    The abuse is no different to the horses now than when the plants were open. The pro horse folks had nothing to do with the 1949 law in Texas that banned slaughter. How ironic that cattlemen got that law passed because they didn’t want competition from horses. All we did was ask that the law be upheld. In Illinois, it was a new law and it was brought about by the citizens of DeKalb that lived near the plant that wanted it gone. We simply supported the legislation.

    Reread Susan’s post. She did not say she wants humane slaughter. There is no such thing. If you read the last paragraph and read the 1958 HSA, you would know that there is no way for horse slaughter to comply with the act. Just another point the USDA and anti-horse folks ignore.

    Rita, our horses are not going to be accepted because of banned substances. Feeder horses are not going to address the horses that are going to slaughter today. The folks racing horses, as an example, are not going to stop racing and raise feeder horses. Breeders are not going to stop breeding quality horses that bring in big bucks to raise feeder horses. You still do not have option for those horses. Those are the 134,000 that were slaughtered last year. So now, you are proposing having an ever larger population of horses. How absolutely ridiculous. Instead of trying to find a way around regulations and ways to bring more horses into the population, why not find a way to help people keep their horses? Why not address the issue of the over production that is causing excess horses and fix it. We had a band-aid, it doesn’t work. Nothing has changed and it obvious that you don’t want it to change. Outside the Box had an excellent idea but it would require people stepping up that want to fix the problem, not perpetuate it.

    Slaughter is abuse at its worst and should indeed be shut down in this country for good.

  18. Slaughter is NOT abuse... starving.. turning out on roads or in BLM or tied to a tree in the mountains IS abuse... Slaughter if done right is fast and safe and painless. Cavel was shut down because USDA was pulled out of horse slaughter plants... oooh you did that all right.. I am sure you did it becuse you just could not wait for them horses to go to Mexico, I know you all were just sitting and waiting for that to happen.. why else would you do something that would make sure that would be the outcome.
    MY HORSES ARE MY LIVESTOCK.. and I will sale.. keep or shoot them if needed or wanted. Not you our anyone will ever tell me what I can and can not do with my horses. for hecks sake... go take care of your own worthless life and leave others alone. You are always saying what lowlifes... scum... KB's are... or anyone that does something with a horse that YOU do not think is right... guess you know what them kind of people are because being one yourself it is easy to pick them out.

  19. Sorry Anonymous (don’t you have a name?) but Cavel was shut down by a state law that banned horse slaughter. Cavel appealed the withdrawal of USDA inspectors and was operating under a TRO. Cavel appealed the state law, lost in district court, lost in the 7th circuit court of appeals and was refused a hearing by the Supreme Court on September 21, 2008. The glorious day that Cavel ceased to operate for good in Illinois. We are glad to have that despicable business out of our state. Of course, they moved to Canada and were shut down within two years for food safety and humane violations. So if you want to challenge me, get your facts straight.

    There are already laws on the books telling you how to dispose of your 'property'. Cars, appliances, batteries, humans and in some areas, horses. You have the right to do what you want with your property but you don't have the right to abuse your property. They may be your livestock but they are not classified as food animals.

  20. Um,

    Facts? Cowboy you need a dictionary. As a member of both the AAEP and AVMA, I can assure you that neither organization has pooled their membership on the issue of horse slaughter.

    Every item quoted in this blog entry is taken directly from the websites mentioned.

    perhaps you should check what your people are writing......I can't take credit or blame for statements I didn't write....they are your facts not mine....

  21. The dog industry does not rely on dog slaughter to dispose of unwanted dogs. The horse industry does not need to either. Are their a handful of people living in the US who kill and eat their dogs? Probably... but we don't use that as an excuse to open a dog slaughter plant and invite our foreign neighbors to run it. In the minds of most Americans and American horse owners, the horse occupies a similar role in our history and family life, and is entitled to the same protection as the dog. Good grief, we don't even eat our cats and they are merely companions and mouse catchers for the most part.

    I fail to see an animal shelter which kills companion animals on a daily basis an improvement over regulated slaughter. I fail to see the companion animal industry as a model of responsibility to be held for anyone to admire.
    As a matter of fact having horses the same value as dogs and cat is exactly why I am involved in this damn fight in the first place.

  22. This was posted on the other thread....getting re posted here. This was a horse butcher in the United States. He proberly moved to Canada. Her or there folks it's the same. We have been screaming about this for years pro greed, you did nothing. Horse slaughter can not be an option.

    The sticker and the header is the same person," he said. "You move so fast you don't have time
    to wait till a horse bleeds out. You skin him as he bleeds. Sometimes horses' heads are still down
    in the blood, sucking up the same blood from some other horse. 'Cause a horse is so long, his
    nose is down in the blood, blowing bubbles, and he suffocates." "See," he continued, "a job like
    that, is a job of cruelty. You don't have no conscience. All you think about is you making your
    money, you doing your job."

  23. They did NOT have STICKER'S in the US Slaughter houses.. thats only in Mexico.... hummmm someone needs to get some facts right.

  24. Vicki- I don't know how many times I have to repeat this, but here goes. I never said that the U.S. plants were perfect. Many of us on the Pro horse side were working to make things better when some on the Anti side decided that the answer was to close down the plants in America. We all know how that worked out for American horses. I still believe humane, clean, regulated plants in the United states are a better alternative to the foreign plants.
    I didn't make light of the sewage issue, you see how you lump all of us together, and get confused?
    Someone stated that there are those on the Pro horse side who send their horses tho slaughter to "suit their fancy". I stated that that is an Anti Slaughterism meant to work on the emotions of people. I stand by that statement. I didn't ask you for proof of anything. Again, I think you've got me confused with someone else, which again, isn't surprising.
    Not surprising either, is the fact that you've completely missed the issue on the feeder market. No, Vicki, it doesn't fix anything, does it? What it does is present a new market for Slaughter. And no one needs to do a thing, because the horses are already here, at auction, in feedlots, on the forums, for sale, and for free. And what better time than right now, when horses are cheap, or free to begin pulling them and removing them from meds so that they will be clean? There's no need for those who are racing or breeding to do a thing. This isn't my sinister plan, it's something that is happening quietly, to meet the demand that there will be when the EU regulations go into effect. And any horse, American or otherwise that meets the standards will be accepted. To turn a blind eye to the facts in front of you would be as irresponsible as it was to have the lack of foresight you had when you failed to realize that closing the plants in America meant nothing more than a longer journey to Slaughter for American horses.
    I work very hard to decrease the numbers of horses going to Slaughter. I know that doesn't fit into your preconceived notion of the Pro horse side, because we are so intent on facing reality, and talking about it. But we can talk about the issues we are dealing with, and help the horses, too. We've been doing it for years. Of course, if you had your way, you'd have everyone believe that the only ones that do anything for the welfare of the horses are the Anti Slaughter people. That isn't true, no matter how you spin it.
    You wouldn't really know what I want, because you aren't interested in having any type of conversation with me to find out. You aren't even able to differentiate my comments from the others on here. I don't see that as a very good sign, Vicki.

  25. Well, Rita, the top of the blog reads “They even borrowed a couple from the Poltergeist and Exorcist writers. We even had raw sewage in the form of blood coming from shower heads and faucets. I was left to ponder the nagging question of which is the sickest puppy? The person thinking this crap up or the one paying attention to it…” When you say the person thinking up this crap, how should that have been taken other than the blood was fictional?

    And once again, I’m going to ask that if the plants were under a microscope for years, investigation after investigation, violation after violation and nothing was done to make the slightest change, how are you going to fix it? And by you, I mean the anti-horse folks. How are you going to tell Luke VanDamme that you are going to slow down his lines and you aren’t going to produce the volume he wants? How are you going to fix the pollution issues that follow the plants wherever they go? Two state of the art plants couldn’t fix it but you are going to? What are you going to do with all the horses that people dump that are no longer acceptable for slaughter? You are intimating that this is the pro horse advocates fault. It is the EU that is not going to accept the horses. We don’t make the rules. You aren’t creating a new market, you are creating more excess horses. You don’t want to do anything about the excess horses we have now, so your answer is to breed more. That’s a great plan. You still aren’t fixing the problem. Instead, you are going to produce more horses but the horses that people want to dump, you are going to ignore. Let us know how that works for you.

    I really wish the anti horse folks would get on the same page. Over and over again we heard that nobody in their right mind would raise horses for slaughter. Slaughter was needed as an outlet. Well, are you saying now that outlet wasn’t really needed and that was a lie or are you lying now? If the outlet was needed, how is producing more horses going to fix that?

    The emotional comment is old and tired. Facts are not emotional. Fact after fact and when the anti-horse people can’t dispute them, they say we are being emotional.

    I commend you for trying to reduce the numbers going to slaughter and I wish that more people did the same. I am interested in having a conversation but when we keep hearing reopen the plants and make them clean and humane, it is more of the same. Every time we exposed the atrocities, we were blasted by saying that our plants were more highly regulated than livestock slaughter. Over and over again, we heard that. How do you expect us to believe you now?

  26. Vicki, Once again, you have me confused with someone else who posted. And once again, why am I not surprised? I guess all of the Pro Horse people are the same to you, right?
    The way the Blog is set up is that there is an article written by an Author, in this case, RH1. I was the first person to comment on it, so maybe that's where you became confused.
    I have noticed you have begun to label us as Anti Horse. I find that a bit amusing. Those of us owning, caring for, and working for the welfare of horses....the Pro Horse side, don't feel we are Anti Horse in any way. I think it's a bit funny you call yourselves Pro horse now, too. But, we don't mind, maybe if you use our name, you will some day come around to our way of thinking.....we can always hope:). It does make it a little confusing when reading your posts, though, because when you talk about the Pro horse advocates, of course, I think you are talking about us!
    I'm not sure why the feeder market is so confusing to you. There are no new horses being bred or brought into it. The horses are already here. And your concern about the horses left behind is a concern we have also. So, now we have a common ground. The horses that were already being left behind when the bottom dropped out of the market will now be even less desirable.
    You seem determined to hang onto what has happened in the past, and unwilling to move forward. This isn't a trust issue, it never has been. You don't need to believe me, I have nothing to prove to you. I am a responsible horse owner who has never done anything to warrant any group telling me what I can and can't do with any animal I own as long as I stay within the parameters of the law.
    I don't have any problem with those who believe that horses are pets, or companions. I don't have a problem with those who believe that they should not send their horses to Slaughter. I just don't happen to think they need to legislate the morals of the entire equine community.
    I do believe that we can build clean, humane plants in the United States. And I do believe that both the Anti Slaughter and Pro Horse sides can work together to decrease the numbers of horses that end up at the plants. But we must be willing to move forward first.
    Continuing to bring up the past, and refusing to even discuss the possibility of any compromise that involves U.S. plants keeps us at a standstill, and American horses on unregulated trucks bound for foreign plants where they meet a more inhumane death than could be imagined here. To me, that is unacceptable. For some reason, there are those on the Anti Slaughter side who can live with it on a daily basis.

  27. Rita, on one hand you indicate you do not approve of horse slaughter and have tried to help horses at risk of being slaughtered find new homes. On the other hand, you say that you support horse slaughter in the US because it's going to happen anyway, and we might as well regulate it. That's like saying we should support dog fighting because it's going to happen anyway, and regulate it rather than have laws against it. Instead of supporting horse slaughter, why not work together to close the loopholes that exist and then report criminals who violate the law? I am pro-horse, not pro-horse industry. My primary concern is for THE HORSE, not for those who would exploit this wonderful animal for greed. I do whatever I can to help prevent and stop abuse of horses, and that includes slaughter.

    I too try to find homes for horses, dogs, cats - any pet that is looking for a new home, and expecially those at risk for going to a shelter or worse, slaughter. I belong to a network of individuals who, by working together tirelessly and diligently, have found homes for thousands of "unwanted" pets of all species and breeds. We have adopted many ourselves, and make personal sacrifices every day so that we can afford to care for the lives we have assumed responsibility for (not always easy in this economy). Other humane groups are working to stop dog fighting and puppy milling through legislation, education and prosecution of violators. We can and should do the same for horses. Some states have passed laws against horse tripping, for example, another abuse of horses for entertainment purposes (although how anyone can find entertainment from cruelty toward another living being,I will never comprehend).

    The evidence shows clearly that the process of horse slaughter is not humane, from the time a horse enters the pipeline until it is brutally slaughtered. This isn't emotion, it is fact. It will never change. It is wrong to treat an animal this way, who as a species has done so much for mankind, and asks for so little in return. There is never justification for cruelty, only excuses.

    Obviously, the only people who support horse slaughter are those who stand to profit by it, and those who have been conned by same into believing that it's a "necessary evil" and that without it, the horse industry is doomed. This simply isn't true. Believe me, I've heard all the arguments on both sides, and nothing the anti-horse (pro-slaughter) folks have come up with has been convincing that we "need" slaughter. Slaughter hasn't solved anything; on the contrary, it allows the irresponsible to continue to be irresponsible AND get paid for it. Meanwhile, the horses continue to suffer at their hands. That just doesn't make any sense.

    Right now, virtually every type of business is struggling in the current economy; why should the horse industry be immune to these effects? Mankind has brought the current economic woes upon himself. It isn't fair to punish and betray our horses for our mistakes by sending them to a horrific death. If you find yourself in a situation where you can't afford to keep your pet, whether it be a horse, dog, cat, or alligator - please do the right thing and find your pet another home, or have it humanely euthanized as a last resort. All of creation belongs to God, we are merely entrusted as caretakers and have a responsibility to act in a manner that embraces stewardship, and compassion.

    If you are pro-horse and would like more information on how you can help the horses, go to:



  28. For clarification, when I say I am pro-horse and not pro-horse industry, I mean I am not pro-horse industry AT THE EXPENSE OF THE HORSE. Let me add that I believe the the horse industry can not only survive, but will thrive very well without horse slaughter.

    I will reemphasize that the "need" for horse slaughter is a myth perpetuated by the foreign slaughter house owners, and those few who profit from the horse slaughter industry. Read the testimony from the Belgians - THEY are the ones who came up with the lie that we need them to set a base price for horses. How arrogant they must be to portray themselves to us as providing a "service" from which they profit greatly, pay no taxes and give nothing back except for environmental hazards and contaminated food product, all the while claiming we cannot do without them. Turn a blind eye if you want, but let's call a spade a spade. We have to remember that most people involved in the horse industry DO NOT rely on horse slaughter as part of their business plan; if they can do it, so can everyone else.

    The bottom line for most Americans is that we recognize that the horse is a living, breathing, sentient being whose contributions to our society are immeasurable; a being that experiences pain and suffering just as we do, and deserves our protection from all forms of cruelty, including slaughter.


  29. Mousemistresz, Sorry I missed your reply, I was busy with my horses.
    It's not an issue of approving of or supporting Slaughter, but of understanding that it is here, and will be here. I chose to have plants in America where transport can be regulated, and we can work on a more humane method of operation. I know we can.
    I won't dignify the Dog fighting comment.
    If you have ever read anything I have written, you would know I am very active in working towards having the laws we have on the books fully enforced, and closing up as many loopholes as we can. The idea that the Pro Horse side has never done this is an Anti myth that they generate in order to try to further their cause.
    You cannot be Pro Horse and Anti Industry. The two go hand in hand. A strong Industry makes for a strong market. A strong market makes for a better value for each horse. And a better value gives the incentive for better care by those who own them.
    I am against horse abuse and animal abuse, also.
    Your opinion about Slaughter is yours, and others. You are entitled to it. Just don't try to Legislate it. I work to find homes for unwanted horses, but do a lot more. I believe that stopping abuse, neglect, ignorance, and irresponsiblity before the horse gets to the point where they are in danger of going to Slaughter makes far more sense than the constant arguing about the morals of Slaughter itself. I don't support it any more than I do Euthanasia, or a gunshot placed by those trained to use a gun. It's an option, and should remain one. No one has the right to dictate what choices a horse owner can make because they don't feel it fits in with their moral belief. I have never heard of Horse Mills, or Horse fighting (well, there has been horse fighting in Mexico, but not here that I have ever heard of, so I won't address the issue of puppy mills and dog fighting as it would pertain to horses.
    The Slaughter Pipeline can just as easily become the Re-homing Pipeline.
    No one on the Pro Horse side has ever said that the Equine Industry should not have been affected by the economy. In fact, we've discussed often how the closing of the plants could not have happened at a worse time. Especially without any type of backup plan. I think it is so shortsighted and unfair to continue to act as if you can simply give away or sell your horse should you find yourself in a position where you can no longer care for it. You and I know it is not true. Yet the Anti side continues to spin that fallacy. Why not at least be honest about that one fact? On a daily basis, private owners compete with private rescues, Feedlot sellers, Auctions, and the ever growing "Emergency saves". Pretty tough competition, especially when you don't have a good tale to tell. It has little to do with punishment and betrayal. And much to do with the reality of the market we're dealing with.
    As far as Euthanasia, I often wonder why those on the Anti side cry about the young, strong healthy horses that go to Slaughter, yet have not a problem in the world with the same horse getting Euthanised instead of going through a sale where it may find a home? Makes zero sense to me.
    I AM Pro Horse, have been for years. And I am not impressed with Vicki Tobin's site. I do find it funny that she's trying to steal the Pro Horse name though, I guess that's the most sincere form of flattery, though:)

  30. Rita, if you are pro-horse, you are for the welfare of equines. Slaughter is not equine welfare. If you are for equine welfare, you do not support the unnecessary slaughter of equines. It is not a necessary evil. It is a predatory foreign business. Your drivel on regulated transport and “humane” slaughter is an oxymoron. They have already proven they cannot regulate transport or ‘humanely’ slaughter a horse. There is no such thing. They have had years and years to fix it and can’t or won’t. The transport violations have all occurred within our borders. We have control over that and to this day, the same atrocities occur. They aren’t doing anything now and didn’t do anything when the plants were open. With the end of slaughter approaching and being under a microscope for years, if they could fix it they would have. If for no other reason than to shut us up.

    If you are pro-horse, as you claim, then prove it and start thinking about the horses. Start thinking about the horses that needlessly lost their lives to a brutal end for no reason other than greed and irresponsibility. Until then, you are anti-horse. No pro-horse person would ever advocate slaughter.

  31. Vicki, there is no "if". I am Pro horse. I may not fit in with your ideal of what that may be, but that doesn't really matter. I have nothing to prove to you, and that's what you can't seem to understand. You seem to feel you have the right to judge me, or that you know what I have or have not done as far as Equine welfare. The truth is you don't. You continue to post the same things, without ever taking any time to even talk to me about what my opinions are on anything. You are so hyperfocused on the Slaughter isue that you fail to see the many areas where we can work to improve things so that the numbers of horses going to Slaughter decrease. Equine welfare is not soley related to Slaughter.
    I happen to feel that American hprses travelling to foreign countries on unregulated trailers to meet horrific deaths is unacceptable. To me, that is about as Anti horse as you can get. The Anti Slaughter side is solely responsible for that happening because of their lack of forethought when they worked so hard to close the plants in America without any real plan iin place. In my opinion, no Pro Horse person would ever do something lke that. Talk about irresponsible-what thought process was involved in thinking that American horses are better served when we have no say whatsoever in how they are transported or how they are Slaughtered?
    Again, in case you've missed it every other time I've posted it-I do not advocate Slaughter any more than I advocate Euthanasia, or the use of a gun if you are properly trained. I don't know why you insist on stating that I advocate Slaughter.
    Why are my opinions drivel? It's too bad that you aren't able to have a basic respect for what othres think. I respect what you say. I don't agree with it, and wish you were a bit more open minded, but would never dismiss your opinions as you have mine. But again, why am I not surprised?