Slaughter is not and cannot be a solution to suffering, as it is inherently cruel. Industrialized slaughter is not and can never be humane, no matter where it is practiced. Horses panic and trample one another while being loaded on to trucks and then suffer from dehydration, starvation, and exposure during transport. At the slaughterhouse, video documentation shows that, frequently, slaughtered horses are not killed cleanly and are subjected to multiple hits by the bolt gun or similar device and are sometimes still alive when butchering begins. Humane euthanasia by a veterinarian is the method that should be employed when horses can no longer be given proper care.
Additionally, Americans have never had a taste for horsemeat – our relationship with the animals goes much deeper than that – and the domestic market for the meat is nonexistent. Further, relying on the fickle tastes of foreign countries is not a serious solution to the needs of neglected horses. Horsemeat consumption is declining worldwide. European countries are now seriously questioning their own consumption of American horsemeat because of carcinogenic residues from veterinary medications used widely in the U.S.
The only way to prevent suffering of horses is to support and build upon existing safety net programs like the Equine Protection Fund, which ensures feed, veterinary care, adoption for needy horses, and humane euthanasia when homes are not available. Horse “overpopulation” is the result of uncontrolled breeding and the lack of an adequate safety net to help horses and families in hard times.
Horse racing in the United States continues to face intense scrutiny in the wake of an investigative series in the New York Times and follow up reports in local media outlets. These detailed Times stories are not to be missed:
- Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys
- Big Purses, Sore Horses, and Death
- Death & Disarray at the Track [VIDEO]
Regardless of the fact that some horsemen and women involved in horseracing are responsible and humane, the current atmosphere is ripe for abuse.
Horses suffer in racing and they are unable to voice complaint or consent to the treatment they receive. Reports are surfacing that veterinarians do not adequately report horseracing injuries and/or improperly medicate horses without regard for the horse’s welfare. A federal investigation recently resulted in a raid of stables in Ruidoso, New Mexico, and the target of the raid is allegedly linked to a deadly drug cartel in Mexico.