Pombo Supports Horse Slaughter
On Thursday, the House of Representatives voted on the Horse Protection Act, H.R. 503. The resolution passed with a final vote of 263-146. The Senate version, S. 1915, co-sponsored by Senators Feinstein and Boxer, is currently in committee. So what, exactly, is the Horse Protection Act? House Resolution 503 would ban the slaughter of horses for consumption in the US and would further prohibit the shipment of US horses abroad for slaughter.
In 1998, California voters passed Proposition 6, which banned horse slaughterhouses within the State of California, with 60% of the voters supporting the ban. Just as a side note, horse theft in California dropped 34% after the ban was instated.
However, horses from all over the US are still being shipped to the remaining three slaughterhouses in the US, two in Texas and one in Illinois, which slaughter nearly 100,000 horses per year. These three slaughterhouses are owned by a Belgian corporation, which operates them at a loss to avoid paying any US taxes, even though between them the slaughterhouses require in excess of $5 million per year of regulatory oversight from the USDA. All of the meat they produce is then air-freighted overseas (“from stable to table in four days”) where the Belgians take their profits.
Now, some people have argued that these slaughterhouses provide a necessary, if unpleasant, role in the agricultural community because they are the only viable means of disposing of old, injured, and unwanted horses. But the facts just don’t bear that out:
92.3 percent of horses arriving at slaughter plants in this country are in "good" condition, according to the US Department of Agriculture's Guidelines for Handling and Transporting Equines to Slaughter. [...]The sad truth is that most of the horses that end up at the slaughterhouses are not in need of euthanasia. They are in good health and usually purchased at auction, most often from unsuspecting sellers who believe that their beloved pet is going to a new home. Instead, this is what happens to them. [Warning: graphic video]
Approximately 690,000 horses die annually in this country (10 percent of an estimated population of 6.9 million) and the vast majority are not slaughtered, but euthanized and rendered or buried without any negative environmental impact instead. Humane euthanasia and carcass disposal is highly affordable and widely available. The average cost of having a horse humanely euthanized and safely disposing of the animal's carcass is approximately $225.
Americans think there are laws to protect horses. They have no idea that three foreign-owned slaughterhouses, not American-owned, are operating in this country, two in Texas, and killing 100,000 American horses [per year]."It is one of the most inhumane, brutal, shady practices going on in the U.S. today," said Rep. John Sweeney, R-N.Y., a sponsor of the ban. […]
They’re being killed for human consumption abroad, primarily in Japan, France and Belgium. At Belgian-owned Dallas Crown, it’s prime meat day today.
The airline containers are lined up and being readied for shipping.
The common perception in the U.S. is that the only horses sent to slaughter are old and dying and perhaps destined for the glue factory.
But here at Dallas Crown, neither is the case, and while it’s hard to see what’s going on behind these walls, the sounds and smells leave little to the imagination.
The thuds you’re hearing are horses hitting the floor, after a steel bolt has been driven into their brains.
“They deserve a lot more dignity than what they’re getting. Cut up. Hit in the head by a bolt gun, and served up on French people’s plates.”
Added Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn.: "The way a society treats its animals, particularly horses, speaks to the core values and morals of its citizens." LINK
On Thursday, Richard Pombo voted against H.R. 503, the Horse Protection Act.