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1 year ago

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I hope no one minds a thread venturing into the political realm, but If anyone is so inclined...

HR 113, the Safeguard American Food Exports Act of 2017, was introduced in the House of Representatives earlier this year. (It has bipartisan support and has been referred to committee.) It would deem equine parts unsafe for human consumption and would ban the sale and/or transport of equines destined for the slaughterhouses in Mexico or Canada.

If so inspired, you can write your Representative and encourage them to support the bill and to consider becoming a co-sponsor if they aren't already.

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-03-05 21:10:04 (CST)

While I do not deem horse meat unsafe for human consumption if the proper procedures have been followed and absence of toxic chemicals can be guaranteed, I am absolutely for banning long transports to Mexico or Canada (as well as within the USA) and will call my representative's office tomorrow to urge his support for this bill. Since this will also have to be dealt with in the Senate, I'll call the two senators' offices as well.
Thank for pointing this out to us, Brian.
I am , self-evidently, also against long cattle transports.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-03-06 07:11:50 (CST)

The problem with this bill is if it passes and our excess horses can't be sent to Canada or Mexico, and I don't like Mexico where will these horses go? For there is no slaughterhouse in the US not even pet food purposes. I am one of those people that let my trusted old horses live out their lives, but there are lot of people that won't or can't afford to.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-06 08:59:45 (CST)

Klaus, I kept my post short for brevity, but the bill actually goes into greater detail stating that horse meat is unsafe because, "unlike cows, pigs, and other domesticated species, horses and other members of the equidae family are not raised for the purpose of human consumption" adding, "equines raised in the United States are frequently treated with substances that are not approved for use in horses intended for human consumption and equine parts are therefore unsafe within the meaning of section 409 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act."

So yes, in addition to the cruelty element wherein horses, being very intelligent flight animals with a highly acute sense of danger, know what's happening at a slaughterhouse and panic, there is the added concern that the whole kill buyer industry is a back door around food safety concerns and unsafe exports.

This is the full bill as introduced.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

NoraWI says 2017-03-07 05:37:30 (CST)

And this brings up the issue of domestic U.S. horse slaughter. Personally, I am split on this issue. Horse slaughter has been banned in the U.S., which stimulated the rise of the long distance transport of the animals to Canada and Mexico. This is in response to the many unwanted animals and what to do with them. How DO we address this issue of unwanted horses and their disposal?

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Wes Lupher says 2017-03-07 07:49:38 (CST)

That will have the opposite effect from what you are looking for BrianL.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Klaus Karbaumer says 2017-03-07 08:07:42 (CST)

Nora, in Bavaria, a state not even half the size of Wisconsin, there are a number of local slaughterhouses that will also slaughter horses. If we want to avoid inhumane transports of horses. cattle and pigs alike, we will need more de-centralized facilities, in other words, rules which allow that they exist and a market, that is not only marked by the race to the lowest prices, but that also considers the welfare of animals.
I let animals live out their lives on the farm, but I admit not that everybody can do that. Anyway, horses should not be put into big trucks and sent to faraway places where our regulations about treating animals can't be enforced. It is bad enough what happen so often in our own euphemistically called "packing plants". Instead of nurturing the sensitivities of consumers who want to eat meat they should be made aware that animals have to be killed for that and that if we don't have strict rules about how that happens cruelty often will not be avoided!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-07 08:18:46 (CST)

We address the issue of unwanted horses the same way we address the issue with companion animals like cats and dogs, which is an equally serious problem in terms of population numbers. Education is always a necessary component, but first and foremost, we take away the financial gain in selling equines for meat when they are no longer wanted. Horse ownership is a responsibility and far too often equines are viewed as disposable, which is wrong thinking. I recognize that in some cases people can't afford to keep an equine due to unforeseen financial difficulties, but this is the exception more than the rule. (Although there are options for subsidized, humane euthanasia, so the argument that horse slaughter "fills a need" in this area is weak.)

The horse racing industry (emphasis on the word "industry") is a revolving door of horses that get discarded when they stop winning or just get too old. Likewise, numerous other industries feed into the estimated 130,000 horses, mules, and donkeys sent to slaughter each year. This includes, sadly enough, the draft community, since many equines, when too old to work, get sent off to Mexico to be butchered.

I know some argue that the "solution" is to bring back slaughter in the United States. The fact remains, the equidae family cannot be humanely slaughtered in assembly line fashion and there is enough public support to prohibit reopening any horse slaughterhouses any time soon. So that's off the table.

Putting aside the horse's side in this, the bill specifically focuses on the human health element in that horses, mules, and donkeys are regularly treated with drugs that are unsafe for human consumption and would be banned in any livestock meant for food. So in effect, the horse slaughter industry is knowingly exporting product that could not be legally sold in the US as it is unsafe. We deride countries like China for unsafe food exports but the horse slaughter industry is no better.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-07 17:12:56 (CST)

Klaus is spot on. The industrialization of agriculture and the mindset of "profit over people" has dehumanized much of our food supply chain and made it less healthy for all concerned in the process.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-03-07 22:56:41 (CST)

I think the USA ought to have horse slaughter or packing plants 30 -50 of them to reduce the distance they have to be hauled. The so called Mustangs that are in holding pens would be better off. this is very close to my heart and life I will quit now as I don't want to go on. The best to you and yours, may you never have to make that decision.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-08 10:06:18 (CST)

KC, I think we need to differentiate between the horse slaughter industry and the humane euthanasia of unwanted animals. The former, being profit driven, puts the welfare of equines at the bottom of the list of priorities. In the current industrialized system, that will not change any time soon. Consider that the Trump administration just changed the rules making it so slaughterhouses, meat packing plants, etc. no longer have to report on-the-job injuries of workers and giving plant owners leeway to punish or fire any injured employee who tries to report their injury or other work-related problem to the proper authorities. If this industry is willing to deliberately deny fundamental human rights to their human employees, it is unlikely animal welfare issues would be something they would even consider.

I agree that there is a horse overpopulation problem just as there is a cat and dog overpopulation problem, but the solution to all of these is not to create a "market" for exporting their meat. Not every problem can or should be addressed by market-based solutions. Take for example your mustang example. It would be a worthwhile discussion to explore government-regulated humane culls of these creatures. Not saying it's right or wrong to do (I'd need to think further on that) but by taking out the for-profit element would help guarantee that the animals we all respect and love are treated humanely when there is no one to care for them.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-03-09 13:49:58 (CST)

IF Trump did that what executive order was that passed with?

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-03-09 14:13:55 (CST)

As for taking the for profit out of the horse slaughter business that is what the Wild Horse Act did now the so called Mustangs are on Welfare and the Tax Payers are paying for there care & Keep. Making those feedlot's that went broke feeding cattle, now have a guaranteed cost ++++ Profit never to go broke again. Don't forget the Veterinarians that check to see about the horses care and welfare. all the wild horses that are not adoptable (in holding facilitates) should be slaughtered for dog food at the least. The range is over stocked with horses to the point that some are starving for water and or feed. and no one wants to see starving animals anyplace or anytime. Just my thoughts on this problem, Thanks for posting your thought's and Ideas to help solve this problem.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Dusty 4R says 2017-03-10 07:50:45 (CST)

Horses are livestock, not companion animals or pets. The so called mustangs and their management in it's current state is not sustainable, environmentally or financially. I live in the west and personally know folks who would drive hundreds of miles to pick these horses up in the old days. Some of them worked and some didn't , but the government didn't feed them forever. You have to have an out for these horses, dog food, food for zoos, etc. you have to at some point make a decision. That is agriculture and not everyone is suited for animal agriculture. With starving people around the world what's wrong with sending them some meat, food otherwise is wasted. You know you won't send your best animals to the plant. Government horses on the range aren't the best animals.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-10 08:17:47 (CST)

KC, it wasn't in an EO. It was embedded in H.J. 83. Senate passed their version on Monday (can't recall the bill number) and it is headed to the WH for signature. Unlike an EO, when the order is rescinded by Congress, it cannot be reissued by another President, which is why they opted to go this route rather than just Trump signing another EO. Poultry industry lobbied hard for this one.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-03-10 10:17:37 (CST)

I'd venture to say, that if most of the population visited slaughter houses they would think them inhumane treatment of livestock. Whether it be horse, cattle, chickens or pigs. Most think that the meat in the nice plastic trays in super markets do not involve killing animals

The very people who pushed for the closing of horse slaughter houses in the U.S. are the very people who have caused this problem of long transportation of animals to Mexico or Canada . Now they complain about that inhumane treatment. Bring back slaughter houses in the U.S. that can slaughter horses and the problem will be solved. You can't have it both ways

The housing of thousands of unwanted wild horses by the govt. is not sustainable and is another example of unintended consequences by people who thought they were doing good

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

K.C. Fox says 2017-03-10 11:02:02 (CST)

thank you for your response. I agree the horse deal can't go on as it has in the past.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

BrianL says 2017-03-10 17:09:23 (CST)

First, let's clarify that the focus of the bill (HR 113) that started the thread is human health concerns, in that horses are regularly treated with pharmaceuticals and are therefore unsafe for human consumption. Despite this, the horse slaughter trade, which starts with the kill buyers at auctions here in the US, circumvents normal regulatory practices since the "meat" (i.e. the live horse) is exported to a third-party country for processing prior to export to end consumers. We rightly criticize other countries for exporting unsafe products to the US. We are obligated to uphold the same standards we demand without exception.

Second, the options are not limited to letting a unwanted horse suffer or auctioning them off for meat. If an unwanted horse needs to die, there are more humane ways than an assembly line slaughterhouse (ex: euthanasia by a veterinarian) and disposal of the remains can be through burial, cremation, or even the rendering plant if one chooses.

To blame the people who sought to close US slaughterhouses for the inhumane conditions that exist today is baseless and greatly misdirected. Since the 1920s when the first horse slaughterhouse opened in Rockford, Illinois, they have never been held in high regard due to widespread public disdain for the killing of horses since the average American likely has greater empathy for horses than cattle, hogs, etc. (Would Mr. Ed have been as popular if he were a Holstein?) Historically, horse slaughterhouses have been the proverbial bad actors, with acts such as mislabeling manifests to declare a trainload jam-packed full of horses as "chicken feed" to avoid the need to provide any food or physical comfort for the "living dead" they were transporting. Hardly best practices.

While Klaus is correct that the entire meat-packing industry would likely be more humane if there were numerous processing/packing facilities in every state, the fact is there never has been a large number of horse slaughterhouses in America due to finite demand for product, which plummeted after WW2 when dog food (Ken-L Rations being the first), the only horse-based product Americans purchased en masse, was replaced by beef-based products due to an abundance of cattle and public preference for a "familiar" food type. In addition, due to both legislation as well as public sentiment, there never will be horse slaughterhouses on the scale some have proposed as necessary for humane practices to exist domestically and, if current laws hold (of which there are many on both state and federal level) there never will be a horse slaughterhouse on US soil again.

Yes, the federal stallion program (properly called the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program) needs attention, but this is off-topic and ventures into issues far beyond horse slaughter. This includes disputes over public land use, cattle grazing rights, anti-government sentiment, etc. Suffice it to say, wild horses have been a sore spot for some, especially in the west, dating back to the 1820s, so it's not a new topic.

As for the comment, "Horses are livestock, not companion animals or pets," that is just one person's opinion. Horses are also companion animals to some, pets to others, and best friends to many.

Regarding the statement, "That is agriculture and not everyone is suited for animal agriculture" all I can say is this. I farm with a team of Belgian mules. That qualifies as animal agriculture in my book. They have a home for life. When they are too old to work they'll spend their days on pasture. When their time comes I will do all I can to ensure their exit from this mortal realm is painless and as free of fear as it can be. They will be buried on my land by the fields they worked in life. No one has to subscribe to my way of animal agriculture and perhaps not everyone can, but it is my way.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-03-11 09:18:57 (CST)

The only thing in common here is:

As for the comment, "Horses are livestock, not companion animals or pets," that is just one person's opinion. Horses are also companion animals to some, pets to others, and best friends to many.

That is not only one person's opinion. Many in the horse industry agree that . I have several mules on my place that I raised, worked and buried, but that doesn't say I see the need to save them all,

This whole discussion is like the people who want to bring all the refugees into this country, but it is darn hard to find anyone willing to take some of the refugees into their own homes.

ie, Save those horse from slaughter, but no, I can't take a thousand horses onto my place. That is proven by the dismal failure of the horse rescue auctions across the US and the thousands of horse being warehoused by the US government and paid for by the US taxpayer

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

vince mautino says 2017-03-11 09:28:50 (CST)

Legislation as proposed might have a better chance of passing if folks would come up with a means of dealing with the thousands of unwanted horses which so far I haven't seen.

Trying to pass off the idea that the meat is unsafe for human consumption so horse don't get shipped to a slaughterhouse is feeble at best

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-03-11 20:48:04 (CST)

Mr. Brain how can you say the first horse plant was open in 1920. When you had the CBC or the Christian Brother Cannery and also the 44 ranch of Montana was raising horses for the only reasons was for the army or for slaughter. The horses the army would not take was sent to the slaughter. There where ranches in eastern Wyoming doing the same. Many in areas where water was scarce, for a horse can travel 25 to 30 miles a day for water. These ranches I'm talking about was doing this in the early 1900's. Here's some history most people don't know about and don't what to know about, it ruins what they think what horses was used for in our history.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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