28 March 2018
The Need for Horse Slaughter Facilities in the United States
Is slaughter a necessary evil? Often, a bloody, gory picture is what comes to mind when the topic of slaughter is brought up. Horse slaughter has been a highly debated topic in the recent years. Slaughter facilities are broadly viewed as evil and inhumane. As a result of constant debate on horse slaughter, in 2007 U.S. withheld federal funding for the required inspection of horsemeat. Therefore, resulting in the ban of horse slaughter. This ban will be surrounded with more controversial topics. Many Americans are unaware of or ignore the fact of the large number of neglected and abandoned horses in our country. Is this large number because of the ban? Does the ban increase the welfare of the horse? Will economics be affected by the ban? The ban on horse slaughter should be lifted because it will have positive impacts on the economy, improve the welfare of horses, and also allow the U.S. to produce horsemeat.
The issue of horse slaughter began around 1979 when the high number of deaths in horses being shipped to Europe became a concern suggest writer Natalie Anderson in the article “Protecting Equine Welfare and International Consumers of Horse Meat: A Proposal for the Renewal of Horse Slaughter in the United States”. This lead to the prevention of overseas shipment for processing through legislation passed. As a result, by the end of the 1980’s slaughtered 320,000 horses in 16 plants in the United States (130). Animal rights groups pushed the bill passed resulting in loss of federal funds for inspection. By bearing the expense of inspection three facilities remained open until Texas and Illinois passed state legislation banning slaughter for human consumption forcing them to close their doors (131). Animal rights groups have made numerous attempts to permanently ban horse slaughter as well as the export intended for human consumption, but continuously unsuccessful. (132-133). This ban has severe impacts on this topic. Writer Natalie Anderson believes that “The de facto ban on horse slaughter in the United States, although well intentioned, has resulted in unintended negative consequences on equine welfare, the domestic horse industry, and the safety of international consumers of horse meat.” (159). Writers K.E. Holcomb et.al suggest “Closure of the last US equine slaughter facilities in 2007 and the economic recession that began in 2008 are 2 factors believed to have precipitated the increasing number of unwanted, potentially neglected, and abused horses in the United States.” (4142). In addition to the ethics resulting in the ban of slaughter, authors Dan Lawler and L. Leon Geyer argue that “one must consider the ethics of not slaughtering horses in a world plagued by food crisis; are those calories wasted and could they be efficiently relocated?” (273). Tom R. Lenz, DVM adds “To many Americans, the horse is a symbol of beauty,...