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Should we send horses to slaughter?

Saturday, August 16, 2008 | 11:17 p.m. CDT; updated 10:50 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Rosy Erganian of Rocheport stands with two of the horses she bought at auction. She says some of the horses in her barn probably would have been slaughtered if she hadn't bought them. Yet, she thinks slaughter is a necessary part of the horse industry. "It's a lot less humane to let a horse starve all winter than to take them to slaughter," she says.

COLUMBIA - Rosy Erganian, a therapeutic riding instructor and horse owner from Rocheport, has a barn full of horses that are unwanted by their previous owners.

A couple of these horses were likely headed to slaughter had Erganian not bought them at an auction frequented by slaughter buyers. And yet, she said she thinks that a horse going to slaughter has a better fate than the unknown future many now face.

To learn more

 

Tom Lenz will speak about unwanted horses at 6 p.m. Monday at the Animal Science Research Center on the MU campus. The talk will take place in room S147 of the center, located on East Campus Drive.

 

Options if you can no longer take care of your horse

• Sell your horse

  1. - Second career would be selling your horse to someone who would use the horse for showing or recreation.

- Pasture mate

• Lease your horse

- Partial or full lease

• Donate your horse to a worthy organization

- Therapeutic riding program

- Police department

- Equine department of a college or university

- Horse Rescue Group

- Horse retirement facility

- Veterinary clinic

• Have your horse euthanized by a licensed veterinarian

Information from the Unwanted Horse Coalition Web site. For more information go to: unwantedhorsecoalition.org


Horse Facts Nationally

• There are 9.2 million horses in the U.S.

• 4.6 million Americans are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees or volunteers.

• 2 million people own horses

• The horse industry has a direct economic effect on the U.S. of $39 billion annually.

 

Horse Facts in Missouri:

• The Missouri horse industry produces goods and services valued at $718 million

• 125,100 Missourians are involved in the industry as horse owners, service providers, employees or volunteers.

• There are 281,000 horses in Missouri.

Information from the American Horse Council Web site.

 

 

 


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"It's a lot less humane to let a horse starve all winter than to take them to slaughter," Erganian said. "Slaughter is a necessary component of our industry, and we should establish rules to let horses going to slaughter be handled in a humane way."

This year is even scarier, she said, because the prices of hay and grain are so high. A lot of horses will be in trouble this winter because of the feed costs, the poor economy and limited places to take a horse an owner can no longer feed.

The troubling question of what to do with an unwanted horse has been exacerbated, some say, by a bill proposed in Congress that would have ended horse slaughter for human consumption. The bill didn't pass, but it prompted the only two states with slaughter plants, Illinois and Texas, to ban horse slaughter. Missouri has not banned horse slaughter in the state, but no facilities currently exist. The effect of those bans has rippled through the horse industry.

Neglected and abused

Informal research has shown that horse rescue facilities are full from the overwhelming number of unwanted horses, said Tom Lenz, a veterinarian and chairman for the Unwanted Horse Coalition. The Unwanted Horse Coalition is an organization of breed registries, rescue facilities and equine disciplines that are dedicated to decreasing the number of unwanted horses. Lenz said he thinks horses may be neglected and abused more often as a result of the limited number of options for horse owners that need a place to take their horse. He points out that there has been a drastic increase in the number of horses being hauled to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

This trend is likely to accelerate because the prices of feed and fuel are up and are expected to continue to climb through the winter. Nearly all aspects of the equine industry are suffering financially, Lenz said.

"There is definitely a higher volume of unwanted horses and no place for them to go," said Sharon Marohl, president of the Missouri Equine Council. "The Unwanted Horse Coalition was created under the American Horse Council to help deal with this problem nationwide."

No bottom point

The unwanted horse problem has come about largely because there is no longer a base price for a horse, Marohl said. The base price is the amount for which a horse could be bought for slaughter, the price per pound. It used to be if the horse was worth 50 cents a pound, that was its base price, and if you didn't want your horse to go to slaughter, you would price your horse above that price, she said. That base price no longer exists with the shutdown of the plants in Illinois and Texas.

"We are now seeing more ads for free horses," Marohl said. "People have given up trying to sell them and are now trying to give them away. I'm afraid we've only seen the tip of the iceberg right now. It takes a 1,200-pound horse a long time to starve to death. So, you can say what you want about slaughter, but it's certainly quicker than starving to death."

The Missouri Equine Council has maintained a policy on equine welfare, Marohl said.

"We're in favor of humane, regulated slaughter," Marohl said.

The Humane Society of the United States has been promoting antislaughter legislation.

"We work so hard on this issue because it's very inhumane and traumatic for the horses," said Stacy Segal, equine protection specialist for the society. "There is no way to humanely slaughter a horse."

The method is the same as for cattle, called captive bolt, which instantly renders the horses brain-dead by a penetrating rod, Lenz said. The three methods that are deemed acceptable by the American Veterinary Medical Association's expert panel on euthanasia are captive bolt, gunshot and overdose of injectable barbiturates.

More humane

But many veterinarians say the process was humane from the beginning. Horse slaughter plants were required to adhere to the American Veterinary Medial Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners approved method. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had also approved this method, Lenz said.

"Regardless of what the animal rights people say, the horses in the U.S. were slaughtered in a humane way," said Nat Messer, professor of veterinary medicine and surgery at MU. "Now, we've made it so the unwanted horses have to be exported for slaughter, which is much more inhumane than anything that happened in the U.S."

If the unwanted horses aren't exported for slaughter, they are sent to a rescue facility. Many of these rescue facilities are full to capacity.

"We are overwhelmed with phone calls for people that can't take care of their horses anymore, so we've started an adoption program," said Rhonda Stephens, founder and director of the Shannon Foundation in St. Clair.

Joining the rescue

In the last couple of months, Sandy Whitaker from Willow Springs has received several calls from people out of state with up to 30 horses that needed homes. Whitaker is new to rescuing horses. After looking at a couple of Web sites, she was shocked to see how many people wanted to get rid of their horses. She filled out an application and was approved to take some horses, but she said she can't afford to take more than the seven she planned to take.

Part of the problem is that it costs at least $1,825 to keep a horse per year, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners. That's not including hoof care, veterinary and health care bills. The total cost of keeping a horse easily mount to $5,000 yearly.

A major consideration in the expense of keeping a horse is the cost of hay, grain and fuel, which makes the situation worse.

"The plants being closed and the price of hay, grain and diesel fuels have created a perfect storm for the horse industry, resulting in the decrease of the horses' value and an excess of unwanted horses," Lenz said. The price of feed, hay and diesel fuel is as important as the shattered pricing structure for horses, said Lenz, who is an MU graduate and a horse owner.

But the expense of owning a horse, as variable as it may be, is a challenge any horse owner should be prepared to handle, Segal said. Right now, the economy is affecting horse owners. The Humane Society encourages horse owners to think ahead about their horses, she said.

Choices have to be made

Kent Haden, vice president of livestock operations for MFA Incorporated and a horse owner, said he became a veterinarian because he loves horses. He's had to put a lot of excellent horses down, and he doesn't like slaughter, he said. But, there are mean horses, neglected horses and crippled horses. With the prices of gas and feed up, choices have to be made. Slaughter isn't the ideal choice, but it has to be weighed against other alternatives, Haden said.

Segal said there are good and bad choices. Euthanasia by a licensed veterinarian is the Humane Society-approved method for horses that have no place to go and all other options have been exhausted.

But, having a veterinarian euthanize a horse can be costly. The lowest rate for euthanasia is $66, and that's not including the cost of the house call by the veterinarian or the cost of disposal, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

A 2007 estimate by the association showed that there are about 170,000 documented unwanted horses in the U.S. each year, including horses slaughtered in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, unadoptable wild horses and others.

"If all unwanted horses are euthanized, where do we put 100,000 bodies?" Messer said. "It's not environmentally friendly."

After a horse is euthanized, disposal options are limited. A horse can be buried, rendered or incinerated. Depending on how far away dirt work or land-clearing companies are, burial prices can reach $100 to $200, and horse owners within city limits often have limitations, according to Habitat for Horses. The price range for rendering, which is the processing of horse meat to be used as feed for other animals in zoos, for instance, is between $75 and $250. The price range for incineration is $2,000, according to the American Association of Equine Practitioners.

A solution needs to be found to the growing problem, and almost everyone has an opinion.

"Part of the problem is the public's perception of horses and how they are managed," Lenz said. "Because the average American is around three generations removed from the farm, they don't understand equine care."

 


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Comments

Joyce Moore August 17, 2008 | 9:21 a.m.

It is shameful that someone who claims to be a therapeutic riding instructor would find slaughtering horses acceptable.

This article is full of false and misleading statements. Rosy says her barn is 'full of unwanted horses' but then states that only two of the horses MIGHT have been slaughter-bound. Apparently the pro-slaughter groups have decided to classify all horses being donated to riding program or put up for sale as unwanted.

Tom Lenz of the Unwanted Horse Coalition, an organization first formed by those closest to the Cavel plant, is clueless. His so-called research is nothing more than his personal opinion that has been bought by pro-slaughter groups. While more horses are being sent out of the country to be slaughtered; overall, the 2008 numbers are not significantly different from prior years. Lenz goes on to say he ‘thinks’ more horses are being starved, neglected, etc due to the closure of the US plants but again, facts provided by law enforcement and animal control officers do not support his ‘thinking’.

Further, Lenz should actually read the information on the AVMA’s website. The AVMA clearly states that a PENETRATING captive bolt gun should only be used on properly restrained equines. All three US plants used a NON-penetrating bolt gun without any restraint.

Marohl apparently wants readers to believe that not knowing what the kill buyers will pay is a reason that horses end up at slaughter plants. Maybe she should attend an auction to get an understanding of the process. No one forces owners to settle for a specific price. Owners still have the right to set a minimum bid and many auctions allow a buy-back opportunity.

If Mr. Haden read the USDA regulations he would realize that it is illegal to send crippled horses to slaughter. Horses that are neglected should not be sentenced to death in a slaughter plant. Their owners should be sentenced in criminal court. Very few equines are inherently mean or dangerous. Most supposedly mean horses are nothing more than the reflection of the human who owns it.

Messer’s statement about ‘what to do with the bodies’ is absurd. Considering that there are 9,200,000 equines in the US and a 5% mortality rate, 460,000 equines lose their lives each year. Where is the documentation showing any environmental impact at all? In contrast, the Cavel plant was repeatedly fined for contamination of the river.

I beg to differ with Lenz’ parting comment regarding in which he states ‘because the average American is around three generations removed from the farm, they don't understand equine care.’ This is one of the most idiotic statements Tom has made to date. I don’t need to live on the back 40 listening to banjo music and have my horses graze around abandoned vehicles to understand equine care. Considering that this is a multi-billion dollar industry, the vast majority of horse owners fully understands equine care and are responsible owners who do not ship horses to slaughter.

(Report Comment)
Cindy ODell August 17, 2008 | 10:58 a.m.

Slaughter is not nor has ever been humane! By the very nature of what takes place during transport and the waiting to die hearing others scream before its your turn smelling the terror and blood and then there is the less than skillful execution of the job. Horses half dead hanging hope side down or perhaps re-positioned for another bolt Humane NEVER> Everytime pro slaughter speaks owner responsibilty has vanished again!

(Report Comment)
Lil Peck August 17, 2008 | 11:25 a.m.

Here we go again, with the anti-slaughter crowd insisting that there is such a thing as a pretty death, and wanting that for every horsie.

Every mammal must die. Death is never pretty. You'll say that death should be humane. Death is always humane, because all suffering ends with death.

Horse slaughter for human consumption within our borders gave every horse a base value, even if it was so mean it would have preferred to rip your throat out rather than accept carrots from you. Because all of our domestic for-human-consumption plants were forced to close by delicate idealists, horses no longer have that base value. Instead, a 1000 pound animal without special pedigree or skills HAS NO ECONOMIC VALUE.

Add to that, the increasing cost of hay and feed and farrier and veterinary services. Consider that folks are finding it harder to afford fuel for their automobiles so they can drive to work, along with all other rising expenses.

I understand the emotional reaction of delicate idealists with regard to horse slaughter, but their timing sucks.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 17, 2008 | 11:57 a.m.

Lil Peck,

Why are you breeding horses 'without special pedigree or skills'? Horses such as this have never held much value so why are they continously bred?? Focus on quality, not quantity. Breeding a poorly conformed mare to an equally sub-quality stallion will never produce high quality, high dollar offspring. The 'let's breed 20 mares and hope we get a good foal out of one of em' thought process needs to change.

Death is always humane??? Hardly. Forcing an animal to spend days without food or water is not humane. Transporting equines in double-decked trailers designed for cattle is not humane. Breeding mares simply to increase their kill weight is not humane. Allowing 10% of horses in slaughter plants to be fully conscious during vivisection is not humane. Repeated strikes with a non-penetrating captive bolt gun is not humane. You are only focusing on the moment that death occurs and not at all considering the entire process which must be evaluated in order to present a qualified opinion.

The fact remains that it is still legal to sell horses to kill buyers. The issue with the pro-slaughter group is that they want a higher per pound price. Once again, and as always, it comes down to making a few dollars instead of providing the horse with a humane death by lethal injection administered by a veterinarian.

'Delicate Idealists'? As usual, the pro-slaughter folks have to resort to using such labels because they can't offer up hard facts and statistics.

We're 'delicate'? WE have the guts to make the tough decisions. WE have the backbone to make the call to the vet and are holding the lead lines when our horses are euthanized. WE spend the money to rent a backhoe or pay a renderer for disposal. WE don't dump our horses at auctions and make up stories about how the horses 'went to a good home'. WE don't fool ourselves into believing that our $500 horses are really worth $5,000 even though they don't have papers or special skills.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 17, 2008 | 4:08 p.m.

I find the first paragraph by Joyce Moore in her last post both sad and amusing as we as people seem to be doing the same things in our own society by allowing the over breeding of ourselves "trying to get just one good one" out of the bunch and our own kind seemingly in this day and age to become a "disposable commodity" of sorts just as some here are looking at this horse issue as well.
In Joyce's paragraph just substitute the word horse with human and look at how it reads to you and you will see what I mean and then think about the pathetic shape our society is in today.
It looks to me that horses or animals have more value than a human being these days doesn't it if you look at it that way.

(Report Comment)
Lori Hackman August 17, 2008 | 6:05 p.m.

American horse meat is unsafe for human consumption:
* Horses are not raised nor regulated as food animals in the US. They routinely receive medications that are banned from food animals such as Phenybutazone or "bute", the aspirin of the horse world. In fact, over 70% of legal horse medications are either illegal in food animals or have never been tested for human consumption and are simply labeled, “Not intended for use in horses intended for food.” If you’ve read any of the articles about US horse racing lately, you know how many drugs are in their systems. Steroids, lasix, etc. … With the slaughter houses own slogan, “Seven days from stable to table” you can see that no withdrawal times are being observed (note: there is no acceptable withdrawal time for bute).

What are the side-effects of bute?
* Phenylbutazone has been determined to be a carcinogen to humans by the National Toxicology Program (NTP).
* Phenylbutazone is also known for its ulcerogenic, nephrotoxic, and hemotoxic effects in humans. It is known to induce blood dyscrasias, including aplastic anemia, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, thrombocytopenia, and deaths.

Are the illegal substances found in US slaughter horses?
* Absolutely. According to the USDA’s Red Book, of the 66,183 horses slaughtered in 2004, 6.6% (4,268.08) horses were in violation for “bute” and 13.3% (8,802.34) were in violation of Penicillin. Of the 94,037 horses slaughtered in 2005, 11.1% (10,344.07) horses were in violation for “bute” and 25% (23,509.25) were in violation of Penicillin. Only small samples of 15 horses and 8 horses, respectively, were even tested. You can bet the other horses that were not tested got the USDA stamp of approval and were sent overseas, even though it is clearly illegal according to our own food laws and the laws of the European Union. This does not account for the vast majority of drugs that horses receive, as they are not required to test for those medications. The Red Book does not reflect any residue data for slaughter horses in 2006, which is the year that the horse slaughter industry paid the USDA inspectors themselves …

Note: The Food and Drug Administration has not approved the use of phenylbutazone in food-producing animals; therefore, there are no established withdrawal times on product labeling for food-producing species. Phenylbutazone is not permitted at any concentration (zero tolerance) in meat, milk, or eggs intended for human consumption.

http://www.usp.org/pdf/EN/veterinary/phe...

(Report Comment)
Lori Hackman August 17, 2008 | 6:25 p.m.

To Dr. Messer -- so let me get this straight ... an estimated 10% of the US horse population dies of euthanasia or natural causes each year, yet you're not worried about those bodies. You're only worried about the 1% that go to slaughter (most of which could find suitable homes with proper marketing). Well, how convenient for you to cry being "green". Maybe you should wake up to see what other options are out there ...

Humane euthanasia can be done for a very nominal fee by the U of I: Euthanasia, necropsy and disposal $85.

Burial. Not all locations offer burial options, but many do or can be found within a short distance.

Renderers. Most all locations in the US have renderers that will pick up your horse.

Landfills. Not all landfills accept horses, but many do for a very nominal fee.

Cremation. Not widely available yet, but will become more so in the coming years.

Biodigesters:
Biodigesters use alkaline hydrolysis to decompose animal carcasses and other potential hazardous wastes rapidly. Produces no pollution to air, land or water.

"I think eventually, everybody will be going to this system or something similar," Hockman said. [Dr. Hockman, Associate Director for Facilities, University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine]
http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/
apr04/040401l.asp

Composting:
Large-carcass composting is a growing and accepted practice among feedyards and dairies, said Dr. Brent Auvermann, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station agricultural engineer who has researched the process for about five years.

Both Auvermann and Baker said the small individual horse owner might not see composting as an option, but a large, centrally located commercial composting operation would offer a service to area horse owners and veterinarians.

"Without renderers to go to, this could become a big market," Baker said. "If you look at it environmentally and politically, it works. It's the whole circle of life thing. You grow the grass to feed the animals and then turn around and use them to do the same thing for the next generation."

Auvermann said several other options for the composted material would be to be used as a Class A biosolid for roadways and to help establish turf grass, or it could be used in the bioenergy arena. The material could be gasified and burned after it is composted.
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/200...
10/061012092302.htm
http://www.biosafeengineering.com/
tissue.html

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 17, 2008 | 6:42 p.m.

Thank you Rachel Duff for writing a very informative and timely article.

The equine slaughter issue is one that is very controversial even within the industry, but one that merits discussion and understanding from both sides of the issue. Name calling, disparaging remarks and the spreading of misinformation is counterproductive and does nothing to improve the condition of the unwanted horse.

I personally know Dr. Lenz, Dr. Haden, Dr. Messer and Rosy Erganian. To say that any one of these people’s statements and opinions are “shameful”, “misinformed”, “idiotic” or “absurd”; or that they have been “bought by pro-slaughter groups” is ridiculous. All of these people have dedicated their lives to helping horses and their owners, and are acutely aware of the growing problem of equine abuse and neglect.

If anyone wants to know the facts concerning the problem of unwanted horses, I would suggest visiting the following websites rather than trusting the unchecked editorial comments of anyone. Better yet, attend the meeting at 6 pm Monday night.

US to Mexico Weekly Livestock Export Summary:

www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/al_ls635.txt

Unwanted Horse Coalition:

www.unwantedhorsecoalition.org

AVMA web archive of news articles and other resources regarding unwanted horses and horse slaughter:

www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/unwan...

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 17, 2008 | 8:22 p.m.

If someone allows a horse to starve, they should be sent to jail.

If they can't keep a horse, they should try to find a place at a rescue or humanely have the horse put down, if no other home can be found. It's called "responsibility" and then they aren't breaking the law by starving their animal. This is just common sense, that I am finding a lot of horse owners don't have.

Horses are not old sweaters to be thrown in the trash; they are sentient beings.

This is what this therapeutic riding instructor thinks should happen to our horses: http://www.saplonline.org/Legislation/sl...

and this: http://www.hsus.org/video_clips/horse_sl...

Shame on her.

Please call your congressperson and ask them to cosponsor H.R. 6598.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 17, 2008 | 8:25 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris:

I refer to the sites I listed above in my previous post. It is beyond my comprehension how any veterinarian can condone this brutality.

I am very happy to say that my own veterinarian is against horse slaughter and only those who have been misled by the AVMA are still touting this barbarism.

I would never use a veterinarian who was at any time a proponent of horse slaughter. I simply wouldn't trust them to "do no harm".

(Report Comment)
Lori Hackman August 17, 2008 | 8:56 p.m.

I would love ANY of the veterinarians to respond to the medication issue with US horses being slaughtered for human consumption:
Veterinarians should be in violation of their own AVMA law by administering bute and almost all of the other medications they give to horses -- "Extralabel drug use is not permitted if it would result in a violative food residue or any residue that may present a risk to public health." http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/
oct00/s100100a.asp

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 17, 2008 | 10:48 p.m.

Ms. Caruso,

I am sorry you feel that way toward me without even knowing me as a veterinarian or a person. I have not been "misled" by anyone and I speak only from my experience and first-hand knowledge. Do you feel the same toward veterinarians (or any other person) who eat meat?

I agree there is a certain amount of irresponsibility on the part of some horse owners. However, there is also a great deal of human tragedy that leads secondarily to horse neglect. Right now there are not many options for these people or their horses.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 17, 2008 | 10:50 p.m.

Ms. Hackman,

I agree that animals intended for food should not be given banned substances by a veterinarian or their owner. The “Red Book” describes the protocol for dealing with violators and this protocol includes prosecution of repeat offenders.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 18, 2008 | 6:23 a.m.

Dear Dr. Voris,

I cannot condemn, because I still eat chicken and fish. To be honest, even if I did eat all meats, I wouldn't condemn anyone. Most of us were brought up eating meat and it's not easy to stop.

I wanted to stop eating beef for a long time, but I found it very easy three years ago when I began to fight against horse slaughter. The pictures of horse meat that I had seen on the net made the process less difficult.

Horses are not livestock; they are not food animals in the United States.

Why should we continue to send our horses to foreign countries for their plates? Do you think we should also send our homeless and abused dogs and cats to China for their plates?

If horse owners cannot afford to put their horses down humanely by a veterinarian, then they shouldn't own the horse. Again, it's called responsibility.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 8:41 a.m.

Neglected and Abused: "Informal research has shown that horse rescue facilities are full from the overwhelming number of unwanted horses, said Tom Lenz, a veterinarian and chairman for the Unwanted Horse Coalition."

Response: A recent poll conducted by Steven Rei (steverei@gmail.com), founder of the National Equine Rescue Coalition, showed that only 60% of the horse rescues in his coalition were full. Horses termed “unwanted” has no merit but has been coined by an pro-slaughter industry that wishes to sway public opinion toward their side in order to block federal legislation which would ban horse slaughter.

Comment: "He points out that there has been a drastic increase in the number of horses being hauled to Canada and Mexico for slaughter."

Response: Horses were sent to slaughter to Mexico for two years prior to the closure of the horse slaughter houses in the US. Why is Mr. Lenz commenting on the "increase" in the number of horses going to Canada and Mexico?? Don't understand this comment. Is it because he wants the slaughter house plants in the US re-opened?

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 8:42 a.m.

Comment: "There is definitely a higher volume of unwanted horses and no place for them to go," said Sharon Marohl, president of the Missouri Equine Council. "The Unwanted Horse Coalition was created under the American Horse Council to help deal with this problem nationwide."

Response: The comment by Ms. Marohl about the number of unwanted horses is so UNTRUE but has been written in articles and online so many times... The FACTS are that the number of unwanted horses has NOT increased even during this very bad economy. There is a VERY recent article based on HARD DATA by John Holland which shows that abuse and neglect of horses has REMAINED THE SAME. Just look at the numbers. In 2002 the Illinois slaughter house burned to the ground and it took some time for it to be rebuilt. Reports of abandoned, abused and neglected horses in the Illinois area were actually on the rise in the 2 years before the fire but decreased afterwards.

The number of horses slaughtered in the US decreased significantly from over 300,000 annually in the 1990s to 66,000 in 2004. THERE WAS NO NOTABLE INCREASE DURING THIS TIME OF ABANDONED, ABUSED OR NEGLECTED HORSES.

A recent study of trends in horse slaughter revealed the number of horses slaughtered was determined by a demand for horsemeat primarily in Europe and Not by the number of unwanted or abandoned horses.

Overall, these findings contradict horse slaughter industry claims that if horse slaughter is banned, there will be large numbers of abandoned, unwanted horses. The demand for horsemeat creates a market where horse slaughter "kill buyers" compete with people who want to buy horses. This encourages owners to supply that market through OVERBREEDING horses. If slaughter of American horses for human food is made illegal, there would be less incentive to overbreed horses. The study shows that there would be no significant or sustained increase in unwanted or abandoned horses.

http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-.... This article is based on HARD DATA and not hearsay or opinion.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 8:43 a.m.

Comment: "But many veterinarians say the process was humane from the beginning. Horse slaughter plants were required to adhere to the American Veterinary Medial Association and the American Association of Equine Practitioners approved method. The U.S. Department of Agriculture had also approved this method, Lenz said."

Response: Horse slaughter will never be "humane." Even the veterinarian who worked for the USDA testified before Congress that the process isn't humane. In 2000, the AVMA stated that the captive bolt gun should not be used on equines unless head restraint could be assured. This is because of the relative narrow forehead of equines, their head shyness and the fact that the brain is set back further than in cattle for which the gun was designed and intended. It is difficult at best for an operator to assure proper placement of the gun.

No slaughter house found a practical way to restrain the heads of the horses, so by the AVMA's very definition, the process was not acceptable. The result was a very large number of ineffective stuns. These misplaced blows undoubtedly caused severe pain until a stunning or fatal blow was delivered. Many of the horses are thus only stunned and are bled out and skinned alive.

Comment: ""If all unwanted horses are euthanized, where do we put 100,000 bodies?" Messer said. "It's not environmentally friendly."

Response: Over 800,000 horses have been euthanized and buried in the US. Why is it that Messer is so concerned about the environment????? This is a ridiculous statement.

Irresponsible breeding must end. People who can't afford to own horses shouldn't own horses.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 8:51 a.m.

To Dr. Voris: It is indeed tragic that you aren't helping by instructing people to geld their stallions to stop the irresponsible breeding cycle. Vets need to educate and instruct. They should also report any and all animal abuse. This is part of the oath you took as a veterinarian.

The AVMA says that more horses are being neglected or abused since the slaughter houses closed down. Their "evidence" is a letter sent out by Dr. May of the AVMA requesting information about any documented "increases" in abuse and neglect. The quote from that letter:

"However, have any of your constituents observed increased rates of horse neglect or abuse over the past few months? If so, we would greatly appreciate any statistics that back this up (the appropriate organizations will be credited)."

For any professional organization to request information that agrees with its position and NOT all data lacks conscience, is unprofessional and deceitful and another violation of their oath.

Finally, the vast majority of the horses sent to slaughter were NOT tested for common drugs (wormer, phenylbutazone) as the histories of the horses were unknown. The AVMA stated that the USDA found no violations. This is an untrue statement. In a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) obtained from the USDA, the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FAIA) found one horse out of 15 that had a violative bute level. This is 8.3% by random sampling. If you extrapolate to the number of horses slaughtered in one year, then one can infer that 8,300 horse carcasses would have excessive amounts of the carcinogen phenylbutazone. This translate into 4 million pounds of horse meat.

How much sense does it make for the USDA to have stopped testing for bute on the horses sent to slaughter when the plants were in operation in the US? If you don't have a history on the horse, this is even more reason why you would want to test the animal to make sure that none of these drugs are in the horses. The side of the wormer box states that it is not to be used in animals destined for human consumption. No one knows how many horses that were slaughtered for human consumption had these drugs in them and are now being ingested by humans.

Americans grow VERY weary of all of the misinformation and misleading statements in this article and all of the other pro-slaughter articles published by the PR machine of the pro-slaughter group. Why don't you use this money to educate horse owners about responsible breeding. Better still, why don't you buy hay and feed for horses who are affected by the downturn in the economy instead of spending all this money on propaganda. You can also set up a euthanasia fund and a gelding fund. You took an oath to "protect" animal health. VETS can and should teach people about responsible breeding.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 18, 2008 | 9:17 a.m.

Ms. Caruso,

I don't think we have a disagreement with the economic premise of your statement: "If horse owners cannot afford to put their horses down humanely by a veterinarian, then they shouldn't own the horse. Again, it's called responsibility." However, I hope you can understand that when the rules change in the middle of the game (or, in other words, when viable markets suddenly disapear) it can leave some people without options for horses they no longer can afford to keep.

I might ask where you got your definition of "livestock"? The US legal definition of livestock includes horses. Shouldn't the livestock/pet classification ultimately be determined by the actual owner of the animal?

As for the pet question, I am suprised there is not more of an uproar concerning the overpopulation of dogs and cats. The number of unwanted "pets" dwarf those of unwanted horses, and both result in the euthanasia-in one form or another-of many, many animals.

(Report Comment)
Lori Hackman August 18, 2008 | 12:44 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
1) There are more American horses going to slaughter now than when the three US horse slaughter houses were in operation, so "lack" of slaughter clearly isn't the issue of why people aren't able to feed/care for their horses and why the bottom has fallen out of the market. Feed, bedding & fuel prices have soared along with people losing their jobs and homes. THAT is the issue.
2) How do you expect people to believe that this group of professionals from Missouri (who each have vested interests in the pro-slaughter AVMA & AAEP) -- the state that recently passed Resolution No. 35 which calls on Congress to defeat the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 311 and "support the location of USDA approved horse processing facilities on state, tribal, or private lands under mutually-acceptable and market-driven land leases and, if necessary, a mutually-acceptable assignment of revenues" -- would really care about horses vs. bringing horse slaughter back to the US? As leaders in your field, you could help bring about positive change in education, training and help for horses, but all I hear from you is slaughter the victims. We don't need it, we don't want it and it is not legal according to our own, the EU and Canadian food laws.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 1:19 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris,
I don't understand how you say you are using your experience and first hand knowledge but then you cite the pro-slaughter web pages of the AVMA and AAEP on the "unwanted" horse theory. You should know that the "unwanted" horse theory was "debunked." Here are the web sites you should read:
http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-...
http://www.kaufmanzoning.net/horsemeat/
http://commonhorsesense.net/
http://www.animals-angels.com/index.php?...

Here is the word for word comments from the Animal Welfare institute regarding the AVMA role in horse slaughter:

"Documents held by AWI show that the AVMA is part of a coalition founded by the companies that own the defunct domestic slaughterhouses which are now exporting horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. The coalition’s primary goal is to block passage of the AHSPA.

“It’s ironic that those screaming the loudest about the mass exports are actively working with the very same slaughterhouses that are shipping our horses to Mexico. How the AVMA can claim to be acting in the name of animal welfare is anyone’s guess,” said Heyde. “While they’re helping to send horses to Mexico for slaughter AWI is working to shut the trade down. We’re also promoting responsible horse ownership, combating unscrupulous breeding and working to ensure placement of horses in need through our leadership in the Homes for Horses Coalition. I think it’s pretty clear who has the best interest of the horses at heart, and it’s not the AVMA.”

http://animalwelfareinstitute.blogspot.c...

Your vast experience and knowledge can help the horse owners in Missouri by uring the AVMA to set up a horse feed emergency fund, a gelding fund, an education fund and a euthania fund. Implementation of one or more of these funds would be a positive step to help horse owners in Missouri.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

One more time:
Your vast experience and knowledge can help the horse owners in Missouri by urging the AVMA to set up a horse feed (hay and grain) emergency fund, a gelding fund, an education fund and a euthanasia fund (should be last resort assuming the AVMA places a significant amount of money in the food fund). Implementation of these funds would be a positive step to help horse owners in Missouri.
There are many of us who have stepped up to the plate to help horse owners cope with the increase in hay and grain due to gas prices by buying hay and grain for them. You can show the same level of compassion as it will prevent starvation/neglect, improve horses lives and reduce human tragedy as you call it because these people will have more money to help themselves.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 18, 2008 | 2:26 p.m.

The intelligence of the scientists of the AVMA astounds me. We all know that horses are flight animals, have a very keen sense and they know danger immediately. But these renowned veterinarians and scientists think that the way they are killing horses is acceptable. It’s not. You are talking about a hit or miss execution that is very cruel and disgusting ,captive bolt and or shot gun ?. Watch the video of the hidden camera from the Canada slaughter house. Mexico well that’s another story. Stabbed to death? Paralyzed ? hung up dead or alive. This is disgraceful, excuses for horses( which are and always will be companion pets) to go thru a abusive journey to a slaughter plant and be brutally killed. They are not cows, but they are being bred like cows to supply Europe horse meat. AQHA bred over 140 thousand foals last year....let’s talk about PMU farms, feedlots and other horse organizations that are breeding away. That’s your un wanted dip do. Slaughter can not be an option for horses. Do they have cows in the Olympics?
GIVE UP YOUR BLOOD MONEY AND HELP US STOP THIS
AMERICAN DISGRACE..

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 18, 2008 | 2:52 p.m.

Ms. Marini,

I find it ironic that someone who does not know me personally would find it within their purview to cite what I tell (or don't tell) my clients, or even dare to insinuate that I am not living up to my oath.

The fact that you say you "don't understand....my experience and first hand knowledge" is exactly the problem. I think if you could separate your emotion from the very real issue at hand, we may be able to have a productive discussion.

My citing the AVMA website, if you took the time to actually read it, was to illustrate current news articles addressing the problem with horse neglect. Linked on the AVMA site are articles from the USA Today, the New York Times, the Boston Globe, the AP and many other unbiased outlets I'm sure you will somehow find a way to label "pro-slaughter".

The evidence is all around, all you have to do is open your eyes; talk and listen to people in the industry-maybe even ask questions-instead of making accusations, and then you might be able to see how I can say I am using my experience and first hand knowledge.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 3:21 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris,
The articles you cite especially the USA Today articles are biased. If you would bother to read my comments on this board, you would see that the AVMA is insinuated in the pro-slaughter community (see Chris Heyde's comments above from AWI). Responsible vets would not condone or be complicit with the slaughter method. It is inhumane and will always be inhumane as outlined above.

You should be using your experience and first-hand knowledge to convince the AVMA to help horse owners in Missouri by setting up the funds mentioned. This is what I don't understand. Why no use your knowledge and experience to convince the AVMA to help horse owners in Missouri by feeding their horses.

You need to open your eyes and read the hard data on the fallacious "data" written by the AVMA and other pro-slaughter institutions that claim that they are interested in horse welfare. This is an oxymoron.

The real evidence debunks all of the pro-slaughter claims for slaughter. You need to read them.

And for your information I have heard and listened to people in the industry about the reasons for slaughter and the real DATA debunks all of their assertions hands down. You can try to dispute hard data but scientists know that the truth is in the hard data not the opinions without merit that the PR machine of the pro-slaughter community put out to instill fear that slaughter is a "necessary evil." It isn't and the AVMA and AAEP who support slaughter are discrediting the institutions and profession. The oath is to protect animals not consign them to a brutal and cruel death. This is an abdication of your oath as a vet. Set up the funds and help horses and their owners so they can help themselves.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 3:28 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
By the way, it is Dr. Marini.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 4:13 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Please read: "It’s ironic that those screaming the loudest about the mass exports are actively working with the very same slaughterhouses that are shipping our horses to Mexico. How the AVMA can claim to be acting in the name of animal welfare is anyone’s guess,” said Heyde.

(Report Comment)
Stephen Dolinko August 18, 2008 | 6:55 p.m.

This article popped up on the AVMA news emails I receive currently. I have thought much about this subject before interviewing at a couple of veterinary schools. First off I greatly appreciate Rachel Duff for writing about this article and being willing to write about such a charged issue. I know there has been sever controversy on both sides of this issue; however I believe that both sides want these horses to be treated well. I myself have never been a horse owner, yet I have seen the ugly side of animals not being wanted.

I grew up in “rural” America, and our town population was just under 300 people. Because we were a farming community there was some kind of perception that we would take in stray dogs and cats. Many of these animals that were abandoned by people died terrible deaths, some from starvation, dehydration, predation, and finally the animals that did not die became problematic. I myself was mauled by one of these dogs. After such events our community would go out and shoot these animals. Once these animals were shot, they would run off and die somewhere. Though I never participated in these events, I understood why they needed to be performed. Through these events and others in my life, including being in a war zone for over a year, I have seen what terrible deaths looks like, and I did not enjoy it.

Having the availability of slaughtering at a supervised facility under the supervision of people who follow the rules would be much better for the horses than having them abandoned in a field where they would die. The majority of animal suffering at these facilities can be attributed to someone not following rules and mandates that were made. I know that this is a wonderful concept to believe someone will follow the rules 100% of the time, but realistically it probably won’t happen, hence having the correct supervision for each facility would be ideal. The current method is to slaughter these animals unsupervised in other countries.

As for Dr. Voris’s comments, thank you. I agreed with what you wrote. As for people verbally attacking or condemning someone and assuming how they provide their services because of what they state is absolutely immoral. I think that what Dr. Voris states about people separating their emotions from this subject is very wise. I perceive that Dr. Voris is asking people to look at this from a broad perspective and stating which of the following choices would be the best for the animals and people.

I would highly recommend that those who are very concerned over this look into the issue of solving the problem of unwanted horses rather than attacking a symptom of that issue which is horse slaughter. The problem regardless of what happens to horse slaughter and or shipping horses to slaughter is more globally related to horses not being wanted.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 18, 2008 | 9:31 p.m.

Dear. Dr. Voris:

Horse slaughter has been going on for many years. I'm not sure how your argument about "rules changing" fits this scenario.

I will ask you though, how you cannot react to this or how you can condone it: http://www.saplonline.org/Legislation/sl...

I hope you watch the above and let me know how you can, with a clear conscience say that this is humane. And, if it is not humane, why would you support such an action?

And then there is horse slaughter in Mexico. Again, I hope you will watch the video and let me know if you think this is also humane: http://www.hsus.org/video_clips/horse_sl...

Horse slaughter is unethical and it cannot be made ethical by any argument.

As for your cat and dog argument, I have petitioned for mandatory spay and neuter laws, but as we fight the AQH and the AVMA on horse slaughter, we fight the AKC on spaying and neutering dogs. Do you see a parallel? The AKC makes their money on registering dogs and cats, just as the AQH makes their money on registering foals. I'm still trying to figure out how the AVMA monetarily wins by supporting horse slaughter; I'm sure someone smarter than me, will eventually let us all know.

We are evolving and we have learned that it is not moral to treat animals as if they feel no pain or do not have feelings. It simply is not true. I'm sure that after working with animals, you have also learned this to be true and that horses and all animals are sentient.

Just as we have abolished torture, slavery and unfair treatment of humans as this is to put it mildly, barbaric, we will eventually abolish torture, slavery and unfair treatment of animals. I hope that you will be part of the solution, rather than living in the past with all of its atrocities.

Horse slaughter is one of those atrocities.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 18, 2008 | 9:31 p.m.

My question is how many of you that are against horse processing were at the Unwanted horse seminar tonight? For those that are just reading the blog there were not ANY anti-slaughter peoiple there. Or at least they didn't voice their thoughts. It was horse owners there. We are the ones that know and understand the situation. We are the ones working this issue. The so called animal "welfare" people only rant and rave about something they know nothing about.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 18, 2008 | 9:34 p.m.

This entire article hinges on this line "The effect of those bans has rippled through the horse industry." That line is demonstrably and unequivocally false. One has only to look at the USDA statistics.

Through June of this year we sent 65,899 horses to slaughter as opposed to only 63,650 for the same period of 2006 (before the plants were closed). Since more horses are being slaughtered than before, the premise of this whole article is false. No other argument is needed.

Slaughter has simply shifted from US based plants to Canadian and Mexican plants. Cavel shifted its operations to the Natural Valley plant in SK Canada without losing a stroke.

The same kill buyers are buying as many horses as they need to fill demand and for the same range of prices as ever. The only difference is where they are being slaughtered.

And as for the concern about horses being slaughtered in Mexico, that has been happening to various degrees for decades. Where was the same concern from the AVMA and the pro-slaughter camp in 1994 when we sent 31,000 horses to slaughter in Mexico?

As to the ethics of the AVMA, I am at a disadvantage on the topic since I have never personally observed any. Even so, I must note that at the same time that Dr. Bonnie Beaver was telling Congress how wonderful the captive bolt gun was, her web masters were busy taking down the 2000 report on acceptable methods of euthanasia which said the captive bolt gun was unacceptable in equines and putting one up that said it was just peachy.

If Dr. Voris would like to turn this discussion to the ethics of the AVMA we can discuss why a member of its committee on humane practices gave out the advice that a good way to dispose of unwanted live chickens was to throw them into a wood chipper. Or we could discuss why the AVMA defended the declawing of cats (the most profitable surgery known in veterinary "care") long after studies had shown it caused terrible behavioral problems.

The largest employer of Veterinarians in the United States is the USDA, and those jobs are almost all involved with slaughterhouse inspections. Is it any wonder that the USDA and the AVMA are joined at the hip?

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 18, 2008 | 9:43 p.m.

It is a tragedy when people have to use "emotion" as a way to discredit people who cite factual information. It is also unfortunate and a distinct tragedy when people use a black brush and paint every person in the anti-slaughter movement as people who "rand and rave about something they know nothing about." Many of us DO know about and care for horses. You people are to be pitied.

Finally, horses helped us build this nation and today serve in our military and police departments. Not to mention therapy programs for children and returning soldiers who have lost a limb in combat. Horses are companion animals and they have earned the right to a dignified and honorable death. Horse slaughter is neither dignified or honorable. And the road to hell is paved by greedy, immoral people who think they are masters of anything that is not human.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 8:47 a.m.

Mr. Holland,

I cannot let such a mistake go uncorrected.
Your statement "The largest employer of Veterinarians in the United States is the USDA" is completely false. As of December 31, 2007 there were 58,240 veterinarians in private practice. During the same census period, there were only 1731 veterinarians employed by the federal government.

Much of what has been posted on this board is horribly inacurate as is illustrated above. It is truely unfortunate that meaningful dialog is impossible given that personal attacks and blatant use of misinfomation is the modus operandi of the opposing thought.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 19, 2008 | 8:48 a.m.

Here is an emotion...I am pissed, that this happened to a loyal and trusting animal because of money.
I am pissed that this foreign owned company came into the United States, encouraged people to breed for horse slaughter. I am pissed that Wythe drugs uses pregnant horses urine to make harmone pills, and the foals that don't get adopted are butchered. This is the majority of the so called unwanted horse. Yes people drop them at auctions, when they are not fast enough, or what ever the case may be. But the majority are being bred and butchered to supply Europe with horse meat. Now Ollie we have a mess on our hands. I am a horse owner and lover. I do realize the over population that these people made and that we are going to need low cost euthanasia. I am pissed that this happened and it is going to take years to fix. The bill is going to pass, because what these people are doing is criminal....intent to breed and butcher. Intentionally sending a horse to slaughter to a horrific death. The horse domesticated companion pet, being destroyed for money. You can dance around the facts all you want. These are the facts, look into Animal Angels investigations and see the thousands standing in feed lots, being penned up, no exercise so they get nice and fat....see them mate , see the foals, see this the way it is and help do something about it. No excuse is going to justify this to me and many others. Emotion....oh there is plenty of emotion FURIOUS

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 9:19 a.m.

Ms. Caruso,

Thank you for asking for clarification on my statement concerning "rules changing".

You are correct, this market has been available for many years. Some suggest, and I agree, that the availability of horse slaughter propped-up the market price for horses with little or no useful value and supported the overpopulation of horses. When the "rules changed", ie. when domestic slaughter ended with the closing of plants in TX and IL, and there were insufficient alternate outlets (rescue farms and shelters) to immediately accept the 60,000+horses/year that would have been processed AND at the same time, feed and fuel prices dramatically increased-the problem of overpopulation was exposed and the cases of abuse and neglect increased.

I realize we have a fundamental disagreement over the issue of slaughter. I have watched the videos you posted of the Mexican slaughter plants (both videos were taken in Mexico) and agree the images are disturbing. Believe me, I do not enjoy watching anything suffer. I cannot help but think that it is somewhat ironic that since the HSUS has succeeded in getting the domestic slaughter plants which had federal oversight closed, the numbers of horses exported to Mexico-where there is no oversight and little training-have increased. Yet another unintended consequence.

I cannot agree with you statements comparing the processing animals for food to human torture and slavery. Unfortunately, I believe this is the root of this entire discussion. Carrying out your argument to the fullest would put an end to the production of all meat products and the by products of animal agriculture-which is exactly what the groups you cite ultimately desire.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 9:27 a.m.

Dr. Marini,

I had hoped to be able to have a respectful and thoughtful dialog with you, sadly I see that we cannot.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 9:49 a.m.

Dear Dr. Voris:
The information I posted on this web site is all TRUE. The hard data about the number of so-called unwanted horses was posted but here it is again:
http://www.animallawcoalition.com/horse-....
You can use a broad brush to claim that "Much of what has been posted on this board is horribly inacurate as is illustrated above" but the truth lies in the numbers. Numbers don't know denial and they don't lie. Please click on the animal law coalition website where you can view the graphs for yourself. Your statement about the "red book" and violators who give banned substances to horses and prosecuting repeat offenders is nice but one only has to look at the data. Random sampling of horse carcasses by the Food Safety and Inspection Service showed 8.3% of the carcasses to contain violative phenylbutazone levels. My question to you is how do you use the "red book" when you don't know the owners of horses with violative bute levels because the histories of the horses at slaughter houses are unknown? How do people send pregnant mares to slaughter? This is literally a baby in a Mommy's tummy. A pregnant mare delivered a foal on the slaughter house floor at Cavel when it was in operation in Illinois? Horse killers prize pregnant mares because slaughter houses buy horses by the pound. Since pregnant mares weigh more, killers make more money. It is illegal to send blind horses to slaughter. Yet, these horses were found at the horse slaughter house. You should read Animal Angels reports about the conditions of feedlots and the breeding etc. You can deny the validity of these things if you like and you can deny the validity of the graphs based upon hard data but this doesn't change the truth.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 10:07 a.m.

Dr. Voris,
Before you called my statement that the USDA is the largest employer of veterinarians in the country "completely false", and then used that declaration to impute the rest of my post, you might have refreshed your skill at parsing the English language. "Private practice" is not an employer, it is a category of employers.

I did not say that the USDA employs more veterinarians than any other category or group of employers. I did not say the USDA hires most of the veterinarians in the US. I said that they are the largest employer. If there is a single employer in the US that hires nearly as many veterinarians, please identify it.

My point stands. No other single employer comes close to having so much influence on the veterinary profession,and that is before one considers the vast number of veterinarians in private practice who work in animal agriculture (meat production) elbow-to-elbow with and/or under the auspices of the USDA .

If you wish to challenge the rest of my points about the AVMA, please do so specifically and not by a broad, vague inference based on an incorrect charge one of them is false ergo they all are false. The fact that you did not do so speaks volumes.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 10:07 a.m.

Dear Dr. Voris:
The real reason I feel we can't have what you call a "respectful and thoughtful dialog" is because you are defending this article. As correctly pointed out by John Holland, the statement "The effect of those bans has rippled through the horse industry" is entirely false as indicated by the USDA numbers. Your comment about the "unintended consequences" regarding the increased number of horses sent to Mexico is yet another problem for me. As pointed out by Mr. Holland, 31,000 American horses were sent to Mexico in 1994 but no one in the AVMA or pro-slaughter community said anything about it. So, why the concern now? Numbers do NOT lie but you won't review the graphs on the animal law coalition web site. I deal with numbers every day in my work. Numbers and statistics must be used to drive logical discussions. Moreover, AWI has documents showing that the AVMA is part of a coalition with the now defunct slaughter houses. The AWI wants to shut down this "industry" which supports greedy and unscrupulous people in this society. Killers make $2,000 a day by loading domesticated horses and sending them to a brutal and cruel death. You can dismiss me and maintain your opinion if you want but the truth is in the numbers.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 19, 2008 | 10:38 a.m.

Dr. Boris oh I mean Dr. Voris, I do not have a college education like you do sir....but I have more common sense than you and the AVMA. Like everyone stated on this forum the numbers don't lie....take a little adventure for your self and see what's going on. Go to a few feed lots around this country, visit some auctions, follow a killer buyers truck. Then post what you observed. Horses are not cows. The ridiculous statement you made about this will lead into banning all meat... BS. Plain and simple English, we don't want horses to be pet patties for Europe. We don't want horses being abused in feed lots, trucked, and brutally killed and butchered. We are sick that this has happened in the United States and we want it stopped.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 12:15 p.m.

Ms. Linda Linda Berardo,

I can clearly see you are not interested in a respectful or thoughtful dialog. I wish you good health and happiness. Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Jacobson August 19, 2008 | 12:59 p.m.

Dr. Voris:
I beg to differ with your assertion that the newspapers you have cited are unbiased, in particular USA Today. Lack of bias is proven by a willingness to present both sides of an issue. I personally, as a member of a group that has researched the claims of horse abuse, neglect and abandonment, have contacted USA Today on several occasions, requesting equal space for rebuttal. My request was not considered worthy of a reply. Others have done the same and met with the same response--silence.
To the best of my recollection, only one small on-line publication, when presented with incontrovertible proof of the erroneous information they had published, printed what might be called a retraction. And it was a grudging, perfunctory statement at best.
The publications that persist in publishing biased pro-slaughter pieces, and there are many, do so for one reason: sensationalism. Bordering on yellow journalism, their reporters have taken anecdotal tales and presented them as fact. When asked for documentary evidence in proof of their claims, none is forthcoming. A challenge to their information is often met with hostility bordering on pathological. Questioners have been insulted, threatened and dismissed as "know-nothings" merely for asking for proof. And the invariable accusation of emotionalism always follows. ALWAYS.

I do not know Dr. Marini but your reaction to her thoughtful and knowledgeable posts is typical of pro-slaughter proponents: when confronted with the facts, the reaction is to dismiss the presenter of those facts as unworthy of participation in further dialogue. But you can never change the data by refusing to acknowledge it. Hitler wasn't a "good guy" because the Nazis said it was so; horse slaughter for human consumption is not humane, necessary or wanted by the majority of Americans just because you and the AVMA say it is so.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 1:52 p.m.

Mr. Holland, (Forgive me if I should be addressing you as Dr. Holland as I can see from Dr. Marini's link that you are a co-author of her cited report)

Your comment about my mastery of the English language could possibly have some merit. You see, I read for both what the words say on paper and what the author is trying to imply-I guess I should just take at face value what is on paper, but I can't.

Of the 58,240 veterinarians in private practice, only 5,090 practice in food production medicine. Again, you are either mistaken, or are purposefully using words to mislead.

I have taken some time to read your article and think there is some good information contained within the article, but I have a few questions. If you could, I would appreciate some elaboration.

1. Can you be certain that the information generated by pet-abuse.com is complete given what you say about how they obtain their information-"The data on this site is well organized for research, but there are significant limitations to its use. Data is entered as abuse cases are flagged from other media sources."? If so, how can you discount current media reports of increased equine abuse and neglect?

2. You state in the last paragraph of Figure 2, "Thus while it is true that the closing of the US based horse slaughter plants in 2007 drove American horses over the borders to Canada and Mexico, the converse is not true and domestic slaughter has not historically protected American horses from going to these countries in similar numbers." Yet Figure 1 illustrates almost no US horses going to Mexico for slaughter prior to 2004 and 25,000 going to Canada during the majority of the illustrated time frame. How do you defend the second portion of your statement given that 2008 year-to-date, 32,443 horses have been exported to Mexico alone for slaughter?

3. In the "Summary of Slaughter Trends" you state, "The only increase in abuse caused by the closings has been the longer trips and more brutal slaughter conditions that the horses are subjected to." How do you defend this statement when Figure 6 demonstrates Illinois abuse cases jumped from a steady range of 400-450 to over 600 once the plant closed in 2007?

4. In figure 7, you associate the increase of equine abuse cases increasing with the unemployment rate-a fact I do not dispute as likely very accurate. Why didn't you overlay figure 6 onto figure 7 as the plant closing in IL had an impact on both unemployment and equine abuse cases in the state of Illinois?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 1:53 p.m.

5. How do you defend your statement at the end of the Figure 7 explanation, "The Illinois data supports the obvious conclusion that bad economic conditions lead to more abuse and neglect. This should come as no surprise, but the fact that slaughter does not affect abuse and neglect in a positive way (if any at all), may be surprising to the advocates of the "unwanted horse" theory about slaughter's beneficial contribution to the negation of abuse." given the graphic evidence to the contrary on Figure 6?

6. Figure 9 explanation states "There are obvious reasons why the nationwide unemployment number is a less than perfect barometer for nationwide equine abuse even if the two are closely correlate on a regional level. For example, the average unemployment does not take into account the fact that some states have larger horse populations than others and unemployment varies significantly between states. Weighting each state was beyond the scope of this study." Does this fact make your conclusions more or less valid? I see from the graph that unemployment rates declined from 2003 to 2007 yet the slaughter numbers nearly doubled.

7. Where is the data that supports conclusion 5? If it is from the Illinois graph (7), your conclusion is incomplete as this time period was exactly the time period IL banned horse slaughter. If it is from figure 8, the numbers of abuse cases in ealy 2008 are identical to figures from 2006, and remember where you are getting your abuse numbers, from the media....

I really enjoyed reading your work, but anyone can form an opinion and find "data" to support it. Once again, it is difficult to have meaningful dialog given that personal attacks and blatant use of misinformation is the modus operandi of the opposing thought.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 2:05 p.m.

What is thoughtful or knowledgable about the following?

Dr. Marini wrote: "You people are to be pitied", "And the road to hell is paved by greedy, immoral people who think they are masters of anything that is not human."

Joyce Jacobson wrote: "Hitler wasn't a "good guy" because the Nazis said it was so; horse slaughter for human consumption is not humane, necessary or wanted by the majority of Americans just because you and the AVMA say it is so."

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 2:12 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris:
It is highly insulting and disrespectful to state that "anyone can form an opinion and find "data" to support it. You are again dismissing the hard data. Where are the pro-slaughter "data?"

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 2:17 p.m.

Dr Voris:
It is clear that you do NOT wish to engage in a "thoughtful and knowledgeable" discussion when you dismiss hard data. You have already drawn your conclusion and your insulting remarks about the data prove it.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 2:18 p.m.

Dr Marini,

I am not "pro-slaughter", that is a label you chose to use. If you take the time to read my questions to Mr. Holland, you might be able to see the weaknesses in the "facts" you wanted me so badly to read.

I've read them, I have questions, I'm waiting for a response.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

There is clearly a difference between "hard data" and accurate interpretation of the "hard data".

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 2:25 p.m.

This article would be typical coming from a Ag part of the state. After testifying at a MO house committe meeting to oppose the MO resolution to support slaughter. We were able to prove the statistics that the oppostion to slaughter are grossly distorted in their effort to stop this legislation. Want to see a MO Senator look like a liar? Wes Shoemyer and his paid lobbyists were easily shown that with hard evidence that these claims are false. This is just another effort on the pro-slaughter groups, including the cattlemans assoc. who are threatened and profit from the slaughter of american horses, to distort the truth. What is truly sickening, is that a veterinarian, who is supposed to help animals can support an inhumane practice. We in MO also know that the Mo equine council for the most part is made up of veterinarians who are pro-slaughter, and that they are not very well respected in the state. In fact there is one, that hides the fact they support slaughter from their clients, because its "bad for business". This article is just another effort to try to stop what in inevitable. Slaughter will be stopped. Then the only thing that will happen, is that the KB's will have to find another way to make huge amounts of money off of others misfortunes.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 2:29 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
I am sure Mr. Holland will respond to your questions. You have again misinterpreted my comment about drawing your own conclusion. I did not mean you were pro-slaughter but rather your dismissal of the data. When someone places a word in quotes, it means the data are not true. Your assertion that one can "find data (data in quotation) to support it" is a very powerful and clear statement that you don't believe it. And this is before you give Mr. Holland a chance to respond to your questions. How disrespectful, insulting and unscientific.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 2:37 p.m.

Ms. Snider,

You wrote: "This is just another effort on the pro-slaughter groups, including the cattlemans assoc. who are threatened and profit from the slaughter of american horses"
>I ask: How does the cattleman's association profit from horse slaughter?

You wrote: "Want to see a MO Senator look like a liar?"
>I ask: What did the Senator say and how do you want me to see it?

You wrote: "What is truly sickening, is that a veterinarian, who is supposed to help animals can support an inhumane practice"
>I ask: Do you feel the same way about veterinarians who work with beef, swine, poultry and fish?

You wrote: "We in MO also know that the Mo equine council for the most part is made up of veterinarians who are pro-slaughter, and that they are not very well respected in the state."
>I ask: How many veterinarians are members of the Missouri Equine Council? I see on their website there is only one veterinarian on the Board of Directors.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 2:39 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
You efforts to instill conflict and indecision will ultimately fail. You will resort to anything, now about the interpretation of the data, so you can say that you never give in. Well, yes, you refuse to be convinced of the hard data because you don't want to be convinced. It is just that simple. You will grasp at whatever thread, no matter how small, so you don't have to come to the conclusion that you can't deny the facts. There is no way to carry out a "thoughtful and knowledgeable discussion" with a person who thinks through a distorted lens. I do pity you.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Messick August 19, 2008 | 2:42 p.m.

Dr. Voris, a couple of years ago we met at a Young Farmers function and discussed, among many things, the issue of horse slaughter. I believe I told you that I had been inside the slaughter plants, that what I had seen was not humane and that we needed to do better. You told me that you would talk to your partners about this and I encouraged you to research the issue and come up with your own opinion. I know that Dr. Lenz has inspected the plants, but these were pre-arranged and scheduled visits. What I witnessed was very different from what Dr. Lenz saw. There was more than one occasion when the USDA vet never left his office, while load after load of horses was off-loaded and slaughtered. That being said, I have a tremendous amount of respect for Tom Lenz. He has contributed immeasurably to equine health and reproduction issues and, when in private practice, was my veterinarian over the course of his 30 year career. We do, however, have very different views on the issue of horse slaughter.

Mr. Dolinko, I too grew up in a small town of under 300 hundred. At one time, there were 24 dogs dumped on our doorstep. They were loaded up in a horse trailer and hauled to a shelter for potential adoption or euthanasia. The horse slaughtering facilities are not going to slow down production in an attempt to be compliant with federal regs. They haven't in more than 30 years, even when under fire from animal rights groups, and if re-opened in the U.S., would simply continue to do business as usual.

Mr. Sharrock, as a native Missourian, former board member of the Missouri Equine Council and horse owner, let me just say that I do know of which I speak. I considered going to the seminar last night, but another commitment kept me away. Additionally, I have a friend that used to buy and sell killers for a living and that person was also unable to attend.

It has always been cheaper to buy horses, with some exception, than it has been to breed them. From my perspective, if you are breeding horses with the idea that the slaughter market is setting the base line price of your horse, then perhaps you should be rethinking your breeding program.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 2:51 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

You have cited Mr. Holland's report as "hard data".

You mention in one of your above posts, "As pointed out by Mr. Holland, 31,000 American horses were sent to Mexico in 1994", however, if you look at his graph (figure 1) there was an unexplained bump in 1994. All of the other years before 1994 and up to 2004 were nearly zero. Does this fact change your opinion of the overall information contained within Mr. Holland's doccument. Why would he only mention the 1994 figures and ignore 1989-1993 and 1995-2005? The only reason I can think is that the 1994 numbers supported his opinion, and the other 16 years of data did not.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 3:00 p.m.

Dr. Voris- 1) The cattlemans assoc. testified at that hearing in support of the resolution, if they had no interest in it, then why would they be there? I can send you supporting documentation that proves they have a financial interest in it. would you be happy with hard data? 2) When Shoemyer testified that the transport of these animals was the most highly regulated of all animals, including beef and hogs, that was disputed. He testified that the Usda regulated the slaughter of horses more diligently than any animals in order to prevent animals that had been administered any drugs or other substances that state "not intended for animals used for human consumption" , that was a lie. And proven so. This man was so mad at me at proving him wrong, he threatened me in the hallway after the hearing. I also recieved a formal apology from the committee for his conduct in the meeting.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 3:04 p.m.

and yes, I feel that way about any animals that are mistreated.
Finally- There is a vet group in Wentzville that has been a big part of Mo Equine council and a pro slaughter advocate. One in particular has no problem telling you what to do with a horse when he thinks it has no use.

I had a conversation with a person from Longmeadow rescue ranch, who told me that with the closure of the plants, there was no increase in abuse cases above the normal amount that they usually see. Now that was a year ago. We could check back and see if that still holds true.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Jacobson August 19, 2008 | 3:15 p.m.

Dr. Voris, you have completely missed my point. A presentation of information by any special interest group should always be viewed with skepticism, especially when there is an incentive for that opinion. Please, in your wisdom, elaborate on what you believe to be the incentive for anti-slaughter advocates other than to stop a cruel, unwanted, unnecessary and predatory business. We know the incentive for the AVMA: furthering the agenda of the coalition, of which they are a member, founded by the foreign owners of the now-shuttered domestic slaughterhouses that are currently sending horses to Mexico and Canada. Under the guise of concern for the welfare of the horses, this hypocritical organization attempts to deceive by stating that it is not pro-slaughter and yet spends millions on lobbying efforts to block passage of the AHSPA. If they are neutral on the issue, as they have attempted to make the public believe, they would have no stated position. One can not be neutral and continue to fund efforts on either side of an issue.

Would you have preferred that I said "Osama bin Laden is a good man because he has a following of millions"? The point is the same; dismissing the truths of history by disregarding what has been proven is the technique of those who do not wish to admit that their beliefs are based on falsehoods and some degree of brainwashing. The same can be said for pro-slaughter advocates.

Any veterianarian who advocates for horse slaughter has betrayed their charges in deference to human "masters" with questionable motives. Like it or not, the animals are not their first consideration despite protests to the contrary.
I am a medical professional too, Sir, and while I have often been presented with opinions in opposition to mine, medical, political or otherwise, I do not dismiss the holder of differing opinions as unworthy of my attention, as you seem to have done, or as lacking in thoughtfulness merely because I happen to disagree with that opinion or how it is expressed. Such a condescending attitude has no place in meaningful discussion.

You do not need to reply to me or this post. This discussion has degenerated into what anti-slaughter advocates have seen so often on other sites and it is getting a little old: stubborn refusal to grant any degree of validity to the opposition's viewpoint by disputing their every word. It might serve you well to look upon the proclamations of the AVMA and the reporters who you just cannot BELIEVE might be biased in the same light as you look upon us--skeptically. We know and admit our motives; what are theirs?
I have read more than enough. Have a good life.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 3:20 p.m.

Hi Theresa,

I remember meeting you in KC, I believe.

I respect your opinion and am glad to hear you have not thrown Dr. Lenz under the bus.

As you know, I am not the "pro-slaughter" monster some are trying to make me out to be. I do feel there has been a significant, and unintended, impact on the equine industry that is in part due to the removal of the slaughter market. As a result of this and many other economic factors (mainly feed and fuel), many more horses have been abused and neglected.

Mr. Holland's article would have the reader to believe it is only an economic (employment) problem, but the loss of a market price on horses cannot be ignored in the overall economic picture.

I agree that horses should not be bred for slaughter, and I don't know a single person who raises horses for that purpose. I mentioned I agree that the slaughter market hid the fact horses were overpopulated in one of my above posts.

I respect the fact you have been to a slaughter plant. However, despite all of the hidden videos and eyewitness reports on the internet, it is still a fact that a correctly placed penetrating projectile (captive bolt or bullet) results in the instantaneous death of a horse. I do not condone abuse in the process of euthanasia and I abhor the practice of "pithing" seen in some plants in Mexico.

We all want what is best for the horse. Unfortunately, and I think even the most ardent "anti-slaughter" poster will agree, that a quick and painless death is more humane than abandonment and starvation.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 3:34 p.m.

thank you Joyce Jacobson

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 3:46 p.m.

Ms. Jacobson,

You cannot expect me to believe that your use of Hitler's name had anything to do with your argument other than making the implication I am a fascist murderer. You don’t help your argument by now using Bin Laden’s name.

“In my wisdom”, I can easily see the anti-slaughter movement moving on other livestock such as beef and pork. I am more convinced of this by your statement, “Any veterinarian who advocates for horse slaughter has betrayed their charges.” Do you feel that a veterinarian in the food animal arena has “betrayed their charges”?

As you can see by the frequency of my posts, I am not dismissing the majority of people offering differing opinion. I only dismiss those who are disrespectful or mix their opinion with personal attack (ie. Hitler and Bin Ladin).

To be honest, I find it humorous and enlightening to continue this type of dialog. I figure the longer I keep it up, the more people reading will see how misinformation and personal attacks are being used in an attempt to quiet people with different opinions and experiences.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 3:49 p.m.

Dr.Voris- where do you practice?I want to make sure I never have an emergency in that part of the state.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 3:55 p.m.

Ms. Snider,

I hope you never have an emergency in any part of the state. I guess you will have to add Columbia to your list with Wentzville as places to avoid with your horse.....

Sorry you feel that way.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 4:01 p.m.

Dr. voris- I have several vets in my area that are more than competent to treat my animals, and I dont have to worry about their attitudes. Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I know several people who dont agree with my position, but they dont sport the condescending attitude that you have had with several people on this discussion board. Attitude is your problem. Not so much your opinion.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 19, 2008 | 4:02 p.m.

Ms. Linda Berardo,
I can clearly see you are not interested in a respectful or thoughtful dialog. I wish you good health and happiness. Have a nice day.
Your right I have no respect for someone that can make excuses for animal abuse. You have some reading material that was posted here. Read it and believe it. Go to an auction and see the pregnant mares, foals, yearlings, 2 to 10 year olds getting loaded on a truck to get brutally killed and butchered. I did. Go visit a feedlot, do a drive by and see the death pits of the ones that didn't make the journey to these hell holes. Go look at the horses standing in line going into a slaughter house. frantic, terrified, smelling death of others, being struck numerous times till maybe dead or passed out. You and others that make excuses and stories up to keep this heinous industry going should be ashamed of yourself. Animals are the innocents of this earth and we should be taking care of them, especially the ones we domesticated for ourselves.
You need to do some soul searching after you investigate this for yourself. Have a nice day and I wish you the courage to stand against horse slaughter.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 4:09 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
Did you read John Holland's post? "While Dr. Bonnie Beaver was telling Congress how wonderful the captive bolt gun was, her web masters were busy taking down the 2000 report on acceptable methods of euthanasia which said the captive bolt gun was unacceptable in equines and putting one up that said it was just peachy." What is it about this sentence you don't seem to understand? You must have selective eyesight.
As Dr. Jacobson stated, I don't know her but I completely and wholeheartedly agree with her most recent post. The bottom line you seem to continuously overlook is that horse slaughter is inhumane. Your statement "quick and painless death" is totally FALSE but you must be using this statement in your mind to condone the process of horse slaughter. Your dismissal of the facts is speaking LOUD AND CLEAR.
Please tell me how we can have a "thoughtful and knowledgeable discussion" when you want to ignore or overlook the facts? You just select what you want to question us about as a distraction so you don't have to confront facts. John Holland will respond to your questions.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 4:35 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
How revealing and disquieting a statement from you: "I find it humorous and enlightening to continue this type of dialog. I figure the longer I keep it up, the more people reading will see how misinformation and personal attacks are being used in an attempt to quiet people with different opinions and experiences."

Let us hope that the misinformation people see is the false statement in the article "The effect of those bans has rippled through the horse industry." You can make claims that people are "personally attacking" you because you have a difference of opinion. I can categorically state that my comments have nothing to do with you as a person. Your refusal to admit the facts because of your "different opinion and experience" is the real crux of the matter. The hard data, which you choose to disbelieve as you are now questioning the interpretation, is what hopefully will persuade those reading this board rather than your claims to engender sympathy. By the way, I still haven't seen any hard data from the pro-slaughter side.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Messick August 19, 2008 | 4:37 p.m.

Dr. Voris, it isn't just the actual slaughter process that bothers me. I agree that a properly placed bullet is the best way. Unfortunately when it comes to the captive bolt, therein lies the problem. At one plant, I counted four missed shots before the horse was sufficiently stunned by the fifth. My interpretation of the captive bolt method was that it worked best if the horse was restrained. These horses are not restrained. You will never convince me that horses are processed humanely at the rate of 300 to 400 per day.

The regulations related to transportation of slaughter-bound horses are a joke. I have been to many of the monthly sales throughout the state of Missouri and can't recall when I didn't see a violation. The sale barn owners don't care and there is no one to enforce them. As a matter of fact, the LMA has come out in opposition to current legislation banning the transportation of horses intended for slaughter for human consumption. It is very frustrating.

I believe that if you are breeding your horses responsibly and following that up with proper training, the loss of the slaughter plants won't affect you. And if you aren't doing those two things, and these folks know who they are, then get out of the industry because you are the ones who have brought us to this point.

I would like to see Missouri start up a euthanasia/disposal fund. Recently some friends, who were affected by the sub-prime nightmare and more recently a job layoff, were faced with the difficulty of putting down their daughter’s older gelding. Another woman, driving past my house, saw that we were doing some dirt work and stopped. Tearfully, she asked me if we would bury their horse, they had no money. Other states have started up these funds and in this economy, there isn’t a better time.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 4:47 p.m.

Ms. Snider,

I apologize if you feel I have a bad attitude. Since my original post complementing the author and defending people I personally respect, I have been:

1. Accused of neglecting my oath
2. Had my experience and knowledge mocked
3. Accused of taking blood money
4. Accused of living in the past with all of it’s atrocities
5. Called unethical
6. Told I should be pitied-twice
7. Condemned to hell
8. Accused of betraying my charges in deference to human masters
9. Called sickening and inhumane
10. Compared to Hitler and Bin Laden
11. Condemned for condoning brutality
12. Called untrustworthy
13. Accused of not helping my clients manage their horses
14. Given an elementary education on the English language
15. Had my name mocked
16. Accused of spouting BS
17. Accused of making excuses for animal abuse
18. Finally, I have been fired twice by people who don’t even know me.

If you find a post where I have used similar language, please point it out to me so I can issue an apology. I have never intended to attack anyone personally, only to challenge their thoughts.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 4:57 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

I don't speak for the pro-slaughter side. I have offered data you dismiss as biased, yet you expect me to believe your cited data. I have questioned the data you cite and have yet to get an answer from you, only more attacks.

I downloaded a copy of the 2000 Euthanasia Guidelines and the 2007 Euthanasia Guidelines, both documents call the captive bolt an accepted method of euthanasia with proper restraint. Since Dr. Beaver's testomony was in 2006, I don't know what Mr. Holland is referring to, but it would appear to be another mistake.

I am breathlessly waiting for Mr. Holland's response.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 19, 2008 | 5:10 p.m.

Theresa,

I agree that it should never take 4 or 5 shots. If you believe a “properly placed bullet is the best way” then shouldn’t a properly placed captive bolt offer the exact same result without the danger of a loose projectile?

Your concern with transportation is outside my knowledge and experience. What type of violations are you seeing? I’m sure the highway patrol or MoDot would be interested in hearing about violations. The problem with the outright banning of transporting horses intended for slaughter is in the enforcement. How does anyone expect the responsible agencies to police transport when according to your report, they don’t now? Should all trailers hauling horses be stopped if they are heading north or south?

I appreciate you sharing your experience on how hard times are impacting people and their horses. I am seeing some of this as well and like your story, my experiences are not with people who are irresponsibly breeding horses.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 19, 2008 | 5:59 p.m.

19. How can you respect people that say horses are getting killed in an acceptable method of euthanasia. When you know that these horses are being tortured. Forgive me for the snid remarks but I am beyond furious. What is proper restraint? cornored in a box big enough for them to buck and throw their head. Not to kill them period and send their meat to Europe is what this is about. The whole dispecable senario needs to end.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 19, 2008 | 6:45 p.m.

FROM THE AVMA (My comments are in caps):

Distress vocalizations, fearful behavior, and release of certain odors or pheromones by a frightened animal may cause anxiety and apprehension in other animals. Therefore, for sensitive species, it is desirable that other animals not be present when individual animal euthanasia is performed.

(HORSES WERE FORCED TO WAIT IN LINE AT THE KILL BOX)

Death must be confirmed by examining the animal for cessation of vital signs, and consideration given to the animal species and method of euthanasia when determining the criteria for confirming death.

(NO SUCH CONFIRMATION WAS PERFORMED AT U.S. PLANTS - FURTHER, THE AVMA ALLOWS A 10% MARGIN OF 'ERROR' MEANING UP TO 10% OF THE HORSES COULD BE AWARE AND FEELING PAIN WHEN SLAUGHTERED)

Electric prods or other devices should not be used to encourage movement of animals and are not needed if chutes and ramps are properly designed to enable animals to be moved and restrained without undue stress.

(PRODS WERE IN USE AT CAVEL AND BOTH TEXAS PLANTS)

Stunning and pithing, when properly done, induce loss of consciousness but do not ensure death.

(HOW CAN THE AVMA CLAIM THAT THE MEXICAN PLANTS ARE INHUMANE WHEN THEY CLEARLY STATE THE ABOVE?)

http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfar...

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 19, 2008 | 6:58 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

While you are breathlessly waiting for John Holland's response, please post your data to address the following items. (By this I mean actual data, not your opinion; not your thoughts, but hard data that can be verified.) Also, please describe the exact process used to gather and test the data.

1) How many truly abandoned horses were documented in each of the 2 years prior to the closure of the US plants and in each year since the closure of the plants. By 'abandoned' this means horses turned loose in the wild or elsewhere or left tied to trees, etc. Abandoned does not mean still living on their owners property.

2) Provide documentation regarding the number of unwanted horses for the same time periods as above. Also, define 'unwanted'. Does this term include all horses that are for sale, just those going to slaughter, etc. Please categorize.

3) Provide the data for the number of cases of equine neglect and abuse for the time periods as noted in #1 above. If possible, please provide the rationale used by the owners of said horses. It would be interesting to know how many owners have decided to starve and abuse their horses because the US plants closed.

I'm sure I'll have additional requests, but I thought you would like to get started...

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 19, 2008 | 6:58 p.m.

Snider I don't have a breeding program for slaughter horses. I don't think that would be a profitable business now currently. I beleive that horses like all animals are private proptery. If a person wants to breed them for processing then so be it. There are people who are trying to force other people to spade and neuter their dogs and cats. What right does anyone have over another persons property and what they do with it. I don't have a right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your animals why should anyone have right to tell me what I can do with mine?

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 7:02 p.m.

This article as a whole represents the attitude of the Ag community as I have experienced it in this state. The state legislators in this state are representing all of us. Yet a few want to speak for the state and use propaganda such as this article to speak for their side and dont present all of the facts. My experience,with them, as they told me, their constituents want to do what they want with their possesions, no matter what. It doesnt matter what is right or wrong or what is humane or not. Our lawmakers are doing it to win votes. One Mo lawmakers suggested to me, in that committee meeting, and this is on record, that it might be a good idea to send our excess cats and dogs to Asia because they eat them also. My reply to her, was suggest that to her voters, see how they react. Americans dont eat horsemeat. Period. There are so many rescue groups, so many new ones forming, people just need to not be lazy and seek out those resources. People just turn a blind eye and pretend it doesnt happen, because its easier not to get involved. The facts dont lie and the AVMA is wrong. This is all politics. The vets who dont support their stance have separated. And I am sorry Dr. Voris, I dont believe anyone attacked you, I see it the other way around. I respect veterinarians very much so, I just dont see what you see.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 7:11 p.m.

Sharrock-the law says you cant drive 120 on the hwy. If the law says you cant transport horses for slaughter, then you cant. NOt everyone agrees with every law made, but if its the law, then you have to obey it or suffer the consequences. Its against the law to fight dogs. Do dog fighters agree, no. but thats the law, and they get punished. Not everyone is going to agree, but the issue is what it is because IT IS NOT HUMANE. Horses are bought on deceptive practices, Killers are making 12,000 a truckload hauling horses out of CA to mexico right now. That is straight from their mouths. No anti-slaughter person made that up. My belief is that it is wrong because of the inhumane way these animals are treated. AT that cant be changed and or guaranteed.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 19, 2008 | 7:28 p.m.

Dr. Voris, we respectfully disagree with your comments. To site information from the pro slaughter groups that you mentioned is one sided and disingenuous. This site will reflect the membership of the AVMA which is quite the opposite of the AVMA. http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/ These are fellow veterinarians and they do not agree with the dribble contained in this article.

As previous posters have mentioned, abuse and neglect are crimes. To suggest that responsible owners will turn to crime, is absurd. Owners of over 800,000 horses provide a humane, dignified death for their horses. You don’t hear them whining they need slaughter for disposal. Less than 1% of the horse population is slaughtered each year. 70% to 80% of the horses slaughtered are quarter horses. Perhaps you should ask the AQHA what they’re doing about that. Perhaps you should ask them when they are going to start supporting responsible breeding rather than slaughter. There is your problem.

The entire slaughter process is abuse from the moment they enter the slaughter pipeline. For a vet to suggest slaughter as end to a horses life is unconscionable.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 7:33 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
You didn't disappoint me. The operating word in the AVMA document is proper restraint. The horses at the horse slaughter houses were and are not properly restrained. You are again overlooking the meaning of the complete sentence. Mr. Holland will have to respond to your comment about the timeline and what was uploaded on the web site during her testimony. I also took an oath and I firmly believe that any professional person who takes an oath to protect animals must take the word "protect" literally. You can list what you construe as name calling but this does nothing more than to confirm my impression of your most recent comment that I placed in quotes. You can try to use these comments against us and engender sympathy for yourself. I would much rather see a list of hard data from you that supports the pro-slaughter side regarding this issue.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 19, 2008 | 7:37 p.m.

The agruement about driving 120 is weak at best. Speed limits are created becuase it isn't safe to drive that speeed. Our roads and cars are not created for that. Oh I know people should follow the law, I just don't agree with some laws, especially ones that have to do with private property. I don't know what is deceptive about buying a horse. If you are willing to sell a horse then you are transfering that property. You the seller have that choice to sell and who you sell to. If a killer can make 12K and it is legel then more power to them. I would rather that money to be made in the USA so we can get the taxes. I think we can both agree that at least in the US the horses will be treated better. We can agree to disagree on what humane looks like. Look if there wasn't a market for horse meat then horses wouldn't be sent to processing plants, period. Plus with this shipping horses to different countries is just burning up fuel.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 7:47 p.m.

What is deceptive about buying horses is that when a KB goes to a home and buys a horse and promises the owner that they will give them a good home, because that is the condition that the horse is being sold on, then the horse is shipped straight to slaughter, that is deceptive. If you dont think that is happening, then you surely are not informed. In CA, it is illegal to ship a horse out of that state for slaughter, they are not making that money legally and they are not paying taxes on it. They are paid in Mexico. Horses are stolen right out of peoples fields and sent straight to slaughter because a Kb can make a quick buck. Once again, your point is that you want to do what you want. Well I, and many other people, want to do what we want, and that is to make it illegal to slaughter a horse. Thats what i want, and I dont care if you like it or not.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 7:57 p.m.

Mr. Sharrock:
"If a person wants to breed them for processing then so be it." Let's take out the incentive. Tell the breeders they can send their horses to slaughter but will get no money. Let's see how many breeders will breed for the slaughter pipeline.
"There are people who are trying to force other people to spade and neuter their dogs and cats. What right does anyone have over another persons property and what they do with it."
You need to read Stephen Dolinko's comments. Once you do then perhaps you will understand why spay/neuter is so important. People who indiscriminately breed their cats and dogs, then dump (abandon) them are IRRESPONSIBLE. Dogs and cats must not suffer because of irresponsible owners. Read what Stephen Dolinko said. He saw people shoot these animals. He himself was mauled by one. People who abandon their animals are irresponsible and wrong. They need to be reported to the authorities and the unwanted animals should be brought to animal shelters.
"What right does anyone have over another persons property and what they do with it. I don't have a right to tell you what you can and cannot do with your animals why should anyone have right to tell me what I can do with mine?"
Everyone knows that choice even what goes on one's property is decided by society, mores and laws. The majority of the American people want this horrific, brutal and cruel practice of horse slaughter to stop. People dumped their unwanted cars in Puget Sound. The paint was lead-based. Perhaps, the people who dumped their unwanted cars in the Sound felt just like you do. Of course, this was illegal and the Washington State taxpayers paid to have the cars removed from the sound. I am sure you know that lead is a toxin just like phenylbutazone. The difference between the two is how they affect the human body.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 8:05 p.m.

Mr. Sharrock:
If you read the comments on this board, the horses were NOT treated better at the horse slaughter houses when they were operating in the US. There were many violations as stated by Theresa Messick, to name a few.

(Report Comment)
Chris Dieterich August 19, 2008 | 8:16 p.m.

As a rule of thumb, the first person who references or equates the other to "Hitler" should automatically lose the argument.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 19, 2008 | 8:22 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris,

Yes, we have a definite fundamental disagreement over the issue of horse slaughter. I certainly will not argue that.

I will begin by addressing your statement that both videos were taken in Mexico. That is absolutely false. The video where you see the "pithing" was definitely taken in Mexico, but I have a statement for you from the Deputy Director of Government and Legal Affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute, and I am copying and pasting it for you below, verbatim:

"The footage displayed on our website was shot by a current staff member from the Animal Welfare Institute while they were helping another US based organization.  Anyone who tries to claim this footage is from outside the US clearly doesn't know the US or foreign owned slaughter industry.  Several years ago the slaughter industry PR firm tried to make the same claim in a public forum, but was quickly and publicly dismissed by a reporter in the room who had actually done a story on the footage when originally released.  Any individual who tries this tired old argument should be ignored from the start on everything because they are clearly regurgitating misinformation put out by the slaughterhouses years ago while not putting second of research into the situation on their own."  Chris Heyde, deputy director government and legal affairs for the Animal Welfare Institute.

I hope that you will gracefully accept your error.

I take exception to the word: processed. Horses are not processed, they are slaughtered. And that might seem like semantics to you, but I personally love the English language and feel that especially writing about this subject one should not use words incorrectly.

As for the "oversight" you describe in your answer to me, I know that you had read the eye witness report by Theresa Messick. I, too, have heard from trusted colleagues of the horrors that have taken place in the Belgian owned slaughter plants that were in the United States. It is fact that all of the horses that were brought to these slaughter plants, were killed in a barbaric fashion. A captive bolt gun that misses time and time again is abuse. But yet, you are condoning this. I still do not understand how you can support what is morally wrong and yet stand by your oath, to do no harm.

You also state that carrying my argument to the fullest would result in all animals not being slaughtered. I will remind you that I do eat chicken and fish and to determine that we want to put an end to all animals being slaughtered is certainly stretching ones imagination. However do you think that we could do that? What we are trying to do is end horse slaughter; the slaughter of our companions, work horses, race horses, military horses, police horses, seeing eye horses and pets. Our horses do not belong on a foreign dinner plate and most of the United States has spoken out against this barbarism.

(continued below)

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 19, 2008 | 8:22 p.m.

I wrote yesterday about the reasoning behind the AVMA's stance on horse slaughter and John Holland addressed this, but I'd also like to point out a few things after a bit of research.

I'd like you to notice these two paragraphs:  http://www.avma.org/press/releases/070714_hod.asp

"The HOD members debated over two foie gras resolutions: one to set an AVMA policy opposed to the practice of artificially force feeding ducks and geese to produce foie, and a second resolution that would state that the AVMA approves of the production of foie gras. Both resolutions failed to gain approval.
The HOD first voted down the AVMA resolution to oppose foie gras production. Dr. James M. Harris, delegate from the Association of Avian Veterinarians, spoke out against this resolution, stating: "China is the single largest producer of foie gras in the world, and if foie gras is no long produced in the United States, there is enough consumer demand for it that it will be imported. The question is if you want food inspected in the United States or if you want it inspected elsewhere."
I do believe that the above quotes from the AVMA site truly says it all. It's all about dollar signs, isn't it? Whether it be foie gras or horse meat; it's all about greed.

The AVMA says that it is about animal welfare, but they couldn't come up with a resolution whether or not force-feeding birds was inhumane.  I'd say that is pretty disgusting.

That article was from July 2007, but I also found this from July 2008:  http://www.avma.org/onlnews/javma/jul08/080715q.asp

It states:  
"The AVMA has no position on the production of foie gras."
The AVMA can continue to condone horse slaughter, foie gras, throwing chickens into a wood chipper, declawing cats, etc., etc., but as time goes on the ethical veterinarians will come forward as they have been doing and the AVMA will either become what it should be, or no longer be a viable organization in the future.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 8:24 p.m.

Mr Sharrock:
If you truly want more money made in the US, support the T. Boone Pickens plan. We send seven billion dollars overseas to buy oil. The Pickens plan will generate more money in this country because natural gas is domestic and it will reduce our dependency on oil and the amount of money we send overseas. Using "making money in the US" as a reason for opening a horse slaughter house is very weak. How sad it is that this conversation is reduced to making money by abusing animals. I will say this again: horses helped us build this nation and today serve in our military and police departments. Not to mention therapy programs for children and returning soldiers who have lost a limb in combat. Horses are companion animals and they have earned the right to a dignified and honorable death. Horse slaughter is neither dignified or honorable. And the road to hell is paved by greedy, immoral people who think they are masters of anything that is not human.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 8:29 p.m.

ann marini- do you know daryl smoliak?

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 8:39 p.m.

Horse slaughter was banned in the state of California in 1998. There has been NO effort to ban the slaughter of animals raised for food since the horse slaughter ban was signed into law in 1998. Research also showed that horse theft reduced by about 30% after the ban was instituted. Ms. Snider is absolutely correct about the horse killers in California. Horse slaughter is banned in this state yet the killers are shipping 15-30 horses per week. It is illegal yet the killers CHOOSE to break the law.

A horse killer made an extraordinary and illuminating statement:

"I provide a service. People are revolted when I tell them I process horses for a living, but without me there would be thousands of starving horses living on our streets. On that girlie website of yours you wrote how I exploit horses. Wrong. I exploit alcohol. I exploit Burger King. But with horses I provide a service. I mop up. I clean up the mess left by morons who just have to breed their mare. A few years later no one wants the baby anymore, so I come in to mop up. How come you never write about those morons who just have to breed their mare? Every spring I send dozens of mares and new foals to the meat plant. And every spring there are idiots breeding more babies. All of your do right for horses cause they built America is crap. The only way to do right for horses is to stop breeding them."

This horse killer operates out of California. If a horse killer can figure this out, anyone can.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 8:43 p.m.

To Jennifer Snider. Yes, I know Daryl.

(Report Comment)
jennifer snider August 19, 2008 | 8:45 p.m.

Ann- we are on the same page. Its the killer Joe at TB friends deals with. He also is an illegal alien. Think he is paying taxes. He is making a fortune. And breaking the law. Talk about deception 40 pregnant mares given to a guy to foal and race the offspring. Thats what he said. He shipped out of Ca illegally to Arizona to sell all 40 pregnant mares to mexico for slaughter. The media getting involved and all the bad publicity and threat of legal problems forced this guy to sell to a TB rescue. That is the reality of the situation.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 8:59 p.m.

Jennifer, you are correct. This horse killer deals with Joe. This horse killer is building a mansion in the US? No, he is building a mansion in Mexico. He makes his money off of the United States, the horses pay the ultimate price and I doubt that he pays taxes. Yes. I read about the mares and the stallions (Seattle Bound, Major Moment, Mr. Bolg, and Lindsey’s Roberto). I am very glad Blood Horse got involved and there was constant observation of the horses to ensure their safety.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 19, 2008 | 9:37 p.m.

One I do support the Pickins plans. Two you can cite California slaughter ban all you want but what those crazies do doesn't mean two cents to me. They mess up pretty well everything they do. Look at their deficit and their moral standards, commonsense left those people long ago. Why don't you find out how much Calif. spends on enforcing their ban. It is nothing. I don't care what horses did in the past I am talking about the present and future. I say they are private property and a commodity. You are basically saying they have emotions and should have the same rights as humans. I disagree. I know fixing animals are important. I didn't argue that point. I said that YOU, my neighbor, and politicians shouldn't have the RIGHT to force me to do it. Do I think people should be held accountable for animal abuse, yes. If I am caught turning loss excess animals, then fine me. But If I want to breed a thousand cats and I keep them all cared for then that should be my right. (I wouldn't do that by they way, I hate cats) I know none of use are going to agree as to what constitutes abuse. So I think we can stop arguing about that. What needs to happen is just what the seminar showed the people.
1. There ARE unwanted horses. Period.
2. It costs more to feed a animal than to process.
3. Who is going to pay for feeding the animals? Us tax payers.
4. More needs to be done to EDUCATE people about horses, costs, and needs. etc. (I agree 100% with this point.)

Look at donatemyhorse.com if you don't think people are wanting to get rid of horses. Maybe some of you should sponsor a horse to a good home.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 19, 2008 | 9:58 p.m.

To Allan Sharrock:

So, what you are saying is that there should be no laws. You should be able to drive on the left side of the street, because you can. You should also be able to keep the 1000 cats that you bred, because you can. And, you can kill your dog or cat, because you can.

You think that because you have opposing thumbs that you can do whatever you like, when you like.

It is because of people like you that we have laws to insure that animal abuse (that would include living with 1000 cats), is stopped.

As for mandatory spay and neuter laws, I guess that you prefer that millions of cats and dogs are euthanized in this country every year.

Animals do have feelings and if you don't know that, then you don't have feelings either. In fact, if you'd prefer the animals be euthanized or slaughtered, then I guess you definitely don't have feelings. Perhaps you need to discuss that with someone.

Horse slaughter is unethical.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 10:15 p.m.

Mr. Sharrock,
Your denunciation of us, the anti-slaughter group, is deplorable and represents as Dr. Voris says disrespect. There is no way to have a "thoughtful and knowledgeable" discussion when you make reckless allegations and assertions. Your biased opinion of the good people who live in California is indeed reprehensible. One of the most appealing aspects of living in America is the cultural diversity. You can disagree with the way certain people live their lives but no one has the right to condemn it or impose their views on them (I think this is what you are saying. You don't want people or politicians to TELL you what to do).
As for your support of the Pickens Plan, this is indeed a wise move. I hope you work to help Mr. Pickens bring back our energy future and to keep the seven billion dollars here in the good ole US of A. Using this reason to bring back horse slaughter is a disgrace and a mere drop in the water in terms of the amount of money we are and will send overseas to purchase oil.
Incidentally, Mr. Pickens spoke at a Congressional hearing to pass HR503, the House version of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. I hope this fact doesn't dissuade you from continuing your efforts to help him bring back our energy future and our economy.

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 19, 2008 | 10:16 p.m.

Once again you didn't read my comments or put any thought into them. I don't know why people are revisiting the speeding issue I address that. I do think there should be laws. I think laws are important to protect me from other people and unsafe acts of those people, such as speeding. I don't guess you read the comment about PROPERLY taking care of the "1000" cats. If they are cared for then why should you or anyone have the right to tell another person they can't have them. No I don't prefer people euthanasia cats or dogs. I just don't think that anyone should force another person to fix their animal. It is not your property. I think people should be held accountable for releasing animals. Maybe I think fixing a animal is "inhumane." Then should my view of animal rights be preserved? The bottom line is that a purchased animal is personal property. Look it up in any legal book. I can do what I want within the law. If you are inferring that I believe humans are above animals then you are correct. It is my belief animals are here to serve mankind. If I or anyone else wants a horse steak for dinner than you and your friends shouldn't be able to stop me. Maybe I am from East Europe and it is a part of my culture. Who are you to tell me what I can't put in my body? Who are you to tell me that my culture is wrong? You didn't even comment about what the seminar was about. You just assumed, ranted, raved, and made comments.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 10:17 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Thank you for taking the time to read our study on slaughter trends.

I was surprised by your recent statement in another post saying "I do feel there has been a significant, and unintended, impact on the equine industry that is in part due to the removal of the slaughter market." I thought we had established that the number of horses going to slaughter is larger than before the states closed down the US plants. If you accept this fact, what is your rationalization for implying any effect? If you do not accept it, I will provide you with links to the USDA data.

As you know from our study, we did not find any dramatic rise in abuse cases through March. We did state that if the economy continued to sour we might well expect that to change. Having 12 equines to take care of I am very aware of the rising costs involved.

Due to the 3,000 character limitation on posts and internet connection problems, I will respond to only one or two questions at a time starting with my next post.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 10:20 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

As to your question 1, "what accounts for the large number of stories concerning horse abuse since the closing of the slaughter plants", I will offer this email from Dr. May at the AVMA early last November asking for stories and statistics about increases in abuse and neglect since the closing of the plants.

Note that Dr. May is not asking for all statistics, or stories about abuse before the closings, but just the material they need for a media blitz. The blitz of stories started within weeks. As they appeared they were posted on the AVMA web site. As to statistics, they have never posted anything. If, as you say, it is easy to find statistics to support any point, why would an organization with the resources of the AVMA not have presented some by now?

Here is Dr. May's email:
-------------------------------------
As you may know, the American Veterinary Medical Association opposes the horse slaughter ban because it does not address the real issue—the unwanted horse. Since the act was introduced, the AVMA and other members of the Unwanted Horse Coalition have expressed concern that the closure of horse slaughter facilities in the US will negatively impact the welfare of these unwanted horses. Those concerns have not been addressed by any of the act’s proponents.

We are aware of an increase in horse abuse/neglect cases in Georgia since the slaughter houses closed (as published in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). Of course, we realize that there are other factors at play here, such as the droughts and hay shortages. However, have any of your constituents observed increased rates of horse neglect or abuse over the past few months? If so, we would greatly appreciate any statistics that back this up (the appropriate organizations will be credited).

Thank you in advance for your assistance. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or comments.

Kimberly Anne May, DVM, MS, DACVS
Assistant Director, Department of Professional and Public Affairs
Communications Division
American Veterinary Medical Association
1931 N. Meacham Rd, Suite 100
Schaumburg, IL 60173
(phone number deleted)
kmay@avma.org
www.avma.org

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 10:38 p.m.

Mr. Sharrock:
My comments about what horses do is in the present: horses today serve in our military and police departments. Not to mention therapy programs for children and returning soldiers who have lost a limb in combat. Horses are companion animals and they have earned the right to a dignified and honorable death. Horse slaughter is neither dignified or honorable. And the road to hell is paved by greedy, immoral people who think they are masters of anything that is not human.

Horses TODAY serve in our military and police departments. Today, horses are therapy for children and returning soldiers from Afghanistan and Iraq (This is TODAY's war) that have lost a limb or more (two limbs, two limbs and an ear, head injury, PTSD). Horses don't deserve a brutal, cruel and tortuous death. It is unfortunate that you can't see that.
Lists are good. I admit that but a list without solutions is nothing more than a list. There is no reason why people can't get together and buy hay/grain to feed people's horses. The bad economy, overbreeding, cost of hay, cost of transportation, etc. all add to a tough market for horses. As I mentioned above, many of us have stepped up to the plate to help horse owners. We have bought hay, grain and medicine for them. If there is a good time for showing compassion and helping your fellow man or woman, it is now. Many of us also own horses but we feel it is important to help our fellow horse owners during these very difficult times. Slaughter has and does not reduce neglect or abuse. Slaughter has and does not reduce the number of unwanted horses. Just read the killer's comments above. He is absolutely correct.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 10:39 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Your question number 2:
2. You state in the last paragraph of Figure 2, "Thus while it is true that the closing of the US based horse slaughter plants in 2007 drove American horses over the borders to Canada and Mexico, the converse is not true and domestic slaughter has not historically protected American horses from going to these countries in similar numbers." Yet Figure 1 illustrates almost no US horses going to Mexico for slaughter prior to 2004 and 25,000 going to Canada during the majority of the illustrated time frame. How do you defend the second portion of your statement given that 2008 year-to-date, 32,443 horses have been exported to Mexico alone for slaughter?
Answer:
The graph is scaled to show the much larger total slaughter numbers, so it is difficult to see the Mexican numbers. Notably, in 1994 31,185 horses went to Mexico. Following a low period, exports to Mexico began to pick up in 2003.

2003- 2,819
2004- 4,114
2005- 7,821
2006- 11,100
2007- 45,609

There can be no doubt that the trend was accelerated by the closings, but as you can see, it was already well underway.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 19, 2008 | 10:45 p.m.

Mr. Sharrock:
You clearly didn't read my post. The ability to do anything, even in your own backyard, is determined by society, mores and laws. The majority of the American people want slaughter to end. The United States is a democracy. That means the majority rules. If you don't want to abide by the rules and laws laid down by this country, then you will go to jail.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 11:00 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
Your question number 3.
3. In the "Summary of Slaughter Trends" you state, "The only increase in abuse caused by the closings has been the longer trips and more brutal slaughter conditions that the horses are subjected to." How do you defend this statement when Figure 6 demonstrates Illinois abuse cases jumped from a steady range of 400-450 to over 600 once the plant closed in 2007?

Answer:
The study clearly states that there were increases in abuse in some areas and decreases in others. The statement about there being no increase was on a national level. I fully expected to be accused of cherry picking my data, so I made a point of saying that Illinois had experienced a dramatic increase. I am a professional and I do not hide data that disagrees with my opinion nor do I ask people to send me only data that does agree with my opinion as was done by Dr. May.

However, as you are relatively new to the subject you probably do not realize that Illinois was the only state that had an active slaughter plant after early March 2007. The state provides statistics on an annual basis and not on a monthly basis, therefore we only know there was an increase for the year and not when during the year the increases occurred. But we also know that the only slaughter in the country was going on there for almost nine months (3/4ths) of the year, so apparently the wonderful slaughter facility did not protect their equines from abuse and neglect.

Your question 4:
4. In figure 7, you associate the increase of equine abuse cases increasing with the unemployment rate-a fact I do not dispute as likely very accurate. Why didn't you overlay figure 6 onto figure 7 as the plant closing in IL had an impact on both unemployment and equine abuse cases in the state of Illinois?

As stated above, the data was not available on a monthly basis so it would have been meaningless to imply anything with relation to the closings.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 19, 2008 | 11:49 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
Finally allow me to comment on the issue of the captive bolt gun and Dr. Beaver's testimony. Following Dr. Beaver's testimony several of us jumped on the AVMA web site and we could not find the references to the captive bolt gun. Whether we were mistaken or they were gone is now immaterial since they have restored the original requirement for head restraint.

As you may or may not know, no slaughter facility has ever developed a practical method of restraining the head of a horse. So if it is not possible to restrain the head, according to the AVMA 2000 and 2007 reports, the method is unacceptable.

Now may I direct your attention to the testimony under oath of the then President of the AVMA, Dr. Bonnie Beaver.

http://energycommerce.house.gov/reparchi...

Under her summary of testimony number 3:
"The captive bolt gun causes instant death and is an acceptable form of euthanasia for horses."
In the full text of the testimony she says that it is acceptable with head restraint but fails to expose the fact that this is not done and is not practicable in equines.

So if head restraint is not used, as Dr. Beaver must be fully aware it is not, then her testimony that the CBG is acceptable was not truthful.

She goes on to say that "the captive bolt gun is NOT a stun gun. It causes instant death due to the destruction of brain tissue. Let me repeat, instant death."

Just why then is the process referred to as "stunning". Moreover, most explanations of the captive bolt gun specifically say that one of its disadvantages as a tool of euthanasia is that it DOES NOT cause death and that it must be accompanied by exsanguination (bleeding out).
In fact, this is why the CBG is popular in slaughter houses because the animal may then be hoisted by a hind leg and bled out through the pumping of the heart.
Dr. Beaver goes on to say that there may be some movement after the application of the gun but this should not be interpreted as the animal experiencing pain.
Dr. Voris, I have witnessed the process of slaughtering horses with the CBG and I estimated that over thirty percent of the horses required multiple hits because of the difficulty in placing the gun on such a head-shy animal. Some dropped instantly while others nearly climbed out of the kill box.
BTW: Thanks for reminding me of yet one more reason I hold the AVMA in such low regard.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Messick August 20, 2008 | 1:30 a.m.

Dr. Voris, as I am sure you are aware, the captive bolt is meant to stun the equine. Death is by exsanguination. At the rate horses were slaughtered in the U.S., proper placement of the captive bolt wasn’t a priority. Volume, was. Add to that, poor training, and what you have is a recipe for mistakes.

I would encourage you to visit one of the many monthly or weekly sales that take place throughout the state of Missouri. I have no doubt you’ll witness at least one violation. Neither MODOT, nor the highway patrol are helpful in these situations. They aren’t familiar with the federal laws and enforcement is difficult. What I hear most often is that there isn’t funding for training, agencies don’t know what to do with the horses or, most often, that they don’t have an officer available.

It’s the same with abuse and neglect cases. Officers aren’t trained and no one knows what to do. I know of a woman who has been turned in countless times, but she still has her horses. There was a horse I used to drive by on the way to a client’s house. I called the state, I called the sheriff’s office. I never got a return call from the state, but the sheriff’s department did send an officer out. After repeated phone calls and getting nowhere, I finally went to the sheriff’s office and parked in their office. They finally took a vet out there who recommended euthanizing the poor guy, which was done that day.

Perhaps we could use the money previously spent on inspections at the slaughtering facilities to educate our law enforcement agencies.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Messick August 20, 2008 | 2:05 a.m.

Mr. Sharrock, if you want to take on an issue related to property rights, maybe you can convince the county I live in to let me put the door to my barn where I want it. My point is, we are regulated to some degree, at every turn. Many municipalities dictate how many pets a person can own, counties tell us, depending on how many acres you own and where you live, what buildings you can put up. You talk of cultures and I am curious. Recently, I learned of a family who moved to the U.S. and sent their son to school, but not their daughter. Their belief was that the girl didn't need an education, her job was to become a wife and mother. The state stepped in and said, uhhh no, she goes to school. The family wasn't happy, but the daughter is getting an education. Who is right?

(Report Comment)
Allan Sharrock August 20, 2008 | 8:11 a.m.

You know I don't know why everyone is saying that I am suggesting that people break the laws. I know democracy rules, to a extent. However there is a reason we have a constitution and it is to protect everyone's rights. Even those who want/don't want horse processing plants. As to your weak argument about moving the USA and school. Guess what, they choose to move here and must follow our laws and constitution. If they can find a place in the book of law or constitution that allows them to not send their daughter to school then they have the right to sue the state to overturn their ruling. This is my last comment. I have better things to do.

I would like people to ask themselves if you think it should be the governments job to take away rights vs give and protect human rights. Try and find out how much PETA and the national humane society spend on protecting horses vs. lawsuits and false advertisements. Ask yourself how much should the government spend each year on feeding and caring for unwanted horses? 100mil, 200 mil?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 8:37 a.m.

Ms Tobin,

I have never "suggest(ed) slaughter as end to a horses life" as you have asserted. I understand your disagreement and respect your opinion on the matter.

In my very first post, I discused the fact this issue is controversial within the industry. I challenge your assertion that you can get the pulse of an entire profession off the comments on a website. However, I respect their opinions as well.

I have never suggested people will resort to crime. I have witnessed people and horses suffering due to economic conditions. These conditions are not totally due to the end of domestic slaughter and the resulting loss of an equine market price, but it has been a factor. To deny that fact is to deny reality.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 9:03 a.m.

Ms. Moore,

All of your questions hinge on the answering of a question Mr. Holland could not answer in his article and would not answer when I questioned him. His said abuse were difficult to obtain from any centralized location. The website used in his article to get this information relies on media reports concerning horse abuse.

If you are willing to accept his numbers based on media reports, why are you unwilling to accept my cited media reports all concerning an increase in the numbers of equine abuse cases?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 9:40 a.m.

Mr. Holland,

You cannot expect me to accept your answers when all of them are answered with a question.

1. Does pet-abuse.com constitute accurate and reliable information on which to base a "scientific report"?
2. How do you call the US to Mexico export numbers an upward trend prior to the domestic plant closures when the numbers from the USDA do not support that claim? There is an unexplained bump in 1994, but otherwise-both before and after 1994-the numbers are flat until the domestic slaughter plant legal issues began in 2005 which finally resulted in their closure in 2007.

I definately believe there has been a negative impact on the equine industry that is in part due to the loss of domestic equine slaughter. My reason for believing this is that there is no, uniform market value for horses with little or no useful value as there was when there was a domestic terminal market. As a result, a horse that once could be sold for some monetary value is now not worth the value of the fuel it would take to get it to a sale. Additionally, the price of feed and hay make "giving" the horse to someone more problematic.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 20, 2008 | 11:45 a.m.

Dr. Voris,
You state that you cannot accept Mr. Holland's answers when all of them are answered with a question. Here is one of John's answers:
The number followed by the sentence is what you asked John to answer:
4. In figure 7, you associate the increase of equine abuse cases increasing with the unemployment rate-a fact I do not dispute as likely very accurate. Why didn't you overlay figure 6 onto figure 7 as the plant closing in IL had an impact on both unemployment and equine abuse cases in the state of Illinois?

John's answer to this question is the following:

As stated above, the data was not available on a monthly basis so it would have been meaningless to imply anything with relation to the closings.

I think even you will agree that John's answer is not "answered with a question.

I really do pity you because you are looking for any reason at all to escape from the correct interpretation of the hard data.

Even your comment "These conditions are not totally due to the end of domestic slaughter and the resulting loss of an equine market price, but it has been a factor. To deny that fact is to deny reality" is untrue. I realize that this is what you believe but the USDA data do not support your conclusion. I respectfully submit to you that you are in denial of the "reality" of the situation.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 11:53 a.m.

Hi Theresa,

Your statement "the captive bolt is meant to stun the equine. Death is by exsanguination." is factually incorrect. I stand by my statement that a properly applied captive bolt results in instantaneous death. Again, I do not condone abuse in the process of euthanasia, and if that was happening in slaughter facilities, it should be reported as, to my knowledge, there is no statute of limitations on animal cruelty.

I still don't know what types of transportation violations you have witnessed. What federal regulations are you referring to? Your experience with enforcement illustrates the problem with proposing additional restrictions on shipping.

The woman you mention who has been turned in several times but still has her horses; has she been prosecuted by anyone? I do not know the details in the case you cite, but the fact that someone has been "turned in" does not necessarily mean her horses are being abused or neglected. I have had to check more than one horse that the owner was "turned in" by a drive-by observer only to find the horse is a thankful-to-be-alive, 30 year-old who is a little thin. Many in the public believe that if you can see a few ribs, the horse is being starved.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 11:57 a.m.

Dr. Marini,

Since Mr. Holland has not answered my first question, I will post my question to you.

Does pet-abuse.com constitute accurate and reliable information on which to base a "scientific report"?

He doesn't know the abuse numbers so how can he say they haven't increased when there are news reports everyday to the contrary?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 12:07 p.m.

You want proof, here are 2 unfortunate cases in Missouri in the last 2 weeks:

Authorities seize 19 animals from property near Zalma, Mo.
http://www.semissourian.com/article/2008...

More than 300 animals rescued from Polk County property
http://www.news-leader.com/apps/pbcs.dll...

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 20, 2008 | 12:14 p.m.

Dr. Marini, you are very incorrect when you say "The United States is a democracy. That means the majority rules." The United States is a constitutional republic, in which the rights of the minority should not be usurped by the majority (sadly, they often are).

(Report Comment)
Stephen Dolinko August 20, 2008 | 2:02 p.m.

As I read the comments on this article further, I noticed Dr. Marini referred to what I had stated. I wish to elaborate further about what I had written and state what my beliefs are on this subject.
The issue it seems now has moved from making horse slaughter domestically illegal to banning any and all forms of horse slaughter of a U.S. horse. By removing this availability to slaughter horses domestically we removed an option for destroying these animals in a quick and painless way, if slaughterhouses followed the rules and are supervised correctly. What will be the unintended consequences if we continue this ban and add to it making it illegal to export horses for slaughter?
The ultimate issue as I see it is that there are many unwanted animals, and in this particular case it is unwanted horses. Slaughter is one possibility for these unwanted horses. What I have interpreted by reading through various news articles and papers is that we have had a larger surge in animals being abandoned or being neglected because the availability to slaughter horses domestically is no longer available. Since fuel costs are so high and feed is very costly it seems we are seeing a “perfect storm” for abandoning horses. My reasoning on this is four parts. First the economic down turn is impacting people’s pocket books, many who were well off and owned horses no longer can afford the care, food, and or attention a horse requires (this could include putting the animal down). Second the animal shelters are at maximum capacity if not over, and they are turning away animals. This leaves owners in a large bind. For example, I have antidotal evidence just checking craigs list and seeing free horses to a good home. Third there is no availability to send these horses to a domestic slaughtering facility. Fourth with the cost of fuel being so large, it is less economical for slaughter-houses outside the U.S. to accept horses from farther locations. I see this will mean many horses will be abandoned, and die a terribly slow death because their owners will get rid of their unwanted pet(s).
I earlier posted that slaughterhouses with correct training and supervision should be able to operate in a humane way of killing these animals. It was pointed out that these plants do not always follow the rules. In that case more direct supervision must be used.
Another person commented that the government should provide more grants and monies available to care for these animals. I do not want to sound harsh, but the government right now is hemorrhaging money. There have been articles written via the avma mailings I have seen stating that many of the laws to entice veterinarians to work rurally still have not been funded, even though these laws were passed in 2004. The basics of it are that there isn’t any money.
The question that must be asked by everyone involved is; what is the best solution out of many solutions that cares for both society and the animals?

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 20, 2008 | 2:07 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
Given your ability to ask questions which have already been answered in excruciating depth and to obfuscate your own answers beyond all logical dissection, I know you will have a wonderful career with the AAEP and the AVMA.

I see from your resume that you were already nominated by the AAEP and the MVMA to represent equine clinical practice on the AVMA code. You might have told us of this as we have been led to believe you are merely a veterinarian with a contrary but independent point of view.
You have skillfully avoided responding to the truly serious charges I have made about the AVMA after a brief stroll through that minefield. Now you have begun to picked around the edges to try to divert the discussion away from them.
I will answer your latest questions in my last and final post. I will not be baited into wasting more time on disingenuous questions or debunking nonsensical opining.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 20, 2008 | 2:17 p.m.

John Schultz:
Technically you are correct. The constitutional republic was founded on democratic principals. The rights of the minority are preserved by the Constitution. However, that said, the will of the majority of the citizens is reflected by their representatives who make laws. So, as you state, the constitutional republic still represents the majority. A simple example is your freedom of speech. However, there are ordinances that will not allow you to cry "fire" in a crowded movie theater without due cause. Under those circumstances, your personal freedom is secondary to the will of the majority which in this case is for the common good.

(Report Comment)
John Holland August 20, 2008 | 2:19 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
As stated in my earlier post, this will be my last response to your increasingly disingenuous posts.
You ask:
Does pet-abuse.com constitute accurate and reliable information on which to base a "scientific report"?
Answer:
As to the question of the limitations of the PetAbuse.com database, I am sure you are aware that they are covered in extensive detail in our study (that you have obviously read).
--------------
Addressing the horses exported to Mexico you say:
There is an unexplained bump in 1994, but otherwise-both before and after 1994-the numbers are flat until the domestic slaughter plant legal issues began in 2005 which finally resulted in their closure in 2007.
---
"until the domestic slaughter plant legal issues began in 2005"???
This complete nonsense. If you looked at the graphs you could clearly see that the US plants were continuously increasing their slaughter during the period between 2005 and the closing of the first plants in 2007.

Your attempt to assign some kind of mystical influence on Mexican exports to the ongoing legal challenges to US plants during that period (which started well before 2005)is completely without logical foundation and may I say typical of pro-slaughter babble. On the other hand, stay near the phone. If the AVMA is reading this thread you should be expecting a handsome job offer soon. Indeed, for all we know they assigned you here.

Then you go on:
I definately believe there has been a negative impact on the equine industry that is in part due to the loss of domestic equine slaughter. My reason for believing this is that there is no, uniform market value for horses with little or no useful value as there was when there was a domestic terminal market.
----
This is more illogical double talk. The same kill buyers are buying more horses than ever at the same auctions, for the same range of prices and you assert this has had a negative influence because of the lack of a "domestic terminal market"! And have you any data to show a sudden lack of a "uniform market value"? Of course not, there has never been such a thing in the horse industry or any other free market I know of. Like many of the phrases you are using, it was made up out of whole cloth by the slaughter camp.

Again, thank you for reminding me why I hold the AVMA in such low regard and stay by that phone.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 20, 2008 | 5:18 p.m.

Mr. Holland,

I have do not need to explain the AVMA to you as everything you have said so far has been proven to be incorrect.

>Number 1 employer of vets is not the USDA.
>Large animal vets do not make up a large portion of AVMA membership.
>The 2000 and 2007 Euthanasia guidelines both recognize the captive bolt as an approved method of euthanasia with appropriate restraint.
>Neither the 2000 nor the 2007 Euthanasia guidelines mention anything about the "head" when talking about restraint.
>Dr. Beaver's exact testimony reads: "The
penetrating captive bolt is NOT a stun gun. It causes instantaneous death due to the destruction of
brain tissue. Let me repeat – instantaneous death. Statements contained in the panel’s report about
the importance of appropriate head restraint do not mean that the horse’s head must be completely
immobilized, but instead that it should be in a position to allow skin contact with the penetrating
captive-bolt gun."

As everyone can clearly see, you cannot answer my questions without making accusations and impugning my credibility. Additionally, it is clear your use of misinformation is rampant in your postings.

The conclusions in your report are flimsy because they are based on incomplete evidence. Pet-abuse.com is not an adequate source of information on which to base a scientific report. This fact makes the evidence supporting the report's conclusion that horse abuse and neglect has not increased since the domestic slaughter ban as thin as the paper it is printed on.

(Report Comment)
Lucille Matte August 20, 2008 | 6:42 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

"The penetrating captive bolt is NOT a stun gun. It causes instantaneous death due to the destruction of brain tissue. Let me repeat – instantaneous death."

DOES AN ANIMAL'S HEART STILL BEAT WHEN IT IS DEAD?

(Report Comment)
LARRY HASFRIENDS August 20, 2008 | 7:28 p.m.

Is there anyone from AQHA here.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 20, 2008 | 7:35 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Instead of simply attempting to discredit Mr. Holland's work, again, please post YOUR research that provides the data I asked for in a previous post. Whether or not I or anyone else is willing to accept Mr. Holland's work is irrelevant to the questions I posed to YOU.
My faith in the media is minimal at best. I'm sure all of us can recall the API story from last year about the hundreds of 'abandoned' horses in the south. This story, along with so many others, was proven false.
Can you provide documemtation from law enforcement and animal control officers? In my opinion, information from such sources would hold much more validity than slanted media reporting.
If this is too difficult and/or time consuming, please ask Tom Lenz to provide his data that supports the UHC's claim that 170,000 horses were 'unwanted' in 2007. More specifically, of the 170,000 horses, how many:
1) Were intentionally sold by their owners to kill buyers.
2) Were actually stolen and then sold to slaughter.
3) Were BLM mustangs.
4) Were products of the PMU industry (which can certainly afford humane euthanasia).
5) Since approximately 100,000 horses in total were slaughtered in 2007, where did Tom find the other 70,000?

By the way, of the 319 animals seized as reported in the two articles you referenced, only 14 of them were equines. Since all of the animals were residing on their owners' property, these are cases of neglect/hoarding and not abandonment.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 20, 2008 | 7:41 p.m.

Thanks for bringing up the AQHA Larry. This organization brought in well over $5,000,000 in 2007 from registrations and transfers alone. How much did the AQHA contribute to rescue groups or set aside to assist financially strapped owners with euthanasia costs? Zero. How much did they spend to promote more (irresponsible) breeding? Millions. How much are they spending on their paid pro-slaughter lobbyist former Senator Conrad Burns? We won't know for several months yet. I'm sure everyone is aware of Burns' record on animal welfare issues. He's the one responsible for removing protection for our wild horses. His little stealth ammendment now allows wild horses to be sent to slaughter.

(Report Comment)
Lucille Matte August 20, 2008 | 8:01 p.m.

Dr. Voris, is this the instantaneous death you speak of?

Testimony of Dr. Nicholas Dodman:

Inhumane Horse Slaughter Methods in Canada I personally had the opportunity in June of this year to review hidden camera video of many horses being slaughtered at the Natural Valley Farm horse slaughter plant in Saskatchewan, Canada – a plant known to slaughter imported American horses. I found the slaughter process inappropriate, inhumane, unsupervised, and in total disregard of the animals‟ welfare. Particular problem areas included:  Horses being driven into the kill box were, for the most part, terrified. I believe this was because of the way they were being treated (horses are accustomed to being led, not driven); the use of prod sticks; the cacophonous clamor of the place (clanging, compressed air sounds, yelling); the attitude of the stunners; and the general atmosphere of inevitability/doom. The floor of the kill box was slippery so that when the terrified horses tried to run or jump their way out of their dreadful dilemma they often slipped and fell on the bloody metal floor or their feet would spin around as if they were trying to run on an ice rink. The sides of the kill box were not high enough to prevent them from seeing the disturbing sights of other horses being hung, bled out and butchered. The kill box was too wide and too long, allowing horses to back away from the stunner‟s access site. Because of the unsuitability of the slaughter setup, captive bolt operators were often trying to hit a moving target and in some cases were unable to locate the kill spot on the horses‟ forehead because the horse had turned around, slumped down, or moved backward in the kill box. When the stunner is trying to hit a brain the size of an orange in a skull the size of a suitcase any movement is likely to lead to incomplete stunning. I observed several horses being improperly “stunned.” Mouthing, tonguing, and paddling of the feet were not uncommonly seen as horses were dragged away to be hung up and bled out. Some of these horses were likely still conscious as they were being bled. This experience is not significantly different than often occurred at horse slaughter plants operating in the U.S. Captive bolt operators and their assistants seemed impatient and were unkind to the horses, hitting them repeating, cussing at them, and generally showing no signs of empathy. Disturbingly, the foot cutter (amputation device) was next in line after the horses throats were slit (on one side only). It is possible that some may have had their feet cut off while semiconscious. Horses that should not have been transported or slaughtered were present at the plant. Horses with medical problems should not be shipped for slaughter and some would never have passed meat inspection.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 20, 2008 | 8:11 p.m.

Horses are companion animals and they have earned the right to a dignified and honorable death. Horse slaughter is neither dignified or honorable. And the road to hell is paved by greedy, immoral people who think they are masters of anything that is not human.

(Report Comment)
Lucille Matte August 20, 2008 | 8:19 p.m.

BTW,

Dr. Beaver is a cat and dog behavorialist and not a large animal vet or a vet that knows how to euthanize large animals just because she headed the "AVMA panel."____________________________________________

Dr. Nicholas Dodman, Professor, Section Head and Program Director of the Animal Behavior Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts' Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine in North Grafton, Massachusetts.

I graduated from Glasgow University Veterinary School in Scotland where I received a BVMS degree. I was a surgical intern at the Glasgow Veterinary School before joining the faculty.

I received a Diploma in Veterinary Anesthesia from the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, and am board certified by the American College of Veterinary Anesthesiologists and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists.

I am a member of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), the Leadership Council of the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA), the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS), and the American College of Veterinary Behaviorists (ACVB).

I founded the Animal Behavior Clinic at Tufts in 1986, and am a founding member of Veterinarians for Equine Welfare.

I have written four bestselling trade books, two textbooks and more than 100 articles and contributions to scientific books and journals. I appear regularly on radio and television programs including: 20/20, Oprah, The Today Show, Good Morning America, Dateline, World News with Peter Jennings, Discovery Channel, NOVA, Animal Planet, the BBC and CBC, CNN's Headline News, Inside Edition, MSNBC, NOVA, NPR's "Fresh Air" and A&E. I am an ad hoc guest on WBUR's "Here & Now."

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 20, 2008 | 10:05 p.m.

Since Dr. Voris did not answer my post, I'll guess that he had to agree with the facts that I posted.

I had hoped that he would have gracefully accepted his errors, but I'll take the silence as acceptance of my facts.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 21, 2008 | 12:26 a.m.

Perhaps his AVMA-installed 'brain replacement' blew a fuse. I'm sure AVMA will have him repaired and propped up at his computer again soon.

If and when he returns I would like to hear his attempt at justifying the re-opening of horse slaughter plants in US in view of the fact that slaughter plants rely on 'random source' low quality horses to fill their overseas orders, drawing like a magnet daily loads of [high risk for diseases such as EHM] horses from across our borders. In view of the seriousness of emerging diseases and associated economic devastation to the entire US livestock industry, it is stupid to encourage unnecessary mass movements of horses in and through the US for no valid reason. The best the AVMA can come up with, to date, is emotional bs about a few poor people who can't afford to feed their horses. Once again, AVMA proves it wouldn't recognise sound science if it captive-bolted them in the forehead.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 21, 2008 | 8:18 a.m.

Great description of the AVMA Jon. I think Dr. May should go to a slaughter plant in Canada and see first hand how a captive bolt works with equines. I think they should visit Mexico and see what happens there. Then they can come on board and tell us poor farmers their findings.
Also how much did AQHA give Larry Craig to put a block on the horse slaughter bills, do you think AVMA contributed to this fund I do. Like I said before no one is fooling anyone with your BS. MONEY folks and that is the bottom line. Save our horses.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 9:32 a.m.

If the money spent to support this flagrantly invalid argument (no data no "hoof" to stand on) were instead used to protect horses (an animal) as stated in and recited by vets who are suppose to uphold this oath, we would be well along a solution. Just think of the number of poor horses in Missouri, for example, that could be fed and the number of horse owners in turn that could be helped (the common good).

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 21, 2008 | 1:31 p.m.

Great Point Ann, and this below would be for the common good.

The American Quarter Horse Foundation recently received the largest gift from an individual in the group's history. Clarence Scharbauer Jr. of Midland, Texas, is making a $2 million donation to the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame and Museum. This latest gift is in addition to a previous gift of $500,000 given by Scharbauer and his late wife, Dorothy Turner Scharbauer.

"With this additional extraordinary contribution of $2 million, Clarence once again sets the bar in generosity which underscores his love of the American Quarter Horse and his dedication to the Foundation's mission," said AQHA executive vice president Bill Brewer.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 1:34 p.m.

Ms. Caruso,

Please repeat your question as I cannot find a question in your previous 2 posts.

Thank you.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 2:08 p.m.

Ms. Moore,

There are no centralized numbers for abuse cases; Mr. Holland admits this fact in his article. Furthermore, pet-abuse.com states very clearly on their website the information contained on their site is not to be used as reference material.

I have stated, on more than one occasion, I am speaking from my experience and first-hand knowledge. I am not a researcher as Mr. Holland claims to be. However, I do not need to have a background in research to know phony or misinterpreted information when I see it.

Dissemination of misinformation is counterproductive to any discussion. Most people do not have the time or energy to fact-check everything they read. It is a shame Mr. Holland and others take advantage of this to advance their cause.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 2:11 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

Your comment: "Horses are companion animals" is certainly true to many horse owners; but can you can speak for all horse owners?

Legally, horses are considered livestock.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 2:21 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
You say "I am not a researcher...." Then, it is impossible for you to make any cogent assessment about data. However, I am sure your colleagues can give you data to rebut John Holland's data, no matter what you might think about it. We are breathlessly waiting for this data so we can have a thoughtful and knowledgeable discussion.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 2:38 p.m.

Ms. Matte,

Welcome to the discussion!

The answer to your first exclamation/question, "DOES AN ANIMAL'S HEART STILL BEAT WHEN IT IS DEAD?" depends on the method of euthanasia.

If potassium chloride is injected intravenously (only to be performed under general anesthesia), then the answer is no because the KCL stops the heart and the animal dies.

In the case of gunshot, captive bolt and pentobarbital overdose, the answer is yes-until the heart (which reacts no differently than any other muscle post-death) depletes its stored energy. Even if an animal is decapitated (decapitated=dead), the heart will continue to beat until its stored energy is depleted.

I respect the testimony of Dr. Dodman. Both he and Dr. Beaver are veterinarians and animal behaviorialists, neither are large animal veterinarians. The fact they disagree is not surprising to me as I stated in my very first post, this is a very controversial issue within the industry.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 2:43 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

Since when does one have to be a researcher to make cogent assesment about data?

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 2:59 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
My point stands. You are obfuscating. You have to have the knowledge base and expertise to make any cogent determination about the validity of data. We are breathlessly waiting for your colleagues to give you data to refute John Holland's data.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 3:09 p.m.

Dr Voris,

Dr. Beaver's exact testimony reads: "The penetrating captive bolt is NOT a stun gun. It causes instantaneous death due to the destruction of brain tissue. Let me repeat – instantaneous death."

You said: "In the case of gunshot, captive bolt and pentobarbital overdose, the answer is yes-until the heart (which reacts no differently than any other muscle post-death) depletes its stored energy."

Please enlighten me on how you can prove your interpretation from the interpretation that the brain sustains a traumatic injury and the heart continues to beat until exsanguination?

(Report Comment)
Lin B August 21, 2008 | 3:51 p.m.

food & Agriculture Animals raised, kept, and dealt with for use, profit or pleasure, e. g. on farms and ranches. Source: European Union. (references)
Any domestic animal produced or kept primarily for farm, ranch, or market purposes, including beef and dairy cattle, hogs, sheep, goats and horses. Source: European Union

Your right Dr. Voris, the horse has to be changed to companion pet. This is the leg the horse breeders and killers can stand on. This my friends is why they can get away with it. The horse, companion pet, worker, sport participant, trained to help handicap, can not be classified like a cow. And for those of you concerned about farm tax breaks, get some goats. But from now on I am pressuring congress to change the status of the horse and now is a great time with them in the Olympics winning gold metals. I am disgusted, because of the abuse these horses are going threw and the ridiculous excuses from the horse organizations, mine are family, he is right not everyone feels the horse is a pet....but they will.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 5:05 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

You asked: "Please enlighten me on how you can prove your interpretation from the interpretation that the brain sustains a traumatic injury and the heart continues to beat until exsanguination?

I'm not sure I understand your question. Are you suggesting that an animal is not dead until the heart stops?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 5:19 p.m.

Dear Lin B,

I am glad to hear your horses are your family. I know many people who feel the same way.

Your statement that "not everyone feels the horse is a pet...but they will" is haunting. What do you think it will take to make people change their opinion that their horse is a pet and not livestock?

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 21, 2008 | 5:24 p.m.

Dr. Marini,

For a second time on this discussion board, I think I can agree with you; "You have to have the knowledge base and expertise to make any cogent determination about the validity of data."

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 21, 2008 | 6:18 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Once again, instead of answering my questions you have chosen to refer back to John Holland's research. In none of my three requests to you did I even mention Mr. Holland's research, let alone ask for your opinion on it. However, since you continuously attack the research that has been provided, let's look at one of your statements which follows:

"Dissemination of misinformation is counterproductive to any discussion. Most people do not have the time or energy to fact-check everything they read. It is a shame Mr. Holland and others take advantage of this to advance their cause."

Are YOU not 'taking advantage' by your refusal to provide statistics? Apparently, your opinion is solely based on whatever your personal experiences have been. If personal experience is to be taken as gospel, then because I've never personally witnessed a tree fall in the forest, then no trees must have ever fallen.

If you would like readers to consider any pro-slaughter argument then I again ask you to provide YOUR DATA, Again, that's YOUR DATA, not Mr. Holland's and not your take on Mr. Holland's data.

Phrased somewhat differently: I would like YOU, Tom Lenz, or any other slaughter advocate to provide substantiated data to support YOUR arguments. AGAIN, I AM NOT ASKING FOR AN INTERPRETATION OF MR. HOLLAND'S RESEARCH.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 21, 2008 | 6:20 p.m.

Personally, I don't believe it's a matter of considering a horse livestock or companion animal. It is a difference between a food-producing animal and a non-food producing animal.

(Report Comment)
Lin B August 21, 2008 | 7:26 p.m.

Since they have a market for them, They are breeding away and supplying horses for horse eating people. I know it's animal abuse what they are doing but being they are considered livestock, they are getting away with the breeding part. As far as the transportation it's animal abuse. The slaughtering is animal abuse. The only part they can get fined for is the transportation while they are here in the United States. They don't, they seem to truck along just fine until one of them has an accident. HR6598 is a great bill, because to me and alot of people on this board it is criminal. I just think that horses will be safer if they are out of the livestock classification and be domesticated companion pets. They have been for the majority since they were domesticated to help us humans. Dr. Voris, I meant they will because they will have no choice. Alot of people make money off their horse's which is fine, but take care of them, plan for their death, and don't few them as a throw away and not be concerned about a gruesome end. Breeding for slaughter must stop. Responsible ownership, and breeding laws are a must. Now I am looking up the definition for wild animals and domesticated. You have a wild animal and you trained him/her and they became domesticated, when and how did they become livestock :)

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 7:41 p.m.

Dr. Voris,
You are obfuscating again. You know perfectly well what I am asking you and the reason you are asking me the question again is because you do not wish to answer the question. You are playing me and I don't like it.
The fact that you don't wish to answer the question, the fact that you have not presented any data from yourself or your colleagues (no data no "hoof" to stand on), the fact that you refuse to render an opinion about Dr. Dodman's comments other than to say that horse slaughter is "controversial" and the very fact that you refuse to accept the hard data published by John Holland leads me to one conclusion: your comments reflect nothing more than pro-slaughter babble.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 21, 2008 | 8:07 p.m.

Dr. Voris - you wrote:
"Ms. Caruso,
Please repeat your question as I cannot find a question in your previous 2 posts.
Thank you."

The question is your opinion on my post about the AVMA and how they do not live up to their oath: "to do no harm". I state that they do not keep their oath, because they condone throwing chickens into a wood chipper, declawing cats, horse slaughter and that they do not have an opinion on foie gras, when all are blatant animal abuse.

Also, you stated that the video links I provided were both from Mexico, when I quoted a statement from the Director of the organization that provided the video which said that the video was taken in the United States.

I guess you only answer when you have answers? If so, that works too. But, it also proves my point that the AVMA is about money, rather than humane animal care.

(Report Comment)
Ann Marini August 21, 2008 | 8:53 p.m.

And the fact that you finally admitted that you neither have the background nor the expertise to make a cogent assessment of the data that John Holland used means that John's data stand.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 21, 2008 | 9:37 p.m.

Dr. Voris, if you support slaughter, you support ending a horse's life with slaughter. There is no in-between and not under certain circumstances. You either believe it’s right or it’s wrong. Any conditions that exist have nothing to do with the slaughter houses closing. The same number of horses are being slaughtered. Anyone wishing to send their horse to slaughter can still do so. Nothing is stopping them. I’m assuming you are aware that when the domestic slaughter houses were open, there were the same number of abuse and neglect cases. The people that abuse and neglect do so with or without the availability of slaughter.

The captive bolt was designed to stun, not kill, bovines. Being a vet, you are aware that horse’s brains are set further back than bovine’s. It has been documented over and over again, including an affidavit from a former chief of USDA inspectors that horses are never stunned properly and regain consciousness within 30 seconds. They are vivisected. Most of the workers were illegals, not professionals. There are numerous videos from all three slaughter houses, with different horses that clearly demonstrate the horses being hit multiple times. This in itself, makes horse slaughter illegal by virtue of the 1958 Humane Slaughter Act.

Regarding the veterinarian’s views, the AVMA has never polled its membership so how can they speak for their members when they never asked their opinions? Why is that? How does a vet explain taking an oath to care for animals and be a steward for their welfare and then condone the abuse of slaughter?

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 21, 2008 | 10:03 p.m.

Mr. Dolinko, you are correct. American horses should not be slaughtered for any reason. There are many options for disposal. Lest there be any doubt, the responsible owners of over 800,000 horses annually are able to humanely end their horses’s life and dispose of the carcass. They are not whining that they need slaughter as an option. There is no ban on horse slaughter. Anyone wishing to send their horse to slaughter can still do so. If horses are being abandoned or neglected, it has nothing to do with the domestic slaughter houses closing.

Everything has gone up in price. If you can’t afford to put gas in your car, do you think you should be able to abandon the car? If you can’t afford to feed your family, should you abandon them? When an individual takes ownership of an animal, they are responsible for that animal. That means they must provide humane care in life and death. Slaughter is driven by greed. If cat and dog owners had the option of getting paid to dump their animals can you imagine how many more animals the shelters would have? Irresponsible owners are given an incentive to over breed and dump their animals. Remove the incentive and see what happens. The folks that are whining that they need slaughter as an option, are not the individual owners that have fallen on hard times. It’s the irresponsible owners that breed anything that moves. If they are going to continue to bring new foals into the population, they can’t assume they will be able to sell all of them and must have the means to care for them. If they can’t, why do they continue breeding? France and Belgium have wreaked havoc on the horse industry in the US. They pay the irresponsible to continue being irresponsible to keep their supply of horses coming. Surely you don’t think they are providing a service for us? If the demand for horsemeat drops, they’ll be gone. What then? The owners have seen this coming for years. Every year, there is more and more support to end horse slaughter forever. The AQHA is still pumping out over 130,000 foals every year. The majority of horses going to slaughter are quarter horses. Do you see a problem there? Do you understand why the AQHA is pro slaughter? The registration fees are more important that having respect for their own breed.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 21, 2008 | 10:04 p.m.

Mr. Dolinko – ran out of room on my previous post!

There is no way to humanely slaughter a horse. For the captive bolt to be effective, the horse’s head must be restrained and that’s just not possible. If they could figure out a way to do it, it would take too long and slow down the lines. They will never put an animal’s welfare above their profits. Animals are slaughtered for food. We do not eat our horses in the US and they should not be slaughtered as livestock. They are raised as sport, companion, service and work animals. They are not raised or bred as food animals. There is a market for dog and cat meat in Asia. Should we allow Asia to set up operations in the US to slaughter our dogs and cats? There is no reason we should be supplying Europe with horsemeat. If they want to eat horses, they can slaughter their own.

I don’t think the government should provide grants. What needs to happen is the owners need to step up and take responsibility for horses they made a conscious decision to buy or breed. The shelters would be able to more than handle taking in more horses if they weren’t constantly rescuing horses from the kill buyers.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 21, 2008 | 10:22 p.m.

Dr. Voris, I’m willing to bet if you took a survey and asked what livestock was you would get cows or pigs as an answer. Or you would get food animal. Horses perform services such as law enforcement and other functions such as racing, performing, providing transportation, many different types of therapy, etc. None of those functions are done or can be done with livestock. Horses are viewed differently by society. They are symbols such as the riderless horse at military processions and presidential funerals. Livestock for the most part are raised for food. They are born and live short lives. Horses serve their owners for many, many years. While there are exceptions (I know people with pet cows and pigs) they overwhelmingly serve one purpose. Even the pro slaughter AVMA classifies them as companion animals. They state in all their brochures that a horse’s life should be ended by a shot administered by a vet except when they’re before Congress. Then they sing a different tune. Perhaps that’s why they call it the Hippocratic Oath.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 22, 2008 | 8:04 a.m.

Ms. Moore:

You wrote: "If personal experience is to be taken as gospel, then because I've never personally witnessed a tree fall in the forest, then no trees must have ever fallen."

Your words say it all. I would suggest you simply continue to ignore current media reports and the opinion of someone who is seeing trees fall and increased cases of horse neglect. There is obviously nothing I can say that will open your eyes.

(Report Comment)
Lin B August 22, 2008 | 8:07 a.m.

I feel the same way Vicki but them being classified as live stock is giving these breeders an edge. I want to know when they were put in the livestock status. Every horse site I was on from history of the horse till horses today...they are called companion animals. Horse slaughter is a disgrace, right from the auction, feedlot to slaughter house. They know it's animal abuse but they will keep making excuses...nessesary evil...BS, it comes down to the fact...big money in horse slaughter and it's all about greed.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 22, 2008 | 8:30 a.m.

Ms. Caruso,

If all veterinarians had to uphold your definition of our oath, we would all be vegan.

>If someone said something about live chickens and wood chippers, I would like to know who it was and in what setting. You will note that practice is not in the Euthanasia Guidelines.

>The AVMA position on declawing reads: “Declawing of domestic cats should be considered only after attempts have been made to prevent the cat from using its claws destructively or when its clawing presents a zoonotic risk for its owner(s).” Furthermore, “Scientific data do indicate that cats that have destructive clawing behavior are more likely to be euthanized, or more readily relinquished, released or abandoned, thereby contributing to the homeless cat population. Where scratching behavior is an issue as to whether or not a particular cat can remain as an acceptable household pet in a particular home, surgical onychectomy may be considered. There is no scientific evidence that declawing leads to behavioral abnormalities when the behavior of declawed cats is compared with that of cats in control groups.”

>>It would appear this is another unfortunate example of someone using untrue statements in an attempt to mislead readers.

(Report Comment)
Theresa Messick August 22, 2008 | 10:24 a.m.

Sorry for the delay in returning. Busy with more phone calls from folks trying to find good homes for their horses.

Dr. Voris, I've seen horses loaded with broken legs, broken backs, blind, mares with foals on them that were clearly younger than six months. Again, I invite you to attend one of these monthly auctions and see what is going on. The sale barn owners are aware of the violations, but do nothing. Law enforcement does nothing. It is difficult to get anyone to respond to abuse/neglect cases unless horses are dying. It is very frustrating.

For me, this debate is over. I've seen the inhumane treatment at the sale barns and I've seen what happens at the slaughtering facilities. It is not a humane form of euthansia.

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 22, 2008 | 10:58 a.m.

Theresa,

If there is a veterinarian employed by the auctions you refer to, and this veterinarian is tuning a blind eye to the abuses you have observed, I would suggest contacting the MO Veterinary Medical Board, 573-751-0031. I assure you there will be action taken.

Thanks for sharing your observations and opinions.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 22, 2008 | 11:04 a.m.

Dr Voris -

I'm surprised you're unaware of the 30,000 chickens shoved live into an industrial sized tree chipper. 2003, if I recall correctly. California. Greg Cutler, AVMA animal welfare committee. Paraphrased from a Nov 2003 article: The San Diego county report into the incident quotes Arie Wilgenburg, one of the poultry farm owners, as saying that several veterinarians, including Dr Cutler, said woodchipping was an "approved method" to kill hens no longer producing eggs. Dr Cutler denies coming up with the idea, but said he did not have a problem with using the machine for that purpose. "No idea was too crazy to throw out at these meetings," said Dr Cutler. "We were in desperation trying to deal with this disease."
Feeding chickens into a woodchipper, he said, "seemed like it was instantaneous and there was no suffering... I personally believe if it's done properly with correct equipment, it's a humane way of disposing of birds in an emergency."

(Report Comment)
Nathan Voris, DVM August 22, 2008 | 11:51 a.m.

Mr. Campagna,

Thank you for the name of the veterinarian that has been mentioned with the woodchipper comment.

I found this letter that was part of the investigation of the comments and also checked his license status with the California Veterinary Medical Board. To date, there have been no citations or disiplinary actions taken against his license.

November 20, 2003

Karen Davis, PhD
United Poultry Concerns, Inc.
P.O. Box 150
Machipongo, VA 23405-0150

Dear Ms. Davis:

It is quite clear that the information that you have been provided by Mary Kay Gagliardo which you included in your letter to the American Association of Avian Pathologists, dated October 29, 2003, is erroneous.

When we discussed your letter and the accompanying information with Dr. Gregg Cutler, he informed us that the Ward Poultry Farm is not one of his clients and he has not been on that ranch. Dr. Cutler is a private poultry consulting veterinarian, therefore, he bills for his time and services and he would have records of all of his farm visits and time.

Dr. Cutler informed us that he has never recommended using a wood chipper to euthanize chickens. He was aware that during one of the conference calls regarding the Exotic Newcastle Disease, in California this past year, outbreak that this method was discussed as a method to dispose of carcasses of euthanized birds to then be composted.

The American Association of Avian Pathologists agrees with the recommendation of Dr. Cutler that the birds must be properly euthanized prior to the use of grinding machinery to macerate the carcasses of hens for use as compost.

Sincerely,

Charles L. Hofacre, DVM, MAM, PhD

Secretary-Treasurer

CLH/sc

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 22, 2008 | 12:07 p.m.

This letter means nothing. I know too well how coverups work, especially within veterinary/medical circles. I've experienced it first hand on several occasions, involving the death of my dog, death of my cat, death of my father.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 22, 2008 | 12:12 p.m.

Dear Dr. Voris,

Thank you for addressing two of the five facts in the post that you seem to want to ignore.

Unaddressed items:

1. THe AVMA's inability to state that force feeding birds is animal abuse.

2. The fact that the horse slaughter video was shot in the United States at one of the Belgian owned plants and not as you stated, in Mexico.

3. That horse slaughter is animal abuse and that by condoning this, you all break your oath, "to do no harm".

Regarding veganism, that's not the point of this discussion, since Americans do not eat horse meat.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 22, 2008 | 12:31 p.m.

Voris -

I choose to believe the word of the officer:

"On 2/20/03 Dr. Gregg Cutler told me he was overseeing the depopulation of the hens on the Ward egg ranch and their affiliate ranches in San Diego County. Cutler told me he authorized the use of the wood chipper to depopulate the spent hens on the egg ranches. When I asked Cutler if he thought it was a humane way to euthanize these animals by throwing them into the chipper alive, he responded, 'Absolutely.' I then asked him if he felt it was still humane if they were going in there bunches at a time, being plugged up in the shoot, not knowing if they were going into the shredder feet first, breast first, if he still considered that a humane death, and he said to me, 'Yes, of course. However they go in, it's quick, it's painless, and it's over in seconds.'
"I then asked him for his title, and he told me, 'Emperor of the World.' I was quiet for a second or two, and asked him if I could quote him on that. His voice sounded irritated, and then he told me, 'I'm a veterinarian. And an epidemiologist.' I asked him if he was in private practice, or where or who he worked with. He told me he was a Private Consultant and did work with the USDA."
- Patrol Supervisor Lt. Mary Kay Gagliardo, Affidavit, February 20, 2003

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 22, 2008 | 5:41 p.m.

I just read a story that I wanted to share with you all. This is how it should be and the AVMA should be leading this charge. It's downright wrong that they aren't.

http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/parker/200...

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 22, 2008 | 11:00 p.m.

The following is from the AVMA's website http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfar...
Dated June 2007.

Sure sounds like a woodchipper to me.

MACERATION
Maceration, via use of a specially designed mechanical apparatus having rotating blades or projections, causes immediate fragmentation and death of day-old poultry and embryonated eggs. A review217 of the use of commercially available macerators for euthanasia of chicks, poults, and pipped eggs indicates that death by maceration in day-old poultry occurs immediately with minimal pain and distress. Maceration is an alternative to the use of carbon dioxide for euthanasia of day-old poultry. Maceration is believed to be equivalent to cervical dislocation and cranial compression as to time element, and is considered to be an acceptable means of euthanasia for newly hatched poultry by the Federation of Animal Science Societies,220 Agriculture Canada,221 World Organization for Animal Health (OIE),222 and European Union.223
Advantages—(1) Death is almost instantaneous. (2) The method is safe for workers. (3) Large numbers of animals can be killed quickly.
Disadvantages—(1) Special equipment is required.
(2) Macerated tissues may present biosecurity risks.
Recommendations—Maceration requires special equipment that must be kept in excellent working order. Chicks must be delivered to the macerator in a way and at a rate that prevents a backlog of chicks at the point of entry into the macerator and without causing injury, suffocation, or avoidable distress to the chicks before maceration.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 22, 2008 | 11:11 p.m.

Dr. Voris,

Since you are incapable of presenting any data, then you cannot expect readers to take you seriously. Your entire argument seems to boil down to 'I read about it'.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 23, 2008 | 8:16 a.m.

to Joyce Moore:

Exactly. Thank you for sharing.

I see that Dr. Voris has yet to answer a few posts.

Maceration? Oath?

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 23, 2008 | 3:13 p.m.

"...the opinion of someone who is seeing trees fall and increased cases of horse neglect."

How many of these cases resulted from the absence of US slaughter plants and how many cases have you contacted the authorities about???

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 23, 2008 | 5:16 p.m.

With all of the shootings in our city over the last three week period and in the past it seems horses are more important than people these days.
No offense to anybody intended but if you channeled all of your energies into saving people as much as you do horses this city might just have a chance to stop the serious crime wave we are into at this time.
When people become the less cared about all of society suffers as a whole but you know when those crimes committed by humans come to their door steps they will be the first to scream in anger.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 23, 2008 | 6:20 p.m.

When I was young I always wanted a pony. They told me I couldn't have one. I feel so empty inside.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 23, 2008 | 6:25 p.m.

Charles -
This discussion centers on the horse slaughter issue, go find a group discussing urban crime/gun control.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 23, 2008 | 7:53 p.m.

Charles, if you learned how to worry and care for animals, perhaps you'd also respect people more.

We are having a discussion about a topic we care about. If you don't care, great., but you don't need to spew your nonsense.

If you were doing anything to help anyone, you wouldn't have time to berate us about what we are doing.

Go help someone and do something productive with your life.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 23, 2008 | 8:02 p.m.

Marjorie Caruso please go review my posts here then come tell me I am not doing something to help our community.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 23, 2008 | 9:34 p.m.

Charles, why would you expect anyone to discuss other social issues they are involved with in a thread about horses?

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 23, 2008 | 11:33 p.m.

http://www.horses-and-horse-information....

It was so much easier when we fed our dogs Ken-L Ration and joked about the jockey who won every race by whispering into his horse's ear, "Roses are red, violets are blue, horses that lose are made into glue!"

Today we have more horse sense.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 24, 2008 | 5:15 a.m.

vicki tobin it was commentary and observations and that is what this and all forum boards,blogs and sites such as these are all about is commentary and observations. It was not intended as anything but those two two things. I even posted openly "no offense to anybody" which was obviously overlooked.
Commentary and opinions drive our society we live.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 24, 2008 | 8:56 a.m.

Ray -

I see that you understand injustices of greed and the link between dirty politicians and special interests (eg gambling) - the same applies to the horse slaughter trade, so it is no joking matter. Scumbag politicians, unscrupulous vets and other low-lifes profit big time at the expense of pain and suffering of horses. When stolen horses are slaughtered, the pain and suffering extends to their human owners as well.

And next time you eat that cheeseburger, at least think about the human slave labor that produced it. Line speeds are so fast today that animals are improperly stunned and, aside from the cruelty to animals dismembered while conscious, the workers are often severely or fatally injured. Since most of the workers are illegal aliens, they are simply discarded as there are zillions waiting to take their place. The out-of-control mighty meat mafia (there are only some 2 or 3 massive corporations now, having absorbed the smaller corporations and destroyed the family farmers) in bed with the drug giants, dirty policians and corrupt govt agencies (eg FDA), produce a product, with slave labor, that is unfit for human consumption (thus banned in other countries) due to antibiotics/growth-promoting hormones... but it reaps huge profits (at the expense of our health, our environment, the lives of the illegal workers, not to mention the pain and suffering experienced by the animals). As if that is not bad enough, cheap ground [who knows what kind of] "meat" is imported from countries like China to masquerade as American meat. Think twice before you eat anything 'ground' expecially from a can. Oh, and recalled 'tainted' meat, such as all those salmonella recalls, is simply cooked and resold as 'wholesome." All bills to protect consumers and animals from such injustices have been repeatedly squashed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (in bed with intensive-farming producers, meat mafia, drug giants, FDA, and corrupt politicians). Do some googling. Start with "MCOOL" - mandatory country of origin labelling - which passed with the, I think, 2002 farm bill, yet still awaits implementation. Have a nice day.

(Report Comment)
Ray Shapiro August 24, 2008 | 9:39 a.m.

Jon-
Thanks for setting me straight. As a city boy from the East coast I was "feeling empty inside" mainly because the Horse issue seems to dominate the Missourian thread. This may be due to the way the Missourian has the site set up, and less to do with the passion and concern expressed by those advocating to eliminate slaughter. (No offense intended.)
I had to see for myself just how horrible all this is and I've viewed a few very disturbing videos on slaughter vs. humane euthanasia. I don't suggest anyone watch it unless you want to be shocked by what the slaughter industry is doing to these intelligent animals. I choose not to put the Youtube links on this blurb out of respect to those who already know.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 24, 2008 | 11:35 a.m.

Charles, then please go and do what you do and stop berating us for caring and doing something to stop an atrocity.

Horse slaughter is unethical and it is the ultimate betrayal. Horse slaughter is animal abuse.

If you haven't gotten that from this thread, then I'm truly not quite sure how else to explain it to you.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 24, 2008 | 11:59 a.m.

For your information I have been around all kinds of animals all of my life being I was born and raised in Northern California around cattle farms and I know all about animal abuse and it's detestable things that go on. I have had to be with friends who have had to put their animals down many times before. This issue is nothing new to me. Have you seen how they put cattle down in a slaughter house as well or pigs,chickens,turkeys or other animals? None of it is humane by any standards I assure you. As I stated no offense was meant to anybody but you did attack me for an opinion which this site and others like it are all about.
I do feel sorry for your cause you champion but that is by no reason for an attack against somebody's opinion they post on sites like these.
Good luck in your fight and as with all animal abuse fights I am always there in spirit with those who try to make things better.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 24, 2008 | 12:17 p.m.

ray shapiro, exactly! While none of us fighting horse slaughter condone any cruelty that exists in livestock slaughter, we are fighting to end slaughtering a non-food animal. Horses serve many purposes in the country, none of which is as a food animal. Every excuse the pro slaughter advocates have comes down to one thing; greed. If you read their articles carefully and read between the lines, it has nothing to do with the welfare of horses. They claim they have no value and are not wanted but expect to be paid for dumping their horses. The incentive from the slaughter houses perpetuates the breed and dump cycle. As long as slaughter is available, the irresponsible breeding will continue. The slaughter houses want to keep the supply of horses and have wreaked havoc on the horse industry. This cycle is enjoyed by owners of less than 1% of the horse population. Owners of over 800,000 horses each year responsibly care for their horses in death. Their animals are humanely euthanized and they don’t have disposal issues. They are not whining that they need slaughter as an option. It’s only the less than 1% that do.

I read an article today calling for people to join with several organizations, including the AQHA, to fight the legislation. Yes, the AQHA that alone brings 130,000+ foals into the population every year. Research the organizations that are pro slaughter and you’ll discover rather quickly the motives behind their stance. They have nothing to do with horse welfare, or in the case of the AQHA, respect for their breed. The registration fees are more important than breeding quality instead of quantity.

(Report Comment)
Jon Campagna August 24, 2008 | 1:05 p.m.

Ray -

Because of greed, corruption, the immense size and speed of processing facilities (especially hog and poultry plants), the few laws on the books designed to protect our food animals from cruelty are unenforceable. In fact, poultry and rabbits are specifically omitted from the Humane Slaughter Act [not worth the paper it is printed on anyway]. Buffalo slaughter is not required to be federally inspected (not that that makes any difference). But none of this is the issue of discussion here, except that it reinforces the reasons why horses need not be mixed up in a corrupt meat industry [pun intended].

I don't believe any of us here are advocating an end to slaughter of socially accepted "food animals" in the US, although no decent human being can condone the practice as it is carried out today. Meat packer unions are long gone -in fact it's worse today than when "The Jungle" was written in 1903 or whenever.

Horses are not "food animals" in the US thus are not raised/regulated as "food animals" nor are they socially accepted as "food animals" in the US, but as companion animals like dogs and cats. There is no horsemeat in Ken-L Ration anymore - not for some 30 years - because consumers stopped buying it. There is no horsemeat in any US pet food because it didn't sell. They don't make glue from horses anymore either. People stopped buying it.

There are no valid reasons for a horse slaughter trade in the US and Americans don't eat it. It rewards irresponsible overbreeders, horse thieves and other low-life scumbags including crooked politicians. Furthermore, a slaughter trade causes unnecessary mass movements of random source horses through our country which is irresponsible and stupid from a 'disease prevention' point of view.

(Report Comment)
Marjorie Caruso August 24, 2008 | 1:39 p.m.

Charles, fair enough.

Peace.

(Report Comment)
Lucille Matte August 25, 2008 | 11:39 p.m.

I sure hope the editor is listening and the people reading this see the truth.

(Report Comment)
Will Warren August 29, 2008 | 12:28 a.m.

Ok, I am a horse owner. I would not necessarily want to eat horse meat. I consider them live stock that have pet qualities, the same as my prize Highland Cattle, which I would eat without question if the opportunity forced itself.

I have had to put horses down over the years. I have chosen to have a DVM come out and use their medications to put them down. But then, there is disposal. This is never pretty. I am ok with "life on the farm isn't always pretty" and have to remind myself of that when the rendering truck hooks a chain to the animals leg to drag it into the back of a semi truck. But how would you have them do it, it weighs 1200 lbs. There is nothing gentle about it.

There are animals, horses included, that are not fit to be around humans. They are dangerous, mean spirited towards humans and other horses, sometimes enraged and did I mention 1200 lbs.

Someone up the line talked about responsible breeding for value based trade. I CAN ASSURE YOU that many horses that have come from quite reputable blood lines can have a disposition that would make the devil himself pale in comparison. There has to be a solution for these animals.

I think the fundamental difference of opinions here can be broke down into Conservation vs. Preservation. Same as for the hunters of the world. Conservationists understand carry capacity, taking of life so that others can live, more than a dismal existence, but a healthy productive life. Preservationists want things just as they are without regard to quality of life for the species (even if its just one farm).

As far as if its humane to eat something named as a pet? I promise you that I name all my cattle: Rib Eye, and T-Bone, and Porter House and Roast. But if I grew up not knowing any different? I wouldn't value equine life over bovine life if it was my culture to dine on either.

(Report Comment)
Linda Berardo August 29, 2008 | 8:04 a.m.

Hello Will, I am a horse owner. I fight horse slaughter, why.... horses are and always were domesticated companion pets. Not just pet qualities, they participate in sports, go on patrol with police officers, pick up handi cap.....when I see pot roast do this I will keep my mouth shut. Horses are being bred like cows, killed with a captive bolt that’s not designed to kill equines, stabbed, most are hung up alive. I think it’s a disgusting end for an animal that served our country well. Horse slaughter is a big money making business that needs to end. We are suppling horses to get butchered inhumanly for Europe and other horse meat eating people. A Belgium owned butcher is making a fortune on our horses. OURS..... every single horse on a feed lot getting fattened up. Every single one that lost a race, every single one that’s on a PMU farm, possibly wild ones soon. Join us and help us save the horses.

(Report Comment)
Will Warren August 29, 2008 | 3:44 p.m.

Linda,
I am certainly against the inhumane treatment of any of God's creatures indiscriminately. However, do you feel the same way about mass poultry farms, cattle feedlots, hog farms and fish farms? While I realize that there are some differences in how you value them as companion animals, you failed to address one of my main problems with this idea that NO HORSES should be brought to slaughter.
"There are animals, horses included, that are not fit to be around humans. They are dangerous, mean spirited towards humans and other horses, sometimes enraged and did I mention 1200 lbs.

Someone up the line talked about responsible breeding for value based trade. I CAN ASSURE YOU that many horses that have come from quite reputable blood lines can have a disposition that would make the devil himself pale in comparison. There has to be a solution for these animals."

How do you address this topic without WASTE. I value all creatures. If the animal has no value as a companion, shouldn't it have value in some other means, to simply put it down and bury, cremate or whatever seems like a waste of a life that could otherwise be put to good use.

Certainly I am not saying you are wrong. Only that we have to look at all the facts about life and death and how it all plays out. If you looked at this without any uncertain terms you have to agree that some animals, not on a level that is occurring, make a kill market and rendering market a necessity for the farm. Not all horses can or should be rescued.

(Report Comment)
Lin B August 29, 2008 | 7:53 p.m.

Hello Will, my favorite is hamburger,rare,bacon and velvetta cheese. I like beef,pork,chicken,fish...I don't think there is anything I don't like...maybe pea soup. So you are talking to a horse activist that is concerned about the abuse and slaughtering of a trusted friend. the thought of eating a demesticated pet sickens me. I don't care how mental a horse, dog or a cat is....they should be put out humanely not brutally killed and butchered so wealthy Europeans can dine for $20.00 a pound. Money Will that's what this is about. There are more good horses than bad. Go to an auction...yearlings, foals, preganant mares. AQHA bred over 140.000 foals last year...most are sold to feedlots to get fattened up and butchered. That's your unwanted along with pmu's and the race horse industry...Nothing will justify the way horses are being bred killed and butchered.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 29, 2008 | 10:44 p.m.

Will, there is a solution. It is called humane euthanasia. What does the weight of an animal have to do with being a responsible owner?

(Report Comment)
Will Warren August 30, 2008 | 1:50 a.m.

Had you read the comment I was making reference to a 1200 lb animal that can kill YOU because of its behavior. Of course not all, and I couldn't guess a percentage, but when you add them up even if it is 1% that is a lot of dangerous horses. I LOVE HORSES, I HAVE SIX... I have had great horses and mean horses. I can't sell a mean horse to anyone in good conscience. Period. Amen.

I agree with you that it is not a good idea (slaughter). But I will stand steadfast that there are circumstances where an animal should be put down for the safety and wellbeing of all (other animals, the horses I love and humans that I love). I do not condone abuse or inhumane treatment of any animal.

Here is a sincere question/statement: An animal is not consumable to humans once a DVM uses Euthasol, correct? As well if a horse has been given substances like steroids, bute and of the like? But if it hadn't, then isn't that a terrible waste of a resource that God has given.

I do support conservation, not preservation. And before you attack me for my comment above, please consider that while we all agree that responsible ownership is the key to all of this... stop breeding animals, stop growing horses for consumption intentionally... I agree with all that.

There are some people that are very passionate about this topic, to the point of being extremists. One extreme is just as unhealthy as the other extreme. There must be balance in this topic somewhere.

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 30, 2008 | 12:28 p.m.

Will,

I prefer to leave religion out of the equation but since it's been brought up.....Do you think God would approve of sending horses on a brutal trip to a slaughter plant where they are tortured before and during the slaughter process? Do you believe that God wants us to use up animals and throw them away? Does God believe that it's perfectly ok to butcher foals simply because they were of the wrong color, or weren't loudly colored.

Where exactly did you read that God wants us to consume horses as 'resources'? I believe the Bible states, or at least implies, that man is the keeper of the animals. I don't equate 'keeper' with 'consume horses'.

There is another point in your argument that is based on an assumption that is completely false.

'Here is a sincere question/statement: An animal is not consumable to humans once a DVM uses Euthasol, correct? As well if a horse has been given substances like steroids, bute and of the like?'

You're assuming that the horses waiting their turn to be slaughtered are free from bute, steroids, etc. This is simply not true. What little testing that was done on horsemeat sought to determine if certain parasites and some toxins were present. In regard to bute, it didn't matter if the meat was contaminated as there are no guide lines with respect to acceptable levels. This is really odd, since every container of bute clearly states that it is 'NOT TO BE USED IN FOOD PRODUCING ANIMALS'. Further, administering a large dose of bute to a horse going to an auction is a common procedure.

In regard to dangerous horses, they should be euthanized. While some horses may be 'born mean' the vast majority were created by equally mean humans. If a horse is truly dangerous, it makes absolutely no sense to have have a human load it onto a trailer, run it through an auction, load it again but with other horses this time that will most likely be injured, unload yet again at the plant, run it through the chutes and finally have someone attempt to kill it. Doing this exposes more people to the dangerous horse putting them at risk of injury or death, not to mention what this type of horse will do to other equines once packed into a trailer.

Dangerous horses should be euthanized on the farm with just the vet and the owner in attendance. Once the horse is confined, the vet can dart the horse if necessary to gain enough control to administer the final injection.

The Old Horse, Dangerous Horse, Sick Horse, and Crippled Horse arguments are nothing more than a pro-slaughter persons' way to justify making a few last dollars from the brutal death of an equine.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 30, 2008 | 7:22 p.m.

Will, there is absolutely no justification for horse slaughter. If a horse is dangerous, mean, etc., as you said, you put him down. Sending a horse to slaughter is not putting him down. Joyce covered everything I was going to post so I will only add to the resource comment. Asia eats dogs and cats. Do you support slaughtering our dogs and cats to supply them? It’s no different with horse slaughter. Our horses, as are our dogs and cats, are not livestock, i.e. food animals in this country. Just as Asia does, if foreign countries want to eat horses, they can slaughter their own.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken August 31, 2008 | 10:22 a.m.

I cannot believe there are so many people against horse slaughter. It boggles the mind. What congress passed is just one step removed from what's next. Should we ban cow slaughter? Pig? Chicken? Many people have these creatures as pets and would profess that they are just too cute to kill.
Let's start going down the list of our livestock.
Horses are a farm animal, we do not primarily eat them but if one gets injured or is at deaths door we can at least use its meat in dog food and other products to continually sustain our livelihood. Most people do not have the money to haul a horse to a vet, (which if the next step to this law passes they would have us not haul our lame horses in trailers) have it euthanised, then haul it back home, hire someone to come out with a back-hoe to dig a hole big and deep enough to bury it and let its hundreds of pounds of meat to rot into the earth.
Now a horse is hardly worth its weight in funds.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 31, 2008 | 11:32 a.m.

Oh, Amber, please don’t start with the pro slaughter rhetoric with the slippery slope theory. Ending horse slaughter has nothing to do with banning the slaughter of livestock. You must have relatives in the cattle industry. Livestock are food animals. Horses are NOT livestock in the US. We do not eat our horses, They are being slaughtered as livestock for foreign countries. There is market in Asia for dog and cat meat. Do you propose we let them slaughter our dogs and cats?

Do you call a Thoroughbred race horse a farm animal? Do you call therapy horses a farm animal? Do you call horses used in law enforcement a farm animal? Horses serve many purposes in the US that livestock do not and cannot. None of those purposes are as a food animal. Pet food does not contain horse meat – it hasn’t for years. The majority of zoos no longer use horse meat.

You are repeating the same rhetoric that all boils down to being a responsible horse owner. If you don’t know how to care for a 1,200 pound animal, then don’t own one. If you cannot afford to provide humane care in life and death, don’t own one. Every year, the responsible owners of over 800,000 horses have no issues with disposal after humanely euthanizing their horses. They are not whining that they need slaughter as an option. You are talking about the bottom-feeding owners of less than 1% of the horse population. Why are you making excuses for people being irresponsible?

(Report Comment)
Will Warren August 31, 2008 | 4:40 p.m.

Seriously Vicki? If only 1% is the problem, why is there such a movement of hatred on this topic? I think that if you have brought the problem down to 1% or less then that is pretty much mission accomplished.

I find this somewhat confusing because in one breath the anti-slaughter extremists say this is a vast and unmanageable problem that must be brought under control. In the next breath you say it is "You are talking about the bottom-feeding owners of less than 1% of the horse population."

I am guessing that the likes of Vicki, Joyce, and Lin are also willing to support anti-gun laws, denouncing that the 2nd amendment doesn't really mean what it says. I am gathering a much bigger picture here of liberal extremists who would rather have a socialistic society than a free society. Talk about a slippery slope Vicki, becoming the moral police is on a fast track to the bottom of the hill.

And that is really what this is all about. (really I am just getting it now) I have a real problem with people thinking they need to regulate EVERYTHING, and people that have a cause just be be involved in a cause.

I do not send animals to slaughter that are my pets. No - I don't eat cats dogs or horses. I also don't have five wives, twenty kids and live in a religious compound. BUT I also do not condemn those who do, just because they do... Who the heck died and left you (not just Vicki - all liberal extremists - not a personal attack on you) in charge if judging morality? Which by the way is a quagmire of irony. Because it is usually the ultra conservatives in one breath who are the extreme liberals on the next topic. This is a strange phenomena that I will be keeping an eye on! Pretty interesting topic and views on both sides of the fence.

Peace.

(Report Comment)
Will Warren August 31, 2008 | 4:59 p.m.

Also, does anyone else see the comedy of the mystery burger ad on the right hand column, top of this page for VOCMAGAZINE.COM/FOODS... ? I wonder if that was intentional?

(Report Comment)
Joyce Moore August 31, 2008 | 6:43 p.m.

Geez Will, do some basic math.

The number of horses slaughtered in the US equates to about one percent of the equine population of 9.2 Million based on the last census. This is what Vicki is referring to and she is correct. An estimated 5 - 10% of the equine population dies each year, meaning that the owners of approximately 500,000 equines (conservative estimate) have found an alternative to slaughter. Proving again that horses DO NOT 'need' to be sent to slaughter.

Liberal extremist?? Because we don't want horses sent to slaughter? Idiocy.

The anti-slaughter groups are not the ones claiming that saving horses from slaughter is an unmanageable problem. That would be the PRO-SLAUGHTER argument. For pete's sake, pay attention.

NO, I do not support wide-spread gun control. I own several weapons and I have a license to carry a concealed weapon. I DO support attempting to disarm criminals and removing high-powered fully automatic weapons from the hands of the general public. Why? Because I certainly do not want guns in the hands of those who cannot even comprehend simple facts.

'Free society' does not equate to 'let's kill whatever we feel like killing in whatever way we choose to kill it'. Society has rules and norms. The vast majority of Americans, and horse owners, are against the slaughter of horses. The anti-slaughter movement is not about dictating a way of live for those in other countries who choose to eat contaminated horse meat. They are free to raise horses; load them up on known human carcinogens and consume them. As Americans, with our own societal beliefs, we should not be forced (by a small minority) to provide the horses to them.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin August 31, 2008 | 8:21 p.m.

Seriously, Will! That 1% is still 100,000 horses that are being brutally slaughtered for no reason. It is not a movement of hatred. It’s a movement to stop the abuse of our horses. We are not saying it is out of control or that it should be brought under control. We are saying it must end. It’s not about morality it is about abuse. You cannot legislate morality. Either you have it or you don’t.

This has nothing to do with anti-gun laws, the 2nd amendment or any other issue. It is strictly about horse slaughter. The slaughter of a non-food animal in this country. I’m all for a free society but being free does not give you the freedom to abuse and there are those that take those freedoms as a license to do as they please. Take dog fighting. How do you punish the likes of Michael Vick that abuse animals for profit? Without laws, there are no consequences. We have laws on abuse but they aren’t enforced and the consequences are a slap on the hand in most cases. With horse slaughter, the opposition has been growing for years. Do you think they are going to just stop? Do you think Velda and Chevideco are going to stop slaughtering our horses because the overwhelming population is against it? Of course, not. The only way to stop them is to make it illegal. Take the oil companies. In a capitalistic, free society they are allowed to make as much money as they can. I’m willing to bet you wouldn’t have a problem if the government stepped in and capped their profits, would you? Everybody complains about laws and regulations when they go against something they feel they have the right to do. Those that are harmed believe we need laws and regulations or strengthening of existing laws.

If you saw my voting record, you wouldn’t be calling me a liberal extremist. I also wouldn’t condemn the compound situation you describe. If they can afford to care for their family, have at it. On the horse slaughter issue, I do have a problem with over breeding and not taking responsibility and caring for animals they chose to buy or breed. Slaughter is their dumping ground.

BTW-we already have a law on the books that makes horse slaughter illegal in this country. It’s the 1958 Humane Slaughter act that regulates slaughter. The statute states that an animal must be rendered senseless with one blow. There is no way for horse slaughter to comply with this but the upstanding USDA wouldn’t enforce it. If they did, the domestic kill houses would have been shut down years ago. If the existing laws were being enforced, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

(Report Comment)
Will Warren September 1, 2008 | 12:55 a.m.

This is my last post on this topic. It has been an interesting conversation with you ladies( why just women on this topic besides me??? hmmm??? ) anyway, just for the record, I think that you are all right in your quest. Inhumane slaughter is tactless and should be considered cruelty to animals which is a crime.

(here comes my however.... ready?) HOWEVER, if it can be accomplished humanely, with chemical Euthanasia, then a kill market could and should exist. Conservation not preservation is how quality of life is sustained. So Joyce, I implore you do your math, GEEZ (sounds so juvenile when I say it, oh well) and see what happens when preservationists win. Animals lose; it's a fact that cannot be denied. I know you do not agree with me, that's OK. That is what makes our country great.

By the way, I teach for both the MN Department of Natural Resources and I am a NRA Lifetime member and a NRA certified firearms instructor teaching the Conceal Carry class (glad to know you have secured your civil liberties and support the right to keep and bear arms).

You can say that you are not judging morality, but when you bash animal owner's judgment on breeding standards, whether or not they can afford the beginning, middle or end... that is also judging character and essentially morality. No different than people who are receiving a government welfare check for doing nothing other than being unemployed and having babies. Maybe they could afford their baby THEN, maybe their job went away NOW because of corporate cutbacks, and maybe the horse owner is in that same situation. Maybe it's the same person, and just maybe the baby should be fed and the horse must go hungry... sad, but realistic. Maybe you would like to see a government funded Care For The Horses Welfare Fund... maybe you can get a senator in your state to write and lobby that bill?

Rescue shelters are BUSTING at the seams. I give GENEROUSLY to a local shelter that cannot afford to care for the animals it takes in --- once upon a time, they could. Does that make them motivated or irresponsible? Want to talk about irony? What would they do if they didn't get the handouts? What if the giving well dries up? (fundraising is a major part of their program.) What happens to these animals? Why are so much resources being spent on unwanted animals? Here's a little statistic for the math buff... I live in a major metropolitan area where we have several animal shelters. MORE MONEY is spent on saving/caring for the unwanted animals than is spent on feeding and sheltering the homeless humans. Now THAT is a social injustice. Just something to think about.

I wish you the best in your quest to bring injustices to animals to an end. I think you are fighting a losing battle which is also commendable on your part. (were never going to end the 3000 year old war in the middle east either -- even though the idea of bringing human rights into the 21st century is long over due) Peace and Good luck.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken September 1, 2008 | 12:35 p.m.

There is no slippery slope. The Humane Society of the United States, who pushed this silly ban, are an extreme group just like Peta. Banning all livestock slaughter is EXACTLY what they want.
Look at the facts, the horse market (which was already dying off) has fallen in the dumps since this ban was enacted.
Yes, thoroughbreds and therapy horses are work animals. They do a job for us.

Do you honestly think MOST people out there are taking their horses to get euthanized? No. Most people shoot the dying animal in the head, which is just as quick and painless. They would get a captive bolt at the slaughterhouse which prevents pain and suffering of the animal.

Horse meat is both eaten by people (in other countries as you will righteously point out) and fed to zoo animals.

Oh and if people want to start eating dogs and cats, I really don't care.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr September 1, 2008 | 1:53 p.m.

Amber Hanneken for your info many Asian countries do eat dog and cat and not to gross you out but many Oriental Style Restaurants in the United States have been busted by the health departments for things such as this as well along with squirrel,raccoon,possum and other asundry game. It is not such an uncommon practice as you might think.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin September 1, 2008 | 2:18 p.m.

Amber, it would help if you did a little research and got your facts straight. There is no ban. The HSUS didn’t pass anything. The three kill houses were shut down by individual state laws in Texas and Illinois. Again, a little research and you would know that the captive bolt is not quick and painless. It does not work on horses. It was designed to stun bovines, not kill. Horse’s brains are set farther back than bovines. For it to have any chance of being effective, the horses head must be restrained. It is not a form of euthanasia. Euthanasia comes from Greek words meaning good death. The bolt does not provide death, good or otherwise.

The HSUS is not asking for a ban on livestock. They are advocating humane treatment of the animals at the slaughter houses.

The horse market tanked because of the economy and surplus of horses. There is a surplus because of irresponsible breeding. Slaughter perpetuates this behavior, it does not eliminate it. As long as the incentive is there, the breed and dump cycle will continue. If you want to bring the value up, start breeding for quality instead of quantity. Call the AQHA and tell them to quit bringing over 130,000 foals into the horse population every year. The availability of slaughter solves nothing. It is still very much available and according to your comments, it is obviously not fixing anything.

There are very few zoos in the US that still use horse meat. What is your point that people outside the US eat horse meat? That is of no concern to us. We don’t eat our horses and there is absolutely no justification to slaughter them like livestock. We slaughter animals for food in the US and horses are not part of our food source.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken September 1, 2008 | 4:46 p.m.

So sorry, I said "ban" but I'm sure everyone here knows what I'm talking about. It was the ban that the HSUS (who is an extreme Peta-like organization) pushed that brought about the closure of those slaughterhouses.
The captive bolt was never designed to kill, it renders the animal brain dead and stunned so that they can be bled and used for food. Slaughtered horses in the US can be used in food products for other animals and sent to other countries for consumption. These animals are now just being wasted.
There is a direct correlation with those slaughter houses closing and the horse market falling even lower than it was before. People are literally giving horses away now or releasing them into the wild.
Have you ever seen a horse euthanized? They give it a shot, it convulses, then falls hard on the floor where its skull basically cracks and blood comes out of its nose. They are large animals, not a 15 pound cat or 90 pound dog. It's a big hassle to dispose of them and not environmentally healthy nor cost-effective to incinerate or bury.
Did you read the article at all? It was very informative. You could read it a few more times even.

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin September 1, 2008 | 5:14 p.m.

Your comments make no sense. Closing the kill houses didn’t end slaughter. Anyone wishing to send their horse to slaughter can still do so. The same number of horses are being slaughtered. So how can you blame the closure on anything? Why aren’t the folks abandoning their horses sending them to slaughter? Could it be because the folks that abandon and neglect horses will do so with or without the availability of slaughter? It has been proven through history. When the kill houses were open, there were just as many reported cases of abuse and neglect. If it’s a hassle then they shouldn't own a horse. Isn't that something you take into consideration before taking ownership? The owners of over 800,000 horses humanely euthanize and dispose of their horses annually. You don’t hear them whining that they need slaughter. Why not find out what they’re doing and let the owners of the less than 1% know.

Again, the captive bolt does not work on horses. They are vivisected. Being wasted? That speaks volumes of how you view horses.

I noticed you didn’t comment on the quarter horses. Does that mean you condone bringing over 130,000 foals into the population each year when we already know there is a surplus of horses? They are the number one contributor to the breed and dumpers.

The article was not informative at all. It was the same pro slaughter rhetoric that just keeps getting copied and pasted by so called journalists. If the author had done some research, the article would have been quite different. It amazing that they feel we should be letting Belgium and France set the value of American horses.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken September 1, 2008 | 7:48 p.m.

I'm sorry, where are these horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.?
The last one closed, http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/20...
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local...
Going over the border to Canada and Mexico is hardly a feasible option for most.

Blah blah pro-slaughter rhetoric. The quotes in the story are coming from professionals in the field of horsemanship and animal medicine. What more do you want? They even have an HSUS spokesperson speaking, though they don't really say anything beyond "anti-slaughter rhetoric." The author clearly put a lot of time and research into it and it's a much longer story than your average news piece, which shows how much precedence and time it was given.

You keep quoting shallows numbers and facts with nothing to back them up. Now I know why Will called it quits. You're much like a horse with blinders on. :P

(Report Comment)
vicki tobin September 1, 2008 | 10:51 p.m.

Amber, I’m not trying to argue with you but you are making inaccurate statements. Why would you say it’s not feasible to ship to Mexico and Canada? The owners don’t ship, the kill houses do. The owners can go to the same auctions and see the same kill buyers. Nothing has changed. In fact, more horses have been slaughtered than the year prior to the kill houses closing. So once again, anything you are seeing cannot be attributed to the kill houses closing. Nothing has changed except the economy has tanked and you can’t blame that on the closure of the kill houses.

You accuse me of not having anything to back my statements. The foal counts come directly from the QH registry. Are you saying that they don’t know how many foals they registered? The slaughter counts are available on the USDA website dating back to 1985. You can see how many were slaughtered in the US and how many were exported to Mexico and Japan, by year. It’s a bit difficult to find accurate statistics on the exports to Canada so we obtained numbers from our friends in Canada. Are you aware that thousands of horses were exported every year the kill houses were open to those three countries? The exports are nothing new, only that they’ve increased since the closure of the domestic kill houses.

As far as the research on the article, do you know why she didn’t talk to any vets from VEW? http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/ Do you call only interviewing pro slaughter advocates balanced reporting? Don’t you need to present both sides to make an informed decision?

The USA article fraught with inaccurate information. They even copied a quote from another article that quoted Julie Caramante. She never talked to the first reporter but USA printed it again and gave credit to Julie. It’s just more copying and pasting. Here is a rebuttal to the article with cold facts. http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/news/2008/09/...

We don’t claim to have all the answers but it gets very frustrating when you present accurate information and it’s dismissed in favor of repeating bad information. Every time someone provides facts or asks questions the pro side doesn’t want to address or answer, they cut and run. We all make mistakes and repeat information we read or hear. You think information is from a reliable source and then find out, it’s bogus. It’s has happened to all of us. The difference is, we don’t keep repeating it. Would it be so difficult to just once admit your info was faulty?

(Report Comment)
Lin B September 3, 2008 | 8:29 p.m.

Belgium butchers came into our country, along with government officials and horse breeders, decided there is a market for horse meat in Europe. AQHA is one of the top breeders in the United States, encouraging people to bred as many as they can, these horses are being bred to be butchered same as cattle. PMU farms, pregnant mares on urine collection lines for the months they are pregnant, added bonus foals. Most are butchered. Then the horse racing industry breeding away...getting rid of the ones that don't cut it. This is your unwanted horses. Deliberately breeding horses for slaughter and helping the Belgium butchers make a fortune. To me and alot of horse owning Americans....this is not acceptable. this is a disgrace. Stop the breeding, Stop supplying horses for slaughter....that is the bottom line. This is animal abuse of a domesticated companion pet, being ignored because of money. I am furious what has happened to our horses in this country. If you think I am a fanatic about meat your wrong I don't sit there crying over steak...but I do cry for the horses and what was allowed to happen to them.

(Report Comment)
Tiffenie Walker July 27, 2009 | 12:14 p.m.

Wikihorseworld.com is getting together a list of horse and equine rescue organizations. If you know of any rescue organizations, you can add them to their list. Wikihorseworld.com is a wiki that you can add and make changes to. To make changes or add info. to the site you need to be a member, which is free. Here is the link to their article on Horse and Equine Rescue: http://www.wikihorseworld.com/wiki/Horse...

(Report Comment)
kaia luraas October 15, 2009 | 10:29 a.m.

umm excuse me. I realize that many of the anti-slaughter people will be the first to point out any and all problems with humane slaughter. but would you be willing to go to any of the slaughter houses and try to fix the problems that you find? Are you willing to own any horses that would be sent to slaughter for yourself and feed and board them? I wait to hear what anyone has to say on this.

(Report Comment)
Lil Peck October 17, 2009 | 1:01 p.m.

To correct earlier post: dying is never pretty. Death is always humane because it is the cessation of dying.

My post upset Ms Moore so much that she made a stupid and false attack, "Why are you breeding horses 'without special pedigree or skills'?"

Your assumption was incorrect, Ms Moore. I think your post was irrational.

Unfortunately, many back yard horse breeders, and some wholesale breeders, do not breed responsibly and do produce many animals that do not suit any particular niche or market very well. People are understandably very emotional about their horses and because they love her, dear old Belle just must have a baby, regardless of her crooked legs and nasty temperament.

One owner of a mean natured, unregistered mare that was so cantankerous that she could not be ridden, told me she planned to breed the horse, "So I'll always have something of hers." I pointed out that one can purchase many very similar or better horses at auctions these days for as little as $25--or whatever base fee the sale barn charges.

(Report Comment)

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