Missouri, the "Show Me State," is already the nation's puppy mill capital. Now the enterprising state aims to reinstate horse slaughter. Rep. Jim Viebrock, R-Republic, has introduced H.B. 1747 to sidestep federal regulations that bar horse slaughter for human consumption. According to Viebrock, his bill would jump-start the "ailing equine industry."
WHEREVER YOU LIVE: THIS BILL AFFECTS YOU. The last three U.S. kill plants were shut down in 2007. Don't let Missouri revive a despicable industry.
horse slaughter for human consumption. If passed, H.B. 1747 lets horse
processors operate in Missouri -- even though no equine plants legally
function in the U.S. right now. While supporters insist slaughter "saves"
horses from neglect and starvation, their argument fails to recognize:
-- "Americans oppose horse slaughter by an overwhelming margin," says Glen
Bolger, national pollster and founding partner of the nonpartisan Public
Opinion Strategies (POS). In a 2007 poll, POS found that 71% want horses
preserved as part of American cultural heritage. Nearly half are less likely to vote for a Congressperson who is against a horse slaughter ban.
-- Equine plants are known polluters that congest sewers and contaminate
land and water.
-- Under Missouri Anti-Cruelty Statues Chapter 578, animal abandonment is a crime punishable by fines and jail time. Rather than advocate slaughter as an alternative to neglect, lawmakers ought to enforce criminal prosecution.
-- Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia. Methods to stun and kill cows and
pigs are excruciating when used on horses. Nonetheless, these excitable,
long-necked animals are subjected to captive bolt pistols that often don't
render them insensible. Some remain aware while killed.
-- Overpopulation stems from industries such as Premarin and Prempro (HRT
drugs made from mare urine); carriage horses; riding stables, etc. that
over-breed horses. Focus should shift to breeding oversight and responsible care. Moreover, there is no documented connection between closure of domestic plants and a spike in horse abuse cases. In contrast, slaughter supplies a "dumping ground" for irresponsible breeders and caretakers.
H.B. 1747 wants to impose a U.S. market for horsemeat on a nation that
doesn't want it. The Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, H.R. 503/S.B. 727,
currently before Congress, bans possession, shipment, transport, purchase,
sale, delivery or receipt of any horse for the purpose of human ingestion.
In 2006 Congress cut off funding for mandatory ante-mortem inspection of
horses. This de-funding was reinstated in the 2010 Appropriations Act. It is illegal to kill uninspected horses under the Federal Meat Inspection Act.
In 2007 the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals proclaimed horse slaughter
illegal in Texas, home to two foreign-owned equine plants. Later that year, U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly froze America's last kill plant in DeKalb, Illinois for its failure to assess environmental impacts of horse slaughter, in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act.
Missouri's proposed "rebirth" of a doomed industry is economically and
ethically shortsighted. Horse slaughter is a no-win for horses and people.
Please do not support H.B. 1747.