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Petitioning Department of Agriculture

Permanently ban the slaughter and export of equines in the Unites States

Public opinion strongly opposes horse slaughter for many reasons. One very pronounced argument is the distinction between livestock and pets/companion animals. Wayne Pacelle, President and Chief of the Humane Society, stated that,“Horses are different than cows and pigs in one very important sense, in that they are not raised for slaughter.” Furthermore, there is no market for horse meat in the US, and this ban motivates Americans to raise horses like cattle;for profit (Sulzberger 2). Many argue that the economy is a key factor in neglect, not oversupply. The legalization of horse slaughter encourages overbreeding, and therefore is the center cause for overpopulation and neglect. Keith Dane, Director of Equine Protection, explains that it is “not a function of the number of horses needing homes, it’s a reflection of the demand for horse meat abroad.” He further illustrates that neglect is not caused by the ban horse slaughter, it is in fact quite the opposite (Dinan 2). Point being that even the most loving animal owners can turn their pets into meat if it will add a few extra dollars to their wallets.
Neglect, abandonment, and over population occurs with all animals due to ill- suited owners. People invite animals into their lives, and therefore it is the owner’s responsibility for the horse’s welfare, just like cats, dogs, and any other pets. Slaughter simply makes an easy out for irresponsible horse owners, who could (and should) be prosecuted under state animal cruelty laws. Unwanted show and race horses obtain injuries, which the owner usually causes, go to slaughter when they lack performance or break a bone from their physically demanding careers. Slaughter is popular in these cases because not only is it an excuse to not take the time to find the animal a new home, the owner also receives compensation for their equine companion (Sulzberger 2). One proposed solution is banning both slaughter and export in hopes of putting a permanent end to the issue (USA Today). Slaughterhouses export approx. 42 million dollar’s worth of horse meat per year, creating numberless jobs which is clearly needed in our current economic state. However, the majority of the money goes to foreign-owned exporters overseas, which sheds light on the fact that this multi-million dollar industry really is not benefiting America as much as we are led to believe (Dinan 1). Despite the numerous oppositions, one major commonality is noted among the majority of Americans, which is the drive to treat all beings equally, ethically, and respectfully. “Ever-escalating cruelty towards other species will not establish our genetic supremacy—merely our moral inferiority” (Viknan 5).

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