Monday, February 4, 2013

End the Slaughter of Horses

What are your thoughts on what Cathy Kangas has to say about horse slaughter?  ~Declan

On the steps of the New Hmpshire Legislative Building 
after my testimony, January, 2012

End the Slaughter of Horses

By Cathy Kangas, Member, Board of Directors, Humane Society
As Posted: 02/04/2013 11:29 am on Huffington

Americans have had a long love affair with horses. Whether on the racetrack, on television, or in Hollywood, celebrated steeds such as Citation, Secretariat, Black Beauty, Trigger and Mr. Ed have always been part of our national history and culture. Our nation was built on the backs of horses. Yet, today, our horse population is facing an unparalleled crisis caused by over-breeding, unsafe racetracks, and the demand for horsemeat served in many products sold in Europe.
Each year, more than 100,000 healthy horses in the United States are shipped across our borders to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada. These animals suffer from inhumane long-distance transport and are subjected to cruel and clumsy slaughter practices. Consuming meat from American horses is also a health risk: Our horses are raised as companions, athletes or work horses, so they have been routinely given drugs that can render their meat contaminated.
However, American horsemeat is still sold in Europe. In the last few weeks, European officials and consumer groups have discovered beef burgers for sale in the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain that contained horse DNA though it was not labeled as such. This isn't an animal rights issue. It is one of public safety.
How can this slaughter of American horses be stopped? The Humane Society of the United States continues to urge Congress to ban horse slaughter for good with a bill that would not only outlaw the practice within the U.S., but also the export of live horses to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Horse breeders can also help by reducing the number of horses they bring into the world. The HSUS created the Responsible Horse Breeders Council, comprised of breeders around the country dedicated to improving horse welfare. Breeders will sign a pledge stating that they will take back any horse they have bred that becomes homeless whether that's because it has outlived its usefulness on the racetrack, in the show ring, or as a working horse.
A large part of the solution for homeless horses are the many sanctuaries and rescue facilities where horses can be rehabilitated and placed in caring homes, or live out their days in tranquility. The HSUS now operates some of the largest sanctuaries in the country -- the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch and the Doris Day Horse Rescue and Adoption Center in Murchison, Texas, as well as the Duchess Sanctuary in Oakland, Ore. There are also smaller sanctuaries, such as Squirrelwood in Montgomery, N.Y., whose owners regularly go to horse auctions to purchase animals that would otherwise be sent to slaughter. But all of these sanctuaries need funding to continue caring for these horses.
We also need to take a hard look at how we treat these animals. Carriage horses in New York City should be banned. Horrific accidents have occurred when a carriage horse bolted into traffic putting itself, the driver and passengers in danger.
At the Aqueduct Racetrack in New York, many horses running in cheap claiming races break down, jeopardizing the safety of other horses and jockeys. One should also note the shocking abuse of Tennessee walking horses who are subjected to having caustic chemicals applied to their legs in order to achieve the unnatural "big lick" gait prized in the industry.
In 2012, The HSUS launched the Safe Stalls program, a national network of horse rescues, professionals, and enthusiasts who provide emergency care and shelter for horses suffering from cruelty or natural disaster situations.
But more needs to be done. The public needs to pressure lawmakers to champion legislation that helps horses. Racetracks might use a portion of the revenue realized through casino gambling to support homes for retired racehorses. Professional equestrians need to rally the world of show horses to make certain that none of their horses go to slaughter.
Companies such as Ralph Lauren and Ford, which ally themselves with horses through their products, should contribute money to programs that help equines.
But perhaps just as important, we need to let some of our European friends know that the horsemeat they consider as a delicacy can be riddled with chemicals from painkillers and other drugs these horses are treated with throughout their lives. By closing down the market for horsemeat, the slaughter houses will eventually be forced to shut their doors.
When we domesticated the horse, we took on the responsibility of caring for it throughout its life. It is only right that an animal that gives joy to so many should be protected from harm and allowed to live out its life in greener pastures.


  1. Well said. Thank you. Please - all of us need to step up and be heard. And....heard loud and not give up until the right thing is done. Ban ALL horse slaughter, regulate breeders, large companies need to contribute to the Horse Sanctuaries to help with this problem. People need to be educated -- lets educate them!! I regularly email Bill O'Reilly, Glen Beck and other celebrities and ask that they get this out into the media. Let's all do this - if we flood their emails -they'll have to listen!

  2. I was so hopeful that they would also mention info regarding our Wild Horses/Burros in holding pens, racing subsidies to help breeders continue to glut the market with horses, PMU mares and the fate of their foals, but at least it is a much needed topic and getting into mainstream news, so not complaining to much, always grateful for someone to speak for our voiceless ones. And last but not least, learning that Clydesdale Breeders of the USA are also sending foals, pregnant mares, healthy horses to slaughter as well. Just so heartbreaking. All of it.

  3. This is essentially a regurgitation of an article that she wrote in April of last year, except, then, her numbers for horse slaughter were in the "hundreds." She talked about Squirrelwood last year, too. This is a pet rescue where she sponsored some horses, though last year, in the article, she said that she "had" horses... which implies ownership. I find this misleading. I called her office and spoke with her assistant, questioning and correcting her about the article that Kangas had written. I asked that Kathy return my call; she never did (Kangas lives in my town). In early December, I sent HSUS an expose of the lack of knowledge that Cathy Kangas had about horse slaughter (that was in December). Never heard from them. No mention of phenylbutazone in this article... the main cancer-causing health risk to those who consume horesmeat. Ms. Kangas is now on the Board of Directors of HSUS. She is the president of a cosmetics company, Prai, that claims not to involve testing on animals, yet, none of the packing that I saw for her cosmetics makes any comment about animal testing. Just because they are involved with HSUS does not mean that they know what they are talking about. It is my belief that Declan knows more on this topic than Ms. Kangas.

  4. Let's hope that when the European "passport" system goes into effect for American horses in July 2013, the slaughter of American horses will end. All our domestic horses have had bute often. Bute never leaves the body. It is a carcinogen. I agree that more Europeans will quit eating horse meat if they hear this.