Iowa may be first to restart horse slaughter






Sharyn Jackson, The Des Moines Register, August 2, 2013

DES MOINES, Iowa — An Iowa plant could be the first in the nation to resume horse slaughter after a seven-year lapse, resurrecting mixed views among horse owners about the controversial practice.

Unknown-1Depending on the outcome of a federal court hearing Friday in New Mexico, Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, Iowa, could begin horse slaughter operations as early as Monday.

“That is the hope,” said Keaton Walker, president of Responsible Transportation, located in an old Louis Rich turkey-processing plant. “A lot of things have to go right.”

A lawsuit by animal-rights groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, contends that the U.S. Department of Agriculture failed to conduct the proper environmental reviews before issuing permits to slaughter horses.

If the groups’ motion for an injunction fails, the Sigourney company will begin processing equine meat for domestic zoos and for human consumption abroad.

The news divides Iowa’s horse owners and sellers. People who favor slaughter and those who oppose it both say they have horses’ best interest at heart.

“It’s an issue that’s very emotional to people,” said Bruce Paynter, president of the Iowa Horse Council. “I’m all over the map on my own feelings about it.”

Some associations of horse owners and veterinarians, as well as livestock sellers, say federally overseen slaughter is the best way to alleviate overpopulation of unwanted horses. Domestic slaughter, they say, is more humane than transporting horses to Canada or Mexico for slaughter. And it’s a financial benefit for owners who can’t afford the cost of euthanizing and rendering or burying a horse, which can range from $200 to $600.

But opponents say the practice is inhumane, and that horses are not raised to be food and are not safe for human consumption because of the drugs they’re administered. And many people who view horses solely as pets and companions simply can’t stomach the idea of slaughtering horses.

“It’s sort of like, we’ve bred them, it’s a member of our family,” said Deb Leech, a horse owner and president of the Iowa Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Association. “I just couldn’t do it.”

Bruce Wagman, attorney for the animal-rights groups, said he is optimistic the federal judge will grant an injunction.

“I’m certain that we have the right argument and we’re correct in our position” that horse slaughter operations require environmental review, he said.

A poll conducted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in May found that 71 percent of Iowans oppose slaughter, and three in four Iowans oppose having a slaughterhouse in their community.

Jeff Johnson, Sigourney city councilman and head of the Sigourney Area Development Corp., said that while some residents have raised questions about the plant, most feedback has been positive, largely because of the company’s promise of 25 to 30 new jobs.

“This is an agricultural community,” Johnson said, “and they understand the processing of animals and meat.”

Congress banned horse slaughter in 2006 and lifted the ban in 2011. Although the U.S. Department of Agriculture opposes horse slaughter, the agency said it was obligated to issue permits after being sued by Valley Meat Co. of Roswell, N.M.

CONTINuED – Read the rest of the article in USAToday.

——————————

Habitat for Horses is a 501.c.3 nonprofit equine protection organization supported solely by donations. As of today, we have 175 donkeys and horses under our care, plus one ornery, old mule. Most of them are here because law enforcement removed them from their previous owner. Our ability to rehabilitate and rehome them comes from the financial support of people like you. Please support us by making a donation for the horses we all serve. Click HERE to donate

 




AUTHOR: Jerry Finch
13 Comments
  • Suzanne Dunham

    What the hell is wrong with out government?????
    It’s all about the money!!!! Greatest country on earth!!!! BS! How do we expect them to care about horses and other wildlife when they don’t even give a SH-T about US!!!!!

    August 2, 2013
    • Robyn

      Good Answer Suzanne…I agree with you..

      Greed over money has permeated our Society to the point of Evil!

      August 2, 2013
  • JanSchultz

    It is pretty disturbing that the photO on the article is almost a parody of a band of horses looking like cows, heads low and staring into the camera, dumb looking. Manipulation is real but that photo cannot be.

    August 2, 2013
  • Ricky Rogers

    What hypocrites – A poll conducted for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in May found that 71 percent of Iowans oppose slaughter, and three in four Iowans oppose having a slaughterhouse in their community.

    Jeff Johnson, Sigourney city councilman and head of the Sigourney Area Development Corp., said that while some residents have raised questions about the plant, most feedback has been positive, largely because of the company’s promise of 25 to 30 new jobs.

    “This is an agricultural community,” Johnson said, “and they understand the processing of animals and meat.”

    August 2, 2013
  • Ricky Rogers

    They are going to blood bath their town for 25 – 30 minimum wage jobs that will likely be done by felons or illegals! SMART MOVE!!!!

    August 2, 2013
  • Debbie Tracy

    I honestly DON’T understand HOW some of these people can not SEE that slaughter has never been the answer we have always had it for what 30,40 years has it made a difference?? HELL NO can they NOT SEE THIS??? It endorsees the very thing they say it will help over breeding and abuse, honest to god are some just stupid or this is there quick fix supposedly??? Just so unbelievable to me that this one person in the article say’s it gives jobs, JOBS WHAT???? low paying dangerous and WHO as a decent person would work in a place like this, NO ONE so ought o have some really promising individuals working to torture our horses, makes me so sick and just unspeakably MAD…. HOW our GOV> can even condone this in anyway is despicable and corrupt, our politicians don’t give a shit about anything other than their own agenda, I wish we could get rid of them ALL, TERM LIMITS way past due…. My positive energy will be flowing into that court room, WE HAVE TO WIN>>>>>

    August 2, 2013
  • Loni

    Sad to always see the same old tired excuse that shipping to slaughter is a viable alternative ’cause you’re too broke to have the horse humanely euthanized or won’t take the time to re-home. If you can afford, rent, a car, gas, insurance, beer, a night at the movies etc. etc. why the hell can’t you put money away to do the right thing for a horse other than “recoup” MONEY via the brutal slaughter pipeline.

    August 2, 2013
  • Jacob

    There is absolutely no logical, practical, or ethical justification for allowing horse slaughter to occur in the US!!! Horse slaughter plants do not produce significant jobs or revenue and are harmful to the environment and local communities! Not to mention the insidious cruelty of slaughtering horses, or greatest animal companions! Horses are beautiful, noble and intelligent creatures! They have literally carried humanity to where we are today and they deserve a lot more respect and recognition for that! The ideas of horse “population control” and the “humane” elimination of “unwanted horses” are ruses created by horse slaughter supporters to convince the Government to promote their business!

    August 2, 2013
  • Mustang man

    “When morality comes up against profit, it is seldom that profit loses:

    Shirley Chisholm

    August 2, 2013
  • Do they even have inspectors? How can they go forward without them? If this goes forward we need to boycott this state. The people who live there will never be able to sell their houses. All this for 25-30 low paying jobs that will probably go to illegals. Good luck, Iowa. You’re gonna need it.

    August 2, 2013
  • This makes me sick…..The government has money for inspectors…which we are paying for…..this is BS..don’t we have a voice on this….The only one who is coming out on top is the slaughter house….Can’t we sue the government for wasting our money on this….this whole thing is wrong..we all have been fighting this horrible act for years..

    August 3, 2013
  • tellthetruth

    The tired argument of the pro-slaughter contingent about the “glut” of “abandoned” horses is just propaganda. The GAO report on this has been revealed to be FRAUDULENT. It was requested by the very three politicians–Blunt, Kohl, Kingston–who underhandedly removed the ban on USDA inspections of horse meat, and it was leaked to Stenholm, horse slaughter lobbyist. See the article revealing that the GAO report is fraudulent on the equinewelfarealliance.org

    August 5, 2013
    • Ricky Rogers

      Why aren’t these lying thugs in jail????

      August 5, 2013