(Mysterious observance – Someone brought to our attention that this article is old, published in July of 2010. The Gazette released it today for some odd reason. To add further to the mystery – look at the comments on the Gazette’s page – none of them have anything to do with the article. All the comments are bland, apply-to-anything comments. So the question is – WHY? Why would a newspaper go to the trouble of publishing an old article about horse slaughter and present it as current news?)
DES MOINES – A state board Thursday agreed to invest $25,000 in a feasibility study for a proposed Iowa City project exploring a humane way to euthanize horses and process the meat for animal consumption.
The state Economic Development Board gave unanimous support for a grant to Responsible Transportation, LLC, a startup company that intends to “consolidate unwanted horses across the Midwest” and put down the animals free of charge, according to DED documents. The company, which pledged nearly $31,000 for the study to be completed by July 2011, has used innovation to improve animal handling practices.
Board member Jerry Courtney, who handled the application for financial assistance, said “I was pretty skeptical what we’re doing this for” but noted the study is covered by board rules and approved by the Legislature. Courtney called the request “a fascinating project” but admitted “when I got this project, I said ‘whoa, what did you drop this on me for” fearing the issue will attract the attention of animal-rights activists.
“This is something that is new and different to us. It will be interesting to see how it works,” added Courtney, who said the latest research indicated there are about 200,000 horses in Iowa.
Responsible Transportation requested technical assistance funding for third-party research that will allow the company to conduct a feasibility study, plan for the development of a processing plant, perform an export analysis, and design a Website and building design. The activity will facilitate the company application for a U.S. Department of Agriculture guaranteed loan to further the business operation, according to board documents.
According to the University of Iowa News Service, the business plan for Responsible Transport, LLC, was written by Keaton Walker of Washington, a May graduate in industrial engineering who won a UI College of Engineering’s entrepreneurial startup award this year providing $10,000 in initial financial support. The project also won a $5,000 grand prize in the Bedell Entrepreneurship Learning Laboratory’s end-of-year competition.
Walker could not be reached for comment on Thursday.
Scott Beckstead, a lawyer and lifelong horseman from Oregon who is an equine protection specialist with the Humane Society of the United States, questioned whether the plan would be feasible since Congress defunded government inspections of U.S. horse slaughterhouses and American horses often are given anti-inflammatory drugs that would pose a risk to animal feed stock.
“I just think it’s a waste of the taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Beckstead questioned whether there would be true humane approaches to euthanizing horses in a processing setting. He also said the reference in the study language to an export analysis “raises all sorts of red flags” that the meat might be processed for human consumption in foreign countries where horse meat is considered a delicacy and sells for high prices. CONTINUED… Read more at The Gazette
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