THE SLAUGHTER PROCESS IS INHUMANE
Horses are unloaded at the auction house. Those that cannot walk off the truck but are still alive and therefore "viable" to the slaughter house are dragged off the truck. They then wait, single file, in a chute. A metal door opens, and a horse is prodded in. If the horse stands well, then the workers strike him in the head with a captive bolt, which is intended to render a horse unconscious. If the horse doesn't stand well, then there is a hook used to hold the terrified equine's head in place. Once the horse is down, sometimes after 2, 3, 4 or more hits with the bolt, and the frantic thrashing ceases, the right side of the small kill box swings open, and another worker then attaches a chain to the stunned equines rear leg, which is used to hoist the animal into the air. The horse is then moved onto the kill floor, where it's throat is then slit. According to the government horse meat is only fit for human consumption if the horse is BLED TO DEATH - THESE HORSES ARE STILL ALIVE WHEN THE BUTCHERING BEGINS!!!! The head is skinned, then removed and the lifeless shell of the equine is then gutted and slit in half. The half carcasses are then moved and the next horse is processed.
There are those who believe that there is no difference between cattle and horses, that they are both livestock and are slaughtered accordingly. Click on the following link for an article written by Carol Darnell
HORSE SLAUGHTER IS NOT A NECESSARY EVIL
Some people think that horse slaughter is necessary for population control. That is far from true. In California, legislation known as Proposition 6 was passed, which makes it illegal to slaughter horses for human consumption. Reports concerning overpopulation of equines have not been made in CA since the passing of that legislation. Horse slaughter exists in the U.S. only because there is a foreign market for horse meat. The slaughter houses are all foreign owned and cater to an elite group of Europeans and Japanese overseas who pay top dollar for choice cuts of horse meat.
HORSES CAN REMAIN CLASSIFIED AS LIVESTOCK AND STILL BE GRANTED PROTECTION
Propoganda has been pushed, causing farmers and horse breeders to think that in order to grant horses protection from slaughter, legislation would have to be created to re-classify them as pets or hobby animals. In turn, the property owners fear they will lose their tax benefit of farm status. There is no legislation being created at this time to reclassify equines. Horses and other equines can remain livestock without being used as a food source.
HORSE DEALERS WORKING AS KILLER BUYERS CAN STILL EARN MONEY
It has been heard that some of the "Killer Buyers" would be victimized by a lack of employment if horse slaughter ended. These dealers need to keep in mind that opportunities do exist for hauling of various forms of livestock and agricultural products. Moreover, many major corporations and organizations require licensed tractor trailer drivers to distribute their products. There are other ways to put food on the table, instead of putting our horses on the foreign table!
HORSES END UP IN THE TRUCKS OF "KILLER BUYERS" FOR NUMEROUS REASONS
It is an "easy out" to drop off the horse at an auction when they are no longer needed or wanted.
Some unsuspecting individuals think they are selling their horse or pony to a good home, only to find out later that the buyer was in fact a killer buyer.
Stolen horses can be funneled through an auction undetected and then into the killers hands by the seller requesting the horse be tagged for "slaughter only" sale. In this way, the thief makes a profit, and the horse goes untraced to the slaughter house.
Think about this: Euthanasia costs a horse owner money. Selling an old, sick, blind or debilitated horse through a killer sale puts a few dollars into the owners pocket. It's heartless, and it does happen.
MOST HORSEMEAT PROCESSED THROUGH A SLAUGHTERHOUSE IS NOT FOR PET FOOD
Pet food companies cannot afford up to $20 per pound for raw materials for their products. Rendering facilities may supply some horse meat to these companies because they are unable to sell their meat for human consumption. Slaughter houses only sell the pet food companies the meat or scraps that cannot be sold overseas.
ANY HORSE CAN END UP IN A SLAUGHTERHOUSE, EVEN YOURS
Obviously emaciated, neglected, abused and dangerous horses are not the only horses sold for slaughter. Many people not aware of the slaughter industry bring their horses to auctions, thinking they are a good place to sell a horse fast. Sometimes horses are brought in without a coggins or health certificate. The only way to lawfully sell a horse without medical documents is to a dealer with a slaughter license, unless someone is willing to take the time and money to have a coggins drawn at the sale. Some race tracks who find a horse is not fast enough will send that horse to an auction, knowing that there is a great possibility that the horse will be sold for slaughter. A lot of injured horses from the track end up at the auctions because their owners/trainers are not willing to invest the time and money for rehabilitation on a horse that has no guarantee of ever racing again. Other show and trail horses have also suffered the same fate. Some people offer their horses for sale at a reasonable price, not expecting a meat dealer to respond to their advertisment and con them with a song and a dance about a wonderful family with kids, etc.
OLDER HORSES MAKE WONDERFUL MOUNTS
Some people think that horses over the age of 15 are no longer desirable or serviceable. The truth is many riding programs and first time horse owners seek out "older" horses. Generally, horses over the age of 15 are considerably well mannered, well trained and mature. The price for a well trained and seasoned school horse, or even just an experienced trail horse, has increased drastically due to the fact that there is a shortage. Many summer riding programs lease these horses in the Spring and then send them to auction in the fall because they do not want to pay the feed and maintenance bills during the "off season". Not many people buy horses for the winter months, so killer dealers buy up the majority.
HORSES CAN BE REHABILITATED
Numerous neglected, starved, abused and allegedly dangerous horses have been rehabilitated. Hundreds of rescue organizations, along with prison programs and handicapped riding programs, have rehabilitated slaughter bound horses. As a result, these horses have lived happy, healthy and productive lives.
EQUINE SLAUGHTER ROBS THE AMERICAN ECONOMY
The economy suffers a loss for each horse that is slaughtered. A live horse can aid the economy through the generation of revenue. Every time a horse is slaughtered some one is suffering a personal income loss via boarding fees, locally produced hay and grain, eventing costs/fees, insurance costs for liability, major medical and mortality, veterinary care and supplies, sales taxes, transportation costs, breed registration fees, tack/equipment, prescription medications, sprays, chemicals and other pharmaceuticals, riding apparel and farriers. The goverment also takes a hit here, because they are losing the sales tax revenues. Many small, family owned businesses cannot afford to lose sales, and when they do, they are sometimes forced to close and go out of business, which put their families in financial distress. There have been instances when these families then turned to the government for financial assistance. So, not only are they no longer generating tax revenue, but, they are also consuming further government resources. The result: higher cost for existing and new horse owners and an additional strain on local, state, and federal governments.
SOUND RIDING HORSES CAN BE BOUGHT THROUGH THE "KILLER AUCTIONS"
Numerous sound horses have been bought from killer sales auctions. You can find thoroughbreds or standardbreds who were just not fast enough. You can find draft horses at the end of the work season. You can find trail horses and kids horses in the fall when camps dump their stock at the end of the summer camp season. You can find many, many horses in need of a little TLC in the dead of the winter because the owner doesn't want to pick up the tab for feed or hay. (i.e. in February 200, a gal purchased a morgan and quarter horse cross gelding, green broke to ride, sound and willing for under $600 in good condition from New Holland, a PA rescue learned of a sweet TB going to the killer sale, secured a good description, found the horse at the sale and oubid the killer for him. The TB was already adopted into a permanent, loving home.) Though there are sound horses at these sales, sometimes they are the minority, not the majority at the sale. You must choose wisely, and if you're not sure, ask a vet, even if it's the one on call.