Friday, May 23, 2008


I met Carl yesterday when we took the donkeys to get their teeth looked at. A man we've met before that keeps horses at the Equestrian Center, said I had to come meet his new horse. As we walked along he started telling me..........the story.

An outfitter in another state sold a complete string of horses. They were loaded on a double decker cattle hauler & before coming into or thru Arizona stopped close to the border to do Coggins testing & get their paperwork in order. When it came time to reload them, the vet told the driver he was already overweight & refused to load the last horse, & offered to buy him for $300. A friend of the vet knew this man had always wanted a draft horse & within a couple of weeks, here he is named Carl for the vet.

We stopped walking in front of one of the most magnificent animals I have ever seen. Measured at about 6 feet at the withers (18.2 hands to be exact), feet like dinner plates, probably 2000 pounds or more, black as coal, & friendly as a puppy. Well trained, picked his feet up on voice command, & moved away when touched. He even knew how to mug me for treats I had in a fanny pack.

Bert looked at his teeth after he got thru with our little guys, & said his teeth had recently been worked on. I guess we all looked surprised, & Bert explained that since there are no slaughter houses in the U.S, only in Mexico & Canada, they are hauling horses to feed lots before crossing the borders. He said they can get the meat to marble (which isn't normal for horses) in a couple of weeks of high powered feeding, & float their teeth, so they get maximum utilization of the feed. Then they are hauled to their fate, across the border.

You might wonder about the double decker haulers, being used to transport equines. It is illegal to haul horses to slaughter in double deckers, right? There is nothing in the law about hauling horses in double deckers to feed lots. A technicality used by people that exploit these animals & squeeze every penny from them. It seems legislation no matter how well meaning, ever completely covers the subject. People against slaughter of horses, fought & won the battle to close down the last 3 remaining slaughterhouses in the U.S. BUT, without closing the borders to mass hauling of horses, the process is still in place. Except now the animals are hauled even farther & handled under inhumane conditions we can only imagine.

John came up with an interesting idea that I haven't heard from anyone else. Rather than go after the horse slaughter industry & try to shut them down, when there is money to be made, go after the end result. The people in foreign countries that eat high priced horse meat. Anyone that has equines knows that almost any meds, say it can't be used in animals for human consumption. Can you imagine the amount of drugs in race horses for example? Maybe an ad campaign touting the amount of drugs in the meat these people are eating...........?????

One saved........... 49 others not...........!!!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the post. How sad it is. Nobody overseas seems to care about the meds. We’ve been trying but their local news doesn’t pick it up. The only way we’re going to stop this is to pass S 311 & HR 503 that will ban the transport of horses to slaughter. The kill houses have too many people in their pockets and with the fortune they’re making off our horses, they’ll continue. Please call your legislators and ask them to support the AHSPA. Urge them to become cosponsors, if they’re aren’t already. If they try to get around the legislation by saying they’re going to sale or for some other purpose, they’ll have to pay a hefty import tax and have to present coggins and health papers which will make slaughter of American horses cost prohibitive. Currently, slaughter bound horses don’t require paperwork nor do they have to pay an import tax. Amazing, huh?

Tish said...

I'm not familiar with the specific 2 bills you cited. Just like this load of horses, they weren't being hauled for slaughter, they were being hauled to a feed lot. A bill limiting the number of horses allowed to cross the border at one time, or in a 24 hour period might help. But I'm sure people would come up with ways around any rules or regs in place. A heavy export tax on all horses might help, although depending on the prices of the meat, it would probably be seen as a price of doing business. Unfortunately as long as there is a market, there will be people that will fill the need. THE MARKET NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED.

I don't know if it is true or not, but I have heard there are Americans going to the big auctions in the U.S. purchasing horses that are being shipped to Japan alive for the markets there. If true, that is certainly not a cheap operation even if the initial purchase price is low. Just another cost of doing business I guess.

Anonymous said...

The two bills are the senate and house bills for the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. Their only purpose now is to ban the transport of horses going to slaughter which will shut down the borders. The AQHA tried to twist the language for the purpose of scaring everyone into thinking it would ban the transport of horses for any purpose. Senator Landrieu’s office issued a press release immediately after that starting circulating to set the record straight. I haven’t seen the pro folks try to use that argument since then.

It sure sounded like the horses were going to slaughter although slaughter horses usually don’t have paperwork. They usually go from the auctions to feedlots and then to slaughter. I’ll do some digging about the Japan comment and post back when I have an answer.

Thanks again for your insightful blog!

Tish said...

I think for interstate transport they have to have at least a list of what they are hauling. In animals age, sex, & color usually. And of course the coggins for interstate also.

I wonder if a high fee per animal for crossing the border could be implemented. It could be refunded when the animal came back across the border. The legitimate horse people would probably yell & scream. But when it is all said & done, how many animals cross the border, for purposes other than slaughter? If they crossed to attend a rodeo, or for a week long trail ride, or to lease a stallion for a year or two, they'd pay a fee that would be returned when the animal returned. It could be required to come back thru the same way it went. If it died notification would have to be within 24 hours or forfeit the "bond". JAT

Anonymous said...

Here's the answer I received on the Japan exports. "The Japanese have always imported a few horses from us for slaughter. It is only a small number and they usually take young ones and fatten them and detox them for six months to a year. They do take them live. You will notice in the attached spread sheet it shows we exported 37 horses to Japan for slaughter so far this year."

The fee you mentioned has been discussed and is one of many ways to hit them in the pocket. No doubt, there would be grumbling! Unlike livestock, slaughter bound horses have no regulations. If the pro folks want them treated like livestock, bring on the health certificates with chain of ownership, coggins, drug withdrawl, etc. I'd like to see what the racing industry would have to say about withdrawing the drugs the horses are given. The same with service animals - how are the mounted police going to keep their horses sound without drugs or the hyppotherapy horses and horses used to help our returning soldiers with head injuries regain their balance? They want it both ways. They're sport, companion and service animals while they can use them but then want them turned into cattle so they can slaughter them. Fees and mounds of paperwork would surely make slaughter cost prohibitive. They are already faced with higher shipping charges because the AG in Texas ruled that horse meat cannot be shipped through DFW. The next few months should prove quite interesting.

Tish said...

The spreadsheet didn't make it I guess, there is no attachment. Could you e-mail it?
I've contended for years the plight of horses & their treatment will not change until they are classified as companion animals rather than livestock. But I'm afraid the chances of that are nil to none. The industry certainly doesn't want the regulations that would come with the change. But I think fees & regulations is one way to make a difference.

I'm surprised that 37 have been exported for slaughter this year, in writing. It seems that there are a lot of reasons for export that would be written down, rather than the controversial S word.