Today I received an email from the ASPCA, supposed animal welfare agency, urging me to call my senator at once to advise him or her to vote against funding for inspection of horse slaughter facilities.
The ASPCA, who does in fact use more of its funds to help animals than the HSUS (the most successful fraud in American history), has recently begun to garner questioning by some of its more informed supporters, myself included. This last communication has caused me to wonder if the ASPCA's motives are really for the prevention of cruelty to animals.
Equine slaughter was banned in the US in 2007 after lobbying by the HSUS. This was accomplished by cutting funding for inspection of the abattoirs and making it illegal for the slaughterhouses to pay for their own inspections. The three functioning slaughterhouses in the country were closed. This has had many repercussions for the 100,000+ unwanted horses in the USA.
The failing economy caused many horse owners to be unable to care for their horses (not just horses; in late 2008 shelters across the country had record numbers of animals brought to them with financial reasons being the top cause for surrender). Suddenly, instead of worrying about horses being stolen, people had to worry that a new horse would appear in their pastures overnight. Horses were being dropped off at farms if they were lucky, or abandoned and left to starve. The value of horses dropped significantly in the last few years, while the number of cruelty cases increased. There are several hundred horse rescues in the country, but they function on donations only and cannot continue to accept more and more horses into their programs.
And of course, the ban did not end horse slaughter in North America. Now, instead of being slaughtered humanely in a USDA inspected facility, horses are being crammed into trucks with no space or water and taken to Canada or Mexico, where they likely are NOT slaughtered humanely.
[If you do not know what happens to horse meat, it is exported to Europe where it is considered a delicacy. Also, horse meat was supplied to zoos to feed the cats and other carnivores. Horse meat is much closer to the meat of antelope than beef. Now big cats are being fed beef, and some are suffering nutritional consequences.]
Is equine slaughter a happy thing? Well, no of course not. In our society horses are companion animals, and we do not eat them. But what have we done to our beloved horses? Created longer, more stressful, and inhumane journeys for them. To me, this is much worse.
The American Veterinary Medical Association, American Association of Equine Practitioners, and the American Quarter Horse Association are three of the over 200 groups that oppose the ban. Although I wish there were a better alternative, humane slaughter is preferable to inhumane slaughter. Sorry, ASPCA.
Remember: Spay and Neuter your pets! Support your local shelter or humane society, not the HSUS, PETA or lately, the ASPCA. Vote informed!