“Horses have been our companions, fought battles with us, worked by our side from sun-up to sun-down. They have never abandoned us and we will not abandon them now. We will not have their blood on our hands.” —Neda DeMayo, Founder of Return to Freedom Wild Horse Sanctuary

By Neda DeMayo

Unconscionable, yesterday (June 28) the USDA announced the approval to begin operations of a New Mexico horse slaughter facility. Horse slaughter facilities have not been approved to operate in the U.S. since 2007.

Very recently, thanks to the unified efforts of national organizations and you — our supporters — contacting your Representatives on this issue, Congress approved language to defund USDA inspections of horse slaughter plants is in both the Senate and House versions of the FY2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill.

So, we need to continue to support the SAFE Act which, when passed, will ban horse slaughter in the U.S. and will prevent the transport of horses out of the U.S. to slaughter plants in Canada and Mexico.

In 2012, a national poll showed that 80% of Americans were opposed to horse slaughter, recognizing that horses are highly sensitive mammals and have enriched our culture. They have been our companions and fought battles with us, worked from sun-up to sun-down by our side. We have an ethical and social responsibility to protect them from neglect, pain, and suffering.

America is not a horsemeat-eating culture. Pro-horse slaughter advocates would have us believe that there is a need for slaughter to deal with ‘unwanted’ or ‘unusable’ horses. They have piggybacked entrepreneurial marketing platform for ‘grass fed, free-range horse meat’ to their pitch for re-opening horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. and, even more insulting, opening horse slaughter plants on Tribal Lands.

Currently, the estimated number of U.S. horses going to slaughter is 100,000. That’s less than 1% of the entire U.S. horse population. This number certainly will NOT sustain profit-driven horse slaughter industry investors.

So, what looms ahead? Horse-breeding farms, cash crops of free ranging horses? Free ranging wild horsemeat?

When breed associations register over one million foals a year, it is no surprise that they are in favor of an avenue to legally dispose of horses that do not perform well, race well, don’t have the right color or conformation. Is this responsible? Are we so bored as a humanity that we treat living beings as disposable so that we can race, go to horse shows on the weekends, and all the other forms of entertainment and sport we enjoy at the horse’s expense (some severely abusive as well)? And when our children lose interest and go to college, the horse they showed off on, or the horse that suffered years of abuse in the wrong hands, is treated to an undignified journey to an undignified death?

Surely we can do better.

The USDA documents that 92.3% of all horses sent to slaughter are in good condition. Undoubtedly, we need a long-term solution to this ‘problem.’ But, the problem is not caused by the horses. The problem is caused by greed, irresponsible breeding, ownership, and in a belief some people hold that animals have no emotions, no feelings … or even worse … some people simply don’t care; they believe animals are dispensable at any cost.

Maybe all breeders should be mandated to have an insurance policy for every horse they breed. The insurance will cover the cost for humane euthanasia and burial or cremation. This will go with each horse when sold as well.

For more information you can read these fact sheets compiled by the ASPCA:

Myths and Facts Regarding Horse Slaughter

Support the Safeguard American Food Exports Act (H.R. 1094 / S. 541)

Horse Slaughter Stats

If you have not done so yet, please contact your Senators and Congresspersons today to ask them to support the SAFE Act.

Stay tuned to hear what we are doing and how you can help!