It is important to the discussion at hand to know that no horse meat has been exported from the United States since 2006. The USDA has had no reason to set in place a plan to monitor or inspect horse meat until now. With the passing of the concurrent resolution by the federal government, the funding to inspect a processing facility is now possible.
The statement: “Unfortunately for those wishing to bring horse slaughter back to the US, they will have to do so without the ability to sell to the EU, the main market for US horse meat,” sounds like there’s almost no reason to consider HB 1999 or SB 375, doesn’t it?
So let’s look at that statement a little closer.
Oklahoma could export to countries other than those in the European Union. Europe is comprised of 50 member states, 27 of which belong to the EU. In 2005, the five biggest horse meat-consuming countries were China, Mexico, Russia, Italy and Kazakhstan. Of those countries, only Italy is a member of the European Union. Mexico is a large consumer of horse meat … so after the ban is lifted, Oklahoma could begin the export of horse meat to Mexico, if we wish – with the added assurance that now horses would be processed under the strict guidelines and oversight of a USDA inspector BEFORE they cross the border.
Oklahoma HB 1999 and SB 375 allow for the processing of horse meat in Oklahoma. I believe they are bills that are good for rural Oklahoma and the agricultural industry, as well as the industry nationwide, since Oklahoma is one of only four states that don’t allow horse slaughter.
I really don’t see why anyone who has seen how these exported horses are currently treated would oppose a more humane way to end the life of a horse that is going to slaughter.
The groups that keep voicing opposition say we should not slaughter or export. If this were the case, we would have over 400,000 extra head here in the United States. 400,000 horses were exported over the last four years, and it’s important to note that it was the owners of these horses who had them exported.
The groups that raise millions of dollars every year to advocate for the humane treatment of animals spend more on their salaries and administration than they spend on caring for animals. The objective observer might wonder where the big money is really being made.
If they really wanted to solve the problem, all the advocates would have to do is show up at the horse auction, buy the horses, and provide them food, water, shelter, hoof and medical care. After they care for the 400,000 horses that we sent to the border the last four years, they can move on to taking care of the offspring. Because of reproduction, now you would have over a half million horses and you would have to add 140,000 more for each year. Even the Bureau of Land Management realizes the problems of equine overpopulation.
HSUS believes we should not export, so the question becomes: what do we do with the hundreds of thousands of extra horses? HSUS has millions of dollars and educated personnel, but the best they can offer is more taxpayer expense, fewer property rights, and thousands of starving horses … and at the end of their experiment, more horses will be horribly dead – but HSUS paychecks will still be cashed.
It is so easy to send a check and get that warm, fuzzy feeling as you pat yourself on the back and say, “Look at me helping these horses!” It is so easy to write a letter or buy a tv, radio, magazine or newspaper ad to send out a negative message to raise more money that ultimately will not help these horses.
The fact is that the actual caring for a horse takes HOURS – every single day. Do you really love horses? Get out of your easy chair and come muck out a stall, haul some hay and feed. Get your hands dirty and give a horse some water.
I agree with what Pulitzer Prize winning author Jane Smiley wrote: “We must recognize that there is a market for horse meat (not only for human consumption, but also for zoo and circus-animal consumption) and that in a starving world, a source of protein should not go to waste for sentimental reasons. It is sentimentality that has resulted in profounder cruelty to our horses — because we don’t accept that they are animals and have a utilitarian purpose, we hide from what happens to them, and so what happens to them happens in secret.”