California Riding Magazine • July, 2012

Letter to the Editor

Regarding your article (March, 2012) about United Horsemen, it is appalling that there are people such as Dave Duquette and Sue Wallis who actually support the horse slaughter industry. As bad as it is, it is the "easy way out" for far too many people. There are things that can be done to greatly reduce, and possibly eliminate the slaughtering of horses. For one thing, the cost of euthanasia needs to be reduced considerably. Many people just cannot afford the enormous cost involved. Secondly, why are the Indian tribes resorting to slaughter to remove excess horses? If there is no market for their foals, they need to manage their herds better, just like any good breeder would do. What happened to the birth control shots that the BLM was using on the wild mares? If it wasn't working, they need to create one that does work, and make it available to the general public.

Aside from the emotional and ethical reasons against slaughtering horses, there is one big reason against it that I have yet to hear any discussion about. How can anyone possibly support the sale of horse meat when many horses are medicated with many substances, including worm medicines, that I would definitely NOT want to consume, even if I did want to eat horse meat (which I do not)? If worm medicines make horse manure unsafe for the compost pile, how can it be safe to consume it directly by eating the meat? Also, what about the sick and diseased horses? What's the point of slaughtering them instead of euthanizing them, if the meat cannot be consumed? Meat from these horses could not possibly be any safer for dogs to eat, either.

It is shameful to consider horse slaughter as a viable means of managing the industry, regardless of the conditions, humane or not. The bottom line is that horse slaughter is more about greed. Think about it: You have a horse you can no longer take care of. Are you going to pay hundreds of dollars to give it a peaceful death, or take it to a slaughterhouse and collect hundreds of dollars, even though it will be jostled around with hundreds of other horses, herded into a chute, and killed (hopefully) by having its head bashed in (with a bolt)? Naturally, people such as Mr. Duquette are going to play down what really happens in the slaughterhouse. Sadly, some people will only care about the dollar amount they can collect. The sensible thing to do is to make slaughtering less profitable than euthanasia.

Eileen McKenzie