Horsemeat convention strategizes to win over (or trick) public

horse butchering chartCattlemen, horse breeders, and a Wyoming politician who wants to open a horse slaughterhouse and is known as Slaughterhouse Sue got together this week in Vegas to figure out how they can sell the humans eating horsemeat to the American public. U.S. slaughter was effectively banned in 2007 (though many animals are shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter).

Here’s what they’ve come up with so far:

Pretend that animal welfare groups support them, too.

The post-Murdoch Wall Street Journal preposterously claims in a headline that “Horse Slaughter Is Reconsidered: Animal-Welfare Groups Are Joining Ranchers in a Push to Revive an Industry That Died in 2007.” The evidence? Stephanie Simon cites tentative support from Hope for Horses in NC (which has a big Help Us Stop Horse Slaughter page on its site) and American Humane Association, which is best known for protecting animals in movies (and also works with farm animals).

Along with the usual roundup of horsemen, livestock owners, they also had “Mindy Patterson – Alliance for Truth, campaign to defeat HSUS Missouri Prop B,” the pro-puppy mill group that lost.

Meanwhile the actual HSUS says no way. Here’s Wayne Pacelle: “It’s a predatory industry, causing untold suffering for so many healthy and young horses funneled into this international meat trade, to satisfy the palate of gourmands in Belgium, France, and Japan. These horse-slaughter mercenaries claim they’re helping horses by killing them, but we know they’re just out for more profits for themselves.”

Pretend they have Temple Grandin on their side

Temple Grandin, who has humanely redesigned the American slaughter industry, spoke at the convention but as RateMyHorsePro writer John Holland (who has the most thorough coverage) points out, Grandin told the group to stop using her name. In an interview with Horseback Magazine, Dr. Grandin said “They kind of were misrepresenting my involvement.”

Grandin told Horseback that she would only support a proposed Wyoming horse slaughterhouse if it had independent video monitoring 24/7, instantly kill between 95 and 99% of horses with the “first shot,” and have “management that cares about what they are doing.”

Grandin disappointed the group, saying she was neutral on legalizing US horse slaughter, the Animal Law Coalition says.

Pretend that they’re just looking out for the horses

It’s true that American horses are being sent to Mexico and Canada for slaughter in worse conditions that they would face here. So, let’s just stop shipping them there. There are too many horses because they were overbred, just like cats and dogs.

The whole summit was just to support “a horse slaughter facility in Wyoming that would be owned and operated by WY state Rep. Sue Wallis, who threw a reporter out of the event.

Pretend they are just supporting “free enterprise”

Sue Wallis, vice president of United Horsemen, tells the Las Vegas Review-Journal to let free enterprise offer a solution to too many horses.

Hey, I love free enterprise, too. That’s why I hate that the federal government blows $132 million a year (and that’s only as of 2005) giving cattlemen a discount on grazing fees. Why couldn’t they do it with an old-fashioned free enterprise auction–like the forest service does with logging?

Pretend not allowing horse slaughter will make horses “only for the rich” because euthanizing horses costs too much

There’s a glut of horses, from the boom days when aspiring horsey people bought them, and that drives the price of all horses down. Horses hemorrhage cash. People who can’t afford their horses are desperately trying to sell them at discount prices, give them away, send them to a rescue group or just let them go feral.

The horse slaughter industry’s spokesman (the WSJ) bemoans how unfair it is that “Hiring a veterinarian to euthanize and dispose of a horse can cost hundreds of dollars.” How expensive is that to a horse owner? AllAboutHorses says that the average  total cost to keep a horse for a year is $3,728. So let’s forget the notion that horses are for the commoners. Unless it’s a working horse, it’s not a working man that owns it.

Pretend people who oppose horse slaughter are either

RateMyHorsePro writer John Holland shows crazy emails from the group deriding anyone one opposes horse slaughter–even a George Bush associate–as too young, too dangerous and too radical to attend.

United Horseman’s President Dave Duquette: “We have ALL the parties we need and as your Youth shows, there are many more than just two in this. You are not part of the rational Anti slaughter side so when you grow up a little and get some real life experience maybe you will join with a group that is, but then you wouldn’t be the ‘Star’ anymore.”

Horseback Magazine writer Steven Long outlined the other problem with the other red meat: U.S. horses are on way too many drugs for people to eat them. He asked how she could ensure humans wouldn’t end up eating “bute, banamine, Ace, and wormers..[since] almost all American horses are routinely given these drugs, many of which are carcinogenic.” She said it would pass out of their system.

Long found that untrue, especially given recent scientific papers showing chemicals turning up in American horsemeat. “Dr. Nena Winand of the Cornell University vet school [told him,] “ Phenylbutazone is completely banned for use in food producing animals in the US and EU, and there is no established, acceptable withdrawal time is any class of food animals (including horses in the EU).”

Pretend the west is overrun with wild horses

The US government is spending way too much money to keep wild mustangs in holding pens so they don’t compete with livestock on federal grazing lands. So don’t capture them.

As Ginger Kathrens, volunteer executive director of the Cloud Foundation, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal: “You would think there are millions of wild horses roaming the West. It’s pathetic how small the herds are, how underpopulated they are.” In the 1.3 million acres of Antelope Valley, 407 wild horses graze alongside 7,700 cows. “That’s the statistic that’s common to all their management. The pie is so slender for wild horses,” she said.

Where to Go See Wild Horses

Where to See Wildlife Out West

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