Horse Meat On The Menu But Can We Stomach It? {Non-graphic Video}

Valley Meat Company New Mexico's New Abbattoir Approved

The FACTS

Valley Meat Company, New Mexico‘s new abattoir is putting horse meat on the menu, but can we stomach it?   Valley Meat Company received approval to open its doors to a new abattoir, (horse slaughter facility) and will soon be joined by applications from Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, and Iowa. The slaughter of horses in the United States came to a standstill shortly after Congress voted to defund inspection of the meat in 2007. In order to circumvent the ban, the USDA offered fee based private services for almost nine months, until it was found to be in conflict with other legislation. At that time, the remaining three plants in the U.S closed their doors, and the business went across the border into Canada and Mexico. Exportation of horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter increased 50% after the ban.

  • there are 9.2 million horses in America and 2 million owners. 
  • the horse industry has a direct economic influence on the U.S reaping $40 billion annually
  • horses are employed as race horses; show horses, recreation, farm and ranch work, police escorts, rodeos, polo and competitions
  • the majority of horses that go to slaughter are healthy says the USDA

Horse slaughter is a $62 billion dollar industry, and in banning the slaughter of horses for human consumption, America votes itself out of market share.

Horsemeat, can we stomach it? 

Horse Slaughter in the U.S. for Consumption

The Debate

Voting itself out of the horsemeat industry seems fine to about 80% of Americans, because they regard horses with a strong sense of friendship and companionship. Seventy percent of  Canadians agree with their American neighbours regarding the consumption and slaughter of horses. If we legalize the slaughter of horses for consumption should we make the meat available in domestic markets? If horse meat is on the menu, can we stomach it?

With that said, however, opponents on each side of the debate point to very different facts regarding the welfare of these animals when they are no longer financially viable to keep, or when they are no longer reaping a profit.
Advocates of the horse slaughter industry say there is a “problem” with too many neglected and starving horses left for dead, in spite of state legislation that regulates the care of the animals. They also say there are insufficient rescue and adoption agencies to see many retired racehorses, or family pets given a dignified old age and graceful death. What has been reported is starving and neglected pets that have no place left to go and so end up being sold cheaply to slaughterhouse ghouls, also known as “kill buyers“.

 Video Does Not Contain Graphic or Disturbing Scenes 

 

Horse activists and Humane Society spokespersons claim, this argument is a false attempt to justify cruelty to animals, because “most horses who go to slaughter are not unwanted, but instead wind up in the hands of kill buyers because they are in good health and will bring a good price per pound for their meat.”

Furthermore, the treatment of the horses who are auctioned off and destined for slaughterhouses is inhumane, due in part to their being raised with so much intimacy to humans, and because the standards and practices are yet to meet a level of necessary to minimize their suffering.

Horses are not raised for slaughter. They have been raised in close human contact for racing,
ranch work, pleasure riding, etc. This sudden treatment as pure livestock disorients and
frightens them, compounding their suffering. – HSI Canada

The fact is, there are alternatives to slaughtering horses, feasibly and compassionately – the slaughter of horses for meat consumption offers additional economic profits and that is what stands in opposition to the sentimental attachment many Americans have towards this livestock. Can America transcend this cultural taboo anymore than Muslim nations would transcend a prohibition on pork? And the next question raised by the practice of eating livestock that was not intentionally raised for consumption, is whether it’s safe? Even if horse meat is on the menu, can we stomach it?

Hippophagy The American Taboo

Although hippophagy (eating horse meat) is strongly disliked by over 80% of Americans, the custom is accepted in other parts of the world.  The European Union is one of the main destinations for the exported meat, along with Russia and Asia. In January of 2013, the “Burger-Gate scandal” broke the news that Burger King, Ikea, Taco Bell, & Buitoni (in Europe) and other prepared foods contained large amounts of horse meat, in what is supposed to be 100% beef.

The concern that a Burger-Gate could happen in America is valid; and of major concern since some of the horses led to slaughter are exposed to strong pharmaceutical drugs that are toxic to humans. Concerns about the meat being sold domestically by horse slaughter ghouls to blend in with beef for fast food restaurants, and processed food giants looms in the shadow of the European scandal from earlier this year. The circumstantial evidence asks,  if horse meat was labelled as beef in Europe and passed, could it have been successfully mislabelled in America. The USDA adamantly states that no such mislabelling or meat fraud has happened domestically. Yet, long after consumption demand dropped in Europe, horses were being shipped for slaughter to Canada and Mexico, and the numbers didn’t add up.

The number of U.S. horses sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since domestic slaughter was banned in 2006, according a 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office, and yet the demand for it wasn’t proportional to the export.

We have been watching the numbers of U.S. horses slaughtered closely, because we knew they would tell us how much of the meat from our horses was being sold as beef,” states John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance.

How much? A great deal of it, Holland says.

The discovery of horse meat sold as beef explains why more U.S horses were being exported for slaughter despite a decade-long slump in direct consumption of horse meat in the EU. More than 160,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for their meat in 2012.

The number of U.S. horses sent to other countries for slaughter has nearly tripled since domestic slaughter was banned in 2006, according a 2011 report from the Government Accountability Office, the only way to account for the discrepancy is to recognize that the meat has been sold falsely as beef on the international market, which means it could very well have happened domestically.

Legal counsel for Valley Meat Co. said today that there is a domestic demand for it with the U.S, and that yes, the company is capable and willing to supply those demands. The demand for horse meat raises another concern for those interested diners, is it safe to eat livestock that wasn’t intentionally raised to end up on our plate? Many of the horses that end up in auction houses have been exposed to pharmaceutical drugs that are toxic to humans. Drugs like Bute (phenylbutazone) and Banamine (flunixin meglumine) are routinely administered to injured race horses, and work horses alike, as they are anti-inflammatory. Canada’s reporting system for identifying horses that have been exposed to these drugs is weak and filled with fraud by kill buyers. Slaughter house ghouls have been known to lie on the intake cards that are presented at auction, leaving the system open to dishonest dealers, and kill buyers, whose only concern is to make a dollar.

America has a lot to consider in this debate, over abattoirs  and hipphophagy, fancy ways of saying slaughter and consume horses. A minority group of chefs and exotic food lovers, are already beginning to consider the numerous possibilities for cuisine and hot new recipes, should horse meat become available within the United States. In the meantime, in other parts of the world, horse meat is on the menu, but can we stomach it?

follow me on twitter ~ Tonnya Marisse


Sources

Equistrian ChannelU.S Horse Industry Statistics

HorseFundFact Sheet

HSI Canada – Fast Facts on Canada’s Horse Slaughter

Huffington Post U.K – Burger King UK Reputation Damaged by Horsemeat Scandal

Huffington Post Weird NewsIs Horsemeat Legal In the United States? Yes and We Ate Some

Latitude NewsShady Trade in Horsemeat

Montreal Gazette – US officials approve only horse slaughterhouse in the country, but ban still pursued

Reuters U.SU.S Approves a horseslaughter house, sees two more plants

Wildhorse Foundation.Org – More Horses and Cattle Found Starving to Death

25 Responses to "Horse Meat On The Menu But Can We Stomach It? {Non-graphic Video}"

  1. Tommy Lee (@PhazzLee)   June 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    Horse slaughter is merely a reward for criminals and irresponsible breeders that do NOT care for horses or rescues. Its all about the buck with these people.

    The people who support horse slaughter should educate themselves to realize this is a slaughter support slaughter industry and special interests groups that do NOT care about your food safety. The beef and pork industry knows this that’s why they created bills like the AG GAG bill. To fine and jail whistle blowers to protect them for what they do behind close doors of a processing plant or on farms..

    Do no business with buying car, truck, home insurance with FARM BUREAU. They support this inhumane business even when the American Tax payer will be paying for their profits. We should have a right to NOT pay for this kinds of business that helps Americans lives or Jobs.

    Be expected to see many illegals in New Mexico and much more crime rates go up. Plus the city will start to accumulate a smelly stench in the air and sewer problems as Kaufman Texas did over and over.

    You can stop this call your elected official tell them to co/sponsor our horse bill HR1094.

    Reply
  2. Tommy Lee   June 30, 2013 at 9:27 pm

    Horse slaughter is merely a reward for criminals and irresponsible breeders that do NOT care for horses or rescues. Its all about the buck with these people.

    The people who support horse slaughter should educate themselves to realize this is a slaughter support slaughter industry and special interests groups that do NOT care about your food safety. The beef and pork industry knows this that’s why they created bills like the AG GAG bill. To fine and jail whistle blowers to protect them for what they do behind close doors of a processing plant or on farms..

    Do no business with buying car, truck, home insurance with FARM BUREAU. They support this inhumane business even when the American Tax payer will be paying for their profits. We should have a right to NOT pay for this kinds of business that helps Americans lives or Jobs.

    Be expected to see many illegals in New Mexico and much more crime rates go up. Plus the city will start to accumulate a smelly stench in the air and sewer problems as Kaufman Texas did over and over.

    You can stop this call your elected official tell them to co/sponsor our horse bill HR1094.

    Reply
  3. Corrine Wynne   June 29, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Ok so this is simple… FSIS says they have NO actual process for testing the safety of the meat designed specifically for horses, so they will use the guidelines for goats. So there is our first clue this will be a disaster. Secondly the EU refuses to take our cast offs knowing that there is NO way to track the same drugs they are trying to keep out of the European food chain. The scandal with American horses offers a substantial twist. In America we have many varieties of drugs that are used to keep all horses healthy, in good performance health, and many people who have even back yard pets administer Bute which is lethal and banned from the horse meat industry, however, just recently traces were found in meats in Europe. We have to remember that this is something that our children may consume, one pro-slaughter enthusiast was quoted as wanting to make it the meat we supply school cafeteria’s with in the US, immediately following that quote they withdrew meats from schools overseas they were in fear of containing horsemeat. When the countries who have eaten horse meat are worried over The US horsemeat in their children’s schools, we should be drastically concerned. Toxoplasmosis, West Nile, many illnesses that are NOT routinely tested for, the people who are educated on how to detect West Nile sometimes miss it, so how can you expect people who have never seen it to figure it out? We need to stop and take a hard look at what is coming our way. We have to take care to stop this predatory business, it steals horses in the thousands, its invites trouble wherever killer buyers reside, it reduces the land values, it destroys the opportunity to recover stolen animals in time. We need to stop this, and furthermore. Should it be killer buyers who actually get all the money for the horses? Keep this in mind, its the killer buyers rumors that horses were worthless that drove the prices downward, we pushed them back upwards, so keep in mind, they are ripping people off by paying nothing for these animals. Please sign the petition to overturn the legalization of the slaughter of horses for human consumption located on change.org under animals and please make sure that you contact your Congress men and women and ask them to stop this predatory industry once and for all. By working together we can revive the horse industry.

    Reply
  4. Devon Nullz   June 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Yawn.

    They’ve been eating cavallo in Italy for eons. It’s pretty good when prepared well. Get over yourselves.

    Reply
    • Jeff   June 29, 2013 at 7:55 pm

      Amen. It just needs to be tested, inspected, and regulated just like every other part of our food supply.

      Reply
      • Corrine Wynne   June 29, 2013 at 8:30 pm

        When you realize they actually don’t have proper testing for this, and they cannot use the test by the batch system the staggering amount of money the US government will spend of our taxpayers dollars is ridiculous. So lets lay it out, the USDA stated in another release that they will spend several million dollars to inspect for the next few months meat we don’t legally consume in America. So these people will make a several hundred thousand dollars possibly up to a million say be liberal, but the Federal Government spends several million to watch it make a million? Are you just really bad at understanding how this really works. Horses will die, whether they are alive during the process or not, good, quality horses will be killed, and you cant check the math on what the cost is to operate this type of business?

        Reply
        • Jeff   June 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

          Ok, bottom line, I’m all in for at least trying to put a stop to this. We, The people, of these United States do have ways to combat this nonsense, and I’m actually not all that new to issues with USDA, talking with DC folks, etc. Sign me up! Where, how does one get involved? I recall an earlier post regarding a petition at change.org. There’s a start, but we’ll have to do more, for sure!

          Reply
  5. Jason   June 29, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    A lot of people are ignorant to the horse slaughter debate….as a horse owner and horse owner it is much more humane to open the slaughter plants back up…..it has been terrible since they banned it…..horses were in much worse shape

    Reply
  6. mark a   June 29, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    People contine to disappoint me more and more each day.I am glad I won’t be alive when they’re 25 billion people on this planet and almost no animals or green space.

    Reply
    • lorina   September 17, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Yea, the world would be a better place without the human race

      Reply
  7. Charles   June 29, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    As a vegan you have no freakin say in what type of meat people consume. That’d be like me saying you can’t eat potatoes b/c I have an emotional bond to them

    Reply
    • Noz   June 29, 2013 at 7:41 pm

      @ Charles….

      You miss the point entirely….this is about respecting life not about what you can and cannot eat…clearly you don’t think that way.

      Reply
  8. Aleeya   June 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    How long until we start doing this to dogs that aren’t adopted?

    Reply
    • Tonnya Marisse   June 29, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Dogs are eaten in China, and there’s a good chance that it too could happen in the future.Law of supply and demand, mixed with careless owners and breeders makes for profit. Difficult to accept, but it’s the world we live in.

      Reply
  9. Noz   June 29, 2013 at 7:28 pm

    Interesting how the video show here is not graphic…perhaps if more people watched how animals are treated and destroyed, less people would eat meat.

    It’s a disgusting industry…and Karma sooner or later will catch up to the human race if it’s not already.

    Reply
    • Jeff   June 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

      I find it to be (almost) hilarious, all this emotional attitudes about our food supply. Animals have always been a part of the human food supply, at least over the course of several thousand years. If we’d begin, just start to consider our truly food-insecure brothers and sisters right here, in (y)our own communities, then we’d actually accomplish something for the history books. But it’s so much easier to bemoan the (so-called) heartless treatment of chickens or goats, or whatever. I personally did work in a chicken processing plant here in the southeast USA, and I promise you, the only tear I ever shed was for the working poor, my co-workers who were injured on the job, and etc. This discussion gets so irrational and heartless whenever we start equating animals with human beings. You’re a vegan perhaps, cool, no problem, I enjoyed every ounce of beef, chicken, pork, and seafood I was blessed to partake of during the past week :).

      Reply
    • Tonnya Marisse   June 29, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      I deliberately avoided what I would consider to be sensationalism of the subject by using graphic content. I want people to read the article and consider the facts without being manipulated emotionally in favor of one side or the other. The fact is that the meat industry is graphic, if you’re eating a cow, chicken or pig, somehow they get killed, and butchered and there is no easy way to show that. I’ve seen the videos myself many times, and am still a carnivore. Thank you for reading the post and your reply

      Reply
  10. Naijha   June 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

    As a vegan, I vote “heck” NO!

    Reply
  11. Jeff   June 29, 2013 at 7:16 pm

    I once read a document which began – “We the people…….” said document also gave great discourse regarding government of the people, by the people and for the people. We the people have spoken, if 80% is not good enough, then put it on the next election calender. I agree that we’re really talking about risking the safest food standards of any nation on the planet.

    Reply
  12. jtrevino99   June 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Horse meat is fine. Horse fat is actually superior to duck fat for french fries. But they need to make sure to ban racehorses from the supply.

    Reply
  13. tannji   June 29, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    I would be concerned about the health implications, due to anti-inflammatory drugs and such. However, I would dearly love to see a logical and non-emotional discourse as to why certain meats are acceptable and others are not. Preferably one without anthropomorphising the horses. Theoretically, I suppose I would be fine with the concept, but it sure seems like the average animal would hardly be considered “prime”.

    Reply
  14. robtemery   June 29, 2013 at 6:43 pm

    The problem will be horse meat sold as beef. There are always out to make a dollar

    Reply
  15. NY horseman   June 29, 2013 at 6:35 pm

    There’s really no debate left. US horses are too toxic to sell for food. The evidence shows most horses are butchered while they are still conscious and endure multiple stunnings… even in a Canadian “Temple Grandin” plant.

    The article did not mention the US Senate & House 2014 Appropriations budgets pulled taxpayer funding to pay for horse inspections. Without inspections, kill plants can’t operate.

    In fact, the NM Attorney General just ruled horse meat “adulterated food” under Federal and state law, making it illegal to produce or ship. The NM plant owners risk criminal charges if they operate, and with 80% of Americans opposed to horse slaughter, where are they going to find a sympathetic jury?

    Americans don’t want our domestic food safety to suffer budget cuts, while giving welfare to foreign horse slaughter investors. We don’t want our food supply contaminated by mislabeled horse meat, which will happen if these bottom feeders get entrenched on US soil.

    Horse slaughter encourages back yard breeding, puppy mill style production breeding. Every day, used up broodmares are discarded at slaughter after receiving drugs that can cause miscarriage in women. This needs to stop!

    AQHA is the worst slaughter offender. They need to stop churning their bloodstock, and figure out how to be horsemen again.

    Too many horses? Stop breeding so many!

    Reply
    • tannji   June 29, 2013 at 6:51 pm

      Mostly valid points, but why isn’t the beef industry getting away with backyard breeding and misused drugs?

      Reply
  16. Brett   June 29, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    I’ll have NOTHING to do with Horsemeat and stand against any company that decides to make a profit from it. Raise and slaughter, Cows, Sheep, Pigs, fine but leave the Horses alone. This is just further bad policy and the USDA needs to Ban the slaughter of Horses without limitation or time-frame.
    If some company decides to take this on then they should do so well outside the borders of the US, Canada, and probably a host of other Nations.

    Reply

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