Today a poll was up on CNN.com that asked readers if they would be open to having wild horses as a food source. There was no information about horsemeat, or any facts about horse slaughter whatsoever, so please let me point out some talking points about horse slaughter and wild mustangs.
#1- A brief history: In 1959 “Wild Horse Annie,” after realizing the cruelty involved in roundups (she followed a trailer dripping blood), helped pass a bill to stop the motorized vehicles and aircraft in rounding up mustangs. Wild horses were declared property of the U.S. government and therefore protected, in the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act, a 1971 bill (signed by Nixon). It states, “It is the policy of Congress that wild free-roaming horses and burros shall be protected from capture, branding, harassment, or death.” It was amended 7 years later to give the goverment authorization to move and cull herds. It also allowed the public to adopt wild horses. In 1984, the adoption fee was waived, and 20,000 horses were shipped directly to slaughter. In 2004/5, Senator Robert Burns added in a provision into an appropiations bill, allowing the horses to be sold for the purpose of slaughter. The new bill that was passed in June keeps the horses from being sold to Canada or Mexico for the purpose of slaughter, but as the killing of 140 horses in the Calico roundups that cost the taxpayers $700,000, the government is practicing inhumane treatment on its own.
#2: Talking points regarding horse slaughter:
*Horses who are slaughtered are not bred or raised for that purpose. Most horses who are sent to slaughter were, at one time, a pet.
*Horses who are sent to slaughter are not old- most are under 8 years of age.
*Horses are not tested for medicines that could be harmful to humans before being slaughtered.
*Horses who are sent to slaughter are not all lame or sick.
*Horses are not killed humanely- a bolt is supposed to be driven through their head, but that is the hardest part of their body. They flail around wildly when in the chute (unlike cows, which do not have long necks), so it often means that a horse is hit several times with a bolt before being killed. Sometimes the bolt does not kill the horse, and it is alive while being vivisected. Mares in foal will be slaughtered, and the foal, sometimes close to term, will spill out, to be then killed.
*Horse slaughter does not reduce the amount of horses- in does just the opposite.
*The slaughterhouses in Texas and Illinois were in constant violation and did not abide by our health codes, to the point of even allowing the blood of dead horses to spill into the waterway.
*Horses are not livestock as their primary purpose and function is not meat. They should be classified differently, as we do dogs and cats.
*There is no viable market for horsemeat in the United States.
*Horsemeat is not used in dog food.
*Horses do not cry out in pain, so we must be their voice.
Please tell your Congress people and anyone else who will listen, that we need to pass the Equine Protection Act.
Please e-mail CNN.com to let them know how inappropriate this poll was, as well as the fact that they did not include any facts about horse slaughter or the history of the mustangs. The remarks below the story show just how little the public knows about horse slaughter.
Thank you for listening.