Ranchers react to deferment of horse slaughter bill

At the Black Hills Stock Show and Rodeo ranchers say they love their horses, but can’t keep them forever.

It can cost $300-400 a year to care for a sick, old or unmanageable horse. That’s why so many ranchers are in favor of having a horse slaughter plant established in the United States.


“The horses that are being turned lose, starving to death along the roads, that’s not humane treatment of horses,” said Howard Huxtable, a Ranch Rodeo participant.

The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee agrees a horse slaughter facility is needed, but says the $100,000 used to study the issue could instead be used to benefit schools. So on Tuesday, the bill was deferred until the end of the legislative session, essentially killing it.

“I think it’s a lot of typical Washington lobbyist bureaucrats you know trying to control everything,” said Chad Mackaben, a Ranch Rodeo participant.

Horse owners say lawmakers are dragging their feet and favor animal rights groups. Those groups argue that horses sent to slaughter are still in good condition.

Currently, horse owners have to haul their animals to Canada or Mexico to have them slaughtered.


10 responses to “Ranchers react to deferment of horse slaughter bill

  1. Taisha ~ You need to listen to someone besides the ranchers. They are heavily biased in favor of slaughtering horses no matter how they have to twist the truth.

    There was NO bill to build horse slaughter plants in the US. The only thing that happened was to restore funding to inspect horse slaughter plants in the US. Language defunding inspections has been there since 2007, closing the THREE measly plants we still had on American soil. This language was removed from the Agriculture Bill by three legislators in a closed door meeting. There was NO separate bill. The The House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee (In fact, there is NO House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. They are two separate Committees.) did NOT comment on whether a plant was “needed” and the Ag bill – without the defunding language – WAS passed. I have NO idea what these ranchers are talking about. What you have quoted them as saying makes no sense at all. Total fiction.

    Of course the horses sent to slaughter are in good condition! You can’t take old, sick horses, manageable or not, to slaughter. No plant in the world would accept this type of horse. These people are in the FOOD business – human food. They do not want old – doesn’t taste good. They don’t want sick for what I HOPE are obvious reasons. Statistics over many years have shown the 97% of horses sent to slaughter are between the ages of 6-10 years, are fat, sound and perfectly healthy.

    As for the old, sick horses, decent people euthanize them, and slaughter is NOT euthanasia! A horse can be painlessly put down by a well placed bullet or chemically euthanized by a veterinarian. This costs about the same as keeping a horse for another month. These guys are too cheap – they’d rather GET money, no matter how inhumane slaughter is for their poor horses.

    No one has to haul their own horses to Mexico or Canada to have them slaughtered. The kill-buyers come here – as they always have – to buy American horses and sell them to the Mexican and Canadian slaughter plants. They are at the auctions here just like before. And, we have sold just as many horses to slaughter as we did before the domestic plants were closed. If you want to sell a horse for slaughter, it’s just as available as ever. It doesn’t matter WHERE the plants are. Good grief!

    I’m hard pressed to find a single accurate word in this entire post. I’ve owned horses for 35 years and lived in the shadows of the two plants that were in Texas for 15 of those 35 years. It was a nightmare of stolen horses, kill-buyers purchasing horses under false pretenses from owners who would NEVER knowingly send their horses to slaughter.

    Horse slaughter is cruel in the extreme. Horses cannot be humanely slaughtered commercially because of their flight response. The equipment – especially the captive-bolt – was designed for cattle and is simply unacceptable for use with horses – a VERY different species.

    The kicker is that American horses are not safe for humans to eat anyway. Our horses are not considered food animals, so they are not regulated. Many horse medications and other products are absolutely banned from the human food chain. They have a warning plainly on the label: Not for use in horses intended for food purposes. In the horse eating countries, horses ARE regulated like food animals to prevent such contamination. Ours are NOT.

    And what the heck is a “typical Washington lobbyist bureaucrat?” Lobbyists and Bureaucrats are two different sets of people.

      • I wasn’t talking about “sides.” These guys are talking pure fiction. There was never a “Horse Slaughter Bill” to make it legal. It IS legal. The only restriction was on the money for the USDA to inspect horse slaughter plants for human consumption, and even that is gone now.

        I have absolutely NO idea why anyone would say what they did, because almost everyone that’s at all interested would know there never was any such bill. The only bill that has ever been proposed is to BAN horse slaughter for human consumption, and it has never gotten past the Committees. Those guys can’t be talking about THIS bill, because they would oppose it.

        REALLY strange!

      • I have to say that this is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen even in the disinformation plagued horse slaughter arena.

        Oh well.

      • I’m referring to quotes from ranchers – or anyone, for that matter – talking about a bill in Congress that never existed – or was even proposed. It makes NO sense at all. They have to know better – at least I hope they do. It’s too incredible that anyone could be so mixed up about something they’re interested in.

      • I understand. Here in South Dakota, legislators voted to push the bill back to the 41st day of the legislative session, which is only 40 days. So essentially he bill was killed again. From what I gathered, ranchers told me they just want legislators to make a decision. But obviously, some are in favor of having horse slaughtering facilities in the U.S.

        As a journalist I’m impartial. I don’t pick sides, I just report the stories as equally as I can.

        Thanks again for reading!

      • They are talking about a LOCAL bill! No wonder I didn’t know what they were talking about.

        Horse slaughter plants have to inspected by the USDA in order to be sold for human consumption.

        But, since a small minority of those who believe they can make money selling our toxic horses to Europeans have refunded USDA inspections, so they wouldn’t need a local bill at all.

        All they need is backers – difficult to impossible – and neighbors who don’t stone them. 80% of Americans are STRONGLY opposed to horse slaughter.

        Besides, if they want to sell horses for slaughter all they need do is take them to a local auction. The kill buyers are there just like always.

        Thanks for the explanation!

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