SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — Since the US Congress passed new legislation allowing horse slaughter to take place in the United States, businesses have begun to crop up that deal in the slaughter of horses in the country.
The owners, from New Mexico to Missouri to Oklahoma, believe they are creating jobs and “lean” meat for “healthy diets” on the table.
But animal rights groups are fighting back, promising legal action and protests to end the slaughter and eating of horses before it can get off the ground.
“It’s very high in protein, very low in fat,” said rancher and Wyoming state Rep. Sue Wallis, a Republican, who wants to run horse-slaughter operations in Missouri and Oklahoma, instead of shipping US horses to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered.
There are markets in dozens of countries and horse meat is 40 percent cheaper than beef, so demand is rising as Europe’s economy worsens, Wallis said in comments published by USA Today.
Controversially, the United State Congress and President Obama agreed to lift a ban on the slaughter and distribution of horse meat for human consumption on November 18. The move, condemned by animal rights and welfare groups and actiivsts, was met with near unanimity by Congress and the White House.
One of the arguments used to sustain the move to allow horses to be slaughtered was that the horse population in the US had grown “out of proportion” and thus paving the way for the ban on horse slaughter for human desires to be lifted.
Although the slaughter of horses in the United States was banned by federal legislation five years ago, nearly 140,000 horses are brought across national borders annually for slaughter in Canada and Mexico.
There is a large market for horse meat in Europe and Asia, which North American slaughterhouses wish to profit from, and are taking advantage of the lax regulations in bording countries.
Many times, these horses are inhumanely transported, and deprived of food, water and rest along the way.
Animal rights groups have cried foul, saying that horses could never be better off if they could be killed for meat.
They say that a recent surge in the mistreatment of horses in the US is teathered to the ailing economy rather than the ban on slaughter.
Those involved in trading horses report that the ban on slaughter bottomed out the market for horses in the US.
Owners of unwanted horses also claim that they now need to pay money to euthanize their animals, rather than selling the animals to slaughterhouses for a profit, causing owners to mistreat injured or old animals.
This year, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota and other states had advocated to reestablish the horse slaughter industry in the US, citing an estimated value of $65 million a year.
Mark Yelson, a New York-based animal rights activist who has made horse protection his top priority, told Bikyamasr.com that the continued use of horses for human consumption must end immediately.
“We live in a time when all the continued use of animals for food is not needed,” he began. “The environment is really struggling because of these continued practices and the reality is the animals are treated so poorly it can make us sick. The US should bar the exportation of animals to Canada and Mexico for killing. If we don’t allow it here, why allow people to move their animals to have them killed?”
But, the industry is powerful, with a growing lobby having pushed Congress to allow the slaughter of horses in the US in order to “bolster the economy.”
Yelson added that this is a major issue under the current economic conditions. “We must look at the health of animals first, instead of seeing them with dollar signs just because the economy is bad. We don’t look to keep animals safe because of the economy excuses? If that is the case, then I am very sad,” he added. — www.shafaqna.com