Animal News Desk / Cathy Kangas
I was shocked to learn that President Obama has signed into law a spending bill that restores the American horse slaughter industry. This is outrageous. In 2006, Congress defunded the federal government's ability to inspect plants that butchered horses for consumption. Without these inspections, horse meat couldn't be sold overseas where it is considered a delicacy.
Now, we are faced with the reality that the cruel, predatory industry of horse slaughter, from which Americans stand to gain nothing, will be supported by our tax dollars. It is not as if this industry will generate significant revenue or jobs. The Animal Law Coalition estimates that horse slaughtering plants operating until 2007 created a total of only 178 jobs. More importantly, American horses are not raised, fed and medicated within the FDA and European Union guidelines established for food animals. Basically, they were not meant for and are unfit for human consumption.
We must do everything in our power to prevent horses from being slaughtered. It is a heinous practice. The Agriculture Department's Food Safety and Inspection Services reports that there are no horse slaughterhouses operating in the U.S., producing meat for human consumption. But under the new law, the department would be required to inspect a new facility if it opens. In addition, opening slaughterhouses has been shown in the past to increase horse theft in areas where these facilities are located.
What community wants a horse slaughterhouse? Americans don't consume horse meat. Moreover, polls conducted by equine activists have shown that more than 70 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter.
What can you do personally to stop this atrocity? Call Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-CT ) at 202-224-4041 or Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) at 202-224-2823 and tell them that you want them to once again de-fund horse inspections and protect the welfare of American equines by taking immediate steps to pass the Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011.
Horses are magnificent creatures that bring us so much joy. They deserve to live out their lives at sanctuaries such as Squirrelwood in Montgomery, N.Y., which I support. We must do everything in our power as American citizens to protect them.
New Canaan resident Cathy Kangas is a member of the Humane Society of the United States' National Council. As the owner of PRAI Beauty Inc., an international skincare company, she started Beauty with a Cause, and commits a percentage of her company's profits to help animal welfare organizations around the world.