As America prepared for Thanksgiving last year, President Obama was busy signing off on a law lifting the ban of the use of federal money for inspecting horses and facilities used in slaughter. The ban effectually ended the practice of horse slaughter in the U.S., because the horses could not be consumed and killed without proper inspection. One poll, released by the ASPCA, revealed that about 80 percent of Americans oppose horse slaughter. Despite the protest, President Obama and PETA agreed that lifting the ban was for the best.
The United States Congress initially put the ban in place in 2006 to protect horse welfare. In 2010, approximately 138,000 horses were simply transported to and slaughtered in Mexico and Canada. The transportation and slaughterhouse conditions in these places are far worse and less regulated than in the United States.
If you are one of the animal rights advocates who thought that banning horse slaughter in the U.S. was going to improve horse welfare, sadly you were mistaken.
I never though that, as a horse owner, I would be pro-slaughter, but the reality is that Obama has it right: It is in everyone’s best interest to regulate horse slaughter within the United States. If allowing horse slaughter to be legal will stop the shipment of horses to other countries, and allow horses to suffer less from being abandoned, the ban should remain lifted.
Horses come with great responsibility; they weigh up to 1600 pounds, live for up to 30 years and require a great deal of time, money and space for their care. When horses die or are euthanized, there are two choices for their disposal. They either have to be treated like humans and be buried or cremated, or sent to a rendering plant with other dead livestock.
In the United States, there are more horses than can be taken care of. If these horses are not properly cared for, they will suffer from dehydration, starvation and disease, and will experience a slow and painful death. Slaughter is a humane way of disposing of those animals that can no longer be cared for, and is a way to help the economy and population at the same time.
When horses are slaughtered, their bodies can be disposed of and their byproducts can be used in the production of glue, meat and some instruments (made with hair, for example).
Banning slaughter has not improved quality of life for horses, nor has it helped deal with the thousands of uncared-for horses. Suffering was not decreased under the band; it was simply moved to another country with even less regulation. Even as a Republican, I can agree with President Obama on this matter.
Sanctuaries are scarce, and euthanasia is expensive and gives no option for body disposal. By allowing horse slaughter, the number of abandoned horses will decrease and profit can be generated as well as create a new job market for slaughter houses and the horse byproduct/meat production industry. Americans that oppose this legislation need to do a little research; at first glance it may seem cruel, but in fact it will decrease animal suffering.
Leigh Ix is a Trinity sophomore.