GRISLY END FOR AMERICAN HORSES
Frenzied hooves beat against the wet cement as horses of all colors and ages file through the line. Poked with an electric prod, they are forced down the crammed alley. As the chute door opens the workers whistle and holler. A grey horse slips, falling to his hind legs. Panicked, he lunges forward and takes his final steps into the “kill box.”
As he drops his head to smell the blood, a worker grabs his long mane and plunges a knife into his neck. Stunned, the horse throws his head and, ten seconds later, is stabbed again. As the horse collapses to the ground the workers break out in a cheer.
As time runs out for the 109th Congress to stop this slaughter of American horses, The Humane Society of The United States released exclusive video that includes this shocking footage from a municipal slaughterhouse in Juarez, just over the Mexican border.
One slaughterhouse official told investigators that horse meat from this plant is being flavored with beef and served to unsuspecting workers. The slaughterhouse supplies 95 percent of company lunchrooms in and around Juarez, home to factories operated by well-known American corporations.
The findings are part of an HSUS investigation documenting the abuses of American horses quietly funneled to slaughterhouses in Mexico, Canada, and three foreign-owned plants in the United States.
The video was shown at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., as Congress nears adjournment, to demonstrate the desperate need for the Senate to pass S.1915, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Ensign, R-Nev., and Mary Landriew, D-LA., would prohibit all sale, donation or transport of horses for human consumption. Mechanisms are in place to enforce the legislation and prevent the export of horses for slaughter, Wayne Pacelle, HSUS CEO and president, said at the video release.
“Many of these animals were people’s companions. To be subjected to this torment for just a small amount of money, we believe is wrong,” Pacelle said. “The killing is clumsy, the killing is barbaric, and for what purpose?”
If the Senate does not approve the bill this year, tens of thousands more American horses, including those shipped south of the border, will face an unimaginable death. Mexico’s method of slaughter is deemed to cause so much pain that it is banned in this country by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Horses are “stunned” with a sharp knife aimed at severing their spinal chord. This leaves the horse paralyzed and unable to breathe, but still sensible to pain as they are dragged from the kill box, hoisted up by a chain and their throats slit.
THE PATH TO SLAUGHTER
Horses go to slaughter by way of auctions, where the “killer-buyers” get them by the trailer-full. HSUS investigators saw horses sell for as little as five dollars and witnessed horses with sales stickers from as many as three previous auctions, evidence of the route by which they are sold and resold.
From auction it’s on to the feedlot. The evening investigators visited one remote Montana feedlot, where hundreds of horses are held over each week, temperatures approaching 0 degrees.
Slaughter- bound horses spend their final day crammed in a trailer, 30-40 at a time. They usually get no food, water, or rest on the trip, which may last 24 hours or longer (investigators saw horses shipped from Colorado to Illinois). Many are transported in dangerous double-decker trailers, like the one that recently overturned on an 800 mile run from Oklahoma to Illinois.
According to USDA figures, approximately 90,000 have been slaughtered this way in 2006. In addition, more than 19,000 horses have been exported to Canada for slaughter and another 8,500 to Mexico.
In a Dec. 4 letter to Sens. Bill Frist, R-Tenn., and Harry Reid, D-Nev.,
27 senators urged a prompt vote on the legislation, which has 34 co-sponsors.
Companion legislation, H.R. 503, was overwhelmingly approved by the House
of Representatives in Sept.
Many thanks to the HUMANE SOCIETY OF THE U.S. for trying to