Friday, February 13, 2009

Utah Supports Horse Processing

Resolution supporting horse slaughter passes
The Salt Lake Tribune
Salt Lake Tribune
Posted:02/12/2009 05:49:01 PM MST

HJR7 » A nonbinding resolution to allow the transport of horses to Mexico or Canada for slaughter passed the Utah Senate on Thursday 19-8 and soon will cross the governor's desk.

Sponsors of the resolution -- Rep. Brad Winn, R-Ephraim and Sen. Dennis Stowell, R-Parowan -- intended to send a message to the federal government about states rights. Legislation at the federal level would outlaw horse slaughter in the United States and also ban their transport across borders for that purpose.

The controversial butchering of horses for food stirred debate about whether such practices are humane. Link

Here is an update on one of the states that is trying to deal with the closing of our three horse processing facilities. Utah has been experiencing a lot of problems with unwanted horses either being turned loose on public lands or private ranches. It’s sorry state of affairs when you have to lock your stock trailer so someone doesn’t leave a horse in it. You can’t make this stuff up. I talked to some friend from Utah last week that told me the story.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

BTW, I live in Utah-Surprise! Facts are easily verified!!!!

Anonymous said...

I quess states wanting horse slaughter are UnAmerican. In American culture we do not raise or eat horsemeat. In American culture do not raise a non food animal and then make it a food animal. Let the county's that eat horsemeat in their culture eat their own horses. I am proud to be an American & I am proud of my American culture, which doesn't include a horse steak or burger. American's eat beef. I say boycott the states that are UnAmerican. Don't spend any vaction time or money their. Don't buy any products from those states.

Anonymous said...

The slaughter horse truck drivers have very bad safety records. And bull haulers are always speeding down the highways & never get stop. The FMCSA wants to put on board recorders (little black boxs) in trucks with bad safety records. Everyone should support the black box & contact your rep. & ask that livestock haulers be the first to have them in their trucks because of their safety records. I'm contacting mine. I am a truck driver & I support them. I support safe trucking.

Troy Hadrick said...

I don't have much time to comment today, but I will share my ideas soon.

Anonymous said...

North Dakota is looking at building a plant. Thank God there are a few smart people left. Horse slaughter needs to be brought back. While we're at it Horse slaughter of BLM horses should also be legal. At lot of useless horses are being fed at tax payer expense. Let's process them and turn a money loser into a revenue. God knows we need the money to give to bankers!

vicki said...

Troy, please provide us with the locations and authorities that can verify the loose "unwanted" horses.

Troy Hadrick said...

It's my hope that American's eat a lot of beef since that is where my bread is buttered. However, no one is going to change my mind on this subject. I have never sent a horse to slaughter, but I say if these horses are going to die anyhow, someone might as well eat them. If there are laws being broken in the process, then these criminals need to be dealt with. But we haven't outlawed driving cars because some drivers break the law. I support safe trucking just like one of the anonymous posters said as well.

And Vicki, i will see if my friends in Utah would be willing to have the details of their experience put on here. But here is a recent new report out of Utah, http://www.abc4.com/content/news/slc/story/Utah-horses-being-abandoned-more-often-slow/HhLt8RzE5UCeVDiaFH6G4Q.cspx.

If people can't find a buyer or someone to take their horse(s), would the humane harvesting of these animals be better than being turned loose to fend for themselves?

vicki said...

Troy, the article you posted is another example of an owner that could have sent their horse to slaughter but didn't. Slaughter will not stop abuse and neglect. You saw the same thing when the domestic plants were open. There is no correlation between neglect and the availability of slaughter.

If an owner cannot sell/place their horse, the horse should be humanely euthanized.

I wasn't suggesting that the person you spoke with give out their personal information. The police report or authorities that were contacted would be sufficient. We hear these stories all the time and then when we investigate, they turn out to be horses that wandered from the property and have been returned to the owners or there are no reports on file with the authorities.

Troy Hadrick said...

Vicki, the problem is that there is no floor on the market becasue salvage value has been eliminated by the feight charges. If people are in a situation where they have to decide whether to feed their families or their horse and they can't get any money for it at an auction now, then i doubt they will pay to have it euthanized and buried. Prior to the closure of the plants in the US, you could always count on a floor price. That has now vanished. It is simple economics, it's called salvage value, look it up. Now because of the increased distance to a plant and the decreased rail space in the industry, that floor value is gone.

To say that people would continue to abandon horses if they were worth several hundred dollars is ridiculous. People like those of you commenting on this blog took the money out out of that market and because of that, horses are suffering more now than ever.

vicki said...

Troy, so what you are saying is the pro folks have been lying. Slaughter isn't wanted as a disposal option as they have been saying, it is wanted as the last way to make a buck off of their horse - yes? Are you saying the kill buyers aren't paying for the horses?

Most of these horses have been "used" by their owners for years. Most have helped earn their owners income and $300 of that income should have been set aside to provide a humane death. Of course, that is hindsight. Since the writing has been on the wall for several years that slaughter was coming to and end, anyone with the slightest bit of intelligence would have cut back on breeding. If there is a surplus, you cut back on production. That's supply and demand 101. If they breed for quality instead of quantity, the horse prices will rise. If the supply is less, the demand goes up and the prices will go up. Why would you want Belgium and France setting the prices for American Horses? Just another example of what they have done to the American Horse Industry. They paid people to be irresponsible to keep the horses coming. Now, with the economy in the tank and rising fuel prices, the slaughter supporters are getting short changed while Belgium and France keep their profits. And you support this because???

Again, address the irresponsible breeding and ownership and slaughter is a moot issue. Slaughter serves the owners of 1.4% of the horse population. Perhaps you should talk to the owners of the 98.6% of the horse population to find out what they are doing and why they are not whining for slaughter. They have obviously figured it out, surely the 1.4% can figure it out, as well.

Anonymous said...

Troy, US horses are still being shipped to slaughter (in higher numbers in 2008 than in recent years when the US plants were open), the only difference is that they are no longer being slaughtered on US soil. If slaughter prevents abandonment, and horses are still being slaughtered, why then are horses still being abandoned? How do you explain this?

The reason horse prices have fallen is that the supply exceeds the demand. Kill buyers buy what is needed to fill their quotas. They will not buy more horses than they have a demand for. Sugarcreek auction, which caters to killers, ships out horses every week. Approximately 80-85% of horses sold at that sale are sold to killers. They are looking for young, healthy horses in good flesh, not old/crippled/starving horses who won't be worth much for resale to slaughter for human consumption.

Lots of animals and people are going hungry because of the economic crisis. Slaughtering horses is not going to fix it. Killer buyers are considered by most people in the horse industry to be the vermin of the horse industry. Leroy Baker of Sugarcreek auction was fined more than $160K recently for numerous violations, yet he continues to operate. I myself have personally witnessed him running horses through the sale ring with an eyeball hanging from it's socket, horses that were 3 legged lame, sick, and obviously in a great deal of pain and terror. Why do you support these kind of people and what they do? They are not the exception, they are the rule. I can only surmise that you are either truly ignorant of what goes on in the horse slaughter business, or you have something to gain from it monetarily.

Troy Hadrick said...

Vicki, i am saying what i have always said. When the processors in this country were shut down by people like you, the floor left the market. If people don't have the money to euthanize them and the market won't pay them anything, their only disposal option might be abandonment. Most of them have been used by their owners, and if you need a horse and the one you have can't perform any longer, you must get another one. That is real life, not the trail riding on the weekends that everyone on here seems to think is real life. That is play time.

If 98.6% don't want to have their horses processed at the end of their life, no one can make them do it. We aren't forcing people to do anything they don't want to.

And anon is right, supply does exceed demand right now, because three plants were shut down. You can only run so many through a plant every day. So when three close, capacity is lost and demand goes down.

I have been to plenty of horse sales and haven't witnessed what you are talking about. So to say that is the rule and that everyone involved with horse sales is torturing them, is ridiculous. Have people broke the rules in the past, yes, should they be punished, absolutely. I hope you don't use your broad brush on people.

vicki said...

Troy, do you understand that horse slaughter is a business? They are only going to slaughter the number of horses they need to fill the demand, not the number of available horses. If there is surplus, it has nothing to do with slaughter plants being open or not. They are not providing a service to rid us of "unwanted" horses. They are buying what they need to fill a demand for meat. If there are all these "unwanted" horses that are abandoned, why aren't the kill buyers rounding them up? That's free meat. There were just as many reports of abuse and neglect when the domestic kill houses were open. How do you explain that? There were hoarders and there were horses that were constantly being seized for neglect and abuse. That is a entirely different subject and one that has no correlation to the availability of slaughter. A friend in Canada that runs a rescue just took custody of horses that were seized for neglect and they were located less than one hour from a slaughter plant.

Your comment on running horses through a plant doesn't make sense. There are more plants now that are taking our horses. Did you mean sending them through auctions? If so, it's the same auctions and same KBs as when the kill houses were open. Again, if these horses are "unwanted" and of no value or use, why don't they just give them to the KBs? Just load the trucks and send 'em off. After all, the pro folks keep saying it's a disposal option. Get rid of them so they can breed more and then send the ones they don't want to slaughter. It's a never ending cycle.

I don't use a broad brush on anything. Every kill auction and every domestic plant has had violation after violation. They did nothing to correct it when the domestic plants were open and they're not doing anything now. Baker is still fighting the fines but at least he sent a letter to all of his customers telling them not to bring anymore abused horses to his auction. You know, CYA.

Troy Hadrick said...

Vicki, you are confused. Regardless of demand, the plants can only accomplish so much in a day. For example, if you have 5 plants open, and 3 shut down, the price goes down. Even though demand is the same for the meat, there are still as many horses needing to go through those plants, so they can bid rock bottom. That is the economics of the situation right now.

And tell me what happens the day after you guys accomplish your goal of closing the borders for shipping horses?

And can you tell me that all of the auctions in SD have had violations? I don't know but would you find that out for me. Give me numbers.

vicki said...

Troy, there are more plants operating and slaughtering American horses now than when the 3 domestic plants were open. So with your theory, if we only had the 3 open, then the pro folks would be getting less than they are now and there would be more surplus horses. Again, if the demand is down, they will slaughter less. If there are more horses than they need, then you need to address the surplus –something that none of the pro supporters want to do. Eliminate the cause of the surplus of horses and you don’t need slaughter. Breed for quality instead of quantity and the prices will rise. Unless, of course, you are saying they are breeding for slaughter.

The pro advocates have had years to prepare for the end of slaughter. After the 3 plants were shut down, instead of addressing the cause and making changes, they found a way to get around the plants being shut down. They have done nothing to prepare. We are working with tracks, owners, jockeys and trainers to implement adoption programs and working with rescues. What have the pro folks done to promote responsible breeding and ownership? If there are all these “unwanted” horses, then just give them to the KBs to get rid of the surplus and then let the owners of the horses figure out what they are going to do when slaughter ends. How about advocating taking responsibility for horses they chose to own, buy or breed? That’s a novel concept, huh? How many more years of slaughter do you need to fix the problem?

How about starting with the AQHA? They are whining about unwanted horses and then register 140,000 foals. They have the number one breed going to slaughter and you’re asking me what we are going to do? That is quadruple the next highest breed registered (January EQUUS issue). Don’t you think that is an issue that needs to be addressed? They could take the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars they’re spending on lobbyists, PR firms an PAC to establish feed, euthanasia and other programs to help owners in need. That would be a good start for the day after slaughter ends. The AVMA and AAEP can take their lobbying, PR firm and PAC money to help with the programs.

There is plenty that can be done, Troy if only the pro advocates would look beyond slaughter. Slaughter is a symptom of a problem and nothing will change until you address the problem.

BTW-I’m not doing your research for you. There are reports available from a number of sources. Why not request your own FOIA? Perhaps the pro folks would believe what’s in front of their eyes if someone from the pro side gets the info. No matter what we produce, you guys twist and spin what is right under your noses. Go to some of the comment threads, Troy and read the mentality of the pro folks that support slaughter. They’re now accusing us of torturing animals and being child molesters. These are the answers we get when we ask questions like what language changes would be acceptable to you to support the ban the double deckers? Even the slightest step to improving conditions is met with hostility and unwillingness to make even the slightest change to improve conditions for slaughter bound horses. Enough is Enough.

Troy Hadrick said...

It doesn't matter how many plants are open, chain capacity is what counts. Has the chain capacity gone up?

Here's the thing Vicki. You keep saying let's look beyond slaughter, but why do we need to. Why can't we breed a lot of horses and use some for riding and eat the rest. You say drug use, abuse, etc, well that is all against the law. So if people are breaking the law, then they should be punished. We don't outlaw driving cars because some choose to speed. And that is what you are trying to do.

I think people should have that choice and you want to take choices away from people. That is the bottom line. Just admit it, if it was all done perfectly, you would still be against it.

You said that all horse sale facilities have violated the law. If you can't back that up, then I highly doubt that is true. Nothing is ever all or none in real life. I live very close to a couple of sale barns and have never heard of a violation. So, again, be cautious using your broad brush. It will never serve you well.

Can you show me where someone called you a child molester?

Those that agree with you have called me everything under sun for what I believe. You should have seen the posts from your allies that I couldn't put up because of language. I have been threatened because of this thread, called stupid, paranoid, ignorant, dismissive, theft promoter, anti-American, icon killer, a circus clown, poor, jobless, uneducated, polluter, and a grandma killer.

vicki said...

Troy, we need to look beyond because we should not be slaughtering a non-food animal. Nothing to admit - I am against the slaughter of horses and I have never said anything to the contrary. We slaughter animals in this country for food. Horses are not food in this country. If there was a market, the horse meat wouldn’t have been shipped overseas. You say breed some for riding and some for eating. Isn’t that what’s happening now? Breed and breed and if the color or confirmation is wrong, dump the horse. Can’t sell it, dump the horses. We don’t eat our horses, Troy. That’s the issue. We are not eating horse meat, the market is overseas. You know as well as I do, if there was buck to made, the meat would have stayed in the US.

As far as the auctions, I do not have any info on SD. I was referring to the big kill auctions, Sugarcreek, New Holland and Shipshewana. The conditions are horrific and nobody will do anything. We have had people call local authorities and they turn the other way. The anti slaughter efforts have been going on for years. Investigation after investigation and nobody has done anything to stop the cruelty and abuse. Even the slightest change, such as banning double deckers, is met with opposition. As far as the slaughter itself, it would be too costly to slow the lines down. The horse’s head must be restrained in order for any chance of the bolt to be effective. You know, as well as I do, they are not going to take the time to do that. They are not going to hire skilled workers. They are not going to do anything that will impact their bottom line.

The comments were made on the washingtonwatch comments thread for HR 305. One of them actually said I was for torturing horses because I’m letting them go to Mexico! Isn’t that a spin if you’ve ever seen one. Of course, good ol’ Lentz has now come out and gave them the thumbs up for being humane. I really don’t understand the name calling. It serves no purpose and actually undermines what the individual is saying. When I ask a question and someone responds with you are an” a*bleep” and full of “s*bleep”, I’m certainly not going to listen to anything they have to say. I respect you for posting what you believe and discussing the issues. You and I will never agree but that doesn’t make either of us right, wrong or a bad people. You look at it as an option and I see it as a very small percentage of owners that don’t want the responsibilities that come with horse ownership. With all the information that is available from research, investigations and FOIAs, I do not understand how anyone could support horse slaughter. You aren’t going to change my mind and I’m not going to change your mind. Just think how boring life would be if we all agreed on everything.

Troy Hadrick said...

You consider it a non-food animal. I consider it a food animal if someone wants to eat it, and a resource that we shouldn't waste if it's available.

As to the comment about sending horses to Mexico. You do have to admit that horses were being handled much better in our plants than they are in Mexico. I am sure you are aware of the crude methods they use. I would think you would agree that the welfare of the horse wasn't improved with the closing of our plants.

We don't eat a lot of beef tongue in this country, so should we throw that away instead of shipping it overseas to be consumed?

Do you view horses as property?

So you are saying that regardless of how anything was handled or designed, you would be against harvesting horses for food. So why do you keep bringing up all these other reasons. You blame it on sale barns, and truckers, and drugs, and plants and everything. But the fact is if we fixed all of that, it would't change your mind. Which is fine, I am just pointing that out.