Horse Slaughter in the News: Taking a spin on this emotional issue

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An Atlanta television station seems to think that restoring horse slaughter is the sensible thing to do.

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The Humane Society of the United States is unyielding in its anti-slaughter stance.

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Somewhere in the middle: It’s interesting that the international news network for the Arabic world, Al Jazeera, thought the issue newsworthy and produced an English-language video that falls somewhere in the middle.

You can spin it. You can color it. You can shine a spotlight on it. You can hide it in the shadows. You can make it your personal campaign, or you can shrug your shoulders.

The news about the recent Congressional vote on an agriculture budget that included funding for horse meat inspection–and President Obama’s subsequent signing of that bill into law–has been reported in so many ways that a journalism student could probably use it for a PhD thesis topic.

Of course, the amount of misinformation and misinterpretation of what happened in Washington runs as high as the emotions on both sides of the issue.

One thing is definitely true: No one knows what will happen next.

It’s entirely possible that, depending on geography, any slaughter plant that opens in the United States will not make a lot of difference, in terms of numbers, and horses will continue to be shipped to foreign killers.

Changes may be coming, but they are not here yet.

Those trucks to Canada and Mexico are still rolling, especially this time of year, when many people are giving up their horses to avoid having to feed and house them over the winter.

If you’re a newshound, you can pick up new developments in the horse slaughter universe almost daily.

  • Last week, there was a call for the racing industry to stand tall, to take responsibility and to speak out against horse slaughter.
  • The premiere of the film War Horse in New York City last night would have been the perfect place for an anti-slaughter demonstration. So far, no news has surfaced of a single placard in the crowd. Might film producer/director Steven Spielberg, or his equestrian daughter Destry, have an opinion on horse slaughter?
  • At a time when Congress has pledged to cut the budget, the addition of an estimated $3-5 million to fund horse slaughter inspectors sounds like it would almost impossible to obtain, but pro-slaughter advocates say that horse slaughterhouses will stimulate local economies, create tax revenue and offer jobs.
  • In a startling twist, the largest animal rights group in the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), applauded the USDA change. PETA stated that if horses are to be slaughtered, it would be best to do it here in the United States rather than subject the horses to long hauls to Mexico and Canada. But, slaughterhouses for horses in the United Stations would need to be regional in order to cut down on transport time.
  • Some opponents of horse slaughter are turning up the volume on the issue that horse meat is contaminated by medications and worming chemicals. Meat destined for consumption to European Union (EU) countries is required to be free of residues, and the EU has explicit guidelines for the use of medications and wormers in horses that are intended for human consumption.
  • Today, the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC)?released undercover video exposing violations in a horse slaughterhouse in Quebec. Previous investigations conducted in recent years on three other Canadian slaughterhouses revealed numerous problems relating to animal welfare as well.

Where is this issue headed? We all have front row seats, but we may be watching and listening to entirely different performances. Let’s try to keep our facts straight and our heads level. Work hard for whatever you believe is best for horses. That’s what matters, in the end.




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