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Rozanne Rector, Published February 22 2009

Horse business needs an equine slaughter option

In response to the equine slaughterhouse debate:

My husband and I have been in the horse business for more than 30 years. We do not sell our horses for meat and do not intend to start. We are, however, aware of the need for an equine slaughter industry and are not opposed to those who might utilize such an option.

All horse owners we know want horses treated humanely; that is not the issue. But they want a choice. They feel they should have the right to sell a horse for slaughter that is in persistent pain, has heaves (a debilitating and chronic lung condition) or is just plain dangerous, if that is what they choose. They do not have to sell it for revenue; they make the decision to pay their veterinarian to euthanize the animal, and then go through the expense of either burying or cremating it.

The United States until recently has always filled a demand for human-consumed horsemeat by countries around the world. It is a simple case of supply and demand.

Animal rights activists from around the United States are following the North Dakota slaughterhouse issue closely. Those are the people who say it is inhumane to hunt wild game, eat fish or buy puppies from local pet stores.

Do countries that eat horse meat tell us we cannot eat beef? Of course not. Do we really want those countries buying from Mexico or Argentina, rather than the United States? You can be sure that those foreign countries do not have animal welfare policies for equine slaughterhouses that the United States does.