|This commentary was written in support of the U.S. Senate passing the 2012 Ag Appropriations Bill without riders prohibiting humane horse processing. (The bill now moves to a conference committee to reconcile the differences between the pro-horse industry Senate version of the bill and the House bill which includes annual riders that prohibit the USDA from providing inspection to ensure humane handling and food safety in horse meat production.) It is in agreement with opinions expressed by Dave Duquette, the voice of United Horsemen, a volunteer grassroots nationwide organization supported by animal agriculture and horse industry organizations that oppose the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). United Horsemen accuses HSUS who actively work to end animal agriculture of using "misleading, emotional propaganda to betray an animal loving American public."
by Moneta Delphos
Only a few years ago I was set against horse processing. But I have seen first hand what the prohibition of it has done not only to the horse industry, but to the horses themselves. All over the U.S. horses are suffering from lack of care and dying of starvation because there is no longer a market for equines except those in special niches like racing and dressage. Tens of thousands of ordinary horses are being dumped by at auctions, often at a loss to the seller after he pays the required fees, and they end up being processed in Mexico or Canada.
These seemingly humane but misguided and short-sighted regulations prohibiting horse slaughter in our nation have had a reverse and inhumane effect on the horse population and have virtually destroyed the horse industry here. It is noteworthy that the celebrity spokespersons for the prohibition of horse slaughter are in the upper income category of one percent of our population. These people don't have to be concerned with rising feed and hay prices (triple what it was two years ago) or the values of ordinary horses falling from a floor of a dollar or more a pound to absolutely nothing.
Although it would seem unnecessary and inflammatory for the President of United Horsemen, Dave Duquette, to make the comment about the "dangerous...vegan agenda," his opinions otherwise reflect an accurate assessment of the situation, and the same views can be heard by asking practically any farm or ranch owner who has either dealt with or observed the equine suffering and the demise of a previously healthy and thriving horse population. America is much the poorer for the irreversible loss of entire segments of our equine heritage.