A horse is an American icon. From the pioneers who utilized horses to explore the U.S. frontier, to the equines that have been glorified in movies, to the working cattle horses that helped trail cattle, to horse races and shows, everyone loves a horse, although some perceptions of that horse are more realistic than others.
Never before in our nation’s history has the horse been more mistreated than when horse slaughter was banned in 2007. The ban, pushed by animal rights activists, resulted in horses being hauled long distances to Mexico or Canada to be slaughtered, while horses were abandoned on roadsides to starve and die, and horse owners were left with no outlet but expensive euthanasia for disposal of unwanted stock.
The horse slaughter issue has been in the courts numerous times, and the decision has been overturned several times since the initial ban. On Dec. 14, a federal appeals court removed a temporary ban on domestic horse slaughter, clearing the way for companies in New Mexico, Missouri and Iowa to open while an appeal of a lawsuit by animal rights groups proceeds, according to ABC News.
ABC News reports, “The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver lifted the emergency injunction it issued in November after the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and others appealed the ruling of a federal judge in Albuquerque. The judge said USDA followed proper procedure in issuing permits to Valley Meat Co. in Roswell, NM, Rains Natural Meats of Gallatin, MO, and Responsible Transportation in Sigourney, IA.”
Meanwhile, HSUS has vowed to keep up its fight to ban horse slaughter in the U.S.
Jeri Clausing for ABC News adds, “The issue has divided horse rescue and animal welfare groups, ranchers, politicians and Indian tribes about what is the most humane way to deal with the country's horse overpopulation, and what rescue groups have said are a rising number of neglected and starving horses as the West deals with persistent drought.”
What do you think about this ongoing debate about horse slaughter? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
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