Horse Slaughtergate

By on December 22, 2008 with 0 Comments By Wayne Pacelle

Six-time Genesis Awards-winner Brad Woodard, an investigative reporter for the CBS television affiliate in Houston, is on top of the horse slaughter industry again. Last week, he aired an investigative story that reminded us of the continuing problems of slaughter, exposing again the propaganda of the Belgian companies and their allies at the center of the North American trade in horses for human consumption.

We know of the tens of thousands of live American horses sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico, where The HSUS has documented inhumane slaughter and treatment. From there, the meat is typically sent to Europe for human consumption.

Image from Animals' Angels investigation of horses transported to slaughter
© Animals’ Angels

Woodard reported on that, but also the efforts of Animals’ Angels to obtain federal records through the Freedom of Information Act that document the treatment of American horses destined for the slaughter plants here in the United States before they were closed in 2007 (two in Texas and one in Illinois). The records and photos show battered and beaten-up horses, and the pictures will turn your stomach, as writer Steven Long of Texas Horse Talk magazine says in the Woodard piece.

For years, as The HSUS has pushed a ban on horse slaughter in the United States and on the export of live horses for slaughter, we’ve heard the canard from the American Veterinary Medical Association and groups associated with agribusiness that all was well with slaughter here in the U.S.; in fact, there are moves in several states to open horse slaughter plants here again, with the proponents relying on the argument that slaughtering is humane here in the U.S.

But the Animals’ Angels investigation shows something very different indeed, and the photos and other materials supplement the disturbing investigative footage The HSUS obtained some years ago about the cruelty of slaughter here. The fact is, wherever one looks at horse slaughter—here or abroad—it’s an ugly industry. No animal should suffer this cruelty for any reason, and certainly not for the profits of a handful of Belgian companies operating in North America that supply a luxury meat market for a sliver of high-end Japanese and European consumers.

When the new Congress convenes on Jan. 6, it will be a top priority for The HSUS to pass legislation to ban horse slaughter in the United States and to ban the export for slaughter of American horses to our neighbors to the north and south. We’ll need you in that fight to get the phone lines going, especially to educate the dozens of new members of Congress who may be unfamiliar with the issue.

Woodard is one of the nation’s best television journalists when it comes to digging deep into issues that matter for animals—a fact recognized by his collection of Genesis Awards, which are presented annually by The HSUS to honor news and entertainment media that spotlight important animal issues.


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