New polls show voters in key Midwest states – Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska – strongly oppose horse slaughter
There was one particularly lucky and apolitical participant in the Trump inauguration – a horse named Jakar, once destined for slaughter, rescued by an animal advocate, and eventually taken on by the Cleveland Police Department for law enforcement work. Jakar, along with other members of Cleveland’s mounted police force contingent, marched in the streets of Washington as part of the ceremony marking the transfer of power in our nation.
Jakar works for water, hay, and oats. He’s respected and appreciated by the members of the police force where he works. He wasn’t a hardship case, or an act of special charity. He was neither ill nor debilitated. Like most horses bound for slaughter, he was perfectly healthy, but was discarded by someone who didn’t want him, and scooped up by a predatory and inhumane industry that kills horses for profit and sells their body parts in international markets.
It’s a remarkable betrayal for people to use the physical and behavioral attributes of horses and then sell them off to a kill buyer when they’re done with them. Americans would never accept that sort of use-and-dispose mentality in our treatment of dogs and cats – shipping them off to some other nation to be slaughtered for human consumption when we’re done with them. Why would we do it for animals who’ve served us so loyally and who were indispensable in settling our nation?
We expect a major fight over horse slaughter in Congress this year, given the new names on some of the key committees that will be involved in setting policy on the issue. President Trump’s position on horse slaughter is unknown and will be the wild card factor. For years, President Obama and a bipartisan majority of lawmakers fended off the reopening of horse slaughter plants in the United States – after we helped shutter the last three plants a decade ago. But this year’s fight promises to be one of our toughest ever on this issue.
The pro-horse-slaughter crowd tries to turn reality on its head, arguing that they are helping horses by slaughtering them. The truth is, according to a raft of polling conducted through the years, Americans don’t subscribe to their convoluted thinking. They don’t support the inhumane treatment of horses or turning them into slabs of meat for foreign diners. These animals aren’t bred for food, and Americans just don’t think they should be walked or dragged into slaughterhouses.
Remington Research Group, a Kansas-City-based polling firm, just came out of the field with polling results in several Midwestern states, where a few elected officials are among the loudest voices for horse slaughter. These results remind us that opposition to horse slaughter is overwhelming and steadfast.
- 70 percent of those polled oppose slaughtering American horses for human consumption.
- 73 percent would oppose a horse slaughtering plant in their community.
- 74 percent oppose the use of federal tax dollars for the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow horse slaughter plants to operate in the United States.
- 72 percent of those polled oppose slaughtering American horses for human consumption (63 percent in OK-02, Rep. Markwayne Mullin’s district).
- 75 percent would oppose a horse slaughtering plant in their community (68 percent in OK-02).
- 73 percent oppose the use of federal tax dollars for the USDA to allow horse slaughter plants to operate in the U.S (69 percent in OK-02).
- 62 percent of those polled oppose slaughtering American horses for human consumption.
- 68 percent would oppose a horse slaughtering plant in their community.
- 66 percent oppose the use of federal tax dollars for the USDA to allow horse slaughter plants to operate in the United States.
Oklahoma Congressmen Markwayne Mullin and Tom Cole and Nebraska’s Adrian Smith – all Republicans — are the most outspoken advocates of horse slaughter. Our poll finds that their position is at odds not only with the beliefs of a majority of all Americans, but also with the views of voters in their states and districts. For example, 71 percent of Republicans in Oklahoma, 65 percent of Republicans in Nebraska, and 72 percent of Republicans in Missouri don’t support using federal tax dollars to allow horse slaughter plants to operate in the United States. There’s not a single Congressional district in any of their states that favors horse slaughter.
No one disputes that there are some homeless horses. But unlike the horse slaughter crowd that treats homelessness as an economic opportunity rather than a moral responsibility, we’re pitching in to help. Joined by the ASPCA and the Animal Welfare Institute in the Homes for Horses Coalition, The HSUS works to actively promote the welfare and protection of horses and other equines. We provide care and homes to horses in need, advance the highest operating standards for equine rescue and retirement homes, and promote responsible horse ownership. We assist in training thousands of horses to be rehomed at equine rescues through our Forever Foundation training program. The HSUS and its affiliates directly care for nearly 800 horses at several of our animal-care facilities. To help reduce overbreeding, The HSUS formed the Responsible Horse Breeders Council, comprised of horse breeders who work to decrease the number of surplus horses bred in the United States. More than 1,200 breeders have signed our Responsible Horse Breeder’s Pledge to help protect horses from neglect, starvation, and slaughter, by reducing the number of surplus horses in the United States.
It would be a remarkable step backward to reopen horse slaughter plants in the United States. What’s needed, and what Reps. Vern Buchanan, R-Fl., Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., Ed Royce, R-Calif., and Michelle Lujan Grisham, D-N.M. are pushing, via the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R.113, is a complete ban on the slaughter of American horses, including live exports to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. Only then will we offer proper thanks to animals who’ve helped our nation in ways that we cannot even properly measure. Please contact your U.S. Senators and Representatives and urge them to ban all horse slaughter.