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Date:4/20/2014 2:57:16 PM
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Proponents of this unsubstantiated claim, including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Quarter Horse Association (all members of the Horse Welfare Coalition, a group founded and led by the slaughterhouses and represented by former US Representative Charlie Stenholm of Texas) have lobbied Congress to block passage of the federal ban. Their premise is that slaughter improves horse welfare—offering a “humane” way to dispose of these animals, a “necessary evil” without which horses would be subjected to neglect, abandonment and abuse.

In truth, no hard data exists to back up claims about a burgeoning population of “unwanted horses.” What is clear is that killer buyers working for the slaughterhouses are outbidding other buyers at auction because they have the financial incentive to do so. The market for slaughter horses is set by the international demand for their meat in other countries, not by the number of supposedly unwanted horses.

Thankfully, a truly humane veterinary organization has emerged to counter the bogus claims of these veterinary and industry organizations.

Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was founded by a group of leading veterinarians to help educate the public about horse slaughter from a veterinary position.

During a trip to meet with legislators in Washington, D.C., VEW co-founder Dr. Nicholas Dodman said, “Horse owners currently have two options when their horse has reached the end of his or her trail: They can pay to do the right thing (re-home or euthanasia) or be paid to do the wrong thing (send to slaughter). A few thoughtless folks choose to do the latter, and it should not be an option.”


Hundreds—perhaps thousands—of our horses are stolen each year. Horse thieves make quick money by unloading illegally obtained horses to killer buyers and slaughterhouses. Slaughterhouses typically kill and process them so quickly that it is almost impossible to trace and recover stolen animals in time to save their lives. Who would imagine their stolen animal was hauled across the border to be slaughtered for meat?

Judy Taylor of Kentucky sought help in caring for her two beloved Appaloosa horses, Poco and PJ, due to her own serious health problems. At the recommendation of a friend, she contacted Lisa and Jeff Burgess. The couple agreed to take care of the animals with the understanding that, if they were unable to continue doing so, the horses would be returned to Judy. Despite this agreement, within seven days of receiving the horses, the Burgesses sold them to a known killer buyer. Soon after, Judy discovered what had happened and frantically searched for the horses acquired with fraudulent intentions.

Eventually, she learned the horrifying truth—her horses had been slaughtered for their meat. Successful charges were brought against the Burgesses. The Kentucky Court of Appeals noted, “The Burgesses’ cond
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