This is definitely going to be a hot topic right now. Horse slaughter facilities are going to reopen and will make meat for human consumption. Horse meat is legal for human consumption in most US states. This is a very emotional subject and may surprise many people that Veterinarians support the reopening of these facilities. The Why is because Veterinarians still feel the welfare of the animal is still the most important goal.
To start at the beginning what options do people have when they need to get rid of a horse. Rescue, adoptions, donation to a charity, euthanasia, or slaughter. The average horse costs around four thousand dollars in up keep a year. Due to the economy many horses have been neglected, let loose or sold to slaughter. Since the slaughter house shut down in the US four years ago the demand has not gone done but increased. Now instead of being slaughtered in a US facility they are being shipped across to Canada and Mexico.
“In 2006, just 11,080 U.S. horses were shipped to Mexico for slaughter. In 2008, after the American industry shut down, that number jumped to 57,017, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture ” These facilities do and did not have the same control as they do in the US. Meat that is fit for human consumption must be slaughtered in a humane fashion and be inspected from beginning to end. In Mexico that is not the case. Stories of inhumane slaughter have been passed around over the last 4 years.
A lot of people in the Veterinary comunity feel that people should be educated on the costs and amount of care horses need. Some even believe there should be a tax incurred upond people who breed horses.
At the end of the day people on both sides of the issue care about the welfare of horses. People will continue to take these beautiful creature to slaughter as long as their is a market for their consumption. With the opening of these facilities at least we can monitor how their final moments are and to make sure they are given the respect that they deserve.