My, this is refreshing! I have read (and and posted previously) about efforts in place like Missouri to help resolve the intended consequences of no more horse slaughter. See, the practice itself (the slaughtering of horses) was not banned. The reason horse slaughter had to stop was because federal dollars going to horse slaughter inspection was yanked — effectively “shutting down” horse slaughterhouses.
Now, some states are working one establishing their own inspection systems for horse slaughter and horse meat. At this point, all I can say is: BRAVO!
By Sue Wallis
The United Organizations of the Horse is working with Dr. Temple Grandin to implement an Equine Assurance Program to ensure meat quality and address animal welfare concerns.
CHEYENNE – Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal has signed HB 122-Disposal of livestock into law which provides the Wyoming Board of Livestock three options to deal with abandoned, estray (animals whose ownership cannot be determined), feral, or abused animals which come under their control. The first option is taking the animal to a public sale, which was the only alternative before passage of this legislation. Additional options provided are sending the animal to slaughter, or destroying the animal.
While the legislation applies to all classes of livestock, the need arose because of the current lack of a market for low-end horses that are small or are in poor condition. Since the closure of the last US horse slaughter plant in 2007, the only unusable horses that have any value whatsoever are those that are big enough, or healthy enough, to be worth the transportation costs to Canada or Mexico. This has resulted in a huge increase in abandoned and neglected horse cases in Wyoming, and across the nation. Wyoming has seen more than a tripling every year in these numbers, which has required emergency funding through the Governor since they are unable to recoup the cost of care and feeding by selling the horses.
If the Board of Livestock chooses the slaughter option they are required to provide the meat to Wyoming state institutions or nonprofit organizations at their cost. They are authorized to sell the meat to profit entities at market price. Meat intended for human use will be state inspected and used in Wyoming.
The United Organizations of the Horse is coordinating a working group that includes state agencies, private meat processing businesses, nonprofit relief organizations, Dr. Temple Grandin, veterinarians, and other experts to design a system for the processing of horses, and the efficient and practical use of valuable meat and byproducts. The product of this working group will be a pilot Equine Assurance Program which will be a model for other states to utilize to address animal welfare concerns, and ensure the humane handling, transportation, and processing of horses.
Historical photo from Seattle’s Pike Place Market that reminds us that horse meat was appreciated nation-wide during World War II as a delicious, healthy and high-quality meat that is 50% higher in protein, 40% lower in fat than beef.
Horses for Humanity
The United Organizations will provide horse meat at their cost to Wyoming relief organizations for distribution to those in need. Once the roadblocks to federal inspection of horsemeat in the US can be lifted, the United Organizations of the Horse is planning to implement a partnership with national and international relief organizations to provide wholesome, healthy, humanely harvested horsemeat to the hungry.
Through this program horse owners have the option of donating a horse that would otherwise be disposed of. Owners are assured a quick, humane death for their animal, and the comfort of knowing that the meat is going to a good and useful purpose.
For additional information, please contact Sue Wallis or visit http://www.UnitedOrgsoftheHorse.org