Now is the Time to Take a Stand for American Horses

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And you thought horse slaughter in the United States was nothing more than a nightmare from the past.

Think again. While a law in existence from 2005 to 2011 granted these majestic animals a reprieve, proponents of the slaughter industry fought tooth and nail to reopen their houses of horror. The restriction against the slaughter industry was lifted in 2011, endangering the American horse once again. But the Humane Society of the United States spearheaded an aggressive campaign to keep the inhumane slaughter plants closed and ensure that our horses were safe from a cruel death on American soil.

Language defunding the inspection of horse slaughter facilities, thereby preventing them from legally operating, is currently awaiting President Obama’s signature. According to all indicators, he fully intends to sign off on the protective measure. But is it enough?

Permanently shuttering all horse slaughter facilities in the U.S. and closing any loopholes is a great start, to be sure. Still, on average, 100,000 horses are purchased every year at auctions across the U.S. by individuals known as “kill buyers,” then transported over our borders to Canada and Mexico for processing in slaughter plants. That’s dozens of horses loaded into trucks at a time, suffering significant physical and emotional distress for hours on end without food or water, only to face a gruesome and horrifically inhumane end. And after that? They’re sold for human consumption across the world, despite the fact that immunizations and other medicinal measures make the meat essentially toxic.

According to the HSUS, 80% of Americans believe horse slaughter and the cruelty surrounding it is wrong. It is time to be proactive. Let’s attack this issue at its root, and support American horse owners who are struggling to afford their beloved but costly equines. More horses able to stay in their homes means fewer horses sold at auction into an unknown fate.

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Lydia Lee lives in Seattle with two sweet, if slightly out of control, dogs. She loves reading, food, and the opportunity to make a difference.