Thursday, January 20, 2011

MA Residents: Call State Senators to Co-Sponsor Horse Slaughter Ban

MA Residents: Call State Senators to Co-Sponsor Horse Slaughter Ban
By Laura Allen
Animal Law Coalition

Massachusetts state Sen. Stephen Brewer plans to introduce and sponsor the attached bill, Senate Docket 228, to ban horse slaughter for human consumption in Massachusetts.
The bill was drafted by Equine Welfare Alliance and Animal Law Coalition working with the Massachusetts state chapter of Americans Against Horse Slaughter.

If you are a Massachusetts resident, please contact your state senator whom you can find by going to this site:   Ask your state senator to co-sponsor the bill to ban horse slaughter by contacting Sen. Brewer's aide, Alicia Bandy at or Phone: 617-722-1540/Fax: 617-722-1078. Do not contact Ms. Bandy yourself; have your state senator contact her. She only wants to hear from state senators interested in co-sponsoring the ban. The deadline for obtaining co-sponsors is Feb. 4, 2011! So there is no time to waste.

While a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption in Massachusetts will not end the slaughter of American horses elsewhere, it will certainly protect horses in Massachusetts and prevent sale and shipment of horses from Massachusetts for slaughter for human consumption. The bill would also prevent buyers from shipping horses for slaughter through the commonwealth. More than anything, this bill will send a message to Congress and the President that Massachusetts supports a federal ban on this arcane and cruel practice of horse slaughter.

Talking Points:
1. Horses are our companions and pets; they helped build this country and still work in the military and law enforcement and, provide entertainment in horse racing, shows and other sports and exhibitions. Horses are not raised for food in the U.S.
2. The slaughter of horses simply cannot be made humane: Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector, told Congress in 2008 that the captive bolt used to slaughter horses is simply not effective. Horses, in particular, are very sensitive about anything coming towards their heads and cannot be restrained as required for effective stunning. Dr. Friedlander stated, "These animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected." The Government Accountability Office and dozens of veterinarians and other witnesses have confirmed that ineffective stunning is common and animals are conscious during slaughter.
3. The FDA does not regulate American horsemeat as food because there is no market for it in the U.S. and most importantly, horsemeat is dangerous, if not deadly, for humans to consume. Horses are given all manner of drugs, steroids, de-wormers and ointments throughout their lives. Horses are not tracked and typically may have several owners. A kill buyer has no idea of the veterinary or drug history of a horse taken to slaughter, and many of the most dangerous drugs have no or a very long withdrawal period. A typical drug given routinely to horses like aspirin, Bute, is a carcinogen and can cause aplastic anemia in humans. Bute is banned in all food producing animals and there is no withdrawal period.

4. The availability of slaughter actually increases the numbers of excess horses on the market. Slaughter creates a salvage or secondary market that encourages overbreeding. Banning slaughter would reduce the number of excess horses. Slaughter is not "an alternative" for so called unwanted horses or horses in need. Slaughter is a for profit industry driven by a demand for horsemeat, and has nothing to do with the numbers of excess or unwanted horses. Slaughter actually encourages overbreeding and adds to the problem of horses in need. The USDA has confirmed more than 92% of horses that end up at slaughter are healthy; they are not unwanted, neglected or abused. Horses are in need right now because of the economy and, in fact, slaughter is still available which is further proof that lack of slaughter does not result in excess or unwanted horses. Just the opposite!

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