Even aside from the animal welfare concerns, horse slaughter in the United States is a bad business plan. Americans don’t raise horses for food, and we consistently treat them with various drugs and medications, such as Phenylbutazone (“bute”), which are banned by the Food and Drug Administration from use in animals intended for food. Horse owners rarely maintain detailed medical records for horses, so there is no adequate safeguard in place to ensure that U.S. horse meat, regardless of where the animal is slaughtered, is safe for human consumption. Iowa plays an important role in American food production and agriculture. The last thing we want is to ruin our reputation by selling tainted meat butchered on our soil.
The horse slaughter industry is also bad for the communities that host it. The plants that used to operate in the United States provided only a few low-income, dangerous jobs, and they devastated the local environment by flooding the local water supply with blood and permeating the air with a foul stench. The negative stigma destroyed property values and caused other business to look elsewhere for a place to set up shop.
Iowans deserve better than to have the ugly blemish of a horse slaughter plant in our state. We can stop the inhumane horse slaughter industry in its tracks by urging Congress to pass the Safeguard American Food Exports Act, which outlaws the slaughter of American horses on U.S. soil and the export of live horses across the borders for slaughter. Passage of this law is crucial to preserve our country’s reputation for safe food exports and to protect our horses from the brutality of slaughter.
Carol Griglione is the Iowa state director for The Humane Society of the United States.