“Horses belong in the stable, not on the table.” Wayne Pacelle, chief executive of the Humane Society of the United States.
By including a proposal in the 2014 budget to prohibit the funding of horse meat inspection, the Obama administration essentially eliminated the possibility that horse slaughter will resume in this country. Some senators may fight this, but given the financial sequester and budget cutbacks it will be a hard sell to set aside money for something most Americans don’t want anyway.
If you are wondering why the handful of businessmen who prematurely invested in horse slaughter plants think they can strong arm congress into funding inspectors, it is because the horse breeding industry, and to some extent the entire agribusiness community is involved.
Habitat for Horses’ Jerry Finch explains it in detail in his series on slaughter:
Who really benefits from horse slaughter in America? The killer buyers? They do benefit from horse slaughter, indeed they seem to do quite well, although they are not the power behind the horse slaughter lobby, just the workers doing the dirty work. Instead, we are looking for people of social and economical status, capable of getting a hold of politicians and controlling them. Let’s keep following the money trail.
The answer to the above question comes after examining data collected by USDA at one of the US-based plants regarding the breed of slaughter bound horses. According to such data, roughly 70% of horses slaughtered are quarter horses, followed by 21% thoroughbreds and other breeds. Since quarter horses have a strong, muscular conformation, are relatively heavyweight and numerous (meaning lower prices) they are indeed preferred by the horse meat corporations, which therefore maximize the ratio of “raw matter” obtained per dollar spent purchasing the animal. However, the fact that quarter horses are slaughtered in numbers greater than any other breed is not just a mere consequence. In fact, almost any piece of pro-slaughter propaganda, misinformation and horse-butchering eulogy published in the past ten years can be traced back to the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), despite the efforts of the Amarillo-based breed registry to conceal their origin by developing a network of think-tanks and phony “non-profit” organizations.
…In general, agribusiness confronts anything that remotely questions on legal, ethical, medical, scientific or social grounds not only its practices, Agribusiness, particularly the meat industry, reacts aggressively to both stronger regulations and anything that is remotely related to the humane treatment of animals or environmental protection. From livestock feedlot laws and urban waste management to horse slaughter, agribusiness always vocally opposes any piece of legislation, behavior or concept that supposes a step forward in the right direction, effectively deploying a zero tolerance policy that has become its defining signature.
The rationale behind such zero tolerance policy to preserve its economical interests and power position, agribusiness must deny any ideas generally identified as “animal welfare” or “environmentalism” from gaining a foothold in the minds of both policy makers and society. It does so by employing vast amounts of resources in direct political action and the media.
Given the recent discovery of horse meat in beef in Europe (horse meat has even been found in chicken nuggets ) and the problems associated with the toxic nature to humans of some of the drugs routinely given to horses, the meat inspection would be a quagmire even if it were financed. All in all, it would have been an economic disaster and a political nightmare to reinstate horse slaughter, and our President is much to savvy to endorse it.