Sue Wallis, also known as Slaughter House Sue, is a Wyoming Representative who seems to be obsessed with slaughtering horses as is her cohort Baucus. Here's her/their latest rant. I've posted my thoughts to this work of fiction which can be found at
BAUCUS: TIME TO LIFT SLAUGHTER BAN THAT HURTS HORSES, FARMERS AND RANCHERSSeptember 9, 2011 by suew
Filed under News & Web Log4 CommentsBAUCUS: TIME TO LIFT SLAUGHTER BAN THAT HURTS HORSES, FARMERS AND RANCHERSSenator Applauds Panel’s Step toward Ending Ban (Washington, D.C.) – Montana’s senior U.S. Senator Max Baucus announced today that Congress is one step closer to answering his call to end a ban on U.S. horse slaughter plants.This week, the Senate Appropriations Committee moved forward on a bill that will allow the USDA to inspect horse slaughter plants. Having heard rising concerns about horse welfare and the harmful economic impacts of the ban, Baucus asked the independent and non-partisan Government Accountability Office to conduct a full report on the impacts of the ban. The GAO report revealed numerous unintended and harmful impacts of the ban on the economy and horses as well. “We’ve seen some pretty shocking cases across Montana of horse abandonment and neglect as owners face tough economic times. This ban is a part of the problem and has resulted in the inhumane treatment of injured and sick horses along with hurting the economy. We have an opportunity here to do the right thing for our farmers and ranchers while improving the welfare of horses,” Baucus said.The Accountability Office’s findings, show the ban on U.S. horse slaughter plants has caused a drop in American horse prices and sales and the market has shifted to Canada and Mexico. As a result, overall horse welfare has declined, putting a strain on state, local, and tribal animal welfare resources, and the Accountability Office noted a rise in cases of horse abandonment, abuse, and neglect since the ban was instated. The report also notes that U.S. horses, often suffering from injury or illness, are being transported greater distances to be slaughtered in places where they are not protected by U.S. humane slaughter protections.TIMELINE
My response to this nonsense is as follows:
Your ignorance of horse slaughter is unacceptable.
Your claim that 'horses have always been processed humanely' is an outright lie. The 900+ page USDA report cited one horrific problem and violation after another. From transporting through the act of killing, horse slaughter is a barbaric and completely unnecessary industry.
Your claim that the last three kill plants were operating within the letter of the law is also a lie. Cavel was repeatedly fined for various EPA violations. Google 'Texas horse feedlot' and see what really happens at holding pens - numerous dead and crippled horses - corpses dumped in river beds, etc. THIS is the industry you support.
Sidebar: Why weren't you fighting to have the last three US plants pay taxes on the millions they took in? All of the profits went back to the home countries of the plant owners as did the money earned by the illegals who worked in the plants.
Your claim that abuse and abandonment cases have increased due to the closure of the US kill plants is also incorrect. It's still perfectly legal to ship horses to Canada and Mexico for the purpose of slaughter. Those who are abusing and neglecting horses will continue to do so regardless of the availability of US horse slaughter. If this concerns you why aren't you fighting for strict fines and penalties for such abuses?
Your claim that slaughter is needed as an outlet for old, crippled, starving horses is ridiculous. As you should know, horses that are unable to bear weight on all four legs can not be shipped to slaughter. This law has been in effect for decades. Kill buyers, the middle men of the industry, are contracted to purchase a specific number of horses (pounds of horsemeat) for the plants that contract them. Kill buyers are not filling their loads with skinny horses. It simply wouldn't be in their financial interest to do so. Why ship three loads of skinny horses when one load of horses will do? Slaughter is not about providing a needed service. It's only purpose is to fill a limited demand by foreign buyers. This is evidenced by the same number of horses being slaughtered now as when the US plants were open. The foreign plants have contracts to fill, period. The plants are certainly not taking in untold numbers of so-called unwanted horses.
Your claim that the lack of US kill plants caused a decline in the US horse market couldn't be further from the truth. The fact is, the tanking of the ECONOMY, fully due to government incompetence, is the driving force behind the decline of ALL industries. Sadly, breeders are simply unable to accept that there is no market for their product, yet they continue to produce more horses instead of acting responsibly. ALL successful business rely on filling a demand and adjusting production as needed when demand fluctuates. You seem to believe that over production should be met with a reward. In this case, a monetary sum for an overproduced product to act as a 'floor' for product pricing. Haven't we bailed out enough irresponsible industries?
The videos don't lie, SSue. Slaughter is what it is - a barbaric end of life. Slaughter is NOT a humane death. The failure rate of the captive bolt is at least 10% as reported by the state vets who worked at the US plants. The vast majority of equines regain the ability to feel pain within 30 seconds of being hit with the bolt. This means that most are vivisected while still alive. The failure rate of the bolt gun operators is even higher. It usually requires more than one hit to temporarily incapacitate the horse. If the captive bolt was a preferred method of producing death, veterinarians would use them in the field. They don't.
You completely fail to present the human side of the issue - contaminated meat. Every properly cared for horse has been given substances such as dewormers and bute which are banned from use in food producing animals. The testing for such substances is nearly non existant with only 3% of carcasses being testing (of which 10% have a positive result). The newly required EU documentation is worthless. There is no mandate to comply nor are there any penalties for non-compliance. Any document that begins with 'to the best of my knowledge' is not worth the paper it's written on.
You are simply catering to two very specific groups. First, to the approximately 1% of horse owners who do not oppose slaughter. Second, you bow to the cattle ranchers who pay for your re-election bids.
If you were actually concerned about equine welfare, you would use the hundreds of thousands of dollars you rake in from the cattle ranchers and mass production horse breeders (AQHA) to start euthanasia and gelding clinics. But you won't because equine welfare is simply not part of your agenda.
for decades. In 1989 over 342,000 horses were slaughtered in over
a dozen US plants located across the country. In 2007, 100,000
horses were slaughtered in the three remaining foreign-owned US
plants or were sent to plants in Canada and Mexico. Currently
there are no plants in operation in the US. The two plants in
Texas were closed as they were found to be operating in
defiance of Texas state law. The plant in Illinois (Cavel Int'l)
was forced to close after the state of Illinois passed legislation
banning horse slaughter in Illinois. Horses continue to be shipped
to slaughter plants in Mexico and Canada. In 2008, the number
of horses exported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter was
the same as in 2007.
The horses are typically purchased by kill-buyers at action.
Often, horse owners believe their horses went to good homes
when in fact they were purchased by the killers and sent to
The brutality of the slaughter process is beyond comprehension.
Horse flesh is sent to Belgium, France, Italy and other countries
where it is considered a delicacy.
Foals, pregnant mares, geldings and stallions are loaded into
trailers with no regard to the horses' welfare. Although regulations
demand that horses be segregated by sex and size, the regulations
are ignored and not enforced. Many horses are injured or killed
on the way to the plants. The journey to the plant can take days
during which time the horses are not fed or given water.
Double-decked trailers designed for cattle are often used to
transport the horses. Horses must stand with heads lowered as
there is not enough room for a normal stance. Often, the horses
are kept at feed lots prior to being shipped to slaughter.
Don't believe it?? Drive past the Roping J Ranch on Meldrum Road,
south of 26 Mile Rd in New Haven, MI. This feed lot is owned by Jaron Gold who was granted a trainers' license at Pinnacle.
Common Arguments and Misconceptions:
1. Burying all those extra horses will contaminate the water because
they have so many drugs in them.
The 2005 census taken by the American Horse Council (horsecouncil.org. 2005)
estimates that there are 9.2 Million equines in the US.
The accepted (annual) mortality rate of livestock is 5 – 10%. Applied to equines this
equates to 500,000 - 1,000,000 equine deaths each year. Only 100,000 of these
deaths can be attributed to slaughter.
The balance of 400,000 -900,000 equines are disposed of each
year with no reported negative environmental effects.
The laws in Michigan are very clear as to where and how equines
(and all other animals) can be buried. The use of landfills by renderers is also regulated. In contrast, according to a 2006 report by the EPA, pesticides causes poisoning to over 91,000 humans including six deaths each year at a cost of $35.83 Million dollars (University of Minnesota, 2006).
Cremation and composting are additional options to dispose of equines and livestock.
Both of these methods are allowed by the state of Michigan. Cavel International, the last
horse slaughtering plant, was repeatedly fined for waste water discharge violations. Cavel amassed fines of $80,000 due to the discharge (dumping) of blood, stomach contents, urine
feces directly into the river. Keep in mind that not every part of the horse is used. Internal organs, heads, legs, etc. are disposed of as horses are slaughtered for their flesh.
Also, the equine population has dramatically increased over the past 15 years while the
number of horses sent to slaughter has dropped from well over 350,000 in the mid-80’s to 100,000 in 2007 and 2008.
VALUATION OF HUMAN DEATHS AND ILLNESSES RESULTING FROM PESTICIDE
USES INTHE UNITED STATEShttp://horsecouncil.org/economics.html
NATIONAL ECONOMIC IMPACT OF THE U.S. HORSE INDUSTRY http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/bitstream/21172/1/sp06ki09.pdf
2. That a horse is "my property" and I can do with it what I want
if the transport bill is changed to make it HUMANE.
There are two separate issues in the above statement. The first relates to
personal property rights and second is in regard to transportation.
Personal Property Rights:
For the purpose of this discussion personal property
includes everything we own including animals, cars, clothing, etc.
Under the Constitution we have a right to own property. We DO NOT have the right
to dispose of or treat our property in any manner in which we choose. There isn’t a
single state, county, city or township in the country that doesn’t regulate the
disposal of personal property or the treatment of animals. Federal regulations can
also be applied with regard to medical waste, pesticides, fertilizers and
We cannot abandon our vehicles on freeways. We cannot toss our garbage
where ever we choose. In many, if not most cities, we are not only told what
we can dispose of but how it must be disposed of, which type of container
must be used and what time we can put our garbage at the curbside.
We are not allowed to dispose of cats and dogs by putting them into
garbage bags and leaving them at the curb. We cannot mutilate our animals.
The list goes on.
Ending slaughter does not take away personal property rights.
Again, property rights only extend to ownership. Ending slaughter only
removes one option for horse owners. Once the anti-slaughter bill(s) pass,
owners will still have the options of humane euthanasia (lethal injection),
gun shot, donation of the horse to a rescue or a teaching hospital,
selling the horse or giving the horse away.
Feedlot owners, collection stations, kill-buyers and transporters do not
follow the current laws regarding transportation of equines to slaughter.
Sadly, the rules are rarely enforced which leads to additional violations.
As someone who has attended auctions in which horses were purchased
to be sent to slaughter, I invite everyone participating in this conversation
to attend the Shipshewana or Sugarcreek auction facilities or, if you’re
timing is exceptional, park on Meldrum Road and watch Jaron Gold load
or unload his slaughter horses. You may also be able to witness this at Pinnacle.
Animals’ Angels did an undercover investigative report on Jaron Gold.
This report is available at The horses are not given the required rest,
food and water before or during transport. I have yet to see or even hear
of a kill buyer who segregates equines based on gender, aggressiveness
or size. The horses are loaded en mass without any concern whatsoever
for their well-being.
Correction: There was one time I did witness sorting of horses which
was back in the late 80’s or early 90’s. This trader would simply sort by
1) Horses that had a chance of re-sale (Paints/Pinto’s mostly)
and 2) All others.
In regard to horses that are specifically excluded from being allowed
to be sent to slaughter, again, the rules are not followed. Equines that
are crippled, blind, or pregnant and carrying full-term foals are routinely
sent to slaughter. One such mare named Snickers was within hours of
delivering her foal when the Cavel plant was ordered to cease operations.
Snickers delivered her foal on the floor of the plant. Not only was she
carrying a full-term foal, Snickers is blind in both eyes. If the plant wasn’t
ordered to cease slaughtering, both Snickers and Willie would be on a
dinner plate overseas.
With regard to mean/dangerous horses and ignoring the fact that
most likely an equally mean/dangerous human created them in the
first place, let’s consider the exposure to risk of injury.
A dangerous horse is dangerous to humans as well as other horses.
If the horse can’t be handled at all, it can still be confined in such a
manner as to allow a vet to administer a tranquilizer to calm the horse
enough to administer the final, lethal injection. Number of humans at risk, two.
If the horse is sent to auction, the risk to humans significantly increases.
The horse has to be loaded on a trailer (hopefully segregated from all others),
unloaded at the auction, run into a pen, run through the ring in close proximity
to spectators, put back into a pen, loaded on another trailer, unloaded at the plant,
run through chutes and into the kill box to be hit (repeatedly) with a captive bolt gun.
How many humans have now been exposed to this horse?
The full text of the transportation ‘rule’ follows.
Scope of the Rule
The rule governs how equines must be commercially transported to slaughter
and affects not only the owner or shipper of the horses but also the vehicle driver.
The rule covers what must be done prior to the actual transport from the sale
barn or feedlot in terms of feeding and watering the animals. It deals with
segregation of the animals (e.g., stallions and aggressive mares who kick
and bite other, less aggressive animals) as well as the amount of time an
equine can be confined without food and water. The rule also covers certain
documents that must be issued before the journey begins and what happens
when the delivery is made at the slaughtering plant. Finally, the rule addresses
civil penalties for failure to comply with the regulations.
Requirements for Transport
Prior to the commercial transportation of horses to a slaughtering facility,
the owner or shipper must:
6 consecutive hours immediately before loading the animal in the vehicle.
and a production date. (Backtags are available at recognized slaughtering
establishments or from APHIS personnel.)
address, and phone number of the shipper and receiver (slaughter plant)
and the transporting
vehicle’s license and registration number.
is not blind in both eyes, is able to walk unassisted, is not a mare
that is likely to foal during the trip, is older than 6 months, and has
had access to food, water, and rest for 6 consecutive hours before
being loaded into a vehicle.
prove the condition did not occur during transport.
Falsification of any certificate or document is a criminal offense and
may result in a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment for not more than 5 years, or both.
Aphis. 2002. Take Care of Our Horses.
4. With the captive bolt, when does death occur?
The captive bolt gun was designed and is used to stun cattle and
was used on equines in the US slaughter plants. Equines are not killed
by a hit, or numerous hits, with a captive bolt gun.
According to the AVMA’s 2007 Guidelines:
Exsanguination Exsanguination can be used to ensure death subsequent
to stunning, or in otherwise unconscious animals. Because anxiety is
associated with extreme hypovolemia, exsanguination must not be used
as a sole means of euthanasia. Animals may be exsanguinated to obtain
blood products, but only when they are sedated, stunned, or anesthetized.
Stunning Animals may be stunned by a blow to the head, by use of a
nonpenetrating captive bolt, or by use of electric current. Stunning must
be followed immediately by a method that ensures death.
With stunning, evaluating loss of consciousness is difficult, but it is
usually associated with a loss of the menace or blink response,
pupillary dilatation, and a loss of coordinated movements. Specific
changes in the electroencephalogram and a loss of visually evoked
responses are also thought to indicate loss of consciousness.
Nonpenetrating captive bolt—A nonpenetrating captive bolt may be
used to induce loss of consciousness in ruminants, horses, and swine.
Signs of effective stunning by captive bolt are immediate collapse and
a several second period of tetanic spasm, followed by slow hind limb
movements of increasing frequency. Other aspects regarding use of the
nonpenetrating captive bolt are similar to the use of a penetrating captive
bolt, as previously described.
Penetrating captive bolt guns cause “Instant loss of consciousness,
but motor activity may continue.”
LOSS OF CONSCIOUSNESS DOES NOT EQUATE TO DEATH.
Death occurs when the horse is exsanguinated. In the case of foals cut
from their dams bodies, they are left to die on their own, usually in the gut pile.
AVMA Guidelines on Euthanasia. 2007. http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/euthanasia.pdf
5. Conditions at feed lots
‘Feed lots’ as they are called are more appropriately referred to as
collection stations. Feed lots do not exist to put weight on equines
and often, there is usually no food or water to be found. Horses are
typically purchased from auctions and brought to a lot in which they r
emain until the kill buyers’ quota is met at which time the horses are
sent to a slaughter plant. Jaron Gold’s kill pen was approximately 30’ x 50’.
I have video of horses packed into the pen to such a degree that they
could not move around, lie down or get to hay even if hay had been provided.
On none of the ‘drive-bys’ did we ever see a water trough in the kill pen.
The horses do not have access to shelter, either man-made or natural.
They are fully exposed to the elements including the glaring sun in the summer
and freezing rain and snow in the winter. Animal control was called but chose
to do nothing. According to ACO, the trees on the property provided a natural
shelter. The tree line is at the back of the property is hundreds of feet away
from the kill pen.
6. What do we do with the old, sick, crippled and mean horses.
The short answer is HUMANELY EUTHANIZE them.
Longer response:Kill buyers do not want old horses as aged horses
are usually in poor condition upon arrival at the auctions. Foreign consumers
prefer young equines just as Americans prefer to consume young cattle.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of eating a steak from a ‘past her prime’
dairy cow, you understand why.
Slaughter-bound horses are not vetted prior to being sent to slaughter.
Illnesses such as Strangles are common in horses pulled from feedlots
and auctions. In the US, sick cattle are not allowed to enter the food supply
so why should horses? Cattle ranchers are required to maintain accurate
records with regard to illnesses and medications used on cattle.
Horses going to slaughter are NOT required to have health certificates or
medical/treatment records of any kind.
Crippled horses that are unable to bear weight on all four limbs or need
assistance with mobility are banned from being transported to slaughter.
With regard to Thoroughbreds rescued from the backside, many of these
horses have fractures and significant soft tissue injuries. Many have been
euthanized immediately after being procured by rescue groups. Imagine
the pain and suffering those horses would endure if they were forced to be
loaded on a trailer, not segregated, and sent on an hours to days long journey
to a Canadian or Mexican plant.
Considering that the last remaining slaughter plants were located in Illinois
and Texas, the conditions for the horses were just as poor when these
US plants were still in operation.
7. Euthanasia is too expensive.
I have yet to meet a single horse owner who doesn’t have hundreds
to thousands of dollars of unused tack and supplies that could be sold
to pay for euthanization. My vet charges about $150 to euthanize and
Berlin Excavating charges $250 for disposal (as of last summer).
In contrast, I pay $365 per month for full board.
About 1-1/2 years ago I paid well over $200 to have one of my dogs
euthanized and her body cremated (ashes not returned). Additionally,
if an owner cannot afford to euthanize the current horse, they cannot
afford a replacement for that horse. Therefore the sale of unused hay,
bedding, supplements, saddles, stall mats, fencing and the like can be
used to pay the vet bill.
Personally, I don’t care if they have to sell their furniture or their first-born,
no horse deserves to be sent to slaughter.
8. What to do with all the unwanted horses.
STOP BREEDING and HUMANELY EUTHANIZE those horses that
cannot be rehabilitated, retrained or made sound.
Breed registries such as the AQHA promote breeding, not suitability,
not conformation, not intelligence. Just breeding. Why? Because they
are able to collect in excess of $5,000,000 dollars per year in registration
fees alone. The breed registries, tracks, AVMA, AAEP, all need to
step up and create euthanasia funds. Unfortunately, the AQHA prefers to
spend six figures on paid lobbyist former Senator Conrad Burns to fight
against ending slaughter. Burns is responsible for a stealth amendment to
a bill that effectively removed all protection for wild horses which caused
many of them to have their lives ended in a slaughter plant.
There are no unwanted horses,
there are only greedy owners.
Animals’ Angels Investigative Reports
Vets for Equine Welfare