“I am compelled to respond to your warning about “kill buyers” as you label them. You should know, and others should know, that there are many of us who have owned and handled livestock (cattle, goats, horses, sheep, etc.) all of our lives who agree that there is a time when slaughter is the best end for livestock. It is strange to us that someone who regularly eats a steak, a hamburger, or mutton, or fried chicken objects so vehemently to the slaughter of horses. Under certain circumstances that is certainly the “best end” of a horse and the most economical for the horse owner.
Understand me now, I don’t advocate anyone misrepresenting themselves and what they are doing. But, the crazy laws passed by misguided legislators opened the doors for such things to happen when it became illegal for our well established and legitimately operated livestock auction barns to sell equine for slaughter. In that situation, slaughter buyers for horses were there competing with others for the purchase of the animals, thus maintaining a stable base for equine prices, giving equine owners a fair price for animals that are no longer (or never were) of value for anything else, and getting some good use out of the animals. Any equine owner who chose not to do that, to keep the animal until it died of old age, or kicked them to death, could do so. It was their choice.
Removing the “choice” for equine owners created the problem.”
I am equally compelled to respond to your post. At NO time is slaughter ever the “best end” for a horse. It may, however, be so for the owner if they make a few bucks off the sale or so they don’t have to deal with the disposal of the carcass, but the best end has always, and likely will always, be humane euthanasia at the hands of a veterinarian.
The problem, in fact, started when owners of livestock decided to try to capitalize on the slaughterhouse facilities by killing horses in the same manner in which they kill cattle. Horse slaughter, as it currently stands, is labeled cruel for a number of reasons including (but not limited to) the fact that the captive bolt guns do not stun horses as they are designed to do to cattle. The horses are not knocked senseless and are very much aware of what is happening to them. Slaughterhouses are currently not properly equipped to deal with horses in a humane fashion.
The “well established and legitimately operated livestock auction barns” are, for the most part, alive and well. Presumably you meant the slaughterhouses themselves. Assuming that’s the case, any structure can be “well established” and/or “legitimately operated”, the better statement to make would have been “humanely run” but, of course, no one could make that statement about an equine slaughtering facility as it would be a complete fallacy.
The “choice” for equine owners has not been removed. Horses are still sold for slaughter and hauled either to Mexico or Canada. Just because the plants in the US lost the funding for the required federal inspections doesn’t mean the industry was shut down (although, the industry itself has been on the decline for a long time, but that’s another topic in and of itself). The problem is far too complex to ever be simplified down to two paragraphs, let alone one declarative sentence. That said, people who defend the slaughter of companion animals without being aware of and properly understanding the major factors surrounding the issue certainly aren’t contributing to a resolution.