PETA view more nuanced than Christian Science Monitor report that it favors horse slaughter

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  January/February 2012:

PETA view more nuanced than Christian Science Monitor report that it favors horse slaughter

WASHINGTON D.C.–Perhaps PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk played
the horse slaughter issue for publicity,  and perhaps she was just

Either way,  though,  the PETA position on the November 18,
2011 USDA budget bill rider that lifted a federal ban on horse
slaughter for human consumption  turned out to be more nuanced than a
November 30,  2011 Christian Science Monitor article headlined
“Lifting horse slaughter ban:  Why PETA says it’s a good idea.”
“In an interview with the Monitor,”  wrote Monitor staff
writer Patrik Jonsson, “Newkirk said the US should never have banned
domestic horse slaughter.”

Said Newkirk,  “It’s quite an unpopular position we’ve taken.
There was a rush to pass a bill that said you can’t slaughter them
[horses] any more in the United States.  But the reason we didn’t
support it,  which sets us almost alone,  is the amount of suffering
that it created,”  by encouraging the export of horses for slaughter
in Mexico and Canada,  “exceeded the amount of suffering it was
designed to stop.”

Continued Jonsson,  “While PETA says the optimal solution is
to ban both slaughter for human consumption and export of horses,  it
supports reintroducing horse slaughterhouses in the U.S.,  especially
if accompanied by a ban on exporting any horses at all to other


“It’s hard to call [the end of the horse slaughter ban] a
victory, because it’s all so unsavory,”  Newkirk concluded. “The
[funding] bill didn’t mean any horses were spared, but it does mean
the amount of suffering is now reduced again.”

While ending the suspension of USDA inspection of horse
slaughter for human consumption means that it can resume,  in
actuality nothing has changed–for the moment.  All three of the U.S.
slaughterhouses that killed horses during the first half of 2007 were
later reconfigured to kill other species,  and would require
re-modification to resume killing horses.  New horse slaughterhouses
have been proposed in several states,  but none are expected to be
operating soon.

“This position by PETA is going to have individuals and
organizations on both sides of the slaughter issue scratching their
heads and reassessing their stance,”  opined Ray Paulick of The
Paulick Report,  a leading horse industry news source.

Observed Friends of Animals vice president for legal affairs
Lee Hall, “The American Quarter Horse Association, representing horse
breeders,  said pretty much what PETA is now saying:  Horses would
suffer less if they weren’t exported before their deaths,  so let’s
curtail live export by killing the horses right here in the United
States.   The off-hand view of the breeding association–and PETA as
well–that we help horses by killing them closer to home is a
disservice to horses and our human potential. We should steadfastly
oppose horse slaughter anywhere it occurs,”  Hall said.

Contrary to Newkirk’s reported statement to Jonsson,
however,  the ANIMAL PEOPLE files indicate that PETA supported the
2007 legislation that suspended federal funding for inspection of
horse slaughterhouses and celebrated it,  when passed,  as a victory.
PETA argued then that horse exports to slaughter should have been
stopped too–but so did every other prominent advocate of the 2007

Posted PETA representative Jennifer O’Connor on December 1,
2011,   reiterating the 2007 PETA position,   “To reduce horses’
suffering, there must be a ban on exports of live horses together
with a ban on slaughter in the U.S.,  or it doesn’t work,  never did,
never will.   Remember,”  O’Connor continued,  “industries that breed
horses for profit–horseracing,  rodeo and the carriage trade–are
largely to blame for this crisis,  since they have created the tragic
overpopulation of horses.  Help force breeders to take some
responsibility for the horses they use up and then discard,”
O’Connor finished,  “by signing PETA’s petition to the Jockey Club
calling for the club to establish a retirement fund for registered

The Humane Society of the U.S. and the American SPCA issued
statements not referencing the Monitor article and PETA,  but
emphasizing the need to stop the transborder horse traffic.
Allowing horse slaughter in the U.S. to potentially resume is
“a bad outcome and we’ll fight them every step of the way,”  e-mailed
HSUS president Wayne Pacelle,  “but that piece was never the main
battle in Congress on horse slaughter.  The defunding provision,”
now rescinded,  “never stopped the shipment of live horses to Canada
and Mexico,  and that’s been going on uninterrupted since the U.S.
plants closed.

“We need to ban the slaughter of American horses not just in
the U.S.,  but throughout North America.  The way to do that,”
Pacelle said,  “is to pass the American Horse Slaughter Prevention
Act,  HR 2966/S 1176,  which would ban the interstate transport of
horses for slaughter and the live export of horses for that purpose.”
Whether horse slaughter really will resume in the U.S.
remains uncertain.

“Although horses could be slaughtered for human consumption
in some states, North Dakota officials say it’s not likely to happen
here,”  noted Brian Gehring of the Bismarck Tribune.  The North
Dakota legislature in 2009 appropriated $50,000 to fund a study of
the feasibility of starting a horse slaughterhouse.  The study was
completed in 2010,  North Dakota Department of Commerce manager of
agriculture and bioenergy development manager John Mittleider told
Gehring,  but the study concluded that “It is our view at this time
that there are significant impediments,  if not outright barriers to,
the establishment of a horse processing facility in North Dakota to
produce horse meat for human consumption,”  only some of which would
be removed by resumed USDA inspection.

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