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A New Horse Slaughter Facility?

OPB | March 22, 2012 9:20 a.m. | Updated: Sept. 10, 2013 11:22 p.m.

Dave Blanchard/OPB

A Hermiston man wants to open what could be the first horse slaughter and processing facility in the country in five years. The last slaughterhouses that processed horses closed in Illinois and Texas in 2007. Those facilities were shut down because they were seen as inhumane, but the consequences weren’t entirely positive.

Now many feral or unwanted horses simply end up being shipped further — to Canada or Mexico — to be slaughtered, or they end up shipped to pastures in Oklahoma or Nebraska where they live out their 15 to 30 year life span, running a tab for the federal government of $30 million. These consequences of the slaughter ban led PETA to advocate for lifting it, saying it only made the treatment of horses more inhumane.

The Humane Society of the United States, however, says bringing back slaughterhouses is not the answer. It says strategies such as fertility control and horse sanctuaries are better alternatives for dealing with feral and unwanted horses.

UPDATE 3/22/12 4:30 pm: During the show, our guests debated whether the use of phenylbutazone, or “bute,” would prohibit horses from being eaten in the U.S. and E.U. We fact-checked the issue and found phenylbutazone is banned from being given to ANY food-producing animals, including horses, in both the U.S. and the E.U.

Have you ever had to put down a horse? What was your experience? Do you think there is such a thing as humane horse slaughter? Are there more humane alternatives?

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