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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Wyoming Equine Slaughter Plant 

in Planning Stage

 

By Dorinda Troutman, RMR Staff Writer

 

September 2010 Issue

 

     A new organization in Wyoming — United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) — has developed a four-part, unwanted horse management plan, which includes developing a humane horse slaughter plant. They will utilize a recent Wyoming state law legalizing the slaughter of abandoned, estray, feral or abused horses that come under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Board of Livestock.

     The law allows livestock, including horses, to be sent to slaughter as an alternative to taking animals to auction. The meat would to be inspected by Wyoming State meat inspectors, and sold in-state to institutions or nonprofit organizations for no more than cost; to for-profit entities at market rate; or for pet or zoo animal food.

     Sue Wallis, a Wyoming legislator who was a sponsor of the bill that became that law, is also the executive director of UOH.

     Wallis says the UOH has discussed plans for a holding yard; suggested possible sites, including one outside of Guernsey, in eastern Wyoming ; and contacted livestock industry consultant Dr. Temple Grandin for guidance with the project.

     “We are looking at a holistic approach to the unwanted horse problem. We are looking at the whole industry,” explains Wallis.

     “This project will cost millions of dollars, but there is quite a lot of government financial help available from rural development funds, plus money from wealthy private investors in the U.S. horse industry. The plant could be sustained with zoo and pet food meat buyers alone.

     “We want to build a state-of-the-art facility — absolutely top-notch — to be used as a model for anyone. The need is so great, and the pent-up demand so huge, that we believe six facilities like this one are needed around the U.S.

    

     The Wyoming plan, which has been named the “Unified System of the Horse” by UOH, includes four programs:

 

§         Rescue, rejuvenation and slaughter — which would evaluate and retrain abandoned and donated horses or, for those animals that are unsound, dangerous or unfit, would provide a quick, painless death.

§          

§         Equine Assurance Program — ensures meat quality and equine well-being, with a meat health and humane certification program.

§          

§         Horses for Humanity — Owner can donate their horse to benefit the needy.

§          

§         National Do-Not-Slaughter Registry — allows horse owners to microchip and register horses they do not wish to go to slaughter.

§          

     Wallis says that if all goes well, it will take six months to complete the plans, obtain the financing and permitting, and then another six months to build the plant.

 

     Dr. Temple Grandin is an animal science professor at Colorado State University and a noted expert on designing and managing humane slaughter facilities for cattle and hogs. She is a well-known advocate for raising food animals in an ethical manner and for creating facilities that allow them a low-stress, pain-free death.

     Having Grandin involved in this project would add a great deal of credibility.

     When asked how far along the project is, Grandin replied, “This is still in the talking process. No plans or drawings have been made by me.”

     Grandin explains that a humane horse slaughter plant needs at least four things at the point of slaughter to keep horses at a low stress level and pain-free:

§   

         • The stunning box needs to be well-lighted, and have tall, solid sides to keep the horse from seeing into the slaughter plant. Two people are needed at that box – one to quickly move the horse into it, and one to immediately stun the horse before it has time to fear the enclosure.

§       Non-slip flooring that is checked regularly for wear.

§       • Independent third-party auditors who would monitor a constant video feed of the killing process. Grandin suggests that American Humane, a national organization protecting children and animals, would make a good monitor.

 

§        • A strong plant manager who acts as a conscience for workers who become numb to the killing process, and who would constantly remind about and enforce humane treatment.

     Grandin says that in order for her to be involved, Wyoming needs to get serious about making slaughter humane.

     “It’s got to be done right,” she says.

 

     RMR will keep readers updated as plans progress. United Organizations of the Horse may be contacted at sue.wallis@unitedorgsofthehorse.org, or call Sue at 307-680-8515.

 

 

New Restrictions on Horses Exported for Slaughter

     According the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), new anti-drug requirements by the European Union, which buys a large percentage of their horsemeat for human consumption from both Canada and Mexico , may affect the numbers of horses exported from the U.S. dramatically.

     Beginning July 31, 2010, a buyer must prove that about 55 types of medications and substances, including phenylbutazone (bute), steroids and certain antimicrobials have not being given to a horse intended to be slaughtered for human consumption.

     A buyer must certify by document that those substances have not been given for the past six months; or the horse may be quarantined six months previous to slaughter. A longer “certification period” will soon be required.

     According to the AVMA, until 2007, when the three U.S. horse slaughter plants closed, up to 100,000 horses were slaughtered each year. In 2008, 49,895 horses were exported from the U.S. to Canada – most to be slaughtered.

     The most recent USDA Market News reports that nearly 27,000 horses were exported from January through July, 2010 to Mexico for slaughter. Worldwide each year almost 5,000,000 horses are slaughtered for human consumption.

 

 

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Copyright 2010 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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