I found an excellent article here, reblogging from “Straight from the Horse’s Heart.”
By Kim Sheppard, courtesy of Animal’s Angels
There is no such thing as humane horse slaughter at this time. What is stated below can be backed up with absolute evidence or extensive documentation of what actually happens. Please know that as awfully horrific as horse slaughter actually is, the untold suffering many horses go through from point of sale to slaughter is horrific. At the point at which the Kill Buyer owns the horse that is loaded on a large crowded tractor semi trailer, his biggest expense is fuel for the truck not food (or water) for the horses; which often are injured by the time they arrive at their first US feedlot stop many hours later. DOT and USDA Laws are often broken by driving too many hours; as well as drivers not providing horses rest, food and water at required intervals that are set forth in the Transport to Slaughter Act. Since laws are not enforced, Animals that are supposed to be protected suffer *before* the horrific death with the act of slaughter itself, regardless of the country where the horse is slaughtered.
Whether the slaughter house is in the United States of America, Canada or Mexico: intentionally the captive bolt, nor 22, nor knives are used to kill the horse. The heart MUST be pumping in order to pump the blood out of the horse that is hung upside down prior to slaughter. The problem with using captive bolt, 22, or knives in horse slaughter is that unlike with other species of livestock, often several attempts (multiple strikes) are required to render the horse unconscious, resulting in immense suffering of each horse prior to slaughter. This is not only due to the anatomy of the horse’s skull and long neck, but also the natural animal behavior including (flight instinct) in a horse. When a horse is in this extreme fear state, not only does he have explosive strength; but his head continually moves with a range of motion during the multiple captive bolt, 22, or knife strike attempts used to render him unconscious. As many as 4 minutes have been documented that the horse was conscious during and after these injuries. Film has also evidenced a horse on its side, still flailing in the kill box; after regaining consciousness after the injury and horrific pain of a captive bolt or 22 it had already experienced. Once the chains are applied to the back legs of the horse on its side in the kill box, and the horse’s throat is slit: the horse then goes down the production line (now unconscious) hanging upside by its hind legs, behind the horses he saw and heard screaming before him as he smelled their blood before his own death experience. There is NO humane horse slaughter, nor was there when it was legal in the US for the purpose of human consumption. No designs or processes have changed.
On top of that, for a visual, put fly spray, wormer, bute, tranquilizer or other chemicals banned for use in animals for human consumption on a dinner plate. That is what is in tainted horse meat being shipped off to foreign countries and eaten off of their dinner plates by virtue of what the horse has been exposed to in its life~***unlike other slaughter livestock intended for human consumption from point of birth***. It is important to understand that only a minute percentage** of the >100,000 annually slaughtered American horses, mules and donkeys (equines) have *not been exposed to these chemicals (some are BANNED for use in food animals, while others have a 6 month residual period by law). The Phrase “From Stable to Table in Seven Days” says it all. If slaughter were to be legalized in US for human consumption, those poisons still are there, except more tainted meat might possibly stay in the US, instead of ship to European countries.. In some pro slaughter circles, reportedly it has been suggested that our school children eat it (if it were to be legalized for human consumption in the United States).
Just like the environmentally dangerous act of dumping tankers of slaughter house blood onto soils and into water tables, disposal is simply disposal. But it is *not* a solution to a bigger problem~nor are events leading up to slaughter and the slaughter act itself of unwanted living breathing horses people have given away, sold cheaply or dumped at an auction a solution for poor choices and horse management by those in the horse industry~regardless of the country it occurs in. What about USDA inspections? Well currently, just as with law enforcement, there are holes and complacency with regard to enforcing USDA regulations and enforcing prosecution for USDA violations to begin with. Even if there were no USDA violations, a huge problem remains because: what do you then do with a large percentage of >100,000 horses per year that end up in the slaughter pipeline, that also have chemicals in their bodies that are BANNED for use in animals for human consumption? Lastly, Humane Euthanasia is Sedated Euthanasia (as many including myself have sought out and experienced) with their beloved companion animals. Even in this “throw away” society, they would not think of putting a beloved animal into the slaughter pipeline. There IS NO HUMANE horse slaughter. These statements are not based on supposition, but derived from fact and extensive documentation surrounding this issue.
On and above that, many from the public sector, as well as experts are not comfortable with others (regardless of the country) eating meat tainted with chemicals that cause health problems including cancer. Chemical warfare itself is designed on that very premise and therefore morally there are repercussions for a nation to knowingly ship off tainted meat intended for others to eat, regardless of whether or not we choose to eat it. The humanity that a society has can be seen in how it treats its animals; its actions show the potential for cruelty or mercy on its very people.