Join VEW and Campaign to End Horse Slaughter

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As veterinary professionals dedicated to ensuring the welfare and humane treatment of animals, we urge you to support legislation banning the slaughter of horses, including the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176) introduced in the Senate by Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC).  Each year tens of thousands of horses are hauled from points all over the US to plants in Mexico, Canada and even Japan.  Injured, sick or healthy, young or old - all are subject to this cruel industry. However, now there is an opportunity to address this before the United States Congress.

Opponents of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (S. 1176) portray the death of horses at slaughter as a form of humane euthanasia, citing the American Veterinary Medical Association's classification of the captive-bolt as "acceptable" for equine euthanasia. This simplistic presentation of the facts fails to acknowledge the vast difference between efficient administration of the captive-bolt by a highly trained veterinarian with appropriate restraint of the horse's head (the AVMA specifies that the captive-bolt is acceptable "with appropriate restraint") and its improper use by low-skilled slaughterhouse employees without proper head restraint. Improper use of the captive-bolt during slaughter means that horses may often endure repeated blows with the device, and may be improperly stunned as they proceed through slaughter.

Further, this misrepresentation of the facts fails to recognize the immense suffering that horses endure before they ever arrive at the slaughterhouse. Federal regulations currently allow horses to be transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, with broken limbs and with eyes missing. These permitted conditions contrast sharply with generally-accepted practices for moving horses in a humane manner. Euthanasia of a horse by a licensed veterinarian differs dramatically from the suffering faced by horses sent to slaughter, and it is disingenuous to suggest that the two are comparable simply because the mechanism by which horses are stunned at the slaughterhouse may, in theory, be humane.