SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

July 25, 2013

We eat Horses, don’t we?

Animals

Ohio sends horses to Canada for slaughter

By Alan Johnson THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Several times a week, trucks pulling long trailers filled with horses leave Ohio destined for Canada.

The animals, sometimes 30 or more in trailers typically used to transport cattle, are taken north of the border for slaughter and processing into meat for human consumption.

The practice is legal.

Fred E. Bauer, 61, of rural Hardin County, is one of Ohio’s largest such horse brokers, according to the Humane Society of the United States and Animals’ Angels, an animal-welfare group. He is listed as a livestock buyer for Bauer Farms.

A northwestern Ohio horseman who asked not to be identified said that Bauer regularly buys horses from farmers and at auctions, including a large one at Sugar-creek in Tuscarawas County where Amish and Mennonite farmers frequently take animals for sale. The horseman said Bauer regularly takes as many as five trailer loads of horses weekly to Canada for sale to a middleman or slaughterhouse.

Reached by phone for comment, Bauer had a terse response before hanging up: “I can’t see no need for that. Thank you.”

While many Americans are turned off by the idea of eating horse meat, it is consumed in France, Belgium, Japan, China and parts of South America. Europeans ate 119,000 tons of horse meat last year, nearly 20 percent of it coming from the U.S., the Humane Society said.

The United States has no horse slaughterhouses because in 2006, the U.S. Department of Agriculture withheld funds for meat inspectors, meaning that plants cannot operate.

However, the USDA recently relented and has licensed slaughter plants in Iowa and New Mexico. Neither is yet in operation. Oklahoma lawmakers recently lifted that state’s 50-year ban on slaughtering horses.

Canada and Mexico have four plants each, and more than 166,000 U.S. horses were slaughtered for meat in those countries last year, according to U.S. and Canadian agricultural statistics.

The horse-slaughter plant closest to Ohio, the Richelieu Meat Co., is in Massueville, Quebec, east of Montreal. Undercover video from a group called the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition purportedly shows horses being killed there: An employee fires a .22-caliber rifle at the animal’s head from several feet away — sometimes requiring up to five shots.

Ohio was second to Michigan in shipping American horses to Canadian slaughterhouses between 2005 and 2007, according to Canadian-government trade records.

  • Wayne Pacelle, the Humane Society’s president and chief executive officer, said his organization is supporting the Safeguard American Foods Exports Act pending in Congress. It would ban slaughtering horses for human consumption and shipping them out of the country for that purpose.
  • “There are unwanted horses, just like there are unwanted dogs and cats,” Pacelle said. “We’re not going to set up a dog-slaughter plant because people eat them in other countries. You euthanize horses or shoot them in the head, but you don’t jam them in cattle trucks and ship them hundreds of miles to Canada or Mexico.”
  • Animal-rights organizations say horses differ from beef cattle because they were used for sports, as pets, or as work animals and often were given drugs rendering them unfit for human consumption.

In contrast, a 2010 story by WTHR-TV in Indianapolis about Indiana horses’ being shipped to Canada quoted Martin Kouprie, a chef at Pangaea restaurant in Toronto, extolling horse meat as a delicacy.

  • “Horses are livestock. They’re not pets,” Kouprie said. “It’s a beautiful meat. It’s succulent. It’s sweet. It’s rich. It’s fine-textured. People just love it.”

ajohnson@dispatch.com

(My Comment:

My innards are inhibiting me from commenting on the contents of this article  And I’ll tell you why, though, you can probably guess.  (The pics above are from an online search to make my point.)

Some of my earliest memories are of horses.  I absolutely loved them, dreamed of them.  They were so beautiful to me. When I was rather small, Mother and my step-dad had a restaurant  called Snug Harbor across the road from a lake in Oklahoma City.  It was a rural area with farms and ranches nearby.  I was able to ride small ponies occasionally starting when I was small enough that I could barely stay on the saddle.  And sometimes I came off ungracefully.

It has been said I crawled out of the womb with a pencil in my hand.  Always drawing something.   Earliest sketching efforts were of horses;   the essence is long-lived and rather deep.  So it is inconceivable to me that humans could do anything but love, appreciate and admire these gorgeous creations  that have been our helpful companions for so long.  .  .  served us so well – body, mind and soul.   .    .     .     just sayin’     Jan)

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