Oct. 23, 2011
Paula Bacon, former Mayor of Kaufman, Texas response to “Slaughter of Horses Goes On, Just Not in U.S.”article written in the New York Times
My city was a doormat for horse slaughter with one of the
last 3 horse slaughter plants operating in the US. They barraged us with 3 big
problems-- big environmental problems, stigmatizing the community and economic
development--And the plant was a fiscal black hole, locally and beyond. As the
mayor in 1986 said, “Quite frankly, we don’t want you here…. You’ve never made
a dime for this city and you never will.” But thanks to their ability to
outspend the city in order to continue operating no matter what, it took over
20 years to finally see them gone.
A horse slaughter plant is unlike a cattle slaughter plant since horses have much, much more blood than cattle, and that blood cannot be hauled off to be used in fertilizer because of drug residues, The burden on infrastructure by a horse slaughter plant is extreme. Environmental problems are easily quantified – the plant was in constant violation of laws and a taxpayer-funded mandatory $6 million dollar upgrade imminent. Not just with my city but the other places with horse slaughter plants also had a long history of big federal, state and local environmental violations, not paying their fines, etc.
BTW, horses in the U.S. commonly receive medications that are not intended for food animals and are known to cause blood disorders and cancer (even including horse aspirin called ‘bute’ [phenylbutazone] and several other regularly administered medications). Apparently the meat is not a good food choice and neither is it good for making fertilizer.
Also unlike a cattle slaughter operation, a horse slaughter plant creates a hugely negative stigma—understandable since 75% of Americans do not support horse slaughter in this country. Developers declined further interest in this community after asking, “What are all those horse doing there?” and looked very surprised when told. “Not a good fit,” was generally the reason given for their lost interest.
Fiscally, the plant never made the city a dime--WE paid. No sales tax, tiny property tax, Poor paying dangerous jobs, straining our hospital, housing stock and schools. And when their tax records were brought to light, they had paid a mere $5 in federal taxes on sales of $12,000,000. Tax returns for the previous five years showed their tax rate was 3/10 of 1%, which is like you or I paying $300 tax on an income of $100,000. The forensic accountant hired by the city said they sell to themselves overseas at a loss so that their profits only surface overseas.
There are many other serious negative aspects to horse slaughter, like the inquiries from distraught horse owners about stolen horses or family pets bought at auction by the self named ‘kill buyers.’ And then there is the USDA document covering 11 months of 2005 and containing a staggering 906 pages of graphic photos that show what was happening to the horses at the plant in my city and in Fort Worth. Behind the privacy fences were unthinkable, grim violations of federal and state regulations, from mares birthing foals to horses with eyes dangling from their sockets and legs ripped from their bodies.
It’s only Half Done—a GAO report says either make it legal or finish the job and make it illegal so the cruelty, irresponsible ownership and overbreeding are not supported by the safety net of horse slaughter on US soil or elsewhere. We need to pass the federal ban and be done with this ridiculously abusive and Un-American practice.
New York Times
Oct. 23, 2011
Slaughter of Horses Goes On, Just Not in U.S.