Monday, February 09, 2009

Horse slaughter facility promoted

The Bismark Tribune reports:

Despite federal pressure to ban horse slaughtering entirely, a House committee agreed with two state lawmakers on Friday that the state should set aside money to study the possibility of opening an equine processing plant in North Dakota. Ranchers, veterinarians and horse breeders filled the Capitol's Brynhild Haugland room, where they told lawmakers on the House Agriculture Committee that processing unwanted horses for meat is a more humane and profitable alternative than abandoning or euthanizing them. They were testifying in favor of a bill that would set aside up to $75,000 in agriculture fuel tax revenue for a study to see if North Dakota could feasibly - and legally - open a horse slaughterhouse. "The actions in Washington, D.C., have created a problem for horse owners," said Rep. Rod Froelich, D-Selfridge, who is co-sponsoring the legislation with Sen. Joe Miller, R-Park River. Froelich said the problem started when the U.S. Agriculture Department stopped funding federal meat inspectors two years ago to oversee the nation's three horse slaughterhouses. The plants closed amid a growing chorus of political fervor to shut down the horse slaughterhouses, leaving horse owners with fewer options for unwanted horses. Congress also is considering a bill that would prohibit the consumption of horse meat. As a result, Froelich said the market for unwanted horses has plummeted, sometimes costing horse owners more money to simply transport their animals to a ring compared to the amount of money they could expect to get in return for them. Greg Kitto, a North Dakota veterinarian who treats horses, told the committee that he's seen an increase in requests for him to euthanize horses in recent years, which he said correlates to the closure of three horse processing plants in Illinois and Texas. While testifying, the veterinarian of 34 years held up a photo of an emaciated horse lying in a field. It had starved to death after its owner abandoned it a few weeks back. Kitto said that is what some horse owners have resorted to because they can no longer care for nor afford the animal, which can carry an annual price tag of about $2,200...

1 comment:

dr john said...

Amen to that, but convincing congress will be another sory