HOUSTON, (Horseback) – A group of livestock breeders and breeder wannabes who would build a legal abattoir in Wyoming for horses will face stringent guidelines for their proposed facility set by one of their speakers, the famed animal behaviorist Dr. Temple Grandin of Colorado State University. She outlined her speech to the group in an exclusive interview with Horseback Online.
United Horsemen, a newly formed pro horse slaughter organization is promoting a commercial facility in Wyoming where lawmakers have passed enabling legislation which would permit its construction and operation. The structure of the legislation makes the likelihood of commercial viability for such a facility a long shot at best.
The Rocky Mountain based scientist is known for her courageous triumph over autism, and for a system she invented which enables food processors to send animals to their deaths without panic by tricking them into a feeling of well being until the final moment of their lives.
Grandin will speak at the Summit of the Horse, presented by United Horsemen, an ad hock group led by Wyoming State Representative Sue Wallis and an Oregon horse trainer, Dave Duquette.
Her appearance has drawn both criticism and support from readers commenting on stories at Horseback Online. In a note last week to organizers, Grandin asked that her name not be used in pre-event publicity.
The “summit” has provoked howls of protest from coast to coast from animal advocates opposed to horse slaughter.
“They kind of were misrepresenting my involvement,” she told Horseback. “The whole thing is so controversial I just wanted to pull back from it.”
Other public figures who organizers are promoting to speak include Bob Abbey, director of the Bureau of Land Management, the federal agency charged with protecting the nation’ s wild hor
ses. The BLM has a stated policy of not sending captured horses to slaughter, however, reports persist that wild horses are killed for their meat. Wild horse advocates question why the highly placed official is speaking at what has been dubbed “The Slaughter Summit.”
Grandin will tell her audience she will support construction of domestic horse slaughter facilities if they meet three strict criteria during it operation.
The facility must have video monitoring by independent observers 24/7 of the process; must score between 95 and 99 percent instant kill rate with the “first shot” to the animal, and have “management that cares about what they are doing.”
Callous treatment of horses in the United States, Canada, and Mexico during the pre-killing process and in the “kill box” has been repeatedly documented with video evidence shot at slaughterhouses prompting a growing movement that would ban all horse slaughter worldwide.
Tightened regulations requiring chemical free food animals has all but eliminated American horses legally going to slaughter because of the routine use of drugs such as bute and wormers. However, tens of thousands of horses are shipped across the porous U.S. borders using falsified documents showing animals to be drug free. Innocent consumers are eating horse meat tainted with known carcinogens.
It is illegal in the United States to sell animal meat for food that has been contaminated for food. Tests administered by the United States Department of Agriculture do not examine tissue where residues of bute or wormer would be found and critics charge this has been done on purpose.
In a recently passed law, the federal Food and Drug Administration has been given vast powers over the nation’s food supply and is expected to stringently test meat of all kinds, including horsemeat, for banned chemicals such as bute.
Grandin says she is aware slaughterhouses clean up for inspections. As a globally recognized authority on animal slaughter she is critical of operations that perform their grisly work to perfection when she is present, “then go back to their bad behavior when I leave and my back is turned.”
That is why she is now requiring video monitoring by offsite observers of slaughter operations where she or her system in involved.
But Grandin is also critical of animal activists who are quick to criticize animal agriculture but don’t offer solutions to the problem of the excess horses that feed the markets.
“I ask them, how you are going to solve that problem,” she said. “They don’t have any solutions.”
Horseback countered that much of the over breeding problem both she and activists describe is caused by backyard breeders and others.
“They need to be doing a lot of work on excess breeding,” she said of the activists who are critical of animal agriculture. “They need to work with church groups to bring pressure. I don’t see a lot of effective control of breeding.”
Grandin said there has been an overabundance of attention to horses going to slaughter to supply Europe’s hunger for the lean horsemeat.
“The EU is only half the horse market,” she said. “The ones that go to Mexico are the real horror story. They don’t use a .22 or the captive bolt gun. In the municipal slaughterhouses there, they stab them in the neck.”
The captive bolt gun, is a device that drives a bolt into the skull of an animal stuns, and in some cases kills. The body is then hoisted into the air to drain the blood.
Grandin says it is a myth that the blooding must be done while the animal is alive.
She said there is no culinary reason for the horse to be alive when the bleeding takes place.