Slaughter house in Oregon – a way for rescues to get rid of those pesky older and/or ill horses
According to this article, (Devil) Dave Duquette has facilitated the purchase of 252 acres in Hermiston, OR by a California company. The purpose of this chunk of land? To kill horses, of course. Yup, they’re fixin’ to erect a new slaughter house. But wait! They’re also going to donate a portion of that land to be used by United Horsemen (of which Devil Dave is the President) for their “rescue and rejuvenation” program. This article on TheHorse.com paraphrases Dave while succinctly describing the underlying purpose of the program, “horses deemed too old, too ill, too dangerous, or otherwise unsuitable for rehoming would be processed”.
“The Rescue and Rejuvenate Program is intended to prevent overburdened rescues from having to care for and feed horses that cannot be retrained or used for any purpose,” Duquette said. “This program allows them to use their funds to help horses that are viable and can be helped and placed in new homes.” (also from the article on TheHorse.com)
So these people actually, truly, believe that rescues are going to dump their aging horses with a “rescue and rejuvenation” program that flat out states they’ll kill ’em. Where did they get an idea like that?! In what universe would a rescue send an animal they’ve taken in to slaughter? That is, a rescue who doesn’t share United Horseman’s perverted outlook on the disposable nature of our equine companions. Unfortunately we all know that there are some less than ah-mah-zing rescues out there…
From Alex Brown Racing, a feedlot is described as “an aggregation point for horses that are destined for slaughter. Similar to a kill pen in that regard. A feedlot can be USDA approved or a private feedlot, which might be owned by a kill buyer. USDA approved feedlots are regulated by the USDA and should adhere to a certain level of standards. Slaughter houses typically own their own feedlots.”
Hmm, so you’re saying that a feedlot is a place, typically owned by a slaughter house, where you keep horses prior to slaughter. Oh gosh, where have I heard that before? Hold on, don’t tell me. It’s on the tip of my tongue. I could have sworn I was just talking to someone about it.
Oh, that’s right. DAVE DUQUETTE AND UNITED HORSEMEN!
Dr. Temple Grandin, proponent and designer of innovative slaughter techniques designed to reduce the stress of the animals prior to death, was reported in this article to be on board for designing the proposed slaughter house in Mountain Grove, MO – plans for which have since been squashed. I’m wondering if she’ll replace that now empty slot in her day planner and step up to design the proposed Oregon plant? What I find curious, is that most of her research and work appears to be with cattle, pigs, bison and antelope – the above linked to article flat out states that “she has not yet worked on any designs for horse slaughter plants in the United States, but believes they’re a logical alternative”. On her webpage entitled Research Articles on Horses, Dr. Grandin includes a link to her paper on “Design of loading facilities and holding pens” – which mentions specific requirements for cows, pigs and sheep, but not horses. Huh. [Side note: if your googling skills are better than mine, and you know of some information where Dr. Grandin has successfully designed a slaughter house for horses please forward me the link, I’d be very interested to read about it.]
Let’s put aside the issue of pro or anti slaughter for just a second and assume they go through with this plant, have Dr. Grandin design it specifically to reduce the stress and potential bodily injury to horses specifically. Yay! Sounds great! If we can’t get rid of slaughter it might as well be 1000% humane, right? They’re just missing one key factor: humans. In an industry where the margins are already pretty slim, you’re going to ask people to spend more money developing and maintaining safe slaughter practices specifically for one species? And they’re really naive enough to think this will happen?! NO! The people in the slaughter houses will find new and undoubtedly unhappy ways to cut corners, likely to the ever increasing detriment of the individual horses being processed.
Dream big, boys and girls, but dream realistic. That’s the only way to turn fantasy into reality.