SourIowa Voters Strongly Oppose Slaughter of Horses for Human Consumption according to New Research. 71% of Iowa voters are opposed to the slaughter of U.S. horses for human consumption, and 76% do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community.
In 2007, the few remaining slaughter plants in the U.S. closed their doors when Congress chose to suspend funding for any further meat inspections. However, in the 2012 budget, the language preventing horse slaughter inspections was not included, opening the door for a return of horse slaughter on American soil, despite broad opposition to the practice. Several applications have been filed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by companies that want to slaughter horses on American soil—including one in Sigourney, Iowa. If the application is approved, it would be the first facility in the U.S. to slaughter horses for human consumption since 2007.
According to the new research, more than 7 in 10 Iowa registered voters are opposed to allowing American horses to be slaughtered for human consumption, with 54 percent in strong opposition to the practice, and only 15 percent approving of the practice. In addition, more than 3 in 4 Iowa voters do not want a horse slaughter plant in their community, with just 12 percent of voters supporting such a facility. Furthermore, opposition to a horse slaughtering facility extends across age, political affiliation, and geographic divides, including at least 69 percent opposed in every congressional district in the state, 84 percent of urban voters, 80 percent of suburban voters, 77 percent of small town, and 73 percent of rural voters disapproving of such a facility.
The surprising move toward a resumption of domestic horse slaughter comes in the wake of the recent scandal in the European Union, where consumers were alarmed by the discovery of horse meat mislabeled as beef in prepared food products ranging from lasagna to meatballs. Horses are routinely given medications and other substances that are toxic to humans and are expressly forbidden by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for use in animals intended for human consumption. In March, U.S. Sens. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Reps. Patrick Meehan, R-Pa., and Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., introduced the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act (S. 541/H.R. 1094) to prevent the introduction of horse slaughter operations in the U.S., end the current export of American horses for slaughter abroad, and protect the public from consuming toxic horse meat.
Horse slaughter is inherently cruel and often erroneously compared to humane euthanasia. The methods used to slaughter horses rarely result in quick, painless deaths, as horses are difficult to stun and often remain conscious during their butchering and dismemberment. Whether slaughter occurs in the U.S. or abroad, these equines suffer incredible abuse even before they arrive at the slaughterhouse, often transported for more than 24 hours at a time without food, water or rest, and in dangerously overcrowded trailers where the animals are often seriously injured or even killed in transit. The majority of horses killed for human consumption are young, healthy animals who could go on to lead productive lives with loving owners. Last year, more than 160,000 American horses were sent to a cruel death by a grisly foreign industry that produces unsafe food for consumers.