Death In The Fast Lane: Reaction to PeTA Exposé


peta - horses aren't machines

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

It used to be that phenylbutazone was what got a horse disqualified from a race. Dancer’s Image became the only winner in the Kentucky Derby’s 134-year history to be disqualified for using a banned substance, when bute was found in his urine sample after the race in 1968. Two years after Secretariat’s recordbreaking US Triple Crown took the sport to a new level of popularity, the breakdown and death of Ruffian brought on a new era of safety concerns.

Analysis of horse carcasses submitted to the CHRB Postmortem Program revealed that 40.9% of all fatal injuries occurred during racing and training in 3-4 year old racehorses. Injuries, unlike accidents, do not happen by chance. The science of injury prevention has demonstrated that injuries and the events leading up to injuries are not random. Like disease, they tend to follow a general pattern. Studying these patterns has made it possible to learn to predict and prevent injuries from occurring, Yet this type of knowledge is ignored when pitted against the profit incentive of racing.

PETA-Kentucky-Derby-3As a result, many fallen jockeys have found that their mounts eventually became wheelchairs after they were paralysed in falls by their horses or horses they were trailing who should have been scratched from races. In 1990, apprentice jockey Benny Narvaez was paralyzed from the chest down after his horse threw him while jumping over another horse who had broken down directly in front of him during a race at Tampa Bay Downs. A jury found that Tampa Bay Downs was responsible for Narvaez’s injury because the track veterinarian failed to perform an adequate pre-race examination on the horse he was trailing. That horse’s pre-existing conditions had been cloaked by drugs a few days before the race.

So the recent PeTA expose of trainers Steve Asmussen and Scott Blasi in the New York Times wasn’t all that surprising, except in how quickly it went viral and how many racing fans jumped into the fray to excoriate PeTA. This wasn’t just about anyone – these guys who are accused are at the top. Asmussen has built one of horse racing’s largest operations. He ranks second in career victories, with more than 6,700; has earned more than $214 million in purses. But now they are accused of subjecting their horses to cruel and injurious treatments, administering drugs to them for nontherapeutic purposes, and having one of their jockeys use an electrical device to shock horses into running faster. Asmussen and Blasi are also accused of employing undocumented workers, requiring them to use false names on Internal Revenue Service forms, producing false identification documents, according to the complaints filed with state and federal agencies. Asmussen also paid the PeTA investigator $5.95 an hour — less than minimum wage — and did not pay proper overtime wages, according to complaints filed with the labour departments of Kentucky and New York. In 2012 the Asmussen Horse Center dumped 10 of their bred mares at one of the biggest kill buyer auctions in Texas, so they hardly sound like an upstanding group of people.

Sport of Kings,  or exercise in controlled chaos?

Nehro, the horse in the surveillance video, was acknowledged to be in pain and needed to be retired, yet still he continued to train. On the morning of last year’s Kentucky Derby, Nehro got sick on the backside of Churchill Downs and later died from colic in a van on the way to the hospital. In all likelihood,  he may have had ulcers from excess medication with bute,  which may have contributed to his colic.  Blasi and the farrier spent so much time conspiring in that barn that they were unaware everything they said and did was being recorded by an investigator who used a hidden camera to record terrible mistreatment. Ultimately, PeTA filed 10 complaints with the state and federal authorities.

I’m surprised at the vitriol hurled against PeTA for this undercover work. Lots of defensiveness and doubling-down, shoot-the-messenger type comments on the various message boards, including that of the New York Times. Lots of 1111111_1024debate also as to whether the farrier was referring to Nehro not having a pulse in either his legs or his feet being as  good thing or not. A horse’s foot is highly vascularized – circulation is needed to help them function and repair damage. A healthy pulse in either foot or leg is faint, but discernible, especially to an experienced vet. In the context of the video, Blasi and the farrier are complaining about Nehro’s foot being a “nub” with an enormous painful hole in the frog and hoof walls held together by glue. A horse with such extensive hoof damage should have an strong bounding pulse due to inflammation. The lack of pulse despite such physical evidence of damage suggests heavy duty dosages of painkillers that are numbing both blood flow and pain responses to the feet. It sure seems medically unlikely that a horse could have such holes in the frog and hoof wall and simultaneously have no pulse unless drugs are being used to mask the pain.

While PeTA has always had some serious credibility issues for me, I’ve always thought that their investigative work was first-rate. Problematic for me is that they’ve long been accused of objectifying women for their cause. Between a banned Super Bowl ad claiming that vegetarians have better sex and their “Save the Whales, Lose the Blubber” campaign, it often felt to me as if PeTA was promoting animal rights at the cost of the women’s movement – issues that are both paramount for me. A quick browse through their print campaigns clearly shows that while women are often depicted naked, with few exceptions, men are depicted clothed. The problem is that, after looking at half-naked celebrities, few people want to sign a petition or take action. And aggressive and often misguided attempts by various Huffington Post authors to discredit PeTA have had some impact – I’m seeing the oft-repeated mantra of their articles perpetuated in other social media channels. These so-called journalists are confusing the provision of a quick and painless end to what would otherwise be a miserable life, with a gleefully murderous objective. PeTA is not killing animals for amusement or for profit.

peta quote 1

Another huge gaffe for PeTA caused intense frustration amongst horse people who were lobbying furiously against horse slaughter in the US in 2013, when they misguidedly proclaimed that slaughter should return to the US as it was the “lesser of two evils” – the other evil being long transport to slaughter in Canada or Mexico. Imagine how shocked horse advocates were to hear pro-Ag and pro-slaughter mouthpieces quoting PeTA back to us! Exasperatingly, the PeTA statement in favour of a return to horse slaughter was one of the main reasons the Oklahoma horse slaughter law passed. The legislators used that statement as a banner. Yet PeTA is an anti-slaughter group and they promote the passage of the S.A.F.E. Act.

I’ve included some of their print campaigns against racing in this blog post. I think these ones are a lot more thought provoking than the ads featuring naked celebs. But it was a few undercover campaigns that really put them on the map. Whatever you think of them, you’d probably have to acknowledge that they have really demonstrated their ability to create dialogue about things that many people hold sacred, such as circuses and animal labs. Over the past 30 years, PeTA has aggressively assailed corporations for the way they treat animals. But the Asmussen/Blasi investigation was PETA’s first significant step into advocacy in the horse racing world.

The Silver Spring Monkey Investigation

One of PeTA’s founders, a student named Alex Pacheco, set out to gain some experience in a laboratory and began working undercover at the Institute for Behavioral Research.   IBR was a federally funded laboratory in AB004594Silver Spring, Maryland, run by psychologist and animal experimenter Edward Taub, a man with no medical training. There, Pacheco found 17 monkeys living in tiny wire cages that were caked with years of accumulated feces.

“The monkeys were subjected to debilitating surgeries in which their spinal nerves were severed, rendering one or more of their limbs useless. Through the use of electric shock, food deprivation, and other methods, the monkeys were forced to try to regain the use of their impaired limbs or go without food. In one experiment, monkeys were kept immobile in a dark chamber made out of a converted refrigerator and then repeatedly shocked until they finally used their disabled arm. The inside of the refrigerator was covered with blood. In another experiment, monkeys were strapped into a crude restraint chair—their waist, ankles, wrists, and neck held in place with packing tape—and pliers were latched as tightly as possible onto their skin, including onto their testicles.”

The trauma of the monkeys’ imprisonment and treatment was so severe that many of them had ripped at their own flesh, and they had lost many of their fingers from catching them in the rusted, jagged cage bars. Workers often neglected to feed the monkeys, and the animals would desperately pick through the waste beneath their cages to find something to eat.

PeTA gathered meticulous log notes detailing what was happening inside IBR and secretly photographed the horrible living conditions. Then, after lining up expert witnesses and showing them around the laboratory at night, PeTA took the evidence to the police—and an intense, decade-long battle for custody of the monkeys ensued. Their investigation led to the nation’s first arrest and criminal conviction of an animal experimenter for cruelty to animals, the first confiscation of abused animals from a laboratory.

Peta quote 5

The Japanese Horse Slaughter Investigation

As many as 20,000 horses are slaughtered each year in Japan, partly because of overbreeding of thoroughbreds in the U.S., where racehorses are exploited as disposable commodities.

PeTA’s 2009 horse slaughter investigation took place inside Japan’s largest horse slaughterhouse in Kumamoto. Horsemeat from Claude Bouvry’s plant also makes its way to Kumamoto. Kentucky Derby winner Ferdinand was sold to a Japanese breeder and a few years later, when they were done with him, he was unceremoniously slaughtered. PeTA also discovered that Derby and Preakness winners Charismatic and War Emblem are at breeding farms in Japan right now. With their useful breeding days winding down, they are likely to share the fate of Ferdinand. For all I know,  War Emblem may in fact already be dead, since he was something of a failure as a stud and he would now be 15 years old.

peta quote 4

Articles about animal abuse always bring out both the best and the worst of internet posters. In this scenario, racing fans were quick to come up with some flimsy reason why the investigation is bogus, or perpetually ask why we care more for animals than people, make protestations about edited video and the need to provide context, complaints about PeTA’s methods, and any number of other defensive reactions that illuminate how little we want to actually examine our role in the ongoing suffering of animals.

Peta quote 3

The lawyer for Asmussen and Blasi is apparently shocked that someone would go undercover to actually expose the relentless abuse, avarice and greed they visited on these horses. Ironically, Blasi and Asmussen are probably going to see the greatest censure visited on them as a result of the identity falsification charges; after 9/11, this is probably going to be taken pretty seriously – probably more so than the abuse charges. So, an investigation about mistreatment of horses also involved the mistreatment of the human beings who took care of the horses. And If a horse needs electric shock to run faster, then it is no longer the “sport of kings,” but a matter of chaos, controlled by whoever has the biggest cattle prod.

Northern Dancer

Northern Dancer won the American Eclipse Award as Three-Year Old Male Champion of 1964 and the Sovereign Award for Horse of the Year. In 1965, he became the first horse to ever be voted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame, an honour he held for thirty-one years and now shares with Canadian Equestrian Champion Big Ben. On its formation, he was part of the first group of inductees into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame and was inducted into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1977, Northern Dancer won three world sires’ premiership titles being for the number of international stakes winners, international stakes wins and progeny stake earnings. He was retired from stud in 1987 at the age of 26. He died in 1990 and is buried at Windfields Farm in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. Windfields Farm has subsequently been abandoned, and Northern Dancer’s burial site is not publicly accessible. This is the life-sized bronze statue of him outside Woodbine Race Track in northwest Toronto. While tenderness in a tendon ended his career, he belongs to an “old-school” period when horses weren’t run on thyroxine or frog juice.  He did not continue to race on drugs for years with broken-down legs or feet.  Nor was he sent to slaughter after his breeding days were over.



About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

14 responses »

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  2. Pingback: Death In The Fast Lane: Reaction to PeTA Exposé | Canadian Horse Defence Coalition's Blog

  3. We can chase the “I knew this was happening for years and no one said anything” FOREVER. Course it helpos the hangers on find something to howl about. But take seriously, the statement on caring for humans. I don’t place humans above animals or vice versa, but the idiocy of some to ignore one or the other or in favor of one or the other blows my mind. It just shows me how polarized we really are. You can see it in the comments.

    Next up, concurrent investigations of pathetic excuses for animal husbandry, experimentation and explotation for profit with documenting domestic violence, spousal and child abuse. Should be easy enough.

  4. Having no pulse means to me that the hoof was dead or like you said, on such a high dose of painkillers its heart rate was almost silent. The hole is puzzling but maybe an infection that blew out or a vet dug it out. Why? I can imagine that horse did not know where or how it foot was landing. He had the means to seek out learned veterinarians and could have, long before the extreme, given the horse some comfort. I think he knew that, and in the background, in business, family or just out in public – he gave himself away..

  5. I am pro PETA, but you are making crazy accusations in here about War Emblem and Charismatic. First of all, War Emblem ran in the 2002 Triple Crown which would make him 15 years old, NOT 23 since you have to be a three year old to run in the Triple Crown. Michael Blowen who runs Old Friends Equine Rescue has contacts in Japan and keeps very close watch on the horses in Japan and other foreign countries, including Charismatic and War Emblem. He started Old Friends ( in response to Exceller being slaughtered in Sweden in 1997, and Ferdinand being slaughtered in Japan in April 2002. He takes in the old stallions (and some mares and geldings) who are in danger of being slaughtered, or those with unknown futures, especially the ones overseas.

    I support PETA fully, and their horse racing investigation, however, when someone starts putting wrong info and accusations out there like you did in this article, it paints all of us animal rights activists as “crazies” and unreliable.
    Thank you

    • Thank you for the correction re: War Emblem’s age – I don’t know what I was looking at that had his age wrong. I will fix that asap. But as far as Charismatic goes, and WE’s reputation as a stud, they are both accurate – and they are in Japan, so people can watch out for them as much as they like but ultimately, if their owners no longer find them useful, they can still have them slaughtered. We learned that lesson a few times in Canada, most recently with Backstreet Bully, who WAS wanted and Adena Springs tried to retrieve him from LPN slaughterhouse, but they refused to relinquish him. I value certain things PeTA does, and they do several things really well, but overall they fell out of favour with me a long time ago, during the decades in which people who wore fur coats were being splashed with paint. As much as I loathe fur, I am even more appalled by groups who tacitly suggest or approve of property damage. PeTA was on the way to redeeming themselves with me up until they suggested that horse slaughter resume in the US. So again, I can’t wholly embrace what they do, but generally I support them.

    • Thank you for bringing up Old Friends..where both Charismatic and War Emblem went…this article made it seem like they both got slaughtered in Japan. ..which any real horse person would know different

      • Did you realize this blog post was writen in 2014 and not yesterday? Yes, Charismatic was in Japan when it was written. Of course he died this year. Ditto for War Emblem, who came back tot he US in 2015, AFTER this blog post was written.

  6. PeTA usually does not work for Horses in the US. They are considered ‘radical vegans’ with a goal of having all people become Vegans. I like them but Ms. Newkirk went off the rails when she commented about horse slaughter in the US. That is what all the hullabaloo is about.

    Granted, this was a great investigation and it clearly had a major impact. The main animal protection groups in the US spend their time and human resources working on shutting down Puppy Mills (a good thing) and trying to get any horse legislation passed at all! I know for a fact that no legislation includes banning ‘carnivore consumption’ and that means there will always be slaughter of horses on US soil. This seems not to bother anyone despite that back yard abattoirs are NOT required to be USDA Inspected and that means the horses endure incredible cruelty.

    The comparatively small groups which are highly effective include the International Fund for Horses, The Cloud Foundation. Both of these groups have far more ‘hands on’ experience with horses, both domestic and wild. The Fund for Horses knows more about Horse racing in both the United States and the UK. They reported the PeTA investigation and made their comments on the owners and trainers.

    It is all so wrong and the racing should be shut down via RICO. I do not know why nobody does this!

  7. I’m a veterinarian, and as part of our schooling, we had to visit two slaughterhouses – one for horses, and one for cows. I will say that the horses have a MUCH better slaughter process.. in fact, I”m not sure I would call it inhumane at all. The horse are shot at close range by a gun. The cattle are stunned with a captive bolt stunner. Once shot, the horses are dead – I mean, completely dead. The cattle are not. The horses then are placed on a ramp and taken out of sight. The next horse in line does not see the deceased horse. The cattle do see.
    I do not see a difference between shooting a horse the way it is done in that slaughter facility and being euthanized. In fact, shooting may be less stressful, if the horse is upset by restraint and injections in the neck vein as the euthanyl drug is given.
    While it would be nice, and respectful, to afford all horses a marked grave in a beautiful area, or to be cremated so his or her ashes could be buried. This is out of range for many horse owners.
    Death is death! Without this option available locally for horses in the USA their owners will have to trailer them long distances when possibly not well or injured…

    • Dr. Susan, what is your opinion of horses, who are not food animals, having been treated with prohibited drugs (refer to the CFIA Meat Hygiene manual for the hundreds of drugs used in horses) being slaughtered and their meat sold to an unsuspecting consumer? Phenylbutazone and its metabolytes are toxic and associated with aplastic anemia, and other pathological conditions. Horse slaughter is especially inhumane because the horses’s heads cannot be restrained as are cattle, who are used to being put into chutes. Did you know that LPN slaughterhouse in Quebec was closed down for two days after $2 million was spent to retrofit it to Temple Grandin’s specs, after video surfaced that it took up to 11 shots with a captive bolt gun to render them insensible?

      Did you know that the CFIA doesn’t recommend that 22 calibre rifles be used on horses, but that they allow slaughterhouses to do so?

      If you don’t see any difference between your own skills in euthanizing an animal and it being shot in a slaughterhouse then perhaps you can just save your clients’ money and refer them to a slaughterhouse?

      And lastly, I can highly recommend the following article (and I do) for veterinarians, in the hopes that they can remain in touch with their true mandate:


      This letter was sent to us by a CVEWC supporter, who had plans to submit it to newspapers. We think it is an excellent assessment of Canada’s involvement in the discredited business of horse slaughter:

      “Why, yes, we are. Every year Canada exports thousands of tons of horse meat to Europe and other world countries for human consumption. The latest report from StatsCan shows that in 2014 Canada exported 13 Million tons of horsemeat valued at $78,422.525 million to different countries around the world.

      Europe, specifically France, Switzerland, Belgium are the leading importers. Japan is also high on the list importing a little over 3 Million tons in 2014. Canada also live ships draft horses from Calgary and Winnipeg to Japan for human consumption.

      Europe and Japan appear to continue to ignore the fact that the majority of horse meat from Canada is contaminated with drugs banned in food animals destined for human consumption.

      Horses in North America have never been considered a “food animal”. The US ceased slaughtering horses in 2007 and now export horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter.

      Most horses slaughtered here in Canada originate from US auctions. It’s a well-known fact that horses sold at auctions have virtually no traceability back to previous owners. Most horses will have had many owners over their lifetime with each owner likely giving the horse drugs banned by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the EU.

      These banned drugs include dewormers administered to horses about every 8 week or so as horses eat off of the ground and, subsequently, they always have worms. Worms in horses could be passed on to humans who eat the meat.

      One type of illness from worms that can be passed on to horses is Trichinosis. The CFIA lists these as symptoms of Trichinosis:

      “Globally, outbreaks of human trichinellosis associated with pork from abattoirs operating under modern inspection systems rarely occur; however, cases which are associated with the consumption of undercooked meat from wild boars, horses, wildlife species such as walrus and bear, and outdoor-reared and home-processed swine continue to be reported.”

      Further, the CFIA states on their web site:

      “Clinical signs of trichinellosis in animals are not easily recognized.

      The severity of human trichinellosis is dependent upon the number of infected larvae ingested, the species ofTrichinella, and the immune status of the human host. Commonly observed signs, which appear 5 to 15 days after exposure, may include:

      abnormal fear of light;
      facial swelling;
      gastrointestinal upset;
      muscle pain; and
      skin rash.
      Inflammation of the heart muscle and the brain, if they occur, are serious and may be life-threatening.”

      There have been documented cases in France and Argentina of Trichinosis infection.

      Phenylbutazone is high on the list of banned medications but is given to horses as a common, inexpensive pain reliever. It’s also known as “bute”. Bute can cause aplastic anemia in children and cancer in adults. Because cancer can develop slowly, a person may not make the link to horse meat and their current battle with cancer whereas with Trichinosis signs can appear in 5 to 15 days after exposure.

      The CFIA has a list of “Veterinary Drugs Not Permitted For Use in Equine Slaughtered for Food with Canadian Brand Name Examples” on their web site.

      In their FAQs on the CFIA’s web site regarding horse slaughter one question is

      “Q7 Is Phenylbutazone is banned?

      A7. The use of Phenylbutazone in equine for medical reasons is not currently banned in Canada. However; Phenylbutazone is not permitted to be used in equine animals that may be used for food.”

      There are NO exceptions for bute in horses to be slaughtered for human consumption and horse owners continue to use it as horses in North America are not raised for meat.

      The CFIA only requires that a horse be drug free for 180 days (6 months). They consider this a good withdrawal time for drugs given but as we’ve seen with dewormers they’re given usually every TWO months or so and bute has NO withdrawal time.

      The only medical paperwork a horse bound for slaughter in Canada has is what’s called an Equine Identification Document. This piece of paper, yes, a single piece of paper has one question on it relating to drugs given to horses and that’s “has this horse had any banned drugs in the past 180 days”. That’s it. The EID is an honour system in a business that has no honour.

      Created by the CFIA in 2010 who said at the time that “The EID is the first step in the development of a comprehensive food safety and traceability program for the Canadian equine industry – for both domestic and international markets.”

      This has not been the case. The EID has proven to be a sham and there is no traceability program either in Canada or the US and the vast majority of horses going to slaughter here in Canada are from US auctions via what’s called kill buyers. These individuals who have contracts with the slaughter plants troll auctions and look for ads for free horses who they then sell to the slaughter plants for profit. The kill buyers do no tracing of a horse’s drug history at all.

      The EID is supposed to be a truthful declaration as to what drugs the horse has had but when the kill buyer picks up a horse at an auction he has no idea what drugs the horse has had. Kill buyers routinely lie on this document which becomes the property of the slaughter plant when the horse is killed and, so, cannot be publically releases under an Access to Information request.

      Mark Markarian, who is chief program and policy officer for the Humane Society of the United States and president of The Fund for Animals, said recently that:

      “There is currently no system in the US to track medications and veterinary treatments given to horses to ensure that their meat is safe for human consumption. It’s a free-for-all when this tainted and contaminated meat is dumped on unsuspecting consumers through their dinner plates and supermarket shelves, either overseas or here at home.”

      The horses also endure very inhumane treatment until they are shot with either a .22 rifle or a captive bolt gun. There is much documentation available showing that both methods are equally cruel to horses.

      The EU continues to ignore the failings of the EID system in Canada, however, in January 2015 the EU banned horse meat from Mexico because their audits of the Mexican slaughter plants revealed serious issues with the traceability of horses coming in from the US as well as horrendous cruelty in the Mexican slaughter pipeline.

      Mexico had been audited in the past and were issued warning which they ignored.

      Canadian slaughter plants including horse slaughter plants were audited by the EU in early 2014.

      Many issues were found including traceability relating to drugs given to horses as well as operating practices that were not up to EU standards. Again, cruelty in the Canadian slaughter pipeline was noted by the EU. Traceability for horses being slaughtered in Canada is non-existent.

      To date, the EU has failed to issue sanctions against Canada and the export of known contaminated drugged horse meat continues on unabated.

      The Toronto Star’s Mary Ormsby has written several times about this issue with drugs in horse meat, the EU and the barbaric conditions in the slaughter pipeline.

      The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition has been working for many years to ban the horse slaughter trade in Canada both on ethical and human health grounds but, still, the government continues to allow and even promote this business overseas.

      As noted above the export dollars for Canadian horse meat shows that in 2014 the slaughter business only made a little over $73 Million with most of this going to auction houses, kill buyers and the slaughter plant operators.

      What the government ignores is how much the live horse industry contributes to the Canadian economy. In 2010 Equine Canada did a study on the live horse industry in Canada. Their data revealed that “The total economic contribution to the Canadian economy from horses and activities with horses is $19 BILLION.” making this writer wonder why this current Canadian government spends time and money promoting horse slaughter.”

  8. I’m a veterinarian, and as part of our schooling, we had to visit two slaughterhouses – one for horses, and one for cows. I will say that the horses have a MUCH better slaughter process.. in fact, I”m not sure I would call it inhumane at all. The horse are shot at close range by a gun. The cattle are stunned with a captive bolt stunner. Once shot, the horses are dead – I mean, completely dead. The cattle are not. The horses then are placed on a ramp and taken out of sight. The next horse in line does not see the deceased horse. The cattle do see.
    I do not see a difference between shooting a horse the way it is done in that slaughter facility and being euthanized. In fact, shooting may be less stressful, if the horse is upset by restraint and injections in the neck vein as the euthanyl drug is given.
    While it would be nice, and respectful, to afford all horses a marked grave in a beautiful area, or to be cremated so his or her ashes could be buried. This is out of range for many horse owners.
    Death is death!

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