Barbaro Burgers Legal after Thursday?

Those hungry for horsemeat may get their wish this week

Just check out these 9/7/2006 headlines, and read this in the text:

One fast food franchise has already applied for the name "Barbaro Burgers" as a trademark, and expects to be selling horse burgers before November 1st.

Very few horsemeat producing countries specifically raise horses for meat. Instead they use ex-racehorses, riding horses, horses sold at auction by unaware owners, and also stolen ones.  Photo Hosted at Buzznet

Horrifying, isn't it? OK, this is a fictitious copy of a fictitious newspaper. 2006 Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro is not going to be slaughtered because of his injuries. You're not going to be finding "Barbaro Burgers" on the menu of your local fast-food restaurant this weekend.

But could it happen? Yes, and here's why.

Up before the U.S. House of Representatives this week is a bill known as H.R. 503, The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, a bill to to "prohibit the shipping, transporting, moving, delivering, receiving, possessing, purchasing, selling, or donation of horses and other equines to be slaughtered for human consumption, and for other purposes."

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (AHSPA) is scheduled to go before the House on September 7, 2006. Simply put, its a bill to end the slaughter of horses for human consumption in the United States and the export of live horses for the same purpose.

The bill has been reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Congressional Horse Caucus Co- Chair John Sweeney (R-NY), Representative John Spratt (D-SC) and Representative Ed Whitfield (R-KY). Senator and veterinarian John Ensign (R-NV) and Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) have reintroduced an identical measure in the Senate.

This sounds fine, except that there are currently no guarantees that this bill is going to pass. The has been involved, and has sent out an urgent alert letting people know that this potential legislation needs the support of people like all of us. SAPL is the oldest non-profit organization in the United States specifically dedicated to the passage and promotion of federal, international and local legislation to ensure and protect animal welfare.

Paula Bacon, the Mayor of the small town of Kaufman, Texas, has been fighting to get the nearby Dallas Crown Inc. slaughter mill to close. Some families in the area say that odors from Dallas Crown keep them indoors. The plant and its Belgian owners have survived numerous attempts to close it in recent years. Bill H.R.503 would Basashi is restaurant-grade horsement, a delicacy in Japan. Looks tasty, doesn't? And it just might have come from the USA!  Photo Hosted at Buzznetshutter Dallas Crown and other slaughter plants in Fort Worth, TX and DeKalb, Il. Horse meat is not marketed as table fare in the US, but the slaughter plants process hundreds of horses each week and ship the meat overseas. Horse meat (pictured here) is considered a delicacy in some European countries, Japan and other places.

Noted Texans, such as oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens and country singer and gubernatorial hopeful Kinky Freidman have been activists on this issue for some time, accusing the slaughter plants of cruelly killing even young horses and call the processing operations an un-American slaughter of a cultural symbol. Nelson sat down recently with Bo Derek, Morgan Fairchild and Jennifer Lee Pryor and openly discussed this brutal practice which must be ended. There are many others who have come out in support of ending this often brutal slaughter.

So what can be done about it, and when?

FlyingFilly.com has put together a marvelous set of resources and facts to help you better understand the issues at hand and the actions that can be taken. Take a moment and see exactly where your representative stands on this, then contact your representatives directly and let them know how you feel. Read what Equine Advocates has to say about this issue and what you can do.

But whatever you decide, do it before September 7th, or you might be explaining fast-food signs like this to your kids in the near future.

Wow! An big Barbaro Burger lunch special! Doesn't a horsemeat burger sound good for lunch today?  Photo Hosted at Buzznet

It's in your hands - there's still time for you to act.

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JargonTalk said...

Please feel free to leave comments on this issue, but please keep it clean and on the subject of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act. We accept your opinion on this issue, but please just keep it clean as we have readers of all ages here.

Many thanks!

Read The Label! said...

Well, Mr Jargon Talker, do you have a dog? Don't they still make dog food from horse meat? I don't know how it is now but when I was young they made canned dog food from horse meat and thats a fact. You better check the label on your dog food cans and see before you raise hell with some Senator, don't you think?

Anonymous said...

Well, your newspaper headline sure got my attention! But what about the slaughter of cows or pigs? Didn't see any reference to that in your eloquent posting.

When people are hungry, they want and need to eat:

“He who cannot eat horsemeat need not do so. Let him eat pork. But he who cannot eat pork, let him eat horsemeat. It's simply a question of taste.”
-- Nikita Khrushchev

Just my two-cents worth.

Anonymous said...

Nikita Khrushchev, now he's one to emulate, isn't he.

FlyingFilly said...

The U.S. has not included horse meat as an ingredient in pet food in many years.

The "hungry people that want to eat" are not in this country, and they are not lower level income. We are not being philanthropists and feeding the poor when we continued to allow the slaughter of horses in the U.S.

The slaughter houses are entirely foreign owned, and the product is exported to foreign supermarkets and restaurants. It is not sold at economy prices.

Horses, unlike pigs and/or cows are not specifically raised as animals for food production. They are companion animals, sport horses, used in therapy for children, etc. No one is taking away the right of an owner to humanely euthanized their horse. We are attempting to prevent the inhumane slaughter of horses for profit.

One point you may also wish to consider: The majority of horses sent to slaughter are not pasture fed mustangs. The majority come from private owners, or off of tracks. They have been given various drugs throughout their lives and, sometimes, in the not so recent past.

JargonTalk said...

For those who don't know, FlyingFilly, who posted the above comment, is not only an activist on this issue, she's somewhat of a respected authority in the community of horse and animal lovers. What she responded to in these comments is not just opinion, her response is factual, and we thank her for the information she has provided.

These are the type of responses we need and applaud, especially in light of the issue at hand.

Mom's Apple Pie said...

There are some extremely disturbing and disgusting horse slaughter graphics that have been posted by a very brave and pissed off young lady from Nederland, Texas right on her website. She states: "One worker said that they are NOT completely dead when they skin them, and when they are hanging they are still alive and blow bubbles in their own blood on the ground and end up drowning. If this doesnt piss you off, then let me add some GRAPHIC pictures for you, if you have a weak stomach DONT NOT SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM."

She's not kidding. If you have a weak stomach, do not go there, because these photos do not lie. This is what those "Barbaro Burgers" are going to be made from!

a. said...

I made my calls, both to my Reps DC office and state office. And I've passed the info along to my friends. I hope this thing passes.

Anonymous said...

Let's just deal with the facts first.

1. Horsemeat is not sold for human or animal consumption in this country. it has been this way for over 50 years. All the horsemeat produced in this country is shipped abroad to Europe or the Far East.

2. Horses in slaughter palnts are put down with a captive bolt machine. The animal dies instantly. This mehod of putting the horses down is effective 98 per cent of the time, in the other 2 percent a second bolt application immediately putts the horse down.

3. The horses being slaughtered in these plants aren't anyone's "my friend Flicka" or "Black Beauty". They are animals that through injury or old age have become un-usable for any other purpose. They are often lame or old and sometimes previously abused.

4. There are about 100,000 horses that meet their ends at a packing plant each year. Consider for a moment what would happen to these horses in say 5 years. Many would be abused, or take the example of a suburbanite whose 18 year old has grown tired of your pony who has become recently lame. The vet will charge 3-400 to com out to put the beast down, and the excavator will charge $500 to bury it. Truly the animal only has a market value of about $100. So one night, not wanting to be cruel he loads the pony up on a trailer, and drives into the country, removes the halter and lets the pony go free. Touching untill one evening you top a hill at 50 mph and the pony is standing in the middle of the road. Also consider the thousands of horses that would be kept on past the point of humane treatment or in "Bute" induced non life.

Let us also remember that horses are supposed to be livestock. Of course Bo Derek admitted that they really never were livestock on a talk show the other night. Good, make those in the horse industry tow the line then. Unless you own a breeding band of mares and a stallion. . .no more deductions for this business...er a hobby. No more deductions for $40,000 trucks Million dollar barns and motorhomes trekking up and down the highways going to shows. Treat them the same as breeders of dogs, cats and goldfish.

JargonTalk said...

It's great to see the diversity of comments here, and thanks for leaving your thoughts. Please check and be sure that you leave a single comment here. Double posting isn't necessary to get your point across.


BarnGoddess said...

Thanks for stopping by The Reservation. I am 100% against horse slaughter for food of any kind. It is inhumane and sick. We are not in a red meat shortage. Eat Beef. The slaughterhouse conditions are horrible. Anyone wanting to support this is crazy. They need to spend a day at one of these awful places and see for themselves, it is NOTHING like the beef industry. I know for a fact. Please, lets get this horse slaughtering STOPPED NOW.

Quinella Queen said...

Thanks for stopping by at Turf Luck -- and for bringing attention to this topic.

Though anonymous #3 above has valid points about the costs to the owner of putting horses down, we've managed to find humane methods for dealing with other unwanted animals. Perhaps a county licensing fee when the animals are purchased would help to address this expense; perhaps something else. But as with most things, we won't look for a solution until we have to.

One thing that should be noted is the cruelty involved in getting the horses to the slaughterhouse as well as the conditions at the slaughterhouse. One observer's testimony noted that horses may be hauled for up to 28 hours without food, water, or rest.

Finally, while the captive bolt method is considered a humane method of euthanizing horses by the American Veternarian Association, there is "a vast difference between efficient administration of the captive-bolt by a highly trained veterinarian with appropriate restraint of the horse’s head ... and its improper use by low-skilled slaughterhouse employees without proper head restraint." (Quote from the FAQ at Animal Welfare Institute.)

flyingfilly said...

Dealing with facts:
1. We are providing horse meat to satisfy the peculiarities of foreign appetites provided by foreign owned slaughter houses which are located in the U.S. and rely on our resources to accomplish this.
2. Despite what is professed, a captive bolt is not humane euthanasia, it more closely resembles execution. It is administered by employees of the slaughterhouses, not veterinarians. They do not always make a successful kill on the first try and horses are dying with less than a dignified and painless death. All of this, of course, is prefaced by the execution style march as they are herded into the chute to form a line to their deaths.
3. The horses which are being slaughtered are not all old, injured, or dangerous as the rhetoric of the pro slaughter forces would have you believe. Some of them were sent to auction by people who did not realize what their possible fate could include. Some were sent by irresponsible individuals to whom making a final dollar off of a horse holds a higher value than responsibility.
4. The figures regarding the cost of euthanasia and disposal of a horse, if slaughter is not an option, are unrealistic and exaggerated. For less than the cost of shoeing a horse, it can be given a dignified and humane euthanasia. Incidents of abuse have not increased in California after adopting laws to prevent the slaughter of horses, and transport for slaughter. We have laws to deal with the abuse of animals. To state that a horse could run out in front of a car is a mute point, in response to the topic of ending slaughter. The sky could also fall tomorrow.

In summary, the points presented by Anonymous, and refuted in this response, seem to be the same points that are being used as standard talking points provided by the factions which stand in opposition to ending slaughter in the U.S. These groups, after many hours of research, seem to stem from a central source which links back to the lobbyist and PR firm representing the slaughterhouses. “You pat my back and I’ll pat yours.”

An interesting aside to this is that slaughter is illegal in Texas, yet two of the three slaughter houses continue to operate there.

Bottom line: It is strictly a financial issue to the pro slaughter side. They have been quite successful in enlisting puppet like responses from selected groups. I do not understand how one allows their thoughts to be dictated by another.

Need I draw the parallels here? Reference the movie Soylent Green (1973) and imagine the possibilities.

Anonymous said...

I know this isn't a popular position, but I really don't see what the big difference between slaughtering horses and cows is except that we don't eat horses in this country and horses are so cute.

The horse slaughterhouses provide jobs and money for people in this country just like cow slaughterhouses. We're basically taking their economic freedom away because horses are cute.

I'm not anti-horse or anything, I just think people are being irrational about this because horses are cute. If the horse slaughterhouses are really more cruel than cow slaughterhouses, then regulate the slaughter as we have done with the slaughter of cows, don't ban it. Government should only interfere as much as is necessary and an outright ban is clearly more than is needed to make horse slaughter at least as humane as cow slaughter.

Now, if there is some reason why horse slaughter, though done in the same method as cow slaughter is more cruel, I'd like to hear it. It may even get me to call my senator, but I haven't heard it yet. All I've heard is a lot of irrational favoritism of horses over cows.


What do you bleefding heart wizards propose to do with that 100,000 horses you're going to SAVE every year? Why would you raise the dickens about saving these horses then turn around and condone the killing of unborn babies? How about the starving people in the U.S. who'd welcome ANY meat to eat? Our values are all screwed up when we value horses over our starving neighbors. Of course, rich horse owners never had to worry about being hungry have they?
Do you know the definition of horse shows? It's where a bunch of horses are showing their rears to a bunch of horses rears showing their horses.

mary m said...

i am answering 2 people here - the last 2 posts above mine.

1) horses are diffrent than cows ( i was raised with both, and yes, i eat beef)

horses have a strong flight instinct - longer necks, and different skull. their brain is also further back in the skull than cows. the captive bolt gun was designed specifically for cows. there is no head restraint ( as the AVMA RECOMMENDS) on the horse (flight creature) when it is in the "kill box" and it tries to avoid the gun waving overhead - resulting in multiple misses.
please see video at www.horsekillers.com

horses are not raised as or administered to by their owners or by veterinarians as "food" animals. cHECK COMMON ITEMS USED ON HORSES - LABELED "not intended for use on animals intended for food"

now for the emotional side :
horses are used for sport, recreation, companionship, police work, search and rescue, work animals, therapeutic programs, recreational riding, currently used searching for osama, etc.

horses were right along side of us - building this country.

horses are partnered with riders and compete on our olympic teams.
and i dont think their would be many spectators gearing up for kentucky cow derby.

2) for rusty bucket
let me start off by saying - we are not feeding americans horsemeat - it is banned in many states and goes against our culture. if other countries choose to - let them eat their own! i cant imagine americans opening a cattle slaughter plant in india, it would be very disrespectful to their culture.

we are not feeding the poor - it is a DELICACY abroad selling for over 20.00 a pound.
geesh - you could buy 4 sirloin steaks for that!

check your dog food labels - it is not in dog food! it went out in the 70's.

as for where will all the unwanted horses go?
what unwanted horses?
horses are aquired to meet the foreign demand for expensive horsemeat. not to help the U.S. get rid of "unwanted" horses.

horses are aquired through fraud and misrepresentation. some are stolen. when calif. banned horse slaughter in '98, theft dropped over 30%. and, there was no rise in abuse and neglect.
when illinois plant closed in 2002 - there was no increase in abuse and neglect.

at one time, the plants were killing around 300,000 horses - when the rate declined to under 100,000
there were no horses running the streets or starving to death - no burden on the government.
no one mentions that little fact!

it is a very small percentage of slaughterbound horses whose owners actually know that is where they went!

USDA states that over 90% of horses at slaughter are in good condition. other studies show that 80% are under age 10, 74% sound of limb, and 96% had no behavioral issues.
so much for the sick, old, cripple and lame propapaganda! think about it - healthier horses bring more $ on the hoof. would you want to eat a sick old skinny horse?
foals are used for sushi. yes, babies go to slaughter as do pregnant mares.

heres a few more interesting things about the FOREIGN owned plants. dallas crown in 2005 payed the town of kaufman texas a ridiculous amount of $5.00 (no zeros missing - that's five dollars) while they polluted the city and backed up waste water into peoples homes. This was in sworn testimony - along with testimony from a vet
hear it here...


or check out www.kaufmanzoning.net

the plants do not employ a lot of people - i beleive each plant has less than 100 employees each and it is suspected that some are illegals.

i am sure these people could stay on as the plants could still slaughter food animals there if they choose.

and, i will admit this last concern is not confirmed but i will be looking into it. I was told that the FOREIGN owned plants receive a 5 million dollar subsidy from our governments USDA - something to do with the inspections of the meat. if anyone has more info on that - please share as you will save me some research.

Anonymous said...

Then all those who are in favor of BANNING horse slaughter, then buy all the unwanted horses, and shut the hell up.

Anonymous said...

and I notice that NO ONE has come back to either cry over the non passing of the bill or celebrate the passing of it!