Monday, February 8, 2010

EWA Press Release | Equine Welfare Alliance Releases Study Refuting Horse Slaughter Hype

February 6, 2010


Equine Welfare Alliance Releases Study Refuting Horse Slaughter Hype

CHICAGO, (EWA) - The Chicago based Equine Welfare Alliance (EWA) released a study of horse slaughter trends analyzing data from 2006 through October, 2009. The study documents and analyzes monthly horse slaughter totals as reported by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Canadian horse meat exports as reported by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA).

The findings refute the "facts" horse slaughter proponents have been circulating on the impact on the horse industry since the plants closed by showing that the closings had no impact on slaughter totals.

Graphs in the study show exports quickly replaced domestic slaughter during 2007. In fact, 2008 was the second highest year for slaughter since 1995.  

The study shows that the export of slaughter horses remained relatively steady until the fall of 2008 when the banking collapse precipitated a worldwide economic decline. A few months later exports began to fall off markedly.

One of the interesting relationships found in the study was that lower horse prices after the economic downturn did not bring higher slaughter sales, but just the opposite. The export of slaughter horses to Mexico and Canada were down approximately 20% for 2009, corresponding to a similar decrease in horse meat exports from Canada to the EU and Japan.

The findings prove that the number of horses slaughtered is not related to the number of "unwanted horses", but to the demand for horse meat.

The economy will continue to take a toll on the horse industry as with other businesses. "Breeders, like other producers, will simply have to cut back on production or suffer the consequences", explains EWA's John Holland, "The findings should serve as a warning to communities that are being coaxed by slaughter proponents to build horse slaughter plants in Montana and other states."

With current capacity at the horse slaughter plants underutilized, it couldn't be more evident that opening multi-million dollar plants is not going to solve the problem nor be good investment. Natural Valley Meats in Canada suffered a $42M loss before it closed.

The increased awareness of prohibited drugs commonly given to US horses has also precipitated changes for US slaughter horses. In July, enforcement of the European Union rules go into effect that will require the tracking of drugs given to slaughter horses, a requirement that is likely to further reduce the demand for US slaughter horses.

Slaughter proponents must face and address the cause of excess horses and realize they simply cannot slaughter their way out of the mess they have created.

The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 95 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.


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