On Trigger Burgers and Flicka Fries

While advancing in the House, legislation laying the legal groundwork for horse meat processing in Tennessee has been left in a Senate committee stall.
The bill (HB1428) has been the source of both serious debate and no small amount of joking this session.
“I just want to make sure that, in this financial crisis… that this bill in no way is going to influence the price of Trigger burgers or Flicka fries,” Rep. G.A. Hardaway, D-Memphis, told House sponsor Rep. Frank Niceley, R-Strawberry Plains, during a House Government Operations Committee hearing.
Niceley’s bill won=2 0unanimous approval of that committee and got only one negative vote in clearing House Agriculture Committee. But Sen. Mike Faulk, R-Kingsport, acknowledges the bill lacks the votes to clear the Senate Commerce Committee, which has closed for the session – subject to reopening if the chairman decides to do so.
Similarly, a resolution Nicely sponsored (HJR245) opposing pending federal legislation to ban export of horse meat from the United States has cleared the full House, 65-15 with seven members abstaining. But Faulk has put it on hold in the Senate Finance Committee, again acknowledging there is not enough support from members.
A separate move is afoot in Congress to open the door for states to begin operating slaughter houses for horses, Niceley says. His bill, patterned after a measure already enacted in Montana, is designed to position Tennessee to proceed with a processing plant quickly if the federal ban is lifted.
Basically, the current ban is based on a requirement that the U.S. Department of Agriculture oversee inspections of horse processing plants while Congress has prohibited the use of federal funds for the inspections. The proposed change would allow states to do the inspections and the bill begins the process.
Faulk said the federal ban on horse slaughter, though well intentioned, had “horrendous unintended consequences.”
The sponsors say the state and nation is flooded with abandoned horses, many facing starvation and others packed inhumanely into trucks and driven long distances to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico, where they are processed for human consumption in Europe and Asia or for use in feeding carnivores in American zoos.
Niceley says various associations of horse owners, the Farm Bureau and others support the legislation while “the only ones against it are PETA and the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).”
Leighann McCollum, state director for HSUS, said the bill is indeed a “hot issue” to members of the group, but more than 100 other groups are also opposed.
“We have a situation now where slaughter is being driven by profit, not by an overwhelming number of unwanted horses,” she said, adding that horse meat can be worth $25 or $30 a pound in other nations where it is viewed as a delicacy.
“It’s not like it would help feed starving children somewhere,” McCollum said. “Slaughter is not the only option for unwanted horses. There are extensive equine rescure operations.”
Faulk said the American Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has generated “hundreds” of emails to legislators opposing the bill.
“Other organizations that are more horse-specific to not have that network,” he said. “Legislators have not had the opportunity to hear from the grass roots (of those active in the horse industry). It’s going to take a while for that to happen.”

11 thoughts on “On Trigger Burgers and Flicka Fries

  1. Leah

    How some people can make funny jokes about horse slaughter when we all know the horrific and barbaric way they are suffering and dying so that some rich people in Europe and Japan can have this delicacy is beyond me.
    We already slaughter 10 billion animals a year in the United States of livestock for food as it is, what is so important to have horse meat for the other countries to eat when they have their own horses and should have their own slaughter plants.
    More likely they do not want the mess that we were left with back in 2007 after the closing the the plants in Illinois and Texas.
    Please believe me there is nothing funny about horse slaughter. It is a horrible, cruel and inhumane process from auction site to slaughter site and barbaric in its end for the horses.
    I thought America was above all this cruelty, but maybe we are not.

  2. Ann

    1) Pro-slaughter dreamed up the word “unwanted” as a word to describe horses that owners wanted to sell. This word is clearly meant to change the perception on how horses for sale are viewed by the public such that the public would see these horses as “different.” To put this into perspective, can you imagine if car dealers chose to characterize the new and used cars on their lots as “unwanted?” How many people do you think would go to that dealership and buy a car from them?
    2) The reason there are more horses starving in the US is BECAUSE OF THE RECESSION/DEPRESSION.
    3) Can anyone imagine states hiring their own horsemeat inspectors? Heck, the US can’t even keep the beef safe. There was a recent recall of hamburger meat loaded with E. Coli.
    4) Let’s call a spade a spade shall we? Processing is a spin word for SLAUGHTER. So, let’s call this what it is: Horse slaughter NOT Horse processing.
    5) Horse slaughter is cruel, brutal and inhumane.
    6) Horse slaughter caters to the lowest common denominator, people who sell their horses to slaughter don’t care about the cruelty because all they care about is the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR.
    7) Horse killers make on average (even today) of $5,000 a week by sending horses to Canada for slaughter. So, who is the fool? The fool who mindlessly breeds their mare and can’t sell the foals or the fool that follows the fool? The even larger number of mindless people who breed their mares? The mindless ones make about $400 by selling their horse to slaughter while the big winners are the horse killers that sell the horses to slaughter. Horse owners make $400 while horse killers make $5,000 a week.
    Can you figure out what is wrong with this equation?
    Also, the horse industry in the US generates billions of dollars in the good ole USA while horse slaughter generates merely millions.
    Can you figure out the bottom line here? Keeping horses in the US generates much more money for the economy and US interests while slaughter generates millions (although owners of the slaughter house make billions every year and pay $5.00 in US taxes).

  3. MJ Wilson

    Horse slaughter dream a financial nightmare
    CHICAGO, (EWA) – The dream of the AQHA (American Quarter Horse Association) and its affiliate the MQHA (Montana Quarter Horse Association) to bring horse slaughter back to the US may have just been dealt what may be its death blow. The blow came not from anti-slaughter advocates, nor public revulsion, nor Congress, but from a horse slaughter industry insider whose op-ed, Meat plant: a cautionary tale, appeared on April 30th in the Western Producer, a subscription-only Canadian online animal agriculture journal.
    “Natural Valley Farms died the day the decision makers chose to kill horses”, says Henry Skjerven, an investor and director of the defunct Natural Valley Farms (NVF) slaughter complex in Saskatchewan, Canada. Skjerven tells the story of how NVF, which had originally been built to process cattle during the BSE crisis, ended in a $42 million financial disaster following its decision to kill horses for the Velda Group of Belgium.
    The story broke just as the AQHA and Stan Weaver of the MQHA, were celebrating the passage of Montana bill (HB 418).
    On April 5, EWA broke the news that the plant had been closed by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in December. In his article, Skjerven refers to the plant’s confrontational interaction with the CFIA over the plant’s “composting” and other issues. Unlike beef that can be used in pet food, horse byproducts must be disposed of properly because they contain substances such as the wormer, Ivermectin, which can cause fatal encephalitis in some breeds of dogs.
    Blood disposal appears to have been equally problematic for NVF as with other horse slaughter plants. Not only do horses have twice the quantity of blood as cows, but the blood is notoriously difficult to treat. The bacterial agents used in standard cattle digesters fail to provide acceptable discharge levels because of antibiotics often found in horse blood. As a result, pollution follows the horse slaughter industry where ever it goes.
    During debate over HB 418, the Montana Senate Agriculture committee dismissed evidence of these problems as anti-slaughter propaganda. Even the testimony of former Kaufman, Texas mayor Paula Bacon was ignored when she told of blood rising into people’s bathtubs in her town. But unfortunately for NVF, the CFIA was not so easily assuaged.
    Even Butcher has admitted that any horse slaughter plant that is built in the US will have to be operated by an EU group like Velda because the horse meat market is in Europe and they control it. Now Velda needs a new home, but in his op-ed Skjerven, says, “horse slaughter never brought a single minute of profitability to the company.”
    In the end, it may not matter that HB 418 is unconstitutional, nor that a horse slaughter plant in the US could not export its horse meat without USDA inspectors, nor that the industry has committed a thousand sins against horses and the environment. If investors in a horse slaughter plant cannot be comfortable in knowing they will make a profit, there will be no plant built.
    If Stan Weaver and the AQHA want horse slaughter they may have to do the killing themselves.

  4. lisathevet

    It is interesting that the same political rhetoric is being spewed in Tennessee as it has been in Montana. Is it really so difficult to spread truth instead of fiction? Obviously some of the Tennessee Congress is as misinformed as some the Montana Congress & they are only too quick to have in print – their misinformation. First of all, though it would seem logical that PETA would be against horse slaughter, they have not been in this battle. Most of us who I know fighting against horse slaughter are not involved in any way with PETA. Also, this myth of “the nation being flooded with abandoned & starving horses” is simply not true. Are there abandoned horses, unwanted horses, poorly cared for horses, starving horses? Of course there are, but were those situations present 3 or more years ago when we had horse slaughter facilities in operation in the U.S. – YES. Horse slaughter facilities DO NOT resolve those problems. Furthermore if there were any truth to the supposed “massive” abandoned horse issue that the horse slaughter proponents have made up, it is a ridiculous argument because there is still a loose horse market & horses can still go to slaughter. So, not only is the information false to begin with, but the argument makes no sense.
    Horse people need to band together and help people who are in a crisis with their horse(s): assisting with feed, spaying mares and gelding stallions & humane euthanasia’s. Additionally, horse breeders need to become more prudent with their breeding practices. One of the many solutions is not to keep breeding massive numbers of horses but to breed more selectivelely.
    Horse slaughter is cruel and inhumane on many levels and assuredly, it is not vegan, animal activists at the core of the fight against horse slaughter. It is conscientious people who understand and abhor the atrocity of the horse slaughter industry.
    Very sadly, the horse slaughter bill in Montana passed based on lies. Shocking at this point in time that lies would prevail, but they did. Very sad indeed for the once great state of Montana. I hope that the state of Tennessee will rise above the lies and base their legislation on truths.

  5. Valerie James-Patton

    The lack of knowledge by these sponsors on horse slaughter is truly pathetic, and they should not be spreading misinformation about an issue they are clearly uninformed about. Many of the abandoned horse stories have turned out to be just that; stories, without any documentation, and most are nothing more than propaganda spread by the horse slaughter corporations and their supporters.
    As far as horses now facing starvation and driven inhumanely over long distances to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, this is nothing new and is not a result of a lack of slaughter in the US, since this was occurring all during the years the US facilities were in operation. Horses were not only being exported to supply the meat demand for the Mexican and Canadian facilities, but when the supply of horses ran low in the US, the US facilities imported Canadian horses into the US by the thousands for slaughter here.
    As well, the starvation of horses is a criminal act due to irresponsible horse ownership, and has nothing to do with the horse slaughter industry or the lack of horse slaughter facilities in the US. More American horses were slaughtered last year in 2008 since the US facilities closed, than were slaughtered annually during previous years when the plants were open. The slaughter option is still available to all horse owners, and every current starvation or abandoned horse case is proof that slaughter does not prevent or cure starvation or abandonment issues.
    Why are these congress members who know nothing about the issue promoting the propaganda about horse slaughter?

  6. G.R. Locatelli

    I am not a bleeding heart liberal, and I am not a vegetarian. I am a conservative Christian with deep Christian faith and background. This country was founded on Christian beliefs like or not. The bible specifies which animals are for human consumption and GOD states how horses are not for human conumption.
    I love nothing moe than a bb-q with family and friends and in no way does the burgers we make have horse meat in them. Besides the wormers dope and toxins, its by my faith as a good Christian WRONG.
    the humane slaughter of horses is like saying the kind and gentle way I beat and stabbed a cow was humane. Kind and gentle do not equal BOLT GUN and KNIFE stabs to the entire body.
    Since many Cattle ranchers and AQHA have joined the PRO slaughter ranks I have to say that beef prices will increase along with the money AQHA will get for registrations for the multiple millions of horses they are trying to clone. Or I should ay are cloning.
    If and when the whole horse slaughter plants open up the breeding will increase along with it so WE WILL NEVER CATCH up by putting a bloody bandaide over this mess.
    I pray that all the sick minded faithless people see the error of there ways before blood fils my bath tub like has happened so many times with horse slaughter plants in towns 300 miles away.
    Would that not be so nice? take a blood shower? And drink horse blood and toxin tainted water? As it leaches in to the ground water? And wells? Oh fun we can now spend millons and billions on treatments for new disease that sho up and then BLAME it on God because He has forgotten to take care of us. Is that they way it works? Do whatever you want and never answer to a higher authority and until your sick and diseased?
    People say, who is gonna take care of the “UNWANTED” horse… (By the way that is bs.. that is like saying a child is unwanted…God wants EVERYONE US US..and horses are not breeding themselves..PEOPLE ARE) and the starving horses, and the horses who are abandoned all over the place..
    First I have not hear about any abandoned horses all over the place… second… who is gonna pay for the blood clean up and disposal at these plants? Horses have more than 2 times the amount of blood a cow does.. who is gonna pay for the disposal of the waste? Where are they gonna dump it?
    Who is gonna pay for all the increased hospital and diseases like in the 70-80’s when some weird trains of diseae where howing up around hore laughter facilitie..
    Like the TEXAS rep who is doingwht she can to stop the opening of more slaughter plant. becaue as you know..shit flows down stream.. and she herself had grown up in a home where the toilet would over flow with blood and the bathtub would fil up with nice hot warm blood water.. Want to take a blood bath?

  7. Ann

    To “I have questions at”
    Why don’t you post information supporting the pro-slaughter position instead of your same old tired statement about “bleeding hearts.”
    If you don’t have any information to post to support your position, don’t be patronizing and insulting. Your tired message is old. You know the old saying: The more you turn it the more it stinks. And, yours stinks to high heaven.

  8. Ann

    Political lobby group joins disinformation campaign
    CHICAGO, (EWA) – A fight is brewing in Washington over equine issues, including slaughter (HR 503), Mustang protection (HR 1018) and humane transport (HR 305). Now a group calling itself the “Center for Consumer Freedom” (CCF) has joined the barrage of disinformation campaigns with a new twist. While other groups such as the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) are circulating disinformation on equine issues, CCF is hiding behind their non-profit status and attacking the messengers that oppose their agendas.
    The most recent target of their attack is the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). HSUS, through their legislative arm, has been extremely successful in promoting animal welfare through legislation as well as litigation. EWA considers the CCF attack as a blatant attempt to discredit HSUS, a mainstream organization supported by an overwhelming number of Americans in backing the federal legislation to end the slaughter of American horses.
    CCF recently circulated an email soliciting funds to create a $75,000 documentary targeting HSUS. This email was conveyed to EWA by dues paying AQHA members who are opposed to horse slaughter, but whose voices are drowned out by unscrupulous breeders within their association.
    “… We are seeking one-time contributions to finance the production and distribution of our own short online documentary about the Humane Society of the United States. It will be similar to the news coverage HSUS has managed to bully off the Internet, but the group will not have any legal right to impact its distribution.
    We are trying to raise $75,000 during the next week to finance this project, and we need your help today! Click here to make a tax-deductible online donation to assist with our efforts.”
    In past reports, major news outlets, including USA Today, and the Washington Post have gone on record condemning CCF for misleading the public. ABC News exposed CCF as a “front” group for lobbyists hiding behind a non-profit.
    In response to the CCF attack, 7 Things You Didn’t Know About HSUS, HSUS refuted all seven allegations. In a response, HSUS states, “The Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), while organized as a 501(c) (3) charity, is a flack agency and industry front group for tobacco, alcohol, and agribusiness interests.”
    Contrary to CCFs allegations, HSUS has never portrayed itself as a “rescue” nor the umbrella organization for local humane societies but as an organization that is involved in animal welfare on all fronts from dogs, to cats, to gerbils and to horses. Their emergency services team was recently instrumental in the rescue of Mustangs from a ranch in Nebraska and did indeed provide a home for eighty-four of the Mustangs as well as saving thousands of dogs from life in a puppy mill.
    With President Obama taking a strong stand against lobbyists, EWA anticipates an increase in lobbying organizations masquerading as non-profit advocacy groups to hide their real agenda.

  9. Ann

    Isn’t it interesting that since Montana passed a bill to allow horse slaughter in its state, pro-slaughter hasn’t published a single article online about any abandoned horses. Hmmmm I wonder why?

  10. Terri

    We, in this country, don’t eat horsemeat so where is the so called market for horsemeat? Even if it were legal to eat it, there is no way that I would because of the medications that we use on them. Instead of crying about all the unwanted horses, why not stop overbreeding (mainly the big breeding barns)? Instead of whining about all of the overpopulation, why not geld horses to stop this so called problem? Horse slaughter promotes overbreeding, abuse and a host of other not so nice things so why in the world would anybody want to promote this industry? There is nothing humane about horse slaughter and there are many other options. Regulation by the USDA is a joke and there are laws that ban inspection by the USDA inspectors of the meat. The USDA has over 300 pages that are available to the public of abuse cases that they have done nothing about. How can this be a humane industry? And how could you explain to your child that his/her pet pony went to a slaughter house to be slaughtered for someone overseas to eat? Where are the rights of those whose horses are stolen from their barns or pastures? Oh and by the way, do you want the by products from the horse slaughter plant in your back yard or on your roads? Do you want the smell from the murder in your nose every day? Do you want the blood overrunning your sewer systems or your rivers and lakes? Rotting meat and guts smell pretty bad and I don’t think that you want that in your back yard or even in your state. These foreign owned companies don’t care what you want or how you feel any more than they care about how the horses feel or what they need. Take it from a horse owner for over 30 years, the horses are better off without horse slaughter plants as are the people in this country.

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