Dear Member of congress;

As a real estate broker who specializes in equestrian ranches and farms, I can tell you the devastating effect that the horse slaughter ban has had on the value of real estate.

As a horse breeder I can tell you the catastrophic effect the horse slaughter ban has had on the horse industry.

I’ve been to many auctions where the sellers are asked to pay to bring a horse in because they won’t sell and they often leave them at the auction house. I’ve seen many well trained, well bred horses pass through an auction house and not bring a single bid.

I have never sold a horse to slaughter, but by eliminating an entire industry the United States government as put thousands of people out of work. All too often people come to Washington and start drinking from the Potomac and forget that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Those of us out here in the real world are still trying to survive while you take our freedoms and our money!

Horses are being turned loose and abandoned all across the country. The Bureau of Land Management is no longer able to find buyers for the wild horses they take care of and have drastically exceeded there budget. The BLM has even approached congress for permission to kill many of the horses!

The BLM has estimated the rising cost of caring for these animals will climb from $37 billion in 2008 to a staggering $72 billion in 2012. Some are calling for the release of these animals into the wild where they will breed more and add to the problem.

This solution also will result in environmental damage as well as a health and safety risk to humans.

I have spoken with people who work in horse rescue shelters, who tell me they have no room to take anymore horses. A short time ago I tried to get several shelters and to help with a negligent horse owner, his horses were starving and in terrible condition. I called multiple rescues and they all told me they were overwhelmed.

Before the August recess, Senator Sam Brownback offered an amendment to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill, which would provide for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the status of horse welfare as it relates to the closing of horse processing plants in the United States. This amendment passed the Senate’s version of the Ag Appropriations bill.

The GAO study would specifically examine issues such as:

1) How the horse industry has responded to the closure of U.S. horse slaughter facilities in terms of both the numbers of horse sales, exports, adoptions, or abandonments
2) The implications these changes have had on farm income and trade; the extent to which horses in the United States are slaughtered for any purpose
3) Any impacts to State and local governments and animal protection organizations;
4) How the USDA oversees the transport of horses destined for slaughter in foreign countries such as Canada and Mexico; and,
5) General conclusions regarding the welfare of horses as a result of a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.

The Committee language directs the GAO to issue its report by March 1, 2010.

I urge you to support this study and find out exactly the cost of this tragic decision.

A GAO study of the closure of horse processing plants and the effect on horse welfare is widely supported by the horse industry and horse owners. Currently, there is little hard data on this issue.  Such a study could provide valuable information to Congress and the horse industry as it deals with the unwanted horse issue before passing legislation further burdening horse owners and any unfunded mandates on states or local municipalities to enforce new laws.

D. Ben Edsall
Broker – Accredited Equestrian Real Estate Professional
The Institute of Equestrian Real Estate Professionals

Jamey Mendenhall
12/3/2009 05:15:16

I am a true animal lover. I donate to many charities and organizations dedicated to their well being.
I would rather see an animal humanely put down and eaten, than to keep it alive and suffering for who knows how long.

Angela Williams
1/12/2010 03:53:45

I am a horse owner and an ecologist and can tell you that the loss of processing facilities is having a tremendous negative effect in many ways. Natural resources are being depleted due to overgrazing, some are not able to properly care for their animals and animal welfare is being devastated. I support the ability for me and anyone else to 'sell' my animal to a potential buyer for a processing facility as the humane thing to do.
Thank you for raising this issue to congress.

4/21/2010 10:02:57

we have a new website, please follow the link above or enter this in your browser.

Support MO HB 1747!

4/15/2011 06:05:41

There is no ban on horse slaughter. I wish there was. The same number of horses are being slaughter today than before the last hell hole of slaughter plant closed. This is one of the most stupid arguments ever. The issue is over breeding and a tanked economy. Dumb just dumb

4/15/2011 06:22:39

Wow! I have never seen anything so much fiction peddled as fact on the subject of horse slaughter.

It is truly unfortunate that someone in an industry that cycles with the economy refuses to acknowledge that economic forces exist. We just had a global economic downturn, the worst since the 1930s. What happens in this type of economy, is that demand for non-essential goods and services is reduced - most significantly for "luxury items" like horses and equine properties. Economics and market cycles are a well-documented science and the horse market is not mysteriously immune.

Mr. Edsall also states "Horses are being turned loose and abandoned all across the country," and "The BLM has even approached congress for permission to kill many of the horses!" Neither of these statements are remotely true. See here for annual horse neglect/surrender statistics: and note that horse neglect/abandonment peaked in 1996, when the U.S. slaughtered 130,000 horses! As far as the lie that BLM has approached Congress about killing wild horses, here's the statement made two months ago by Bob Abbey head of the BLM "I want to be clear about one thing. Secretary Salazar and I have consistently stated since taking on our current roles that we do not support nor are we willing to incorporate into any wild horse or burro strategy that we pursue, the euthanasia of healthy wild horses."

And the lies continue. Edsall states "The BLM has estimated the rising cost of caring for these animals will climb from $37 billion in 2008 to a staggering $72 billion in 2012." I wonder if he purposely grossly inflated the numbers?? Those numbers should be MILLIONS not billions! And the grand scale removal of the wild horses is in the name of capitalism, so cattle can graze on cheap BLM leases instead, and energy options (natural gas drilling and the Ruby pipeline) can be instituted on the land designated for the horses.

And the crazy statements continue with "eliminating an entire industry the United States government as put thousands of people out of work." First off, many players in the industry are still working, transporting horses to slaughter in Mexico and Canada. Secondly, the industry was estimated to employ about 500 people, and many of the plant workers were illegal residents.

And lastly, Edsall's statement "As a horse breeder I can tell you the catastrophic effect the horse slaughter ban has had on the horse industry," is another unproven doozy. Sending a horse to slaughter is still legal in the United States at this time!! The only change has been the location of the plants, and the number of horses being slaughtered today is the SAME as it was before the US slaughter plants closed. What actually determines the rate of slaughter is the demand for horse meat overseas. At one time, when US horse slaughter plants were still operating, horses were imported from Canada to meet quotas. The only thing the closure of the US plants HAS proven is the minute effect slaughter has on the horse market!

And lastly, Edsall identifies himself as a breeder. Someone who purposely breeds horses for a saturated horse market. If he truly believes that there are too many unwanted horses, it would make sense to pursue responsible (i.e.: less) breeding much more aggressively than is currently being done.

4/15/2011 06:25:48

Well Majela "Moony" you are misinformed at best. I will not go so far as to call you "dumb" but ignorance is merely the lack of knowledge.

The slaughter plants were closed because HSUS and the anti-meat, militant vegetarians and animal rights wacko's got together with congress and de-funded the USDA inspections required to process the meat.

Thereby ending most slaughter in the US, I just sold two mares that were formerly worth about $4,000 each. I sold them for $375.00 and a twelve pack of Coors Light.

Livestock is livestock -Cows, horses, pigs, chickens are all livestock! The only difference is your unrealistic emotional attachment to one type of livestock because of your perceived anthropomorphic qualities.

4/15/2011 08:04:16

If I were in the market for another equestrian property, I certainly wouldn't want this amateur to be my agent. When I purchase horse properties (I've had a few- from 70 acres to 710 acres), I use an agent who is KNOWLEDGEABLE about my industry. Any realtor who thinks that shutting down horse slaughter plants in this country is what's responsible for the drop in equestrian property sales, is astoundingly out of touch with the realities of the marketplace.

What has equestrian properties at the bottom of the real estate market is that we breeders WAY overdid it during our heydays! We simply produced more horses than there were buyers for. That's the problem, plain and simple. The solution is just as simple- we have to STOP making more horses until we need more horses!

I gelded my NATIONAL CHAMPION STALLION to do my part.

When are the rest of the foal factories in this country going to figure out that in order to resurrect our industry, we have to stop over-manufacturing a product that's already flooded the market?! Duh.

4/15/2011 08:11:43

Mr. Edsall, I would point out that the only difference between dogs and the animals you mentioned is your "unrealistic emotional attachment to one type of livestock".

Would you therefore recommend that we deal with the problem of "unwanted" cats and dogs by butchering them as well?

There is nothing humane about butchering horses for profit. Shipping terrified horses to a slaughterhouse and driving them down a bloody chute is no substitute for humane euthanasia.

The failure of horse owners to care for their animals -- including humane euthanasia -- does not justify butchering horses. Neither does the greed of horse breeders looking for a final way to profit from their animals after all other use has been wrung from them.

7/1/2012 06:00:42

We do butcher unwanted cats and dogs by the millions annually. According to records from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, PETA has killed more than 25,000 animals (mostly dogs and cats) at its headquarters in Norfolk, Virginia. At thousands of animal shelters all over America we are euthanizing tens of thousands of unwanted cats and dogs yearly! Now if killing cats and dogs is OK for animal shelters and it is done to reduce an overpopulation why isn't it OK for horses?

4/15/2011 10:27:40

John I agree with your first statement about dogs, but as for "terrified" I have harvested many "terrified" deer, doves, turkey and fish.

I am also a big fan of

By the way, my family has many "rescued" animals, caring for them and seeing to their needs does not bring them to the anthropomorphic level you seem to give them.

I do appreciate your civility in discourse though and thanks for the added Google Juice!

I understand that there is no getting through the haze of a liberal mind, facts are stubborn things as Ronald Reagan stated.

4/15/2011 12:39:32

Follow the money and you will see people who supports slaughter and you will also find they have NO HISTORY of supporting or donating to horse rescues.
Edsall has no brains or respect to any animals. These morons consider horses livestock because they are NOT protected as dogs and cats are.. IF these pro slaughter morons did care they would push to have horses become companon animals instead of livestock.But they wont they get tax breaks on their land with livestock on it. They get tax beaks on there feed that is the only reason. Keeping them livestock gives these criminals out of jail..

Tommy Lee
4/15/2011 12:42:59

Follow the money and you will see who supports slaughter and you will also find they have NO HISTORY of supporting or donating to horse rescues.
Edsall has no brains or respect to any animals. These morons consider horses livestock because they are NOT protected as dogs and cats are. IF these pro slaughter morons did care they would push to have horses become companion animals instead of livestock, But they wont they get tax breaks on their land with livestock on it. They get tax beaks on their feed that is the only reason. Keeping them as livestock keeps these criminals out of jail.

4/15/2011 13:23:02

DB Edsall, how do you get around the fact that THE SAME NUMBER OF US HORSES is being slaughtered for human consumption as when the US slaughterhouses were open?

They are, as someone notes, being in many cases bought at the same auctions and shipped by the same kill-buyers in the same trucks, to plants owned by the same companies that owned the US plants (and that took all their US profits overseas).

The US plants were closed because the states where they were located passed or upheld laws to accomplish that.

If your mares sold for less than their value, as one politician said, "it's the economy, stupid." If you wanted to ship them to slaughter, you can still do it.

But better hurry, because the demand may be lessening: the Europeans who eat the meat are getting wise to the pack of lies they've been fed about the horses' origins and how they're treated, and perhaps more influentially, the toxins that are likely in the meat of US horses that were raised to do jobs, not as food.

4/15/2011 17:30:07

Mr. Edsall, your comment "I am also a big fan of," says volumes.

Humanewatch is a front group, founded by notorious DC lobbyist Rick "Dr. Evil" Berman and funded by anonymous corporate donors who don't like animal welfare efforts that cut into their profits. Specifically they are aimed at smearing HSUS, the major animal welfare organization working at the legislative level to protect animals from those - the goal being to hamper animal welfare legislation and protect profits (and identities) of those who cause animal suffering. Here's a great summary of Humanewatch:

I guess I can see why you like them, since their ranks include puppy mill operators, circus operators, sport hunters, factory farmers, exotic animal dealers, horse slaughter enthusiasts - and several individuals convicted of animal abuse.

Jan Myers
4/16/2011 13:30:20

Wow....Ed, no sympathy from me either. Elaine and CaAmFam stated my feelings quite well. I could add more here but kind of feel sorry for you. Looks like you are quite aptly outnumbered. I would ask you to add some more though....what is your arguement in favor of US slaughter houses reopening as the "saviour" of the horse business, "real-estate business" ???? not sure how you got that one in but I'll let it slide, and the solution for the over poplulation and abuse, neglect that is the current state of affairs today? I want facts Ed, no conjecture, not your opinion but cold hard facts that link the two together, unequivocally. As some politely pointed out that the US is slaughtering the same amount today than it has in the past. Maybe not as conveniently as before but it is a moot point. I think the real problem is too many horse on the ground (too many breeding) and the world wide down turn in economies. That is the real culprit Ed. can't ya see it and admit it?

4/18/2011 10:18:40

Hey John Doppler Schiff, how many horses are you caring for in your 2-bedroom apartment? You might want to leave this one to the adults and those able and willing to actually clean up the mess that HSUS left.

4/18/2011 13:27:02

For the benefit of revisionist historians and anti-HSUS zealots like LongtimeHorseOwner and Mr. Edsall, here is the actual history of the movement to ban the torture of horse slaughter:

The California law was the work of Cathleen Doyle and the California Equine Council who started the "Save the Horses" campaign that eventually led to Proposition 6 and the slaughter ban in California in 1998.

Humane Farming did one of the most powerful early videos inside a horse slaughter plant which galvanized a lot of the early opposition to slaughter.

Rescues began forming in increasing numbers to try to save horses from slaughter during the late 90s. In time, these became more active in opposing slaughter.

The Texas plants were closed largely as the result of a woman named Mary Nash. Mary owned a horse farm adjoining the Dallas Crown plant property and originally started the web site called to try to get the plant closed. She watched the beautiful horses being brutally killed every day and it spurred her into action.

Mary had allies, including Mayor Paula Bacon, Jerry Finch (Habitat for Horses) and Julie Caramante (HfH, now with Animals' Angels) who became involved and they teamed up with folks from the Boggy Bottom neighborhood.

They studied Texas law trying to find something to use to stop the plant. That is how the 1949 law was discovered. They went to the State Attorney General who took some time to determine that the law was in fact still in effect. He ordered the plants to close.

Meanwhile, the Kaufman Board of Adjustments ordered the plant to close because of its countless sewer and other health violations. The plant managed to tie that order up in court and to stay open.

The plants filed a suit against the State of Texas to stay open and got a TRO (temporary restraining order) for a considerable time.

During the early 2000's the Animal Welfare Institute (AWI) had worked to introduce the first federal anti-slaughter bills. They also helped start one of the first national anti-slaughter web groups called "Against Slaughter" which is still active today.

Various groups formed out of this effort, including Alex Brown Racing (ABR) and Americans Against Horse Slaughter and many others.

In Illinois, Gail Vacca (a TB trainer) and her friends worked on Illinois legislation that failed the first time it was introduced. AWI worked relatively closely with Gail and others.

HSUS first became significantly involved in 2006 as I recall. In fact, they were a relative late comer to the battle. By then, even I had been in it for 4 years.

The two Texas plants had a TRO (pending a Supreme Court appeal) at the time of their closings, but it was us advocates who discovered it did not cover the Airlines hauling the meat and when we passed this to HSUS, they got the Airlines to stop shipping and the plants closed. Their appeal was eventually refused by the Supreme Court, closing the issue.

AWI and DDAL (Doris Day Animal League) also sued the Illinois Cavel plant for its sewage discharge violations. That suit was based on records uncovered by a different group of folks who were working in DeKalb studying plant's operations. That suit never got to court because the state law closed them first.

PETA has never taken an active role, partially because the anti-slaughter community asked them not to (for fear they would bring their enemies to the battle). Of course, pro-slaughter people could not leave them out, so they have continually argued that PETA is behind everything.

PETA took an undercover video of horse slaughter in Japan, but that is about their only participation.

4/18/2011 14:03:42

One more long time animal rights zealot joins the party. Too funny. Don't you people have any animals to rescue? Oh, I forgot, you and HSUS aren't interested in the animals, only in the money you can make fundraising on their backs. for the truth.

Jan myers
4/19/2011 06:14:42

Humane (really should not have that in your name), your reply is just as I would expect from people like you and your organization! Sad.... That when faced with truth you can reply with childish remarks! I really hope you one day become enlightened enough to think outside of yourself. You or anyone else has No Right to profit from the death and suffering of our animals of the world! It has never been or will it ever be right!

4/19/2011 09:23:22

Ahh, I should have guessed Humanewatch was the source for your misinformation - that bastion of non-credibility founded by notorious DC lobbyist Rick "Dr. Evil" Berman.

Richard Berman is an influence peddler. He has worked out a scheme to funnel charitable donations from wealthy corporations into his own pocket. In exchange, he provides a flurry of disinformation, flawed studies, op-ed pieces, letters to the editor, and trade-industry articles, as well as access to his high-level government contacts, who are servants of the industries he represents.

Berman and his lobbying firm the Center for Consumer Freedom, including HumaneWatch have been exposed by major media outlets for their misleading smear campaigns, including:
USA Today
New York Times
LA Times
Minneapolis Star
Nashville Scene
PR Watch and CREW.

In short, it's a huge scam and associating with HumaneWatch says legions about a person's refusal to accept facts or reality, in the name of profits.


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