Last updated on 2011.07.01
[Hat tip to Barb in Arizona!]
Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD) responded to a recently released Government Accountability Office report on horse welfare and slaughter saying that it confirms the fact that there are significant problems with the current restrictions.
"This report confirms what most ranchers already know. The ending of horse slaughter and processing here in the United States has increased neglect and abandonment and depressed horse prices," said Noem [Rep. Kristi Noem, press release, 2011.06.23].
Evidently, since Congress defunded USDA processing-plant inspections and effectively shut down U.S. horse processing plants in 2007, we've been shipping horses to Mexico. Rep. Noem doesn't like that.
Noem concluded, "While opponents of horse slaughter here in the U.S. claim they are acting in the name of humane horse treatment, their policies are in fact adding to the inhumane treatment of horses. I hope this new GAO report makes slaughter opponents reassess their position" [Noem, 2011.06.23].
Now I have no beef with eating horse. Meat on hoof with big, knowing eyes—what's the difference among horse, cow, and deer? Noem's old Legislative colleague and Democrat Frank Kloucek has regularly supported horse processing plant legislation. My neighbor Gerry Lange (a man full of horse sense) and every other member but one of the State Legislature expressed their approval of horse slaughter in 2010. (Only one nay vote? That's ironic, isn't it, Tom?)
But I'm curious what the general South Dakota sentiment is. Does horse slaughter rile any of my riding readers? Or do horse processing plants simply offer a reasonable opportunity to get maximum value from an agricultural commodity?
Update 2011.07.01 18:15CDT: Economics professor Carolyn M. Betts says the claims made by Noem and the GAO report are unsubstantiated. Says Betts, the number of horse slaughters has remained steady, the GAO report shows no solid evidence of an increase in horse abandonment or neglect, and any demonstrable increase in ill-treatment of horses could be easily attributed to economic distress, not the restrictions Noem decries.