Preventing horse slaughter – a personal evolution

A few years ago, when I was still serving in the Senate, I was asked to support legislation that would ban the practice of slaughtering horses for human consumption. My initial reaction was cool to the notion that the federal government should be mandating or telling owners of these horses what they can or cannot do with their animals. However, my initial instincts on such a policy were outweighed by the personal and practical experience that horse owners brought to my attention, including my son, Chet.

An avid horseman, Chet is active in the horse industry and had rescued several horses from a “killer buyer” — one who buys horses from sometimes unsuspecting owners and then sells them to slaughterhouses. My son retrained and sold those horses to become champion polo ponies. His experience showed me that live, active horses support an important infrastructure of jobs and economies in the United States. A live horse needs to be fed, groomed and trained, as well as receive vet care, among other things. This in turn creates and maintains a viable and enduring way of life in rural America. The sale of horses to killer-buyers in fact generates very little profit for the seller while simultaneously choking off the demand for the goods and services that other buyers would create.

Trent Lott writing for the Hill
2/14/12