Sixty-Thousand American Horses Are Slaughtered Yearly — Bo Derek Shows Steps In Order To End Practice

Nov 21, 2020 by apost team

The thought of eating horses is likely an appalling one if you live in the United States, which is why the practice is banned in most states in the country. The last horse slaughterhouses were shut down in 2007.

However, that doesn’t mean American horses are no longer being slaughtered — on the contrary, they’re just being moved to other countries where they can be killed and eaten. Actress Bo Derek, 63, has been campaigning against this process for many years and is a passionate horse welfare advocate.

In 2019, over 60,000 American horses were purchased and taken to another country so they could be slaughtered for consumption, according to McGill Media.

There is a good handful of countries in the world who still eat horses today and even consider the meat to be a delicacy. Countries such as Mexico, Germany, China, Belgium, Indonesia, and even more don’t think twice about eating horse meat. As a result, American horses — which cannot be slaughtered for consumption in the USA — are instead mass purchased by third party buyers and sent to neighboring countries such as Canada and Mexico, as The Humane Society explains.

Once in these slaughterhouses, the horses are given a shot to the head that either kills them or knocks them out so they can be bled out. According to the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act of 2019, this should actually be illegal. Considering the act has the support of Congress, and, as Derek stated to The Washington Post, "80% of Americans" support the act, it’s surprising this problem still persists in the modern world.

That being said, there are many people and organizations out there trying to put an end to the export of horses for the purpose of slaughter and consumption. Bo Derek, a Hollywood actress from films such as 10 and Tarzan, the Ape Man, is working alongside Horses In Our Hands to get the word out about how people can help. 

Horses In Our Hands is an organization specifically dedicated to the welfare of equestrian creatures. They dedicate their time and resources to appealing to Congress to pass legislation they believe will make a difference. Derek is no stranger to horses, either, which is why protecting them is so important to her. Back in 1983, she fell in love with the majestic Andalusian breed and even became a breeder on her own ranch in California, reports Middleburg Life.

Nowadays, she only has four horses, but the time she has spent with horses has been invaluable to her. She claims that horses have helped her to improve her instincts and become a better person. In an interview with The Daily Mail, she said:

"Tending to the loves of my life, whether human or animal, brings me great joy and comfort... My horses and my dogs are a source of comfort for me. And although I can't ride horses right now, I love having them in my life."

For nearly two decades, Derek has dedicated a huge portion of her life to standing up for horses and trying to prevent their slaughter. One of the obstacles showing no signs of backing down is the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association lobby. Their fear is that the strict regulation of animals such as horses could become a slippery slope that animal activists would try to apply to all such hoofed mammals, including cattle.

According to Derek, these fears are unfounded and there is no reason to believe that banning the slaughter of horses could ever be a consequence of stopping the export and slaughter of cattle. Considering Americans already don’t eat horse meat, unlike cattle, there really is no comparison between the two. So much time and energy have been invested into this issue that Derek finds it surprising the issue hasn’t already been resolved.

Politics play a huge role in the lack of progress, with both sides investing what is collectively billions of dollars to try and achieve whichever outcome benefits them. To Derek, this indicates that the practice of slaughtering less than 100,000 horses a year can’t possibly be worth the amount of resources groups are expending to keep it up.

That being said, Derek says that she believes her triumph is inevitable. She insists that writing to Congressmen and calling them to make her case might seem like fruitless labor, but that it truly does pay off. Derek has gotten responses from legislatures who finally agree to give her their vote, just so she’ll stop calling!

Derek stands by her methods and insists that anyone can participate in these efforts. Horses In Our Hands has been leading the way, trying to get the SAFE Act passed, trying to get as many people on board as possible — and according to the official website, they’ve been pretty successful this year.

Since May, over 112,000 people have sent in letters to the U.S. House and Senate thanks to Horses In Our Hands, and every single one is likely making a difference. Over 60,000 horses have been shipped from the USA with the sole intention of slaughtering them for consumption in other countries, according to McGill Media. This practice is actually possible thanks to loopholes in legislation meant to protect equestrian creatures. Thanks to the efforts of Bo Derek and like-minded organizations, though, this may soon come to an end.

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

If you’re tired of seeing horses being slaughtered needlessly, especially when the process is already illegal here, there is plenty you can do to help. Make sure you are spreading the information in this article to your friends and family, as when a community acts together, change can happen. And tell us what you’re doing to make a difference.

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