Are Frank Kloucek and Bob Mack tilting at windmills?
The two South Dakota farmers recently met with the Humane Society of the United States President and CEO Wayne Pacelle and Vice President Joe Maxell at the Organization of Competitive Markets annual conference in Kansas City, Mo., and asked them to drop their opposition to humane horse processing in the U.S.
Following the meeting with HSUS, Kloucek -- a former state legislator from Scotland, S.D., who is running for the State Senate -- issued a press release.
“We thank HSUS for their strong support of Country of Origin Labeling and the beef checkoff issue, but ask them to help forge a viable compromise on the humane horse processing issue,” Kloucek said in the statement. “If they can support humane horse processing in the United States and also help with alternatives such as funding for the cost of disposal of horses, it would go a long way toward building a better image in the agriculture community. The time has come to put facts and sound science above emotion on this issue. The current policy they have on horses is not working and needs to be re-examined.”
The two men said blocking horse processing in the U.S. isn’t resulting in fewer horses going to slaughter. The horses are just being transported longer distances to be slaughtered in less humane facilities in other countries, or they are left to starve to death.
“HSUS policy is currently causing more suffering of horses instead of less,” said Mack, a Watertown, S.D., cattle feeder and rancher. “This is going directly against their goals.”
Kloucek and Mack called on HSUS to drop its court injunction against horse processing in New Mexico and Iowa.
“In World War II, my father and many soldiers owed their lives to the access of high-protein horse meat,” Kloucek said. “Currently, there is a disconnect in our country. We allow humans to beat and even kill each other, such as in kick boxing, and we fight wars for oil, killing innocent civilians, yet we cannot allow for humane horse processing? It is time we step up to the plate and allow horse processing.”
Citing a number of different studies, Mack and Kloucek said that closing of the last three processing facilities in the U.S. in 2007 led to more than 100,000 homeless horses annually, that more than 170,000 unwanted horses are potentially neglected or abused every year, and that 2,700 new rescue facilities would need to be built each year to care for the increasing number of unwanted horses.
HSUS has not changed its position. According to information on its website, HSUS will “continue to make arguments when our case resumes in [September] that these plants cannot legally operate because of inadequate environmental review.”