California animal rights activists start campaign to ban horse meat trade

Animal rights activists in California
are currently pushing a “Save the Horses” ballot initiative
that would make it illegal for Californians to ship their horses to other
states for slaughter and processing into meat.

Horse meat, it turns out, has been
eaten in Europe and Asia for a few centuries. In Japan, for example, dinner
patrons can eat a dish featuring raw horse meat with spices and sauce.
Probably due to Americans fascination with the horse in its role in the
exploration and settlement of our nation, horse meat hasn’t caught
on in the United States.

But there are four processing plants
for horse meat in the United States, the two largest being in Texas. The United
States Department of Agriculture estimates 113,499 horses were slaughtered
in 1997.

The animal rights activists complain
that the method used for killing the horses — a four-inch bolt is shot
through the animal’s skull — is inhumane and doesn’t kill the animals immediately.
Activists have been showing videotape of horses being shot with a bolt
and then writhing on the ground. Animal rights groups also complain the
method of transporting the horses is cruel, with horses dehydrating and
injuries occurring with too many horses loaded into small, cramped quarters.

A recent study by the USDA and
the University of California-Davis contradicts these claims, however.
The study examined 309 horses taken to a slaughterhouse in Texas. It found
that injuries were actually minimized when the horses were loaded closely
together, and found dehydration occurred only after trips of more than
24 hours, and even in those cases the dehydration was described as “mild.”
All the horses were able to support their own weight, contradicting animal
rights activists claims that the animals were unable to stand because
they were so dehydrated.

Carolyn Stull, who conducted the
USDA study, told Scripps Howard that if the “Save the Horses”
initiative passes, it would only send California horse owners to other states to
auction them off, or in some extreme cases to abandon the animals.
“We are going to have a ton of starving horses around” if the
initiative passes, Stull said.

Source:

Activists just say neigh to California horse meat trade. Robert Salladay, Associated Press, June 30, 1998.

PETA wants animal hearing experiments stopped

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals’ Mary Beth Sweetland was up in arms over animal experiments
that researchers at the University of California-San Francisco plan to
carry out on squirrel monkeys.

According to UCSF vice chancellor
for research Zach Hall, researchers Marshal Fong and Stephen Chenung plan
to anesthetize the animals and then expose them to a range of very high
frequency noise. “The animals, when they wake up, will have a hearing
disability, one that’s similar to one that millions of Americans
have [inability to hear high-frequency sounds],” Hall said.

Sweetland wants the experiments
stopped, but Hall said the experiments have already been approved by the
university’s committee on animal research and will have practical
benefits.

“The research seeks to understand
the changes that occur in the brain as the result of sensory deprivation
– in this case, hearing loss – with the hope that we can use what we learn
to relieve the hearing loss caused by loud noise,” Hall said.

As Fong summed it up, “These
people [PETA] are distorting the truth here.”

Source:

“Activists want UC monkeys spared,” Scripps Howard, May 21, 1998.