Summit of the Horse update
LAS VEGAS – John Falen, president of the Public Lands Council said reopening horse processing plants in the U.S. and harvesting should be one of the solutions to solve the over populated horse problem. Falen opened the morning session of Jan. 4 at the first Summit of the Horse event in Las Vegas at the South Point Hotel, Casino & Spa.
Falen a commercial cow-calf operator from Orovada, NV, has served on numerous boards and committees, many for more than 20 years including president of the Nevada Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), NCBA Wild Horse and Burro Committee and the Wild Horse and Burro Mustang Heritage Foundation.
“Public land ranchers are not only the stewards of our rangelands and providers of food and fiber for our nation,” Falen said, “they represent and promote the great American tradition of freedom.”
Charlie Stenholm, a retired 13-term U.S. House of Representative from Texas, served as a ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee for six years. After leaving Congress, Stenholm became a spokesperson on behalf of agriculture, including the horse meat industry.
He said that this first horse summit gave those in the horse industry a real opportunity to come up with common-sense solution.
“Hey, I’m a Blue dog Democrat and if you have a solution, I’m going to work with you,” Stenholm said. “We need to educate our new U.S. Congress and remind them that we believe in free enterprise in this country.”
Stenholm emphasized that the federal government should have no jurisdiction over a state’s ability to reopen a horse processing plant for human consumption.
“There are nine million horses consumed around the world: China, Russia and so many European countries,” he said. “Why can’t we sell our product to them?”
Reopening horse processing plants in the U.S. is one of the economic boosts Stenholm believes rural America needs. He believed that within six months of reopening even five to six plants, more than 1,000 jobs could be created and another 300,000 jobs that revolve around the horse industry could be saved.
“The way it is now, livestock sale yards have either closed or can’t even guarantee a horse owner that they can sell their horses,” he said. “Worse yet, many horses are just brought to the yards and abandoned.”
Stenholm reiterated that it was the consensus of the horse industry that all animals, not just horses should be treated humanely from birth to death.
“I’m opposed to horses getting mistreated and we need to continue to educate the American people that we are serious about all of animal production,” he said. “I credit American Humane for educating the general population and implore all the industry to continue.”
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