Helping Hearts Equine Rescue, Inc

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My "Signature Tag Line"

Posted on April 22, 2009 at 2:12 PM

A person, prominant in New Jersey's equine community, has been quite perturbed by my anti-slaughter stance and even more perturbed by the line in my email signature that reads:  


 Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia.  USDA vets have testified that the majority of horses regain consciousness 30 seconds after captive bolt stunning.  They experience the bleed-out alive and sentient.


Tuesday she contacted me again, challenging my opinion that equine slaughter is NOT euthanasia and insisting that I report where I found the FACTS to support my "tag-line".  My old computer had crashed, I had lost the reference, and so I went researching on-line. I found that the phrase can be attributed to Dr. Lester Friedlander.   He is a DMV and was a Chief USDA Inspector for 10 years.   It was set forth in a paper  USE OF THE 'PENETRATING CAPTIVE BOLT' AS A MEANS OF RENDERING EQUINES INSENSIBLE FOR SLAUGHTER VIOLATES THE HUMANE SLAUGHTER ACT OF 1958, Copyright  2005 Ellen-Cathryn Nash for Manes & Tails Organization and Vivian Farrell for Int'l Fund for Horses.

To further confirm the veracity of the statement, I contacted Dr, Friedlander and we spoke by telephone and contacted one of the authors of the paper, Ellen-Cathryn Nash, via email.

IN speaking with Dr. Friedlander, he did state that he had no direct experience with slaughtering horses.  He worked at a cattle slaughter plant in PA.  (However, he started his career as a track vet at Yonkers and Monmouth, so he does know  horses.  As an aside, I guess he's seen more than enough in the slaughter plant as he is now a Vegan!) What he has seen in multiple videos of equine slaughter has formed his opinions.   He states that it is his professional opinion that horses suffer due to their ability to move around in the kill box.  That it often takes several shots to put the bolt into the brain.  That due to the time speed required to accomplish this task in an assembly line environment, some of the horses are not totally brain dead at the time of vivisection.

When I queried the possibility of these videos we've viewed being doctored or falsified,  his response was 'how can you doctor a video of hitting a horse with the bolt, when they miss, you can see the delay before the next bolt is administered while they reload a fresh 22 cartridge into the mechanism.  It's not possible." 
It is his professional opinion that captive bolt slaughter of horses is more inhumane than the captive bolt slaughter of food animals. There is more pain and suffering for the horses.  This is due to their physiques and ability to avoid the bolt.  He indicated that cattles' heads are restrained when the bolt is being administered, while clearly horses' heads are not.  
He reiterated that all of this is his professional opinion.   And of course, unless we could interview the horses directly, we cannot ascertain directly from the animals how much pain and suffering they endure for slaughter.   We develop our opinions on all things by speaking with others, obtaining information and by observation.  My decision is to rely on the veracity and opinion of a man who spent 10 years as a Chief Inspector for the USDA.  While he was not directly involved in equine slaughter, he has previous equine veterinary experience with the accompanying knowledge of their anatomy & physiology, as well as a decade of experience with the  slaughter-house environment, the equipment, the methods and handling of animals.  That confirms the veracity of his statements and opinions to me.

 Additionally, the email response from Ms. Nash, co-author of the paper states:

Dear Lisa,

I am the primary author of the analysis of the Humane Slaughter Act of 1958. Dr. Friedlander and Vivian Farrel were contributors.

Lester is willing to testify that the captive bolt does not cause insensibility in horses and they are aware of being vivisected. You may continue using your tagline with confidence, however, those are my words taken from him. I also have a sworn affidavit from Lester stating the same.

Thank you for contacting me,


Ellen-Cathryn Nash
Manes and Tails Organization


I have also revieved the Affidavit from Dr. Friedlander that Ms. Nash mentioned.  It was executed to be presented to the Members of Congress Feb. 29, 2008, urging them to support HR 503 & S. 311.  Soooo, based on my research, I continue to stand behind my tag-line.   Actually, and consequently, due to the challenge from my 'colleague', I have modified it to be more accurate in quoting Dr. Friedlander directly from the Affidavit and to give credit where credit is due:



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 Slaughter is NOT humane euthanasia.  "The captive bolt is not a proper instrument for the slaughter of equids, these animals regain consciousness 30 seconds after being struck, they are fully aware they are being vivisected." -Dr. Lester Friedlander, DVM & former Chief USDA Inspector


 This is Helping Hearts'  "Signature Tag-Line" , and I stand behind it 100%.



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