Lester Freidlander, DVM – President, Citizens Against Equine Slaughter
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Lester Freidlander, DVM – President, Citizens Against Equine Slaughter

August 18, 2019

Senator: Dr. Friedlander,
good morning. Dr. Friedlander: Good morning. Thank you for allowing
me to speak to you today. My name is Lester
Castro Friedlander. I’m a former New York State Horse Racing and Wagering
board veterinarian. I am also a former United States
Department of Agriculture Food Safety Inspection Service and supervisory veterinary
medical officer. I was the USDA veterinary
trainer of the year. I came here to speak against
the slaughter of horses. New York State should
not be a pipeline for horses to be
slaughtered in Canada. I’m basing my professional
opinion as a horse racetrack veterinarian,
as a veterinarian for USDA FSIS, a veterinarian trainer and also my knowledge of the United States Humane Methods of Slaughter Act (HMSA). Cattle can be put
in a head restraint, to immobilize ahead allowing for the correct placing
of the captive bolt in the middle of the forehead, resulting in adequate penetration to the brain and disrupting the central nervous system impulses to the rest of the body,
leaving the animal insensitive to pain. Horses are creatures of
flight, they are stronger than cattle,
and their necks are anatomically longer and
therefore cannot be put in a head restraint to
immobilized their head so they can be accurately stunned
by the captive bolt. Therefore, they’re often
conscious during butchering. Furthermore, if the horse is struck more than 1 time with the captive bolt,
it’s a violation of The Humane Methods of Slaughter Act. The use of a 22 caliber or higher pistol is also a
challenge stunning a horse. The plant employee must hit
the forehead of the horse at a 90-degree angle to penetrate
the skull to be effective. If this is not done, the bullet
will ricochet off the skull and could endanger humans who are
working near the stunning box. Also, several medications routinely administered to equines are carcinogens and detrimental
to humans and other animals. Several of these medications
administered to horses are labeled, “Not to be used on animals
intended for human consumption.” The most up-to-date list
enumerates that there are 119 different drugs
found in racehorses. This is why in the 1970’s,
the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
made the statement that “equines are considered
companion animals like dogs and cats and should not
be considered livestock.” After considering the pain and suffering, the inhumane treatment
and abuse that equines go through doing the transporting and slaughter process
and the public health significance of eating horse meat, I believe that horses,
when they are no longer wanted or useful, should
be humanely euthanized. Also, several years
ago, they used to race nine-year-old horses;
now their race younger. I’d also like to mention several
years ago north of Binghamton, New York on I-81, a tractor-trailer
of live horses caught fire. When the newspaper
person interviewed the driver, asked the
driver what happened, he said,
“All of a sudden I looked in his rearview mirror and there was
a fire.” So he got out. I said, “What did you do
with the horses?” He said, “Well, I didn’t let them
out.” I said, “Why not?” He said,
‘There’s a lot of traffic on 81.” Well, at 8 o’clock at night, there is practically no traffic there. Then I said,
“Where are you taking the horses?” He said, “I’m taking to a
rendering plant in Canada.” Renders only take dead animals. He was actually taking those live horses to a slaughter
plant in Canada. Respectfully yours,
Lester Friedlander, President, Citizens Against Equine Slaughter. Senator: Thank you.
Thank you. Dr. Friedlander.

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