Documentary Recommendation: From the Kill Pen (2016)

Quote from From the Kill Pen:  “Horse slaughter is more than inhumane.  It’s big business.”


Producers: Sharon Boeckle, Tony Cane-Honeysett, and Peter D. Roth

Director: Sharon Boeckle

Writer: Sharon Boeckle

Major Cast: Paula Bacon, Milton Bagby, Dean Bolstad, Alex Brown, Phil Carter, Neda DeMayo, A.Blair Dunn, Vickery Eckhoff, Lester Friedlander

Rating: NA but not suitable for young children

Running Time: 1 hour and 16 minutes

From the Kill Pen focuses on the current status of horses, including horse racing, wild horses, horse meat trade, slaughter practices, and government influence.   There are two dominant schools of thought in this neutral documentary.  One, it is okay to kill horses for meat because it creates jobs and horses that would otherwise be wasted, in addition to rounding up and killing wild horses to control populations.  Two, it is not okay to kill horses for meat especially due to the toxins used in race horses that serve as a part of this trade, as well as the poor slaughter-house conditions that creates torture and pain for the horses. 

A large portion of this documentary cites the pros and cons of U.S. involvement in this trade via the way of making these particular slaughter houses legal within the states again.  As of right now, it is still “illegal” but could easily flip to being “legal.”  While the graphic parts are minimal and only used in the best educational sense possible, it is still distressing to see.  Yet, compared to what I’ve seen before, it is pretty tame.  I have a stronger stomach than most.  I would recommend it to anyone who wants a better understanding of what the horse represents in today’s world and the cautionary tale of knowing what’s truly in your meat. 

While I would never eat taboo animals (dogs and horses) according to U.S. standards, there are some that do. There is a responsibility for those involved in the horse racing industry and those outside it who are part of the slaughter pipeline to speak out about the tainted exportation of horse meat from the U.S. via Mexico and Canada to the rest of the world.  The Humane Slaughter Act instituted in 1958 wouldn’t deter those not following the mandates because it doesn’t cover horses.  It only protects cattle, pigs, and sheep, if you can even call it that.  There have been countless instances where companies were not punished with obvious evidence. 

It seems clear-cut to me what should be done and by whom.  No one wants to eat other crap when they bite into a beef patty, but it has been done and will continued especially in fast food restaurants.  Everyone wants to be assured they aren’t eating rotten meat, no matter what it is, disguised as fresh meat.  Yet, people do because other’s think no one’s looking and who’s really going to notice.  One shouldn’t have to worry about their child dying from eating meat, but parents continue grieving. 

There is bound to be friction with so many differing views on how to control and use horse populations.  This is the premise of the documentary.  Saying there’s no right or wrong answer to this issue is simplistic.  There’s a lot of variables involved and many people contribute to the problem from the breeders to the buyers to the consumers.  I venture to say it is like this in many different areas where mass consumption occurs. 

The only thing I know for sure is that humans need to look closely at what they do in terms of their inner circles as well as their outer circles.  I know from personal experience things have wide-reaching effects, often over generations.  While I don’t presume to have all the answers to this issue, I do want to spread the word because it’s tragic, fascinating, and worthy all in the same breath. 

Pisaries Creator rates From the Kill Pen at 100%



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