Is Stopping Horse Slaughter the Answer?

The controversy about horse slaughter continues.   While I would never send a horse to slaughter, I am fortunate to have the resources to not have to consider that route.  I know it has been the only feasible option for many people.  What are the other options for people who can’t afford to keep their horses or have them euthanized?  There are rescue facilities, but most of them have more horses than they can handle and some have closed due to bankruptcy.  Since the US has stopped the slaughter of horses, there has been an increase in abandoned and neglected horses there.  What happens to these unwanted horses?

Aren’t we looking at this issue backwards? Whether horses are sent to slaughter, euthanized, abandoned or sent to a rescue facility the question remains …. why are there so many unwanted horses?  Why are so many horses being bred each year?  About 100,000 horses are bred each year in the US just for the racing industry.  Not many of these horses will actually end up making it at the race track.  And, it’s not just the racing industry, most breeders are focused on producing “winners” for some discipline.  What happens to all those horses that aren’t “good enough”?  What happens to the horses that become dangerous because of bad training?  What happens to the old, the sick and the lame horses?

Reality is, until we find a way to stop producing so many horses, there has to be a plan for dealing with the “unwanted” ones.  Is going to slaughter better or worse than being abandoned, neglected, starved, abused?  Until we figure out how to stop producing so many horses, can the processing plants and the shipping process be made more “humane” and treat the animals with respect and dignity? 

What would happen if breeders were required to be responsible for every horse they produce?  So, that if someone could no longer afford to look after their horse, he would be returned to the breeder just like the adoption contracts of many rescue programs require. 

Is stopping horse slaughter the answer?  Depends on what the question was. 

Are we even asking the right questions?

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One thought on “Is Stopping Horse Slaughter the Answer?

  1. Hi Anne,
    Yes,I agree,it is a topic that can go round and round in circles.Where does it all really start,and
    how can we find a resolution for the horse,and for
    the horse “world”.I just recently happened upon a
    woman who by chance, ended up with a registered Paint
    Pony.(doomed for slaughter)This woman,has
    decided to breed this little pony,who at 4 yrs old
    has never been trained or handled.On the next road over,there is another breeder who has about 20 Paints in his yard ,all for sale.I am thinking..where are all these horses going to go …and more importantly for HOW LONG ? People
    seem to want to use up these animal’s youth,break them,and then destroy them when they become lame ,or start costing money..There are already great horses out there,that are already being put aside,for the next money winner…I think as a society,we need to learn to
    simply enjoy these animals,and also understand the
    committment that needs to be made to them.You bring up a good suggestion..for returning an unwanted horse to the breeder.We do that with Registered Dogs.
    Sadly,this past spring we were faced with
    having to euthanize one of or horses…I was so thankful,that we were able to do the whole process at home,with her in our arms(and her in her own surroundings)..and the cost..less than $300.If one owns a horse,with all the other expenses that can come into play,isn’t $300. and a soft voice,the least we can do for our special friends ?

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