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Tutt
Dec. 30, 2008, 09:22 AM
I'm writing a short article for a high-style Washington DC magazine on unwanted horses.
Article will be in April issue, keyed to Ky Derby and Madeline Pickens and the mustangs.

I have two of those "unwanteds" and have read many of the rescue threads on COTH over the years.

With TBs, there certainly is more focus on the issue and some good things happening (Suffolk Downs, Old Friends, new book about rescue of Skip Away's brother, etc.) Wondering about other types of horses.

Would love to hear thoughts about a few issues:

1. What would be the best solutions to reduce/eliminate unwanted horses?

2. What's planned for Congress in 2009?

3. For rescues, are you more overwhelmed than ever? What do you need (money, obviously)? Is there enough land for all the horses?

4. Seems like there are folks (often COTH members) monitoring many of the auctions. Is this increasing? What percentage of horses sold at New Holland end up going to slaughter now? (what number would that average at a typical auction day there?)

5. Are there more/same number/fewer horses going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico? If more, is there concern this is less humane than had been in U.S.?

My email is cfdodge@msn.com if that's easier. Or pm or respond here.

Thanks!
Penny Loeb

Tazzie
Dec. 30, 2008, 09:23 AM
Tutt, Sorry that I don't have any answers or info for you, but I wanted to find out the name of the magazine so I can pick it up when the article comes out?

cowgirljenn
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:15 AM
You have email. :)

caffeinated
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:59 AM
2. What's planned for Congress in 2009?

5. Are there more/same number/fewer horses going to slaughter in Canada and Mexico? If more, is there concern this is less humane than had been in U.S.?


well, this is the kind of research you'll need to do :)

OK, seriously, as for #5, the numbers to Mexico have drastically increased since slaughter stopped in the US. In 2007, iirc, the number of horses sent to Mexico was well over 40,000, as compared to around 11,000 the previous year. I'm not sure where to find stats on Canada, but the USDA keeps a running total of the MX exports on their website.

here's the most recent one:

http://www.ams.usda.gov/mnreports/al_ls635.txt

Current YTD total horses going to MX marked for slaughter: 56,059
Last year at this date: 45,609

I imagine there was a similar giant increase in 2007 to Canada, and a similar increase over the course of this year as well, but I'm not sure how to get solid data on that (though you might be able to get real numbers from the actual slaughterhouses).

If you go here (http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/ams.fetchTemplateData.do?template=TemplateG&navID=MarketNewsAndTransportationData&leftNav=MarketNewsAndTransportationData&page=LSMarketNewsPageInternational) there are some reports for Canadian live animal imports, but those look like only weekly totals, and look suspiciously low to me (lots of horses going as "other" and nothing in the slaughter column).

As for #3, the biggest thing, I think, is money. I'm just a lowly volunteer with CANTER, but know that we can't take a lot of horses that people would like to donate because the money and facilities aren't there. That's several horses per week, not just the odd one here and there. It's kind of disheartening. And from my perspective it seems like interest in adopting is down right now, which puts a further bottleneck into it, because in order to take in horses, we have to move horses out.

Susan P
Dec. 30, 2008, 12:36 PM
I sent you an email with excellent contacts.

Tutt
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:13 PM
Thanks everyone!

It's Capitol File.

Not much of it's online.

It's mailed to upper income households in the DC metro area.
I haven't seen it in stores in western Loudoun, though I would think it's sold closer to DC.

If anyone wants to see the article, but can't find the magazine, I can mail a copy when it comes out.

archieflies
Dec. 30, 2008, 10:46 PM
You'll have to do some research to see how prevalent this is in other places, but I've always felt like a large part of the problem around here (rural east TX) is that the state only offers an ag exemption for horses if they are part of a breeding program. I see a lot of folks around here keeping sub-standard mares constantly in foal to sub-standard studs because if the land falls out of ag-use, they get hit with back taxes. The local weekly auction runs 60 or so horses, and many, many of them are under a year old, though I've not made an effort to find out if any/how many are bought by kill buyers.

I don't really know of a solution, but then, I'm not into politics. I hate the idea of the government licensing breeders, and I would hate to see legitimate breeders lose their exemptions.

I also don't see the property tax issues of (mostly poor) rural Texans being of extreme interest to the upper income households in DC, but I thought I'd throw those 2 cents in anyway. ;)

TBlitz
Dec. 31, 2008, 01:22 AM
The American Horse Council has information that you could use for your first couple questions. The Unwanted Horse Coalition surveys people to find information about unwanted and abadoned horses. Tha AHC also monitors legislation in Congress dealing with all aspects of the equine industry. Their headquarters is located in DC, so if that's where you're located, you could go talk to the people in charge of the issues that interest you.

http://horsecouncil.org/about.html

gieriscm
Dec. 31, 2008, 09:36 AM
TV station NBC25 (http://your4state.com/) out of Hagerstown, MD had a story this morning about a horse abandoned in town just this week. It wandered around town for a day or so before Animal Control picked it up. The story isn't on their web site yet, so it may take them a while to update it.

pony4me
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:01 AM
I see the lack of accessible, inexpensive euthanization and disposal services being a barrier. It is expensive to euthanize and remove a horse, so people abandon them, try to give them away (usually with no success) or neglect them until they die. In some areas, local laws prohibit burying a horse, leaving the owner with yet another problem.

As horrible as may sound, a euthanization and removal service might be the answer. Large van comes to farm. One section of van is a comfy, bedded box stall. Back section is a freezer box. Horse goes into stall, vet (or other professional) euthanizes horse, conveyor under stall floor moves horse to freezer. Van drives away to next scheduled stop. When full, van drives to facility that processes dead horses. Something on that scale would still cost the owner, but would be cheaper than individual euth and removal. Right now, I think we are at the same place package delivery was before FedEx. There's lots of room for improvement.

War Admiral
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:07 AM
What Archieflies said. Getting RID of that dadgum ag. tax break for breeders would be the best possible thing in the world!!!!!

caffeinated
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:14 AM
What Archieflies said. Getting RID of that dadgum ag. tax break for breeders would be the best possible thing in the world!!!!!

My worry is that it could be a double edged sword. Taking away ag tax breaks related to horses can cause a bunch of other problems making it harder to keep horses for everybody.

War Admiral
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:20 AM
My worry is that it could be a double edged sword. Taking away ag tax breaks related to horses can cause a bunch of other problems making it harder to keep horses for everybody.

I totally see where you are coming from, but over the last couple years I've come to the conclusion we've reached the point of no return on this one. :( If breeders will NOT breed responsibly, I just don't think we have any choice. :no:

Susan P
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:46 AM
I think this makes the most sense to me.

Also the euthanasia and disposal problem is important but honestly it's not any more costly than keeping a horse for another month or two so I feel that burden is used too often as an excuse rather than a real problem. If you can afford to keep a horse, then you can afford to euthanize and dispose of the body. The biggest part of that problem is that people doing it are leaving the business and few are around that do it. I think the local municipality should include it in their service, or whomever removes dead animals from the roads could do it if there is no other option available. If someone has enough land they should be allowed to bury their horse, just have a way of managing it, even if you pay a small permit fee, often posthumously. Or else there would have to be someone available 24/7 to offer the permit, just get a permission to bury permit for that possibility in advance. Sometimes horses die without euthanasia, mine did.





What Archieflies said. Getting RID of that dadgum ag. tax break for breeders would be the best possible thing in the world!!!!!

Susan P
Dec. 31, 2008, 11:47 AM
You are so right!



I totally see where you are coming from, but over the last couple years I've come to the conclusion we've reached the point of no return on this one. :( If breeders will NOT breed responsibly, I just don't think we have any choice. :no:

Tutt
Dec. 31, 2008, 04:20 PM
Yes. I spoke with the Unwanted Horse Coalition in DC yesterday. They are expecting to release the survey results on the number of unwanted horses in February.

equinelaw
Dec. 31, 2008, 08:13 PM
We had several threads on that survey. Many did not feel it was reliable or representative of what they thought. Many refused to even take it. Most who did take it already had preset conclusions that matched the desired results.

I think the best thread on COTH in recent years was a poll about slaughter if its was humane. The anonymous poll was quite different then when you read one of our lengthy battles where only the big mean dogs chose to post.

There are many unwanted horses because providing for them is not a top priority. People get rid of the horses before they get rid of their new cars, big screen TVs and sell everything they own of value.

Not only does supply far outweigh demand, but caring for the horse falls very low on the list of things that are absolute musts. They cant have it all, so they get rid of the horse.

I have been in financial hell for many years. I sold everything of value I owned to care for my horses until his dying day and gave up most other luxuries because I knew he would not find another home. That included no new cars, no DSL, no cable, no eating out, no hair dye or jewelry or retail anything for many years. It meant waiting on tables and working extra hours.

I see these people who say they are far too poor to care for their horses anymore as they stand in front of a new SUV and a house with a satellite dish and cry because they only have $1,000 for new Christmas presents for their kids. No way they go without cable for a year to pay for euthanasia and burial. That's just silly. A good house cleaning and eBay can raise the funds for the proper solution to an unwanted horse. Even a good yard sale or a trip the merchandise auction can if you are willing to part with your non-living luxuries.

I really think most of the large number of excess horses are in places were people know how to shoot and its legal to bury an animal. I just think they do not want to be sad or bothered to do so. I live in such an area. It was not until last month that I saw any Criegslist ads for free horses in a 3 city search.

I see no more starving horses then before--because they were always lots of those--but I do see many cheap horses that are advertised above auction prices. The problem does exist and its getting worse, but its not universal and I think many of problems will self correct when this generation figures out having a horse may mean no cell phone or Ipods or new TVs and they stop breeding horses just because the are soo cuuuttteeeee.

JSwan
Dec. 31, 2008, 09:11 PM
There are so many reasons a horse ends up "unwanted", it's hard to place the blame in just one place or a particular group of people.

One of the reasons people send a horse off to auction is because they operate a horse business. The animal has pecuniary value, even if that value is per pound. That's not my personal belief, I'm just stating a fact.

If you don't operate a business properly, especially an equine business, the IRS declares you a hobby. I can very well see the IRS not having a problem with a business owner receiving cash for assets, but I can see them having a problem with giving assets away, "re-homing", or performing other acts that are not in keeping with accepted business practices. Not as a regular part of doing business anyway. Accepted business practice is to send horses to auction. Not all auctions are hellholes.

The purpose of having a business it to make a profit. One way to omit horse slaughter as a viable option for business owners is to not punish them for making a more humane decision, which includes euthanasia.

I guess I could join in on the bandwagon and blame the breeders, but I've seen many a horse go through auctions and for every "fugly" out there, there were many more fine horses. I'm only speaking from my experience with auctions in my area. It's a large country and no doubt experiences and perspectives will differ.

If you're looking for a sound bite or a quick and easy read that points the finger at a great satan, no doubt you'll receive plenty of feedback that will make your piece very popular. Personally, I think this is a very complex subject with many causes, and many possible solutions. Not something to be discussed lightly.

If we're honest with ourselves, we'll admit that every horse owner is complicit. We're the ones who insist upon a certain breed, height, color, way of going, pedigree, and we're the ones that sell them or get rid of them when they don't measure up to our expectations, or become unsound or unfashionable. We also suffer devastating losses due to divorce, illness, death, or other circumstances largely beyond our control.

Horses don't come from the cabbage patch, and they certainly don't all end up with a nice retirement, though they all deserve it.

Complex issue, complex solution.

Good luck with your piece.

Tutt
Jan. 1, 2009, 02:29 PM
Thanks JSwan.
Well said. I'll try to qualify paragraph on reasons by saying they are complicated.

greysandbays
Jan. 1, 2009, 04:34 PM
I totally see where you are coming from, but over the last couple years I've come to the conclusion we've reached the point of no return on this one. :( If breeders will NOT breed responsibly, I just don't think we have any choice. :no:

And who are you (or anybody else) to say what is "breeding responsibly"?

JSwan
Jan. 1, 2009, 06:02 PM
Thanks JSwan.
Well said. I'll try to qualify paragraph on reasons by saying they are complicated.

You're welcome. I can think of one case that had it not been for quick thinking and a sleight of hand, two cute little ancient horses would have ended up in the kill pen. It was no one's "fault". The animals were not "unwanted". They weren't "fugly". There was no bad guy, no heartless scumbag. Just an old lady who died and a personal representative who didn't know anything about horses; and didn't know any better.

I can think of cases of horrible divorces. You know, the mean kind where spouses get back at each other, just out of spite. Horses are stolen. Women are told that drugs like Premarin are crucial to their health.

Then there are people who, well, are just pathetic excuses for human beings. They just need to be taken out back and shot. ;)

I was thinking that when I was a kid, TB's reigned. That's pretty much all I rode. If they didn't work out at the track, they became hurdle/chasers, field hunters, show hunters, eventers, dressage horses, pleasure horses - I mean these TB's did it all. I even rode them in lessons. Now look what we have, we have a breed for every possible permutation in horse sports. Horses bred for so much color they practically light up like a Christmas Tree at night. And today's horse owner demands PERFECTION.

More and more people take up riding later in life - they didn't grow up galloping madly about in hayfields on a retired TB. They can't ride those horses, they can't ride a proper xc course, they can't possibly "do" dressage on anything without a brand on its ass and a 5 figure price tag.

I'm not much of a TB person, as my body has failed I'm happy with my tubby draft crosses. But those are the byproduct of the Premarin industry. As Premarin production has waned, the "rescues" that saved the foals have created a whole new "adoption" industry. Now these crosses are being bred specifically for the consumer - who seems to like these animals as they are generally easier to ride than an OTTB.


I'm just tossing these thoughts out for you to contemplate. You mentioned Madeline Pickens. It's nice that she's taking in those mustangs, even if it's not a completely altruistic gesture. You've taken in a horse, I've taken in several horses, and many other people take in horses. Either at their own expense or as part of a nonprofit endeavor.

That's not really a comprehensive solution. The animal rights groups really have the only TRUE solution - a complete ban on the use of animals for any reason, including companionship. If the animals don't exist, there is no way for any living soul to abuse them.

I wouldn't care to live in such a world, personally.

If racetracks had programs to conduct mass euthanasia of horses that don't make it, is that cruel? It's done at tracks in Puerto Rico (or was at one time double check me on that). So, is it cruel to humanely euthanize an animal that is not wanted, or should we ship it around trying to find it a home?

It's one of the things that bugs me doing dog rescue. We've got dogs being shipped back and forth all over the damn country, and we think we're "saving" animals. Not really. It's a shell game. If we ship in a "rescued" animal from a shelter in GA, find it a home here, and a dog in a local shelter is euthanized instead..... exactly what good have we done? Both dogs were "unwanted", but the out of state dog was saved because someone made the decision that the out of state dogs life had greater value that a dog 3 miles away. And they'll often spend many thousands on vet bills returning that out of state dog to health, and leave a perfectly healthy local dog to die instead.

And yet, a dog rescue would consider that a "win".

Is it?

Like I wrote before, these are very complex issues and will have great variety depending on where we are. Horse issues may be quite different in a holler in KY than in northern California.

One thing I don't want to see is any change in the status of horses as livestock. Livestock is not a dirty word, and calling a horse by that name doesn't diminish its emotional value. I want horses to remain part of the fabric of agriculture. Keep them as pets if you want, that's ok. Breed them, sell them, compete with them. Or just pet them and feed them carrots. They needs the same space, zoning, feed, buildings and "stuff" other livestock species require. If we can come up with ideas that make the obvious choice "ship 'em to auction" less attractive, they may be more reasonable and workable solutions long-term.

As far as that survey goes, for some reason I didn't have trouble taking it, but I did get an error message halfway through, so I had to take it again. Perhaps there was some sort of software/hardware problem somewhere, or it was poorly designed. Dunno. Those things are fixed anyway - only a fool would take the results without many grains of salt. ;)

Susan P
Jan. 2, 2009, 01:07 AM
JSwan,
It seems to me if you had the opportunity to ride as a kid you were pretty fortunate. I didn't have that opportunity, no lessons, no horses, living in the Delaware suburbs with lower income, non animal loving parents I didn't even have a dog or cat most of my life. My parents did take vacations and I was lucky one was to Hidden Valley Dude Ranch where I got to trail ride daily and waited at the corral fence for another free horse so I could get an extra ride. My parents knew where they could find me, by the horses.

I think any child that is lucky enough to ride should be a grateful adult. I guess I should have snuck into Delaware Park Racetrack. Back then you could probably do that, but I didn't think you could.

You are right, today I have no riding skills like my friends who rode as children. :no: My horses have to settle for lots of hugs, I do have good animal skills, they trust me and come when they see me. It's not all bad.

Blueshadow
Jan. 2, 2009, 03:02 AM
You may want to start by defining what you mean by "unwanted". That would be a great start. For example, any horse that commands a positive (auction) price is economically "wanted" for some purpose, meat or otherwise - it is a "good" as opposed to a "bad".

Otherwise, I like all of JSwan's points. The fact is that an owner who seeks to obtain the "scrap" value of their horse from selling at auction or direct to slaughter when its commercial value is exhausted is simply running his or her business according to the usual principles of cost-minimization/profit maximization.

If you want to prevent that - you have to change the private incentives (I actually believe that is practically impossible, ie. some tax/subsidy plan on breeders or owners), or impose an encompassing policy that prevents the horse from going to kill. If you're going to do that (eg. anti-slaughter legislation), it has to be rationalized on the basis that it captures some public benefit associated with keeping the horse alive and finding it a good home. It's basic public goods anaylsis I think. If society values keeping horses alive rather than having them slaughered - but the private sector undersupplies that because no private agent can capture the gain from keeping the horse alive - then you have to legislate in order to increase the supply of live as opposed to slaughtered horses.

I'd reiterate that the idea that only fugly, illbred horses go to slaughter is a complete farce although it's become very fashionable to believe it. You cannot blame it all on backyard breeders. Some of the most prolific breeders of TBs, for example, are just as "responsible" by that criterion. I've bought at auction, or from a local kill buyer, beautifully bred horses whose yearling prices upon research average over $100,000. One of them is the most beautifully bred TB I've ever had the pleasure of - well, enjoying :) His yearling price was roughly 1/2 million dollars. His scrap value at auction was $175. Someone wanted their last $175 out of him. What do you do about that? You cannot change that fact. If you don't want him or any of his buddies dead, you have to a) change the law and b) deal with the fact that resources are needed to support them all, either in a better life and/or through humane euthanasia.

gwenrowdy
Jan. 5, 2009, 01:48 PM
Here's a birds-eye view for you from someone (Joe of TB Friends) who's right in the middle of it (In California, anyway). It sounds as if the meatmen can barely keep up.


Monday, January 5th... A direct quote from horse killer Manny Phelps: January will break all records. More horses will be taken to slaughter in Mexico and Canada than any other month in history. From Northern California at least 15 truck loads. Comes to around 300 horses.

At the feed lot in Wilton I found a warmblood stallion who has hardly been touched. He is a hunk, and willing to learn. A beautiful animal, and he cost us $340.00 to rescue.

At the feed lot in Wilton I found a cute thoroughbred mare, and she too has hardly been touched. It took 40 minutes to put on a halter, and once she arrived to our ranch it took another 40 minutes to lead her to a round pen. This was the day after New Years. Yesterday the mare cried when she saw me coming. Suddenly she is in our pocket, and what a sweetheart. The mare was a whopping $200.00 to rescue.

From the same feed lot in Wilton I found another thoroughbred mare. She is black and skinny, and probably a hundred years old. The mare has sore feet, and no doubt cushings. She carries herself with grace and pride. No need for her to be butchered. If euthansia is a must, she will go with dignity. $200.00 to rescue.

From a private home in Elverta I found a gorgeous black and white filly, and the owner said there is no money to feed her. The owner wanted $100.00, or he was going to shoot her. The filly jumped into the trailer like I jump into strawberry cheesecake. Readers of Tbfriends sent in over 4,000 names, and she looks like an Avaunt. So her new name is Avaunt.

From a private home in Orangevale I found a hungry dark bay thoroughbred gelding, and there is a racing tattoo which says he is 8. The owner said there is no money to buy hay, and Tbfriends can have him for free. You can easily imagine the possibilities with this horse. He is a looker. The daughter in the family cried and cried while we loaded him into the trailer. Not a pretty picture.

Animal Control from a zillion different counties all the time ask if we can take abandoned horses. One officer said they would need to charge us a storage fee.

Huh? Kind of like when grandma said we can have her antique hutch, only we must go pay three years worth of storage fees. Gee, how swell for us.

We begin the first Monday in January talking about numbers. Powerful numbers. Overwhelming numbers. Ranch foreclosures. Lesson barns out of business. Breeding farms closing their gates. Feed lots. Auctions. Private homes. Rodeos. Abandoned horses. Animal Control.

I keep thinking about the teenage girl in Orangevale who cried and cried as her horse was driven away. Her mom told her shut the f*** up.

We have watched families lose their ranches, and we have watched kids go hysterical. For many kids, horses are their most stable relationship. A horse would never tell you shut the f*** up.

One thing about horses. They know how to listen.

As little Allison Martino likes to say, keep on keepin on. All we can really do.

Joe

Tutt
Jan. 5, 2009, 04:27 PM
Thanks gwenrowdy for your first-hand report.
Heartbreaking!
USDA numbers confirm what you're seeing. Nearly 57,000 U.S. horses went to slaughter in Mexico in 2008. More than half of what had been slaughtered when U.S. had slaughterhouses. I know about Canadian transport, too, though numbers for slaughter are harder to find.
Wish there was more help for these horses.

gwenrowdy
Jan. 5, 2009, 04:33 PM
Thanks gwenrowdy for your first-hand report.
Heartbreaking!
USDA numbers confirm what you're seeing. Nearly 47,000 U.S. horses went to slaughter in Mexico in 2008. Just about half of what had been slaughtered when U.S. had slaughterhouses. I know about Canadian transport, too, though numbers for slaughter are harder to find.
Wish there was more help for these horses.


My post was from the daily TB Friends blog. TB Friends is a rescue/sanctuary in Woodland, CA.
http://www.tbfriends.com/

Although I'd love to meet Joe and Cathy, I don't think I could take a steady diet of what they see every day. Reading their blog is depressing enough, God bless 'em.
Good luck with your research.

Susan P
Jan. 5, 2009, 09:25 PM
WOW, :eek: what a story, thanks so much for sharing.



My post was from the daily TB Friends blog. TB Friends is a rescue/sanctuary in Woodland, CA.
http://www.tbfriends.com/

Although I'd love to meet Joe and Cathy, I don't think I could take a steady diet of what they see every day. Reading their blog is depressing enough, God bless 'em.
Good luck with your research.

MunchkinsMom
Jan. 5, 2009, 10:05 PM
What Archieflies said. Getting RID of that dadgum ag. tax break for breeders would be the best possible thing in the world!!!!!

I agree with that! I can't get the ag tax break which they do offer on folks with 10 acres of pasture for grazing because I only have 9 acres of pasture (FL laws). :mad:

And I won't get into breeding just for the tax break. But plenty of my neighbors do!

Personally, I would perfer if each state had at least one rendering facility, where the horses could be put down humanely, and have their meat used to feed zoo animals. That way the horses would not have to suffer for days on end on crowded trailers to either Mexico or Canada.

Daldove
Jan. 5, 2009, 10:42 PM
I've read a few threads on topics like this one. We've had this talk in my house several times...

People get upset with the idea of licenses for breeders. As a breeder, I actually like the idea. I believe that people who own stallions should be required to have a license for him/them. I feel that people who breed mares should be licensed in increments (ie: xx$ for 1-5 mares bred, xx$ for 6-10 mares bred, etc). The larger number of mares bred, the higher the license fee. I see TONS of breeders my area that have 50+ head that are bred year after year after year. Every mare foals out every year. None of the mares recieve care, non or foals recieve care and none are really that great a quality horse (IMHO). But this would take away the "you don't like my kind of horse which means it's not quality to you" issue. If you breed, you pay a fee for the license. If you have no license, you pay a HEAVY fine. Bottom Line. Hit them in the wallet.

I also believe that registeries should limit the number of foals any one person/breeder/group/etc could register. If you take away the profit margin for the breeders (ie: the racing industries are a HUGE factor here), they are less likely to breed so many horses!

And like it or not, the slaughter houses are needed until the number of horses in the US is under control. There is simply not enough homes to care for them all. No place for them to go = suffering animals. They Slaughter houses should be strictly regulated and controlled but they are a necessary evil right now. Certainly kinder then shipping them across the boarders! And now the folks responsible for shutting down the slaughter houses are trying to close the boarders to exporting horses for slaughter. So everything bred here will be staying here, suffering , abandoned, with no place for them to go. Thank you Mr. Pickens.

I know some will blast me for the above but they are my opinions. SOMETHING needs to be done. If you have better ideas, by all means put them out there so someone can DO something. Not just talk about it!

JSwan
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:31 AM
Personally, I would perfer if each state had at least one rendering facility, where the horses could be put down humanely, and have their meat used to feed zoo animals. That way the horses would not have to suffer for days on end on crowded trailers to either Mexico or Canada.

Try getting a rendering facility or small slaughterhouse through the zoning process without all hell breaking loose.

In theory it's a great idea, though animals euthanized chemically cannot be eaten. You have to shoot them, captive bolt, kosher/halal. But local processing facilities often get a great deal of flack from new residents who dislike having a slaughterhouse near them. Or if something like a crematorium or rendering facility is planned, people come up with all sorts of reasons against it. One good one I read is that the dead animals would carry bird flu and infect everyone. Yeah right.

I don't know how to overcome NIMBY. If there were more small processors within easy driving distance it would be better for all animals, not just horses. Unfortunately, those seem to be on the decline.

I'm not justifying slaughter or long distance travel, I'm just pointing out that I think most folks agree that more slaughterhouses/renderers are a good idea, it's that the general public usually objects.

county
Jan. 6, 2009, 09:55 AM
Rendering plants do not accept live animals its against USDA regs. We haul horses to slaughter in Can. and assure you they do not stay in trailers for days hell Can. is only 4 hours from here. I work in a cattle slaughter plant and we have loads come in from 1000 miles away. Those cattle spend way more time being hauled then the horses.

Susan P
Jan. 6, 2009, 12:44 PM
If a horse is able to be transported he could be taken directly to the zoo and be shot and then they could use the meat. Or if they can shoot the horse at home and take him directly and quickly to where the meat could be used it would work. I believe that there shouldn't be so many horses where you are doing this with young healthy ones. Even a sound aged horse should be respected and retired IMO.

I have over 10 acres but that's why we bought that much land. In PA the property taxes will kill you otherwise.




I agree with that! I can't get the ag tax break which they do offer on folks with 10 acres of pasture for grazing because I only have 9 acres of pasture (FL laws). :mad:

And I won't get into breeding just for the tax break. But plenty of my neighbors do!

Personally, I would perfer if each state had at least one rendering facility, where the horses could be put down humanely, and have their meat used to feed zoo animals. That way the horses would not have to suffer for days on end on crowded trailers to either Mexico or Canada.

matryoshka
Jan. 6, 2009, 05:43 PM
Tutt, if you haven't already, you might want to contact some local equine vets. I've heard (not directly, so not worth much) that local vets are finding horses in their paddocks used for treatments. One local guy has seen an increase in euthanasia because people can't afford to feed their horses anymore and don't want to risk them going to bad homes. It's all hearsay, but it might help to talk to local equine vets and get their take on the situation.

As a trimmer, what I notice is that the high feed prices are really causing a problem. If you could afford to feed four horses last year, you can now afford two. This makes it harder to keep the pensioners and lame (not suffering hugely) horses that we used to hold onto out of love. Feed prices are a big topic of conversation while I'm working, but maybe that's because they're hoping I'll give them a price break on their trims. ;)

I live near SusanP, and we do have a good, humane disposal service nearby. They will put a horse down on the spot if you ask, or if you can't stand to be there, they haul him to their place and euth him the same day. Around here, it is not as expensive as one might think. But people still have a hard time making that call.

Tutt
Jan. 7, 2009, 02:38 PM
Thanks. That's interesting about the vets.
Glad to hear of the humane euthenasia.

Valentina_32926
Jan. 7, 2009, 03:23 PM
I am receiving email about unwanted horses more and more every day - economy gets worse, animals are first to go. Older and unridable horses are the first.

Best thing to be stated in the article is that if you don't know/can't find someone you know well enough to give the horse to then it's best to put the animal(s) down or they will end up worse off then they are now - starved, meat market, etc... you get the picture. And that people should provide for their animals (not just horses) in their wills.