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If slaughter is banned, what happens to all the unwanted horses?

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  • If slaughter is banned, what happens to all the unwanted horses?

    What is going to happen with all the unwanted horses that currently end up in these slaughter houses if slaughter is banned in the US?
  • Original Poster

    What is going to happen with all the unwanted horses that currently end up in these slaughter houses if slaughter is banned in the US?


    • #3
      Go look at the Sen Ensign on CSPAN2 thread on pg 4 of this forum. It pretty much answers that question.

      A brief explanation is that we have horse slaughter not because there is an excess of horses but because there is a demand for horse meat for human consumption overseas, and foreign companies that have slaughter houses here (and those that buy horses for slaughter, sell horses for slaughter and transport for slaughter) make a profit from it. Saying they are slaughtered to control the excess is like saying we slaughter pigs, cows and chickens because we have too many...we slaughter them because people want to eat them.
      In the late 80's we slaughtered over 300,000 horses. Now we slaughter about 60,000 per yr. THere hasn't been a huge increase in unwanted horses as a result. During 2 yrs in the 90's we decreased slaughter by about 60,000 (about the amount currently being slaughtered). There was no huge unwanted horse problem.
      The horses being slaughtered are not all old, crippled or dangerous horses. Check out CBER's website for examples of what is being slaughtered...

      In fact over 80% of the horses slaughtered are healthy, usable horses. They are not unwanted, just unlucky enough to have been sold to killer buyers.


      • #4
        Excellent question, and one that is given short shrift by the anti-slaughter faction. Many of the horses that end up at slaughter are there because their owners don't want/can't use them anymore - whether old, unsound, or whatever. Anyone can own a horse in this country, and not everyone is the conscientious caretaker that we all (presumably) are. These owners are not that concerned about their animals, and some of them, if the slaughter option is removed, will just neglect them to death. Literally. If they can't make any money off these animals, their thinking goes, they sure as heck will not SPEND any money on them. As we all know, the rescue organizations are stretched beyond their capacity now. Thousands of horses that were bound for slaughter will now be thrown into that system, where some number (fill in your own blank) will fall through the cracks, and die very slowly of neglect. There are problems with the transport of horses to slaughter, and also problems with slaughtering them (although that situation has improved drastically in recent years - read Temple Grandin's books), but if reality is faced, one realizes that death by starvation or thirst is a LOT slower and perhaps more agonizing than anything that might happen to a horse on its way to the slaughterhouse.

        Having said all that, and while I don my asbestos suit, let me also say that I have gone and am going to great lenghts to make sure my horses, whether current or former, do not end up in this situation.
        ~~Liz Williams, Snickersville Hounds~~

        "I'll thank the Lord the life I've led Was always near a Thoroughbred"
        -Paul Mellon


        • #5
          I expect many will end up at the rendering plant instead.
          If you are allergic to a thing, it is best not to put that thing in your mouth, particularly if the thing is cats. - Lemony Snicket


          • #6
            I agree totally with Hopefully. It is a reality that the anti slaughter folks DON'T want to realize. There IS no easy answer to this, and yes the responsible owners are also the ones makign sure that unwanted hroses aren't brought into the world, but it is those "others" who breed indiscriminantly, hoping to make a quick buck and therefore we have these hroses that no one wants.


            • #7
              Even with slaughter as an available option, there is still way too much neglect out there. Therefore, the people who neglect their animals aren't necessarily the same people sending them to slaughter. Though I agree there is a business aspect to it, you can't compare horses to cows, pigs, and chickens that are SPECIFICALLY BRED to be slaughtered. I don't know of any circumstance where a horse was brought into this world solely for its meat. That ia a financially losing proposition!

              I really don't know what may happen to those horses that otherwise would have been slaughtered, but I do believe that euthenasia or even a bullet to the head (as gruesome as that may be) has to be better than a multi-day foodless, waterless trip on a double decker trailer and a crushed skull.

              Now I really do worry about the horses that may get smuggled into Canca or Mexico to be sluaghtered.


              • #8
                Until it happens no one knows for sure but I don't think its going to be a positive for the overall horse markwet. Anytime you take away part of a market for a product it doesn't help bring prices up for that product overall. I don't see rescues taking in even more horses they seem to be full up at least around here. I don't see people like myself buying any again if theres no chance to recover costs to take in the next ones. I'm guessing some will just stand around till they die. Some will be left unwanted, some will be hauled to sales and let go for what ever they bring.
                Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                • #9
                  well, you did say earlier that you thught there would be no real increase in abuse? i don't want to put words in your mouth, honstly i don't remember exactly what you said.

                  some stand around and die now, don't they?that's not gonna change.


                  • #10
                    Hopefully...The people selling to slaughter are not the people abusing/neglecting horses. We have had horse slaughter available for years and yet we have people starving/abusing horses. By your reasoning we shouldn't have that now.
                    In fact when horse slaughter was outlawed in CA in 98, abuse/neglect rates DROPPED. And in Illinois, for the year that Cavel was shut down due to fire, horse abuse/neglect cases dropped.
                    Horse abuse/neglect is illegal in every state. People selling horses to slaughter, supporting or working in the slaughter industry are not a bunch of law breakers. You are not suddenly going to turn a bunch of people into animal abusers/lawbreakers by taking away slaughter. You will still have the same people that are now neglecting horses, doing it after slaughter is banned.
                    Less than 1% of horses sold to slaughter are owner turn in's/drop offs. Most of the other horses sold to slaughter are done so by sending them to an auction that doesn't exactly advertise the fact that killer buyers are present. Right now, a horse that brings a low bid with no reserve has been given a death sentence that the owner selling the horse may not be aware of. Without slaughter, that horse now has a chance. If you own an undesireable horse with no redeeming qualities (pedigree, training, performance, conformation, health, etc) except that they are big, you won't get much money for it after the slaughter option is gone. Which is as it should be. If you want more money for a horse, put some training into it, get it healthy etc. If a horse is too permanently crippled to live pain free, you should humanely euthanize it. You will save future board/upkeep costs. It costs the same to feed a healthy horse as a crippled one.


                    • #11
                      Oh I don't think abuse or neglect will increase those type people will do so regardless of what a horse is worth. I do think a number of neglected and abused horses will not get out of their situation though because of slaughter being banned.
                      Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                      • #12
                        <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Saying they are slaughtered to control the excess is like saying we slaughter pigs, cows and chickens because we have too many... </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                        I don't believe this is accurate at all. Pigs, cows and chickens are raised to be slaughtered. For the most part, and I realize there might be exceptions, horses are NOT raised to be slaughtered.

                        There are folks I know who would never send their horse to auction, and folks who do. I have things in common (everything from "world view" all the way to horse feeding/training methods) with folks in both camps. There is no black and white. If someone brings their horse to an auction and there are no kill buyers there, what will happen? Someone else will get the horse for a ridiculously low price, or it won't sell at all. Some of the people who buy horses for ridiculously low prices are good people looking for a deal -- some shouldn't own horses. Some people whose horses don't sell (at auction or anywhere else) will continue to give them exemplary care till they do sell; others will neglect them or abandon them or give them away. By eliminating slaughter as an option, we have removed one outlet in the economic equation, and this will cause swelling in another area. I doubt it will be a good one.
                        Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.


                        • #13
                          Jetsmom I agree with almost everything in your post except that abused horses will now have no chance or very little chance to be bought by people like me. Most of those end up in good homes a few go to a sale. Now if theres no chance to recover costs they stay in the abused home. And the numbers of cases in CA. and Ill. are spun by both sides to show what they want.
                          Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                          • #14
                            The way I see it is when you are alive, you have a chance of a "good" life, even if things are bad at stages in your life.

                            When you are walking down the plank to your death, your chances are slim to none.

                            It should mean I can work harder now to stop neglect as I won't need to work on the slaughter issue any longer.


                            • #15
                              <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by Rodeio:
                              What is going to happen with all the unwanted horses that currently end up in these slaughter houses if slaughter is banned in the US? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                              I imagine that many of them will still die, they just won't end up on a plate in France or Belgium.
                              They'll become Alpo or they'll get a bullet in the head and be buried in a field.
                              Creo que el mundo es bello,
                              que la poesÃ*a es como el pan, de todos.


                              • #16
                                All I know, is I'm not buying or selling any more horses for a VERY LONG TIME, so I'm not going to worry about the horse market anymore, or what is going to happen to my horses I have now. If I sell again, it will be because of divorce (which I don't see happening), or disability (of myself). I don't care if the horse breaks it's leg, as long as it can walk around, they're here to stay (unless Cujo kills another one of my animals!, but I know he would not be going to slaughter for a VERY LONG time)

                                Maybe one of these days I can realize my dream to have a rescue for old horses, so I could take on some then! Plan: 8 years, moving WAY out, alot of acreage, and ALOT of old "unwanted" and "unusable" horses just moping about, munching on hay, enjoying their last days in comfort, not having to do anything, and having nothing but th best and kindness before they go.

                                Can I just get a wee tad off topic here?

                                Here is something I came across today that is a small micro-victory, in our department. Please take a look at the new AQHA unwanted horse article, revised and certainly more politcally correct than the one with the flies buzzing around the face:



                                • #17
                                  Huh? What "unwanted" horses are you talking about? Do you mean horses that are for sale at auctions? hmmm..I thought they were called sale horses!

                                  Surely you dont think that because a horse is offered for sale by one owner that it should be labled "unwanted"? I have sold hundreds of horses in my life at all price levels, and not one of them was "unwanted" they were just simply for sale.

                                  Does this mean that classified ads will now read "Unwanted Horses" instead of "Horses for Sale"?

                                  No Horses to Slaughter Clique


                                  • #18
                                    County- I don't understand why you say that you wouldn't have a chance to buy/recoup your money..

                                    For example...I think you agree that not having slaughter removes the basis for the bottom of the market. (currently, weight).
                                    Now the bottom of the market will be determined by the desirability of the horse based on pedigree, performance, training, conformation, health, manners, availability. So a well bred, but skinny abused horse without much training, will still bring a small amount. If you buy that horse for very little, get him healthy and put some training into him, you should get a profit. Your horse should bring more money than a fat unbroke draft.
                                    Prices are relative. If you can buy for less, because you aren't bidding against slaughter buyers, then, even though the prices of horses have dropped a little, you will still realize an over all profit if you have improved the desirability your purchase.
                                    I don't think you are buying a skinny abused horse, fattening them up with no training with the intention of running them back through the sale to be sold for slaughter at a higher price because they weigh more. At least that is what I gathered from your previous posts.


                                    • #19
                                      <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by onthebit12000:
                                      Huh? What "unwanted" horses are you talking about? Do you mean horses that are for sale at auctions? hmmm..I thought they were called sale horses!

                                      Surely you dont think that because a horse is offered for sale by one owner that it should be labled "unwanted"? I have sold hundreds of horses in my life at all price levels, and not one of them was "unwanted" they were just simply for sale.

                                      Does this mean that classified ads will now read "Unwanted Horses" instead of "Horses for Sale"? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

                                      I think you're being delibrately obtuse.
                                      The OP never said that all Auction/For Sale horses are unwanted.
                                      Creo que el mundo es bello,
                                      que la poesÃ*a es como el pan, de todos.


                                      • #20
                                        Actually most the neglected horses I've bought aren't even halter broke much less trained for anything. And alot aren't reg. although could be if a person wanted to spend more then I could possably get for the horse. To me a neglected horse is just that training and breeding never enter into the picture if I buy them or not. I just hate to see neglected animals period sometimes its cattle I buy
                                        Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.