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  • Well said, Mistyblue. This indeed is a major concern of people who own horse farms, train, board, or compete.

    There are many politicians, zoning folks and developers that would just love for horses to be reclassified - and we're helping them by not thinking of the big picture.

    There is a thread just now on taxing horses in CT, and the current Bill in committee in the House emphasizes the horse as an animal used "primarily for pleasure, recreation and sport" - not as livestock or working animals - which indeed many of them are.

    Pets are being subjected to taxing and higher licensing fees throughout the country - this is going on right now. We don't want horses to be considered a "luxury item" of personal property, nor do we want them to be classifed as "pets" - which would eliminate the land use/ag status of horse farms, boarding stables, show facilities - and have many unintended consequences.

    This is not a pro/anti slaughter issue - this is common sense, plain and simple. You can ban horse slaughter and still keep the horse classified as livestock - but that Bill isn't helping matters......
    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
    -Rudyard Kipling


    • Jetsmom - it doesn't have to. But if you've ever owned your own business - you should know that the IRS insists you make a profit or cut your losses or be considered a hobby. I think we all agree that the big jump in slaughter numbers a few years back was because the IRS clamped down on horse businesses....

      Regardless - the IRS code doesn't have much to do with what MB said - it's true that in many localities people in power are looking at horse farms and seeing dollar signs. A developer would love for horse farms to lose their land use valuation. That is not the purview of the IRS - but of the locality.

      Setting precendents like the language in that Bill does nothing to further the assertion that horses are livestock. It's a gradual erosion - and at the local level - such taxes are already occuring and more are proposed.

      Originally posted by jetsmom
      MB- could you show me where in the tax code it states that horses must be slaughtered to be considered livestock, and where an ag business must have livestock in order to reap any tax benefits. The reason I ask is that if you read pg 4 of the link provided, they are pretty convincing that the above is not true.
      Since we don't consider horses food animals, and they are still livestock, it should make no difference to ban slaughtering them. THe sale of horse meat in this country is illegal as it is. Yet they are considered livestock.
      Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
      Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
      -Rudyard Kipling


      • I'm afraid this is all too true..

        Originally posted by MistyBlue
        Not to throw another stick on the fire...however...another thing not being considered very well (possibly not at all) in the stopping of equine slaughter is:
        If we stop equine slaughter we are in effect saying equines aren't livestock.
        If equines aren't livestock...the governement of each and every state can and most definitely WILL tax the living snot out of each and every private horse owner and equine business.
        Boarding barns, training barns, etc will no longer be farmland or ag businesses. They'll need to be reclassified as Business Property and thus taxed as such. Do you know the difference between business/commercail property taxes of large acreage and ag taxes? It's enough for private owner to sell their animals and boarding barns to either close down or double,triple and in some states even quadruple their board rates to cover their massively inflated taxes. Dumping tons more horses into a system where truly now only the elite can afford them.
        My property taxes alone, on 4.5 acres of CT land will go from $5200 annually to $9600. Not to mention the actual tax on my once livestock and now luxury/hobby item. CT is already fighting tooth and nail to stop property taxes on equines...the state is trying to liken them to boats and the like. We're fighting the tax not just because it's wrong...but because you can not tax livestock.
        Do we really want to stop equines from being livestock? If so, then they can't be slaughtered at livestock plants...and most of us on here cannot own them either. And forget trying to afford board anymore if you board yours out.
        And a real possibility! Everyone want a law against something, well If we are not very careful we will legislate ourselves right out of our freedom that we take for granted. Everyone want to "Make a law" well that can really backfire on us all, horsepeople, americans in general. Its a really slipperyslope. one that we need to be very careful about.
        Some people may not think that something like banning slaughter could cause any reprocussions, I think it would be a poiticians dream, Look at what CT is trying to do. Be careful what one wishes for. I think that is a very real point that Mistyblue brought up.


        • Those of you who live places where your horses qualify as "livestock" and your property is taxed as 'ag exempt' are lucky. It isn't like that everywhere.

          In many counties in Texas (not all, but many), if you own horse property, you do not qualify as ag. exempt unless you are breeding & selling horses. Owning horses isn't enough. Showing isn't enough. In some places running a training business isn't enough.

          Horses themselves aren't taxed, but the property sure is. ( I know, I'm not ag. exempt here!).

          Horses are not treated the same as livestock - no matter what the USDA (either in their NAIS-promoting guise or in their slaughterhouse-protecting guise) say. They are treated like livestock when it is convinient for the government, and they're treated like non-livestock when it is convinient.
          Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

          Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com


          • MB- could you show me where in the tax code it states that horses must be slaughtered to be considered livestock, and where an ag business must have livestock in order to reap any tax benefits.
            Okay, finally not getting the "refresh" page again when I try to post.
            Jetsmom...a horse doesn't require being slaughtered to be thought of as livestock. However, it's definitely a huge step in the direction of reclassifying them. And it won't be to pet status because pets aren't taxed. Pets also don't require acreage, useable acreage that can make a lot more money as something else.
            A boarding barn or training barn needs to have livestock on it if it is an ag zoned. Otherwise it must have some form of agriculture...food plants, cattle, pigs, chickens, etc. It's not equines that are required but some form of ag business to retain it's ag status. Not many boarding barns or training barns are going to start an egg or dairy business or grow corn on their acreage to keep their ag/farm status.

            if you own horse property, you do not qualify as ag. exempt unless you are breeding & selling horses. Owning horses isn't enough. Showing isn't enough. In some places running a training business isn't enough.
            Cowgirljean, same here in CT. If you're ag zoned in order to be considered ag for tax purposes as an equine business, you must be breeding or selling equines. Which is why so many boarding barns and training centers also bring in horses themselves to re-sell...I can't name a single decent training or show facility in my area that doesn't also list equines for sale or breed a couple annually to maintain their ag status.
            Also, where are we getting our horses if not from the breeding or sales places? Even auction and backyard horses were bred somewhere at some point. The issue isn't so black and white...there's a whole lot of gray in there that few are taking notice of...and even fewer are projecting what impact changes made now will have in the future. It doesn't always seem like something as horrible as current slaughter conditions are being stopped will impact almost every equine owner, big or small, in this country. But it can, very easily. Kind of like the butterfly effect. One ripple can cause a tidal wave. Following legislation (on most things, not just farming and ag and livestock issues) shows how this happens...many to most smaller issue changes that are changed aren't done so with just the public's opinion in mind...they're done to start setting new precedents that will ultimately make more income at a later date or be a bigger benefit somehow.
            Right now the gov is indeed treating equines in whichever capacity benefits them the most at any certain time. Some of us are trying to change that and come up with a definite classification for equines across the board. By saying, "Oh, I'm not a big breeder or sales barn" or "My place isn't zoned ag anyways" can very easily change your actual enjoyment of equines at a later date even if you aren't directly impacted at the time of changes made. The ripples those changes cause (that we won't even see) will keep spreading and growing until most of us are hit with a tidal wave we never saw coming, yet one we ourselves helped put into motion.
            You jump in the saddle,
            Hold onto the bridle!
            Jump in the line!


            • Originally posted by jetsmom
              MB- could you show me where in the tax code it states that horses must be slaughtered to be considered livestock, and where an ag business must have livestock in order to reap any tax benefits. The reason I ask is that if you read pg 4 of the link provided, they are pretty convincing that the above is not true.
              Hi jetsmom - I just read the link you provided for The Fourth Wall's white pages prepared for the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation and I agree, it does refute the responses you received about banning slaughter causing tax consequences for horse owners. Unfortunately, the information cannot be cross-posted, but here is the link again, for anyone who has questions about this point: http://www.trfinc.org/news/TRF_WhitePaper.pdf
              "There's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man" ~ Sir Winston Churchill


              • I don't think anyone asserted that - I think people who work on legislative issues at the state level have seen a gradual erosion of horses as agricultural which thinking has indeed resulted in taxation, loss of land use status, etc.

                The language in the Bill emphasizing the horse as an animal used primarily for pleasure drives home that point at the national level and lends it credence. This recital should be omitted from the Bill.
                Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                -Rudyard Kipling