I first heard about it when reading Joe's writings at tbfriends.com. He did the math on 140000 horses going to slaughter and it works out to roughly 383 horses per day. Then a friend posted the actual link on facebook which I ended up reading. Here are some points that I thought were interesting or totally disagreed with. :)
"Horse breeders and the owners of livestock auctions say that eliminating slaughter basically removed the floor for horse prices, allowing the market to collapse and forcing many out of the business. One reason, they say, is that owners are now forced to pay hundreds of dollars to euthanize and dispose of unwanted horses when they used to receive about that much to sell them to slaughterhouses."
If horse breeders have been forced out of the market because slaughter is not as easy of an option, they should never have been breeding in the first place! Also, it doesn't have to cost thousands of dollars to euthanize a horse and dispose of it. A bullet could just as easily do the job, and a horse can be disposed of at the landfill for around $150. If you can't afford that, you should never owned a horse in the first place.
"The United States, much of it settled on horseback, has never really taken to eating horse except in times of need. But elsewhere, the meat — lean and protein-rich — is prized as a delicacy. Selling to a slaughterhouse has long been a way to make some money, to get rid of an old or unwanted horse no longer able to perform at a racetrack, show ring or ranch."
Doesn't slaughter seem like the logical way to get rid of horses that can no longer perform at a racetrack, show ring, or ranch? How about finding a new career for these animals? Many people believe that the only horses that go to slaughter are lame or crazy. That is simply not true. Many thoroughbreds come off the track and are sent directly (or almost directly) to feedlots or auctions before being shipped to slaughter. These are young healthy horses with loads of potential. Or we could go the other direction and look at an old horse that is lame. Most likely that horse is lame from years of work for someone. People need to step up and take care of these animals that have served them well over the years. If they have no value to the people who have used them up who will they have value to? Unfortunately in our society people are looking for the easy way out.
"Now owners have to pay to get rid of horses. Debby Brehm, director of the Nebraska Quarter Horse Association, spent $200 last month to euthanize a sick horse and $150 more for it to be hauled to a rendering plant. Other owners keep them but are unable to bear the thousands of dollars a year it can cost to feed and care for them. As a result, the sight of malnourished animals is familiar, Ms. Brehm said, and stories abound of horses abandoned on public and private land and even, in one audacious case, in someone else’s horse trailer."
I love that they quote someone from the Quarter Horse Association as they are one of the worst over breeding organization and are definitely pro-slaughter. Notice that is cost $350 to slaughter and dispose of a horse but....people are unable to bear the thousands of dollars a year that their horse's care can cost. Come on! If you honestly can't care for you old (possibly unrideable) partner anymore then spend the money and have them euthanized. Why would you ever sentence them to being hauled to a slaughter plant. Think of how stressful hauling is for many horses, and then pack them in a trailer with lots of other horses and ship them long distances only to kill them. That's how I want my horse to spend it's last days. Not!
"The Southeast Nebraska Livestock Auction used to sell about 100 horses every month, but now that may be the total for a year, said Dale Steinhoff, the owner. At Central Nebraska Packing, which used to slaughter horses but now buys more than one million pounds of horsemeat a year for sale to zoos, the meat is far more expensive when imported from Canada, said Lloyd Woodward, general manager.
And, even as they pay less, those who buy the animals for slaughter — a group known as “kill buyers” — say they are struggling to cover their cost
'The Mexicans are getting rich off us,' said Derry Mayfield, who buys about 40 horses a month and sometimes has them given to him for no cost. 'They’re buying these horses
cheap because they can. We have no other options.'"
I do understand that there are economics involved here. I believe horse slaughter either needs to be completely shut down (no export of horses for slaughter) or plants do need to be re-opened in the US. Ultimately that would be more humane for our horses and may help improve the economy. The problem of too many horses is not going to go away on it's own. But, people need to wake up and quit over breeding horses along with stepping up to care for their current horses.Networking needs to be done for these unwanted horses. As someone who is currently shopping for a horse I can tell you that a lot of people aren't giving nice horses away. Many horse in my opinion are over-prices and under trained. Why aren't these unwanted horses being advertised for free? People need to understand that horses do cost a lot and they live a long time. If you can't make the commitment then don't buy a horse!