This came into my inbox last week. The author of these words is expressing her frustration with the issue of ‘too many mediocre’ horses. She raises some interesting points. I encourage you to offer feedback in the comments below.
Always and still a sensitive issue
If only EVERYONE who supported the closing of US slaughterhouses was willing to support JUST ONE horse (financially) through the 15-30 years of it’s life, there would NOT be the estimated quarter of a million horses EVERY year that are abandoned, abused, neglected or killed. It’s a subject that NO ONE wants to hear or think about.
There are new stories (that DO NOT make the news) every day of horses that are being left to starve to death in their barns, fields, woods, or are being turned out onto someone else’s land hoping that they will survive, or abandoned in desolate areas such as “KY”s mine lands”, BLM ranges and other open spaces, etc. With the current economic state of affairs, there is very little hope for an improvement for this dilemma.
I’m sure this won’t be a viewpoint shared by many. Personally, I believe that closing the US slaughterhouses was one of the worst things that ever happened to horses in this country. The ONLY plus I see to closing them is that it put a few people out of business who were breeding horses for quantity rather than quality, knowing that there would always be a market for their leftovers.
Too Many ‘Mediocre’ Horses
However, on the other side of the coin, now there are way too many mediocre to poor quality horses on the market from every Tom, Dick and Harry that has (specifically) a quarter horse or paint stud that they probably just forgot to get gelded, and the neighbor who is equally clueless just happens to have a mare.
Suddenly they have a mediocre foal that they forgot would have to be fed for 4 years before they could DO anything fun with it. So, off to the auction barn it goes. I saw a perfectly lovely medicine hat paint filly, 3 years old, with 30 days training, go for $15 at auction here recently. Why? Because there were SO MANY horses in that sale, that she was just one more paint.
People are turning out horses on the BLM lands here. The result? The horses try to join a herd and get beaten up within an inch of their lives, or they simply starve or die of dehydration because they have absolutely no idea where the water is. Sometimes the mares get accepted to a herd, and they promptly get bred and foal, and add to the mustang population problem.
Reopen the Slaughter Houses
Reopen the slaughter houses and people who cannot afford to feed their horses will want to make a few bucks and the horses will be humanely killed, rather than abandoned, or abused, or dropped off in a neighbors field to become someone elses problem. In a relatively short period of time, the supply of extra horses will drop, horse prices will go back up, and good breeders will be able to get a good price for a good horse.
Yes, some horses get stolen for slaughter. Yes, some mustangs get rounded up secretly and taken to slaughter. Protect your own horses with good fences and microchips, and lay heavy penalties on mustang thieves, but do not destroy the entire horse market because of an emotional attachment to an entire species. I LOVE GOOD horses. I breed a FEW select, excellent horses every year.
Yes, it would bother me to know that one of my foals ended in a slaughterhouse, but when I sell them, I LET THEM GO. I cannot take responsibility for every horse I ever sold. I do let people know that the horse can come back to me should they be unable to care for it, and I will find another placement for it. In all my years of breeding, only one has come back because of a divorce, and she is the dam of our top scoring yearling this year.
I get good prices for my horses. They are worth it and people take better care of something they had to make a sacrifice to obtain. My horses are not just another pasture ornament. Reopen the slaughterhouses, let some of the garbage be removed from the species and let horses, once again, become worthwhile members of the family for people who can afford to care for them.
Ok, I am stepping off my soapbox now. Thank you for your time. Please, if you intend to flame me with accounts of how inhumane equine slaughterhouses are, please don’t. I have been dealing with starving domesticated horses all summer that were tossed out onto public lands and mustang range. Trust me.
These horses would rather have met a bullet BEFORE they could experience this degree of suffering. The ones we ALMOST found in time haunt me. They suffered and suffered and suffered, and finally met relief at the end of a gun where they lay.
About the Author of this post:
I have been training horses since I was given a rotten, mean outlaw 4 year old pony cross when I was 8. She stayed a rotten, mean outlaw, but at least she could be ridden when my folks sold her. I have loved horses my entire life and have never been without at least one since that pony mare. I breed a few exceptional horses every year, but do not believe in indiscriminate, backyard breeding unless the breeders intend to keep every horse they produce for the rest of that horse’s life.
I don’t know who this is. I can’t get in direct contact with her. I have her email and have let her know I’ve made this post. If she checks in she will see your comments.