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Unwanted Horses

I have seen a lot of articles and posts in blogs lately about horse slaughter in the USA. A large group within the equestrian community is against it (horse slaughter in the USA) but in my opinion there are a lot of aspects to consider.

The unwanted horses are still going to the kill pens and slaughter house, but will have a horrible long journey on top of this as they will be transported to either Mexico or Canada as slaughtering horses is now banned int he USA. The main problem is of course that there are too many unwanted horses in the USA. A good deal of them are coming form the race track, and with the medication they have had you do not want any of them in a food supply chain, not even for dog food! In Holland (where I come from) ALL horses are micro chipped so that medication can be registered. The rules for meat that is suitable for human consumption are very strict when it comes to medication. I assume therefore that most sportĀ  horses back home are no longer slaughtered but humanely euthanized or destroyed after which they are picked up by the destruction company. If this rule were to be applied in the USA, at least all horses from the race track that cannot be rehomed or retrained would face a much gentler end.

I read this week, I believe in an article in Sidelines, that some people in the US cannot afford or do not want to spend the #300 for euthanization. When you buy a horse in the first place, can you not put $600 aside? Either for emergency vet costs, or to save for the $300 when it has to end (+ $300 what you would have gotten at the kill pen)? If you do not have that $300 lying around, you are not a responsible horse owner! If you truly care about your horses you will have enough savings to properly take care of it.

Then there is breeding. A lady called me the other day looking for a big mare to match to her stallion. Of course we all make mistakes in the beginning of being a horse owner! We all think our own horse is the best, sweetest and prettiest and ooh what a cute foal would come of it. But unless your mare has a top pedigree, with good sport results with a good chance to improve the whole breed by giving it another foal: stop! (and even more so if you want to breed your unlicensed stallion!). Breeding in itself is expensive and risky and there is a good chance that you will not be able to sell your foals/young horses for more that what you already spent on them. It takes 4 years from the moment of breeding to actually riding the foal itself.

So if you guys back home in the US could work on the following: 1) implement rules for micro chipping to keep track of medication so that the large number of over medicated horses (racehorses, trotters, sport horses) are not even allowed to be slaughtered anymore; 2) educate home breeders 3) re open the slaughter houses in the USA so the horses that do face this end will not have to travel for thousands of miles to either Canada or Mexico 4) educate horse buyers on the costs of keeping a horse! Then as a last note: 5) I loved my OTTB’s that I got from CANTER New England, but I do see a lot of people trying to rescue horses that are severely lame, have badly bowed tendons or are too messed up in their head etc. If they can raise the money to keep them in their adoption centers, why can they not raise the money to offer them a humane end?

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