AMHA and horse slaughter

Other horse blogs are lit up with discussions on the new law authorizing funds for USDA inspection of horse slaughter facilities in the US.   I don’t want to stir up needless controversy, but does AMHA have an official position on this, or are they considering one?

The APAHA (Arabian Prof and Amateur Horseman Assoc) has come out with a pro-slaughter statement.   Not the best-reasoned statement, apparently.  

My impression has been that the Morgan breed is small enough that when an instance of abuse/need of rescue arises, we try to take care of our own messes.  In some parts of the country, however, rescues are overwhelmed and the argument goes that if slaughter houses could re-open, then a lot of the excess unwanted horses could be removed and the marketplace for the average horse would improve.  (There are some fundamental flaws in that logic, but I am not going there right now).

11 Responses to AMHA and horse slaughter

  1. nickhand7528 says:

    APAHA worded there letter more to the finance side of things but they are right. The ban was passed with the input of horse owners and not by the professionals of the industry. Examples of this can be seen by looking back at the groups that were against the ban in the first places. This ban was put into place by people who let there feelings cloud there judgement. They listen to people who mostly do not work with horses and who used videos of slaughter houses in other countries. And when a a professional would stand up and say the ban should not go into place they would be told they just want to make more money. Read the letter the AAEP wrote about the problem with the ban. The problems they point out are the very reasons the ban was lifted. If we fix the problems they talk about the ban would have worked better.

  2. leslie says:

    I could be misremembering, but I thought the AMHA had taken a stance along the same lines of what you describe. They aren’t officially for or against, but that they advocate Morgan owners/enthusiasts taking care of at-risk Morgans.

    I hadn’t heard about the APAHA statement, but (and again, I might have dreamed this) I thought the AHA had released a pro-slaughter statement, then retracted it when many of their members responded angrily.

    The AQHA is notoriously pro-slaughter, and that raises some eyebrows. They practically encourage overbreeding of their horses, then come out in support of this garbage disposal for the excess. And it’s not as if the vast market for Quarter Horses absorbs the result of overbreeding; more Quarter Horses go to slaughter than any other breed. Meanwhile, the AQHA makes money every time a horse is registered with them.

    I’m not suggesting that the AQHA is staffed by a bunch of money-grubbing horse-haters. I’m sure they love their horses just as much as the rest of us. But the whole picture just seems like poor PR for an organization that is generally pretty good at it.

    I have my own opinions on the slaughter issue, but for member-driven organizations like the AMHA, I think the wise way to go is to do what the American Horse Council has done. Acknowledge that there are many different opinions on the issue within your member base, and therefore do not take a public stance on the issue.

    I feel compelled to point out that calling it a “new law authorizing funds…” is misleading. There’s no new law. It was simply a few sentences that were left out of an enormous spending bill that included appropriations for agriculture, transportation, housing and urban development, and a bunch of other things. Funding for horsemeat inspections isn’t included in the bill. It just isn’t expressly prohibited as it has been for the past five years. Once the bill was out of conference committee, it could not be amended, and it had to pass in order to keep funding the federal government.

    I just think it’s important to keep it in perspective. This was such a huge bill and the horse slaughter issue was such a small part of it (or rather, not even part of it.) I’m sure the issue didn’t even enter the minds of most of the representatives when they voted for it or Obama when he signed it. With the way some of the discussions in the comment sections sound, you’d think the president had signed a bill mandating all Americans eat horse steak for Christmas dinner.

  3. Leslie: You are correct, it was a very small part of the overall spending bill and the blogs which are going crazy have lost perspective.
    On the other hand, I heard a serious horse breeder contend in the last few days that in 18 months, the horse market is going to rebound because of all the horses that would be going to slaughter.
    I am torn like a lot of people: there are horses which cannot find homes, and rather than abandonment, they should be euthanized. Using the carcass for a purpose makes sense, but I think the real problem is the lack of a consistent, humane means of slaughter. There are some real horror stories out there which are well documented. Also, the horses which have been abused and starved are not the ones acceptable as slaughter animals (buyers tend to want nice fat QHs). So there are reported instances of these unacceptable horses being shoved out into the desert before the transports cross the border into Mexico.

  4. AMHA seems to have avoided many of the problems that the larger organziations have. It seems our smaller size keeps the organization more transparent, personal and individuals are accountable for their actions. I think a great part of our breed’s succes is that our halter horses usually go on to be great performance horses and our judges, breeders and exhibitors need to to keep up the good work of producing good using horses. While I do not want a 1/2 Morgan registry I support the 1/2 Morgan Awards and hope it will add value to the halfies that are out there. Forever Morgans has a bunch of good ones! I hope AMHA and its members continue pulling Morgans from bad situations. You can easily find ‘unwanted’ morgans with big breeders attached to their registered names, hopefully these horses are rescued by those that originally bred them. Talk about embarrassing if they don’t!

    Keep a stall and your heart open, there will be some needy horses as winter progresses.

  5. LynnIL says:

    I would like to correct a few things. The American Horse Council organized the Unwanted Horse Council which is pro-slaughter thus American Horse Council is even though they say they are natural. One can guess why they don’t want to say they are pro-slaughter.

    Also, the precieved concept pushed by pro-slaughter propaganda that anti-horse slaughter people don’t own horses is a false statement. As is that they are going to stop the cattle meat market. One only needs to think about both of these for a moment to see that are false. Many, many who are against horse slaughter do own horses and many are rescues, breeders, and horse show people. It is just a way for the pro-slaughter to put a false face on those against horse slaughter. Besides, those who do not own horses give a lot of money to rescues as they do not have to support a horse in a barn. This along with anti-slaughter going after the cattle meat market can be disproved with just a little thought on your part. The market for slaughtered horses is 139,000 a year and the market for cattle is what a million head a day. Not an easy market to dispell. So those who are anti-slaughter can only be trying to stop horse slaughter because they love horses and many think it is cruel and inhumane. They also know that horses are not rasied for food but are companion animals for most.

    And the main person heading the charge for horse slaughter houses is WY Rep. Sue Wallis who has stated on her facebook page that she does not own horses. So anything she says then would be meaningless right? I’m just saying!

  6. leslie says:

    The UHC doesn’t have an official position on slaughter, either. I think the notion that they’re pro-slaughter exists because of their early affiliation with the AAEP and persists because they’re not anti-slaughter.

    I can understand why the anti-slaughter side is suspicious of the UHC since it’s just the kind of Orwellian thing the slaughter proponents would come up with (United Organizations of the Horse, anyone?)

  7. nickhand7528 says:

    LynnIL I have a question, who said that anti-slaughter people dont own horses? I have never heard anyone say they dont. Matter of fact most groups will tell you that anti-slaughter people own horses. Also have never heard anything about people trying to claim that the anti-slaughter are wanting cattle meat markets to go to.
    Matter of fact one of the biggest points people make about the anti-slaughter is that they are to emotional over the issue. If I hadnt seen the horses that suffer cause of the ban, I would have been all for it. But I have worked on farms and seen the bills for putting down a horse. Followed by the rendering services bill, since alot of states dont let you bury a horse.
    And if you look into the people that are against the ban for the welfare of the horse (not the people trying to get rid of it for profit). You will see that they are for the ban. But only if there is a plan put into place to take care of the unwanted and neglected horses. Most groups that are against it put in there statements that the only way they would support a ban was if there was a plan as part of it.

  8. LynnIL says:

    Let me start by saying that I have a file with over 900 reasoning (photos) why I am against horse slaughter. I have seen the pictures and the videos of what happens in the slaughter houses. And I have heard the KB’s tell how they shoot a horse in the eye if they act up in the trailers (that is confirmed by photos). These are the visions that drive me to be anti-slaughter. Those are the visions I see of over 100,000 horses each year. Yes neglect and abuse have increased but that is why we have laws against animal cruelty. If someone sees a neglected horse they should call the authorities and get that horse some help. But that can’t be done to a horse who is in the slaughter pipeline. From the auction to the knife slitting their necks they are inhumanely treated along the whole way. Talk about abuse, neglect and cruel treatment. I feel that a horse going to slaughter is much worse off as they suffer both physical and mental torment until they finally scum to the guiltless, heartless killers.

    Some of the new abandoned and neglected reports are coming from the borders where horses rejected at the borders because of the new EU rules and are being dropped of by the very Kill Buyers who have bought them. This is another issue that needs to be addressed. But I do not feel that the neglected and abandoned issue is as bad as horses going to slaughter since a horse that is neglected or left behind still has a chance to be saved but a horse in the slaughter pipeline has no chance of being saved. Remember that 92% of horses going to slaughter are good healthy horses. And the number of Morgans going to slaughter is very low so your network is doing a great job of protecting your horses and are being responsible breeders. But what you must remember is that pro-slaughter want to bring the slaughter houses back so they can continue to overbreed and still have a place to dump their culls. By bringing back slaughter houses we are giving irresponsible owners and breeders and easy place to get rid of their problem. And now many are talking about raising for slaughter, so this is not the answer to the excess unwanted horses. The pro-slaughters argue that horse slaughter is to get rid of the unwanted and excess but then they want to then breed for slaughter??? Does that make sense?

    I had to put my horse down recently and had no where to bury him and do not like rendering. I paid $1500 to have him cremated. Yes it was expensive and not right for everyone but it was only 2 1/2 months of board I would have paid had he not gotten sick. I don’t understand that the debate.

    Also, many of the pro-slaughter folks do use both, anti’s not owning horses and anti’s want to stop the cattle market, just to try and put fear in people and discredit the anti slaughter people. Its like most things, like politics, they need to make people fear the other sides view since they don’t have enough facts to back their own stance. I am currently on two other blogs where both of those statements have been talked about to put down the anti-slaughter arguments. What really needs to be looked at is the horse slaughter issue as a whole. It is not just sending horses to slaughter so someone can make a buck. It also includes the communities who have these plants built in their neigborhoods, the pollution, low wage few jobs and crime they bring along with lower property values. Then you have the cruel killing and the final product that is being shipped to unknowing consumers as they know nothing about where their meat comes from. You as horse owners know about the drugs you put in your horses. There is no way to remove the horses who have been given the drugs from the slaughter pipeline. We do not have a tracking system for horses. There is no simple test to see the drugs in the meat.

    Anyway, you can see that this horse slaughter issue is very BIG and complex. So everyone must get all the info before they make up their mines and say horse slaughter is a good thing for the welfare of the horse. What I see is that it is good for the pockets of a few and a horrible thing for the horse.

    Sorry, one last thing. There are many new programs coming out that are going to help neglected horses by having hay banks, gelding clinics and donations for food for hard hit horse owners. That stuff is out there now but what I’m hearing is that there is a new website that will make it easy for horse owners to find help in their areas. Many ways to help horses is coming as many see that horse slaughter is not going to help the welfare of the horse. So stand by!

  9. nickhand7528 says:

    It is a big and complex issue, one that needs to be thought throw before we move forward. Both sides have people using peoples feelings for there horses to get people on there side.
    We also need to stop using the motives of a few to describe why the other side is wrong. For example, there are a few that are wanting to breed a large about to get 1 good foal. As there is a few that want to get the ban back to be a stepping stone in stopping cattle plants. What is at the heart of the matter is what will happen to the unwanted horses if there is a ban. The boarder is not the only place there is that horses are being released. People that can not pay to feed the horse on there property and get turned away at rescues that are overflowing turn them loose. The numbers have been better for cruelty cases cause people are doing anything and everything to get rid of the horses. That is why there was such an increase in the shipping of horses to other countries.
    And to address the which is more humane issue. A horse takes months to years to die of neglect. During that time they are out there hunting for food, hoping that they are not attacked by wild animals. They are facing fear and panic everyday, trying to find food, wishing they could get out of there. Wit the ban the number of horses going throw this increased, shown by the increase of horses turned loose. And by the increase of horses going to rescues. Plus it increased the number of horses going to places that don’t have the rules for slaughter the USA has. Yes the american slaughter plants need big improvements, but they are alot better then those in mexico. (which alot of the abuse in plants photos come from. Yes not all but there more then a few groups using photos from mexico to push the cause)
    Personally my belief is that horse slaughter sucks, and it could go away forever. BUT not till there is something to replace it. I would rather have a horse go throw a week going to slaughter then months of torture being left to die in some field.

  10. LynnIL says:

    Can you please send me the info or list them here of all those abandoned horse reports you heard of? Because of the many we hear most are made up to make others think that there are a lot of abandoned horses around. I really find it hard to believe that there are that many people letting their horses go in the woods or deserts to fend for themselves and no one knows about it. It would be interesting to see where that is happening. I know only of the ones in Presidio, Texas which was horse being dropped off by kill buyers. Thanks!

  11. nickhand7528 says:

    “Up until two or three years ago, we’d find maybe two abandoned horses a year. It’s a horse a week now,” said Allan Drusys, chief veterinarian for Riverside County’s Department of Animal Services.

    In October, Riverside County animal control officials seized 15 emaciated horses from a five-acre ranch outside of Murrieta, just weeks after two abandoned and malnourished horses were wandering around the outskirts of Perris. The county’s new animal shelter along the Santa Ana River has a dozen stables, all full, and most horses there are facing possible euthanasia.
    Is from the LA Times article.

    Since the closings, there has been an up-tick in the reports of neglected, starved, abandoned, and abused horses.

    A 2010 University of California-Davis report noted that 144 registered non-profit horse rescues responding (out of 326 contacted) spent an average $3,648/horse/year. The study suggests an average annual cost of $50 million for 13,700 animals in registered non-profit care facilities.
    That is from
    Just search online about horses that are abandoned. You will find page after page of results. The fact is that with the economy down turn, and the drought over the summer. People that have there horse on there own land are struggling.
    You will also see that it is not just Texas, its Cali, Florida, Kentucky, and etc. This is happen all over the place.

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