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Horse neglect on the rise

From the front page of the Wall Street Journal this morning – the horse population is rising, and unfortunately the amount of neglect cases is increasing nationwide as well.

As baby boomers are buying second homes, they have purchased horses at the same time without realizing the high cost of caring for these creatures. In fact, American ownership has surged from 6 million in the mid-1990s to over 9 million horses in 2008. Along with this boom, “came backyard breading, as owners without the discipline or financial muscle to obtain award-winning genes settled for whatever nature produced.” With such high supply on the market, it has become increasingly difficult to sell horses. Thus, many people with incomes of less than $50,000 annually, are stuck with horses without proper breeding and they are forced to take care of them.

To add to the problem, the price of hay has doubled over the last year due to drought conditions and fuel costs, and animal rights groups have shut down equine slaughterhouses. As C.J. Hadley, publisher of the magazine Range put it, horse lovers who oppose slaughterhouses are innocent. “Ranchers love their horses enough to put them down when the time comes.”

All of this has resulted in unwanted American horses ending up in Canadian and Mexican slaughterhouses, while others are neglected and starved.

To read more, click here.

3 Responses to “Horse neglect on the rise”

  1. Mary

    The Unwanted Horse Coalition

    & The American Horse Council.

    There seems to be some confusion regarding these two, one and the same, organizations and their stand on horse slaughter. To clarify:

    “The Unwanted Horse Coalition, a broad alliance of equine organizations that have joined together under the American Horse Council,” or see “Unwanted Horse Coalition folded into AHC”.

    The American Horse Council’s official stand on slaughter is:

    “AHC Position
    The AHC is neutral on the legislation because it has organizations and individual members both supporting and opposing a federal legislative ban.”

    Although previously statements declared that they were in favor of slaughter, the current membership of AHC contains organizations which are both pro and con on the slaughter issue. Nevertheless, if some feel that they need to affiliate with them due to the mistaken impression that AHC /UHC are anti-slaughter, please refer to the AHC list of members.

    It is somewhat enlightening to refer to the section for AHC Members, then cross reference it to the list of members for Common Horse Sense/aka Horse Welfare Coalition/aka slaughterhouse web site, ( domain previously registered to attorney for Texas slaughterhouses, now listing contact as SciWords, the PR firm for the slaughterhouses).

    If the chain of association still seems cloudy, refer to the list of Current Unwanted Horse Coalition Member Organizations. The first four on the list are very actively pro slaughter. Also, reference JAVMA, August 15, 2006 where a news release was published in the AVMA Journal as the start up of UHC was initiated. AAEP/AVMA was instrumental, and both organizations are quite openly in favor of horse slaughter.

    There are no praises to be sung for UHC as related to the slaughter issue. Elsewhere, perhaps there are, but not here. If someone is considering donating dollars to them, it would be better spent in assisting horse rescue.

  2. Mary

    veterinarian to JVMA –

    The following is a letter recently submitted by Veterinarians for Equine
    Welfare co-founder and nationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Nicholas Dodman to the
    AVMA’s Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Sadly, though
    not surprising, Dr. Dodman’s letter was rejected by the AVMA because they said
    it was based on falsehoods and speculation. However, as you will see below,
    Dr. Dodman’s comments can be supported by evidence. Furthermore, Dr. Dodman
    wrote to the AVMA to express his concern over a fact sheet clearly filled with
    speculation and unsupported claims. It is a shame they moved to squash an open
    and fair exchange of ideas while continuing to spread misinformation on this
    very serious issue.
    Two minor edits have been made to the article below based on exchanges with
    Dr. Dodman and the JAVMA before the article‖s rejection.
    Thanks to Dr. Dodman for sharing this with us and allowing for its public
    Chris Heyde
    Deputy Director Government and Legal Affairs
    Animal Welfare Institute
    _ (


    Re. “Unwanted” horses
    To the Editor:
    I recently came across a notice in the Journal of the American Veterinary
    Medical Association about the “unwanted” horse issue, which was encouraging
    readers to visit their website and read “Frequently asked questions about unwanted
    horses and the AVMA’s policy on horse slaughter” for answers to commonly asked
    questions about horse slaughter. The answers provided are heavily biased in
    favor of the AVMA’s pro-slaughter position. For example, it is stated that
    upward of 100,000 horses per year are unwanted (the inference being that they
    must be disposed of by slaughter) – but there is no relevant data to support this
    statement. The number of horses slaughtered has fluctuated between 350,000
    and just over 40,000 over the past 18 years 1,2 and bears no relationship to the
    number of “unwanted” horses, equine abandonment or cruelty reporting. Even at
    today’s relatively modest slaughter rate of around 100,000 horses per year,
    the number of these horses that is unwanted is not known with any certainty
    (the AVMA admits this, but continues to press the number as fact). It is known
    that some of the slaughtered horses are stolen, some are obtained under false
    pretenses by unscrupulous individuals responding to ads in tack and feed stores,
    etc, some are obtained from advertisements in equine magazines and newspapers
    (“wanted to a good homes”) while yet others are bought at sales by so-called
    killer buyers who have the incentive to outbid the competition. Also, it is
    not the unhealthy, broken-down nags the slaughterhouses are in search of;
    according to the USDA over 92% of horses slaughtered are neither old nor unhealthy.
    In addition, the FAQ would have you believe there is an issue with disposal
    of equine carcasses. Approaching 14,000 cows die or are put down each year on
    farms in New York State alone.3 Try multiplying that number by 50 (states) and
    note that the landscape is not littered with bovine carcasses. Rendering,
    composting, and burial are a few of the ways that large animal carcasses can be –
    and are – disposed of.
    Let’s face it; slaughter only exists because the horse slaughter industry
    makes money from it, supplying gourmet markets in Europe and elsewhere. The fact
    that the AVMA has chosen to align itself with these business partners is of
    great concern. A website championed by the AVMA – (also
    known as the Horse Welfare Coalition) – was originally purchased by a lawyer,
    John Linebarger, who was employed by the Texas slaughterhouses Beltex and Dallas
    Crown. The site and group4 are now jointly used by the AVMA DC lobbyist Dr.
    Mark Lutschaunig together with slaughterhouse lobbyist Charlie Stenholm and the
    PR firm SciWords. Note that the slaughterhouses in Mexico (and Canada) where
    AVMA-acknowledged equine atrocities are ongoing are owned and operated by the
    same groups funding those behind the website. It seems unwise for an
    organization comprised of what should be informed medical professionals to be strongly
    influenced by industry organizations with a business agenda counter to the
    ethics of our profession. For what we believe is a more accurate, balanced and
    more humane counterpoint on equine slaughter, visit
    _ ( .
    Nicholas H Dodman, BVMS MRCVS , Diplomate ACVA and ACVB
    Westborough, MA
    1. USDA’s National Agriculture Statistics Service:

    3. Natural rendering: composting livestock mortality and butcher waste.
    Cornell Waste Management Institute, 2002 pp 1.12 _
    4. House Plan to End Horse Slaughter Shortsighted: AVMA

  3. Marilyn Wilson

    Animal abuse and abandonment are crimes, and are totally unrelated to slaughtering horses for the elite foreign American hating palates.
    The USDA has supplied horses for human consumption for over 25 years, Wyeth pharmacuetical has been a big supplier since they’ve produced the deadly premarin since 49, from pregnant mares urine, pre-mar-in. They’re down to only 800 farms left torturing mares and slaughtering their babies for human consumption.
    People need to wake up and realize that the horse slaughter business exists because of supply and demand, not the extra unwanted horse who can easily be placed with people or in extreme cases be euthanized. Fort Worth Tx, Beltex will still kill your horse and send it to zoos, and Canada and Mexico are in full killing mode, so what’s all the complaining about? oh yeah, you have to go farther, and your in the money racket, that’s right! All the pro-slaughter myths out there, trying to keep everyone from knowing the truth about their dirty little secrets, like the AQHA’s making millions on slaughter through their over-breeding programs. The AAVEP who make millions through their association with the slaughter industry, the APHA, and many others making money from their over-breeding programs. We must stop the foal milling, just like the puppy milling. Foals are raised for meat, don’t forget it!
    S.311 the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act will force horse owners and horse industries to take a look at themselves in the mirror. 70+% of American’s are opposed to horse slaughter for human consumption.
    Let’s not forget that these businesses polluted our rivers, and broke many laws daily, didn’t pay taxes or tariffs, slaughered stolen horses, and horses obtained thru false conditions. The money made by them went back to their country’s Belgium and France and was totally spent there, while they kept their doors open here by using subsidies awarded to them by our Ag dept, using our tax dollars. No I don’t cry any tears for their demise, to say the least I’m elated! I’ve been caring for horses for over 40 years, they’ve saved me, and they save hundreds of others daily, handicapped riders, wounded soldiers, prisoners, mentally challenged people. Horses are one of our icons and national treasures, and should be protected. We’re sitting right where we are because of the horse, and don’t forget it!

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