WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 20, 2017) — The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee voted in favor of an amendment to bar any horse slaughter plants from opening again on U.S. soil. Sens. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., led the bipartisan effort, with fellow committee members Sens. Christopher Coons, D-Del., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., […]
For the time being, rational, reasonable voices were heard.
However, the OTHER rational and reasonable voices continue to be drowned out by the transfer of money between breeders and owners, breeders and trainers, owners and trainers, and somewhere in the background-the kill buyers-who, believe it or not, become stinking rich off of buying up unwanted horses. How does this happen? I’ll tell you. It’s not pretty. You might want to grab a barf bucket. I’m serious.
Just for description purposes-I’ll call a breeder-Mr. Slickpants at OMG Ranch. Now this is going to be AQHA horses but it can be thoroughbreds, arabians, appaloosas, pasos, minis, donkeys, mules, or anything else. AQHA is known, however, to be THE worst at doing this so I’m not saying one word out of school.
Mr. Slickpants has 200 head of broodmares with the most popular bloodlines for cutting, reining, and western pleasure. He’s standing four stallions that he went out and bought because of their show records-and they’re also from the most popular pedigrees. He will also breed outside mares-basically anything that walks gets bred. So he’s got 4 penises for hire, 200 mares cranking out 200 foals every year that rolls around, and he’s got to move them or he’ll be feeding more horses than you can shake a stick at-and he has no intention of doing that. PLUS-he’s got yearlings and two year olds in training to be sold so he keeps making a name for his penises in the barn out back and keeps those stud fees coming in.
Told you it was ugly. It gets worse.
He’s got his pick of the foal crop to keep for his own promotional use-he’ll keep those for futurities and such to keep OMG ranch in the public eye. He might keep a filly or two for broodmare. Maybe an exceptional colt will be kept as a stallion prospect. But the rest? He’s hoping to sale them almost as soon as they’re weaned. The good ones he might put the OMG brand on, but he won’t keep them. But if they don’t sell, they’ll be loaded up and make the trip to the auction pens-and chances are very good that well-bred AQHA fillies and colts will go to slaughter. They’re just trashed by the breeders.
Of the ones that make it to being yearlings and two year olds, if they don’t make it as far as being show ring quality or ranch work, there’s a very good chance they, too, will find themselves in the auction pens-they didn’t make the standard and they are very likely to go to slaughter.
Broodmares that don’t ‘catch’ for more than two years running, stallions that have low sperm counts, any horse that has a problem in the breeding process-they can all show up in the sale pens. Not wanted-going to slaughter.
That’s just the Mr. Slickpants end of it. He’s just cutting his costs. It’s a business thing for him. He doesn’t see the horses, doesn’t work with them. All he wants is to make a profit off their bodies.
The trainer-I’ll call this person Johnny Doright. Except that Johnny will do anything to get those winning horses in his barn because that means more money in his bank account. If he has to cut corners and do things that are, well, shady to the horses-well, that’s just the business and you can always cover it up and tell owners that the horse colicked or something and died. So he does. He’s good at it, too. Got a big name for himself. Got a handful of sub-trainers working for him and grooms, so that when owners come, the barn is busy and things look good. But look close-the horses’ eyes are pinched and worried-or worse-they’re dead. When they are out of the stalls, you see the whites of their eyes. Necks are tense, heads follow the people around watching for the next assault, hooves scramble, shoulders are tense and shake with pain. These horses aren’t allowed out into pastures-“they’re show horses, you don’t pasture show horses.”
So what happens to Johnny’s horses? If they don’t make good and win those big silver trophies and plates and big rosette ribbons, what happens to them? They’re sold at the auction. Sometimes straight from the show ring, racetrack, or his barn-and it could be Johnny or the owner making that call. Rescues routinely pull these horses out of the pens to keep them from going to slaughter.
Backyard breeders are notorious for bringing a foal into the world-and then not having a clue what to do with the now 600 pound horse that is still acting like a foal-but is now dangerous and getting worse. I’ve rehabbed two of those myself. Would love to get my hands on the idiots who did that. ‘But I love my mare and I want to get a foal out of her’. Absolutely the DUMBEST reason ever to breed a mare. If I had my way, you’d have to get a license to breed your mare and you’d have to prove your ability to keep and train a foal, plus the ability to keep the foal until it dies probably 30 years after birth. There ought to be a big fee attached, too. But what do I know?
My suggestion for stopping this overbreeding and hence the overpopulation of horses? Same thing the Europeans have done. Both stallions and mare MUST undergo breeding suitability exams which include both conformation/temperament AND performance. If the colts don’t pass, they are gelded. If the fillies don’t pass, they are spayed. Only the ones that meet criteria are allowed to breed. And they are only allowed to breed when there is already a buyer. Puts a whole different perspective on the breeding business, doesn’t it? Instead of breeding a whole lot of junk-breed only the best to the best.
And quit supplying those slaughter plants.