HSUS Blaming Us? By Hope Holland (February 2011)
The Unwanted Horse Who is really responsible?
I had to express my opinion in response to Hope Holland’s article
[printed in February 2011 and online at equiery.com/archives]. How sad
that so many horse people equate a living breathing being as being “disposable”
like old sports equipment. The very “vehicle” that takes
show and race people to the money, trophies and prestige [is] discarded
like a bag of garbage and without a second thought. Sorry to say, [but]
if you sell a horse at a sale to a killer buyer you ARE cramming that
horse into that cattle truck, plain and simple.
The very people who use the killer sale as a means to dispose of their
horses because “euthanasia is just so expensive” think nothing
of spending $500 or more on a show hat or have made money from the very
animals they discard so callously. The New Holland sale is full of ex-race
and show horses. Rather than reopening the slaughterhouses, how about
opening sites offering low-priced humane euthanasia and disposal. Might
this be a better option?
I do not think providing food, shelter, vet care and exercise is “unreasonable”
in any way. As a matter of fact, it is the law and not doing so constitutes
cruelty and neglect. If you cannot provide such, whether it be at your
own place or at a boarding facility, do not have a horse, ever. Owning
an animal costs money and if you cannot or are unwilling to take on
the costs, find another hobby.
Overbreeding is the reason for many of the unwanted horses. Breeders
who breed for bloodlines only and not for disposition and usability
are at fault. Breeders who breed mares back on the foal heat year after
year and then discard them in the killer pen when [the mares are] no
longer able to reproduce are at fault. While the “horse industry”
is involved in the rescue business, mostly it is handled by private
citizens and volunteers. How many breed associations are directly involved?
How many breed associations have set up their own breed rescue or retirement
farms? The organizations within the horse industry that are so pro-slaughter
are the very same that make money from the overbreeding in the first
place, i.e., the breed associations and the vets!
As for America’s wild horses, they are removed from the land and
placed in feedlots to satisfy the cattle industry who cannot seem to
share the public range lands they use for little to no fee. If the wild
horses were left on the range to live out their lives the cost would
In closing I find the attitude expressed in this article most disturbing.
If this is how most “horsemen” think I am glad I am not
associated with such. My friends, my husband and I consider our horses
part of the family. Among us, our backgrounds vary, but not one of us
is wealthy by any means. Our horses range from a trail-ridden Draft
cross, to a registered Paint show horse. We have all been touched by
the poor economy, i.e., job loss, wages cut, client loss, etc. We are
responsible horse owners. We take care of the animals that we are so
blessed to share our lives with and enjoy. Horse ownership is a privilege
and I feel sorry for those who would think otherwise.
- Sincerely, Maria Jenkins, Small Ass Farm, Delta, PA
Publisher’s Note: There are many associations, including breed
associations, who are actively supporting initiatives and efforts to
home unwanted horses and to find second or third careers for horses
originally bred for something else. The Equiery hopes to hear
from some of these horse industry organizations.