On a message group I belong to, there has been a dialogue about horse slaugther. Many people have weighed in, most in support of slaughter. I rarely state my opinions publicly, but here goes. Remember, it is just my opinion. Here is what I wrote:
It is an interesting conversation. There are many pros and cons. I have only had horses for seven years, so I haven't seen the cycles that many of you have, but here is my greatest concern:
When there was a meat buyer at auction, there was a bottom value for a horse. The better trained, the better looking, the BETTER the horse was, the higher price. Most of us are riding, owning, producing quality horses that don't end up at auction, but as I drive by the auction house every day when I go to work, I can tell you it is active and alive.
Now that horses have to go somewhere, they are being sold for $50 and $75. I know someone who actually bought a trained horse for $25 (not my version of trained I'm sure, but they were willing to ride it). A horse for $25? So, the horses that don't sell go back to their homes where they are not a match, or where owners cant afford them. Horses that are sold are now disposable because they were only $25 or $75. I can spend $25 in the blink of an eye-I can't even fill my truck for $75, but I spent THOUSANDS to buy my horses (and I got some good deals). They are NOT disposable. They require quality care and only the best situations. I have tried to sell Tesoro, I did for years, but couldn't find him the right home because (like Dianna said) I knew what he needed and I couldn't find it. I would never take him to auction, but think of all the people who are NOT responsible like us. .
They are out there. Have you been to a large boarding facility lately? Have you encountered a serious backyard breeder? Have you looked at Craigslist? Have you visited your neighbors in the woods? Well, I have done all of those things, the way people treat horses is SCARY. If I was a horse up for auction, I would be very afraid.
When the price of a horse is less than a tank of gas (and yes, I know someone who bought a Paso Fino at auction for $75), it doesn't just hurt the horse market, it hurts the animals we took responsibility for when we decided to breed. I wouldn't want to be the untrained horse that hops from home to home to home because it is disposable. Maybe that is why it learned to kick or bite, because it had to defend itself. For irresponsible people it is easy to give up and try again. and again. and again. and again. Only the horse suffers. I cannot abide by that. I would rather see a horse humanely euthanized (or dog, or cat) than to suffer the indignity (and possibly suffering) of irresponsibility.
For this, and many other reasons, I support horse slaugther as a necessity in the marketplace. It should be humane, regulated and taxed. I actually support humane horse slaugther more than the hunting I grew up with where if you didn't have a clean kill, you would track an animal to finish it off. I grew up eating that meat, where an animal very well may have suffered. Now that I think about it, I might not eat game again.
It is a very fine line.