Pearl Snaps

Stories of a cowgirl living life by her own lights

Unwanted horses: A proposition from an unlikely source

5 Comments

I was scanning through news articles online last week like I always do when I came across one titled, Thoroughbreds: From Elite to Meat, recently published in the Huffington Post.  The main thing that caught my attention right off was the title.  I figured that this was just another run of the mill anti-horse slaughter rants that I usually come across.  The author of this interesting article was none other than the infamous Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA.  Yes, I said PETA.  Something about this article was different than many of the other anti-horse slaughter pieces I usually come across.  For once I actually found myself thinking, “Wow, one of these animal rights extremist groups is actually making a proposition that doesn’t sound all that bad.”  Scary, to think that I might actually half agree with PETA on something.  Though their proposition isn’t perfect, and could use some tweeks from horse-minded folks involved directly in the industry, it didn’t sound that far outlandish.

PETA’s proposal requests that the Jockey Club set up a retirement fund that would require a mandatory $360 retirement fee for each registration of a foal and for each transfer of ownership.  Through this proposed plan the $360 fee would apply to new registration for foals and ownership transfers of broodmares and breeding stallions.  PETA suggest that is could provide a potential $20 million in revenue to be put towards retirement funding for older Thoroughbreds.  Though the Jockey Club currently has a Retirement Checkoff, it has to date only generated approximately $95,000 from 64,000 foal registrations.  That is only about $1.50/horse and does not cover the total cost to feed one horse a day.

I think that the idea behind this proposal is a good one, but the price required may be a little steep.  With the unwanted horse issue looming over our heads, growing larger by the day, and no definite hope of having horse slaughter reinstated in the United States, those of us in the horse industry need to think a little outside the box on ways to provide proper care and management for retiring, aging horses.  If slaughter is not an option, other options for humane retirement or euthanasia must be available to owners.  I don’t necessarily think that this proposition will be a fix-all but one of a wide array of methods that will be vital to decreasing the current unwanted horse population and ensuring the perpetuation of the horse industry.  Though some may not like to hear this, those of us in the horse industry need to start thinking “outside the box” if we are ever going to solve our problems.

What are your thoughts on PETA’s proposal?  What solutions would you suggest to solve the unwanted horse issue?

5 thoughts on “Unwanted horses: A proposition from an unlikely source

  1. I think the bigger issue here is feeding upwards of 300k+ unwanted horses in the next several years. It’s still going to keep the industry crippled because, like I always say, grass isn’t infinite.

    • You’re right on that. Grass isn’t infinite. I for one though don’t see too many options to solve this issue being put on the table by other groups. Many just keep saying that bringing back horse slaughter is the only way. I think that’s going to be something that is hard to do and may be close to impossible. If horse slaughter is brought back, then great. If not though, we need to be prepared to implement other strategies to eliminate the issue.

  2. I think the proposition has merit, although I hesitate to side with PETA on anything. But I think it’s a particularly interesting conversation these days when so many horses are unwanted anyway, due to economics and completely regardless of age or health.

    Grass isn’t infinite, but most horses I know of don’t get to eat any anyway. So many horses these days are so high-maintenance and special needs that it’s a wonder anyone can afford to keep them and I’m not surprised you can’t find enough retirement homes. I don’t think it’s necessarily the age issue. Horse-keeping has become such an extremely high-maintenance hobby that fewer and fewer people can afford to offer humane retirement homes.

    And I’m not a professional horse person, but I think it’s a shame. We found our 28 yr old gelding because we had our eye out for something for our kids and he’s been a blessing to us every. single. day. We’ve had our eye out for someone similar and have had no luck. Seems like every horse we call about has foundered and can’t be on grass, is diabetic, requires a special feed regime, requires corrective shoeing to be ridden regularly, hates loading in the trailer…and on and on. We could provide a good home for 2 or 3 or even 4 old gentleman horses like our Hokie, but we’ll never be a good fit for all of that special needs care.

    • I do not side with PETA on anything, but rather am highly skeptical of everything they do. I do believe though that the idea behind this proposal is an interesting one that if tweeked by those involved in the horse industry could be a help to unwanted horses. Thanks for taking the time to read my post, I appreciate your comments.

  3. Let me get this straight – PETA (along with HSUS and all the other Animal Rights groups) is the reason we have a problem with unwanted horses in the first place. When they made it where horses could not be slaughtered, they basically took the floor out of horses and made it next to impossible to get rid of an older horse or one that has an injury or health issue. Now, they propose that every time a horse changes ownership there be a $360 tax (yes, I said tax because in essence that is what it is) on the transaction? Heck, a LOT of horses are sold that won’t even bring $360! I saw that hte HSUS holds in excess of $300 MILLION in real property – let them step up since they are the cause of the problem anyway. Also, who would have control of the money? Not a good idea at all. Next they will be proposing a $200 tax on dogs and a $50 tax on canaries! Sounds like a money-grubbing idea hatched by a bunch of lawyers to me.

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