Sunday, July 29, 2012

Horse slaughter revisited

The US is finally looking like we'll be  back in the horse slaughter business, and honestly, it cannot come too soon.  Take a look at this video for an example of what's happening now. 


I make the trip to the auction about once a month; I sell some of my animals there, and I've been looking for a young bull for a while, and I just have to wince every time we get to the horse portion of the auction.   There's a sad parade of horses, some young, some old, some with stories, some without, and they get sold for pennies a pound.  It really makes me question why people keep horses at all when they're valued so little.  Who is breeding all of these discard horses?   It seems to be mostly women who are associated with these horses; that's who I see handling them mostly, and I wonder what the attraction is.  It certainly isn't financial -- I see horses as one step up from boats.  A boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into.

What you don't see in the video is that the owner of the horse paid $25 to put the horse into the auction ring - and pays that whether the horse sells or not.  I have to give credit to the horse owner -- they are doing about the only thing that they can to dispose of an unwanted horse, but there are many other owners who don't bother to take them to the auction; they'll just turn them loose on someone Else's property, or put them into someones trailer while they're out on a ride.  Friend of mine was out endurance riding and came back to find their trailer full; there was no room for their own horse. 

While it did cost the horse owner something, this was cheaper than calling a vet to euthanize the horse and then a rendering plant to dispose of the corpse -- that runs $300-$500 in my area.  If you have a neighbor with a rifle and a backhoe it's a bit cheaper, and some horses go that way, but it seems like such a waste to me.

I'm all for having animals as pets, but I draw the line when the pet weighs more than a few hundred pounds and costs the general public millions of dollars a year. 

I'd like those folks who would ban horse slaughter to step up and take all of these horses I see every week, and more importantly; the horses that I don't see every week that get abandoned or neglected and then the county government has to step in to rescue at huge expense. 

Horses should be licensed, and the license fees should be sufficient to pay for the costs that are inflicted by horse owners on the general public.   If you can't afford a license, you can't afford hay.

10 comments:

Sunnybrook Farm said...

There is even a problem in the east but not so much of people turning them loose as there isn't much place to do that but it has happened that someone finds a horse in their pasture. There are horse rescue organizations that now that you mention it I associate with women. I have one horse and that is all I can take care of and there won't be anymore though I have had "free horses" offered, like they are free, if you take care of them they aren't free. That is an interesting idea of a horse license and would put a stop to the half starved horses you see in the winter. Someone said that there are more horses around here now than back when they were really used.

becky3086 said...

I have had a couple of neighbors who have had horses and it would just make you so sad to see them. One of them had a miniature pony that was so nice, did tricks and was so happy when they got it. They left in a fenced off spot behind a shed and never gave it any attention. It died sad and lonely a few years later. They got it just so they could say that their kid had a pony but they never really took care of it. It really is a shame.

TanyaRare said...

Can you please explain to me the proof you have that horses are selling for "pennies on the pound"?
You also state "but I draw the line when the pet weighs more than a few hundred pounds and costs the general public millions of dollars a year" Where do you get the information taxpayers pay for a under-nourished horse?
Where is your documentation that horses are being abandoned? Or turned loose on someone elses property or put into a horse trailer while someone was out on a ride? Would your friend come tell that story with police reports or Humane Societies to back up that claim.
Anyone can claim anything without proof. I can tell you that I am a purple 12 foot tall blonde but without proff you would not believe me.

Syroko42 said...

the economy has hit many people very hard. it is easy to *blame* the defunding of domestic slaughter plants for the drop in the equine market, but there are many other factors involved. instead of blaming all of those who do not support slaughter, why not blame those who have irresponsibly bred and flooded an already depressed market. how about laying the blame at people who *choose* to get an animal and choose to not take care of it and are looking to conveniently dump the animal. animals are a privilege, not a right. if you are not prepared to take care of an animal and this includes end of life decisions, you dont get one. its very simple.
i will say that i like your idea of licensing. i would like to amend that to licensing those who choose to breed their horses. then an impact fee can be assessed that could be used to deal with the horses they dump. if you breed more animals that you can sell, you are over breeding and are contributing to the problem.
we as a society have got to stop looking for others to solve our problems. we need to start taking responsibility for the choices we make. we have got to stop looking for others, including the government, to take care of our needs from cradle to grave. we live in an amazing country where we are free to choose how we live out lives, that also means that we need to accept the consequences of the choices we make.

Tash said...

Realistically I highly doubt that the closing of the US slaughter plants has had much impact here in WA. The US plants were located in Illinois and Texas, but Washington's "canner" horses have always gone straight up to Canada and they still do. Horses ship out from Stanwood every week to be slaughtered in Canada - still.

Bruce King said...

Tanya, that horse in the video weighed 715lbs. It sold for one dollar. $1.

Horses don't sell for pennies on the pound, they sell for fractions of a penny per pound. In that case the horse sold for $0.0013/pound -- or one tenth of a cent per pound, roughly.

Taxpayers pay for skinny horses: Snohomish county paid $60,000 to seize and then feed 10 emaciated horses. 15% of the entire animal control budget of snohomish county was spent on horses. I called the snohomish county auditor to ask what the budget figure was for animal control, but I haven't gotten a return call. Given that there are tens of thousands of counties across the USA, I think it's fair to say that millions of dollars of public money are spent on rescuing horses every year. I wrote about the snohomish county animal control budget earlier this year, it's in my blog. To help you out, here's a couple of entries that contain links and background for everything I've said here. Cut & paste & enjoy

http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2010/11/horses-other-red-meat.html

http://ebeyfarm.blogspot.com/2010/12/horse-rescue-costs-15-of-snohomish.html


With respect to horses being dumped in pastures and trailers -- if you don't believe me that it's happening, that's ok with me.

Dee Pierce said...

I lease pasture out to horse owners. I have owners that have brought their horses out to pasture paid the first month lease and never showed back up. You cannot contact them they have moved and changed phone numbers and here I have horses that I don't own but are eating my grass. On top of that some of you want proof that people are abandoning their horses on other peoples property well I have 9 that you can come see. Unbranded, unmarked and some uncut just left for me to provide for. I did find the owner of one stud horse that was on the place and she signed him over to me. I paid about $150 for vet checks and brand inspection so that I could take him to the sale which also cost fuel money. I got $10 for a 3 year old stud I would call that "Pennies on the pound"! These people that cannot afford to feed their horses sure the crap can't afford to get it euthanized so yes a canner plant is the answer! Oh and I will be turning most of these into the state as abandoned horses and then guess who pays to feed and care for them....

Dee Pierce said...

I lease pasture out to horse owners. I have owners that have brought their horses out to pasture paid the first month lease and never showed back up. You cannot contact them they have moved and changed phone numbers and here I have horses that I don't own but are eating my grass. On top of that some of you want proof that people are abandoning their horses on other peoples property well I have 9 that you can come see. Unbranded, unmarked and some uncut just left for me to provide for. I did find the owner of one stud horse that was on the place and she signed him over to me. I paid about $150 for vet checks and brand inspection so that I could take him to the sale which also cost fuel money. I got $10 for a 3 year old stud I would call that "Pennies on the pound"! These people that cannot afford to feed their horses sure the crap can't afford to get it euthanized so yes a canner plant is the answer! Oh and I will be turning most of these into the state as abandoned horses and then guess who pays to feed and care for them....

jane said...

what auction was this? Can't believe a kill buyer didn't buy it,

Bruce King said...

Toppenish livestock commission, toppenish, wa