Many people are not aware of what happens when their beloved show or pleasure horse is sold. As horse owners, we obviously try to find the most suitable home for our equine companions, whether they are still active riding horses or even unsound pasture buddies.
Due to the recent recession, some owners can no longer care for their horses, which may mean turning them loose on public land and hoping they will survive in the wild, or leaving them to starve to death at home. Some are auctioned off and a lucky few are able to escape the meat man. For the rest of the horses, slaughter is the inevitable end.
In 2006, bill H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, was passed on September 7th of that year, marking a momentous victory for those opposed to horse slaughter. What many people did not realize is that horse slaughter would continue, only horses would be shipped much farther to unknown locations in neighbouring Mexico, where regulations to keep slaughter humane are rarely enforced, or to Canada.
The reality is that horse slaughter will continue and horses will suffer, regardless of whether it is banned in the United States or not. The ideal would be to greatly reduce the amounts of horses that end up to slaughter by reducing the amount of livestock that are bred, and focusing on well-bred, marketable horses that have a better chance at long-term partnerships with one or two owners.
Many owners are now turning to at-home euthanasia to prevent their beloved equines ending up at slaughter. For horses that are elderly, unsound or generally not marketable to the majority of potential buyers, owners should consider humanely euthanizing their horses to prevent pain or suffering if they can no longer provide food, shelter, feet trimming and appropriate health care.
Click here for a video about what happens to many horses that go to slaughter.
***May be inappropriate for young or sensitive viewers***