Tuesday, April 13, 2010

U.S. lacks horse slaughterhouses, but 'kill buyers' can surprise owners who sell

We've been following the call for the reintroduction of horse slaughterhouses in the U.S., most recently here, and the arguments are deeply felt. "Many owners and industry stakeholders, including veterinarians' organizations, say slaughter is a necessity, a way to humanely dispose of unwanted horses that otherwise might face neglect and starvation," Janet Patton of the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. "Opponents argue that slaughter, at least as it is practiced now, is fundamentally inhumane."

Patton profiles Carol Brown, a small-scale Kentucky thoroughbred horse farmer, who recently discovered two horses she gave to Frankfort-based HorseCampUSA to be retrained as riding ponies were actually bought by a "kill buyer," who intended to sell them for slaughter in Canada. Brown's horses were found by rescuers who traced them for their lip tattoos, Patton reports. After hearing of their fate Brown quickly bought them back from the kill buyer and took in two more thoroughbreds for a total of $2,730.

Slaughter advocates often promote the practice as a humane option for old and lame horses, and a necessary bottom to the horse market. However, horses like Brown's, who were perfectly healthy, can also end up in the slaughter market. "Heavier horses are desirable if they are going to be sold by weight for meat," Patton writes. The experience has turned Brown away from the breeding industry for good. "We're going to keep them," Brown said of the horses she acquired, but added, "I'll never breed another horse." (Read more)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Riding ponies," do your research please journalists! Thoroughbred racehorses cannot become "ponies." Pony is a breed and size distinction. For a TB to be a pony, it would have to be considerably stunted.