My previous post generated a few emotionally charged comments. I wasn't surprised, and I feel that a few of those comments reinforced my point that making decisions based solely on emotions tends to result lack of education and unintended consequences.
I do want to reinforce my stance on this issue. I am very reluctantly in favor of it, but only as a last resort, when all other options have been exhausted. Once a better alternative is available, I will turn anti-slaughter without a moment's hesitation. However, now that all such facilities in the U.S. have been closed, I am not in favor of shipping them to Canada or Mexico. The conditions in the shipping trailers are horrifying, and only make a bad situation worse.
When I first learned that slaughter facilities existed for horses, I was repulsed. In my opinion, no other animal, save the Eagle, symbolizes the United States of America more than the horse. Although they were imported from Europe, they are part and parcel of the history of this great country. How could we actually continue to slaughter them in this day and age?
Not being one to form opinions without researching the facts first, I learned why they exist, and reluctantly accepted it as a necessary evil.
I found a copy of the May 2009 issue of Horse Illustrated laying around yesterday (apparently Che Buckskin has a subscription). To my surprise, I discovered an article entitled "Unwanted Horse Solutions". It is part 2 of a series. I searched about for the April issue, which contains the first article, "The Unwanted Horse Problem". The article regarding the solutions was of the most to me.
While the closure of these facilities as led to a glut of neglected and abandoned horses, there is a silver lining in the cloud. According to Horse Illustrated, many of the breed associations are actively addressing the problem head on. The American Quarter Horse Association is working to educate members on the problems with irresponsible breeding. The Jockey Club, the breed registry for Thoroughbreds in the U.S. is allowing rescue and adoption agencies free access to racing tattoo information, to allow them to better assess the horses they have.
Many animal welfare organizations are working to reduce the number of unwanted horses, through education and support of the many equine rescues in existence. From Horse Illustrated, "Another example of organizations working together to help rescues is a proposal drafted by a faculty organization at the University of California, Davis. Under the proposal, a template outlines how communities across the nation could create shelters for horse in much the same way as small-animal shelter have done".
It has taken years for this situation to be created. It will take years to correct it. But, at least, the equestrian community is beginning to tackle the problem.