Press Release from the Equine Welfare Alliance
CHICAGO, (EWA) – On February 4th the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) posted a release issued by the Animal Welfare Council (AWC) claiming that “experts” warned of current issues facing the horse industry if slaughter was ended. Reminiscent of past years, the AQHA is again promoting disinformation in the hope the American public will trust them for their good name.
The refusal to address the excess breeding of horses over the years has caught up with slaughter proponents. Once again, they find themselves scrambling to find scapegoats for a problem they created. Driven by the quest for registration fees, the AQHA has promoted overbreeding for decades as they have built their ever expanding empire worldwide.
The release revives the myth of the “unintended consequences” by claiming “experts” warned of a negative impact on horse welfare if slaughter was ended.
Not only has horse slaughter not ended but in 2008, the first full year after the US plants closed, the “unintended consequences” resulted in the second highest slaughter count since 1995.
“There is nothing stopping anyone from sending their horse to slaughter.” said Equine Welfare Alliance’s (EWA), John Holland. Blaming the closure of the plants for excess horses from an organization that alone brags of registering in excess of 135,000 foals every year, is hypocritical.
According to the USDA, the leading breed on the slaughter trucks are Quarter Horses, yet in 2008, AQHA’s former executive vice president, Bill Brewer, warned of a pending horse “shortage” and suggested offering incentives to increase breeding.
The release builds on the “imaginary ban” by stating that horses are at forty percent of their value since the plants closed. EWA’s Vicki Tobin asks the AQHA and AWC, “In the face of the greatest economic downturn since the 1930s, are home values, retirement funds and other assets that have decreased in value due to the closure of the slaughter plants?”
The release questions the lack of funding in the federal horse protection legislation, HR 503/S 727. Not stated is why the government should be responsible for privately owned horses or a breeder’s choice to breed more than they can sell.
Beginning in July, US horses must comply with European Union (EU) drug regulations. This critical issue impacts human food safety and yet, it was not mentioned. American horses are not tracked or considered food animals by any US government agency and routinely receive medications that are banned by the EU. Equine welfare advocates have been warning of the drug issue for years.
Combined with the drug compliance, the current downturn in international demand for horse meat will further exacerbate the issue.
A study released by EWA members in 2008 concluded with a warning of exactly what is occurring today, “Abuse and neglect is largely determined by economic conditions. …As of the end of the study period, abuse and neglect did not appear to have exceeded norms for the baseline year of 2006, but to the extent that the economic conditions continue to deteriorate, this trend may become more worrisome in the months to come.”
Meanwhile, the AWC, AQHA and slaughter proponents continue to blame “activists” for the “unwanted” horses that they are responsible for producing every year.
The Equine Welfare Alliance is a dues free, umbrella organization with over 95 member organizations. The organization focuses its efforts on the welfare of all equines and the preservation of wild equids.