Horse News

American Quarter Horse Association blames non-existent “ban” for the consequences of its own policy

Press Release from the Equine Welfare Alliance

The future of our iconic wild horse looks dim

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.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

11 replies »

  1. Not to mention the genetic defects that they are producing with this breeding programs, all in the quest for the “perfect” horse!!!! How many unfortunate foals who dont make the grade find themselves at the kill sales and feedlots, shipped anonymously in the middle of the night so the people responsible dont have to take the flack? Makes me sick.


    • A track vet – can’t remember her name offhand – recently stated that about one half of TBs bred every year go to slaughter. It’s hard to believe, but she ought to know.

      I just hope and pray that Canada will enforce the EUs rules well enough to do some good.


  2. AQHA aone brags of registering in excess of 135,000 foals every year…According to the USDA, the leading breed on the slaughter trucks are Quarter Horses.
    This number doesn’t even include those horses bred who are never registered! Why would any one organization breed so many? How many Thoroughbreds are bred and registered each year? If these two organizations alone would stop breeding for one year what would that do to the number of animals sent to slaughter?


    • its not AQHAs fault there are so many horses foaled, it’s the ignorant owners that keep breeding them to try and make money. people dont know when to quit.


      • Any organization that goes all out to actively promote their registry AND actively supports slaughter must be held accountable. Go to and look at the numbers of AQHAs, Appendix & Paints for sale as compared to ALL other breeds. Some horses have 5 digit price tags, these are not backyard breeders or “ignorant owners”. My question is how many horses were bred and basically thrown away, in order to get that $50,000 (asking) price tag?


  3. When PMU (Pregnant Mare Urine) Farms which were used by the drug companies to produce Oestrogen, pulled their contracts, that also put thousands of unwanted horses on the market. That is a whole other issue though, I have a PMU rescue mare, she is a sweetheart. The drug companies were coming against too much flack about the abuse of the horses so they found a synthetic alternative. Some of those PMU farmers had hundreds of mares which had foals every year, because they had to be in foal for the Urine to be used. I have never found much on that issue and have often wondered how it affected the Slaughter Market, especially as a lot of the farms were in North Dakota and Canada (correct me if I am wrong?) I only went to one PMU foal sale when I first came over to USA and I was horrified at the abuse that those poor babies were subjected to. Sorry I digress.


    • Don’t you apologize for being passionate about a cause! You do have a very good point. I donate to a Nurse-mare foal rescue here in Ohio. Same horrible situation, Mommas are repeatedly rebred until they are worn out and babies are discarded and slaughtered. There are still PMU farms out there I think, so much abuse, it makes me sad. I wonder what the statistics are on slaughtered PMU and nurse-mare foals? Such a dirty secret, “pony-skin” handbags, etc.


  4. I was just reading your post and I find the the kill facilites that are used on these horse are about the more inhumane things that can be done to these great animals.


  5. AQHA hired the infamous BURNS to lobby for them last year.

    Make some big LIES and it gets the animal activists spending the majority of their time defending LIES. Thus they can continue business as usual with much less activist time focused on the real issues.


Care to make a comment?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.