Horse Slaughter…. Solutions?

February 26, 2011 § 17 Comments

My last post was about horse slaughter.  I am continually frustrated by the fact that no one seems to be offering or discussing viable solutions to the over-population issues, and only pushing the slaughter agenda.  That being said, I wanted to open this forum for people to offer other solutions.  If viable solutions are suggested in the comments section, be aware I’ll probably add them to the post as it evolves… but will still leave your comment below so people know where it came from.

I am also more than willing to remove ideas if/when they are proven to be impossible (with something other than “that’s too expensive” or “people won’t accept that”.)

I’m going to try to have headings and sub-headings.  It may get confusing if a lot of comments are left, but in the end I hope to have a well laid out and thought out piece.  But I do need your help, post those ideas!

I completely understand a lot of what is written below is in fairly general terms.  I am not a legislator, lawyer, or a member of Mensa.  There are holes and flaws.  Please help fill in those holes and correct those flaws in a manner conducive to open conversation.  Thank you.



Create a licensing system for breeding.  If you had to have a license to breed a horse, there would be a cost associated with creating horses.

The cost of licensing would make it more costly to breed, thus:

  1. less people would breed
  2. only breeding of horses that would sell for a decent price would be viable
  3. the money made through licensing could conceivably be used for rescue efforts, euthanization clinics, gelding clinics, etc. further supporting a healthy equine industry
Licensing Issues
  1. getting it set up
  2. policing it – who? how? etc.
    My thoughts on policing it would encompass the fact that to sell a horse you would have to provide the purchaser with the license.  This license could become part of a comprehensive passporting system, ensuring all shots, coggins, etc. plus medications not acceptable to the meat pipeline would be accounted for.  No horse would ever change hands without the passport/license, and the breeder and each successive owner would be noted on it.
    In my eyes, this also encourages accountability to each breeder and successive owner, as the horse can be traced directly back to them.

Biennial Breeding

Only breed every second year for two to four years.

  1. cut the amount of new horses on the market in half (providing breeders don’t breed twice as many horses every second year)
  2. brings prices back up
Biennial Breeding Issues
  1. getting people to “buy into” the program
  2. making them understand that while it may seem like they’ll make half the money,  they’ll actually end up making more when the prices bounce back
    I suspect right now those less-than-stellar breeders are actually increasing their production to make as much money.  What they don’t get is that they’re perpetuating the problem and thus driving prices even further down.  Not only that, they’re increasing their costs!  If they bred less but each horse was worth more it would mean less costs and less work which equates to more money in their pocket.



  1. enforce current laws properly and more effectively
  2. make sentences harsher for anyone who neglects an animal in their care
    One punishment needs to be a ban on further animal ownership for set periods of time.
  3. refine current standards of care
  4. create educational programs, and make them mandatory for people shown to be neglecting their animal(s) (see steps below)
  5. institute a fine/penalty system similar to driving infractions

In my opinion if the standards of care were refined and enforced, there could be a system put in place whereby anyone proven to be neglecting an animal (unless a severe case where the animal(s) need to be removed or euthanized immediately) there would be a three step process (the person would be made to sign an agreement, otherwise lose their animal(s) on the spot):

  1. Step 1:  Attend applicable educational program
  2. Step 2:  Follow-up (weekly or monthly, always unannounced) for a period of one year to ensure animals are being cared for properly
  3. Step 3:  Annual or semi-annual unannounced check in for a further 2-5 years depending on the severity of the neglect

Laws Issues

  1. while the fine/penalty system will help defray costs of the above, more money will probably be needed
  2. getting new/tougher laws in place
    I believe there are some inherent issues in the system as it stands (SPCA/Animal Control/Humane Society).  Savvy owners (repeat offenders) know how to get around the system currently in place.  The SPCA/AC/HS doesn’t seem to consistently uphold what regulations/laws are in place.  In some instances animals die from starvation while the SPCA/AC/HS says their hands are tied.  There are grey areas in the minimum standards of care which allows for unacceptable treatment.


Euthenization Clinics

  1. any organization that promotes horse slaughter should spend the same dollar amount annually on low-cost euthenization clinics
  2. any organization that promotes horse slaughter should spend the same dollar amount annually on low-cost gelding clinics
    (the above two rules would require pro-slaughter organizations to spend 2/3 of their total income towards low-cost clinics)
  3. all registered charities dedicated to rescuing horses should spend 1/4 (total) of their donations on low-cost euthenization and gelding clinics
    (the above rule would require charities to spend 1/4  of their total income towards low-cost clinics)

Gelding Clinics

  1. covered above

Clinics Issues

  1. rescues are already inundated with lame or otherwise unrideable horses, and dedicating money to clinics takes away from that
    I know this is a difficult discussion point; but many rescues are turning into sanctuaries (meaning the majority of their residents are permanent residents and unadoptable).  This means there is less room to take in horses that can be adopted out.  I’m not sure what the solution to this issue is, but it does impact this debate.
  2. how to govern

What I would love to see in the comment section is:

  • additional information that may help any of these solutions
  • additional information showing weaknesses
  • additional solution ideas

Talk amongst yourselves…  ;)


§ 17 Responses to Horse Slaughter…. Solutions?

  • Not A Breed says:

    I woke up this morning with two things I wanted to add, but thought I’d start it in the comments.

    Under licensing, all horses with 4 on the floor should be grandfathered into the program at no cost to the owner (this would be expensive though).

    Under licensing again, NO horse without a valid license will EVER be slaughtered for meat.
    (Whew, that’s a big one with huge repercussions, but I do like it.) No wild horses would be slaughtered. No abandoned horses would be slaughtered. Crazy. I know.


  • Chris says:

    Getting horses reclassifed from livestock to an entirely new classification? Classification of animals is a man based definition and it can be changed. Maybe companion-livestock? Or Recreational animal? Other than slaughter, one of the biggest pushes against having them classified as pets is loss of tax write offs and incentives. They could still be part of a rural economy, but they actually contribute very little to the agricultural (food production) economy.


  • Chris says:

    What about equestrian federations and organizations charging say $5 more for their yearly membership fees and use the funds to sponsor low cost euthanasia and gelding clinics for their members? I refuse to join our local one because of their pro-slaughter stance, but I’d buy a membership, even though I don’t compete, to have the option if needed for myself one day, or just to support others.


    • Not A Breed says:

      Those are BOTH fantastic ideas! Thanks so much. This is exactly what I was looking for! Those two ideas will be added in due course. Along with your comment on my last post. Chis, thank you so much for coming here.


  • Chris says:

    Here’s an article on defining horses.


  • Samantha Lemna says:

    This is EXACTLY write. I was seriously going to sit down and write out my own ‘solutions’ and my list is basically the same as yours. I wish I just knew how to get everyone organized around getting the breeding issues settled!


  • Jenn Clews says:

    I have been writing down these same exact ideas! As far as clinics go Gelding clinics have started in Cali. usa and was successful. We hold clinics for house pets to be spayed, neutered, and vaccinated, why not horses to. There should also be help for those who can not afford euthanasia. Breeders need to get under control. They need to be regulated as to how many foals they are allowed per year, all sales of foals to be reported, which most breeds already do. Any breeders left with unsold foals that turn a year old must breed less mares. Ex…20 foals….sell 15….5 remain…next breeding 5 less mares are bred. This would take time to work out cuz most breeders breed back durning foal heat which is no totally healthy for the mare. Selling of foals inutero will be key. Foals must be wanted before the breeding happens.
    many dog breeders now will only breed when they have demand for puppies why no horses. As far as rescues and shelters giving 1/4 of their donations to a fund for euthanizing,…This would most likely devastate rescues as they are low on funds as it is. Most rescues now have separate funds for euthanizing as they should. But Much money could be found thru the government. If the BLM left mustangs alone and only controlled thier numbers thru birthcontrol then there would be more than enough funds to start up new programs like these. It still early am here and I need more coffee. so I say keep it up you have no idea what size army you have behind you!


    • Not A Breed says:

      I understand what you’re saying about rescues being tight on funds currently without mandating 1/4 be spent on clinics, but this is the way I see it: the same with all the other solutions, this mandate would ensure (a) horses have a chance at humane euthenization (b) affordable gelding happens, and (c) both of those things will have a downstream effect in that there will be less horses in need of rescuing over time! My point here is to decrease needs in the long run. Less horses being born (gelding clinics) means less horses in years to come that need the rescues’ time, space and money for upkeep.

      Also, I’m thinking that if 1/4 of incoming funds are required to go to clinics, possibly the horses that are rescued that need to be euthenized can be covered by that fund as well.

      As in any new implementation of laws or regulations, there is always a period of adjustment – and this would be no different.
      I love the thought that money earmarked for the roundups by the BLM could be reorganized into these projects. Wouldn’t THAT be nice?? Two birds with one stone sort of thing. :)

      Thanks for your comment. I appreciate the compliment. Please pass a link around, so we can get lots of input on the solutions!


      • I’m sorry….but I totally disagree with your logic in rescues giving a 1/4 of their donations towards clinics. Rescues are the only hope that many of our horses have left. I run a rescue and it is true I have several in sanctuary. Your statement that horses in sanctuary are not rideable is not entirely correct. We have several senior horses here that are still rideable. Would they be suitable for hard riding or competition? No, but they are capable of ponying special needs children and enjoy it. Would I send them out to a home? Very unlikely, due to their ages and history. The chance of losing track of them, even with a hard core contract is too great, as is the risk that some money hungry kill buyer would end their lives inhumanely for a buck. We currently house 9 horses, that number could change tomorrow. Each horse coming in needs immediate vet care, farrier care and a well planned feeding schedule to bring them back on their feet. Senior horses most often need 3 times the amount of feed of a young horse as well. Donations to rescues are down, way down, mostly due to the fact that our country is in an economic disaster straight from hades, with no end in sight. I personally support the majority of what our rescues need. I am by no means affluent and like most rescues, do without personal needs or desires in order to help these neglected, abused and often seriously injured animals. So now we should pay for what the irresponsible breeder and individual owner has neglected to do? No responsible rescue breeds, promotes breeding or fails to include in their contract that mares can’t be bred for their lifetime! No rescue adopts out a stallion. I don’t care what their lineage is, they wound up at a rescue and a rescue should geld. If I had to give 1/4 of the donations I do gratefully get, it could mean the difference in several horses lives. I do believe it should be mandatory that all rescues geld & include in their adoption contracts no breeding of mares for their lifetime. I also believe that the racing industry must be made to step up and bare a much larger financial responsibility for all of the mares they breed literally almost to death and then dump or send to slaughter. There needs to be strict guidelines as you have put in here about how often they can breed these mares and that they must give them care ABOVE the minimum that they do now. Otherwise I think you right on key.


        • NotABreed says:

          Maybe a quarter is a bit much. But even 10%??? Did you read what I wrote about the downstream results? More horses being gelded means less horses needing rescue in years to come.

          I know it’s hard to get donations… and I totally agree that rescues are already running at a deficit. But I’m not talking about your personal money… I’m ONLY talking about donations. Think about a marketing campaign based on the fact that donors are not only rescuing a horse TODAY, but their money is going to rescue horses FOR YEARS TO COME.

          As for your comment “So now we should pay for what the irresponsible breeder and individual owner has neglected to do?”… aren’t you really already doing that? Come on, lets be honest here…

          I do understand the plight of letting rescue horses go to new homes. I’m going through that myself! I really do understand it. But if you put a system in place with an ironclad contract and checks and balances (unannounced visits, bi-annual dated photos being sent, etc.) at some point you really do have to put trust in others. No system is perfect, and there are always shady people out there… but in my experience, no meat buyer would ever sign a contract. Add the new owners to Facebook. Set reminders in Outlook to check in on the horses. If you know someone nearby, have them drive by every now and again. There are many ways to keep tabs, and there are many people who would take a few minutes every now and again to help out. Trust me, I’ve done it!!

          Yes, it takes organization, especially when there are large numbers of horses adopted out. Why not have a volunteer whose job it is specifically to cover checking up on adopted horses? Keep a database.

          Seriously, there are ways to streamline the effort.


  • JoAnnA Crozier says:

    I’m currently doing a report on horse slaughter for my senior project, if you could give me some help with it i would be very grateful, i’m working on the “Solutions” portion of it right now, any imput will be helpful, please contact me i love some of the ideas you have, and i believe that if people are willing to try them they could reduce slaughter greatly, however, if you want to stop horse slaughter you will have to remove all cause for it first, and thats a pretty big order to fill.


    • Not A Breed says:

      Thanks for the comment. Feel free to use any idea here and expand on it. I’d appreciate being a “source” in your paper (footnote or whatever). If you expand on any of the ideas, please be sure to send it along to me, so I can maybe add them to the site. If you’d like any further information from me, definitely email me at notabreed @ hotmail . ca (remove spaces).


  • Jeannie says:

    Sharing your wonderful articles, thanks SO MUCH….OUR HORSES NEED US,


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