Responsible Horse Breeders Council Formed

Council members will work to discourage overbreeding and to promote responsible horse ownership.
Photo by Anne M Eberhardt
Council members will work to discourage overbreeding and to promote responsible horse ownership.
Photo by Anne M Eberhardt

Council members will work to discourage overbreeding and to promote responsible horse ownership.
Photo by Anne M Eberhardt

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is forming a “Responsible Horse Breeders Council” composed of horse breeders around the country who are dedicated to improving horse welfare. The goal of the council is to decrease the number of horses in the United States who are at risk of being neglected, abused, or slaughtered for human consumption. Council members will work with the HSUS to discourage overbreeding and to promote responsible horse ownership and nationwide horse rescue and rehoming efforts.

“We have a responsibility to every horse born, and for some time now there has been a crisis of overbreeding that is having a terrible impact on the welfare of horses,” said Keith Dane, director of equine protection of the HSUS. “Horse slaughter has been used as an outlet for irresponsible breeders to continue to overbreed horses and to treat them as disposable commodities. The Humane Society of the United States is working to end this unnecessary slaughter of horses, and we commend the responsible breeders who have chosen to be part of the solution.”

“As a breeder of Arabian horses for 30 years, I believe that responsible breeding means not only breeding for the finest conformation and behavior, but also ensuring that our foals lead happy, productive lives,” said council member Melissa Forberg. “This commitment to the welfare of our foals must be lifelong and unwavering.”

As a first step, the council is encouraging horse breeders to sign a pledge to be a responsible breeder. In doing so, they agree to take back any horse they have bred should the horse become homeless or at-risk of being abused or sent to slaughter. More than 800 breeders have already joined the responsible breeder’s list. Horse breeders can join the initiative online or email vpringle@humanesociety.org. Horse owners can also use this list to search for their horse’s breeder in the event that they need assistance in continuing to humanely care for their horse.

AUTHOR: Posted by Habitat for Horses Calaway
20 Comments
  • I am happy to see this, and created a page in April of 2011 titled Responsible Horse Breeders United to address this very issue. I would love to take part in this council and invite you all to feel free to use that Facebook page. Susan R. Bates

    January 21, 2013
  • A major step in the right direction! Woohoo!

    January 21, 2013
  • LNorman

    ending artificial insemination would help

    January 21, 2013
  • Sue

    Thoroughbreds cannot be created by A.I.

    As the rescuer of two QHs, however, I firmly believe the AQHA is to blame for much over-breeding. They are strong advocates for slaughter as well.

    Its all about the money (in registrations).

    January 21, 2013
    • Lana Marie

      Ditto that Sue!!

      January 22, 2013
    • marie kennedy

      I was an AQHA member for 30 years until they began to back slaughter to bring up the price of horses. All AQHA cares about is the money they get for registrations-not the horses involved.

      January 22, 2013
    • alexa

      Sue, I so agree with you about AQHA. I was a member a few years ago but cancelled due to the over breeding and money in breeding.AQHA never acknowledged their responsibility to the large number of quarter horses that end up at auctions.With all there power and recognition horses welfare should be a priority.
      RHBC WHAT A AWESOME PLAN!!!!!BREEDRS PAY ATTENTION

      January 22, 2013
    • Mary Johnson

      Sue, you are so right!

      January 22, 2013
  • I have said for years the back yard/mom and pop breeders need to be slowed down or stopped some how. They flood the market with lower grade animals, inbreds etc, just for a quick 250.00$ plus in the spring mostly. I think breeders need to show cause and a darn good one why they are breeding animals. There are quite a few just around the area where I live I hear about them making money off of the new babys hitting the ground lots of them not reg. and the people just really don’t have any reason to be breeding horses. I don’t get it. Thanks for time Becky

    January 21, 2013
    • sherriey

      Becky….
      its not just the back yard breeders….if you ever get the opportunity…check out the monthly AQHA Journal. there are hundreds of LARGE QH breeders that breed up to and sometimes more then 800 mares a year!
      no backyard breeder could do that. put the blame where its deserved.

      January 22, 2013
      • There is way to much to type/talk about these breeders. YES I think people are over breeding by thousands. Want to be horse people get them change their minds, don’t know jack do do about horse’s etc etc so here we go with neglect, no food or water, turned loose or turned out and forgoten about or being mean to them because they become an unwanted libility etc etc etc. Maybe a limit of the breeding could help, I have three rescuses now that are awsome horse’s, they were bones with hide, one was thru a divorce so neglect for care comes in there. It is a very bad situation for all the horse’s getting over bred and flooding the horse market, oh what to do??????

        January 22, 2013
    • Lana Marie

      Just to add….as long as ‘they’ can ‘ship’em’ to auction for that pity cheque, like cattle…all is good in their minds. I hate auctions, where for years & years it’s just where you send ‘livestock’. I’m talking about the one a month type for horses. BUT if the EU’s new regs. come into effect…possibly ‘good home’s or rescues’ who bid on horses wont have to bid against as many k-buyer’s??
      A definite huge step in the right direction from the HSUS!!

      January 22, 2013
  • Karen

    I have been a member of HSUS for over 20 years and am very happy to see the organization putting equine issues as a top priority. They are also the organization that pointed out many horses going to slaughter are filled with a toxic soup of substances. Last year they revealed the extreme cruelty of horse shows, especially Tenn. Walker shows. HSUS and the New York Times have also worked to reveal the cruelties of the horse racing industry. Bravo to all the good work they do for equines.

    January 21, 2013
  • Robynne Catheron

    This is a HUGE step in the right direction! If only the most-guilty breeders of the AQHA, APHA, and the Jockey Club would join, or even listen to reason, we would be on a faster road to ending horse slaughter and overpopulation. This is very good news, however! Sharing!

    January 21, 2013
  • Leanne

    I think this is a great move. Having just taken in a rescue TBred mare with sarcoid cancer in a large way in foal to a Clydesdale -bred by a backyard breeder, I would love to see responsible breeding.

    January 21, 2013
  • Arlene

    This is a most wonderful idea, Will AQHA be signing up??? I believe they are the Cause , now they should be the responsible ….

    January 22, 2013
  • Elaine

    What a great effort to address a problem that is bordering on crisis. However, since we can’t even control overbreeding of pets (cats and dogs) where there is much more regulation in place (license requirements, leash laws, etc.) as long as Amercians have the freedom to do as they please, there will be a certain group of people who are irresponsible and/or stupid.

    January 22, 2013
  • Annonymous

    I am thrilled the HSUS is doing something to curb over breeding and I agree that the AQHA, APHA & Jockey Club should all get “on board” to become not only responsible breeders but more importantly…held accountable for each horse they sell. I have recently adopted a beautiful little QH mare and just found out she is pregnant.
    Not once has my devotion to the mare wavered nor has the thought entered my mind that I should not keep and love her offspring for life.
    There are far too many “horse owners” who view one of God’s most amazing creations as “possessions”…the “I Own You” mentality toward horses as a whole is what ultimately needs to somehow change, this is where the neglect & abuse begins.

    January 22, 2013
  • Amy Riedel

    Wouldn’t it help the over breeding if no registered breed of horse was allowed to be bred by A.I.? It seems to me that something like that may decrease the number of foals a stallion can sire in a year. Accountability for the foals bred every year would be something to consider too. If you breed it you are responsible for it if it cannot perform and will be responsible for its care. I have one rescue mare that I bought out from under the kill buyer, and have placed 3 others I rescued. I don’t have the land or finances to do much. I also have a 20 year old registered stallion whom I have bred to 4 mares in his life. I have 2 of the colts, one’s mother died while in foal, and the other is in Colorado with a young girl who’s mare I allowed him to breed. Just because one has a stallion and mares doesn’t mean that one will breed them indiscriminately, unfortunately it does mean that a lot of people who wind up with a colt who ultimately turns into a stallion won’t think ooooh I have a stud. Let’s breed him and get a baby. The two colts I have are so loved and will by all their lives. My ponies are my babies and are mine in love not ownership.

    February 6, 2013
  • Wendy Scott

    How about having a hefty fee for stallion licensing as in Europe.

    June 2, 2013