Poll Recap: Equine Welfare Issues

What horse welfare issues are of biggest concern to you? This poll, by TheHorse.com, lists the variety of issues all horse lovers are thinking about : unwanted horses, horse slaughter, horse soring, wild horses and horse drawn carriages. The statements by many who took the poll in this article show a great deal of misinformation is still believed on a wide variety of issues: That horse slaughter is humane; That there are too many wild horses, to name a couple. ~ HfH

From: The Horse
By: Jennifer Whittle

IMG_1100Unwanted horses. Slaughter. Management of wild and feral horses and burros. These are all among the hot discussion topics when it comes to equine welfare. But which welfare issue is most concerning to you?

In last week’s poll, we asked our readers which equine welfare issue was most concerning to them. More than 1,230 people responded and we’ve tallied the results.

Of the 1,238 respondents, 517 (42%) said they are most concerned about “unwanted” horses, while 293 (24%) indicated they’re most worried about slaughter. Another 198 respondents (16%) said they find the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses most concerning, and 123 people (10%) said they’re most concerned about feral horse and burro overpopulation and gathers. Only 16 individuals (1%) said the are most concerned about horse-drawn carriages, while the remaining 91 respondents (7%) said they find other equine welfare issues most concerning.

Several people voiced their concerns about slaughter:

“There is no excuse to send a horse to slaughter. There are so many other options available.”

“Though I don’t want to send my horse to slaughter, I believe it is an option we need in the United States.”

“All of these issues are important, but slaughter is most concerning to me.”

“I believe the closing of small local horse abattoirs has caused endless misery and is unsustainable.”

“We still need humane slaughter in this country. Taking away that option is worst for horses.”

“Slaughter is the most troubling issue for me. I don’t see too many ‘unwanted’ horses around here.”

“Humane horse slaughter would prevent so much equine suffering.”

“Closing the slaughter plants significantly decreased equine welfare in the United States.”

“The word slaughter suggests inhumane conditions and that is not acceptable.”

“Slaughter of our horses must be stopped—no slaughter and no transport to slaughter.”


Be sure to voice your opinion on our website and our Facebook page,

Read Original Article on The Horse

  • mustang man

    Not surprising. the advocacy side spends 99% of its time preaching to the choir, our efforts are focused on hyperbole to the mass of already advocates instead of us working our way into the mainstream horse people and educating them rather then over powering them with negative issues, comments and telling them how we hate anything they do with horses. Does advocacy ever spend a dime on awarding or mentioning the people who are not mainstream advocates for what good they do and the help they give horses/ I have never seen it. I spend lots of time at horse events and talk to people about the issues and what can be a start to resolve them. nobody is going to give up their lives to help horses hell people don’t give up their lives to help people. We need to change the world one person at a time and $1.00 at a time is my thought.

    May 28, 2015
    • Elaine Cummings

      You are hitting the mark. Other things that are among the unknown are the fact that the HSUS is the ‘drug pusher’ for the BLM. HSUS holds the patent for PZP. BLM is spending our tax dollars for ‘birth control’ of a problem that does not exist. HSUS is in profit mode. There IS no overpopulation of wild horses. That is a ‘spin’ hatched by BLM and cattlemen who are ‘welfare ranchers,’ for obvious reasons. HSUS is happy to get their ‘cut.’

      May 29, 2015
  • Bonnie Wagner

    The problem is over population of every thing!! people too. People that are lazy, miss-informed, apathetic, cruel, have NO Sense of Responsibility Or have mental issues. What if they started rounding up humans??? Remember the American Indians? Parents that do not care for children Or were brought up with No boundary’s Or Love. GET INFORMED PEOPLE !!!! Just My Opinion…

    May 28, 2015
    • Elaine Cummings

      There is NO overpopulation of wild horses. There never HAs been, nor does it exist NOW. The ‘numbers’ cited by BLM are just that … ‘numbers’ devised from the very beginning to put wild horses at a disadvantage compared to ‘welfare ranchers’ grazing cheap on our PUBLIC lands. These people include Ted Turner and Warren Buffett. Yet, the BLM was assigned by LAW in 1971 to protect the wild horses and burros. BLM has never done any such thing.

      May 29, 2015
  • Gail Wiot

    Perhaps none of the people supporting slaughter had the opportunity to view this first hand. There ARE NO unwanted horses. If we had a better means of connecting the horses with new owners most of the problems would be solved. The only humane death for a horse is to be euthanized by practicing veterinarian. There are groups all over the country willing to help owners who are in financial trouble. How could you subject a horse who has taught many to ride, and has provided companionship to many. As a past humane investigator the calls remained the same. If you are selfish and greedy for the blood money your horse brings I feel sorry for you. The root of the problem is to educate people and a better means if matching horses with new owners. A horses life should never end in a kill box being shot over and over again or having a butcher knife stuck through their spine over and over again until they can no longer stand. Then hung up by their hind legs and their throat cut while still conscious. Please do your homework. Slaughter is NEVER a humane death for a horse especially a mare heavy in foal! Disgusting and inhumane!!!

    May 28, 2015
  • darlene brown

    there is no such thing as “humane” horse slaughter. They know whats coming. There is absolutly nothing humane about dropping your horse at auction and thats just the start to their nightmare. shameful.

    May 29, 2015
  • Daniel Cordero

    It is not a secret that “The Horse” has been always a publication sided with the horsemeat industry and the agribusiness lobbies that keep this trade alive for ideological and monetary reasons and not with the real interests of equines. This is shown clearly in the questions made in the poll, clearly cherry-picked to fit their own agenda:

    – “Unwanted” horses

    The first time this euphemism for cheap horses sold on loose auctions was ever heard was after California’s Proposition 6 banning horse slaughter and horse meat trade (a ban which by the way is being violated as we speak by Japanese trading companies using the LA and SF ports, just as the EU horsemeat multinationals do with the TX one by using the Houston port) was introduced. By 2003, when the AHSPA (federal bill to ban slaughter) was introduced this myth, a purposely engineered tool to manipulate and shape the minds of the public, was all over the place.

    What makes a horse “unwanted”? Basically nothing, they are just cheap horses sold at auctions. But by attaching them word “unwanted” the make them sound like they are some sort of byproduct. Maybe these horses just had bad luck and, if given a chance, there would be people willing to give them a home.

    Also, by making them “unwanted” and hammering constantly the public with that mantra about “too many unwanted”, unwanted this, unwanted that… they achieve that nobody actually questions the root cause of the problem. Nobody says that many of these equines come from performance and show industry after very short careers. Nobody mentions that people that keeps horses just for riding, for work or as pets do not generally dump horses at killer auctions. Nobody says that if horses were more expensive there would be no horse slaughter industry preying on them and fueling this vicious circle. Looks like whenever the outdated, mold smelling horsemeat lobby feels threatened “unwanted” horses pop up out of the thin air.

    – Slaughter

    Unsurprisingly, it is here where we find the most outlandish comments on the whole article. Not surprisingly either is the fact that most comments that made the article are pro-slaughter, in fact they are so squarely pro-slaughter that they look like taken from Stenholm’s lobby manual. This differs radically from field experience showing that most people is appalled at the thought of slaughtering horses but of course the editor of this publication would never loose an opportunity to drive in the minds of readers that actually most “people” or “industry” or whatever you want to call it, supports slaughter.

    «I believe the closing of small local horse abattoirs has caused endless misery and is unsustainable.»

    Please excuse, small local abattoirs? Exactly when were there “small local abattoirs” killing horses in this country? If Multimeat, Chevideco and Velda are small, local companies them Microsoft is an intergalactic corporation. And of course Texas turns out to be a small province of the Kingdom of Belgium since neither of these companies where ever local or small. Does this person live in the same planet/universe/plane of reality than we do? Apparently not.

    «We still need humane slaughter in this country. Taking away that option is worst for horses.»

    Here is a classic: the “option” mantra. Besides the fact there is no such a thing as humane slaughter (more euphemisms to sugar coat and sell the stuff; no need to discuss that here since there is plenty of information a click away on this site), this “option” thing is total BS. It is nothing but lobbyist technospeak for “I want to make easy money dumping equine “cattle” in auction because I am a totally incompetent, irresponsible owner and couldn’t care less about nothing but the green stuff in my wallet”. Beating a horse and bleeding them to death is now a matter of personal choice, just like the color of your truck, or the shows you wear. Yet they still have the nerve to sell this as “it’s better for them”. Frankly, I can’t image nothing worse happening to a horse than being subjected to the ultimate betrayal and torture.

    There are already plenty of options, in fact there were never as many options as there are today, but people has become so lazy -in part because they are always bombarded with going the “easy way” with this “option” stuff- that they do not care to do the right thing. All real options converge in a critical point which is to become responsible: Call the vet and put it down, take 15 minutes to put an add and sell your horse out of auction. Even a gunshot is better than slaughter but of course neither of these options is so profitable than selling them for meat so some effete dinners overseas can feast on them. And that’s really, truly the only point in slaughtering horses. $$$ If you want to have horses you need to be responsible. If what you want is a ride to use and abuse, to show off, win prizes to feed your ego and then dispose of uncaringly and whimsically to get it sold off in parts when you get bored of it, horses are NOT for you: what you need is a good Ducati or Kawasaki bike, period.

    «Humane horse slaughter would prevent so much equine suffering.»

    Obviously this person doesn’t have a clear concept of what suffering is or at least has one opposite to the overwhelmingly majority of people’s. Perhaps he/she could star an episode of Discovery Channel’s “Most Evil” show… but what I find most interesting is that “would”… like if no horses were being slaughtered as we speak. Wrong!

    «Closing the slaughter plants significantly decreased equine welfare in the United States.»

    Another classic; a pro-slaughter article is not such without including some variation of the above line. This is also one of the most “funny” pseudo-arguments ever.

    It is based on the ridiculous thought that after the three Belgian companies that were slaughtering horses in Texas and Illinois were ordered to pack their bag and hit the road, the so-called “unwanted” horses bred and dumped by those who actually wanted to profit from their suffering had no place where they could be quickly sold to keep the slaughter wheel spinning, so they accumulated somewhere and where thus left to die of starvation by the very same people who actually wanted them to be killed so they could rake in some quick buck.

    OK… good. But turns out that, despite the closure of the plants, these simply moved abroad some miles away from the border (in fact, they were already operating there before the US plants closed so it wasn’t much of a hassle for them) and horses are still being slaughtered in these places as we speak. So… if they say horses are being starved en masse because of “lack of slaughter plants”, how comes that actually the double of horses of what were being killed at the US plants is being shipped for killing right now some more miles away? It can’t be both ways. If more horses are being shipped for slaughter right now of what was killed before, it is impossible that horses are being abandoned because lack of “US slaughter plants”.

    People tend to think that, because it is made in the US, it is better but there is nothing farther from truth. We might not like Canada or Mexico but they do exactly the same as was being done in the US plants, principally due to the export markets (e.g. EU) require it to be done that way. There is no difference here or there, it is always the same and it is always all that bad.

    It is worth mentioning as well that the comments opposed to slaughter that made the article were likely the most feeble and anodyne ones the author could find. Of course, we have no indication of how many comments were received, how many were pro or against and which measures were taken to prevent trolling (none, as happens with non-scientific polls), which is more than plausible explanation for the overabundance of pro-slaughter comments.

    – Wild horses

    Here “The Horse” unequivocally shows again its colors and attempts to distort the results by manipulating the question:

    “Mustang and feral overpopulation and gathers”

    To begin with, the wording is as stilted and artificial as it could be. Why don’t they just say “wild horses”? Obviously, there was a clear interest in including the word “feral” here so people associate mustangs with feral >> All mustangs are feral horses >> Remove feral horses. But the most striking feature is the word “overpopulation”. This predisposes the reader to think there is an overpopulation of wild horses, when there is only an overpopulation of cattle and welfare ranchers -and of pro-slaughter articles, for that matter-.

    However, this attempt at manipulation seems to have backfired since nearly all comments show a concern about the diminishing population of wild horses rather than the typical arguments frequently used by BLM and welfare ranching.

    To conclude, taking into account this article comes from a publication that could be regarded as the “Pravda” of the pro-slaughter lobby, it is not surprising they include so much misinformation to amp up their position and look like the dominant one.

    Personally, I am still puzzled than anybody keeps investing its time in disseminating the myths and propaganda of the pro-slaughter lobby, all for the monetary gain of others, but unfortunately it seems that people will always go to great lengths in the name of ideology, which is nothing but smoke, even if they are useless, moldy, mothball-smelling ideas like the ones seemingly promoted by this article. It’s time for them to quit that and accept that people simply doesn’t want their horses to be turned into overseas gastronomic amusements and commercial opportunities.

    May 30, 2015