Unwanted Horse Summit Deals with Complicated Issue
Unwanted Horse Summit Only the Beginning--Bloodhorse.com
(excerpt)...Arthur said the addressing the issue of unwanted horses would go a long way toward addressing the hot-button topic of slaughter.
"If the problem of the unwanted horse is solved, there won't be a slaughterhouse issue to deal with," he said. "The question is whether the problem will be eliminated sooner rather than later."
The summit was preceded by an open session on the unwanted horse. Though the number of horses slaughtered in the United States has declined by 80% since 1990, equine industry representatives acknowledged there aren't easy answers.
The numbers show about 60,000 horses slaughtered at federally inspected plants in the United States each year, with another 20,000 shipped to Canada, and 4,000 to Mexico, according to Dr. Nat Messer, associate professor of equine medicine and surgery at the University of Missouri College of Veterinary Medicine. The total number is down from about 300,000 in 1990, he said, but the problem still exists.
"I'm not sure the entire horse industry has bought into that concept," Messer said. "There are hard questions I think need to be addressed."
The reduction in the number of slaughtered horses is attributed to responsible breeding, market demands, changing attitudes, and the anti-slaughter movement, Messer said. Even if slaughter weren't an issue, there are complications related to many methods of carcass disposal, he said...