I see it as a very realistic approach. Everything is determined by value and worth. If a horse is worth more to be resold as a saddle horse and the whole program revolves around making him worth the most that they can, then that is where he will go. If the horse has soundness or mental issues or is just butt-ugly, his chances of leaving the place on his feet are slim.
When I started out training in 1960, I bought a lot of prospects from the Columbine Packing Company on the east side of Denver. They sold them for what they cost + $10.00. They made a $10.00 profit without putting a penny in the horse. Horse Traders buy horses at every sale. The ones that will make money being sold privately on Craigs List or through the paper are sold that way. The ones that can't, will head to the processing plant. It is just plain economics 101.
Right now, there is a horse feed lot in Morton Texas. It usually has from 1000 to 2000 head in it. They are held in big pens that have big square bales of alfalfa in front of them 24/7. Thin horses usually stay there 90 days. I am told that they gain around 4 pounds a day. I have had horses gain 5 # a day on wheat pasture if I turned them on it when they were thin. This is the only US feedlot that I know of, but it is owned by the Belgian Company that owns the processing plant in Mexico. Horses never get out of that feedlot except to go to Mexico. They are not tried for anything else. The owners only want these horses for meat. Once they have left the Traders' hands, there is no 'get out of jail free' card for them.
I watch 'broke' horses go through the local sale every two weeks that have no one bid on them but the same traders that buy killers. They are not set up to fatten horses up and most are not trainers. They have to figure out in a matter of days if a horse is worth trying to sell privately or if they should just send the horse straight to Mexico. I see a lot of possibilities for a set-up like the one planned for Oregon. I see decent horses having a lot better chance of getting out of it on their feet.
I also think more young horses will go to a place like this with their papers. Right now, many young horses are not being registered or the owners are throwing the papers away if they have to sell them at a sale.
So yes! I think a set-up like the one planned is very realistic. I think it is a very good way to go about it.