The REASON that the population is more than we ever had is helped by the fact slaughter had people knowing they could easily sell the culls to the meat men, and they had financial incentive to overbreed, just like this guy up here in the mountains does. He will continue to overbreed, as will they all, until the price of a horse finally goes far enough down that he no longer has the incentive.
I called my friend, btw, the sister, and got up with her, and asked her how many horses he sent to slaughter this year. She said she didn't know how many a year, but the meat guys just picked up 20 horses, all under 3 and perfectly healthy.
The racehorse breeders may not SEEM to breed for slaughter, but when you churn out hundreds of TBs a year, KNOWING that only a third MITE make the grade, and the others are the many OTTBs that end up shipped off for slaughter, then whether they admit it or not, THOSE horses ARE 'bred for slaughter.' The Jockey Club showed some 40,000 to 50,000 (can't remember the exact stats) horses bred and registered this past year, how many of THOSE ended up shipped off to slaughter, minus the lucky few that made the grade or ended up at rescues (and working them I can tell you over half the horses that come in are OTTBs). This is JUST racehorses, this ain't like the HUGE quarter horse ranches out west that also churn out hundreds of horses, and the breeders don't care, they can sell whatever doesn't sell to meat men, they get THEIR money reguardless, the breed industries don't care (tho I must say that is SLOWLY changing) they get money for every horse that is bred and papered, they have that financial incentive to encourage overbreeding, not to metion the fees they get with every transfer, and I am ashamed to say that the AMVA also supports slaughter, cuz if we stopped overbreeding, there mite not be the plentious supply of money that comes in per animal. It still boils down to MONEY, or HORSES. I vote for horses.
So slaughter has contributed to the problem, never HAS helped the problem as it claims it has, it DOES give financial incentive to overbreed. THIS is the effect on horse populations.
The three I mentioned slaughtered STRICTLY horses, they were big plants that didn't slaughter any thing BUT horses. I don't know about your plant, but most plants that slaughtered only horses have been closed down. Unfortunately, slaughter is STILL goin on, it is still an outlet, and it still provides an incentive to overbreed. When gas prices got so high, I hoped it would deter some of the transport, but I am sure it is in full swing again. Until we close the borders, we can't deal with the problem as it should be. But the border problem, as it concerns other countries, is far trickier, PLUS we can't pass ANY legislation TO close the borders until the bill is passed (you can make legislation based on legislation that hasn't passed yet.) So, first the bill has to pass, then we can focus on closing the borders to slaughter, and we will be FORCED to deal with overpopulation (as we should be), tho with the incentive taken away, it mite take awhile for even the most stubborn of overbreeders to stop, but when horses go BACK to being pets in this country, instead of being bred as a food animal, thier population numbers will balance out. We will have a problem at first, and it is ALL our responsibility to do what we can.
For one thing, instead of buying a horse that has been bred by one of these big facilities, let us listen to our heart and rescue a horse, rather than join the swelling ranks of breed snobs. Also, breed registries should have VERY strict restrictions on breeding, (even tho it DOES cut into the their 'bottom line') and do like the Fresians and the horses HAVE to pass a very rigous inspection process TO be registered. Don't see Fresians overpopulating. But I see TBs and QH (and I only use them as examples because those two breeds are the most proliferate in this country, more of them than any other registeries) with horrible conformation being bred and spitting out inferior animals all the time, perhaps if the registries would have more rigerous standards then fewer animals could be registered, and the big breeders would slow down on the over production of these animals. And while I do NOT support the NAIS thing, I DO think legislation that has breeding restrictions should be introduced, to stop the backyard breeders as well. (and the legislation needs to be enforced, not all the laws passed to protect the welfare of animals actually ends up enforced.) Dogs and cats are not allowed to be overbred like this, they have laws against 'puppy mills' (and rightly so) I think similar legislation should be entered for horses, as well as possibly considering the age-old arguement of having a horse's legal status changed from livestock (which allows for much more breeding than non-livstock animals) to pet animals.
Plus, as to what to do with the horses that ARE pets, and have gotten injured, are too old, whatever where they have no quality of life anymore, the horse be treated well, put down with GREAT care taken to ensure the animals suffers NO pain, that death is verified PER ANIMAL before bleeding and skinning, and the meat be used to help us here in america to develop food for the hundreds of thousands of dogs and cats in this country so that China cant poison our pets anymore (are you listening, ALPO and others that have sold out and sold US out?) and give americans a chance to use the meat to feed horses (or, even more wonderful, if it IS to be used for human consumption, we send it to starving people in Darfur and Myrmar and such......) But all that is with the understanding that a serious and all-encompassing change in the way they were slaughtered HAS to change.
Know thyself, know thy horse.