I don't believe its a band aid, and you really think people will just magically stop breeding if this outlet were taken completely away? NOPE!
In a perfect world there would not be over breeding..but since we do not live in a perfect world, we have to have solutions to this overbreeding of horses, and that is slaughter. If we just went out and chemically euthed all of the unwanted horses, think of the enviromental impact that would have. Those chemicals leach into the soil creating a bigger problem, and a bunch of wasted meat that SOMEONE could be using.
Slaughter is not a pretty thing, but for the bigger picture its nessesary. If you don't believe in it, then keep that old horse til his dying day, or pasture that outlaw, or dead lame youngun, that's your choice to do so..but some of us (as sad as it is) cannot afford to keep an unsound (in body or mind) horse around.
Currently I have ONE horse that is a lifer- she has earned her place. The other two? Time will tell, but Im sure at some point they will move on.. if either of these two were to become pasture sound only say tomorrow, yes I would haul them to an auction to salvage at least a little money for them given they are sound enough to trailer ( I have other animals to feed and bills to pay). Does that make me irresponsible, or a bad person? If you say it does, what about the fact that my horses get quality and costly hay and custom mixed grain, fresh clean water everyday, farrier care on a scheduled and timely manner, vet care when needed ect ect ect.. the buggars are taken care of pretty darn well.. oh and the fact that I wont keep more horses than I can afford to properly take care of..
I know people who have about 14 personal horses..twoish that are broke and rideable, they wont get rid of any of them (unless to approved homes- those are far and few) because they are anti slaughter..which is their call..but they are constantly on the brink of financial woes because of it.. they take excellent care of their horses don't get me wrong (none of them want for food or nessesary vet care, shelter ect, but regular dental and hoof care have gone out the window), but their rose colored views IMO have kept them hindered and that's irresponsible because the majority of those horses are SCREWED if anything ever happens to them. The cost of upkeep on useless horses is keeping them from training and building a future for the few good (young and older) horses they have on the property.. oh and these are people who stopped breeding when the horse market died..
You make some seriously good points.
I do believe it is a band-aid for a serious problem that needs to be fixed. But I don't believe that ending slaughter would fix the problem. Closing slaughters just leaves horses a longer trip to their inevitable fate, or left in public parks tied to trees to starve to death.
The problem, like for cats and dogs, does need to be fixed. You're right we don't live in a perfect world - but not all countries have the same issues we do - how do they do it? There are government regulations, there are standards with which horses need to be held to in order to be bred. I personally don't think our government should need to regulate those things - but someone has to do something to fix this issue.
Here's my proposal - Foals born should be micro-chipped just like I explained before. When the foal is grown and used up - when the horse has gone past his/her useful lifespan - if the owner no longer wants to or is able to care for a used up horse (which first off feels like a betrayal to me) they can call the past owners of the horse to see if any wants to have the horse back. If none do they go back to the breeder. I don't know the details on how to make that happen I'll leave that up to some technical genius. The breeders would most likely euthanize the horses given back to them. Which would be sad for the first batch. But the breeders will gradually realize, as more and more of their precious foals who they watched enter the world are dumped on their door steps, used up and broken, only left to be euthanized - they will get the point. If not for the emotional reasons but for the cost- the cost to euthanize and bury a horse is extreme, especially in some states where you can't legally bury a horse, they need to be cremated. This way, at least, the horses die in loving arms - not slaughtered blindly by humans they once trusted.
I'd also like to add vets are REALLY stepping up on this issue- more and more are refusing to euthanize healthy horses, they're helping owners accommodate for horses' issues. A horse in someone's back yard does not cost much to keep up, my draft and pony together cost $300 a month on average, calculating in farrier - not vet as that varies too much. That's not horrific.
We honestly owe it to our companions not to throw them in the trash when we're done with them. It's different if it's a horse you've just bought who freak accident got permanently injured. But if you caused the horse to be unusable or if you have used the horse for the majority of their life, you owe it to them to promise them a peaceful end of life- even if it is
euthanasia. They deserve to die in comfort, not afraid and betrayed. I realize this isn't possible in every situation, but if the majority of people made
this possible - then the rescues actually could pick up the rest. But right now rescues like mine are taxed. We have NO money, NO volunteers, NO time, but every day we get calls for more horses!
If you can afford to keep a sound horse - you can afford to keep the horse who has served you for the past 8 years. I personally, don't care about what show level you can't reach on your old horse - deal with it, wait a couple years until they pass and buy a new horse. Or
better yet, I know a 16 year old girl who came up with the best solution: when your horse can no longer compete at your level, but is still good, lease them out to newer, lower level riders and use the money to lease or buy a better horse for yourself. Chances are if you choose to the leaser will want to buy your old horse, or you can keep them for free until they pass. Most horses can be taken for a relaxing walking trail up till the end of their lives - so there'll be people who want to enjoy them.
If there is a will, there is a way - find that way to protect your animals. We all owe it to them. The rest who don't have people to love them like we do can go to rescues or be slaughtered - but I guarantee if people started stepping up and being responsible slaughter numbers would drop dramatically. All it takes is for each person to make the responsible decision.