When the U.S. Department of Agriculture closed slaughterhouses that processed horse meat in 2007, the adoptions and sales of wild horses took a sharp drop and never recovered.
Beginning in 2005, the BLM allowed the sales of wild horses at least 10 years old that had been passed over for adoption at least three times.
That was a peak year for adoptions and sales, at 6,661 combined. By 2008, sales and adoptions dropped to almost half of that at 3,564, according to the BLM.
These quotes are from an article written by Steve Timko entitled, “Could USDA horse slaughterhouse approval be good news for wild horses?”
The answer to that is a resounding “no”, especially if they end up in one.
But let us go back to the quote.
First of all just to clarify, the USDA did not close horse slaughter plants in 2007. State laws closed them. The federal government taking money away from the USDA to pay for inspections of horse meat so it can be sold for human consumption kept them closed and others from opening.
Next, I do not trust any figures released by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), nor does any other sensible and informed wild horse and burro advocate. The BLM’s numbers have proven to be massaged and manipulated to suit their purposes. I see no reason for exception here.
Whether BLM decline in adoption figures are accurate or not, how is killing more horses for their meat going to reverse that?
At any rate, the BLM program for the public adoption of wild horses has typically been seen as a big failure over the years. Whether BLM decline in adoption figures are accurate or not, how is killing more horses for their meat going to reverse that?
Most importantly of all is this constant lie by pro-slaughter that when horse slaughterhouses closed on U.S. soil, the slaughter of U.S. horses stopped, causing all sorts of problems. We know that it did not.
The yearly rate U.S. horses slaughtered in Mexico and Canada for human consumption has increased to a reported 160,000+. This fact negates arguments stating that the closure of horse slaughter plants in the U.S. is increasing abuse, abandonment, neglect and flooding the market with cheap horses.
Timpco points out in his article:
The U.S. General Accountability Office noted in a 2011 report that the USDA ban on horse meat slaughterhouses had the side effect of expanding the horse slaughterhouse business in Mexico. U.S. horse exports to Mexico increased 660 percent to Mexico after the ban and by 166 percent to Canada, the GAO report said.
The economy nosedived and the U.S. was declared in “full recession” in December 2007. Other dire terms such as suggesting the country was “in depression” followed suit.
At the same time, hay prices began to go up. Droughts, wildfires and shortages saw them skyrocket. More hay was reportedly being exported making less of it for sale at home.
As anyone who has ever cared for a horse or looked into the costs of ownership knows, the least expensive part of the proposition is buying the horse. It is the feeding, healthcare, upkeep, maintenance, training and transportation that challenges a horse owner’s budget. A low price for a horse can be misleading especially to a first time owner, and potentially dangerous for the future welfare of a horse to be sold cheaply.
Horse slaughter encourages overbreeding which floods the market with cheap horses, always has, and always will. It is a simple case of supply and demand, an economic concept a child can grasp.
The BLM is full to overflowing with thousands and thousands of wild horses they have needlessly rounded up, pressured by politicians acting on behalf of corporate friends, “welfare cattle ranchers”, drillers and miners.
Who knows how many wild horses there are or even where they are with any confidence. Whatever the actual numbers, one thing everyone can agree on is there are more wild horses in long-term holding than in the wild.
How is slaughtering more domestic horses going to help the BLM adopt out or sell more wild horses? It is not. The only thing slaughtering more horses will do is fill more bellies with horse meat.