As long as I can remember, being in the horse industry meant you made your living having something to do with horses. For sure it meant you owned horses. I know with my work `industry’ means `insider’ or directly connected. You don’t get to just get to declare yourself as `industry’ to gain admittance or enjoy privileges. You actually have to have a license and credentials. It’s one of the things that always bothered me back in the show horse days; that anybody can hang a shingle and call themselves a trainer. Not so with racehorses. While not a perfect system, you actually have to know a thing or two to call yourself that and you need to *gasp* pass a test and have references. FYI part of those tests mean you have to learn a drug schedule inside and out, know how to run various bandages, and a lot more things to do with horse health and management. You do not get to walk in off the street and ask to write a test, they make you put your time in first. I sure wish other breed associations did this.
Part of this slaughter war has a bunch of people presuming to speak as `industry’. One of the biggest blowhards is Slaughterhouse Sue herself. From what I can gather, she doesn’t even own a horse. So, she is neither a consumer nor is she industry. She contributes zero dollars to tack stores, horse feed, farriers, or equine vets. Yet, she has managed to snow a bunch of people into believing she, who has no credentials or experience, knows what the horse industry needs to solve their current problems. She has the support of the AQHA and various state QH associations because they, as the breed that registers the most foals a year, support slaughter. Let’s not forget this is the same breed that has all but self destructed over their overbreeding and money grubbing ways. When the president of the AQHA is breeding HYPP N/H horses and promoting them, is there any surprise they’re perfectly fine with slaughter? Somebody has to clean up the mess they’ve made for themselves….
One breed that does not support Slaughterhouse Sue and her death march is Thoroughbreds. The Jockey Club has taken a firm stance against slaughter and several tracks have now put sanctions in place for any trainer or owner caught with a horse in a kill pen. These sanctions are not always easy to impose as the chain of custody on a racehorse can be difficult, but at least they are making a real effort to clean up this mess. Of any breed, Thoroughbreds have more dedicated rescue and rehabilitation programs in place with the majority of them being very much supported by the industry. As a result of anti-slaughter advocacy on behalf of thoroughbreds, two Canadian slaughter houses will no longer accept Thoroughbreds. It’s a start and the industry has stepped up to see these horses are looked after and carefully placed. If the Thoroughbreds can do this, then why can’t other breeds?
Slaughterhouse Sue and Douchebag Dave Duquette keep telling their minions that slaughter is going to fix this mysterious industry. I wonder if has occurred to either of them that what they are proposing will wipe out a very important facet of the horse industry. The hobbyists. While all horse people need, feed, vet care and tack, it’s the hobbyists that are huge spenders for horse related items and offshoot businesses. My pleasure riding friends have more color coordinated accessories for their horses, than I have clothes in my closet. They love changing their helmet covers, polos and saddle pads every time they ride and while I may go to the tack store once or twice a year, these guys go a couple of times a month and never come home empty handed. They spend a huge part of their disposable income on their horses. I guess if the value of horses goes back up, then less people will be able to afford them. That means less business for boarding stables, trainers and coaches, etc. etc..
Do you know who else is an important part of the horse industry? Rescues are. PSAs seem to dislike most rescues and think that offering sanctuary for unplaceable horses is wrong. It doesn’t occur to them that people CHOOSE to support rescues. PSAs are supposed to be all about choice, so I’m not sure why it bothers them so much, but it seems to. Rescues need a lot of supplies to keep going, so no matter where their funds are coming from. The horses they keep alive are huge contributors to equine based business and services. If Ole Sue and Dave get their way, the only rescues that would be viable would be their model of slaughtering the `unsuitables’ and never giving sanctuary to a horse. I guess the vet care, feed, bedding and other care costs will be down to nothing since their proposal is to also house them on a lot right next to the slaughter facility. No extreme measures would ever be taken to save a horse’s life or make it comfortable. In their perfect plan, no horse will be without a job, so I guess those wild horses are in trouble too.
So, after all this I am very confused at what the PSA definition of horse industry is and how slaughtering a bunch of horses and jacking the prices on the rest is going to help a single thing. I’ve long thought I was in the industry, or at least that’s what my license says I am. This makes me even more confused as to why Slaughterhouse Sue and Douchebag Dave Duquette presume to speak for me or the majority of the true industry people that vehemently disagree with their mission. Kinda presumptuous of them, wouldn’t you agree? I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. One of the `credentials’ that Slaughterhouse Sue does lay claim to is that she is a creative writer. Having read her press releases and the spin she puts on things, I’ll give her that one.