If you’ve been following along with the slaughter stuff for any length of time, I’m sure you’ve heard all the trumped-up reasons why we absolutely MUST start slaughtering all our horses again. I could write forever punching holes in them. However, one of the ones that irritate me the most is the whole `slaughter sets a base price for horses’ argument. WTF? Seriously! I’m not usually given to direct responses to the petulant pony aside from the weekly recaps of the lunacy she perpetuates, but some things you just can’t let slide on by. Misinformation pisses me off.
So, if we are to believe the slaughterphiles, horses aren’t selling well because there is no `base’ price per pound on them. I don’t even comprehend that line of thinking. Horses are not raised to be food animals. Does anybody look at the steak on your plate and wonder if it was papered or how well-trained the cow was before it was slaughtered? I didn’t think so. Because this is the type of horse that I’m most familiar with, I decided to pull up the stats for the recently concluded Keeneland fall sale for Thoroughbreds of all ages. This sale is 11 days and features everything from weanlings, to race stock, to breeding stock. The prices run from in the millions all the way down to $1000, but when averaged out over 11 days, it always gives us a pretty good indication of where our market is and how we’re doing. Do you know what the verdict was? The market is strong. This is especially gratifying because everybody knows those damn thoroughbreds don’t make the best meat horses. If you believe Holy Theresa Manzella, they cost double to feed than any other horse (complete and utter bullshit btw).
In the interest of fair reporting and full disclosure, if you look at the hard numbers from Keeneland’s fall sale this year it was down a little. However, last year’s sale featured once in a lifetime dispersals of some fairly high-end breeding stock which they have attributed to the higher numbers. The late Bernard Evans holdings along with Saud bin Khaled’s Palides Investments N.V., Inc were dispersed and brought some crazy high prices. Included in that consignment was Royal Delta who sold for $8.5 million. With those horses factored out of the numbers from last year, the prices are actually higher this year. So, the `real’ numbers from this year saw the gross up 5.36% , the average up 2.74% and the median up 10%. That doesn’t mean much to most people unless you attach the actual dollar amounts though. So, this year’s average sales price over the 11 days was $52,248 and the median was $22,000. Not sure about you, but those are pretty good numbers to me. I’m not alone in that opinion. Keeneland vice president of sales, Walt Robertson stated:
Now, I have been accused of being elitist a time or two by the slaughterphiles. I’m actually not all that elitist when it comes to horses. I’m a realist. What I keep as my personal pet horses are one thing, what I deal with for a living are another. I’m not looking to resell my personal horses, but I’m also not breeding them. Many of my `horsey’ friends ride grade horses or show culls and they are still great horses for what they want to do with them. They also aren’t breeding them or looking to make a living from flipping them. The fact is there will ALWAYS be cheap horses as long as there are idiots involved with breeding them and horse trading. EVERY single breeder has a foal that doesn’t quite come out like you had hoped. However, if you are breeding quality stock, raising them correctly and either training them or presenting them for sale properly, it’s far easier to find a good home for the odd cull than to keep creating them. If you are a bottom end horse trader and the lack of slaughter is putting you out of business, I don’t feel even a little bit sorry that you can’t make a living selling horses to slaughter. Whine and cry all you want, dead horses don’t drive the industry. They don’t need tack, feed, veterinary care or any number of other related purchases. If Suey and the IEBA gets their way, you still wont’ be able to afford to be in the horse trading business because it’s going to cost you more to do business with her than to put a horse down. I won’t shed one tear if all the slaughterphiles get out of the horse business and it also won’t change my lifestyle and income one bit. If you need meat prices to value your stock, please find another business to be in because the horse industry will be better off without you. Just give us some time to clean up the huge mess that the slaughterphile mindset has created.