That backdoor rider was placed in previous versions of the ag bill and ended domestic horse slaughter.
Since the issue of horse slaughter first arose in the United States, the American Quarter Horse Association has publicly fought to keep horse slaughter as an end-of-life option for owners who need it. To some, this position seems puzzling. After all, isn’t AQHA about protecting horses?
Every horse owner dreads the day when he faces the difficult end-of-life decision that is inevitable when it comes to owning an animal. Sometimes horses become dangerous, or their owners become unable or unwilling to care for them. Horses become unwanted or un-needed. Sending a horse to a processing facility is unthinkable to many, and AQHA respects that position. For others, it is the best option.
AQHA also has supported legislation to ensure the safe and humane transportation of horses that are bound for slaughter and backed guidelines for how horses must be treated at the facilities. While that might appear to be pro-slaughter, it’s not that simple.
One of the major issues in the slaughter debate centers on personal property rights. AQHA believes that allowing animal-rights advocates to determine how we manage our horses opens the door to letting them put other limits on what we can or cannot do with our horses (i.e. transportation, trail riding, racing, showing and overall care). AQHA respects the right of horse owners to manage their personal property as they choose, so long as the welfare of the horse is paramount.
These arguments are not considered by animal rights groups, which continue to lobby Congress to pass legislation that would eliminate domestic horse processing or transportation to Canada or Mexico for horse processing.
It has always been AQHA’s fear that by ending U.S. horse processing, bottom-end, unemployable and unwanted animals would become neglected and place an undue burden on state and local governments. That is what the GAO report revealed - and what is unacceptable to AQHA.
AQHA is about the horse and about educating owners on options they have. It is not about sensationalizing a very emotional issue.