Tom Persechino, executive director of competition and breed integrity for the American Quarter Horse Association, released the following letter in support of Oklahoma Rep. Skye McNiel's bill to allow horse slaughter facilities in Oklahoma:
Representative Skye McNiel
Oklahoma State Legislature
2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 433B Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Dear Representative McNiel,
The American Quarter Horse Association continues to increase its role in public policy and advocacy concerning the American Quarter Horse and all horses. In addition to increasing advocacy of the American Quarter Horse in public policy, AQHA continues to keep the horse as its foremost concern by providing programs to members promoting the health and wellbeing of their America Quarter Horses.
AQHA believes it is the owner’s responsibility and, ultimately, their choice regarding decisions concerning the welfare of their horse(s). The Association encourages responsible ownership practices and management that will reduce the number of unwanted horses and recognizes that federally regulated, humane processing of unwanted horses is a necessary aspect of the equine industry because it provides a humane euthanasia alternative for horses that might otherwise continue a life of discomfort and pain, or inadequate care or abandonment. This position was supported in a United States Government Accountability Office study that was released in June of 2011, entitled “Horse Welfare Action Needed to Address Unintended Consequences from Cessation of Domestic Slaughter.”
Obviously, the option of horse slaughter is one that is unthinkable by many horse owners, and AQHA respects these owners’ beliefs. However, AQHA’s Public Policy Committee and ultimately Board of Directors continues to advocate that for certain horses, federally regulated processing provides a humane alternative to additional suffering or possibly dangerous situations. Over the years, AQHA has actively supported legislation to ensure the safe and humane transportation of horses that are bound for processing facilities and backed guidelines for how horses must be treated at facilities. The Association also supports other choices for unwanted horses, including euthanasia by injection, life in an equine retirement facility, donation to a college or university, or other options.
The Association has been monitoring Oklahoma’s SB 375 and HB 1999. Should Oklahoma’s Legislature pass these bills and the Governor sign them into law, given AQHA’s previously stated position of support for the option of processing, the Association would not (nor are there any plans to) move either the American Quarter Horse Association World Championship Show or the American Quarter Horse Youth Association World Championship Show from Oklahoma.
Since 1976, the AQHA World Show has had a successful history in Oklahoma, and we are currently in negotiations with Oklahoma’s State Fair Park and Oklahoma Convention & Visitor’s Bureau to extend our relationship. The Youth World Show contract was recently extended in Oklahoma, and exhibitors continue to tell us how much the enjoy coming to the state to compete for a coveted world title.
I hope the above information is helpful to you and accurately characterizes AQHA’s position relative to humane, federally regulated horse processing, and the Association’s relationship with the state and city of Oklahoma City.
If at any time I can answer questions for you, please do not hesitate to contact this office.
Executive Director of Competition and Breed Integrity
KEEP HORSE SLAUGHTER, AND ANYTHING TO DO WITH IT, OUT OF OKLAHOMA