The Myth of the "Unwanted" Horse
Much has been written about the "unwanted" horse. The discussion about this topic has risen proportionately with the discussion of re-opening previously closed US slaughterhouses for horses. The dark underbelly of the horse industry is well know to those of us who rescue these sentient, magnificent partners of humans. Here are some of the myths portrayed by those who continue to raise the issue of the "unwanted horse":
A larger, more persistent issue remains, lingering in the awareness of the European consumer of horsemeat, there is no way to track the origin of horsemeat and no way to guarantee it's safety.
The Plight of the Off The Track Thoroughbred
Each year approximately 35,000 thoroughbred foals are registered with The Jockey Club in North America. Roughly 68% of those foals will end up racing in some capacity in their lifetime. Of that 68%, approximately 70% will win a race, but only 5% will win a stakes race where the purses actually bring owners decent revenue, and only two tenths of a percent will win a big time race.
It is estimated that 2 of every 3 race horses coming off the track nationally will be euthanized, abandoned or slaughtered, despite whatever success they may have had on the track. Figures vary between the USDA and the Live Stock Marketing Association but, roughly 120,000 horses were slaughtered in 2006, the last year that slaughter was legal in the US, and somewhere between 90,000 and 120,000 horses were exported to Mexico or Canada each year after that for slaughter. Of those numbers it is estimated that 17% of those horses were thoroughbreds.