Sustainable Ideas to solve the Unwanted Horse problem
2017 is the 10th anniversary of closing the U.S slaughter plants. Since then, over one million horses, donkeys and mules have shipped to Canada, Mexico and Japan to slaughter.
How long should I wait patiently for the SAFE Act to pass? Especially when I see the SAFE Act still waiting to get out of the Agricultural Committee, with only a 1% chance of enacting. It will expire soon and need to be reintroduced for the 3rd time to the Agriculture Committee. The process will begin from scratch. While I have officially given up waiting for the Humane Society, I have not given up the belief that collaboratively we can help protect our horses.
Here are some of the initiatives that will make a difference:
LANDFILLS. Hopefully someday we will see Landfills in the USA used as Equine Sanctuaries. There are over 10,000 old municipal landfills ready to be reclaimed for recreation or equine sanctuaries.
OVERBREEDING. Changes in tax codes are the first defense against over-breeders. Second, the breed associations and registries need to monitor who is breeding responsibly and irresponsibly. This can be done with Microchips.
MICROCHIPPING. The Jockey Club and USEF have adopted Microchipping as a means to identify horses. I anticipate that by 2020, all horses will be microchipped. This will provide accountability through the entire horse industry. Horses crossing the border to Mexico are checked for Microchips. What is needed is a phone app that allows immediate access to registries by microchip numbers.
RESCUE THE UNWANTED. ALL HORSE ENTHUSIASTS need to continue to work together to save lives and encourage responsible horse ownership. Rescue needs to be interwoven into the equine industry and culture. Riding a rescue needs to be the ‘cool thing’. Horse shows need to add a class for “Rescue Horse.”
WHEN YOU SEE SOMETHING WRONG – DO SOMETHING RIGHT. Equestrians need to be aware of the welfare of their horses locally and globally. For example, Atlas Air ships live horses to Japan for sushi-style slaughter. I find this practice is unsettling so I sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Atlas Air.
EDUCATION. Equine Studies programs teach students breeding and reproduction as part of their curriculum. Why not teach them NOT to breed horses, but to save them? If students want a career with horses, steer them toward the nonprofit side (rescues/therapeutic riding) versus the for-profit breeding side. To accomplish this we need to reach out to more colleges and encourage them to make Rescue a part of their curriculum.