Slaughterhouse Sue – “We’re Losing Horses in Our Lives,” So Let’s Slaughter More of Them!

Where have all the Arabian horses gone?
Where have all the Arabian horses gone?

Written by Heather Clemenceau ©

There’s a chart posted on the United Horsemen’s page that is causing great consternation amongst the pro-slaughter posse.  They’re in a lather over the belief that horses might be going extinct, which is highly ironic considering the line of business they’re in.  There’s nothing misleading about the chart – it does depict a very obvious decline in Arabian registrations, but what does this actually mean for Arabian horses?  Well,  don’t ask Slaughterhouse Sue (occasionally known as a State Rep for Wyoming) for an explanation;  when she hears mention of horses,  she comes a-charging with a fork and a nappy.  It’s her belief that we need more of these horses because we need to slaughter them, er, or there aren’t enough of them because there’ve been no slaughterhouses in the US for six years………no…..wait……..maybe most of them have been already been slaughtered!  Dayum,  that might just be a contributing cause,  don’t you know……..

In 1908, when Henry Ford rolled out his first car, there were more than 21 million horses of all breeds in the United States.  The first Arabian horse was registered in 1908 as well.  That 21 million eventually shrank, as horses were no longer needed to plow fields, pull canons in the military, or haul freight. By comparing the number of horses at a time when the population of the US was much smaller,  we can see that horses had a much more utilitarian use.  The current horse population in the US has been estimated at about 9.2 million.

Arabians were originally quite scarce in the US,  but thanks to breeders and preservationists such as W.R. Brown,  Spencer Borden,  Albert Harris,  W.K. Kellogg and Roger Selby,  many scarce bloodlines were restored.  Even though I’m anti-slaughter,  I’m not at all opposed to breeding horses for which there is a good price point, profitable market and demand.  By  1973,  the number of registered Arabians had jumped to 100,000 and by 1980 that figure had doubled.  Arabs that were once in short supply, were now being mass-produced as status symbols, and early breeders couldn’t produce them fast enough to supply the market.

Patrick Swayze and Tammen

Arabians were often owned by wealthy people who liked plenty of chrome on their horses – Patrick Swayze, Wayne Newton, porn star Jenna Jameson (who owned my mare’s half-sister), and William Shatner

Under these conditions, it isn’t surprising that every Arabian mare became a broodmare and almost every colt was used for breeding.  By 1986, 300,000 purebred Arabian horses had been registered.  If this fantastic growth rate had continued (it didn’t), an additional 100,000 Arabs could be produced every two years.  The Arabian market ultimately became over-saturated (hello AQHA?) and along with the artificially-inflated prices,  the market collapsed,  which ultimately forced many breeders into bankruptcy and sent many purebred Arabians to slaughter.  What does Sue Wallis think happened to these horses?  It almost seems like she is lamenting the decrease in numbers,  but then again,  she hasn’t made the logical connection that when the hyped-up market crashed,  so many of these well-bred horses would have gone to slaughter.  No doubt about it – she would salivate with glee were this scenario to unfold in today’s market,  especially if it happened anywhere in the vicinity of Rockville,  MO.

© H. Clemenceau

The boom years of Arabian breeding came to a halt as a result of the US tax law changes of 1986 and later in Canada  (when the graph really starts to take a tumble). Because it’s difficult to make a profit with a horse business,  wealthy individuals sometimes invest in a horse breeding farm to reduce the amount of income taxes they must pay by writing off the horse expenses against their other income.  Because a business must be operated with the intent of making a profit,  rather than just as a tax shelter,  the IRS and Revenue Canada tend to view horse businesses with

© H. Clemenceau

suspicion,  especially when an individual with a large income from other sources declares large losses from horse ventures.  Tax laws in the US and Canada allowed the horses be depreciated for their full value in three to five years, depending on their age. The expense of keeping Arabians could be written off dollar for dollar, and any profit from their resale was taxed, not as income, but as a capital gain, provided one had owned a horse for at least two years.  Russian-bred stallion Padron was syndicated for a record-breaking $11 million.  These syndicates weren’t riding these horses,  and as far as I could tell,  they had no vested interest in them beyond the tax write-off and breeding more of them.  That’s how I came to acquire my own Egyptian Arab,  who was originally owned by a syndicate that no longer wanted her once Revenue Canada denied them the tax write-off.  My horse was lucky;  I wonder how many of these syndicate-owned Arabians were slaughtered when they couldn’t find homes?

In the last 5 years or so,  the horse industry has been struggling through a recession that has reduced consumers’ disposable income.  Of course to most people now,  horses are considered a “luxury” item. Today, the demand isn’t growing fast enough to keep up with the increase in Arabs and most other breeds.  In austere financial times,  there is less of a market for purebred (more expensive) horses than half-breds (less expensive) which is further driven down over time due to lack of demand.  Obviously,  this is bad for breeders, because not all horses will have buyers, and breeders must now compete with a large number of rivals for sales.  Of course then prices drop and fewer horses are produced.  Hence the resulting numbers in the graph.

© H. Clemenceau

Thanks also to the false image of the Arabian horse that has too long been presented to other breed horse people by the IAHA shows, and now by AHA,  the Arabian horse has dramatically fallen in popularity, and thus in marketability. There is also a failure on the part of the breed association to promote purebred Arabs over half-Arabs.   In my opinion,  half-bred horses are just as worthy as purebreds,  but when the breed association puts more emphasis on half-Arabs than Purebreds,  it is really emphasizing a genetic dead-end for many Arabian lines.

But what’s Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis’ suggestion for improving the breed or increasing the numbers of purebred Arabians?  In all likelihood she has no suggestions at all,  because she can’t buy herself a vowel.  Surely she doesn’t suggest slaughter?  If  Sue Wallis was suggesting that slaughter could revive purebred Arab numbers somehow,  well,  I’d have to drop some serious shade on that.  I’m sure a very high number of those 300,000 horses actually were slaughtered,  and where does that leave the breed now?  Can she say that the breed is better for it? Certainly any individual horses who were slaughtered would not be better off.  Can she say anything that makes any sense at all?  I know, that’s a rhetorical question,  isn’t it?

Canter Pirouette by my friend Les Wagschal (RIP) and Anglo-Arab Mishkoh ++// Photo by Polly Knoll

Canter Pirouette by my friend Les Wagschal (RIP) and Anglo-Arab Mishkoh ++// Photo by Polly Knoll

Here’s some facts for Sue;  despite the over-breeding,  slaughter,  and now a decline in registrations,  the Arabian breed is not yet about to become extinct:

Fact:  The US is home to more Arabians than all other countries of the world combined.

Fact:  There are 650,000 registered purebred and half-bred Arabians in the US (the AHA number will also include some horses who are deceased but unreported as such)

Fact:  There are 47,000 registered purebred and half-bred Arabians in Canada.

Fact:  The registry does not include unregistered but eligible horses.

Fact:   The chart lists NEW registrations each year,  and does not identify the total number of horses in the population.

Fact:   REGISTERED purebred and half-bred Arabians actually represent 7.1% of the US horse population,  650,000 horses of an estimated at 9.2 million total horses.

Fact:  There are far more cross-bred registered Arabians in the US and Canada now than purebreds. Arabians are represented in different breed associations as well:

  • Quarab (Quarter Horse or Paint/Arab)
  • Pintabian horse association (Pinto/Arab with 99% Arab blood and tobiano coat coloration)
  • Morab horse association (Morgan/Arab)
  • Welara pony registration (Welsh Pony/Arab)
  • Anglo Arabians (Thoroughbred/Arab)
  • National Show Horse – (American Saddlebred/Arab)
Arab horses in the US and Canada

Registered Arab horses in the US and Canada (click through to see all the data)

The only saving grace for many of the old Arabian lines is that most preser­va­tionist breeders were not moti­vated by the same concepts (greed) as those who drove the prices to astro­nom­ical levels in the mid-1980s. Conse­quently, preser­va­tion­ists as a whole were not hurt when the prices plum­meted. There are lessons to be learned here – not the least of which is the fact that many of those breeders who were motivated by money crashed and burned because they contributed to unsustainable growth of the breed.   I’m not exactly sure what Slaughterhouse Sue is suggesting in the case of Arabian horses – is she suggesting more should be produced,  even without buyers?  Probably,  because then they could be used to further her slaughter empire – further evidence that the presence of slaughter encourages over-breeding.  Wouldn’t we question the logic of any business that produced more “product” than there were buyers for that product?  Maybe Sue should stick to rendering an opinion on

Stock market trends suggest a resurgence in Unicorns?

Stock market trends suggest a resurgence in Unicorns?

her astrological birth chart or a cross-stitch chart.  We know that she doesn’t understand supply and demand or rates of change,  and that she’s seriously handicapped because she doesn’t even own a horse,  much less an Arabian horse.


By Deborah Parks


In his liquid eye is the blackness of desert night

Strewn with flickering campfires.

His two ears,  pinnacles on an ivory mosque,

Are formed in graceful symmetry.

The cavernous nostrils convert *Kansas breeze

Into hot desert wind.

His voice can be a trumpeted call to war

Or a soft, meandering tune of mystery.

The whole quicksilver image of him

Shimmers like heat waves over scorching dunes.

He is molded of morning mist and rifle smoke –

Of soft, cold ashes and boiling clouds,

He hallows the earth where he stands.

He is mine and I am his.

But I know the Prophet’s Thumb cannot save him;

It has no power in *Kansas.

When he is gone,  the tapestry of my life

Will be torn – a void shall exist –

Where once was an awkward baby,

A willing companion,

A happy friend.

*I would substitute “Rockville” for Kansas and the poem has even more meaning.  This is what Arabians,  or indeed any horse, means to someone who can truly appreciate them – alive.  Cowboy poetesses – you ain’t all that.

About heatherclemenceau

Hopefully as I've grown older I've also grown wiser, but one thing I've definitely become cognizant of is the difference between making a living and making a life. Frequently outraged by some of life's cruelties, and respect diversity. But.....I don't suffer fools gladly, and occasionally, this does get me into some trouble! I have the distinction of being the world's worst golfer - no wait, I do believe that there is a gypsy in Moldavia who is a worse golfer than I. Nor am I much of a dancer - you won't see a booty-shakin' flygirl routine from me! I'm also not the kind of cook who can whip up a five-course meal on a radiator either! And I've never figured out how to get an orchid to bloom a second time. I love to discuss literature, science, philosophy, and sci-fi , or even why Seinfeld is funny on so many levels. Words move me. I'm very soft-hearted about most things, especially animals, but I have a stoicism about me that is sometimes interpreted incorrectly. I do have a definite edge and an often "retro-adolescent" sense of humour at times. I'm a big advocate of distributed computing projects to advance science. Check out if you want to find out more. I'm an eclectic plant-based eater, and as such, it's a personal practice of mine to seduce innocent meat-eaters into cruising the (salad) bars at every opportunity. You would be powerless to resist. I was recently surprised to find that a computer algorithm concluded that I write like Dan Brown, which is funny because I didn't think Dan Brown could actually write. Check out your own style - Oh, and I love impractical shoes and funky hats.

22 responses »

  1. Another great blog entry, Heather. As you stated, Sue’s comments are case and point that slaughter encourages overbreeding. A hearty thank you to Sue for making the point so obvious.

  2. Further proof of Slaughter House Sues true walk..the money walk!! All she wants is to open 30 slaughter houses and kill horses, she can’t get any facts straight and is ABUSING her seat as a representative!

    • I’ve wondered many times (aloud) how it is that a Wyoming representative can spend so much time in other states furthering her business interests. I’ve even wondered this (aloud) on various Wyoming and other States tourism boards on Facebook……

  3. Heather; I would like to add a couple of comments to your very good analysis of the downward trend in registration numbers for Arabian horses. There are a number of reasons for this decline as you noted; economy, lack of promotion, public perception of the breed, as well as societal shifts away from rural/agricultural lifestyles.
    Despite the attempted spin by Ms Wallis and her supporters, there is absolutely NO EVIDENCE to support the assertion that the closures of US slaughterhouses had any effect whatsoever on the declining number of registrations of Arabian horses.
    Not long ago, a small group of trainers and breeders called the APAHA (Arabian Professional and Amateur Horse Assn) issued a letter to the Board of Directors of the AHA, patting them on their back for their public endorsement of the reestablishment of US slaughter. In additional to the usual outrageous misinformation about “starving and neglected” horses, the authors coined the term “Equine Terminal Marketplace” (no, I’m not kidding…) for that messy word “slaughter” — at any rate, it did not take much effort to decipher their message: “there are too many “low end” horses available — people are buying them instead of our expensive, high end show horses — therefore we need to slaughter those ‘low-end’ horses to create a market for our high-priced, valuable animals.”

    (The letter and our response can be read here:

    The idea that “killing off” low-end horses will somehow resurrect a market unaffected by horse slaughter, is exactly what Ms Wallis is suggesting in this latest slaughter defense: she recently explained her version of Economics 101 to someone who correctly suggested that breeding and prices will increase with demand. According to Ms Wallis: “horses were over $1 per pound in the mid to late 1980’s which you will notice on this chart where there were the most horses ever — 30,000 registered Arabians alone — I would argue that the reason we had lots of horses at that point, is because ALL horses had good value. The more they are worth, the more we have. Simple economics.”

    So according to Ms Wallis, the premise of “supply and demand” is not what drives the market — it is “the more they are worth, the more we have” — ??? This kind of logic is enough to cause a brain hemorrhage in anyone with an ounce of understanding how economics work —

    Given Ms Wallis’ explanation, I’m wondering why I don’t have several Ferraris in my garage…

    • Thanks Kathy, for adding this excellent clarification. I had commented on the euphemism of the “equine terminal marketplace” in one of the other blogs – the most ludicrous of all the euphemisms used to describe animal killing. It’s rather like describing an animal that has been “tracked down and killed,” as “safely taken by lethal means.”

      • Thanks Heather; We started it to chronicle our ongoing efforts to reverse the AHA’s position endorsing slaughter; a decision that was made by 29 members of the Board of Directors at the behest of Pres.Lance Walters, without member input or approval, that was beyond the scope of the Association’s Mission Statement. The blog has not been updated since the infamous “Equine Terminal Marketplace” letter from the APAHA, but will have some new information posted soon.

  4. As usual, Sue Wallis makes absolutely NO sense at all. I cannot for the life of me see why her followers can’t see that she makes no sense. I guess they’re just too far gone – or maybe they were too far gone before they ever heard of Wallis. Either that or Wallis is a one woman cult.

  5. I swear this woman loses her grasp on reality a little more each day. She completely contradicts herself over and over again. She knows nothing about horses, nothing about the various breeds and their issues. I don’t profess to know much about Arabians at all, but I think her trying to link her slaughter mission to any breed she can is offensive. Nobody I know of, gets into breeding and showing purebred horses for the slaughter market. If you are a breeder that depends on this outlet for your stock, then you need to go out of business. Meat prices shouldn’t drive the value of anybody’s horses or they’re doing it wrong.

    • Yes Shedrow, seeing the chart on Arabians made me stew for a few hours before I decided to write about it. It could just as easily have been any breed or species though. The funny thing is that after only a couple of weeks of writing my “Top #20 Myths” I have another 20 topics in the bag. That’s what perusing United Horsemen’s and the Fart’s Facebook pages will get ya!

      • I actually question that chart. Not a single gelding registered? Is this maybe from a single state or is does the Arabians have have sub association as other breeds sometimes do? Was it horses registered this year? It is early in the year yet as I know some people go to the deadlines. A friend of mine used to be into Arabs in the late 80’s and he told me that the bottom fell out of them a long time before 2007. I have never really kept up with them.

      • I meant that the last bar after 2011 showed no geldings registered. It just doesn’t seem possible. At any rate, try as I might, I am still unable to wrap my mind around the little `simple economics’ lesson Suey was trying to give us other than she thinks backyard breeding needs to make a comeback. I guess that makes sense considering she thinks puppy mills are just great too. Do you suppose she’s going to want to solve the unwanted cat and dog problem by shipping them to China and keeping a few back for domestic use? She is so gross.

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  7. I well remember when the Arabian “bubble” burst. Can’t remember the year, but I remember how the prices for Arabians were in the stratosphere right before the crash. I was still in Texas and our former Lt Governor, John Connolly – the one who was wounded when JFK was shot – lost EVERYTHING. He was heavily invested and when the price fell through the floor, well….

    Made me sad because I always liked him.. .

    • My friend Les Wagschal, who was a breeder of Straight Egyptians (I added a pic of him on this blog) was retained by Revenue Canada to put valuations on these Arabian horses owned by the syndicates. While a lot of them had good bloodlines (Gleannloch Farms etc) they weren’t worth millions or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. He was very unpopular in the Arabian community for a long time.

  8. Fabulously written rebuttal to Sue Wallis. It would be equally applicable to any breed of horses (or purebred dogs, for that matter).. Supply and demand. The only reason to produce more horses than the public could absorb would be to supply the slaughter pipeline. Same for dogs. It Is not sane to produce dogs for euthanasia in shelters. And with every “product” a good demand results in high prices. And slaughter will never pay a healthy price for a horse. This is an industry that hurts the horse business by being available anywhere for American Horses.

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