AQHA Political Action Committee Sets Goal to Derail S.A.F.E. Act Despite Huge Losses


money-bag-filled-with-moneyWritten by:  Heather Clemenceau

It’s no secret that the AQHA, the largest non-profit breed association in the world, takes the most destructive and inhumane approach to horse slaughter of any of the breed groups. On the one hand, they have a Mission Statement to ensure the American Quarter Horse is treated humanely, with dignity, respect and compassion at all times. However, the world’s largest breed registry needs a system to make room for the continuing mass production, hence their business model is to breed as many horses as possible (thus maintaining new memberships and registrations thus ensuring that they are a self-perpetuating entity) while discarding older  or surplus horses and horses with undesirable conformation to slaughter plants.

The AQHA also has a less-well known political action committee – AQHPAC which has set a goal of raising $250,000 by the 2016 elections, in part to fight the malicious agendas of misguided groups like the Humane Society Of The United States. Political donations are used to promote politicians who support the “horse industry,” and advance their collective agenda. Of course, you can own several horses or run a training barn or a veterinary practice, but if you’re among the 80% of Americans opposed to slaughtering horses, you’re not officially part of the “horse industry” according to the AQHA. A specific goal of the AQHPAC is to defeat the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act, H.R. 1942 which was re-introduced in 2015 to prevent the establishment of horse slaughter operations in the US, and end the current export of American horses to Canada and Mexico.  It’s an unbelievable slap in the face to the anti-slaughter advocates who worked incesssantly for months to ensure that the previous incarnation of the act could be passed.

In 2014, here’s what the list of contributions from the AQHPAC to federal candidates looked like:



Total to Democrats: $11,500
Total to Republicans: $51,500


Aderholt, Robert B (R-AL) $2,500
Alexander, Rodney (R-LA) ($1,000)
Amodei, Mark (R-NV) $2,000
Barrow, John (D-GA) $500
Blackburn, Marsha (R-TN) $500
Boehner, John (R-OH) $2,500
Carter, John (R-TX) $1,500
Cole, Tom (R-OK) $2,500
Conaway, Mike (R-TX) $1,000
Costa, Jim (D-CA) $1,500
Crawford, Rick (R-AR) $500
Cuellar, Henry (D-TX) $2,500
Fleischmann, Chuck (R-TN) $2,000
Fortenberry, Jeff (R-NE) $500
Gibbs, Bob (R-OH) $500
Goodlatte, Bob (R-VA) $2,500
Granger, Kay (R-TX) $2,000
Graves, Sam (R-MO) $1,000
Graves, Tom (R-GA) $2,000
Hartzler, Vicky (R-MO) $1,500
Herrera Beutler, Jaime (R-WA) $2,000
Hinojosa, Ruben (D-TX) $1,500
Kind, Ron (D-WI) $500
King, Steven A (R-IA) $1,500
Lucas, Frank D (R-OK) $2,500
Lummis, Cynthia Marie (R-WY) $500
Mullin, Markwayne (R-OK) $2,000
Noem, Kristi (R-SD) $1,000
Nunnelee, Alan (R-MS) $2,500
Peterson, Collin (D-MN) $2,500
Roby, Martha (R-AL) $2,000
Rogers, Hal (R-KY) $2,500
Schrader, Kurt (D-OR) $2,500
Scott, Austin (R-GA) $1,000
Sessions, Pete (R-TX) $2,500
Simpson, Mike (R-ID) $1,000
Thornberry, Mac (R-TX) $1,000
Valadao, David (R-CA) $2,000
Womack, Steve (R-AR) $2,000
Yoder, Kevin (R-KS) $1,000
Yoho, Ted (R-FL) $500




Total to Democrats: $2,500
Total to Republicans: $19,100


Alexander, Lamar (R-TN) $1,000
Cassidy, Bill (R-LA) $2,500
Cochran, Thad (R-MS) $2,500
Cornyn, John (R-TX) $2,600
Enzi, Mike (R-WY) $1,500
Ernst, Joni (R-IA) $1,500
Gardner, Cory (R-CO) $0
Inhofe, James M (R-OK) $1,500
Kingston, Jack (R-GA) $1,000
Moran, Jerry (R-KS) $500
Pryor, Mark (D-AR) $2,500
Risch, James E (R-ID) $1,500
Rounds, Mike (R-SD) $1,500
Sasse, Ben (R-NE) $1,500


Source: and based on data released by the FEC on March 09, 2015

(credit to the Center For Responsive Politics)


Here’s a list of contributors to this PAC from individuals donors of $250 or more – there’s a few recognizable names here (including billionaire Forrest Lucas of Protect the Harvest and Dr.Tom Lenz, the subject matter expert for the American Horse Council, which is the Farm Bureau of the equine world). It’s a list comprised of feedlot owners, veterinarians, ranchers, truckers, farm managers, business owners, horse trainers and other people who need the availability of slaughter, because without it, “it’s gonna cost me $2,000 and I still don’t have a place to bury it.” It goes without saying that anyone on this list donating $250 – $5,000 can afford to euthanize a horse.



Amid this lobbying effort the AQHA is in a clear financial crisis – growth in both horse populations are net negative almost without exception across the United States. Since 2008 they’ve lost over 90,000 memberships.  The organization spends lots of money on elite shows,  while relying on the revenue of the average horse person,  who appears to be fleeing the scene.


The All About Cutting blog has done a thorough job documenting the devastating downward trajectory of the non-profit,  using their 990s from Guidestar.

From the Blog:


While reviewing their 990 IRS tax filing, the most glaring revelation is the organization’s posting of another significant loss of $692,687 for the year ending Sept. 30, 2013, as opposed to a Hot-100$3,445,679 loss for the year ending Sept. 30, 2012.  When this loss is added to the previous four years of losses, they total close to $17.5 million, or specifically $17,484,806 in lost revenue. That’s an average loss of close to $3.5 million per year. The largest loss of over $7 million took place in the 2008 tax return.


The tax return ending Sept. 30, 2013, reports total assets for the beginning of the year of $56,223,930 and $50,276,281 at the end of the year or a major loss of close to $6 million in assets just this past year alone.  In the past five years, assets have dropped from $66,850,420 listed in the 2008 tax return, which ended on Sept. 30, 2009, down to $50,276,281 at Sept. 30, 2013. That’s a drop of close to $16.6 million, or $16,574,139 in five years.”

Despite the spending and the falling revenues, salaries are up and employee head count is increasing, while individuals on the board with family businesses benefit financially by association.  If that isn’t bad enough,  the non-profit appears to be continuing to pay individuals who have had very public retirements.  What’s the reason for this? At this point the average goat herder could head up the organization with more integrity and management insight than the good ‘ol boys inner circle at the AQHA.

top hat tip DebbyInstead of trying to fight against animal welfare groups, the AQHA should be setting aside funds to care for unwanted horses that resulted from rampant over-breeding that the horse-riding public cannot absorb. Fewer horses produced by responsible breeding practices would result in higher prices at the sale barn and private treaty sales.

Contributory practices include the AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule that facilitates overpopulation by allowing mares to have more than one foal per year. Rules about using frozen semen or eggs from long-sterile or dead animals allowed horses to breed from beyond the grave. Anytime you take a single individual and increase its ability to generate offspring you will decrease the variation in the genetic pool and lead to inbreeding and possibly disease. AQHA should also not permit the breeding of any horses who are either heterozygous or homozygous for Hyperkalemic Periodic Paralysis (HYPP), an inherited genetic disease of the muscle which could be eliminated if only the AQHA had the will. And halter horses?  Just stop breeding these post-legged, big-bodied,  poorly conformed horses on tiny hooves that are likely to mechanically break down. There’s absolutely no reason why halter horses can’t have conformation conducive to carrying a rider through normal equine usage.  You cannot maintain the integrity of the breed by permitting any of these practices. AQHA President Dr. Blodgett should be fired.

The goal of “treating horses humanely” is one that’s incompatible with over-breeding and slaughter.  The AQHA PAC should come with its own disclaimer – unfit for human consumption, and everyone involved in setting it up should make a swan dive into an active volcano.



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.

40 responses »

  1. Exc. time AQHA ..will destroy the breed they claim to operate for the benefit of with their current policies. .not only do the powers that be look the other way on the hypp issue..they imho.. condone the breeding of these horses with a genetic defect by consistently pinning a championship ribbon on halter horses with the confirmation consistent in hypp..very poor stewardship of the breed..

  2. Thank you Heather for writing this article! It’s about time that people become aware of these breed associations and their involvement with over breeding and dumping their unwanted stock into the slaughter pipeline. It’s time these horse industry people be held accountable for what they are doing, by promoting breeding and promoting horse slaughter. Let them be held accountable for what they are doing… It’s time for AQHA, APHA, AHA, The Jockey Club, American Horse Council, and any other associations to be held accountable for their participation with horse slaughter. Anyone can help that owns a horse, by NOT supporting any of these associations, veterinarians, horse council, or anyone else…

  3. As always, a well-researched and informative article. Thank you. I sat beside a woman at a tack sale in Chestermere 2 summers ago. The sale was slow and so we started up a conversation about horses, of course. She was very excited about her current crop of expected foals….. 20. I asked her if she had people waiting for any of these foals. She admitted that she did not have one single sale lined up. I responded that she would be footing a huge feeding bill for these foals come fall/winter, and she commented that she would just send the ones she didn’t want to slaughter. The breed? Quarter horses.

  4. I can not understand how any horse organization could be proslaughtet. It is cruel and barbaric. No horse deserves it.


  6. The breeders are the problem when to comes down to stopping horse slaughter because that has always been part of their business model. I has always been their out when business was slow and they can’t find buyers for their spring crop of foals so they feed them until they are six months old and off to the slaughter plant. The way they see it the losses can be written off of their taxes for the year like any business losses. The racing industry does the very same thing except the politicians are given much more by the racing industry than what the Quarter Horse Association gives out in the way of donations. Senator John Cornyn TX was handed over a hundred thousand dollars and counting several years ago when another anti-slaughter bill was introduced. That’s the last one that died in committee. The lobbyists roam the halls of congress every day working for the person that hired them to kill a bill like the safe Act the politicians snap up the donations like a bribes.

  7. What the United States will do with “excess” or “unwanted” horses is a moot point….The fact remains, our horses are not raised for human consumption…..

    “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration currently bans the presence of 379 common equine drugs in animals slaughtered for human consumption. However, there is no procedure in place to ensure that American horses, sold to slaughterhouses and killed for human consumption, are free of these FDA-banned substances.”

    To use slaughter and meat processing as a convenient means to dispose of our race horses, quarter horses, sport and pet horses, and allowing that meat to be eaten by humans or any other species is criminal.

    The United States has a responsibility to protect the rest of the world from our drug tainted horsemeat…..If you say “buyer beware”, consider the fact that country of origin labeling is being eliminated, and you may well be purchasing United States horsemeat mixed into your hamburger…..
    The meat from these animals not raised for human consumption simply needs to be taken out of the food supply.

    Ask the AQHA what their stand is on protecting the consumer from being served meat harvested from animals not raised for human consumption. The truth is out there, stated in both Safe Act H.R.1942 and S.541. “To prevent human health threats posed by the consumption of equines raised in the United States.”

  8. Pingback: AQHA Political Action Committee Sets Goal to Derail S.A.F.E. Act Despite Huge Losses | heatherclemenceau | Simply NHN

  9. I think we should boycott the AQHA I know I will. I own quarter horses but because of this I will not renew my membership AQHA U MAKE ME SICK

  10. I thought the Aqha was a organization interested in the welfare of the American Quarter Horse. Well that isn’t true and I’m. Gonna tell everyone I know just how involved the Aqha is in the slaughter of its own horses. This makes my blood boil to think that you have gotten away with financially supporting people who are for horse slaughter. Shame on you and believe me I will spread the word. Aqha is equal to horse slaughter!

  11. I allowed my membership to expire six years ago when the AQHA first started speaking pubically against the anti-slaughter bill that was then before congress.
    It is my contention they do not have the right to speak for me as an individual and I voted with the only power I held.
    I am greatly ashamed of the AQHA and it’s pro-slaughter stance.

    • I don’t believe they have ever polled their membership on this issue either. Most if not all the breed associations are in favour of slaughter because new registrations perpetuate their salaries. IMO it’s not possible to promote slaughter and claim that you’re for equine welfare – AQHA speaks with a forked tongue out of both sides of their mouths.

  12. Of course AQHA would oppose the SAFE Act, I’m in my 50’s and nothing has changed with them. They think they are the only breed worth having. They always have their hands in someone’s cookie jar and get kick backs for special treatment. No wonder so many AQH wind up for slaughter, their association promotes it. Maybe we should boycott their breeding programs and buying their horses also let’s not forget about participating or attending their shows. I know people who own Quarter Horses and they don’t approve of the American Quarter Horse Association on The Safe Act. They are just setting themselves up for being known as money is more important than the horse species. Those who oppose this SAFE ACT should take their children and grand children to a horse slaughter house and watch from beginning to end the slaughter of a horse. Crime rates, neighborhoods and economics hurt from these slaughter houses. We need to boycott countries, states and any thing else that opposes this SAFE ACT.

  13. I am a life member of AQHA and I am against horse slaughter in any form. I am appalled that any breed registry could actively support such a barbaric practice.

  14. It seems quite possible that political contributions to the U.S. Congress are the reason laws cannot be passed to stop export of horses for slaughter to Mexico and Canada with continued ban on domestic slaughter of horses in U.S. Corporate PACs seem to be controlling every action of Congress, with American voters having lost all control over the government.

    • You’re absolutely on point. There are no laws or bills that can be passed in the US without the approval of Corporate America either. Even the membership of the AQHA and QH owners cannot seem to exert any control over their own breed registry.

  15. Education and public awareness. We can win this war. But it will take all of us to get the word out of the evil of horse slaughter…..deceit, greed, deception, lobbyists, the money, ……on and on. But we can do this. Each and every one of us. They can’t hide the truth forever.

  16. I think it would be great if you would start a petition on to bring public attention to this issue, exposing them and asking them to step up and provide a fund for the many unwanted quarter horses needing to be slaughtered as a result of rampant overbreeding. It wouldn’t change their behavior but it would expose them publicly.

  17. I will be contacting my representative about his donation he received. I am so disappointed in his actions. You just can’t trust politicians.

  18. I agree with Linda Dudine…..we CAN win this war on horses, but it will require us ALL to take action. Rise up, shout out loud, write letter, post everywhere on FB….we must gain a national voice and bring slaughter of our horses before the American public.

  19. Pingback: Over-Breeding, Foal-Milling AQHA Posts Membership Results for 2015 | heatherclemenceau

  20. You would think AQHA…. Would consider starting a sub registry. For adopted or purchased QH type horses who want to show. Even one for those of us who have registered horses who don’t ever want them to go to slaughter????

  21. Thank you Heather. I’m a firm believer that any breeder is required to maintain that horse by finding a good. caring, loving home for her/him when the breeder/trainer no longer wants to race the horse. If this new owner, for whatever reason, cannot keep the horse, it is REQUIRED that the breeder/trainer take the horse back to find a new home. And, each breeder/trainer should be limited in the number of horses they are bringing into this world. These animals, so deserve, to have a loving, caring, home. If it were within my means, having money like the Koch Brothers, I would have purchased all auction houses, and have a receiving sanctuary for anyone disposing of their horse in whatever condition, so I could find a new home for that horse, donkey, mule, and the same, dogs and cats. There would be no shelters, no auctions, only my large sanctuary in each state. I WOULD even take BLM mustangs as well. I would love to see this damn agency disbanded and horse advocates overseeing it, with all present employees having to do with the helicoptering, chasing, killing, sending these horses, etc to auction, killer buyers, never to work there, and never working in a government office again. I would check anyone getting an animal from my sanctuary a follow up visit every three to four months. If there was any sign that the animal/s was/were not being taken care of properly, there would be a truck/trailer out to pick that animal up and bring it back to the sanctuary. I effectively would oversee any animal needing a new home in every state. I wouldn’t care if all the killer buyers starved to death for their dasterly deeds. It’s about time we, the warriors, band together and see if we can get TV stations, radio stations, and papers to publicly bring all these terrible businesses, people, out in the open so we can win the passage of the SAFE ACT and get the right people in charge at the BLM, with animal lovers overseeing our ranges, and making sure the damn cattlemen are not supplementing the pocketbooks of the BLM employees .The AQHA is just as bad as the killer buyers for sending these beautiful young or old horses to end up being sent to slaughter and it’s about time their deeds are brought out into the news so the citizens can demand a change. Maybe if we get lucky, the tracks will all slowly close and these horses will only be used for better uses that will not endanger their future and health. God BLess all who work to get to the end of horse slaugher and ensure their safety in the future and the wild horses remaining with their families on their home ranges. God Bless these beautiful American ICONS.

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