Tag Archives: AQHA

Over-Breeding, Foal-Milling AQHA Posts Membership Results for 2015

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Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

While new registrations and memberships of all pedigree horse breeds have been in decline overall since the 2008 recession,  registrations for the AQHA are possibly the hardest hit, due in part to the dominance of the quarter horse breed. The AQHA’s 2015 membership results have been posted, and following the trend of previous years,  they’re down overall once again.   Canada’s overall membership numbers continue in a decade of decline, so too do Alberta’s numbers, which are typically in the top 10 of almost any AQHA stat.

 

Membership Change Overall From 2014 – 2015 (2,997) This decline represents a loss of over $100,000 in revenue

Membership Change for Canada From 2014 – 2015 (655)

Membership Change for Alberta From 2014 – 2015 (171)

 

It’s no secret that 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 AQHA 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.

AQHA  Executive Vice President  Craig Huffhines – (in reference to the S.A.F.E. Act):

“If we do not like unwanted horses being sent to processing facilities across our northern and southern borders, then perhaps Congress should allow our own USDA-regulated processing plants to reopen. The U.S. plants, with state-of-the-art monitoring technology, will assure humane handling and euthanasia as approved by AAEP and AVMA and a USDA-inspected safe and wholesome end product for export.”

Can I say how disgusted I am that Huffhines refers to quarter horses as an “end-product?”  I dislike references to the term “foal crop” on the 2015 Executive Summary (or wherever else I see it).  41655994_mlThe term “crop” has pleasant connotations of the nostalgic gathering of a produce that is planted and cultivated by collecting rainwater for irrigation.  Animals are not “crops” that can be ripened like turnips, although sending horses to slaughter does bring to mind the image of a combine harvester and a crop of living animals that are simply mowed down.  Despite what the AQHA claims, the goal of “treating horses humanely and with dignity” is one that’s incompatible with over-breeding and slaughter.

In addition to encouraging horse owners to dispose of their animals in the slaughter pipeline and strategizing against humane groups,  the AQHA’s multiple-embryo-transfer rule also 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.  Consider that First Prize Dash,  a 1988 quarter horse mare – produced  44 offspring!  Her sire, Dash for Cash, sired 1,233 foals!  Possibly these two horses are not the most obvious examples of this policy either. There were so many lines in the All Breed Pedigree record for Dash for Cash that I had to copy and past them into a spreadsheet in order to count them…

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. It’s not all about the membership numbers.

 

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Horse Welfare 2015 – The Year In Review

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Dream of horses

© Heather Clemenceau

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

Each year spent fighting horse slaughter is proof enough that we live in a time of war. Although there will always be people and groups with a vested interest in seeing horse populations increase and the convenience of slaughter continue, 80% of Americans and 64% of Canadians say “no” to these injustices:

  • Despite the deterrent of jail terms for several key operatives in the 2013 horsemeat scandal, authorities in France are still investigating new horsemeat trafficking which now includes government officials and veterinarians.
  • There are still no charges against kill buyer Tom Davis or the BLM who sent horses to slaughter. Once again the BLM failed to follow its own policy of limiting horse sales and ensuring that the horses sold went to good homes and were not slaughtered. $140,000 of taxpayer money was used to transport the horses to Davis, who earned more than $150,000 in profits.
  • Obscene numbers of horses were run through auctions, often with up to 80% of them being bought by kill buyers. Prospective purchasers and bidders of horses hoping to rescue them from slaughter are being harassed at auctions.
  • Unpopular and unnecessary round-ups are still occurring in both the US and Canada.
  • In Great Britain, Dartmoor ponies are now being eaten in an attempt to “save” them.
  • The AQHA continues to be one of our biggest adversaries, and in 2015 they continued to wonder aloud what they could do to increase registration (and breeding). The AQHA braintrust created a super PAC designed to fight against horse owners, defeat the SAFE Act, and keep the breeding (and slaughter) going. To our dismay, Lucas Oil was named Title Sponsor of the AQHA World Championship Show.
  • With the demise of AC4H, which pulled in $800,000 in profit in two years of its operations, other brokered programs have sprung up or been expanded upon. Like a hydra, when one head is cut off, several more appear to take its place. Several markets have emerged as a result of the opportunities gleaned from Facebook, providing a very lucrative business, and kill buyers outbid private buyers at auctions on horses that they think they can flip using “the truck is coming” ploy.  Immense pressure is placed on rescuers,  who are continually told by kill buyers, “hang with me or the horses hang.” People are buying horses at outrageous prices and paying phenomenal amounts of money that could be used for feed and vetting, to ship them halfway across the country only to find that they are sick. In many cases the horses that arrive bear little resemblance to their photographs, may be misrepresented and sometimes must be euthanized upon arrival.
  • There have been several large scale seizures of horses at both rescues and private farms, sometimes occurring too late to benefit many horses. In the US, approximately 80 horses were seized from Peaceable Farm, a charity in Virginia. The owner marketed herself as a charity not to take care of horses, but to breed warmbloods, while letting dozens of other horses starve in the barn. She took in millions in donations. Emaciated horses and carcasses were removed from Larry Browning’s farm in Kentucky – he only had to wait 9 months before he could acquire more horses… Jerry Earls was charged with 100 counts of cruelty in Copiah County but evaded the charges related to injured, starving, and dead horses under his care and control. And in British Columbia, Canada, about 100 of Gary Roberts’ horses were seized by the SPCA and auctioned at Valley Auction – and thanks to rescuers, none went to kill buyers. The Canadian Horse Defence Coalition successfully pre-empted the possibility that they would go to kill buyers when they wrote a letter to Donald Raffian (Valley Auction owner) to advise him that the herd had been treated with bute and therefore did not have a drug-free history.

We also saw substantial victories in 2015:

  • Horse slaughter will remain defunded in the U.S. as part of the new $1.1 trillion Omnibus Bill, which is expected to be signed into law in January 2016.
  • At the present time, Americans have 183 sponsors in the House and 28 in the Senate for the SAFE Act S1214/HR1942.
  • Those found guilty this year for their participation in the EU lasagne horsemeat scandal of 2013 are now being jailed.
  • A slaughterhouse was closed in Alès, southeastern France, after video obtained by L214 Éthique & Animaux were released for public viewing, showing scenes of horrible cruelty. The slaughterhouse killed about 3,000 horses per year, in addition to cattle, sheep, and pigs.
  • The EU banned horsemeat from Mexico and Canadian Premium Meats ceased slaughtering horses in Canada.
  • Some two years after the first reports from Animals’ Angels and our European partners at TSB (Tierschutzbund Zurich) exposed the cruel conditions horses face in Canada in feedlots and slaughterhouses, GVFI, which purchased from both Bouvry and Viande Richelieu, scuttled their imports of horsemeat from Canada. This is the second major contractual loss for Bouvry.
  • We also fought back against the PMU industry, and Canadian HRT users were eligible to claim compensation from a $13.6 million dollar fund. A US Summit also called for an end to the Premarin Industry.
  • The Canadian Veterinary Equine Welfare Council, to represent the collective voice of veterinarians in Canada who are opposed to horse slaughter, was launched.
  • September 29th was the date of the very well attended Safe Food! Safe Horses! March2DC
  • There were maneuvers to keep the option of horse slaughter open in New Mexico. However, a judge ruled against the Valley Meat horse slaughter plant by expanding a 2014 injunction to include owners of D’Allende Meats, a firm launched by an investment group which purchased the Roswell plant from Valley Meats. The trial in the original 2013 case is slated for August 2016.
  • The Salt River horses received a reprieve. Soon after federal officials announced the imminent capture of 100 or so horses within the boundaries of a national forest near Phoenix — to be sold at auction, “condemned and destroyed, or otherwise disposed of” — horse advocates issued a call for action. They were supported by Arizona officials who joined in the chorus of protests, outlining the boundaries of a dispute that encompasses an old political battle between state and federal governments over the stewardship of public lands in the West.
  • Now that we have a new Liberal government in Canada, we may have more success for anti-slaughter initiatives, since the Liberals were, for the most part, favourably inclined towards the last anti-slaughter Bill C-571.
  • We are fortunate that we have investigative reporters who are willing to write about the injustices meted out to horses in Canada. Journalist Mary Ormsby of the Toronto Star (home of the best investigative reporting in Canada) continued to write about the serious concerns with horsemeat intended for human consumption. W5 and Zoocheck collaborated on an exposé that revealed that Alberta’s previous Progressive Conservative government did not commission its own studies of wild horse populations, preferring instead to take ranchers’ “analysis” at face-value about population levels and claims of damage to grasslands, which were not substantiated.

In 2015 we said farewell to several of our horse advocates. One of our greatest allies in Canada, MP Alex Atamenenko, decided to retire after drafting 3 anti-slaughter bills. A truly great advocate, we can only wish the best for him in his retirement. On a much sadder note, we also lost advocates Marie Dean, Lee Earnshaw, and Dana Lacroix.

 

 

Please read more about these and other headlines from 2015, arranged chronologically, in Storify

 

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AQHA Brazenly Promotes Horse Slaughter For Wild Horses And Burros In New Anti-SAFE Act Propaganda Piece

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Craig Huffhines

AQHA Executive Vice-President Craig Huffhines

 

Written by:  Heather Clemenceau

In a brazen move that would make Sue Wallis proud,  the AQHA has sent to its Canadian members, a propaganda piece that insisted that the S.A.F.E. Act would create a “hellish demise” for horses,  of “starvation, abuse and neglect.”

It’s difficult to imagine such contrived ignorance exists to such a degree outside of the BLM itself when it comes to wild equines.  Yet in the massmail entitled “Unsafe Consequences,”  the group specifically mentions the “overpopulation” of the wild horses and burros,  juxtaposing the costs of the BLM holding facilities with the convenient way of eliminating the problem – restoring slaughter to the United States!  Not only is the wilfully-blind AQHA  on a non-stop  crusade to promote slaughter for their own breed,  they’re encroaching onto the issue of protected wild horses and burros – a comprehensive extermination campaign designed to eliminate all “undesirable” equines.

Here is an excerpt of the “facts” they present in their massmail,  which can be read here and is included below.

 

  • The Government Accountability Office reported that about 138,000 unwanted horses were transported to processing facilities in 2010.

  • The United States Department of Agriculture reports that 144,000 horses were transported to processing facilities in 2014.

  • USDA reports that there are nearly 50,000 wild horses and burros on Bureau of Land Management land, which is 22,500 more than what that land can naturally support.

  • USDA also reports that there are more than 47,000 wild horses and burros in short- and long-term holding facilities.

  • The cost of the wild horse and burro program – $77,245,000 in fiscal year 2014 – is coming out of U.S. taxpayers’ pockets.

If this enrages you,  please take a moment to send a response to them below or via their contact form:

Twitter: @AQHA

Mailing Address
AQHA
P. O. Box 200
Amarillo, TX 79168

Overnight Mailing
American Quarter Horse Association
1600 Quarter Horse Dr.
Amarillo, TX 79104

Phone
806-376-4811
8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Central

Fax
806-349-6411

 

Please read the entire communication below:

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

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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:

House

 

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

 

 Senate

 

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: Opensecrets.org 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:

“REVENUES VS EXPENSES:

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.

ASSETS VS LIABILITIES:

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.

 

 

Putting Horsemeat on the Table – Canadian Influences and Enablers – Infographic

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Written By:  Heather Clemenceau

For some time now,  after seeing the Infographic created by Republic of Horse  – “Slaughter:  Industry Influences on Government,”  I have known that we needed a similar graphic to represent those influencers and enablers in Canada.  While some of the associations that have been mapped out in the following Canadian infographic do not directly enable horse slaughter,  they are complicit in that they are silent against the practice.  At the very least they seem intent on preserving the status quo and ignoring the very real threats created not only by horse slaughter,  but by the power of Big-Ag lobbyists and governments who are willing to be influenced by them and their client base.

In the murky world of government lobbyists,  few resources have been applied to investigating corruption or undue influence. Canada has again been scolded on the international stage for its “lack of progress” in fighting corruption by a watchdog agency that ranks it among the worst of nearly 40 countries. The poor rating places Canada in the embarrassing company of countries like Greece, Hungary, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia – although New Zealand and Australia are also among the 21 countries in the bottom rung.  Transparency International, a group that monitors global corruption, put Canada in the lowest category of countries with “little or no enforcement” when it comes to applying bribery standards set out by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.  Apparently,  the punishment in Canada for corruption is that you are given a majority government.

Gerry Ritz Crackers

WARNING: Gerry Ritz Crackers consist of 100% Transfats.  Consuming Gerry Ritz Crackers may cause you to abandon economic principles, bury your head under the sand, and make inappropriate remarks about dead people, while pink-slipping and pink-sliming Canadians

According to the Ottawa Citizen,  Agriculture Minister and failed ostrich farmer Gerry Ritz is the most lobbied official in Canada,  exceeded only by Prime Minister Stephen Harper.  Gerry observed that farming ostrich allowed him “the opportunity to get used to working with lesser life forms” much like he sees “sometimes on the floor of the House of Commons.”

"Lesser Life Form" my ass!

“Lesser Life Form” my ass!

This infographic (downloadable here),  along with the one prepared by Republic of Horse,  and Jane Allin’s graphic of the PMU Industry, expose the hand-shaking and back-patting relationships, endorsements, and interconnectivity between the US and Canada.  In Canada,  we can clearly see the tentacles of the Bill DesBarres’ Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada extending themselves into the breed associations,  farming groups,  Big Pharma, veterinary colleges and associations, and Equine Canada.  By way of the lobbyists in the IEBA,  we are influenced by Big Ag,  Dow and Monsanto,  Humanewatch and other organizations that not only advocate for horse slaughter,  but advocate for GMOs and against the EPA and indeed consumers in general.

It was a learning experience for me to create this graphic.  People are waking up to what is being done to horses.  Very few people condone what is being done, but the industry does everything it can to cover it up because they know it is not humane,  no matter terminology they use.  DesBarres likes to refer to slaughter as “humane euthanasia,” and a “wonderful option.”    Contact your breed associations – contact everyone,  and let them know what they are endorsing when they associate themselves with the Horse “Welfare” Association of Canada,  Bill DesBarres,  and Slaughterhouse Sue Wallis.

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers

Canadian Horse Slaughter Influences and Enablers – Click to embiggen.  Want the chart as a stand-alone PDF file?  Click here

US Version - Republic of Horse

US Version – Republic of Horse

"Web of Evil" Graphic by Jane Allin

“Web of Evil” Graphic by Jane Allin – illustrating the connectivity between the Unwanted Horse Coalition, breed associations, and the PMU Industry

Here are the resources that were reviewed in compiling this infographic.  Many thanks to the members of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition in the sourcing of many of these resources and their input into the graphic.

  • Kropius Rodeo Stock is based in Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada,where Kody Kropius and his father Benny Kropius raise top of the line bucking horses and bulls!http://kropiusbuckingstock.tripod.com/
Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption

Bill C-322 in Canada, to stop the slaughter of horses for consumption

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

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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.

~Tribute~

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.