This is such a touchy subject, but I want people to know how I feel. I am very much a horse lover. Our horses are more than pets, they are family, but in the end they are also LIVESTOCK. I am more than relieved that the slaughter houses are once again legal in the U.S. I am not ashamed to say we hauled two horses to a sale once, knowing they would likely go to slaughter. They were in their upper 20's. These horses had taught my husband and his sister so many things. By the time I met them they were no longer rideable. In fact, all they did was stay in one area. To move was painful for them since they had arthritis. We knew their time had come. We took them to a sale barn very close to a slaughter facility. Yes, I did cry when we left them. And, I cried again when we received a check from the sale barn with the price per pound, as that meant they did go to slaughter. If we had chosen not to take them to the sale barn we had 2 choices. The first would have been to let them suffer til they died of natural causes. The 2nd being euthanasia.
I have seen my share of horses put down. Mostly due to bad luck. None of them have been cheap. My husband had a mare bred and raised her colt. He was using Pokey for team roping. Pokey was his baby. he was an obnoxious hard headed horse, but his baby none the less. Jas was out of town in the big truck. I went out to do chores and found Pokey laying in the pen. His right front leg obviously broken in two above the knee. I had to make the call for the vet to come to put his baby down. I had to call my husband and tell him I was putting his baby down. Then I had to have somebody come dig the hole and bury him. I am very lucky that we do have a place where we can bury large animals. That day cost us $500.
While I couldn't have taken Pokey to a slaughter sale, and I wouldn't change how I put him down, there are many people that couldn't afford to do it that way. I am not able to shoot my own horse. I am also not able to just leave the body out for natural recycling above ground. (BTW, if put down with euthanasia you must bury so you don't euthanize any predators of the horse's corpse) And, without slaughter I have seen and heard about many horses being abandoned or worst of all, being hauled to Mexico or Canada in very tight quarters to be slaughtered there.
I do want to make it very clear that I am not in favor of slaughter being an option for bad animal owners or a solution to over breeding. I also don't feel it promotes over breeding. Another blog I read put her thoughts together on this subject too. I think we have pretty similar views, not 100%, but close. I think she was able to put it into words much more eloquently than I. TS Quarter Horses