An in-depth review in a recent edition of the Wall Street Journal documents the effect of the ban on U.S. slaughtered horses introduced four years ago. A meeting entitled “Summit of the Horse” aims at resuming slaughter of horses in part to dispose of the old, lame and surplus animals that are either shipped to Mexico or live an unhappy life in the U.S.
Animal-rights activists wish to exacerbate the situation by banning the export of up to 60,000 horses annually. Prior to the 2007 ban, 100,000 horses representing the surplus population were processed in the U.S. each year. The American Humane Association, noted for its pragmatism and even-handed approach to welfare of all animals including livestock and pets, has agreed to develop science-based guidelines for handling and processing horses. The National Conference of State Legislatures has adopted a resolution requesting Congress to support horse processing and to rescind the 2007 ban.
An additional problem relating to horses is the accumulation of thousands of feral mustangs which are culled each year to reduce herds to manageable levels.
Costs for management and subsistence have risen to over $37 million annually to temporary hold 40,000 horses in corrals and pasture. According to the Bureau of Land Management, slaughter is not an acceptable option.