Letter calls out groups opposed to slaughter ban

Letter calls out groups opposed to slaughter ban

Dec 01, 2003
By dvm360.com staff

Lexington, Ky.-As part of its campaign to endorse national legislation banning horse slaughter, a non-profit devoted to adoption and related programs for retired Thoroughbred horses, is lashing out against three veterinary and animal welfare groups.

As reported by The Blood Horse, a letter mailed by Blue Horse Charities to industry organizations, constituents and the media singles out the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP), American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA), alleging they are collaborating to delay passage of a bill that would ban horse slaughter, which is currently in committee in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"When a bill is in the House and doesn't get out of committee and doesn't get hearings, someone has his thumb on it," the letter reads. "We would like to identify three groups who we feel, because of their stated positions, have their thumb on it."

Root of claimsBlue Horse states it is basing its letter's claims on previously announced position statements from AAEP and AVMA.

The AAEP released its statement in May 2002 that, in part, reads: "The AAEP advocates the humane treatment of all horses and believes the equine industry and horse owners have a responsibility to provide humane care throughout the life of the horse. However, a small percentage of horses are ultimately unwanted because they are no longer serviceable, are infirm, dangerous or their owners are no longer able to care for them."

AAEP further states that it "recognizes that the processing of unwanted horses is currently a necessary aspect of the equine industry, and provides a humane alternative to allowing the horse to continue a life of discomfort and pain, and possibly inadequate care or abandonment."

AAEP says it promotes education and responsible management of horses to reduce the number of unwanted animals; furthermore it encourages the use of adoption and retirement facilities.

AVMA endorsed AAEP's position statement earlier this year.

At presstime, an AAEP official said they were planning to respond to the letter; AQHA had not made any public response.

Status of billCurrently, there are nearly 110 co-sponsors of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, and the bill is gaining "considerable momentum," according to John Hettinger, member of The Jockey Club, who formed Blue Horse Charities.

His concerns, on behalf of Blue Horse Charities, are that efforts of these groups may stymie further legislative action.