by Joanne Byrnes (Tucson, AZ)
google_protectAndRun("render_ads.js::google_render_ad", google_handleError, google_render_ad);If you want to stop the over-production of, and consequent "culling" or "harvesting" of horses by means of slaughter, you MUST address the INCENTIVES for breeders and investors to focus on production that uses a 3-5 year cycle.
USDA grants, loans, insurance, disaster assistance, etc. all quite understandably favor livestock producers in the same way they treat plant crop farmers. This means that horse breeders have numerous incentives to treat horses like cattle, sheep, hogs and poultry, and to get rid of unsold stock within a finite period of time to meet profit-motive tests.
The same is true for tax credits, deductions, depreciation, and passive/active income rules of the I.R.S. concerning horses. Notice that most special temporary deductions are for racehorse breeders who have suffered losses due to diseases that swept through the farms, but not for horse trainers, riding stables, carriage operators, or equine-assisted therapy centers devastated by natural disasters or economic slumps.
The numbers tell it all: 60,000 Thoroughbreds foaled annually, and 30,000 under the age of 5 sent to slaughter annually. Facts are hard to argue with. Similar ratios are provable for Quarter Horses and Arabians, the two next most bred and most slaughtered horse breeds in the U.S.A.
Here’s the simple cure for slaughter that would work within a couple of years: implement a FLAT TAX.
All the incentives to breed horses just to kill them would disappear. The "extras" necessary to ensure a viable crop would be just a few, and they could easily be absorbed by the normal market for green horses to be trained as "speculative" investments by horse trainers and rescues.