That Oppose Slaughter Ban Target of Letter
Blue Horse Charities has
stepped up the campaign for passage of legislation to ban horse
slaughter with a strongly worded letter and a full-page
advertisement on the back page of the Nov. 8 edition of Daily
by Tom LaMarra
Date Posted: 11/9/03 10:09:23 AM
Last Updated: 11/9/03 10:09:23 AM
In a three-page letter
mailed to industry organizations, constituents, and the media,
Blue Horse Charities alleges the American Quarter Horse
Association, American Veterinary Medical Association, and the
American Association of Equine Practitioners have cooperated to
stall passage of the legislation, currently in the House
"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 Blue Horse
Charities letter said. "We would like to identify three
groups who we feel, because of their stated positions, have their
thumb on this one."
Blue Horse Charities,
formed in partnership with Fasig-Tipton Co. in 2001, said it
doesn't necessarily have a bone to pick with members of the three
organizations, but with the organizations "that purport to
represent them. It is our opinion that these organizations are
listening to those to whom approximately $500 a head is good
enough reason for putting tens of thousands of horses through the
terror and misery that precede a grizzly death."
funds contributed through Blue Horse Charities, which enables
consignors to donate one-quarter of 1% of sale proceeds. No one is
required to donate, nor are they solicited. The lack of funds and
facilities for retired racehorses led to the formation of Blue
John Hettinger, a major
shareholder in Fasig-Tipton who formed Blue Horse Charities, said
there are about 110 co-sponsors of the American Horse Slaughter
Prevention Act. He said the bill is gaining "considerable
When asked about the
letter that alleged the three organizations are stymieing the
bill, Hettinger said: "This what we've been told, and this is
what we feel. They've come out with things in writing that would
lead anyone to believe that."
Hettinger said the main
thrust of the issue is responsibility. "I believe that owning
a horse is a responsibility, but that's not an idea that has a lot
of currency today," he said. "The horse deserves kindly
treatment when he lives, and a peaceful death."
targeted by Blue Horse Charities have been proactive in terms of
making their positions public via policy statements.
Representatives were somewhat surprised by the allegations
contained in the letter.
The AAEP, at a board
meeting in May 2002 issued a position statement that, in part,
said: "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.
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. The AAEP
encourages, fosters, and provides education regarding responsible
ownership and management that will reduce the number of unwanted
horses. In addition, the AAEP supports and commends the efforts of
equine retirement facilities and adoption groups."
This year, the AVMA
endorsed the AAEP position statement after New York Rep. John
Sweeney, who chairs the Congressional Horse Caucus, introduced the
American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.
The AAEP received a copy
of the Blue Horse Charities letter. Sally Baker, director of
public relations for the AAEP, said the organization is deciding
how to respond to the letter, which isn't dated but was mailed in
disappointed by the tone of the letter and the allegations made
not only against the AAEP, but all veterinarians," Baker
AQHA officials couldn't
be immediately reached for comment.
Late last year, the
National Thoroughbred Racing Association approved a policy in
favor of banning the slaughter of Thoroughbreds at slaughter
facilities, and earlier this year, Breeders' Cup followed suit.
However, the organizations did not come out in favor of specific
legislation as was announced by the Society for Animal Protection
The Blue Horse Charities
ad in the Form includes a cartoon by Pierre "Peb"
Bellocq called "Fork In The Road." It depicts a horse
van heading up a road that branches off to a life of retirement
and a road that heads to a slaughterhouse. The ad credits
supporters, including the Utah Quarter Horse Association, and
attacks people "who profess to be anti-slaughter but do not
back any legislative efforts and do not come up with any
alternative solutions of their own."
matches funds contributed through Blue Horse Charities, which
enables consignors to donate one-quarter of 1% of sale proceeds.
No one is required to donate, nor are they solicited. The lack of
funds and facilities for retired racehorses led to the formation
of Blue Horse Charities.Copyright ©
2003 The Blood-Horse, Inc. All Rights Reserved.