So, apparently the ban on horse slaughter has been lifted in the U.S. I shall now proceed to counter the argument of "well, I'd rather they'd be slaughtered than starved to death or abused":
First of all, bolt guns are what are used in American slaughter houses, and not just on horses. The concept was originally used on cattle, and people supposed it works on horses. It doesn't always. You know why? Because horses are not cattle. Maybe some long time ago in the form of a common ancestor, but definitely not now. THEN they slit their throats, sometimes the bolt gun not being effective in the first place! Sounds like a blast, right?
So, let my solution rant begin:
I would much rather there be some more free or discounted euthanasia clinics, gelding clinics, and just overall more responsible breeding practices and horse ownership. If it ain't bred in the first place, then it ain't going to be slaughtered!
After working with rescues and helping to care for some horses that were pulled from the closed slaughterhouses in TX, and knowing what goes on in there, I would never want to see a horse - especially since I have YET to see a horse bred purposefully for consumption, unlike every other livestock animal - go through that.
Plus slaughterhouses pollute horribly and do a fabulous job of contaminating the surrounding land, just like any other factory farm or processing plant. They don't create a lot of sustainable jobs if any, and I have yet to see a town who was gung-ho about a blood-and-fecal-runoff-spewing factory put up in their farmland. Just not an environmentally or economically viable solution and an easy way out, in my opinion.
I have rehabbed horses who have been starved to the point of a 1 or 2 on the body weight scale, and it SUCKS to fix or to give a graceful way to go but it is done because it's what's morally right, and I know that a bolt to the head usually only temporarily stuns a horse and some horses are still alive and conscious when they are bled out from my Ag classes. Very few of the horses I saw coming out of the slaughterhouse pens when they closed were old or crippled. Poorly bred or never had the time or money taken to be properly trained perhaps or gelded, usually. When you get a young horse: SURPRISE! You gotta train it or pay somebody else to! And if it's a colt who is not breeding quality or who you do not have to resources or know-how to market correctly to nice mares: SURPRISE! Call the gelding bus! When it comes to horses, especially when you are potentially bringing a new one into the world, it pays to be honest. Honest about the quality of the horse, and honest about your own resources and abilities.
Between starving or having a throat slit: I frankly don't like either solution. I like euthanasia and gelding. I would be all for funding euthanasia and gelding clinics like the ones that are doing well in northern CA, and for inexperienced or ignorant owners to realize that horses are a luxury item like a Jag or Vette or any pet really and are expensive not only to purchase (sometimes) but mostly to MAINTAIN, as much as you may love them. It's not fair to the animal if you can't put out the resources to care for them. There are other ways. I'm not against horses dying when there is no other choice, I'm against slaughter in general. And don't get me started on kill-buyers. A seedy, deceitful lot, all of them. I have been to enough kill auctions to know.
So glad I got out of horse rescue because it was very hard to see horses go through such abuse and neglect and get caught up in human politics, but when I see stuff like this, it makes me want to jump right back in and try and fix things again (I don't, because I don't have the RESOURCES! I'd hate to be responsible!)
I hate ranting. But I cannot help but rant on slaughter in general.
Just thought I would put in my two cents and pour out my heart. When it comes to animal welfare, boy do I pour it all out.