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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Pathetic Showing by Standardbred Interests

The Responsible Horse Breeders Council (RHBC), a group of horse breeders organized by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), has come out in support of the Safeguard American Food Exports (SAFE) Act which bans the introduction of horse slaughter facilities in the United States as well as the import/export of horses for slaughter and horse parts intended for human consumption.  The reason behind the SAFE act is the fact horses are not raised as food animals and as such are treated with medications not suitable for animals intended for human consumption.

Some of you may be wondering what kind of group can the RHBC be if it was formed by the HSUS?  "The goal of the council is to decrease the number of horses in the United States who are at risk of being neglected, abused, or slaughtered for human consumption. Council members will work with the HSUS to discourage overbreeding and to promote responsible horse ownership and nationwide horse rescue and rehoming efforts".  Being a member also means taking a pledge to "...take back any horse they have bred should the horse become homeless or at-risk of being abused or sent to slaughter".  As of today, there are over one thousand horse breeders (racing and non-racing breeds) who have become members of the council.

So how well represented are Standardbred interests on this council?  9.  That's right, count 'em 9 breeders of standardbreds are members of this council.  You may ask how can a racing breed be expected to be members of this council?  Well, roughly 94 breeders of thoroughbreds feel they can be members.  There are 119 AQHA breeders who are members, this coming from a breed whose leadership endorses slaughter as a solution for unwanted horses.  Another way to look at this is by percentages.

Percentage of Breeders of Major Racing Breeds who are Members of RHBC (excludes Arabians, Donkeys, Mules)
American Quarter Horse members of RHBC - 53.6% (119) 
Standardbred breeder members of RHBC - 4.0% (9)
Thoroughbred breeder members of RHBC - 42.3% (94)

I know standardbred breeding is a tough business right now and it is tough to ask breeders to take back horses they have bred.  Still, make all the excuses you want, but it is a pretty pathetic showing of standardbred interests if you ask me.

My hat is off to those standardbred breeders who are members.  If you breed standardbreds and want to join the RHBC, you can do so at this link.


FloridaHorsemen said...

Great post, and a shout out to Pacing Guy from your friends in the Thoroughbred industry. We're hoping commentary like this will help get the word out to all breeds, and we've found the Standardbred industry to be particularly focused when it comes to communication, so we're hoping for the best for all of us to be unified in our individual efforts for all worthy endeavors. And all responsible horsemen, please don't forget to spay and neuter your pets!

Anonymous said...

Just one more reason why this sport is dying. When will harness horseman wake up and smell the coffee that you have to help your industry sustain itself. It's the same relationship with slots...take take take..but give back nothing to the industry as a whole.