Skip to content

PETA and HSUS: Who’s Horsing Around?

The following was posted on, 26 Jan 2012 02:28 PM PST by the HumaneWatch Team.

There’s been a lot of press devoted recently to the possible (probable?) reinstatement of horse slaughter in the United States. As expected, HSUS made hay out of horse slaughter’s potential return—while, oddly, HSUS’s little sister in the animal rights movement, PETA, had a different take.

Speaking to the Christian Science Monitor, PETA co-founder Ingrid Newkirk said:

It's quite an unpopular position we've taken. There was a rush to pass a bill that said you can't slaughter them anymore in the United States. But the reason we didn't support it, which sets us almost alone, is the amount of suffering that it created exceeded the amount of suffering it was designed to stop.
We hate to say it, but PETA is the voice of sanity here. (Is it out of place to mention that it’s not like PETA has a problem with animals being killed?) After the ban on domestic slaughter, horses were simply shipped to Canada and Mexico to be slaughtered—a long distance to travel outside of the purview of USDA inspectors and US humane slaughter laws. Last year, the number of horses going to slaughter abroad totaled 138,000. In other words, it’s arguable that HSUS helped cause adecrease in animal welfare.

Meanwhile, horse abandonment has increased domestically. Recent research presented in theJournal of Animal Science found that 100,000 unwanted horses turn up every year, but the capacity of horse rescues is only 13,400 animals.

HSUS president Wayne Pacelle retorts that abandonment has increased because of economic circumstances. He has a point, but he doesn’t answer this one question: If slaughter is totally banned, where are all those horses to go?

Horse sanctuaries across the country are already filled to capacity. So, predictably, some animals have
been left to die of starvation. Their owners can’t sell them and can’t afford the cost for a veterinarian to euthanize the animal.

Meanwhile, Pacelle’s response is normative: People shouldn’t own horses unless they can care for them.

OK, sure. But who can predict an economic downturn? Welcome to reality, where things don’t always go as planned. (And it’s not like everybody has a six-figure salary and pension plan like Wayne Pacelle.)

To HSUS’s credit, it does operate a horse sanctuary out in Oregon called the Duchess Sanctuary, which holds 200 horses on 1,120 acres. But since we haven’t seen any ideas from HSUS as to what to do with 138,000 horses if all horse slaughter was banned, let us suggest that HSUS build a Duchess Sanctuary for all of them.

By our calculation, HSUS would need to build ranches exceeding 1,200 square miles in size to house all of these animals.

That would require a lot of hard work and a lot of money. Doable? Possibly. But HSUS would have to “pony up” in a major way.

Of course, it’d be far easier for HSUS to continue making hay out of the horse slaughter issue and raising money off of it. If HSUS is going to continue to oppose horse slaughter, hopefully it offers some practical solutions—for the horses.

More Stories

  • Equine Obituary - Gen’s Armed & Dangerous

    The Tennessee Walking Horse community spanning states and even other countries mourned the loss of one of the industry’s greats last week as word spread of the passing of Gen’s Armed And Dangerous. The World Grand Champion Tennessee Walking Horse in 1994, Gen’s Armed And Dangerous went on to influence the breeding world in a huge way, producing get that could compete across a spectrum of divisions.  Read More
  • FAST announces new opportunities

    The First initiative FAST has to offer is an opportunity for any TWH group to organize a Tennessee Walking Horse Youth Equine Educational Day sponsored by FAST, Inc. FAST has funds available, for any group to host a day to introduce the TWH to a community or group of people with emphasis on exposure to and education of children about our breed. Read More
  • Christmas In July schedule update

    The Christmas In July show, scheduled for July 4-5, has modified their original class schedule. Class 32 will now be Amateur Country Pleasure Western and class 9a will be Amateur Country Pleasure English. Read More
  • Supreme Court Decision Holds ALJs Must Be Appointed

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that Administrative Law Judges must be appointed by the department head and not how they are currently retained by the agency they represent.  The case, Lucia vs. the Securities and Exchange Commission, does not deal with administrative law judges in the USDA, however the ruling could have a major impact on the enforcement scheme currently utilized by the USDA in Horse Protection Act cases. Read More
  • Obituary – Sam Hartsell

    Sam “Shot” Hartsell, age 74, of Newport, passed away Saturday, June 9, 2018, in Knoxville. He was preceded in death by his wife, Nan Hartsell and parents, Floyd and Viola McMahan Hartsell... Read More
  • WHOA announces International judging panel

    The Walking Horse Owners' is pleased to announce the three judges selected by current WHOA members. Charlie Brown, Shelli MeHaffey and Lonnie Messick will officiate the 40th Annual International Pleasure & Colt Championship.

    Read More
  • Savannah Lions Club adds classes

    The 52nd Annual Savannah Lions Club Show, scheduled for June 23 at 6:30 pm, has added two classes to their original schedule... Read More
  • Scrivner selected to judge Mid-South

    The Mid-South Walking Horse Association Show, scheduled for July 14, has selected Dickie Scrivner of Murfreesboro, Tennessee to mark the cards for this year's event. The show will be held at Pugh Bourne Park in Jackson, Tennessee.  Read More
  • Ohio Valley adds class

    Ohio Valley Walking Horse Association show, scheduled for June 23 in Stanford, Kentucky, has added a 4 and Under Trail Pleasure to their show.  Read More
  • Walking For Hope Show updates

    The Walking For Hope show, scheduled for June 16, has selected Chris Zahnd to judge this year’s event. Originally scheduled to start at 4:00, the show will start at 5:00 pm. Read More