Equestrian Issues: Should Unused Racehorses be sent to Slaughter?


Maggie Dempewolf, Staff writer

There are many current issues in the equestrian industry. Being an equestrian myself, I wish to bring these issues to light. Today, I want to address the issues of unwanted horses and the oversupply of racehorses because these two issues primarily go hand in hand. When there are two many horses in the racing industry that are unused, they will most likely end up getting sold to other facilities or slaughter houses.

The reason for an oversupply of racehorses is breeders in the racing industry must breed a large number of horses to get a high amount of new racing horses. However, these horses have a short racing career lasting only two or three years. Once these horses have finished racing they may be lucky enough to be used as studs–male horses used for breeding–or be able to comfortably live out the rest of their lives in retirement. Sometimes, they will be lucky enough to become a show or pleasure horse once have been bought by someone else.

On the darker side of things, horses unable to live out a long, happy life go unwanted and eventually will end up in a slaughter house. According to the RSPCA, an average of 6 percent of thoroughbreds in the racing industry alone are sent to slaughterhouses each year. In 2020, there were over 28,000 horses that were sent to Mexico for slaughter.

In order to help these poor horses, those who race horses for sport should ensure their retired race horses are able to live out a full and happy life rather than sending them to slaughter. Additionally, you could donate to organizations like the Sundown Horse Rescue located in Hugo, Minnesota. Places like this take in horses to prevent them from going to slaughter. They make sure that every horse they receive lives out a good life rather than having it end early.