Rocky Mountain Rider staff writer, Dorinda Troutman, reports on the plans and progress of a four-point management program to deal with unwanted horses in Wyoming.
September 2010 Issue
A new organization in Wyoming — United Organizations of the Horse (UOH) — has developed a four-part, unwanted horse management plan, which includes developing a humane horse slaughter plant. They will utilize a recent Wyoming state law legalizing the slaughter of abandoned, estray, feral or abused horses that come under the jurisdiction of the Wyoming Board of Livestock.
The law allows livestock, including horses, to be sent to slaughter as an alternative to taking animals to auction. The meat would to be inspected by Wyoming State meat inspectors, and sold in-state to institutions or nonprofit organizations for no more than cost; to for-profit entities at market rate; or for pet or zoo animal food.
Sue Wallis, a Wyoming legislator who was a sponsor of the bill that became that law, is also the executive director of UOH.
Wallis says the UOH has discussed plans for a holding yard; suggested possible sites, including one outside of Guernsey, in eastern Wyoming ; and contacted livestock industry consultant Dr. Temple Grandin for guidance with the project.
“We are looking at a holistic approach to the unwanted horse problem. We are looking at the whole industry,” explains Wallis.
“This project will cost millions of dollars, but there is quite a lot of government financial help available from rural development funds, plus money from wealthy private investors in the U.S. horse industry. The plant could be sustained with zoo and pet food meat buyers alone.
“We want to build a state-of-the-art facility — absolutely top-notch — to be used as a model for anyone. The need is so great, and the pent-up demand so huge, that we believe six facilities like this one are needed around the U.S. ”
The Wyoming plan, which has been named the “Unified System of the Horse” by UOH, includes four programs:
- Rescue, rejuvenation and slaughter — which would evaluate and retrain abandoned and donated horses or, for those animals that are unsound, dangerous or unfit, would provide a quick, painless death.
- Equine Assurance Program — ensures meat quality and equine well-being, with a meat health and humane certification program.
- Horses for Humanity — Owner can donate their horse to benefit the needy.
- National Do-Not-Slaughter Registry — allows horse owners to microchip and register horses they do not wish to go to slaughter.
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