The animals are processed at three foreign-owned plants and the meat exported for human consumption.
A number of groups have been campaigning against the industry in the US, culminating in laws that effectively increased costs to the industry. It was hoped, it would stop the trade. However, to date, the trade continues.
The Kentucky Equine Humane Center proposes an equine shelter to provide humane treatment, and would be working to seek adoptive homes for unwanted horses. It also wants to educate the public about equine ownership to reduce the number of horses no longer wanted by their owners.