Rift over Arabian Horse Association slaughter decision

June 15, 2009

A rift in the United States Arabian Horse Association (AHA) over the issue of horse slaughter has been revealed by the Equine Welfare Alliance.

Following the alliance's June 9 release calling attention to the AHA's passing of a resolution in support of horse slaughter, the association's Rescue and Rehoming Subcommittee, chaired by Carol Darnell, who also chairs the Rescue and Rehoming Advisory Panel of the Arabian Horse Foundation (AHF), took strong exception to the move.

Darnell described negative publicity around the slaughter decision as damaging.

She issued the following position statement:

"We, the members of the Rescue/Rehoming Subcommittee of the Equine Stress, Research and Education Committee of AHA, take serious issue with the recent BOD action in support of equine slaughter.

"Quite aside from the reality that some of the membership of AHA does support slaughter," the release continued, "we believe it to be inappropriate for our board of directors to take any position whatsoever on such a passionate and divisive issue, especially without polling our membership for consensus or consulting with our two rescue entities within the AHA/AHF complex.

"We believe it should be the role of a breed promotion organidation to support husbandry practices and organisational goals which sustain our horses, rather than endorse practices which enable irresponsible husbandry at the horses' expense."

The committee went on to say: "On a practical level, the negative response by much of the Arabian community and the equine community as a whole, along with significant negative press, is damaging to the organisation at a time when we can ill-afford such damage, especially when it is self-inflicted.

"We, along with many others in the Arabian horse community, are striving to have the board of directors revisit and reconsider the action taken."

The Arabian Horse Foundation has a separate board of directors and functions independently of the association. It was not involved in the discussion and passing of the motion.