The board recently passed the resolution, but also reiterated its support for equine rescue, along with responsible livestock and horse ownership and breeding.
The association's executive vice president, Glenn Petty, in a statement published in The Jurga Report, said the motion was unanimously decided by the 29-member board after much discussion and concern.
"As a new trustee with the American Horse Council (AHC), Lance Walters, AHA President, anticipated being questioned on AHA's position on this subject at an upcoming AHC meeting - it was for this reason the board acted.
"After further discussion at the AHC meeting, the AHA will continue to gather information and discuss this passionate issue."
Petty continued: "Compelling reasons for passage of the motion were conditions at Mexican slaughter facilities and at a growing numbers of farms in the US. It was felt humane slaughter and government regulation was a better alternative to the growing inhumane conditions that have occurred as unintended consequences caused by the passage of HB503.
"Reports of horses simply being allowed to starve are alarmingly on the rise. AHA shares and respects opponents concern for the welfare of horses.
"It is for this reason the Board has taken this position. Increasing reports that horse rescue groups that are full and cannot receive any more horses are also widely being heard.
"AHA realizes this is a very passionate issue for our members and other horse owners and lovers.
"AHA's overriding concern for horses is the reason the board took this action. It is the sincere belief of the board that humane, closely regulated processing of horses is a better alternative to abandonment, malnourishment or starvation. There is always a segment of horses that there is no market for and the unfortunate result is often mistreatment.
"When faced with these options, humane slaughter was felt to be better for the horse than a life of misery.
"AHA encourages, supports, and promotes all the alternatives to slaughter such as rehoming, rescue work, and enforcement of cruelty laws. AHA is an advocate for new and improved national regulations to insure humane treatment of all animals and promotes responsible horse ownership and breeding.
"AHA respects opposing views and understands opponents are passionate. However, on this subject AHA believes humane slaughter conducted under US inspection and supervision to be the more humane choice."
The full wording of the board's decision:
"Whereas, There is great concern regarding the humane treatment of all equine breeds and livestock, the Arabian Horse Association and the Arabian Horse Foundation actively supports equine rescue along with responsible livestock and horse ownership and breeding; Therefore, Be It "Moved, After extensive research as a Board of Directors we support the reopening of equine processing plants for horses in the U.S. We believe the reestablishment of the humane processing of horses is in the best interest of the horse and livestock community, and, therefore, direct our AHA President, Lance Walters, to support the reopening of U.S. equine processing facilities.
Motion Passed Unanimously. (Motion #16-5/16/09-BOD)"