Since the issue of slaughter is really on the table--click here to read about the Summit of the Horse--I want to make it clear that I'm not actually against it happening in the U.S--although, I am against using it as a population control for Mustangs.
Why am I okay with slaughter? Because it's already happening. If you go to any horse auction out here in the West, you will see that many a good horse--young and old--is being purchased by what we call the "kill buyer." In this economy, people aren't paying good money for horses--but some really irresponsible people are still churning out crops of foals whose prices are so low, they are being purchased for their meat--the same with the old horses. If their sell price is low enough it comes within a range that the meat buyer can make a profit--he bids on them.
The problem is, since there is no legal slaughter in the U.S., these poor horses are hauled across the country to Canada and Mexico for slaughter--places where we have no input into regulating. The trip is stressful for the horses--some dying along the way--and we don't have any idea what happens when they get across the borders. This makes us hypocrites, at best, and inhumane and cruel, at worst. We won't slaughter, but they can? Really? So, in other words, we just don't want to see it.
I have a family member who worked at a local horse sale and she said it was very sad to see the "kill buyer" herding the frightened horses into the trailer--they were fighting, kicking, biting, basically, frantic.
Is this the way you want your pet to go? I think most of us--or anyone reading this blog--would probably never want their horse to go this way. Most of us would have the vet come out or otherwise end their lives (when the time comes to do so)-- humanely.
However, maybe you've sold your "pet" to someone you thought would take care of him or her--but years down the road life changes, finances change, and they take Old Red to the auction. The kill buyer gets him. So, despite your good intentions, he ended up at slaughter anyway.
Well, one good idea coming out of this summit is a national registry you could join--microchip implanted into your "pet"--that says your horse can NEVER be slaughtered--even if he/she changes ownership. Wonderful. (Although, I don't know how practical a microchip would be since it could be cut out.)
Since slaughter is happening anyway, I think it's best that it be handled right here in the US--regulated by the US and done with as much humanity as possible.
That said, I completely and utterly disagree with slaughter as a wild horse management tool.
I advocate--yes, "advocate"--the verb, which means, "to speak or write in favor of; support or urge by argument; recommend publicly"--I advocate Mustang contraception as a way to control herd populations--not slaughter.