I was recently talking to a percheron horse breeder and found out that after the USA horse slaughter plants were closed, other countries lost a source for their market and they had to become creative to fill their needs. Japan, I was told, has invested in business in Canada and the draft horse people are really affected and worried about the fact that their youngstock is being purchased and taken to Canada for “finishing” as meat animals, instead of staying in the gene pool as prospects for hitches and breeding.
It is a fact that at this point, the slaughter business in Canada at any rate (I live in the northern half of the country) is targeting heavy muscled horses and prime healthy stock, some of which are well trained animals that simply are not being bid on by people in tighter financial times; they are not as interested in animals that are lightweight. With the ever increasing pressures that the animal rights people make to legislation (constantly ongoing—they are currently aggressive about getting rid of double decker haulers which are not in fact higher risk for travel and are of course more economical to use in these times of ever-increasing gas prices)…where in times past the slaughter market helped recycle horses that were poor, crippled, old; at this point the sales barns will not accept horses that are questionable as to value because they have been “stuck” thru this development of change in the market with horses abandoned at their facility, some of which have simply had to be disposed of, which no one wants to happen. Leaving the horse rescue people with a larger number of truly non-adoptable horses all the time.