Dear Member of congress;

As a real estate broker who specializes in equestrian ranches and farms, I can tell you the devastating effect that the horse slaughter ban has had on the value of real estate.

As a horse breeder I can tell you the catastrophic effect the horse slaughter ban has had on the horse industry.

I’ve been to many auctions where the sellers are asked to pay to bring a horse in because they won’t sell and they often leave them at the auction house. I’ve seen many well trained, well bred horses pass through an auction house and not bring a single bid.

I have never sold a horse to slaughter, but by eliminating an entire industry the United States government as put thousands of people out of work. All too often people come to Washington and start drinking from the Potomac and forget that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. Those of us out here in the real world are still trying to survive while you take our freedoms and our money!

Horses are being turned loose and abandoned all across the country. The Bureau of Land Management is no longer able to find buyers for the wild horses they take care of and have drastically exceeded there budget. The BLM has even approached congress for permission to kill many of the horses!

The BLM has estimated the rising cost of caring for these animals will climb from $37 billion in 2008 to a staggering $72 billion in 2012. Some are calling for the release of these animals into the wild where they will breed more and add to the problem.

This solution also will result in environmental damage as well as a health and safety risk to humans.

I have spoken with people who work in horse rescue shelters, who tell me they have no room to take anymore horses. A short time ago I tried to get several shelters and to help with a negligent horse owner, his horses were starving and in terrible condition. I called multiple rescues and they all told me they were overwhelmed.

Before the August recess, Senator Sam Brownback offered an amendment to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations bill, which would provide for a Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of the status of horse welfare as it relates to the closing of horse processing plants in the United States. This amendment passed the Senate’s version of the Ag Appropriations bill.

The GAO study would specifically examine issues such as:

1) How the horse industry has responded to the closure of U.S. horse slaughter facilities in terms of both the numbers of horse sales, exports, adoptions, or abandonments
2) The implications these changes have had on farm income and trade; the extent to which horses in the United States are slaughtered for any purpose
3) Any impacts to State and local governments and animal protection organizations;
4) How the USDA oversees the transport of horses destined for slaughter in foreign countries such as Canada and Mexico; and,
5) General conclusions regarding the welfare of horses as a result of a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption.

The Committee language directs the GAO to issue its report by March 1, 2010.

I urge you to support this study and find out exactly the cost of this tragic decision.

A GAO study of the closure of horse processing plants and the effect on horse welfare is widely supported by the horse industry and horse owners. Currently, there is little hard data on this issue.  Such a study could provide valuable information to Congress and the horse industry as it deals with the unwanted horse issue before passing legislation further burdening horse owners and any unfunded mandates on states or local municipalities to enforce new laws.

D. Ben Edsall
Broker – Accredited Equestrian Real Estate Professional
The Institute of Equestrian Real Estate Professionals

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