More for the Record: Informal Letter from Arabian Horse Association Secretary Jan Decker

Provided by Fran Jurga | 13 June 2009 | The Jurga Report at

The Arabian Horse Association has provided a personal letter from AHA secretary Jan Decker outlining her own sentiments in explaining why she believes the AHA was moved to support the re-establishment of horse slaughter in the United States. This letter was provided by Glenn T. Petty,executive vice president of the AHA, and is published on The Jurga Report with Ms. Decker’s permission.

Here is the unedited text of Ms. Decker’s letter:

“I will not attempt to speak for all of the Board members, but I want to share my thoughts with you related to this issue. I have had a passion for horses all of my life (and I mean all my life) and I share your concerns especially for the welfare of, not just Arabians, but all horses in the United States.

“Unfortunately, time has proved that the discontinuation of equine slaughter houses in the United States was a government action that was meant to be good thing, but turned out to be bad thing for the welfare of a lot of horses, in my opinion, from what I have observed since the inception of slaughter house closings.

“I am still struggling with the concept of a horse breed organization going to the American Horse Council trustees meeting this summer in the position of condoning horse euthanize aka slaughter.

“However, the facts of starving horses standing in squalid conditions because owners can not or will not provide feed due to current economic conditions is horrible. Trucks hauling loads of debilitated horses thousands of miles to get across the U.S. Borders south to Mexico or north to Canada is not a pleasant thought.

“I have been told herds of ‘wild’ horses out west in open range are growing greatly in numbers as owners haul their horses out to open range and open the trailer doors and abandon their animals. There are countless tales of horrible events all across the USA related to equines that I can not go into here of horses just “dumped” on rural roads and other stories of horror.

“The state forest/parks here in Indiana now have adopted the position of counting the horses in a trailer when they come into a park to be sure the people do not leave horses behind in the park turned loose to fend for themselves. Local fairgrounds with horse stalls are patrolling them to insure no one has broken into the locked fairground stalls and left behind horses in those facility’s stalls.

“One suggestion I heard of recently that has come up is a ‘Euthanasia Clinic’ and I have been solicited to donate money to such a ‘Clinic’. I can not visualize that picture of a lot of old, crippled, starved, or just plain unwanted horses hauled into one location to be ‘put to sleep’ at a cost of $200 – $500 per animal. Would they be buried on site? Would a winch truck be there to pull all the bodies up into a big ‘dead wagon’ truck? I just can’t envision this happening with a lot of dead horses lying around after such an event.

“It is never easy to euthanize a horse anytime, but when the suffering does not validate continued life it is necessary. I had the veteriarian euthanized a horse on this farm last Saturday and then buried it with a back hoe. This old mare had some age on her, a thyroid condition and had grass foundered and her system was shutting down, we had doctored her for a month and she was not getting any better.

“Many counties/states do not allow horses/livestock to be buried and cremation costs about $1500.00 so I am told, thank goodness, we still have space to bury them on our farm and can do it legally in our county.

“Animal slaughter is necessary to obtain meat for consumption by humans and if the cattle, hog, chicken, sheep, goat meat slaughter houses can be regulated and maintained using humane methods to kill these animals, there is no reason humane standards of treatment and euthanasia can not be met for horses even though not for meat to be consumed by humans.

“Yes, there are rescue facilities around the country and here in Indiana. I had a college student/boarder here at my stable that was unable to maintain paying her pasture board here at my location so she “donated” her two fat healthy horses to a “rescue” place in southern Indiana. These were a palomino quarter type horse and an Arabian gelding (without papers) trained to ride, sound, and good looking horses. She had to pay some amount of money to the rescue location to take these horses off her hands and she still owes me $1700.00 in back board. The “Rescue” site would not take her horses until I agreed to let her make payments on what she owed to me. And this is just one story of thousands.

“In conclusion, am I in favor of regulated horse slaughter, yes, if the alternative is mistreatment of horses. Regulated being the key word here.

“Am I in favor of starving, mistreated, abandoned horses of any breed absolutely not, but people must face reality even though it can be ugly at times. Life is just not fair. Do not judge any of us to harshly, I believe we really do have the best interest of the horses in our hearts. It was not an easy position to take.”

Jan Decker, owner of horses for 64 years

(Jan Decker is currently the secretary of the Arabian Horse Association.)

Please refer to today’s earlier post for the official statement of the AHA board in support of horse slaughter and humane treatment of horses.




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