My wife came home a few weeks ago with stories of concerned Ag students buying malnourished horses for $10. The proximate cause was overextended owners in the wake of the recession.
Next I asked my neighbor the horseman how much it costs to care and feed for a horse: close to $300 per month for food, and close to $400 per month for boarding, are reasonable floors for horse expenses in my low cost, high equine density area.
Then along comes today’s issue of The New York Times outlining the real reason (without all that messy economics).
It turns out that until 2006, American horseowners could sell a horse they no longer wanted to a slaughterhouse. The meat was then sold for human consumption outside the U.S. (and probably animal consumption in the U.S.).
But that all changed thanks to Congress: in 2006 they cut off funding for inspection of houses that slaughter horses, and those abattoirs closed up shop.
Now your choices are to spend a few hundred dollars to euthanize and dispose of a horse, or to sell it to a “kill buyer” who will transport it to a country where horses can be slaughtered: our benighted neighbors Canada and Mexico.
I’m not sure how much you’d net after selling to a kill buyer, but it can’t be much because there is a flourishing third option: just don’t feed your horse.
Hey do-gooders: the business you don’t like because it conflicts with your (personal) morals set a price that prevented an outcome that conflicts with your (social) ethics.
But, you can always double-down on stupidity:
[This has] breathed new life into the long-smoldering battle over whether to allow the resumption of domestic horse slaughter or, alternatively, to prohibit the animals from being shipped abroad for their meat.
Let me clue you in: your noble desire is for the horseowner to buy a bundled good — euthansia and disposal. In managerial economics we point out that unbundling bundles that make them unhappy is a standard way for consumers to trip up clueless management. So you need to ask yourself if you’re comfortable with owners choosing the “starve and dispose” bundle when they find out it’s cheaper.
* We have a landfill in an old strip mine. You can dispose of what they won’t take at the curb there, and it’s fun to drive down into. It was about 5 years ago that I started seeing carcasses of horses dumped there. Now I know why.