Our troubled economy has a trickle-down effect onto animals. Horse owners who struggle financially often find it difficult to adequately care for their high-maintenance animals. The result is a record-high number of horses who suffer from neglect or starvation. Some are even being sent to slaughter. But horse breeders can help stem the tide of suffering. 

By reducing the number of surplus horses they breed, rejecting slaughter in their business model and taking responsibility for ensuring a humane life for each horse they sell, breeders can dramatically reduce the number of horses who are neglected, starved or sent to slaughter.

The breeding-slaughter connection

The continued availability of horse slaughter has allowed—even encouraged—some horse breeders to behave irresponsibly. They produce foals for whom there is no clear demand or lifelong plan and they incorporate the possibility of slaughter into their business model to cull their herd and dispose of surplus animals. Responsible breeders save horses from slaughter by not only lowering the number of surplus animals, but also by properly training each horse for a long and successful life with their owner.

Be a responsible breeder.

If you breed horses, please help reduce the number of horses sent to slaughter by joining the thousand-plus breeders who have taken the responsible breeders pledge.

Horse at Duchess Sanctuary

View the Complete List of Responsible Horse Breeders [PDF]

The Responsible Horse Breeders Council

In recognition of the key role breeders play in reducing horse suffering, the Humane Society of the United States has organized the Responsible Horse Breeders Council. The council:

  • Educates members of the public, as well as current and potential horse breeders, about responsible horse breeding and efforts to reduce the number of U.S. horses sent to slaughter.
  • Develops and advocates for public policy positions and educational initiatives to discourage overbreeding.
  • Informs horse owners about the costs and responsibilities of horse ownership.
  • Supports efforts to retrain and rehome at-risk horses.

Have you used the Responsible Breeders List to buy a horse or to contact a breeder to help safeguard your horse from slaughter? Share your story.

For the individual: Responsible horse ownership

Horse owners also play a key role in reducing suffering. If you're in the market for a horse, learn how to responsibly bring one into the family. If you have a horse for whom you can no longer care, find a humane way to relinquish them.

Read Our Complete Guide to Horse Care [PDF]