According to the Equine Welfare Alliance, last year 146,548 American horses were slaughtered in foreign abattoirs. A “Wild for Life Foundation” study (2002-2010) found that on average 19% of the slaughterbound are Thoroughbreds. Even if we were to use a lower percentage (the racing industry, of course, claims 19% is too high) – say, 13% – the number of Thoroughbreds who departed via slaughter last year practically matches the Jockey Club’s estimated “foal crop” (20,300).
And this is no aberration:
2013: 152,814 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 19,865; “foal crop” 21,275
2012: 176,223 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 22,908; “foal crop” 21,725
2011: 133,241 American horses slaughtered; 13% = 17,321; “foal crop” 22,610
Think of Racing as a revolving door – room must constantly be made for the incoming batch. And since the industry is clearly not expanding, at the very least it’s a one-to-one trade-off – each arrival comes with an exit. All of which leads to this likely conclusion: The great majority of spent Thoroughbreds are being slaughtered. (The same can probably be said for Quarterhorse and Standardbred racehorses.)