In response to the recent endorsement by the Arabian Horse Association to reopen horse-slaughter facilities in the United States, a group of members and volunteers have formed an organization called “Arabian Horse Association Mission Supporters” or “AHAMS” the sole purpose of which is to gather petition signatures that call on the Board of Directors of the AHA to rescind the motion endorsing equine slaughter. The following open letter to the public outlines the issue and explains the AHAMS position:
At the May 2009 meeting of the Arabian Horse Association, the 29 member Board of Directors passed a motion to support the reopening of horse-slaughter facilities in the United States. This agenda item was positioned as time critical to prepare for the American Horse Council meeting. Whatever reason the American Horse Council might have had to require that Arabian Horse Association assume a position regarding US horse slaughter, AHA President, Lance Walters, should have simply stated that as a breed association Arabian Horse Association’s position is neutral. The American Horse Council itself is “neutral on slaughter because it has organizations and individual members both supporting and opposing a federal legislative ban.”
If the issue presented to the AHA board was a choice between the horrors of Mexican slaughter and the resumption of ‘humane slaughter’ in the US, then the discussion and resultant motion was beyond the scope of the organization’s Mission. It is questionable whether endorsing re-opening slaughterhouses in the US is truly in the best interest of horses. That is a personal issue for members to decide for themselves. To act in the best interest of the horse as a breed organization is to provide and promote activities involving the Arabian and Half Arabian, which in turn creates interest in, and increases the value and demand for the breed.
The overriding considerations for the Board of Directors concerning whether to take any stance on slaughter should be: Is this in line with our Mission statement to preserve and promote the Arabian horse? In what way does this action best serve the Arabian breed and the Association? If there is ever a question whether to choose a particular course of action, look back on the mission statement and see if the proposal is consistent with it. The Board’s position would have been clear had they chosen to follow AHA’s definition of purpose and primary objectives, the Mission statement.
Their decision to take this position is an ill-considered action that does nothing to inspire support and ongoing commitment, nor does it motivate those who are connected to the organization. Based on the directives of the Mission statement, it is not appropriate for the Arabian Horse Association to take any official position on horse slaughter. There is no benefit for the organization, it divides the membership, and projects a conflicting public image of the association. The negative response to this motion by the equine community, along with significant unflattering press, is damaging to the organization and does not serve to promote the Arabian horse.
AHA Mission Supporters, or AHAMS, is a grassroots member organization dedicated to opposing the AHA’s public endorsement of horse slaughter. AHA members hold varied and opposing views regarding horse slaughter and it is an individual’s right to debate the issue in political forums, but it is not within scope of the AHA Mission statement for the association to take an official position on this divisive issue. AHAM’s purpose is to call upon the AHA Board of Directors to rescind the motion endorsing the re-establishment of U.S. horse slaughter facilities thereby signifying that the Association maintains a ‘neutral’ position on horse slaughter.
As a breed association, it is the Arabian Horse Association’s directive to promote and preserve the Arabian horse. A slaughter endorsement by the Board of Directors is not in keeping with AHA’s Mission and is a betrayal of the very breed it is supposed to represent.