In 2017, the ASPCA re-examined our equine work with an aim to increase its impact. We studied available literature, examined grant data, conducted research, communicated with rescues, animal welfare groups and equine industry leaders—all to inform the development of programs with the greatest measurable impact for horses.
Our long-term outcome is clear and simple: good welfare for all equines. While a lofty goal, it was chosen specifically because it is the right result to aim for and it is unifying. Those involved with equines may differ on the way to best achieve the goal but agree on the goal itself.
For example, while many of the groups we partner with share our philosophy and objectives legislatively—be it our stance against horse slaughter or other legislative efforts—some of our partners differ. In almost all cases, those that sit on the other side of these legislative efforts do so not because they wish harm to equines. Of course, there are the bad actors, but the vast majority of people, especially those within the equine industry, are motivated with welfare in mind, even if we don’t agree with their conclusion. They too want good welfare for horses, and it is with this shared goal that we find many other important opportunities for partnership. We will continue to work just as hard as ever in our legislative efforts to ban horse slaughter and to end other forms of abuse. However, we believe we can find common ground with partners who share our goal of wanting good welfare for all equines. In fact, we feel it is our duty to strive to find that common ground and to work to expand it, for the sake of the horses we seek to help.
We recognize that these partnerships are quite novel for the field and our strategy is unique, but it is for that reason, among others, that these partners are vital. We do not believe we can solve all the challenges for horses alone—we must work together with stakeholders with whom we don’t have perfect alignment. We must harness all our energy and resources to bring about the larger paradigm shift needed to ensure that horses have good welfare in our society.