People have a great many misconceptions about slaughter. Most of us do not give it a second thought, nor is it a subject we want to think about. I’m certainly with you on that.
What then creates such an outcry about horse slaughter? People consume meat, and great quantities of meat, on a daily basis, hunt and fish and raise animals for slaughter. Well, how many people raise horses for slaughter? It is not a traditionally used meat animal. We race them, show them, take care of them, and form close bonds with them. If you are as nutty about horses as I am, then you could never eat one any more than you could eat your dog or cat. These animals have become companions. They do our bidding and we groom, feed, care for and love them. Not many of us associate in this fashion with our beef cattle, dairy cows or pigs.
But what if we did eat horses? Are we that desperate for meat in this country that we have to eat horsemeat? A worse thought is that we kill our horses and send the meat to other countries. We do a whole lot for other countries already. Now our horses too? And just how much gratitude will we get for a great horse steak in France or Belgium?
Obviously, heaps of money are made in the butchering of horses. Money speaks. Greed wins – always – doesn’t it? And every time the losers are those unable to fight back whether they’re fellow humans or animals.
I’ve gathered up several FAQ’s that have been posted by animal protective groups discussing slaughter and incorrect information. While it hurts me dreadfully to discuss these issues, I have kept descriptions minimal. It is a nasty business nonetheless. I invite my readers to seriously consider whether or not they agree to kill horses on this grand scale and make them meat animals for the world and even us? Do we have a meat shortage in our country? Besides, the law was passed in 2005 – should we turn it upside down again? Is this going to go the way of Wild Horse Annie’s long-fought law to grant space for America’s wild horses and stop the killing way back when?
The powers-to-be in Washington and elsewhere would have us believe:
Horses headed to slaughter are old and crippled, sick or injured, are not ridable and are castoffs. Most are going to die soon anyhow.
Most of the slaughter-bound horses are healthy and fit. There are old and sick horses too. It’s a mix but the vast majority of horses are just fine. In actuality, killers purchase sick and old or skinny animals to render them as some sort of by-product. Vibrant horses, foals, yearlings, pregnant mares, race horses that were not fast enough, pleasure horses, draft horses, ponies – the shocking reality is that horses singled out to be killed were in good weight, in good health and the killers simply have more money to spend.
Don’t we believe that an old animal that has served us well for many years deserves some dignity at the last of his days? Some of us go through agony to make a life or death decision about our pets. I believe the horse deserves a humane and gentle death as well, not the auction frenzy, herding, fear/flight panic, long inhumane ride and smells and blood and horrors. This is my moral view as it concerns the horse as a partner animal.
There is a health concern as well. Horses are vaccinated, dewormed, supplemented and medicated. The drugs and medications used on horses are not safe to use for human consumption.
There will be an increase in horse cruelty and abandonment if slaughtering is banned.
Lets take a look at California since 1998 when it banned horse slaughter. Statistics confirm that there has not been an increase in abuse and abandonment. Horse theft actually decreased. The horse killers purchase horses on the hoof for meat. They don’t look at conformation, consider the breed, or whether the horse is old or feeble. They do look to see if it’s a draft horse or has a good price, whatever. Looks, color, a little girl owned it? – the killer dealers do not care. If the owner made the mistake of bringing the horse, and it presents a good buy, it’s a horse that’s lost.
Horse slaughtering methods are not cruel or abusive.
And we all believe in fairytales. Horses can and do put up resistance. They struggle; they want to flee; they smell blood; they experience pain, terror. I cannot and will not describe the loathsome methods used to butcher any animals let alone horses but suffice it to say, if there exists a hell on earth, it’s probably in the slaughter house.
What can I do to help?
Help horse rescue organizations with funding to rescue horses from owners that have financial difficulties, from slaughter, to find other homes. Any type of donation is welcomed. By that I mean money, feed or hay, tack, equipment, supplies, a vehicle and even manual labor, training, grooming and care. Consider buying a rescue horse. Sponsor a rescue horse. Support a horse at a retirement farm. Contribute to the upkeep of a horse.
Join the fight to save horses from callous legislators who claim that killing is the way to help keep horse numbers in check or those that believe horse meat sent to other countries is good for the economy. Or, good grief, those that want to put horse meat into the grocery stores.
Raise awareness. The general population is not aware that this problem exists for our American horses. We need to get more people involved and raise more interest.
Turning away and letting others work the problem does not ever help. Your effort and your neighbor’s help and your club’s involvement will accomplish a lot.
At the very least, help spread the word!