If anything, this whole pro and anti slaughter business has been a fascinating look into human nature. Sometimes fascinating is a good thing, like a double rainbow after a violent storm, and then there are the times fascinating is like a really horrific train wreck. I’m sorry to say, but lately it’s been all train wreck and some of our antis are have been on that train. None of us were thrilled to see the news come out that the slaughter-house in Iowa was poised to open its doors in a few short weeks. Not a single one of us on the anti side. However, the panic and histrionics that have erupted have been nothing short of astonishing. I did expect a lot of upset at the news earlier this week. That isn’t surprising. However, the defeatist attitude I’ve seen is a bit surprising.
The biggest thing that irritates me lately is when I see people say `Well, I’m anti, but I don’t see any other way’. Oh really? Has anybody considered the amount of dollars and man hours that it has and continues to take to stop this horse slaughter thing once and for all? All money and time that could be spent working towards the welfare of all horses. Anybody that owns a horse is responsible for caring for that animal adequately. That has never changed and it’s not going to change. However, we’ve had a problem enforcing existing neglect and abuse laws. When animal welfare people attempt to put stricter laws in place, the slaughterphiles work to strike them down. It doesn’t serve them to see a reduction in abuse and neglect. They would have you believe that abuse and neglect has become rampant since the cessation of domestic slaughter. That is a complete and utter falsehood (http://www.equinewelfarealliance.org/uploads/Study_of_Equine_Abuse.pdf). To say that lack of slaughter is the sole cause of neglect and abuse is to assume that every single person that neglects and abuses an animal only does so because they don’t have a friendly neighborhood slaughter-house. Slaughter has ALWAYS been an option and I suggest that if you’re the type of person that neglects and abuses animals, then you probably aren’t overly concerned with how long they may or may not have to stand in a trailer to get there. Besides, how many of the more vocal PSAs have we seen with skinny or even emaciated horses? Why didn’t they ship them before it got so bad? Dorothy Robertson, owner of the two mares pictured below, was busted for neglect and abuse BEFORE slaughter ended in this country as well as after. Nothing changed.
In another display of defeatism, I’ve seen some antis say `Well, at least they won’t have to ship so far to slaughter’. I guess that means that y’all think that all those horses maimed and injured during transport only get hurt during the last hundred miles of a long journey. Actually, most horses are injured during loading and in the initial stages of the journey when they are unsettled. The rowdy stud colt will likely have his eye poked out before or right after he gets on that trailer and most of the kicking and scrambling, aside from when a horse falls, occurs while they are jostling for position upon loading. They are still going to have horrible transport conditions and they are still going to be horribly injured whether they are shipping 100 miles or 500 miles. Think about it!
Maybe not so many antis, but I see a lot of remarks about the horse market recovering with slaughter coming back. I guess those 100 or so jobs are really going to boost the economy. Otherwise, I don’t see the prices changing a whole bunch immediately, especially given the fact that kill buyers have continued to haunt overnight sales without interruption during the past six years. What you absolutely will see more of is theft and deception. We’ve all seen those Craigslist Ads where a horse owner says that if they don’t get their price by such and such date, the animal will be shipped. Well, get ready to see a whole bunch more and get ready for more kill buyers trolling ads and lying their ass off to get free or dirt cheap horses. The good news is that the prices of quality horses have alreadyrecovered slightly along with the economy (http://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/79438/average-up-at-fasig-tipton-kentucky-july). I guess the next thing we can expect to hear them all whining about is the lack of backyard breeding means the poor 4H kids have no horses to ride. Although, I saw one of the PSA brainiacs suggest that 4H kids slaughter their horses at the end of the year too, so we all know how far removed from reality they actually are.
I guess the main thing I want to take my anti brothers and sisters to task for is giving up all together. It’s NOT over. The announcement of the August 5th opening of Responsible Transportation LLC, is not written in stone. They still have a rather hard fought battle in court on August 2nd and their victory dance may be premature as always. The EU deadline of July 31st is very real and that will shut the doors to the export of horse meat to the European Union. Period. There is no possible way they can be in compliance despite Olivier Kemseke’s efforts to get `excluded’ animals allowed into the food system. Also, both the House and Senate committees have voted to defund inspections for horse slaughter (http://animallawcoalition.com/will-congress-reinstate-the-defunding-of-horse-inspections/), as well as the USDA has renewed their request for a ban. This is in addition to introduction of the SAFE Act (https://www.popvox.com/bills/us/113/s541). All of these things need all the support we can give them. I don’t know about you, but I think those are some fairly big hurdles in the way of them getting the plants open. However, that isn’t to say that Slaughterhouse Sue and her minions don’t have tricks up their own voluminous sleeves. With the way things have shaken out, it would appear that Iowa was always the `target’ for their flagship slaughter operation. After all, Iowa is home to Crazyass Steve King, who basically hates all things animal, female or living for that matter. You can read all about his hatefulness right here: (http://shedrowconfessions.wordpress.com/2012/08/01/slaughterhouse-sue-finds-her-soulmate/). Iowa also has fairly strict Ag Gag laws so that any monitoring or attempt to expose abuse and mishandling in that slaughter plant will be difficult. I guess even though the slaughterphiles love to throw Temple Grandin’s name around, they won’t be acting on her recommendation to have third-party video monitoring of the slaughter process to ensure compliance with humane standards. Dead horses don’t talk anyhow; especially not the ones that have been butchered.
I’m sorry for bitching at `my own’ today. I’m also sorry I sound like a broken record, but things are very serious. There isn’t a lot of point spending hours and hours arguing online with die-hard PSAs. They aren’t going to change their minds. What you can do is educate those people that haven’t ever considered horse slaughter or what it means. Educate them with the truth and realities of horse slaughter. How about writing a letter to your local paper? More importantly, continue to call your state reps and the president’s office. Here is a link to the ASPCA’s page where you just have to plug in your zip code to get your emails to the right people: (http://stage.capwiz.com/aspca/issues/alert/?alertid=62752306&type=CO) Even if you’ve done it before, do it again. Make your voice heard and make it count. Today is not the 5th of August and neither is tomorrow. Hell, it’s not even next week. The only thing that has changed is there is an identified date that we have all known was coming. Guess what? It’s not over yet.