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Archive for June, 2012

It seems strange to have to ask anybody reading this if they like horses.  It’s a blog all about horses in one way or another.  However, I know some of my most avid readers are PSAs and I really do wonder if they like horses all that much.  No, I’m not talking about how horses taste, I’m talking about the animal.  When you’re driving and you see a horse in a field do you slow down a little just to look?  Have you watched countless crappy movies and TV shows just because they were about horses?  How about vacations?  Do you even remember what one is, and if you do, does it tend to revolve around horses in one way or another?   I’m certainly not suggesting that you have to run around like a prepubescent horse crazy girl in order to like horses.  I’m just wondering if a lot of the more vocal PSA crowd have any appreciation at all for them.

The main reason I wonder is that some people are fighting so hard and so dirty to see that slaughter-house re-open.  Sure, they’ll tell you it’s all about the welfare of the horse, but I don’t really believe that.  I think it’s really more about winning for some.  Right now there is some obscure poll being posted around about whether or not people want that slaughter-house in Rockville to open.  It would seem the PSAs are very invested in it as I’ve seen them rallying people to go and vote and then gleefully reporting back as their numbers rise.  I’ve even seen some of them tell people to clear their cache on their computers so they can keep on voting.  Why?  What does that stupid little poll matter beyond waving it around and saying you won?  It won’t change legislation and it’s not going to have any influence on whether or not that plant opens.  It just gives them something to run back to their bat caves with and crow about.  It seems to escape them that in an actual election or real poll, they will only have one vote each.  Oh well, let them have their fun.  Simple pleasures for simple people…

On a more serious front is the issue with horse rescues.  I’ve seen a number of PSAs that claim to either run a rescue or at least be into rescue, but I’ve seen a great number actually voice contempt for rescues.  They whine that people give sanctuary to old horses that can never be anything other than pasture puffs, they moan about rescues asking for donations to sponsor a horse they deem unworthy.  Guess what?  They are ASKING for donations.  They aren’t holding a gun to anybody’s head and making them give them money.  I have been known to throw coins in a cup for a busker of my own free will.  Why can’t I give money to a rescue if I choose?  It’s MY money.  I earned it and I’ll spend it however I want.  I suppose spending it on beer and manicures is more acceptable to some people.  Some PSAs get so worked up over rescues asking for donations that I have actually seen them attempt to interfere with them to varying degrees.   How is that helping any horse? If you don’t like it, don’t donate and move on.

Some PSAs are so blinded by their need to `win’ this issue, that they will throw support behind anything as long as it is contrary to what the anti-slaughter side believes.  One of the more disgusting and strange examples was the UH’s decision to support Nancy Skakel.  This is a woman that has a long history of neglecting her horses and needing intervention.  She has been indiscriminately breeding her horses without any real income to be able to sustain them.  She has judgements and defaulted payments dating back to 2002 if you look her up.  Yet, despite her financial issues and inability to properly care for her animals, she continues to breed.  So, what does the brain trust of the UH decide to do?  They blame the rescues trying to get her skinny horses to safety.  Now the rescues are STEALING her horses even though she was charged with animal cruelty in the FIRST DEGREE,  the UH decide to ignore all that and use this to push their agenda saying it was about their `rights’ as owners.  They even set up a fund where people could donate to help poor Nancy keep on abusing and neglecting her horses and organized a work party.  So, rescues are bad, but it’s perfectly fine to beg for money and labor to assist somebody who has been charged with cruelty and several other minor violations to do with her lack of care.  According to the PSAs her neighbors should be ashamed that they didn’t go over there and enable her further. Seriously PSAs, is this the best you can do for a poster child?

From the majority of things I read on the PSA side it really appears that they have no interest in working out an alternative to slaughter.  They won’t listen or work towards a solution.  Maybe it’s because that would mean that they shouldn’t just breed anything and everything.  Maybe it means that they won’t be able to cash in on the horse meat market.   I just think that if you liked horses even a little bit, and that is liking the animal and not what they can do for you, you would likely put your energies into making things better for them and not fighting so hard to bring back a solution that most agree is not exactly ideal.  If you really had any compassion for horses you would not think that even `minimal’ suffering was ever good enough.  So many PSAs will tell you that they would never send their own horses to slaughter.  That alone tells me that they are hypocrites.  If it will be as painless and non-traumatizing as they claim, why wouldn’t they save money and do it that way? Maybe because they just don’t care about horses all that much.

I will leave this quote from John K. Griggs DVM

“From the time a horse is picked up by the killer buyer he is meat on the hoof, and that is the way he is treated. In a journey which can take days, or occasionally weeks, he is jammed into trucks, often where he cannot even stand, and left to fend for himself among a load of other terrified horses. Some of these horses actually have fractures and are in great pain. USDA regulations state that they can go 28 hours without food and water (bad enough) and even this is unenforceable. When the horse reaches the slaughterhouse, death is by captive bolt, and if anyone thinks this always works the first time, we have a film they should see. As a veterinarian I realize the inevitability of euthanasia in certain cases, but to equate the slaughter process with humane euthanasia is the height of hypocrisy.”

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One of the things about the slaughter wars that has bothered me the most is the assertion that the AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association) was in support of horse slaughter.  It was disturbing to me because I could not understand how an association of people who presumably want to help animals, could underwrite something that has proven to cause suffering.  So, as usual, I got to digging around a bit.  Instead of things becoming clear for me, they became very muddy indeed.  It would seem that the AVMA may be more about the money than the animals.  At any rate their support of slaughter is weak at best.

According to their website, the AVMA they aren’t as 100% pro-slaughter as Slaughterhouse Sue and Captain Douchebag would have us believe.  Here is a direct quote off their FAQ as to their stance on slaughter:

“Until suitable short- and long-term solutions to address the welfare issues associated with unwanted horses are in place, we believe that none of the options for dealing with unwanted horses – including slaughter – should be eliminated. We would prefer to see horse slaughter cease in the U.S. when and if there are NO MORE unwanted horses to justify its continued existence, but that’s not realistic at this time.”

So, they are not in support of the ban on it, but they have placed some heavy qualifiers on things as you will see if you go through their FAQ page that I have linked.  They admit that basically the same number of horses have been sent to slaughter after the ban as were being slaughtered before. If you follow that logic, slaughter did not eliminate or even lessen the problem of unwanted horses and little has changed since the ban.  They also go on to say that enforcing abuse and neglect laws can be difficult.  If that is the case, how on earth do they propose that they will be able to monitor and enforce humane practices in slaughter houses when they weren’t able to accomplish this before? They have a lot of information and opinions on their site and it would probably bore the hell out of people to rehash it all here, so I’m going to leave a link to their FAQ.

http://www.avma.org/issues/animal_welfare/unwanted_horses_faq.asp

So what about this AVMA that won’t support a ban on slaughter and who are they?  It turns out that they primarily are made up of vets that treat companion animals.  On their own website, this blurb can be found:

In addition to caring for the nation’s more than 70 million dogs, 80 million cats, 11 million birds, 7 million pet horses, and millions of other companion animals, veterinarians serve in medical research, prevention of bio- and agroterrorism, and food safety and contribute greatly to scientific breakthroughs throughout the world.

Notice the wording of `PET’ horses.  Not cattle, not hogs, not livestock, but PET horses.  Even they admit that the classification of horses as pets or livestock is a grey area.  It should be noted that Dr. Ron DeHaven , the executive vice president was in charge of puppy mill inspections for the USDA during a time that citations were very rarely issued.  The AVMA does not have a great track record of backing up their stances it would seem.  Even with monitoring the soring of Tennessee Walking Horses, of which they are very much opposed,  they have been relatively ineffectual at ending this practice stating `budget constraints’.  I don’t know about you, but I can foresee them saying `budget constraints’ if slaughter houses reopen and it comes out that nothing has changed.

Thankfully, we have Veterinarians for Equine Welfare.  They have elected to take an anti-slaughter stance and join in the fray on behalf of the horses.  Their website www.vetsforequinewelfare.org has quite a bit of information on it.  Their `about’ page states:

“Veterinarians for Equine Welfare (VEW) was created by a group of veterinarians* from all disciplines who are concerned about misinformation being transmitted to the public regarding the national debate on horse slaughter.  We believe that our profession’s integrity is being undermined by the hard line stance of a few misinformed individuals whose opinions have been swayed by unfounded logistical concerns as opposed to what should be a primary concern for animal welfare.  Veterinarians should put animal welfare at the top of their priorities, not relegate it to an also-ran concern.”

I may be biased, but this sounds more along the lines of the stance I would expect any vet to take.  This is a relatively new organization born out of a genuine concern for the welfare of all horses.  They assert that equating slaughter with humane euthanasia is unethical and they do have video clips of both on their site.  It is the united opinion of VEW that horse slaughter is inhumane, and that it is an unacceptable way to end a horse’s life under any circumstance  If you still don’t believe that, I suggest you do watch some of their short video clips and decide for yourself how easy it is to accurately place a captive bolt on a frightened horse.

While the FAQ on the AVMA speaks in generalities and doesn’t really come right down to the ugly realities, the VEW’s white paper goes into detail on why slaughter is inhumane, including the use of the captive bolt. According to the AVMA’s own guidelines, the head of the animal to which the captive bolt is being applied must be restrained[2] or still and a highly skilled individual. In the slaughterhouse none of these best case scenarios are in place: the horse is most likely panicked, its head is unrestrained, and the person administering the captive bolt is a low-paid worker who is expected to move horses through the kill line at high speed. Herein lays the controversy surrounding the use of the captive bolt in horse slaughter.”  Neither UH or AVMA have bothered to explain to anybody how they plan to address these issues.  They just say that they will.  Going by how transport for slaughter is being monitored, I’m not buying it.

If you are really interested in reading another viewpoint besides the one endorsed by United Horsemen and Slaughterhouse Sue, please take the time to read the VEW White Paper http://www.vetsforequinewelfare.org/white_paper.php

So, who are you going to believe?  VEW or AVMA?  My guess is that people will choose whichever one backs up their own agenda as that is human nature.  I’ve seen some people say they have become `pro’ because they see no other option to address all the neglected, unwanted and unsuitable horses.  They choose to believe that promises will be fulfilled and that slaughter will somehow become humane.  I would like those people near the fence to read very carefully what is being promised.  Nobody has promised that there will be no suffering.  They said there will be MINIMAL suffering.  What does that even mean?  Is that like being minimally pregnant?  For me, any amount of suffering is not acceptable.  We have laws in place for cruelty to animals and yet, by opening slaughter houses again, we’re going to make cruelty ok under some circumstances.  How is that ok?

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Conspiracy Theories

Who doesn’t like a good conspiracy theory?  I know I do for amusement purposes.  I tend to give them about as much weight as I would a headline from The National Enquirer, so it always astounds me to learn that some people really believe them.  Some even believe them passionately.  Such is the new world order in the slaughter wars; conspiracy theories abound.  They are especially mind boggling when they come from the PSA side of things.  Two of the trademarks of being a PSA is to leap to conclusions and make sweeping generalizations.  Shout out your misguided idea as fact and attempt to hammer any opposing views into submission by getting all your internet buddies to chime in.  Rinse, repeat as often as necessary.

A week or so ago, I began to see people mentioning some video going around.  Word was that it originated from the anti-slaughter side of things and featured a horse being hit with a captive bolt, multiple times.  Apparently it was hit 26 times.  I did NOT click on a link for it.  I have done my research into horse slaughter and seen enough slaughterhouse footage.  I had no desire to watch another one be tortured to death.  I find things like that gut wrenching, no matter if it is driving home a point for the anti-slaughter movement.  So, as disturbing as this video reportedly was, I also began to hear some conspiracy theories around it.  Mainly that the video was staged to support the anti-slaughter side of things.

“I would think that it would have to be staged. From what research I have done, 26x seems extremely excessive and I can’t imagine a processing plant wasting that much time on an animal-I’m sure they would have gone to plan B long before that.”

At 2:19 the “bolter” looks directly at the “undercover” camera”

What bothers me more than anything else is the knowledge – by someone’s admission years ago – that they would provide proof to defend their stance – even if it meant hurting a horse to get that proof. That’s what really really bothers me about all this hoo-hah by EZs and ARs: for them, the end justifies the means. “

 

Oy Vey!  Where do I even begin with this?  PSAs accuse anybody that is anti-slaughter as being an `emotional zealot’.  They say we anthropomorphize our horses and live in a perfect make-believe world where they fart glitter or something.  So where in all that do you suppose any of us would ever be able to do something like that?  To even suggest something like that is pure projection on their part.  To suggest something so entirely bizarre means that is something YOU would consider.  To suggest the motive is about winning, says more about the you than it does the ones you accuse.  You leap to these conclusions because YOU are wired like that.  Can’t we all just agree that what happened on that video is unacceptable on any level and no matter what your stance is, that we should make sure that this never happens to a living creature? Probably not.  PSAs have trouble owning their evil at the best of times.

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You have been living in a bubble if you haven’t heard about the wildfires devastating Colorado right now.  Thousands of humans and animals have lost their homes and it’s not over yet.  One of the pictures being posted around the net is of loose horses on the road with the fire glowing in the sky behind them.  Nobody denies this is tragic and horrific, but leave it to the PSAs to keep things classy in the face of tragedy.  I’ve actually seen them posting that they we should all pray that all horses are returned to their RIGHTFUL owners and that fraudulent rescues don’t use this tragedy for financial gain.   I’m currently on the fence as to whether this statement is profoundly ignorant or pure evil.  What I’m not on the fence about is that it displays an extreme lack of class to use something so tragic to push your agenda. What kind of petty mindset even allows a person to `go there’?  Set down your sabres and help these people and animals.  If you can’t go help, send up some prayers for them, good vibes or whatever your particular beliefs are.  I guarantee that nobody in the midst of this tragedy is giving a single thought to the slaughter issue right now.

Another common conspiracy theory I have seen batted about lately is that rescues are stealing all the horses from poor little 4-H kids.  Yup, those evil, deep pocketed rescues are lurking at every horse sale just so they can buy a good mount out from under your kid.  Ridiculous!  I have sat at many sales that rescue people were present at.  Generally, they know who the kill buyers are and will watch what they are bidding on.  They tend to jump in only  if there is no live bid other than the KB.  They don’t usually have deep pockets and they actually don’t want to bring every last horse home.  They all have different criteria of what horse or horses they will prioritize, but they aren’t there to steal a good horse from a 4-H kid.  The odd one may take one out from under you if you are known to be an asshat that consorts with KBs.  I also know how heartbreaking it is for them that they can’t save every last one from the KB.  Cue shrieking and testimonies about all the times rescues have done just this and how it’s not `rescue’ if they buy the horse.  That is a whole other subject that will be addressed here fairly soon.

These are just a few conspiracy theories I have seen floating around lately.  If I could give one piece of advice to the PSAs and have them listen, it would be that most of us on the anti-slaughter side of things don’t view this as all about them.  For most of us, it’s about the horses and their welfare.  Nothing more.  The PSA contingent is like a swarm of fruit flies.  Very annoying, but certainly not driving our actions beyond when we actually are forced to deal with them to get legislation passed and look out for the welfare of every horse, not just the chosen few as they would have us do. I’m sorry that our belief that there are better options than slaughter threaten them so much………..Ok, maybe not…..

 

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…..for some light housekeeping duties.  Comments will remain unmoderated and free speech is still welcomed.  From ALL sides.  What is not welcome is post bombing and spamming.  As a result I’m having to give a time-out for a few days to our buddy daphne.  Perhaps she will learn a little self-control and that this blog is not her personal playground.  I don’t really care if she chooses to return or not as I know her face will continue to remain pressed up against our window….

 

 

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A month or so before Christmas, I received a letter in the mail regarding one of my horses.  It asked if I would like to list him in the breed stallion directory.  Apparently, there had been some inquiries about him.  Imagine my surprise considering I purchased him as a gelding and other than getting his papers transferred and making sure my information was correct on there, I never looked all that closely at them. I’ve had this horse for quite a while.  It would seem that his original owner forgot to update his papers when she gelded him.  He never went through any testing to be approved as a stallion, so I assume he was gelded young.  I also don’t follow the bloodlines of his specific breed, so I wasn’t aware that he is considered very well-bred.  I know I wouldn’t breed to him.  It isn’t because he is badly put together,he’s not.  He’s actually a pretty nice example of his breed standard.  I wouldn’t breed to him because he isn’t exceptional nor has he done much to `prove’ himself worthy of anything other than being my toy.  I do know he had some accomplishments under his belt prior to the second owner getting him and that’s about it.  It doesn’t make him worth any more or less to me that somebody thought he was well-bred enough to inquire about breeding to him.  I love him just the same. I do think the person that inquired needs to give their head a shake though.  They had never even SEEN my horse.  This brings me back to the backyard breeding problem.

Almost without exception, I hear backyard breeders telling me how well-bred their horses are.  They will start spewing off names of former greats and hall of fame horses.  They will puff out their chests and tell you the horse has Easy Jet, Dash for Cash, Doc Bar,Seattle Slew etc. in their pedigree.  They become indignant and angry when you fail to show the appropriate amount of enthusiasm for this.  In these cases, we are talking about horses born more than 30 yrs ago.  Most of them have been dead for more than 20 years.  Who cares if they are on the pedigree if they are more than two or three generations back?  Even then, who cares if the generations in between haven’t accomplished anything?  EVERY stallion, no matter how prolific, has thrown a few substandard foals.  Every single one.  Being the son of or the son of a son of a world beater DOES not mean well-bred.  Even my own horse has Northern Dancer on his papers.  He isn’t even a Thoroughbred and if you could see his 17.2H bulky self, you would never believe it if it wasn’t right there on his papers several generations back.  It means absolutely nothing that far removed.  He probably can’t outrun a fat man going down hill nor would any of his babies have been able to had he been left intact.

Believe it or not,  I am considered to be a complete pedigree geek by people who know me when it comes to Thoroughbreds.  I consider The Blood Horse Stallion Register light reading material and I have spent uncountable hours looking at walking videos and past performance figures.  Of course I realize all breeds are different, but basic and sound breeding principles are the same.  Without a doubt, the most important part of a pedigree is the bottom side or dam side of the pedigree.  If you start off with a substandard mare, you have exactly nothing as far as value, unless the foal can grow up to prove their own value.  If you are breeding to sell, and most TB breeders are, you better have a good `page’ on the horse or you will end up broke in a hurry.  This means there better be black type within the first two generations, preferably all generations, and the sire better be fashionable.  All this will mean nothing if the baby doesn’t look the part, so you best be making sure you are breeding for conformation as well.  A classic example of this is this year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner, I’ll Have Another.  There is a reason he didn’t sell for much money as a yearling and as a two year old.  While he had the `blood’ on the bottom side of his pedigree, there wasn’t much in the way of black type close up and his sire is considered cheap by industry standards.  I’ll Have Another himself, is an unremarkable specimen and very much on the small side.  As a result, he is now headed to Japan to begin his career as a sire because there just wasn’t anybody in Kentucky that felt he was worth as much money or willing to support him with quality mares as the Japanese were.

Even when all the boxes are checked and you think you are breeding the next superstar, things can go wrong.  It happens to everybody as some time or another.  The very best horse in the world, with a great pedigree may turn out to not throw much.  There was a horse called Gentlemen, that was a prime example.  He was a grandson of Nureyev, beautiful, and went on to win over 3.5 million dollars racking up several Grade I scores along the way.  I’ve seen him in person several times.  He has also been a colossal flop as a sire.  This is despite having the very best mares on the very best crosses to stand to.  For whatever ever reason, he has never been able to transfer his brilliance to the breeding shed. He is still standing at stud, but there probably isn’t a commercial breeder that will touch him, and they shouldn’t.  His babies don’t fetch in the sales ring and they don’t perform on the track.

I can already hear the shrieking from the PSA Backyard Contingent that this means nothing and I don’t know Quarter Horses.  Guess what?  I do know a little about QHs although I’m no longer involved with breeding them.  I worked with running QHs way back when and still have friends and family that are heavily involved with both racing and showing.  Sound breeding principles are the same.  Breed the best to the best and hope for the best.  That means that even if you love your badly put together, done nothing,  mare in the back 40, you have NO business breeding her unless you plan on hanging onto that baby for life.  You especially have no business breeding her or your nickel bred stud if you are pro-slaughter because, according to you, there are all these unwanted horses and good, papered babies are going to kill buyers for $15.  Breeding is very much `what have you done for me lately’ and nobody cares who your horse traces back to if there is nothing of note in the first few generations.  Period.

I could devote an entire blog to the ins and outs of breeding horses.  I’ve barely touched on important things like conformation, form to function, etc. etc., but even though there are many books written on the subject, it’s one of those lifelong learning things.  The bottom line is that if you are a PSA and you truly believe that there is a glut of unwanted horses and the market is gone, then you are part of the problem if you are a backyard breeder.  Sadly, it takes a modicum of self-awareness to realize that you are a backyard breeder and we all know that PSAs are pitifully deficient in that area.

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As we all know, Naughty Tobiano aka Mendy is one of the louder blog voices for the aspiring horse eater faction.  Despite dodgy research and questionable logic, she continues to post up blogs featuring all the reasons we should give her and her PSA buddies our blessings to torture and eat horses.  Facts be damned, she will tirelessly search the internet looking for some obscure study to twist around in order to back up her lunacy and then post it all up as fact.  One of the things NT likes to accuse Anti slaughter people of is anthropomorphism, which is where one assigns human characteristics to other animals, living things etc. etc.

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My problem with the concept of anthropomorphism is that it is not clear what traits are or should be exclusively human. I think for most purposes, the human trait in question, as it pertains to horses is emotions.  Dr. Temple Grandin feels that most animals do have simple emotions such as fear, rage, discovery, confusion, gain, loss, happiness and depression.  She does not think that animals are capable of complex emotions such as shame, guilt, embarrassment, greed, respect and contempt.  Clearly, Dr. Grandin has never met my dog.  Seriously, I have to disagree with some of that.  I do believe animals are capable of many of these complex emotions.  I’ve read Dr. Grandin’s books, I’ve attended a lecture of hers.  She’s quite brilliant at many things.  However, I think her understanding of emotion is hampered by her own autism in some cases.  Before you start hollering that I am anti-disability, please understand that on the autism spectrum most often times, emotions are not processed the same as other people.  The one base emotion that is almost always lacking is empathy.  This is also an emotion that animals are not capable of.  It’s too abstract.  I’m not sure that horses feel love like we do, but rather develop a trust and dependency whether that is on a favorite pasture buddy or a person.  I do know that horses are very `in the moment’ with any of their feelings.  They don’t spend a lot of time worrying about tomorrow or rehashing what happened yesterday, yet they will have a long memory when it comes to self preservation.

One of my current horses was severely abused in a former home.  Despite the fact I never carry a crop or wear spurs, he remains traumatized by the mere sight or sound of a whip snapping.  It can be quite interesting riding in the arena with somebody else using a crop.  He doesn’t associate me with a whip or any other kind of pain or trauma, so he rides and handles beautifully for me.  He always comes when he’s called and has never so much as lifted a foot in my direction.  With anybody else, he is nervous and reactive.  Does that mean he loves me more than anybody else?  Probably not, although it would be nice to think that.  What I really think is that his self preservation instinct has allowed him to trust me and feel safe with me.  Time and consistency has taught him that I am not a threat to him.  Because he doesn’t have to `worry’ about harm with me, he can focus on what I ask him and be a wonderful partner. It took a very long time to get there with him.  I imagine had I tried to force the issue with him, he would have ended up one of those `bad’ or `unsuitable’ horses that need to go to slaughter.  In fact, he was labelled that way when I bought him and was actually one day away from getting on a truck bound for a slaughter house in Canada.  Six years later and many happy rides, I still shudder to think what might have been for him.  For me, he is the face of slaughter.

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Now, getting back to our horse eating buddy, Naughty Tobiano.  She likes to accuse us all of riding glitter farting unicorns and shitting rainbows only because we feel real empathy for the plight of horses that are shipped to slaughter.  She makes this argument all about eating the meat, when in fact for me and most people I talk to, our problem with slaughter is the suffering that  horses have to go through for it.  The horse does not care what is done with it’s remains, they do care a whole bunch about pain and suffering though.  NT has ridiculed us in her blog for thinking horses think like humans.  I’ve never said that they do, nor have I seen other anti-slaughter people do that, but if she says it, it must be true.  So, tell me what this ridiculous prose that she uses on her `about me’ page on her blog is, if not anthropomorphism?

“He was a bad horse.  He bit.  He kicked.  He struck.   He trotted to a rhythm in his head that only he could hear. And, he loved her dearly, fiercely.  He once galloped into a field where she was trying to get her mare with another horse kicking and acting like an ass.  He galloped in, protecting her from a kick, taking a full mule style kick to his side and then driving the other horse to the ground in a fashion the likes of which I have never seen.  He would challenge her every day but you better run if you went after her.  This horse, the real naughty tobiano, loved his owner with all his heart and soul.  As she loved him.  It didn’t matter how bad he was (and she never made excused for him or didn’t discipline—but she did accept this “bad” attitude as who he was), she never gave up on this horse.  Three years before his death, a change began to come over the NT.  He was mellowing and it was a joy to watch him nicker in delight upon seeing his owner.  It was shocking to watch her gallop him through a field with nothing on—no halter, no bridle, no reins.  Magic that only a few witnessed and was never paraded around on youtube or training videos.  No advertising from that planet so many of today’s horsemen find themselves from—you know the one:  “Planet Look At ME!!”  I wanted the NT trip and fall in a field once with her on his back.  He ripped his shoulder making sure he did not land on her.  And, when she did not get up, he charged those of us wanting to help her and laid down gingerly next to her.  Had I not witnessed it, I would not have believed it.

If people and horses can be soulmates—-which I think there is that possibility—-the NT and his owner were as close to it as possible.  The NT’s farrier once said, “I have heard tales of the one owner horse and having been thrown by the NT 15 times, he is one of them.  Pray he dies before she does.”

She retired her use of his name when he died and I watched her nearly die from the loss.  I hope she will share a dream that she had that pulled her out of the dark place she was going—it is inspiring and reflects that even in death, he continued to be a naughty horse.  For it’s his spirit that lives in his former owner and his spirit that drives the actions of this blog now.”

Yes dear readers, this is hypocrisy at its finest.   If this was to be believed, this horse was the Black Stallion, Trigger, and Mr. Ed all rolled into one.  Talk about gilding the lily!  If you ask me, this is just one great big load of unicorn crap!

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“The answer is simply, yes. Humane and regulated horse slaughter is, in fact, the only solution that protects the well being of horses while preserving owner rights, and stabilizes the industry. It is the only moral and ethical way to deal with excess horses that nobody wants, and who otherwise get turned out to fend for themselves in harsh deserts, kept in the pasture or corral until they starve, or killed and left to rot in a ditch at a total loss and waste to everyone, not to mention a significant environmental problem.” ~Slaughterhouse Sue

As we all know, Slaughterhouse Sue considers herself to be a poet and creative writer.  I guess this fact is lost on her blind followers.  The above quote paints quite a picture, wouldn’t you agree?  One of the hallmarks of being a PSA is sweeping generalizations and speaking in absolutes.  So, if we are to take her statement at face value, truckloads of horses are being turned loose, there is pastures upon pastures of starving animals and our ditches are filled with decomposing horses.  She’s all concerned about the environment even though she doesn’t give a rat’s ass about what her proposed slaughter plant is going to do to an entire community, environmentally or economically.  Very convenient!

The fact is that yes, some people do turn their horses loose to fend for themselves.  It’s kinda how we ended up with wild horses in the first place if you want to go back in time far enough.  Personally, I don’t think it’s a great option or humane to do to a domesticated horse, but it does happen.  I know a guy in Canada that used to go catch `wildies’ every few years (you had to have a permit to do this).  He used them on his pack string once they were broke and swore by them as he said they were tough and sure footed.  I remember one year he came home with a nice stout bay mare.  When he got her shed out, she had a brand on her and turned out was very well broke.  How did she get there?  Nobody will ever know.  She may have been turned loose, or more likely, she got taken by a stallion from a back country rider.  I haven’t seen any hard numbers, but I would guess that the number of domesticated horses that end up turned loose to fend for themselves is less than 2% .  I will also go out on a limb and say that number won’t change with slaughter. The kind of people that think this is a good option for a horse, likely will still think it’s a good option, however misguided that may be.

I grew up in ranching country.  I remember there was a ranch in the hills west of us that you had to go by when we were moving our cattle to their summer pastures.  That hill was always called `Hungry Horse Hill’ due to this ranch having a field full of starving horses.  There were often dead ones in amongst the live ones and aside from the odd moldy bale of hay, those poor horses never had much to eat.  It was disgusting and eventually the guy either went broke or was run out of the area.  The point being, is that this was in the 70’s.  Slaughter was alive and well, yet this man didn’t see that as an option.  He thought his horses were valuable and continued to breed them and starve them.  Even the Humane Society could do very little as he did have some poor quality feed available to them when they checked.  Again, this happened when there was slaughter.  It takes a certain type of person that can do this to another living creature and the availability of domestic slaughter will NEVER change this.  The only thing that will change it is if the Humane Society or SPCA have more authority to deal with such issues.  That will never happen because then all the PSA Turds will start crying that they don’t want somebody to tell them what to do with their property.  Funny how many of them have had visits from the Humane Society or Animal Control.  There goes that whole lack of self awareness thing that is a trait of a PSA. I’ve yet to see a horse carcass in a ditch, so again I’m going to assume these are isolated incidents unless somebody can give me hard and verifiable numbers.

Since the last slaughter house closed in 2007, there has been repeated cries of unwanted horses and not being able to sell one.  So, I did some digging around and found these quotes from a few PSAs:

” So I’m searching dreamhorse and the selection is just nothing. I thought I would see how many young AQHA horses are in my 200 mile radius.  I was shocked, weanlings – 3, yearling-16, 2 year olds -6, 1-3year old.  Just WOW, there is no selection compared to other years that I’ve searched young horses.”

“This post was not intended to say I was looking for a horse to buy but that there is no selection. I always check ads from various sites to see where the market is and what prices people are putting on their stock. I’m just amazed at how few there are for sale. I do frequent specialized sites that target specific types of horses that I might buy, but i don’t think those give me an idea of the general market. It looks to me like there is no general market left and to me that is not a good sign for the average buyer that wants a good horse, not a crap horse or an expensive performance horse, but a good decent horse.”
“I’ve talked to several friends that are in the market for weanling to yearling ago horses. It’s a nightmare out there. Not much of a selection to choose from. :(“
Ok, so they are now whining about not enough selection or horses to buy, but also crying about all these unwanted horses out there and rescues being overwhelmed.  So, which is it??  Could it be that the market is equalizing and that `good’ horses are now being priced accordingly?  Maybe, with people breeding less they aren’t feeling a need to dump their stock at overnight auctions.  Notice one PSA is upset that she can’t get a good horse for a cheap price.  For what she wants to pay she can only get a crap horse.  Boo Hoo!  You cannot have it both ways.  Good horses should bring good prices.  It would appear we’re moving in that direction again.  Maybe we’re back to getting what we pay for.  Just maybe, this no slaughter thing is WORKING.
The last thing I want to you leave you with is this quote from a PSA:
” Ranch in foreclosure and I’m moving….can’t take them all with me.  Priced from $1 to $750. Some registered, some not, some can be and have paperwork ready.  Yearlings to 5 year old.  Some have been saddled/bridled but I can no longer ride and can’t afford trainer.  Well bred for cattle work….bloodlines include Doc Quixote, Doc O’Lena, Docss Hickory, QT Poco Streke, Ris Key Business, Smoke N Cotton, Broadway Doc, Docs Muchacho and others….on papers or three generation pedigrees for the couple not registerable.
Out of time, money, hay….keeping only the very core of the breeding program
Soooo, this is a PSA that has gone broke and into foreclosure, breeding horses year after year without ever getting them broke or registered.  She says she is unable to feed them, yet is KEEPING some breeding stock so she can continue to breed.  WHY should we have slaughter so somebody like this can continue to be an asshat?   It is people like this that have created the problem and now they want the animals to pay the price.  Maybe the reason that 80% of people polled are against slaughter is because less than 20% of people that have horses are like this.  Guess what?  This kind of ignorance will not be wiped out by bringing slaughter back.  They don’t realize they are part of the problem.  Sad.

 

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