I thought since yesterday’s post was a bit on the `heavy’ side as far as subject matter, I would lighten things up a bit. I’ve noticed from the PSAs that they all fit in a certain mold. I have yet to see a single one of them, Slaughterhouse Sue included, address a single concern the anti-slaughter people have without hurling insults and getting angry. Only today, Ole Sue kept things classy by not only posting a fairly respectful email somebody had sent her with some questions, but also posted her long-winded and ignorant response. She signed off with this:
” I hope that you take the time to reconsider your misguided and self-righteous stance over the proper relationship between humans and animals, and to appreciate the fact that your attitude and that of others like you is inflicting far more harm and suffering on the animals you profess to love, than those of us who are working to make sure that the breeds and species are improved and preserved at the same time they are cared for responsibly.”
She also posted this woman’s email address for all her unbalanced supporters. Now I can see this happening on some social network sites that the PSAs like to gather on, but this is an elected representative. I’ll likely bore you all to tears by picking her letter apart another time, but for now my point is that is exactly the types of response we get when concerns are raised. For today, I thought I would explain why I am vocal about being anti-slaughter.
I’ve always been anti-slaughter. That was a value I was raised with despite coming from a ranching family. Being a rancher does not always mean you are Pro-slaughter. I know many that feel the same as I do. Horses were our partners and in one way or another I have more often than not earned my living off them. That means that despite what the PSAs think, I do think horses should have jobs if they are sound and healthy. I also think that when they have spent their best years serving us, we owe them something in return. I learned from a very young age that my horse came first. I wasn’t allowed to put a horse away with sweat marks, I had to do my chores before I had my meals. I had to plan my social life around feeding and caring for my own horses. When I moved out on my own, my horses came with me and I didn’t have the fancy apartments or vehicles that some of my friends did, because I had to pay for my horses. I never gave it a second thought. Just like I never gave my slaughter stance much thought because it wasn’t a factor in my life.
The first time I really got hit square between the eyes about the slaughter issue was when I started working at the racetrack. In our barn, we were always very careful to place our horses when their careers were over, but I learned that wasn’t always the case for other barns. I found out that one of the `gyp’ trainers made most of his money buying horses for slaughter. He kept a few in training at the track which kept him in the loop, but they rarely won any races. It was one of the worst kept secrets on the backside, but there was still a few people who didn’t know. I will never forget seeing him buy a gallop girl’s horse at a paddock sale. The girl was very sad that she couldn’t keep her horse and she gave him the horse’s leather halter and told him what treats she liked and lots of little details so she could be `happy’ in her new home. The KB snickered. Me, being young and not knowing what to do, said nothing. That has bothered me ever since. Should I have told her he was a KB, even though he had already bought the horse? I still don’t know the answer. Thankfully, somebody like that would not be given a license on most tracks today.
So, flash forward a few years. In the off-season, I sometimes teach private lessons. I mostly do it for friends or people I know as it’s not really my passion as far as horses go. It’s not about the money for me, but more about if I want to help somebody understand or get along with their horse better. I went out to a barn one night to teach a lesson and I saw this horse in a portable pen beside a trailer. He was a nice looking horse but appeared quite `anti-social’. Other than asking what he was doing there, I didn’t give him a lot of thought. Or at least I didn’t until the following evening when my friend came running up to me and to tell me the horses was headed for a slaughter lot. He was in the pen, because he had refused to get in the trailer the day before but he had an appointment with a northbound truck the following day and was going one way or another. It seemed that this horse had fallen with his rider and got branded `unpredictable’ and `dangerous’. The owner did not feel right about selling him to somebody else that may get hurt and felt this was her only option. Call it divine intervention, but I had been to a sale to buy another horse earlier and had changed my mind. As a result, I had a wallet full of money. I waited around that night until his owner showed up and then I sweet talked her out of him for less than meat price. I knew nothing about this horse other than his color, he was young and that he was very big. I had no idea if he would ever be able to be ridden or not. I just knew I couldn’t let him get on that trailer.
So, what about this impulse buy? Well, it turned out he was very well-bred and had been shown before. The girl I bought him from hadn’t had him long. He was terribly abused before she got him. He has a scar on his hip that I don’t even want to know what happened to make that. It has been a long road with him. The first thing I did was get a chiropractor out to work on him. I’m not sure if he was a mess from the fall or if he had thrown himself because he was a mess. At any rate, once we got that cleared up for him, we started from scratch and he’s become a horse I never would have thought I’d have the privilege to own. I’ve turned down more money for him than some people make in a year. He will live his days out as `my’ horse. This horse has become the face of slaughter for me. There isn’t a day goes by I’m not sickened to think of him in a slaughterhouse and how close he came. Knowing how he reacts to unfamiliar people and surroundings, I can’t even imagine the horror that a slaughter plant would be for a horse like this. Then factor in his size (a full 17.2H) and he’d likely be one of those horses that needed several shots in the face to go down. This horse is one of the ones that Sue and her PSAs call dangerous and unsuitable. This horse just needed a little understanding and a quiet hand. He is a gentle giant. This horse is not unique and he is the reason I will fight slaughter until it is no longer a threat to any horse.
So this is my reason I am proudly `Anti’. I am not telling anybody that my horse is the best horse in the world. He’s not even my only horse. He was just a very nice horse that found himself in the wrong hands more than once and very nearly paid a terrible price through no fault of his own. He’s the one that made slaughter very real for me. Like I used to be, many people are anti-slaughter but not overly vocal about it. I want to know from the people who read here, what makes you want to make a difference in this issue. I think that’s the nicer thing to talk about rather than trying to wrap our minds around why some people are so passionate about killing horses like mine. Although, if they can articulate their reasons, I’d like to hear them too.
BTW, yes, he is the horse featured in this entry. His little spotted buddy was rescued from slaughter as well and belongs to a friend of mine. Pick him apart all you want, it won’t make a difference to either of us. ❤