A one-eyed 26 year old stallion shows up in a kill pen. While not completely emaciated, he is showing his age and more than average wear and tear. He is almost completely shut down, just standing in the corner with his head down. He is clearly not the sort of horse that can be gelded, rehabbed and adopted out. Of course, there are dozens of other horses in the pens awaiting the same fate, some are younger and stronger. What do you do if you are a rescue?
One of the things I keep hearing the PSAs harp on is what horses deserve to get rescued and that rescues are only out for publicity. After I posted my blog about ethics a couple of days ago, they truly got their panties in a bunch. I’m a very bad person for questioning rescues that appear to support slaughter and I should just leave them all alone and let them do their work. Yet, when they see something they don’t like they swarm the rescue and harass them. Of course they coordinate their efforts in their bat cave so they can achieve maximum asshattery. Such was the case today when an emaciated horse’s picture was posted on Facebook. It is probably the most emaciated horse I have ever seen that is still up and walking around. The PSAs came out in full force demanding this horse be put down and that the rescue was using him to solicit donations. The next two pictures are of the horse in question.
Pretty horrific, no? Still they had this horse checked over by a vet and a complete blood work-up done. Amazingly he is not in system failure and everything looked `pretty good’. He also doesn’t appear to be an old horse and has a fairly bright expression for a horse in his condition. The decision has been made to give this horse a chance at recovery. People have stepped up and offered donations for this horse’s care. In reality, his care isn’t going to be as expensive as the PSAs would have you believe. They are shrieking about how painful starvation is. I don’t disagree with that, but `starvation’ is over for this horse. He is now in safe hands. It’s not like he’s requiring surgery or anything. He needs specialized groceries and careful monitoring. This horse has a chance at a meaningful recovery and he clearly wants to live or he wouldn’t have made it this far. As long as the attending veterinarians feel he is being handled humanely, who is anybody to say any different?
Is this horse a poster child? Probably he is and I’m pretty much fine with that. The PSAs think he should have his pictures taken and then be `put in the ground’. Of course they do! Then they can use him as a poster child for their mission to slaughter horses. They can post up his picture and tell you how starvation is painful and there is no other solution than slaughter. If he gains weight and recovers, this will not be of any use to them at all. They don’t want to have their choice to slaughter taken away, but they sure do like having an opinion on what other people do. Yes, people will donate to support horses like this. Often times they will do that before they donate to a younger healthier animal because people are emotional beings. At least most of us are. Every dollar that people donate to help this horse, frees up other dollars that rescue has to help other horses. They have already made the choice to save him whether that is out-of-pocket or not. If you don’t like it, don’t donate. Pretty simple. It’s all about choices, remember?
Here’s the thing about human nature; most of us pull for the underdogs. Who doesn’t like to hear about a happy ending? While I see most PSAs wanting to dictate what horses should be rescued, I don’t really care as long as it’s being done ethically. I happen to have a soft spot for old horses. I just adore them and have one of my own. Some people only want to rescue draft breeds and others choose to focus on ponies. I know of one rescue in Kentucky that is solely dedicated to rescuing and providing sanctuary for old broodmares. Every horse rescued is one less `unwanted or neglected’ horse no matter what the age, breed or useability is.
Now, let’s get back to the old one-eyed stallion in the kill pen. Most PSAs would tell you to let him go and save the young ones. However, this horse has a story. He was once a graded stakes winner of over $300,000 in a career spanning five years and 47 starts. While very well-bred, he fell out of favor in the breeding shed and ended up standing to Quarter Horses in Kansas. When they were finished with him, he was unceremoniously dumped for slaughter. The horse I’m talking about is Clever Allemont and he is the horse in all of the pictures on this post except for the other rescue horse.
Thanks to social networking and getting the word out quickly, Clever Allemont was rescued from that kill pen and returned to Kentucky to live out his days at Old Friends Retirement. He is now 30years old. He won’t be retrained or adopted out. He enjoys a happy retirement with lots of visitors and attention. The last time I saw him was at a fundraising benefit. I slipped away from the entertainment and dinner with a pocket full of peppermints to visit him. While still all man, he is as kind as any horse and always quite happy to get his favorite treat. Thankfully, many people feel just like I do. This horse was owed a happy retirement. He made a lot of money and did a lot for people over the years. The thanks he would have gotten from a PSA would have been slaughter. How is that right?