Horse Slaughter

Once again the horse slaughter in the United States is legal……wow this has stirred up a whole lot of emotions in a HUGE amount of people. This is a topic that some will not touch but as I generally tend to speak my mind wether asked to or not I might as well add my 10 cents to the already burning fire. For those of you who do not already know me here is just a little background.

I moved to the United States with my dad when I was 11 years old and when we moved the saying was “either the whole family goes or none of us do.” Most people think this involves Mom, Dad and siblings…….not in this case. It meant either my dad, myself, our two gray hounds and our two horses go or none of us go. My dad later in life came to the conclusion that animals are way better then most people…..if you treat them right they will always be your friends and be there for you and you will never have one of them try to screw you over. Which is way more then some can say about a lot of people. I have had horses in my life since I was 3 years old and for a long time they were what I would say, kept me sane at the end of the day. Last december when my dad was sent home from the hospital with only a week to live due to the cancer he had I spent time in the stall with “Baby Sayo” (horse in the pic above) every night crying into his mane. When I am having a bad day or need a friend I go spend time with my horses. Anyhow, you all get the idea… is safe to say I LOVE my horses.

So now on to the subject at hand….horse slaughter in the US and the legalization of horse meat for human consumption. I have been spent countless hours at killer horse sales and it is heart breaking to see that some people just dump their horse that has served them all their life. The thing that is even more heartbreaking to see is the way the animals are handled when crammed on the trucks to be hauled to the slaughter plants. It is not a choice I would make. With that in mind…..I have been very blessed at living out on a ranch. When I have had horses that were either injured badly enough that there was no return or when I have had old horses that were on the verge of getting ready to go downhill I have chosen to but them down on the ranch. Some of them getting buried and others not…to the animal does it really make a difference wether the birds, and coyotes and such eat it or the worms in the ground?? There are a lot of people that do not have that option.

After the horse slaughter in the US was outlawed I got a very big reality check. The biggest heart breaking part of the killer sale still remained….the horses were still crammed on the trucks (even tighter now because they wanted to make the trip worth their while) and they not only were on the trucks for a few hours to the nearest slaughter plant but they had to indure a long grueling trip to either Canada or Mexico. The other thing that people tend to forget is the fact of the actual killing of the horse. All emotion aside….which would you rather endure yourself….a shot to the head that dropped you dead to the ground or being stabbed in the spinal cord, hung up and bled out as is the process of slaughter in Mexico?? I know which one I would chose. Also after the slaughter market was closed in the US all of the sudden the number of starving horses increased. People that could no long care for their horses due to lack of pasture or due to lack of money or simply do to lack of interest, all the sudden had no place to go with those horses and a HUGE increase was seen in horses that were just “turned out” to fend for themselves and starving to death. Seeing horses that are days, or hours away from dying due to lack of food will break your heart and it is an image you don’t soon forget.

So after all this rambling I am glad that the slaughter market is open again in the US. I am glad that the horses are no long on the truck as long and I am glad that they are being killed in US regulated slaughter houses rather then somewhere across the border were nobody knows what happens. I am glad to see that all the unwanted horses have a place to go and have a purpose…..wether it be to feed your canine companion, or to feed lions in the zoo or yet more importantly, to feed a hungry child or adult. I am not supporting raising horses for consumption purposes but I really never see it going there. I simply see this as a OPTION for those people that need a place to go with their unwanted horse.

Also a thought to consider is that there are horses that are “unsafe” due to human error….due to horse owners that SHOULD NOT own a horse. There are people that treat horses so inhumanly that they turn on people as their only way to defend themselves. I can honestly say that I speak from experience on this as I purchased a stud horse a few years ago that had been mentally and physically so fried that he had such an agression to people that he was dangerous to be around. I know this for a fact as I have a scar from the side of my nose to the center of my lip that took 5 layers of stitches and over 50 stitches to fix due to him lunging across the fence and bitting at me. It is something I was never mad at the horse for as it really was not his fault….he was not born that way he was made that way. Once I gained his trust and we came to an understanding that I would not hurt him if he would not hurt me, he was also a horse that I trusted 100% but only around me……not around anybody else. At the time due to my home being on a ranch I was able to keep him without putting anybody else in danger, but what would somebody do that did not have that option???? Due to the physical damage that was done to him he got the point that he was in regular pain and it was that point that I chose to put him down at home. In germany it is not uncommon that when you have a horse that needs to be put down (for whatever the reason is) that you haul it to the slaughter house yourself and lead it in there and it is shot…..yes…a little hard to stomach but really not a bad solution. A better solution then running it through a killer sale and not know what is going to happen….a good way to face up to your responsibilities.

I personally never plan on dumping a horse at the killer sale as I would rather put it down at home then not know what is going to happen to it….is somebody going to buy it that will not treat it right? Is it going to be treated cruel on the way onto the truck? In the truck? But for the people that do not have the option due to lack of funds or lack of place to put it down at home the slaughter house is a way better solution then for it to starve to death, especially if they take it there themselves. With that said though….I am not proposing to get ride of the killer sales as even though it is not my choice, it is a choice that a lot of people see as their right choice and this is why we all love the US so much because we have the freedom to make choices even though everybody is not going to agree with them.