Wednesday, November 30, 2011

So what do we do now?

The last few days there's been lots of press about the signing of Bill H2112 into law.  The NEW version of this Bill has removed Section 739, the Section that prevented the slaughter of horses in the US since 2007 by removing tax payer funded compensation for USDA Inspectors to inspect horsemeat.   That means that now MILLIONS of our tax dollars will go to once again pay USDA Inspectors to inspect and approve horse meat for exported human consumption.  The door to bring back horse slaughter on US soil has been swung wide open.

I'm working on the assumption that if you read this Blog, you are very likely against the slaughter of horses for their meat.  Like us, you probably see a horse as more of a trusted companion than as livestock chattel.

So what do anti-slaughter supporters do now?

First and most importantly- we need to EDUCATE everyone we can about OUR VIEW.  Many people out there haven't even thought about this issue, and the topic is surrounded with propaganda and intentionally misguiding sound bytes from the pro-slaughter camps. Here's what I wish everyone who was pro-slaughter, or even undecided, would know before they decided to take that stance.

Horse slaughter will NOT HELP decrease the unwanted horse problem, whether the slaughter is in the US, or anywhere else. Slaughter is a demand driven business.  More horses will not be slaughtered just because they can be obtained cheaply or even free.  The proof is in the numbers- the relative same number of horses have been slaughtered since 2007, despite the fact that horses currently now cost about 1/5 of what they did in 2007.   

Horse slaughter is not more "humane" in the US.  While everyone agrees nothing is worse than the horror that is Mexico, the US uses the captive bolt- the same method currently employed in Canada.  The captive bolt was designed for cattle who have short necks and less of a flight instinct.  Horses have long, flexible necks that effectively avoid the 4 inch bolt being rammed into their skull.  Often they are hit multiple times in the face, head, and neck... even eyes. Even Temple Grandin, the famed designer of many modern slaughterhouses has claimed there is no commercially viable method to slaughter horses that she can deem humane. 
Does this look "humane?"
Horses WILL NOT be turned out to run loose and starve if we don't slaughter them!  Excuse me, but OH BULLSHIT!!!!  #1.  Nearly all claims of horses being turned loose have been found false or unfounded.  #2.  No mentally healthy human being would let an animal starve to death.  No one.  Even if they were unable/unwilling to feed it, they could: sell it, auction it, euthanize it, shoot it, give it away, or TURN IT OVER TO ANIMAL CONTROL.  I admit we hear more about animal neglect than ever before.  But we also have a world wide media that can spread news without limit.  Is neglect happening more, or is it reported more?  Having personally been to several starvation seizures, I can assure you that mental illness was the causative factor.... not lack of money. 

It's NOT the only way to get rid of all these unwanted horses.   Everyone agrees there are more horses than homes right now.  But how about some human responsibility here?  Somebody either specifically planned or allowed for every horse on that slaughter truck to be created.  Someone planned a breeding, or turned a stallion out with mares, or kept a colt at it's dams side until it bred her.  Some HUMAN did that.  These aren't wild horses.  We could stop the over breeding by educating horse owners, encouraging gelding, and maybe even requiring breeders to pay to be licensed or have a per-foal fee.

And my favorite:  "But, there's no other choice for someone with an unwanted horse they can't sell!"   Here's some choices I'd be happy to tell that owner about!  How about decency and responsibility?  Those are choices, too.  The choice could be made to train the un-halterbroke 4 year old you created, as well as the 20 year old broodmare who you cranked babies out of but never started.  You could give your horse the skills it needs to make it valuable and have a fair shot in life.  How about kindness?  If it's lame and broke down... euthanize the poor horse.  Or sacrifice?  Do without a few lattes and brown bag it, and maybe you could stretch you funds and keep your horse.  What about gratitude?  You could retire that outgrown or retiring mount and thank it for it's dedicated service to you.  And how about accountability?  Did you do something stupid like jump into horse ownership too fast, buy the wrong horse, not think about the fact that you might go to college in 2 years?  Some of those situations are unfortunate, but it still boils down to YOU being the one who made that choice, and it should be YOU who figures out a responsible way to fix it.  Why not throw hard work in with the choices, too?  You could get that second job, work those extra hours, and maybe even arrange to work off some board.

So now we've covered some of the myths.  But here's what slaughter DOES do:  It rewards a horse who spent it's life trusting and serving humans with a brutal and terrifying death.  It makes them watch other horses being killed and dying before it gets it's turn. It promotes and rewards irresponsible ownership and overbreeding.  It uses our tax dollars to fund foreign owned businesses that profit GREATLY and pay little taxes and offer no benefits to the US.  It creates environmental nightmares wherever it happens to be located.  It destroys property values for the surrounding area.  It creates a handful of measly, dangerous, low paying jobs.

Now here's some GOOD NEWS.
H.R. 2966: The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 is in Congress.  Call.  Write.  Be calm, concise, and professional.  Tell your friends.  Tell your co-workers.  Tell people on the street if you must! 

America's horses don't need this, and this is our last chance to protect them! 

~Christine Hajek, President and Founder

Unless you are OK with this being a horse you owned, bred, or once rode; you need to oppose horse slaughter.  Every single one was SOMEONE'S.