Key issues to consider in the issue of the slaughter of Horses in America.
A hot item in legislature at the time, the issue of horse slaughter is more complicated than one may think. The closing of the slaughter facilities has created a surplus of unwanted horses. In the news, one can find many examples of horses being allowed to starve, turned out into the desert, or tied to the freeway. Many factions of society are pleading their own cases depending on their own personal views. As a horse lover and enthusiast, I have put together some thoughts to ponder.
1. Horses who are slaughtered for meat are most often the result of man’s irresponsible behavior. These creatures are often used until they are lame or crippled, have aged or are no longer winning at the shows and races. Many are the results of irresponsible breeding of horses that there is no market for, just because one has a mare.
2. Many of the animals headed for the slaughterhouses are the results of irresponsible breeding of horses that there is no market for. Many people who have a mare breed her just because they can. Not much thought goes into the end result and not every horse owner is prepared for the commitment needed to raise a foal into a nice horse.
3. Horses are not and have not been raised for food as cattle, pigs, sheep and goats have been. Horses are the most inefficient and wasteful grazers of all and therefore, by the acre, not a wise investment. When one speaks of a horse who has served him well, it is beyond any words he might use for a good milking cow or a bovine with superior muscling for beef.
4. American horsemeat is not sent to starving children. Horsemeat is a lean and treasured meat in some countries and feeds those who are more likely to dine in higher level restaurants. (Not in America.) Otherwise, the meat from the older animals is likely to be used in sausages and dog food.
5. Another large group of throw-away horses come from those who purchase a horse with all of the best intentions but with not enough knowledge to actually manage these large animals. Many horses in the killer pens are there because people have allowed them to become to pushy or neglected them and they have become spoiled or unmanageable by these folks.
6. We should, in my opinion, strive to be creative and humane in our solutions for the noble horse who has served man well—slaughter is not the only possibility yet it is all I hear anyone, included folks who declare themselves to be horse lovers.
America has indeed been built on the backs of the horse. Quotes and documentation is too numerous to list. In closing, please consider a couple of quotes from or about some famous Americans:
General Robert E Lee to an artist who would paint his horse, Traveller,
"If I was an artist like you, I would draw a true picture of Traveller; representing his fine proportions, muscular figure, deep chest, short back, strong haunches, flat legs, small head, broad forehead, delicate ears, quick eye, small feet, and black mane and tail. Such a picture would inspire a poet, whose genius could then depict his worth, and describe his endurance of toil, hunger, thirst, heat and cold; and the dangers and suffering through which he has passed. He could dilate upon his sagacity and affection, and his invariable response to every wish of his rider. He might even imagine his thoughts through the long night-marches and days of the battle through which he has passed. But I am no artist Markie, and can therefore only say he is a Confederate grey."
And words of a visitor to George Washington’s home:
"When dinner was over, we visited the General's stables, saw his magnificent horses, among them "Old Nelson," now twenty-two years of age, that carried the General almost always during the war. "Blueskin," another fine old horse, next to him, had that honor. They had heard the roaring of many a cannon in their time. "Blueskin" was not the favorite on account of his not standing fire so well as venerable "Old Nelson." The General makes no manner of use of them now. He keeps them in a nice stable, where they feed away at their ease for their past services."