Update: Life for Horses Now

This is Maggie

Maggie is a 20 year old, registered Appaloosa mare. She spent a good chunk of her life as a broodmare, and produced quite a few quality horses that went on to be point earners. Last year, my friend Karen was reducing her herd and gave this horse to a woman who was just getting back into horses. A few days ago, the woman calls Karen to come get the mare, she was losing her house to foreclosure, and this is the condition the mare came back in. She's been to the vet, waiting on labs, and is getting five large meals a day now.

Another friend tells us that a few nights ago, two very nice ponies were dropped off on their road, left to wander. That brings the total number of strange trucks pulling trailers and mysteriously appearing horses to nine in the last two months. The Sheriff tells them there is nothing he can do, so just round 'em up and haul 'em to the auction. One was a wild acting stallion that someone had no choice but to shoot and kill since it killed a foal and was ravaging a mare.

The raw truth of the situation for horses is that no one can afford much of anything, let alone a 'luxury' item like a horse. Many current horse owners can no longer afford them, and with no one buying, there is no way to sell them.

I don't like saying it, but there is the truth in plain sight: With no market and no slaughter, the fate of many horses is just not good.

Here's a "before" picture of Maggie, in the condition she was in before.


  1. You have great insight into a horrible condition in the US right now! I am a horse breeder, of race horses, (yea I know) but our horses are treated wonderfully! I see unbroke dangerous horses, underfed, raised by idiots that have no place to go. We need the slaughter houses back! Look how many dogs and cats they euthanize each year, but they want us horse owners to keep them for life? 30+ years? not feasible. Why not let their valuable meat, etc go to some good? They are livestock IMHO. Great Blog!

  2. I have read about this in the news and it is such a sad situation. Keep writing about it and letting others know of the situation.

  3. To the first poster: So if you bring the slaughterhouses back, what will happen to these idiots that you refer to? They will continue to get rewarded for their idiot behavior. Not the answer by any means.

    Let's break down the dog/cat argument. I do not have a problem with someone euthanizing a horse. That being said, I do not equate slaughter with euthanasia. Euthanasia is not synonomous with being crammed into a truck (especially if you are already sick or injured) and being whacked apart by some low-skilled employee who is not being paid for quality work, but quanity work.

    As for valuable meat, valuable to who? The foreign-owned companies that used to operate in the U.S.? I would seriously question how "good" that meat is and for whom. It's not feeding poor people. Horses are not raised as food animals. The slaughterhouses, no matter where they are, have no idea what drugs were given to those horses and when.

    Is that a product that you feel good about exporting to the world? It is not a surprise that world perception of our food products is so low. We do not care about quality, do not respect the consumer, and the bottom line is only about profit.


  4. Ah, the hackles rise again against slaughter. On one hand, I agree that there is no use in slaughtering our horses in foreign owned slaughter houses to be shipped out of the country. That same hand holds the emotional aspect of the thought of my horse suffereing through that.

    On the other hand, that is a far preferable end than slow and painful, horribly so, death.

    Julie, I have two other posts - with a ton of comments from both sides of the issuse that I put up at the beginning of the month:

    Ban More Cruel Than Horse Slaughter
    Starving Horses: Point of View

    My position right now is that we have a serious crisis on our hands with starving, neglected horses. They need help right now. So far, we've only been able to argue the same old things back and forth, not only with no resolution, but no suggestions for helping the horses that are dying right now.

  5. Yes Lisa thats exactly what I would do. Id like to see a horse slaughter facility in every state and horsemeat at $5 a pound. People that couldnt afford to own horses wouldnt, and people that could would take great care of their valuable assets. A typical $1000 lb horse would bring 5K to kill and riding horses would start there and go up.
    People should have to be licensed to breed and breeding animals should be Govt inspected for quality like they do in Europe. Nobody that loses money breeding horses should be allowed to continue and those that do should be paying high luxury taxes on a luxury business like they do in Sweden.
    Horses that have no other use than for the dinner plate maybe should also be vet inspected and a slaughter bound certificate issued with the reason the vet condemed the horse.
    Then..if slaughter practices arent up to par, bring them up to par. The solution is simple, bring supply into line with demand, be raising far fewer much higher quality that whats been allowed. Keep the bottom dollar prices higher than a woodpeckers nest to keep all the big dreamers with shallow pocket books from owning horses. It makes not one bit of difference whos buying the meat and keeping the market strong.
    Otherwise you have this horrific mess we are now in. Idiot do gooders clammor for others to feed all the worthless horses for 30 + years, no legal limits to breeding just like dogs and cats, and horses are now another scourge of the earth just like the stray dogs and cats! Nor are they being held in any higher regard. BAD, BAD, BAD! FOR HORSES!

  6. @ Lisa: It's good to see you back! Do you see that what the race horse person says goes along with the other Anonymous poster says? The first poster proves that because his/her race horses have value they are very well cared for. And because of all the activists here in the states, slaughter had become as humane as was possible. That owners also medicate, and most wormers are labeled not for use on animals intended for food, you have to worm your horse, so that one's a Catch 22. If the horsemeat was sold in the US, you can bet that would change.

    @ First poster: I think the way things are going, you'll be lucky to have a business for much longer. If PETA has their way, horses wouldn't even be ridden, let alone raced! It makes me wonder - how can all these "tree huggers" say they love and want to protect horses so much and completely destroy horses' worth, value and purpose? Let's face it, there IS NO LAND to turn all the horses out on and return to being wild, if that's the goal of all this crap! And the dangerous horse stories are coming more frequently now too. What a bad spot for the horse!

    @ Anonymous: I can't agree more! Your ideas are sound and logical. If that photo of Maggie isn't proof enough of how highly horses are thought of - some "symbol" and historical figure, eh? - then nothing is. It makes me wonder if any of those do gooders even own a horse! They sure found it too easy to hit and run and ignore the consequences of what they have brought about. I know that Maggie horse, and she is the sweetest mare I've ever met. She sure didn't deserve being starved.

  7. As far as one's dreams go for having a horse slaughter plant in every state:

    The slaughter plants have had no luck whatsoever in their appeals on both Texas and Illinois' laws to the Supreme Court.

    The previous session of Congress in which the legislation passed the House of Representatives was Republican-controlled. This session, the legislation has 205 co-sponsors, as of today, in a Democrat-controlled House. Not a partisan issue.

    Both major parties' presidential candidates, Senators McCain and Obama, are both co-sponsors of this legislation. They both co-sponsored in the last session also.

    Public opinion polls show that the majority of Americans are against horse slaughter. If you can show me one in which the majority is for horse slaughter, please do. I am not talking about polls that use only convenience sampling methods that do not attempt to reach an accurate sample of the population. You can find several reputable polling organizations that have conducted such research.

    California's law was passed by voter ballot. How's that for an opinion poll?

    Then there's that other appeal hanging out there. You know, the one in which the courts declared the practice of the USDA inspection of the horse slaughter plants illegal. Congress already voted to de-fund them, but the plants found a way around that. Or so they thought. Now, if that issue was brought to the American public, do you want your USDA inspectors at beef plants (a food commonly eaten here) or horse plants (a food not eaten here), what do you think the public would say? Remember to consider this in light of all the recent publicity of abuses in our beef industry.

    Are we still dreaming?

    Seriously, I would love for our country to bring slaughter practices up to par for all animals. I am right there with you on that one. But it's not easy. Time and time again, our species has proven that we're willing to cram more animals into small places, pump them full of drugs and pay low wages to people to people to hack them up. The horse slaughter industry was no better adhering to what little regulations they had than are other slaughter industries in this country.

    Instead of dreaming that horse slaughter plants are going to return to the U.S., how about figuring out what to do with the problems we have now? Those problems go way deeper than slaughter could ever address.


  8. Lisa, I dont diagree with anything you have said. My post was just to point out what would be GOOD for horses.
    A slaughter facility in every state would eliminate the long hauls and make it feasable for kill buyers to be require to haul them in horse trailers made for horses. It also would allow private owners the ability to haul them themselves if they so wished. What Im proposing is much like how horse slaughter is handled in many European countries. The local butcher does it right there, simple, quick and only a few at a time. Something more like deer processing is done in this country with the difference being the deer butchers are brought dead animals.
    Ive talked to some of the people that live in those countries and they really can not understand why people are against horse slaughter in this counrty. People there have no sense of any cruelty to the process at all. Makes a BIG difference.
    To address your politcal and opinion polls. One,,,neither John McCain nor Osama Obama own horses, and we all know politicans are always swayed by the loudest squeaking wheels. So who exactly are they? Animal rights groups and surburban housewives thats closest thing to horse ownership was reading Black Beauty as a child. Thats the far largest majority of these people screaming to stop horse slaughter. Why Lisa do I NEVER hear a vet, farrier, professional trainer, breeder, showman or any other true horsemen/women that want this ban? Why the American Veternarian Medical Association, The Equine Practicioners, AQHA, and many, many other HORSE organizations full of HORSE lovers agaisnt this ban? Ill tell you why, and its not about money either. ( The morons that claim more AQHA horses are slaughtered than any other breed are so FOS with their facts. At a kill sale any animal of unknown heritage is tagged "QH" only meaning TYPE and that only means they are not tall and skinny like a TB TYPE that is graded as a lower quality meat animal) So...long story short that bit about AQHA wanting to keep horse slaughter open for selfish reasons is a LOT of BS. Ive been to hundreds of these sales and rarely if ever did any breed with papers get sent through the kill buyer portion of the sale.
    So..why these organizations are pro slaughter is for the same reason I am. I dont care HOW long the truck ride is, or how brutal the slaughter is, its STILL preferable than being neglected for months on end, starved, and disreguarded like Maggie was. Thats what the vets see too. They get to see it when someone like me brings something like Maggie in for advice. Maybe John McCain ought to think back on the time he was disregarded and neglected as a POW and just how great that exsistence really is. Maybe he would change his mind too.
    I really see NO solution to this problem. Its only going to get worse. Nobody has won a damn thing, the killers will get around the legislation to ship them to Mexico ( think its bad here) and once in another country our laws are moot. The BIG difference is they wont pay owners here SQUAT for their horses due to the long hauls and high fuel prices and so horses are even further devalued in the minds of Americans. Yep...just like stray cats and dogs. NOT GOOD for horses here.
    I think the ONLY thing we as individuals can do is TRY and shame the backyard breeders into not producing more low end animals there is no market for. Im not talking about the backyard breeder that produces one or two foals a year to sell or keep for themselves. Im talking about the ones like the fellow that bought my last farm before we moved 3 yrs ago. 33 or more head on 12 acres, not a breeding quality horse on the place and breeds grades, mustangs, (ya know I guess BLM cant make enough of them for everybody) and a few really poor quality Rocky Mountain horses that are at least registered stock. It seems to me that what Im seeing is the vast majority of whos left breeding is people like him. Again....not good for horses. Lastly, once in awhile when we would get a real rogue horse in we woudl send it to the slaughter sale. No way would any legitimate horse dealer sell one like that to an unsuspecting buyer. They took them to the sale, lost a few hundred dollars ( but not the whole investment) and gladly did so to protect people. What exactly do you think people are going to do with the ones like that now? Ill tell you what they will do now that there is no place to go with them. They WILL sell/give/pawn the dangerous SOB off on someone else so they dont have to feed it expensive hay and grain.
    Again...that kind of PR? NOT GOOD FOR HORSES.
    I think strict breeding controls would help one aspect of the problem of over breeding, but....do you really think our Politicans would attempt something like that? In a FREE country? Just like they have for dogs and cats maybe? NOT!
    So...what would you suggest Lisa as a solution? Ive already shared what I think would be the best solution to the devaluation of horses. I stick by what Ive said, A local slaughter facility/butcher shop in every state, lots of competition to keep prices high, and horsemeat at $5 OR MORE a pound.

  9. Not able to post much this weekend. Maybe later on Sunday. I'm heading out of town for a class reunion.

    One question to ponder: what constitutes a true horseman/woman? While you have never heard of anyone supporting the ban, I sure have. And their animals sure looked like horses to me. Well-cared for horses, I may add. What's the criteria?


  10. Lisa, Ill be looking forward to your post when you get time. You are always logical and intelliegnt in making your points. None of the emotional rantings one usually gets with this subject. I thank you for that.
    ok...what I mean by a true horseman/woman is a person who has been active in the horse industry as a professional. A lifelong commitment to horses in a totally hands on way. A devoted life long horseman that truely knows these animals and accepts them for not only what they are, but also for what they are not. i.e. a spoiled pet & oversized lap dog.
    Im talking about people that show horses, shoe horses, train horses, vet horses, judge shows, and professionally buy and sell horses. People who have a real finger on the pulse of this industry. People that dont want to see free shit horses on every corner devaluing their life long efforts to produce, train, market, and care for the best of the breeds & bloodlines. People that dont want to see every Tom, Dick and clueless Harry having horses on a whim the way people decide to let their 3 yr old drag home a puppy cause "its cute" Yeah...the ones that want to buy their young child a weanling horse so they can "grow up together"
    Ive heard of plenty of people supporting the ban, but Im telling you 9 out of 10 of them are NOT true horsemen or women.
    Maybe it would be easier to explain to you what a true horseman/woman isnt.
    A true horseman or woman IS NOT:

    1) A teeny bopper whos parents keep their horse at a stables where all they have to do is show up and ride it.
    2) The owner whos closest thing to training their horse is paying a trainer to do it all for them.
    3) The person who reads and watches sappy Disney movies about horses but never has and never will never actually own or have to care for one.
    4) The owners that do nothing more than look at their horse standing in a pasture and use it for a scenic lawn mower.
    5) The person that confuses their horse for a giant dog to pet and never does anything more than that.
    6) The people that buy videos, pay for overpriced carrot sticks, and have a favorite TV cowboy Guru they always go see to ask questions at clinics and never get their horse any farther from all that effort than keeping them as pasture ornaments.
    6) The hollyweird obscenly rich horse owner that everything in life is ridiculously easy for. The groom doesnt the grooming, the trainer does the training, and the Hispanic feeds & cleans the barn for. Having no clue what "real" people have to do to properly care for their horses.
    Gosh I could go on, and on, and on. These are the ones you almost NEVER hear of competing at a horse show, or.. working a colt under saddle, or... holding a twitch while a vet palpates, or... pulling a loose shoe themselves, or...giving shots, or... bringing up a herd of cattle horseback. They are the clueless hobbiests that usually dont last long after the first time or two their spoiled pet gives them a real scare or trip to the ER.
    These are the "we must save them all" bleeding hearts that just have NO IDEA what a horrid mess they have made of things and are constantly screaming to end slaughter, and wont it be just wunnerful when there are free horses to be had everywhere!
    The mistake all the true horsemen/women & organizations made was sitting around letting them throw their temper tantrums and not giving them a second thought. Never believing for one minute that anyone smart enough to be in a position of authority would be foolish enough to give them the time of day, much less their way.

  11. Back from the class reunion. What a waste of money...

    As far as the true horseman/woman discussion: I don't have a horse, so you can exclude me from that category. I don't have a problem with that. As I've stated in other posts on other blogs here, the issues of animal welfare and food safety are biggies for me. I want to know that the meat that I eat was raised humanely, eating foods that it was supposed to eat, not crammed into overcrowded spaces and pumped with drugs. That means when I go out to eat, my choices are vegetarian. Any meat that I eat is consumed at home, bought from people I know. I am fortunate to live in an area of the country where I don't need to travel far to find several farms that operate either organic, sustainable, and/or humane practices of farming. The other advantage is that you really develop a relationship with that farmer.

    Anyway, these people are not strictly in the horse business. They raise vegetables, chickens, pigs, cattle, and buffalo. (Not all raise the above list, but different combinations.) Most also have horses. To what extent they active in the businesses you describe, I can't say. What I can say is that these animals are well-cared for. I've seen their interaction with their horses. Not only do these people oppose horse slaughter, but the ones that raise other animals for meat aren't worried about the implications of a ban on horse slaughter has on their other business. The best way that I can summarize what I've been told is that these people stand by their practices and that the absence of horse slaugther is not going to affect that. They aren't afraid of someone coming after their practices next.

    Are they true horsemen/women to you? Maybe not, but I respect them in so many ways that their opinions mean a lot to me.

    I have also worked in the profession of working with people with developmental disabilities for many years. I used to coordinate monthly group outings for them, which included trail rides at different facilities. We also have been able to provide funding for many years for equine therapy. I will not repeat the benefits here, but will say that many horses that may not be of value to others, find value in this area. Some of our clients can't ride due to physical disabilities, but we still fund them to attend. They assist with cleaning stalls, grooming, and feeding. Sometimes it is more petting and talking to the horse than anything. Just because someone has a cognitive disability doesn't mean that you can't or shouldn't be honest with them. I am glad that I have never been in the position to have to explain horse slaughter to them, because I would have a horrible time trying to justify it.

    Again, not true horsepeople by your definition, but definitely a group that values horses. It's difficult not to bring emotion into that discussion.

    While the general public does not have a knowledge of your industry, their opinion still matters. You may not like that it does, but as you said, it is obvious that someone is listening. While it may seem easy to dismiss, you need to realize why it matters. Animal cruelty is not rocket science. The average joe can figure out that too many horses were stuffed into a trailer that overturned (northern Illinois last year) and that there was nothing humane about that ride. And that there's plenty more instances happening for the one guy that got caught.

    Abuses in the industry have gone on for far too long without a sufficient response. That's the issue I have with organizations like the AVMA. The decline of the horse slaughter industry has been coming for some time now, but they are still locked in their "there's no better solution" stance. How long have they had to figure this out? Not just on this issue, but other issues, the AVMA is not taking a proactive stance with new solutions to adapt to changing situations, but stuck to operating within the status quo. A recent example: several organizations and reports have issued warnings about the amount of antibiotics used in factory farming. The AVMA's opinion? Preventive antibiotics are needed or else animal health and food safety will be compromised. No kidding? How about a discussion about why so many antibiotics are used in the first place? How about talking about the real problems and what they are going to do about it? If they're really concerned about animal welfare, talk about the hard issues, the ones that the industry doesn't want anyone to discuss.

    As for solutions, that will be another post. I've had enough for now and you probably need a break from me as well.


  12. Lisa, of coarse there are horses that work for all sorts of different disiplines. That includes the old, ugly, and ones with no pedigree that are very gentle and end up as therapy horses. Thats still a horse with a "job" and its rare ( or prior ban anyway) for anything like that to end up slaughter bound. Im not talking about "good" horses, used to be they never were. They were the crazy, old and untrained and unhandled, and hopelessly lame for the most part. That was back when horses had a bottom dollar value though. They were neglected to be sure ( never training a horse is a form of neglect IMO) but not starved. Starved ones were purchased by feed lot dealers that were looking for profit after the animal was back to good flesh. I consider that better than staying at their "home" and starving a slow death. Dont you?
    I think the people you speak of NEED to start worring that the driving forces behind ending horse slaughter certainly WILL be after them next. You can and they WILL make the same exact arguments to end the slaughter of other animals.
    Take goats for instance, more people own goats for pets I think than raise meat goats in this country, and we dont eat goat meat here, but meat goat farmers DO sell goats at auctions where they are sold for meat to other countries. OOPS! gotta ban it for that reason now dont we?
    Some people have pet cows, lots of people have pet pigs, and just because you personally dont make your living off of horses (and therefore dont mind the ban) doesnt make it ok to support something that you would strongly object to if they were instead coming after shutting down your meat goat operation and you know damn well the people you mention certainly would if it was their living they were threatening. I call that being hypocritical. Farners need to wake up, this legislation has far reaching tenacles. I have a friend that is well versed in PETA politics and I can tell you that if the people you mention think they are immune well...so did us horse people.
    Anyhoo...I dont disagree with you one bit about antibiotics, steroids, or anything else foriegn in our food needing better regulation. Nor do I think it would be a bad idea to take a hard look at all slaughter practices for all species. If they can be improved, then by all means improve them. Nobody would argue that ( at least I wouldnt think so)
    Lisa, the bottom line is there are more and more horses looking like Maggie out there. There will be more and more on the way. You very rarely see thin cattle ( I see a LOT of cattle and horses as I live in a rural racnhing part of the country, as does Theresa)
    The reason why the cattle are fat and the horses are starving is because the cattle have value and the horses no longer do. Horse slaughter was an important segment of the horse industry for a certain type of horse.
    I could tell a disabled child that some horses are mean or in chronic pain and that those are used for people food in other countries. Better to feed people that worms or bacteria in a landfill dont you think?

  13. I was wondering when PETA would come into this discussion. As I said before, recognizing animal cruelty is not rocket science. Recognizing it doesn't make someone a flaming liberal either. Simply put, no one is missing eating horse meat in this country. The horse slaughter plants are gone, but people are still having a fit when they go through the BK drive-thru and are told that the Whopper was discontinued. You might see a slippery slope, but the American consumer is not going down that road with you.

    I suppose that we will have to agree to disagree. We could go back and forth for weeks. What I think is important is that we can have a civil dialogue without it getting ugly and personal. Too many times, that doesn't happen.

    What I cannot accept about your argument is that without slaughter, we are doomed to have starving, neglected horses. I cannot accept that it is an either or argument. If you see that in your part of the country, I will take your word for it. But I also want you to take my word that I travel by a lot of farms, pastures, and properties on my way to work in the next county and I am not seeing starving horses. I know people that have horses and the U.S. slaughterhouses shutting down does not change the way that they treat their animals. Abuse and neglect are more complicated than that.

    You talk about a solution of having a horse slaughter plant in every state. I agree that less travel time takes something out of the suffering equation. But I think that you will agree, that's not going to happen. Public sentiment is not on your side here regardless of the reason or how unjustified you think it is. What do you do next?

    Look at your problem. You talk about an excessive amount of untrained and unhandled horses. How do you fix that? Of course there are no easy answers. But being in the industry you are, I bet you know quite a few individuals, groups, and organizations that have a lot of knowledge in this area. How do you get to these horses before it's too late? Sure, it is going to cost money. Who do you know that has it? Theresa said that a significant percentage of owners are horse poor. But there are also plenty that are pretty dang rich.

    What about your organizations? How much is the AVMA collecting for annual memberships these days? I belong to a professional organization and it sure isn't cheap. My org also has several voluntary funds a member can contribute to. What can the AVMA offer with their training and expertise? Reduced rate euthanasia or medical treatment? If you've got good owners who are going through bad times, how can you help them get through that until the situation stabilizes?

    What about the AQHA? Where is their money going? How can they help with getting a message through to their members? Who sponsors their events? Approach them about strategic giving. Ask them about partnering with a nonprofit organization to raise funds and promote their own image. Industries do this all the time.

    I hear the next question coming already. Why should those who do the right thing be penalized for the deeds of others? Why should I have to pay for someone else's untrained horse or to euthanize a sick animal? It is because it is your livelihood, what you know, what you love. You do it to keep your house in order, because if you don't, other people come in and clean it up for you. (And I know you don't like the way they clean!) I am not singling out the horse industry here in particular.

    I'm not saying that these ideas are the answer. What I'm saying is that for any problem, there is not just one answer. You have people and resources to tap into, bring them together and get the process started. Regional efforts will be important in order to customize the solutions to each areas' unique problems.

    As I said in a previous blog to Theresa, what is, is not what has to be. I can't remember where I read it, but it's a quote that keeps me asking questions, keeps my expectations higher in some pretty low places. There are so many areas in which we can do better, this is just one area where I believe we can.


  14. Lisa,

    Your thinking and your ideas are good and viable. What I mostly wish right now is that your kind of thinking happened before the ban on horse slaughter. I doubt anyone would deny that they wished for a viable alternative to slaughter, and if one was already in place, this sort of discussion wouldn't be happening as often as it is right now.

    If you ever find the opportunity to get down here to Arkansas, I'll give you a tour of the horses I see here. It's heartbreaking.


  15. Lisa, all I have to say about all of that is those are great high minded ideals. The kind of high minded ideals that came from a segment of the same kind of people that pushed the ban on horse slaughter. Here is the problem with that kind of thinking/solution. Its a nice thought, but its fairy tale. It doesnt even work in the land of Oz.
    Just consider for a moment the signs we have here outside our towns that say PLEASE SPAY AND NEUTER YOUR PETS! Those are put up by the shelters, they are BIG and billboard sized. How many times did Bob Barker say that on The Price is Right? What good has any of it really done to curb the millions of dogs and cats slaughtered every year in "humane" societys? Not much if anything.
    You see there is a point to what you are saying that goes both ways. You wont find a neglected or starved horse in my care worthless or not, and I have 14 of them. Its not my horses anyone has to worry about. I sure your well kept neighbors horses fall in the same category. However....those are a FAR cry from every horse owner. Especially now that they are so dirt cheap that every clueless idiot that every gave a second thought to owning one now has one or many. There lies much of the problem with horses not having a bottom dollar value. They are not dogs and they are not cats, you cant keep them in an apartment and you really cant even keep them safely in a barbwire fenced cow pasture. They have delicate digestive systems, they panic when injured, they need regular farrier care (which is quite expensive and every 6 weeks) and thats just a start. The point Im trying to make here is: Unlike a dog or cat horses are a VERY HIGH maintenence animal if kept properly. You need to have a LOT of knoweledge and a lot of both money AND devotion or it starts looking like Maggies story in a hurry. Cant you imagine a zoo keeper trying to say the same thing to a person who envisions owning a pet elephant? same, same. As far as trying to save them all. Let me assure you, there are not enough horse trainers out there to train all the counterfit horses in this country and the vast majority wont take the bad ones anyway. So...whats to be done with those? Are they to be sold back and forth to unsuspecting people until one person decides to have it uthanized? How many people get hurt in that process? The fact is like it or not, what we had in place addressed a LOT of problems. Horse people know it, and horse people are suffering because large numbers of non horse people didnt like the idea of....drum roll, lets just say it like it is: The two words "Human Consumption" and yes PETA was in large part behind this squeaking wheel for exactly that reason. They more than played their part. Peta and Peta minded as well.
    I do what I can. Im the president of a saddle club where I offer competitions at a level that anyone can master. I offer educational horse training clinics, and try to help people with their horses. Ive given riding lessons, driving lessons, and helped many a person obtain a suitable animal for their skill level, and like most horse owners I will never donate a dime to a horse "rescue". One...too many of them take horrid substandard care of the aniamls in their charge, and TWO... even if that werent true Im going spend any extra money I might have bettering the life of MY HORSES. The rescues cant take care of numbers of high maintenence animals they take in, and some of the rest of us spend all of our extra cash caring for our own. Now...do you really think that all those "dont slaughter horses" bleeding hearts are going to step up to the plate? They havent so far. I think the dogs and cats are still waiting too.
    Maybe in heaven it will work the way you think it should. Here on earth it just wont.

  16. Well, I will be taking my great high minded ideals elsewhere for now. Too bad that some of you live on an earth where you feel so powerless. Yeah, a lot of things really suck, but I refuse to believe that we are stuck with what we are handed to us. Collectively, we have the power to do a lot, if we can cut through all the BS. Thanks for the interesting discussion.


  17. Id like to leave my response to Lisas last post even though she apparantly is no longer involved in the conversation.
    I do not feel powerless. This has nothing to do with a sense of power, or not having power. I simply accept human beings for what THEY are. Im a realist thats all.
    You can no more be angry at humans for not taking care of a valueless possesion than you can be mad at your cat for eating your pet hamster. Its the nature of the beast as they say.
    Horsemen and women learned long ago that you get much better results when you keep/train/handle a horse in harmony with a HORSES natural instincts. i.e. horses dont want barns, people want barns and shelters and impose what THEY would find more comfortable on their horses. The horse is happier outside.
    Point being, until we accept people for what they really are and work WITH those tendancys, (and yes many of them arent high minded at all) then we will only have marginal success with solutions to problems we face.
    Extremely successful solutions will always work in harmony with us humans natural human drives. Some of which include things like greed, power, and other self centered instincts. Yes I use the word instincts because the law of survival is where many of our less high minded human traits became a neccessary part of being human. Like some of it or not we is what we is.
    So...considering that we would be far better off to better slaughter than to ban it. Horses would be far better off as valuable animals than a worthless scourge. Bottom dollar value is extremely important in all aspects of anything we humans trade in. Horses being no exception. Again...my observaions come from 39 years in the horse industry, Ive seen how much better it was for horses when horse meat was $1 a pound, and I see how it is now at 10 cents a pound. Things are not getting better for horses because of this ban. Infact quite the opposite is true.

  18. Now we are comparing the human thought process to that of a cat eating a hamster? I suspect that I'm not the only one who has higher expectations of humanity than that.

    Realism not only requires a practical assessment of any given problem, but to utilize practical problem solving methods as well. I have not heard any problem solving approaches to this issue other than bringing back slaughter. Again, I remind the previous poster that Americans do not eat horse meat and overwhelmingly disapprove of this practice. I live 10 minutes from the Illinois state line and read/hear/see a lot of news from the area. The citizens of that state are not marching on the steps of the capital to reopen Cavel, let me reaassure you.

    While the poster only considers the opinion of "true horsemen" of value, this narrowly defined construction of the term only serves the poster's own self-interest. Of course, this definition conveniently leaves out any involved in horse rescue, who I suspect are not all novices to the horse industry, but the poster believes can't do an adequate job. But if they did, what would that do the poster's argument?

    I can see when another does not want to consider any viable alternatives (and disagree with Theresa that everyone would wish that). It is obvious that slaughter serves the self-intersts of some and it is not good use of my time to continue a discussion that does not move forward from the current situation. Continue to look back if you must, but don't call it realism.


  19. Lisa, I agree with Theresa. I do think that everyone would indeed wish for a perfect solution to big problems.
    I dont FEEL, or THINK rescues cant do an adequate job I KNOW they dont. Maybe with tons of tax payers dollars and guaranteed Govt funding they would be able to, but all those Americans that overwhelmingly disapprove of horse slaughter
    (overwhelmingly large numbers of NON-HORSE owning Americans) would be fast to change their minds about that when you start getting into THIER wallets to do it. Now Im looking forward and I still call it realism.
    I do and have offered viable alternatives, but not once has anyone responded about those. i.e. strict Govt control over breeders, rescues regulated and inspected and licensed, Slaughter bound horses to come with a veternarian's stamp of "no other use" etc, etc. I guess it sounds a tad too "big brother" for the tree hugging crowd, so instead we PRETEND that we fixed the awful practice of horse slaughter by banning it in this country because its "inhumane" and the trailer rides are long and cruel. So now we have legislation that causes our junk horses to be shipped far LONGER in those trailers where the slaughter practices ARE questionable in Mexico. GOOD JOB!