I was hoping that some more people would step up on this subject but only two have even though the one just has a first name and the other is anonymous. I have spent just about the entire day thinking about what I posted and what they have had to say and show us and what continues below is the result. Again I reiterate, these are my own personal feelings and I would invite any constructive discussion on the subject.
Warning very long post:
Okay I knew this would open a can of worms but I hope that something positive can come from it. You will have to excuse me if I am not always clear I struggle to put my feelings into words that make them easy to understand what I am trying to get across which is why I would never make a good teacher. I also understand the risks of the internet and making myself a target but horses are my life and that can't be avoided, and I am willing to risk that for them.
On the subject of the Mustangs, that is what I was saying if you read my post again, they would be better off being turned back into their natural environment where they will take care of their own needs with proper management by people who know what they are doing and don't have any financial gain and greed from the process at a far reduced cost. Yes the cattle industry wants the land to graze their cattle, public land I might add, and the horses are suffering because of it. I hope that anyone reading this has looked at that post from a few days ago and had a look at the books and calendars made up by two fellow photographers from their photography, compassion for the mustangs and many years of work.
3 November post about mustangs
Vicki and anonymous (I have visited the site you quoted before, you can find it here and would urge anyone reading this to do so too, with a warning that it has some very distressing photos and video on it) I hope that you will identify yourselves as I am unable to contact either of you or know who I am communicating with, at least I have Vicki's name but that is all and the
website quoted for anonymous but that is all. Please dont hide behind you anonymity and please believe me when I say I am in no way pro slaughter especially for human consumption. It is illegal here in the USA to eat horse meat.
I also have horses, too many of them, I persuaded my husband for two years that we didnt need to be breeding any more horses because of the situation in the market (we used to have between 4 to 7 babies every year) and weren't selling any of them, I had our one stallion gelded with
much kicking and screaming from him (my husband) I assure you and would have gelded the other but have held back on him because he is still a young horse and I am hoping that the market will improve one day, but I am still left with 16 to care for, and only 5.5 acres. My husband doesnt believe in having brood mares open (unbred) but I see them having a nice
retirement and if things improve and they are still breeding sound they will go back into service, if not they will become yard ornaments. I don't work other than my photography and caring for my animals, for health reasons and my husband is quadraplegic and has been for 26 years, so we have a very limited income. This was his dream and his and my views definitely differ but he has respected my feelings and that is now why we still have all of our babies who are now all grown up and have no good homes to go to, I am the compassionate side of our relationship and believe that these animals are my responsibility and I am not going to cop out on it and just turn a blind eye and get rid of them and let them become someone else's problem and forget about the consequences. I refuse to let him take them to sales here in Indiana because I am terrified of them ending up in the wrong hands, hence I have 16 and am bankrupting myself to keep them healthy and killing myself in the process. Just about every one of my horses has been with me since birth and they are like my children each with their own personalities and quirks.
My phobia for horse sales was imprinted in my mind very early on after arriving in the USA 7.5 years ago, I had to take some papers up to a sale for one of the PMU farms (they used to bring the foals from North and South Dakota where a lot of the PMU Farms were located, to Indiana, every year in about September) and saw the state of these hundreds of foals. I was horrified
by what I saw, babies with their legs completely skinned and opened from the fetlock joint to the knee where all you could see was the bone, gashes in their heads and all over their bodies, frightened, thin and unhappy and it set the standard for me from then onwards and is the only thing that I think about when I think of a horse sale. In the UK this would be completely unheard of, the animal protection laws and rights are far more stringent than they are here. There you would be hung drawn and quartered for abusing any animal in any way.
In southern africa where I was born I remember being a horse crazy teen who had to wait til she was 40 to own her first horse and I also remember a butchery that was closed down that dealt in horse meat. I hated passing that place and remember not being able to comprehend people eating horse meat. I remember being really glad that it was closed down. That was a very
long time ago and is a long supressed bad memory and is part of my healing process that I am going thorough mentally at the moment (another long story).
I am fortunate enough to have very sane and sound horses coming from the Sonny Dee Bar (QH) line. We owned one of his sons Sonny Dee Bee (a crop out who was registered as a Paint) and their good dispositions and looks have channelled down to all of the horses that I have today with this bloodline. My animals always eat first, and other than the one which we have boarding
with us at the moment who was so sick when we found her 6 weeks ago, she was like a walking skeleton, but is putting on weight daily despite being 23 years old so it is a slow progress, they are all fat and sassy. I have paid the $7 - $8 a bale for square bales (60lb), using 5 to 6 bales a day (last year) just for hay let alone grain which has doubled in price. I feed whole crimped oats now which we crimp ourselves every day to make the food go as far as it can, no more undigested whole oats passing through their systems. I will post something about this sometime soon as it is a cost saver for anyone who has horses and a very small inconvenience which is far outweighed by its benefits. They each have their mineral blocks too and I work on a rotation system to get them out in to the fields to get regular exercise when the weather permits and not just exist in a stable all their lives. They may not get their feet trimmed as regularly as they should or get wormed as regularly as they should but they are happy and healthy and I see that every morning when I walk into our barn and am greeted by their eager faces.
Nowhere did I say I am pro slaughter, if you read my words again you will see that what I said was that instead of closing the slaughter houses maybe their efforts and money would have been better spent in finding a proper solution to the problem because the problem that has been solved has just got bigger. We can say there are no unwanted horses til the cows come home
but I really believe it is the situation and there has got to be another solution to this problem. I can only imagine the horrors you saw and documented at DeKalb. I have seen a few videos on UTube that I have not been able to watch more than a few seconds of without being a sobbing hysterical wreck. I suppose the same would apply for cattle, pigs or sheep, I have never looked into those issues but maybe I should and I am willing to bet that there are regulations coming out of the ying yang making the whole process more humane.
My apologies if PETA were not involved, although I am sure they were somewhere in there. I do understand the reasons for wanting to close the slaughter houses in Texas and Illinois but feel very strongly that this has just made the horses suffer more. The closure of the PMU farms did not help us a few years ago either because those horses flooded the market in the thousands as the conservationists were abhored by the way the mares were kept and the Drug companies had to find another way to produce Oestrogen synthetically for their market, and didn't renew their contracts with these farms. I wonder how many people know that that is where Oestrogen that they consumed and used came from? PMU = Pregnant Mare Urine. This was all at about the same time as all the controversy about the slaughter houses were starting to get attention, bringing the price of horses down and making it more profitable to sell a horse to the killers than to buy it as a companion animal. I rescued one of those and would have rescued more if it was in my capabilities but I already had 20 other horses. There are just too many animals and not enough people who care enough to put their animals lives before their own. We have taken the first step but it has just created another huge problem, so now what is the solution to the situation presented because of the first victory.
The days of breaking horses to ride with force and breaking his spirit as a result, have gone, people are realising that horses respond to kindness and calm and patient teaching far better than they will to be forced into doing something against their will and abused and then hating what they are doing and people in the process. They have personalities, emotions and respond to kindness the same way in which a cat or dog or a child for that matter would, and they are VERY intelligent.
I agree horses are not food animals, and the thought of someone eating horse flesh makes me nauseous. I would never want one of my horses finding themselves on a double decker to Mexico. I did say that I was going to do more research and I intend to, you have both given me a starting point for which I thank you. Living in Indiana we are a very convenient state to have
killer sales where the horses are shipped up to Canada pretty easily through the outer areas of Chicago and where, in those terrible double decker trailers made for smaller animals until recently, I have read article after article about the trailers overturning with these poor animals in them (sometimes in excess of 50 horses jammed into each trailer with many of them killed instantly or having to be euthenased), so I am very aware of the pain and suffering and that is what I am against. I believe Illinois (and possibly other states?) has passed a ban on using these double deckers for transporting horses and am not sure if they have succeeded in stopping the transporting of our horses across the Canadian and Mexican borders yet. I know they have been
working on this.
Ask yourself, if you were ever faced with the decision to let an animal starve to death in a back yard or be euthenased humanely which would you choose? Or a rank stallion that has been abused to such a degree that it is a danger to itself let alone people around it and there are more of those than we care to acknowledge again through inhumane treatment by people, but what would you rather do, see it beaten and tortured until it dies or to have it humanely euthenased? People who have to make these decisions are left with no choice anymore because all the avenues have been closed to them and no-one has tried to address the issue of reforms after they think they have already found the solution. Until the ratio of horse to humans who
care has been resolved this will be an ongoing argument and problem and also the right people have been educated, these being the politicians, the people who have all of our futures in their hands.
I wish I could do more and the first thing I think about when I read about the floods and wildfires and tornados and hurricanes, is the animals. I do have concern for the humans too of course but it is the animals that I think about first and we never hear about what happens to them in these circumstances. I remember a few years ago, (think it was in Oklahoma) a woman who was a Barrel Racing Champion and her friend and trailer were crossing a bridge after a show on their way home when it collapsed and they were all killed. I remember looking at the article and seeing no mention of the horse trailer or horses who perished there, at least not in the news in our area, just the people.
I hope that this subject can be kept open and used as an information sharing opportunity rather than a negative thing, because I think we all have things to learn, and what we hear isnt always what is actually happening and education is the only way that we are going to make things better for us and our animals. We have to find a happy medium where everyone and everything benefits rather than tipping the scales in one direction only. I have been told I am too emotional but that is who I am and nothing will change that.
In closing, I do not condone the slaughter of horses for human consumption or any other reason for that matter but we need to come up with a solution because all the solutions thus far have just made them suffer more than they were before. There are too many unscrupulous people with no hearts out there who dont give a damn.
If you have managed to read all of the above without skipping a few paragraphs you deserve a medal and thanks I appreciate it, it has sure helped me to put things into some sort of perspective in my mind and I hope that in some way this will help our horses and bear in mind these are only my personal observations, rationalisations and feelings on this subject, I just wish I had the answers.
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