If you are a horse lover, chances are you have see the latest article or something similar:
Snippets from the article include “During these trying times, is the only thing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on is that Americans need to eat horses?”
Someone will read this blog post and will announce that “Square Peg is pro-slaughter.” That’s not just false, it’s silly. For the last 20 years of my life, I’ve been placing OTTB’s in homes. If I cloned myself a thousand times and if I cloned the amazing Joe Shelton twice that many times, we could not save them all. It’s a fact that rescuers live with every darn day. With slaughter banned in the US, these animals head in terrible conditions to slaughter plants across the boarders. Those plants are not supervised by anything like the Department of Agriculture and they don’t have inspectors from the FDA imposing fines on renegade operations. The horror is palpable. I won’t go into it here – if you are curious, you can look it up yourself. But bring a strong stomach and some tissue.
For now, until we can address the horse overpopulation issue horse slaughter will continue and it’s unsavory. So why wouldn’t we afford our horses the same protections that we gave the cow that you ate at lunch yesterday? Because we don’t want to face the reality that horse slaughter exists and that we, as the horse community are in some way responsible? Are you ready for the facts? Not only will protesting legalized horse slaughter not save a single horse, we have now doomed those same horses to a horrific and torturous death. Over 100,000 made the trip last year and this year will be no different, there are too many horses and the economy is not improving while horse care costs continue to rise.
Want to really save some horses? Want to make a difference?
Then donate until it hurts to a local rescue with a strict
NO BREEDING policy. Encourage your friends to do the same. Ask for the rescue’s adoption contract. Find out if the rescuer has a breeding operation. I’m always blown away at how many rescues have parallel breeding programs. Wow! How is that addressing the overpopulation problem?
Volunteer at the local Humane Society, or help a struggling neighbor keep her horse through the winter. Sponsor a rescue horse for a Christmas gift for a friend or a child. Offer your talents in marketing or housekeeping or brochure writing for your favorite rescue. Question the folks in your local horse club when you hear someone say something like “she’s going to be off for a year and we aren’t sure that she will be sound again so my husband said we can breed her.” No seriously, have that conversation every chance you get and you will be saving lives!
Don’t have extra time or cash? Then support rescues with the money you are already spending. Give your business to the local vet, farrier and feed companies that help out rescue operations. If you don’t know who they are, call the local rescue, they will be glad to tell you. Promote your favorite rescue on your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Encourage your local riding club to attend fundraisers for legitimate rescues. Host a bake sale at your school or a bowling party. So many fun options that really will be making a significant difference!
If you are a racing fan, support racing in states such as California, Kentucky and Illinois who directly fund Thoroughbred Aftercare and push them to support aftercare for the horses who never made it to the track. The National Thoroughbred Racing Association is doing more than ever in history to support ex race horses. Encourage their work with a card or a note or a call. Let them know that you appreciate their sincere efforts.
Want to take on the environmental issue of a slaughterhouse? Simply eliminate meat from two meals per week to start. Encourage your friends to do the same. If that works well, make sure that for another two meals per week, that you choose local and/or organic meats. How hard is that to put your morals where your mouth is? Lead by example and friends and family will follow. That’s how lasting change has always occurred.
And lastly, if you do decide that the old horse in your pasture really needs to go to a good home, pick the rescue or the organization mindfully and be prepared to make a cash donation for that animal’s care. And I don’t mean $50. If you expect the rescue to care for and re-home and re-habilitate your horse, please be prepared to donate three to 12 months worth of feed, farrier, dentistry, veterinary and training costs.
Yes, it’s easy to get upset by reading headlines and we love to blame our legislators. Remember that they didn’t create the horse overpopulation problem. They’re trying to address an economic issue and the moral problem of the transport and unregulated slaughter for our beautiful horses. It’s a bitter pill to swallow and none of us like it. Remember that we, as the horse owning community must be responsible for the animals we produce.