Time and again, it has been shown that the average horse that is destined for the slaughter pipeline is not old, infirm or suffering from debilitating illness. In contrast, according to Temple Grandin’s study of horses arriving at slaughter, Lenz has indicated that “Ninety-two percent of the horses arrived in good condition.” The statement was intended to show that most horses do not suffer in transport to slaughter, an obvious attempt to downplay the gruesome 900-pages of material released under the Freedom of Information Act exposing transport violations.
The fact that the so-called “Unwanted Horse” is a consequence of outlawing horse slaughter in the U.S. is NOT, I repeat NOT, the underlying issue. By definition, the “Unwanted Horse” is nomenclature designed to avoid the obvious.
A particularly fitting explanation by John Holland, President of the Equine Welfare Alliance, is a succinct narrative of what encompasses the situation. [http://www.horsetalk.co.nz/features/theunwantedhorse-179.shtml]
“The slaughter defenders cannot allow the problem to be seen to be over breeding because breeders pay the registration fees that support the American Quarter Horse Association, and other pro-slaughter breed registries. And it is these registries that fund the lobbyists, the public relations experts, the publicists and the phony welfare organizations that defend horse slaughter.
The UHC was formed by experienced professionals who understood that he who controls the vocabulary controls the battle, and one controls the vocabulary by generating and continuously repeating carefully crafted definitions and catch phrases.
In the hands of the less sophisticated, attempts to float terms like ‘horse harvesting’ look heavy-handed and buffoonish. But this is not the case with the UHC and its promotion of the ‘unwanted horse’.
And the definition game does not stop there. For example, there have been countless articles and stories about the terrible problem of abandoned horses. In trying to substantiate these stories, a team of our researchers called hundreds of state parks, county animal control agencies and sources listed in the stories.
Almost every story was false or distorted beyond recognition.
Nine horses reported in a story in the Oregonian as being abandoned on a ranch turned out to be an unconfirmed report of a single stray horse made by the rancher’s granddaughter. Horses reported as having been turned loose on a reclaimed strip mine in Kentucky turned out to belong to a riding stable. State parks in Indiana reported to be counting horses entering and leaving the park to assure they were not abandoned turned out to be horses counted entering (only) so that a fee could be charged.”
The sad reality is that the excess horse situation exists as a result of indiscriminant individuals and organizations that either exploit the horse for entertainment purposes (e.g. racing) or to whet the palates of foreign appetites in return for abhorrent profits at the cost of sacrificing an animal atypical of “livestock” per se (e.g. AQHA and other clandestine-like organizations with ulterior motives).
It is time to educate the public!
There is no such thing as the “Unwanted Horse” and the notion that horse slaughter is a necessary component of controlling the horse population is ridiculous. It is purely and completely an issue of over-breeding for the underlying purpose of monetary greed.
We must challenge the initiatives of those who market the horse as a commodity that we can dispose of on a whim just because they do not fit our needs as dictated by standards of the horse industry, or worse, a source of food for those who have no compassion and respect for a companion animal that the civilized world calls their “pet”, now more than ever a family member most love and respect.
Wherever man has left his footprint in the long ascent from barbarism to civilization we will find the hoof print of the horse beside it. ~John Moore
Definitely something to live by.
© Int’l Fund for Horses