HORSE SLAUGHTER (by Vivian Grant Farrell) — 2017 has been a tough year for many reasons. The toughest for me personally has been the deaths of two beloved horses.
Fourteen years ago, when Texans for Horses became the Fund for Horses I rescued four slaughter bound Quarter horses from a Texas feedlot. They had no papers. No one could or would tell us where they were from or how they had gotten in this hellish place.
Many of the horses in the feedlot had given up. They would not eat or drink, just crowded together for comfort staring vacantly ahead.
There were some however who still showed signs of hope crammed around the fence with terrified eyes beseeching someone anyone to help them. I picked four. It was all I could afford to transport home and care for. I named them after Texas cities — Houston, Austin, Amarillo and Sweetwater.
Turning my back on the others and walking away from them knowing the horrific sufferings and deaths they were about to face haunts me to this day. And for what? So human beings can dine on their dead flesh.
I can feel the awful pain and anguish of that moment just as keenly now as I did that day, and I still hate that I did not find a way to help every pleading one of them.
Two of the four horses I rescued, the mares Houston and Sweetwater, passed away a few years ago. Austin died in February of this year and Amarillo died last month in November. Both geldings, they had made friends in that grisly pasture 14 years ago, ending up spending the rest of their lives together.
Their deaths seem to signal an end for me but of what I am not certain. At first I thought that it might be hope. Very little to nothing has changed. Slaughter continues to thrive on the horses it brutally preys on.
I wish I could say with the passing of those horses that I rescued that day and escaped slaughter, that slaughter had finally been outlawed and no longer threatened any horse.
God knows we have worked as smartly and diligently as we know how to ban horse slaughter as have many, many others. However, it still exists to satisfy the human appetite for horse flesh, and making the people who supply it for them very wealthy.
My Christmas wish this year is that you will do any or all of the following to bring an end to horse slaughter in honour of horses past, present and future.
Continue to work or take up the cause to bring an end to horse slaughter. It does not matter how or where or what. Please take every action you know and hear to bring it to an end.
Support those who rescue horses from slaughter. Adopt a rescued horse yourself or sponsor one. Pledge or make a monthly donation, any amount. Find your local horse rescue and ask them what is on their Wish List — many have one — and gift them something on their list, either individually or with family and friends. Deliver it to the rescue and meet and greet the horses you are benefiting. It will make you feel like a million dollars. I promise.
Make a pledge in your heart right now that this time next year horses will no longer be slaughtered where you live and take action inn support of that pledge every opportunity you get.
We can do this. You can be sure that Houston, Austin, Amarillo and Sweetwater, and all horses like them, will be cheering you on.
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