Friday, August 31, 2007

It's taken me about a week to want to talk about this. I really don't want to think about it at all, but I know a lot people who come here own horses, and it's something we all need to know about. Most of us know about it, but wow, seeing it is something else altogether.

I wanted to post information here on the fates of horses who are shipped to Mexico for slaughter. I did a google search "horse slaughter in Mexico." I clicked on a link. It took me to the Humane Society's website and started playing a video. I had left the room to do something while it loaded, and came back in to see something horrendous. A gray mare run into a chute, to be stopped at a point with a man standing over her. She wisely kept her head down, and the man had to poke her withers repeatedly. In his hand was a stiletto-like knife, sharp and pointed. He didn't poke her withers with the blade, but he almost did so many times that it made me think he normally would have taken that route, if there was no camera there. She brought her head up and he struck - at her spine just at the back of her head. He missed the spinal cord, so had to go through the poking process again, and this time he got her. At some point, either when he first got her, or the second time, many people started cheering loudly in the background. I don't know what they were cheering for, but cheering doesn't belong there. She fell like, well, like she'd just had her spinal cord severed. All smooshed up in the box. The wall opened to let her body through to where they would hang her and slit her throat all the way down its length. Are they aware? Or do they die when the spinal column is cut?

This wasn't quick. She stood shaking and wishing for escape that entire time. Before that, she stood in the chute just outside, smelling blood and death. It showed the horses waiting outside, in pens or in the chute. If the horse next in line tries to follow the horse going in to death, in an effort to get somewhere, anywhere away from this place, the heavy steel door crashes down on its head.

One of the horses standing in line could have been Tonka's twin. Same sweet face.

A lot of them looked like range-bred horses of some kind. Mustangs. Probably not BLM, but plenty of Native Americans still run horses on their land and periodically send them to auction. Oh my gosh, speaking of which, those people are NOT nice either. Roping horses legs out from under them when they're running full-out. Sick bastards. Get some livestock handling equipment.

The handling on the way to the plants isn't fun. I hear they're loaded and unloaded multiple times on the way there to add horses or whatever. Have you ever seen panicked horses run into or out of a trailer? Not pretty. No water or feed. I don't believe they regulate whether horses with broken legs can be hauled or not. It wouldn't matter if they all arrived fallen over on top of each other.

I don't want to talk about that anymore.

Will you please, if you're thinking of breeding your sub-excellent mare, look into her eyes and imagine what the fate of the foal might be? If you're thinking of giving away your "problem child" or sending him to auction, picture his face covered in blood, his eyes wide, flanks heaving, muscles shaking with exhaustion and fear. And the canner is not the place to send your old, extremely well-trained but used up kids' horse. Some child out there would love the chance to feed them up and learn to ride confidently. My sweet Coda is one such horse. He is 29 years old, thrown away but luckily saved, now helping my niece enjoy riding after a couple of bad incidents. Don't reward their lifetime of devotion by ending their lives in such a bad way. It costs me $75 to euthanize a horse. Any horse's dignified death is worth that much, and more.

I haven't yet read the above links, so I don't claim to agree with anything they say, but they're a place to get started. Apparently this new "American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act" will put an end to slaughter of American horses on foreign soil as well. I hope so.

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