Mickey Allen: Need way to control horse overpopulation


— To the Editor,

Thanks to the animal rights movement and many well-meaning but misinformed animal lovers, the slaughter of unwanted horses is now essentially banned in all 50 states. Unwanted horses are now being shipped, often for a great many miles, to be slaughtered humanely in Canada or not-so-humanely in Mexico. Senate Bill 311 will ban the transport of horses for human consumption within the U.S. and across borders to Canada and Mexico. At the same time, the price of hay and grain has skyrocketed. Have you noticed the low-priced horses in the want ads? This past winter, there have been two instances in Colorado of dead and starving horses found in "horse rescue" operations, where it appears well-meaning people "saved" horses but didn't realize you have to feed them.

I was born horse-crazy and always owned at least one from the age of 14 until I was 72 and the last resident of our little equine nursing home died of old age. We have a lot more money since she died. I believe I would rather have my toenails pulled out than be forced to watch a horse killed and butchered, but if we still had horses and found ourselves unable to care for them, and could not find a good, safe home for them, I would far rather see them go to slaughter than to starve to death.

Until we can figure out a way to get our horse overpopulation under control, I think we need not less, but more slaughter facilities in the U.S. I would like to see close regulation of both the slaughter and the transportation, to keep the whole process as humane as possible. SB 311 is under referral in the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, and googling it will give you a list of the members of the committee. I suggest that those who agree with the need for humane horse slaughter contact the members of the committee and make their feelings known.

We consider ourselves environmentalists. Always remember that the animal rights movement is to environmentalism as astrology is to astronomy.

Mickey Allen



MJNYC 9 years ago

I think that Mr. Allen needs to view horse slaughter as it was in the United States and how it is presently being done in Mexico. Perhaps then he will educate himself to the "horror" of horse slaughter. In addition, many of these horses go from a pampered life (especially the TB's) to an unfamiliarly cruel transport. No food, no water for many hours, crammed in the back of a hot trailer with many other horses.

Mr. Allen states that horse slaughter is better than starving to death, but in truth both are horrific options.

I think his intentions are good, but he certainly needs a dose of reality:

http://www.sharkonline.org/?P=0000000528 http://www.saplonline.org/Legislation/slaughtervhumaneeuth.htm http://www.hsus.org/video_clips/horse_slaughter_cruelty.html

Humane euthanasia and less breeding are the only answers to this issue; horse slaughter must be banned. It is evil and barbaric.


JoyceJ 9 years ago

It absolutely amazes me when I read an opinion similar to this one, and it is common, that totally fails to mention the alternative to slaughter or starvation: HUMANE EUTHANASIA, administered by a veterinarian! How can people who claim to be so familiar with animals choose to ignore this possibility? It is the option chosen by dog and cat owners who are responsible enough to want a calm, peaceful, dignified death for their animal when the time comes; why should horses not be afforded the same opportunity? Anyone who buys an animal and does not understand that they may someday have to be able to afford the cost of euthanasia is as stupid and short-sighted as a person who buys anything that requires care that they might not be able to afford but buys it anyway. Plan ahead people--don't use the slaughter option as your out when reality hits!!! Here's a novel idea: how about we advocate for less breeding? If something isn't born, we don't have to worry about ridding ourselves of it when we no longer enjoy it or it gets too expensive to care for, do we? Slaughter, no matter where it is performed or how it is done, should never be an answer for keeping a population in control, as this writer suggests. Wanton killing as a form of population control isn't acceptable for humans and it should not be acceptable for any living species. The analogy used here makes no sense to me, no matter how many times I read it. What does concern for the environment have to do with animal rights? Anyone who is familiar with horse slaughter knows the damage that has been done to the environment, much of it yet to be realized, in the areas where the plants operated. The foreign owners couldn't care less about how they polluted the water and soil in OUR country when they allowed carcinogenic drug-laden horse blood to be dumped whereever they chose to dump it. Research the violations that Cavel was cited for in DeKalb Illinois. Let someone build a slaughter plant in your town; we will see the NIMBY syndrome appear pretty quickly. Keep slaughter legal, build more plants but don't do it in my town--I guarantee it!! Horse slaughter will never be well-regulated by this government. The USDA can't oversee cattle slaughter adequately.The last I knew, they had hundreds of job openings for inspectors that they couldn't fill. Would you prefer that they hired people to inspect and regulate horse slaughter in deference to inspection of the plants that produce the meat you and your family members will eat? THEY DON'T CARE ABOUT REGULATING HORSE SLAUGHTER and have said as much.
It does not take a genius to answer your concern: geld the stallions, keep them separated from the mares, do whatever needs to be done to prevent the conception of foals who stand no chance of having the kind of life they deserve, dooming them to having their lives ended horribly because noone was responsible enough to assure that they were never born. Or is that too simple?


Olivia_Oscar 9 years ago

I ditto JoyceJ and MJNYC -- not only their take on inexusable horse slaughter, but also MJ's reading of your sincerity. And I would add, with equal sincerity, that in these hard times where hay prices are high and horse guardians are strapped for cash, you could do nothing more noble with the money you're saving on NOT maintaining a horse now than to help out those who love their horses but are in a financial squeeze. Perhaps someone could use your contribution to pay for euthanizing a horse who is ready (because of age or infirmity or illness or injury) to go to greener pastures. Perhaps someone needs your donation to pay a farrier or equine dental bill. I'm sure a reputable horse rescue or sanctuary would put your "love offering" to good use. There are multiple ways to care for horses humanely instead of resorting to killing them for a profit -- which, by the way, is the sole reason slaughter exists in this enlightened day and age. Some people don't mind making a buck off any back. But when they proclaim their motive is to save a horse from a worse fate, that is not only a lie, it is, in my book, a sin. Mickey, you sound intelligent enough to grasp this. It is those of us who stand up and defend the rights of the oppressed, whether it be humans or horses, that make moral progress possible on this earth.


thinkdarnit 9 years ago

I find Mickey's opinion to be logical and sensible. Unfortunately, some folks are excessively romantic and sentimental about this issue. The horseman's way of life is in jeapardy, due to several economic factors.

As I see it, regulated horse slaughter in the US would be a 'green' alternative, because of recycling the flesh of 1000-plus pound animals as food and other products.

Having removed regulated horse slaughter from the US sets a dangerous precedent for other parts of our animal angriculture industries. Beef, pork, sheep or poultry could be next.

Euthanasia by veterinary injection is not as practical and humane as one might assume. Horses may have nasty reactions to the enthanasia drugs. Some locales prohibit the burial and disposal of such large animals, especially when they have been contaminated with toxic pharmaceuticals.

Also, whether you approve of it or not, some folks do have to consider the financial realities of horse ownership and 'disposal.' It is easy for someone else to piously decare what other people ought to do, without having compassion for the people themselves.

I love horses very much. My monthly feed, veterinary and farrier bills would shock some of you because of how much I pay to support my cherished animals, but I do not think that horses are people in fur coats. You'll declare that I couldn't possibly be a 'true horseman' or that I don't really love horses. You'll be wrong about that.


cowphoto 9 years ago

Many people who are against horse slaughter are guilty of taking them and turning them out on the BLM to starve on winters like this last one. This as cruel as a person can be. These people either cannot or won't pay a vet are certainly not strong enough to do the job themselves. Far better that they go to slaughter than face that.


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