Baxter Black: The emperor’s new clothes |

Baxter Black: The emperor’s new clothes

Baxter Black/For the Saturday Morning Press
Baxter Black

The Emperor’s New Clothes is a fairy tale wherein two swindlers convinced the vain emperor they could weave the most elegant clothes so uncommonly fine, only those with the highest refinement, good taste and intelligence would be able to see them. The ambitious emperor heartily agreed, thinking it would help his ability to distinguish the wise men from the fools in his empire. The swindlers went to work for weeks weaving the most beautiful cloth ever seen. They fitted and sought his opinion frequently while charging him mightily. The emperor began to worry because he could never see any cloth, even though he praised them profusely for its quality and beauty. He questioned whether he was really qualified to be emperor, so he pretended to admire the cloth that the swindlers pretended to weave, lest he be thought a fool. On the day of the public procession, the swindlers dressed the emperor in the exquisite invisible cloth. All the emperor’s sycophants lauded him with admiration. He put on his most regal face and strode down the street, his noblemen carrying the train behind him. The crowd, who assumed they were unable to see invisible clothes, cheered as if they, too, could see something more than just an old man parading through town naked. Then from the sideline a little child was heard to say, “But he hasn’t anything on!” The crowd stood dumbstruck for a minute, then took up the cry, “But he has nothing on!” The emperor shivered for he suspected they were right. But he thought, “The procession must continue to prove I am smarter than I am.” So he walked more proudly than ever, as his noblemen held high the trailing train that wasn’t there at all.

Once upon a time, 2007, a group of mostly well-meaning horse lovers (WMHL) questioned the humaneness of horse slaughter in the United States. For years previously, the vast majority of unwanted horses went to U.S. inspected and approved plants within the borders. In the ten years before 2007, the plants in the U.S. slaughtered an annual average of 62,719 horses and exported an average of 42,286 per year for slaughter to Mexico (24 percent), Canada (74 percent) and Japan. An average 105,002 horses per year.

Effective in 2008 WMHL politically managed to prevent horse slaughter in the U.S. It coincided with the stock market crash. Ignoring the predictions of virtually all professional horse users, raisers, vets and equine associations, who warned there would be tragic results, the WMHL congratulated themselves righteously and derided those professionals who opposed them. The Tragedy began. What was going to happen to the 62,719 unwanted horses normally slaughtered at home? Where would they be taken? Who will feed them? There was no system in place to handle the unwanted. WMHL continued to tell people how much better horses will be treated. The price of horses plummeted. The Depression put economic pressure on many people with unwanted horses. Whereas before they could sell them for several hundred dollars, now they couldn’t give them away. WMHL enlisted gullible celebrities to their cause. The non-partisan Government Accountability Office blamed the WMHL, sighting ‘Unintended Consequences’. WMHL became indignant. Horse rescues quit giving out their addresses, auction barns quit selling horses the price was so low. Nationwide, desperate unwanted horse owners began turning them loose. Unable to feed them, many thousands died of abuse and neglect. The WMHL said nothing other than Vote For Me, or Send Money! While the swindlers are still in business, the real heroes today, like our truck drivers, sale barn owners, horse buyers and Mexican abattoirs, are the reason we are not shooting horses in the street. Since the closing of local plants, we have averaged exporting 137,475 head a year, almost one million unwanted horses, hauled across the border to be shipped abroad for human consumption.

The WMHL keeps the cowardly politicians and innocent ignorant media pacified by praising their new clothes. Those who are the most out-spoken in the WMHL; the politicians, animal rights groups and activists, accept no responsibility for the tragedy they created. They are still sewing invisible clothes for their naïve, well-meaning emperors like Robert Redford, Tom Vilsack and good ol’ T-Bone Pickens.

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