Saturday, June 16, 2007

Here We Go Again

Not to keep beating a dead horse, so to speak, but I'm down right mad. I recently found myself discovering new horse blogs and ran across one that is for saving all horses and had a post about the American horse slaughter issue. Now what pissed me off is that after I commented on it. The webmaster retorted for me to state sources and such claiming that my opinion was in the minority because she/he had horse owner friends over here and none of them share the same opinion.
1) You're friends because you share the same opinion.
2) All of us, opposed or for horse slaughter will find viable reasons and facts on both sides to support our opinions.
3) Our cultures, although both western are vastly different. ( And I'm talking about British horse ownership comparably to American horse ownership) and I can say that I'm relatively confident knowing such because I am married to a Brit.

I just believe that a person who doesn't live over here really needs a few facts or at least look at cultural differences before making statements. I personally would love to save them all. It makes me sad, but I can't and I believe that in the of banning horse slaughter in the USA, there have been many other problems created which haven't been addressed. I don't know the solution but it may be a necessary evil.


Rising Rainbow said...

Hey! I'm with you.

Anonymous said...

Yes, here we go again. There is nothing you could say that can justify horse slaughter. They are companion, sport and work animals. They helped build this country and are American Icons. The majority earn for their owners and should have a dignified, humane death when their time comes. Not a torturous transport and horrific death in a kill house. These animals give their all to their owners and to not have them humanely euthanized is despicable. No need to comment with abuse and neglect because slaughter isn't an option. This has been proven wrong over and over again. If an owner has too many horses to care for, they need to quit breeding. No need to state there are horse and vet organizations that are pro slaughter. The vets belonging to the organizations do not share their view and have formed their own organization that speaks out loudly against slaughter. Don't site the AQHA because they are notorious for over breeding and are the biggest contributors to the horse population. Please don't site Jeff McMurray's article about the horses wandering the streets. It has been proven wrong by the governor, rescues, state officials and humane organizations. The pro folks keep using the same tired arguments that have no facts to back them. The latest tactic is to try to tie the anti-slaughter groups to PETA and portray as us activists. Again, another false statement. We are Americans that do not want our horses butchered to feed the elite in foreign countries. It's not about banning meat, it's not about forcing our culture on others and it's not about emotions. We do not eat horsemeat in America and we do not want our horses brutally killed so make foreign owned companies rich. They ignore our laws and waste our hard earned tax dollars challenging our laws. The two Texas kill houses appealed all with way to the Supreme Court and were denied. Now, Cavel in Illinois is doing the same. We enacted a law to ban slaughter and they are challenging our law. If you don't like our laws, then go back to Belgium and butcher your own horses. You are not welcome in our country.

Callie said...

To anonymous: That is your opinion and I respect that as evidenced by posting your comment. I may not totally agree with you and that is my opinion. Niether of us will likely change our opinion and that's ok too. Thank-you for your comment.

Callie said...

And just let me add. Everyone's opinions and comments are welcome here whether I agree or not. That is the whole point of this. If we all thought the same way, we would never learn anything and I'm never too old to learn. That blog and post that I commented on asked me to state sources and I did, however, they did not post my latest comment. I will never do that to anyone who visits here. I welcome others opinions and advice always. And please never feel that you have to be anonymous, I don't retalliate. I am far too busy for that.

The People History said...

I do not often comment on my wifes blog as me and horses are fine when they are behind a fence plus if I ride i can not co-ordinate my body to horses body and certain parts end up very bruised

But Callie is the only person I know who when she is at work discussing winning the lottery and all her co-workers are talking about laying on the beach, new homes, travel her idea of heaven is to buy a few more acres and set up a horse sancturay for all the horses who need a home.

She is truly a wonderfull human being who cares greatly about others including animals ( thats why our vets bills and food for all our animals is the biggest part of our outgoings ) . So even if you disagree please respect her love of horses when you post your comments


Transylvanian horseman said...

I agree with you, Callie. Plus, I agree that courtesy is essential for a decent debate, and you are right, Callie, to stand up for courtesy and respect.

I think that, yes, each horse deserves humane treatment. When a horse gets to the end of its life, it should be euthanased humanely. At that point, I think that it could ethically be used for making petfood. A tough old horse is valueless for human consumption anyway. The problem is with the slaughter horse industry. I can't comment on how that industry functions in the US. In Europe, it was a nasty industry with a history of abuse. Much of the horsemeat industry was centred on Italy, where the mafia was involved. The "rationale" for live transport was that Italian consumers wanted "fresh" meat. Horse transport for slaughter is banned in the EU now, I gather, however the same problems apply to sheep and cattle. Live export of horses came to be banned basically because the industry could not or would not apply commonly accepted standards of decent humane treatment. Making a fast buck now meant too much to the industry bosses.

Centralisation of abattoirs is also a problem in the EU, leading to animals having to be transported long distances. My nearest abattoir is 100 miles away, however I can just about get away with humane euthanasia on my premises in case of need, mainly due to a lack of veterinary supervision in this remote rural area.

I was approached several times by agents of the Italian meat industry, since I run a business with riding horses. On occasions I was asked for foals because foal meat was a premium product fetching 50 euro/kg. (Say, $30/lb.) I was offered about $100 a foal. Of course I've never sold a horse or foal for meat, and I've never heard of foals being sold by anyone in these parts. Mainly, old horses and sick and severely lame horses went for meat. I've never met anyone in Eastern Europe who has eaten horse meat either.

Yes, horse owners do need an affordable humane euthanasia route. No, I don't think that the horsemeat industry is necessarily capable of providing that service. Maybe government regulations make humane euthanasia harder because horses are treated as animals that can enter the human food chain? I think that we can only begin to approach an answer by looking at the facts relating to how many horses there are, numbers humanely euthanased by vets each year, numbers slaughtered, numbers that die a natural death, numbers abandoned, illegally killed, etc. Then we can begin to see what problems there are, and how big those problems are.

Anyway, those are my thoughts from Europe, and I'm interested to hear what others think.

Callie said...

Thank-you T.H. for a great well thought out comment.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

To Anonymous, I truly hope you do not eat any meat because there are people that feel the same way about any creature being slaughtered as you do about slaughtering horses. I would never send one, it is not my right to stop someone else. The same people that condemn slaught believe that it is okay to have an abortion. I listen to a radio program where the women on the program thinks it is ok to have an abortion but not ok to own a gun. AS far as members of AQHA over breeding, why would someone pay a breed fee of 350 or more, ultra sound, pay for shots and feed the mare for 11 months to have a foal, then go on and feed it for a year or 2 to get it big enough to collect 300 to 350 dollars to kill? More tax dollars are wasted in other countries thru the military and other "help" programs. How many tax dollars are wasted on frivalous lawsuits. How many tax dollars are wasted on rebuilding New Orleans. I can go on and on. The point is everyone is entitled to an opinion. I did not notice one suggestion in your comment as to a possible solution. Bashing people and the organizations that they belong to will not solve any of the problems.

Anonymous said...

Hi there! This is my first post on this blog. I totally respect what eastern/western Europeans and other countries want to do. If they want to eat horses, then fine, that is their culture. However, I believe that if they want to eat them, they should just eat their own and not ours. In the United States, horses are not looked at as livestock as much as they are looked at as pets. I know the USDA sees them as livestock, but they are not treated that way. For us to kill horses for meat is like killing our cats and dogs for meat, which we do not do. I know that there are arguments like, "there will be unwanted horses", but there were more horses slaughtered in the 90s than now, and we do not have a problem with horses running the streets or showing up in people's yards. The slaughter houses here are very nasty and they are not humane at all and need to be closed down for good. I am sorry that Europe has such trouble, but truly, if they want to eat horses, they need to figure out that part themselves.
To Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses; I totally understand you on the abortion thing. To me it does not make any sense for people to condemn horse slaughter but be for abortion, or the other way around. I am so pro life I would not even give my cat one. I have never been able to figure out the abortion thing anyway. Anyhow everyone have a great day!!


Callie said...

Thank-you LyndaP for your comment. And I'm glad you brought up the livestock issue. The government cannot have it both ways. In Wisconsin they have already implemented a plan to track all livestock including horses, however they have not knocked on my door yet. This is the chipping of and tagging of all livestock so that the comings and goings of all livestock can be tracked.Including masses of paperwork to be filled out and filed everytime you move an animal or you will be fined. Evertime you leave your property ie: shows, trail rides, vet visits, etc. So my question is this, Are horses livestock?

Anonymous said...

I meant no disrespect to your wife. There is no doubt she is a very caring, compassionate woman. Just the fact that she posted her thoughts, speaks volumes. I'm sorry, but I thought the blog was posted to facilitate a discussion. I meant no disrespect and apologize if that's the way my comments came across. There are so many articles with misinformation that keep getting repeated over and over again. When you challenge the pro folks with facts, you never hear from them again. They operate solely on scare tactics they believe will scare people into thinking slaughter is necessary evil. I would like to see the owners accompany their animals to slaughter and watch them being processed (they won't use the correct term) and then hear what they have to say.

To Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses, in typical pro slaughter fashion, you change the subject to abortion and guns. The subject was horse slaughter. As far as the over breeding by AQHA, look at the statistics. When the federal anti slaughter bill was introduced this congressional year, the foal counts were: 146,000 Quarter Horse, 23,000 Thoroughbred and 11,000 Standardbred. The numbers don't lie. Their motto in the industry is keep the best and slaughter the rest. The majority of horses going to slaughter are Quarter Horses. How do you explain that?

You want to take about frivolous law suits. Let's stick to the subject and cover that. All three kill houses are foreign owned, 2 by Belgium and 1 by France. They don't pay federal tax because they found an accounting loop hole that allows them to reflect operating at a loss. As an example, Dallas Crown paid $5.00 in federal tax on their 2005 returns. When the HSUS took them to court, a federal judge upheld the 1949 ban and shut them down. Both appealed all the way to the Supreme Court but were denied a hearing. On May 24, the Governor of Illinois signed a bill enacting a ban on horse slaughter for human consumption. The day after, Cavel filed suit challenging the law. Again, our hard earned tax dollars are paying for the judge and court's time. No doubt, they will lose the suit – there is Texas precedence but, they'll most likely start the appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, a TRO was granted allowing them to continue operating during the hearings. Thousands of magnificent animals will be butchered by the very law we enacted to stop it. I live in Illinois and we don't want horse slaughter whether they're foreign or US owned. The bills were passed by a large margin in both houses but apparently, Cavel feels they are above the law.

The problem is horse slaughter and we are providing solutions. We are passing laws to ban it. We are working with our legislators and they are listening. American's are overwhelmingly (polls show anywhere from 75-90%) against horse slaughter. Horse meat is illegal for consumption in the US and we don't want our horses butchered to feed the elite in foreign countries. We don't import beef and if they want to eat horses, they can butcher their own. They don't need to import horse meat from the US and then have the gall to advertise on menus, Dine on American Champion. Pro folks will argue there are regulations. The regulations banned double decker trailers in December of 2006 and yet, last week, a double decker trailer was accepted by Cavel. The regulations ban late term pregnant mares from going to slaughter. Within the last month, two mares gave birth on the kill house floor. One of them, was minutes before she was headed into the kill box. If it had been minutes later, the mare would have been slaughtered and the foal thrown on a pile of guts. We fought for hours to save the mare and foal born last week. Jim Tucker wanted to slaughter both of them but finally agreed to turn them over to a rescue. I question how that man can sleep at night. Is that what we've become? Is that what the pro folks want to keep operating? It's all about the almighty dollar and dare anyone to get in their way.

What is the AQHA doing to stop the over breeding? Are they working with owners to make them more responsible? Making them understand if they can't care for one horse, breeding the horse isn't the solution? Instead of addressing the over breeding, they are lobbying to keep horse slaughter operating. You mentioned shots. You do realize the shots given from birth and all horse medication during their lifetime is clearly labeled "not for food animals".

We are not activists, we are Americans that value the contribution of horses through-out our history. They helped build this country. They carried our soldiers into battle, they carry our mounted police, they are used in therapy, they entertain us and they are trusting companions. They deserve a dignified end to their lives.

If you are falling prey to and referring to the unwanted horse theory and increased cases of abuse and neglect, please read John Holland's brilliant piece on this subject. You'll be surprised by the findings.

Callie said...

Thank-you Anonymous. You're right, this blog is meant to facilitate discussion. Thank-you for the apology and you are most certainly welcome to your opinion and it will always be welcome and posted here.

The People History said...

To Anonymous ,

Thanks for continueing to post and air your views on this very emmotive subject.

I have to admit if I had to come down and make a decision if slaughter houses were morally right or wrong it would be on the side of closing them , my wife and I who both love animals and consider that owning an animal includes loving, caring and providing for that animal for it's lifetime into old age which is an even bigger commitment than children as a certain age if you have provided the tools and education your children can go out into the world

Although I disagree with slaughter houses personally . The definition of what a horse is causes the very problems many are having with this issue.

Are Horses Pets or Livestock
ours are most definatly treated as pets but I suspect many of those who use horses as Livestock do consider them Livestock so thier views and mine on how a horse should be bought and sold are diametrically opposed.

I am glad Callie started this post and is allowing all views not only those she agrees with to be shown , only in that way can those who are unsure of thier views on this subject read an intellegent discussion that highlights both sides of the equation.


Callie said...

I will add this, you make valid points and statistics, however, there is one thing about the numbers that I don't think necessarily proves that quarter horses are overbred,I don't disagree with your numbers,and that is that thoroughbreds are used mostly for racing, some jump and huntseat, english pleasure. Standardbreds for pacing. Quarter horses are known for and desirable for their versatilty and that includes a mass of different disciplines ie: western & english pleasure, gymcana, barrels, rodeo, roping, cutting, ranch horse, trail, flags, all around, team penning, racing, etc. And I think this topic could very well be argued clear into the next century. I'm sittin' on the fence.

Twisted Oaks Quarter Horses said...

Anonymous it's great that you have all the time to research this subject. This was brought up for discussion to get ideas to save horses. I would rather see them close, the problems need to be fixed. It seems that most of the blame in your comment is directed at AQHA and the people that breed quarter horses. I do not think it is fair to lump all breeders into one category. I own a stallion and bred one mare to him last year and one this year. I still own 6 out of the 12 babies out of my mares. I sold 5 of those to my friends and one by word of mouth to a real nice lady that I stay in contact with. Most are shown or being trained to show. The quarter horse numbers are high because most owners have multiple horses. I look for specific bloodlines and some do cross over the the paint and appy lines, but not enough for me to purchase one. I do not breed or purchase a horse because of color. I worry about what happens to them so I try to be selective. One of the colts has a limp and he will live here forever, unless Callie wins the lotto. I am just stating my opinion and that seems to offend you. My bringing up other issues were just examples of opinions. Whether the average person likes it or not they have to deal with grey areas. There will always be people taking advantage of loopholes. I quit losing sleep over it. The courts only seem to protect the people breaking the laws not the people hurt by them. Good luck saving the world.

Anonymous said...

Twisted Oaks, you have many valid points. I singled out the quarter horses because of their sheer numbers compared to other breeds, the fact that the AQHA is pro slaughter and that the majority of horses going to slaughter are quarter horses. This entire issue may be moot soon. The last of the three kill houses in the US, Cavel (in my state, Illinois) is shutting down in 30 minutes. We passed a law banning horse slaughter and of course, Cavel appealed. As everyone knows, they don't pay federal tax so now they are wasting my tax dollars appealing. The judge had given them a TRO and then an extension - that expired today. Naturally, they filed for another extension and also asked for a permanent restraining order. They were denied and ordered to shut down at midnight. They should move their business to the countries that buy their products. We don't have slaughter houses in foreign countries to import beef. If we did and they didn't eat beef, I'm sure we'd see the same reaction.

I don't spend a lot of time researching. There are many vehicles to obtain information. I have many friends that own horses and have been involved with many rescues so information is close at hand. Again, thanks for the opportunity to discuss this hot issue. With each response, I think we all learn. Save the world, me? I think not! I'm only trying to do my small part to save our precious horses.