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Equine Disposal at the Kennels

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  • #21
    A nice twist to an unpleasant (for some) topic - we had a guy bring his old favourite QH mare here to the kennels to be put down, and he asked that we keep the heart for him. He came back a couple of days later and took it home to bury and plant a tree over. I thought that was quite a neat idea. =)

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    • #22
      I have held countless horses while my partner has shot them and wouldn't hesitate to have my own horses go the same way.
      Haven't done countless ones, but have euthed a horse via bullet, and butchered many cattle to eat. In my opinion, a great way to go, if it's done right: one minute, munching some hay, next moment gone, as racetrackreject said so well.

      As per Temple Grandin on cattle harvesting,
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMqYYXswono
      the legs kicking and thrashing after the captive bolt (like a gunshot) are not evidence that the animal is still alive. A properly placed gunshot destroys the brain (and consciousness is gone when the brain is destroyed, as well.). What you have left is walking reflex in the intact spinal cord, that is usually controlled by the brain. Once the brain is destroyed, the coordination of legs kicking (or staying still) is gone, and so the legs can and will thrash for a while.

      I don't know that I'd try to euth/slaughter anything but a sheep or goat by slitting the throat. A cow would have to be terribly tame to even try it without risking getting hurt. And nowadays most folks don't eat the brain, so there's not much incentive at this point to save it from a bullet.

      I can't speak to the thrashing from a chemical euth. I just know that the hardest part of a euth can be the owner's upset, and that can be terribly amplified (to the point of upsetting the animal, too) when things don't go just exactly right. And that could be true for a bullet as well as a needle.

      In fact, I think when people swear that their animal was 'fearing death' at slaughter or euthanasia, what was really going on was that the person had a good connection to the animal, and the person was the one 'fearing death' and transmitting that upset to the animal. Animals have a VERY strong sense of self preservation (well, maybe sheep not so much) but I personally am not convinced they have an active concept of, or fear of/aversion to death itself.

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      • #23
        Originally posted by otterhound View Post
        A nice twist to an unpleasant (for some) topic - we had a guy bring his old favourite QH mare here to the kennels to be put down, and he asked that we keep the heart for him. He came back a couple of days later and took it home to bury and plant a tree over. I thought that was quite a neat idea. =)
        It is my understanding, that in Kentucky, and perhaps elsewhere, that all those racehorse cemetarys contain only the head, heart and hooves. The rest was renderd.
        Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

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        • #24
          Originally posted by Kadenz View Post
          I don't believe I've yet seen a chemical euth that went "well."
          Why would that be? Even though there are risks and downsides, an injection should still virtually always go as planned. I've only seen one complication out of 2 dozen or so), and that will still pretty minor. Sorry for your crummy experiences
          An auto-save saved my post.

          I might be a cylon

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          • #25
            Recent surreal experience . . .

            I've participated in well over a dozen chemical euthanasias, with horses of all ages and conditions though mostly older, and had never seen one NOT fall off the needle dead when he hit the ground.

            Until last month. My old (25?) rescued TWH, whose incredible will to live had enabled him to not only survive, but thrive for four years after having been starved down to a body-condition score of 1, came up profoundly neurological as the result of probably melanoma impingement (vet's best guess). He was ataxic and seemed mentally "elsewhere." We did The Deed behind the barn on good footing on a quiet sunny September afternoon, with the tranquilizer first as always.

            Vet gave him Pink Juice No. 1. He just stood there. Absolutely nothing happened. Weird. I asked if he was in the vein. "Oh, yes." Gave No. 2. Still nothing happened. Finally, the horse began to walk slowly in circles, as though longeing, to the limit of the 12-foot lead. We let him take us around 40 feet toward the fence where the vet by now had loaded up No. 3. Gave that and finally, slowly, grudgingly, the horse laid down. It took No. 4 and another half an hour before he was gone.

            Guys, I thought I'd seen some sh!t, but this freaked me out so much I had him transported rather than buried--because I'd always heard those yarns about "dead" horses climbing out of a grave, and always thought they were just "campfire tales" from the old days and completely impossible until I saw THIS.

            I just hope it wasn't my old guy's way of telling me the vet's diagnosis was wrong . . . DEAD wrong.

            R.I.P. (please), Ollie.

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            • #26
              This is true except for a special few horses - Secretariat was one. I believe Seattle Slew another.

              Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
              It is my understanding, that in Kentucky, and perhaps elsewhere, that all those racehorse cemetarys contain only the head, heart and hooves. The rest was renderd.
              The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.
              H. Cate

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              • #27
                Originally posted by JGHIRETIRE View Post
                This is true except for a special few horses - Secretariat was one. I believe Seattle Slew another.
                At Claiborne's main cemetery, Secretariat, Mr. Prospector, Swale and Round Table were buried entire. Seattle Slew, buried at Hill N' Dale, was as well.

                Oddly, at Claiborne there is a marker for Sir Gallahad III in the main cemetery, and another flat slab in the Marchmont cemetery - the stallion manager told me that his head, heart, and hooves were in the main cemetery, and the body at Marchmont.

                The KY Horse Park buries the entire horse. They also list the significance of the traditional burial - "The head represents the horse's intelligence and personality; the heart represents the spirit or will to win; and, the hooves represent their speed or agility."

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                • #28
                  The practice of sending your hore to the Hunt is called sending him to the knackers. The kennel-huntsman was skilled at cutting up the horse, or knackering him.

                  It is rather a subject I prefer not to swell on and over-think. I just like to tell myself that they met a kind end and are doing some good...

                  I almost thought to do an article on this subject but so far have put the idea into the 'someday' file. Perhaps sometimes there is such a thing a too much information and need to know situations.

                  Grey horses are not used here - just trucked to Alberta from BC for disposal, ugh.
                  Proud member of People Who Hate to Kill Wildlife clique

                  Comment


                  • #29
                    Foxtrot's, I thought this article was interesting:

                    http://www.lassa.org.uk/history.php

                    I found it when I went looking for what a "bell gun" was...

                    Comment


                    • #30
                      I had know idea horse cemeteries existed! We certainly have none here.

                      At work (TB stud) we had a 2 yo filly who just wouldn't die with an injection ... she had been quite sick and was under veterinary treatment when the decision was made to end it. Unfortunately her heart wasn't pumping strongly enough to distribute the drugs and it wasn't a nice situation.

                      Of course this isn't a particularly enjoyable subject, but it's one we must be aware of if we have horses, because you really just never know what may happen. I think it's better to have dealt with the harsh reality of what may happen before we're put in the situation where we may have to make a quick decision. Forewarned is forearmed.

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                      • #31
                        The two horses I have put down went to the zoo. Trainer takes hers there or big cat place. Circle of life, better end, and useful for another animal. I hate hearing the shot when you leave though.
                        I am on my phone 90% of the time. Please ignore typos, misplaced lower case letters, and the random word butchered by autocowreck.

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                        • #32
                          I think it is great that there are options out there where a horse can continue to be of service, even in death.



                          Putting down by gunshot is only traumatic to us humans who hear it and know what it is. The animal being shot never even hears the shot, they are already dead.

                          Comment


                          • #33
                            Foxtrot's -- ".... gray horses are not used here.'
                            ???????
                            * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

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                            • #34
                              I have assisted at a lot of chemical euths, and a couple by gun.

                              I don't know if the local hunt still accepts horses, but they certainly did in the past, and it was pretty common for old hunters to be sent to the kennels. "A little of the horse goes on to hunt forever." is the way I've heard it expressed.

                              If the gun is in the hands of a skilled or practiced person, like a kennelman or huntsman, it is absolutely instantaneous and the horse is dead when it hits the ground. It is fairly traumatic for the people involved, but I think it's just that we're socialized to believe guns = violence and pain.

                              I don't have horror stories about chemical euths, but they are slower - I've had several horses have to have a second big shot of the euth drug, and had the vet check multiple times for a pulse and heartbeat. This is heartbreaking to watch. With my geriatric pony, he refused to lay down - the vet had to push him back and over, and then administer a second shot. Not really the end I had planned.

                              If wouldn't have any problem sending a horse to a hunt kennel if I knew that the person handling the gun or captive bolt knew what they were doing.
                              The plural of anecdote is not data.

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                I remember in Pony Club the teacher showing us where you had to shoot the horse to kill them quickly.

                                Draw a line across the horse's head from the eye to the opposite ear, where the lines cross is where you shoot.

                                We all thought it was a neat thing to know. A lot of us had been around cows so shooting wasn't an unusual end for livestock.
                                "Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc"

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by JGHIRETIRE View Post
                                  This is true except for a special few horses - Secretariat was one. I believe Seattle Slew another.
                                  Originally posted by starlitlaughter View Post
                                  At Claiborne's main cemetery, Secretariat, Mr. Prospector, Swale and Round Table were buried entire. Seattle Slew, buried at Hill N' Dale, was as well.

                                  The KY Horse Park buries the entire horse. They also list the significance of the traditional burial - "The head represents the horse's intelligence and personality; the heart represents the spirit or will to win; and, the hooves represent their speed or agility."
                                  And, most famously, Man O'War, who was buried in a casket and originally at Faraway Farm before being moved to the KHP when it opened.
                                  Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans

                                  Comment


                                  • #37
                                    Why is it that with human deaths, society is rejecting burial and embalming as wasteful and environmentally irresponsible; but all of a sudden it's de rigeur for horses?

                                    I don't see how humane or environmentally responsible it is to bury a 1200lb contaminated carcass that can contaminate groundwater or kill wildlife or domestic animals that might be exposed to it.

                                    There's no shame in choosing (or having to) chemically euthanize a horse - but don't delude yourself into thinking you're morally superior for choosing that method. Sending a horse to the kennel does not mean the owner didn't love their horse or care about its welfare.

                                    All it means is that the horse needed to be put down - and its body can nourish a kennel of working dogs that will benefit from the protein. The bones, if placed in a bone pile, will help nourish wildlife.

                                    That's it.

                                    It's a humane end. And a responsible one.

                                    There's nothing dignified about a dead animal being winched onto a rendering truck. There's nothing dignified about the backhoe picking up a stiff carcass; especially one that's frozen to the ground or one that flies have starting laying maggots in. There's certainly nothing dignified about not burying the animal deep enough and finding dead wildlife that have eaten it.

                                    There's nothing really dignified about feeding livestock to the hounds, either. It's just a humane end, and one that isn't wasteful. For a hunt horse, the kennel is a familiar place - a happy place. He/she knows the hounds, knows the huntsman.

                                    I've brought a horse to the kennel and will do so again if circumstances permit. I promised that horse I wouldn't put him through another winter and I kept my promise.
                                    Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                    Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                    -Rudyard Kipling

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by judybigredpony View Post
                                      I agree 100% and so does my Vet a well placed bullet or Captive Bolt is quicker. Chemical Euthanasia is expensive and often ugly and takes way more time. We have even found chemical euthanised horses @ the track standing up very much alive the next morning after sustaining a life ending injury and Chemically Euthanised by Vet

                                      I don't know any hunts around us who will take on any animal to feed hounds either.
                                      This is going to give me nightmares.
                                      come what may

                                      Rest in peace great mare, 1987-2013

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                                      • #39
                                        Joy of joys - I just learned that a recognized hunt Very. Near. My. Farm. is going to begin taking horses again very soon.
                                        * www.huntersrest.net -- Virginia hunt country's best Bed-and-Breakfast-and-Barn.

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by SmartAlex View Post
                                          And, most famously, Man O'War, who was buried in a casket and originally at Faraway Farm before being moved to the KHP when it opened.
                                          Here he is (don't worry, it's quite dignified)

                                          http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-hBC9EstebD...balm%257E1.jpg
                                          Holy crap, how does Darwin keep missing you? ~Lauruffian

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