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Editorial Comment in Local Paper-

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  • Editorial Comment in Local Paper-

    Found it interesting to read the comments expressed by this individual in one of our local papers.

    (2nd Editorial from top)-
    The Daily Star- Editorials (Oneonta, NY)

    What I found most interesting is the thought that 'lesser' quality horses or those with less training, desirable breeding should be sent to slaughter?

  • #2
    As my husband would say "she ain't right". UGGGHH. We have sold good horses cheap sometimes because of the buyer being someone that could not afford the horse's true worth, but desperately wanted one. Daddy was bad to sell one cheap enough that a well deserving child could have a safe horse. He did keep tabs on it though. Of course, there was the time when my mother told us we could not come home until we got rid of some horses..... The point is is that the editorial writer was wrong and should rethink her position. SHe sounds cold, uncaring and frankly snobbish with the apparent implication that only people with money should have horses.

    Sorry if this steps on toes, but I don't agree with slaughter, especially of sound horses that may make good but not great horses.

    She may not have changed the stars from their courses, but she loved a good man, and she rode good horses….author unknown


    • #3
      Yet another person suffering from faulty logic....

      If I had the place to put one I'd have no problem taking on a "dangerous" horse. I have yet to know a foal that was born dangerous but many have been made that way due to handling (or lack thereof, environment, etc.). But it's just me, I have no children to worry about.

      No, Trigger and Secretariat (and probably Mr. Ed) didn't go to slaughter--but Ferdinand and Exceller and many others like them have. Maybe this person never found a Thoroughbred that sold for gazillions of dollars at a TB sale at a New Holland. It's not just ill bred, sick and dangerous horses that are being slaughtered! That's a misconception.

      Quite often horses end up in slaughter due to no fault of their own--they've simply fallen through the cracks. I've read of horses who were sent to slaughter after having been "leased" to other people. Sad, but true.

      And why do people automatically assume if you can't send a horse to slaughter that it will be abused? I admit that our welfare laws need to be tightened up and enforced! But there are safety nets out there--right now anyway. That may change in the future though due to the economy.

      Registration papers mean nothing and save no one! It's about the sanctity of life. Everyone knows there are too many horses being bred--but does anyone stop breeding???? Not usually!!!! Changing the problem of excess horses has to stop somewhere and what better place than the breeding shed? If you're breeding for resale please reconsider your stance. It's not about ego, it's about common sense at this point. Things will never change unless people's mindsets change.

      "A good horses isn't cheap, and a cheap horse isn't good." Gee, I guess I'll have to tell that one to the little mare I'm going to feed this morning! She cost me $500. and came with "papers"! A great grand daughter of Northern Dancer--small, but mighty! Not a mean bone in her body with decent conformation and a good mind. Has a great whoa and a fantastic personality. She didn't always have a great whoa, but I helped her get one. Loves kids and only tolerates me because I bribe her with apples and carrots!

      Sorry, I'm not buying what that woman is saying!!!!
      "I'm not much into conspiracy theories but if everyone thinks alike you don't need a plot!" ~person from another bulletin board whose name has been long forgotten~


      • #4
        I guarantee you that Trigger, Secretariat and Mr. Ed didn’t go to slaughter.
        Tracy Willis, Otego
        But, KY Derby winner, Ferdinand did...

        A good horse isn’t cheap, and a cheap horse isn’t good.
        Says who? Besides Tracy Willis... I have two free horses and both are great, wonderful, sound, healthy horses. My tb is worth her weight in gold to me (actually more than that, she's priceless...) and she's a damn good horse in my opinion.

        Papers will print anything sometimes, won't they...
        http://leakycreek.wordpress.com/ Rainbows & Mourning Doves Blog
        John P. Smith II 1973-2009 Love Always
        Father, Husband, Friend, Firefighter- Cancer Sucks- Cure Melanoma


        • #5
          Well, it was only a Letter to the Editor. That's where people express their feelings regarding an article. It was pretty benign - I've read a lot spicier ones in my local paper.

          I don't think slaughter is inherently inhumane, but I know that perfectly useful, healthy horses are slaughtered all the time. I feel very sorry for the dogs and cats that are euthanized too. Especially when I see their bodies dumped in fields, dumpsters or the landfill. Very sad. At least horses are put to use - even if we find that use distasteful.

          Sometimes I read some posts on this forum that I find very disturbing. "Free unsound horse to good home". That sort of thing. We all know there is no such thing as a free horse. How many people in the US really want an expensive pasture ornament? Shouldn't we be suspicious of people who want such horses? Many folks might take in one "companion" horse - but there is a limit - no matter how big your heart is.

          One thing that is rarely, if ever mentioned on this forum is the unappealing, but ethical, choice of euthanizing an unsound, aged, or otherwise unadoptable horse. There are only so many companion only homes, experienced horsemen able to work with challenging but sound horses, or retirement farms.

          As a horse owner, if you are faced with giving away your old or unsound horse to a "good home" - and running the risk the horse will be abused, sold to slaughter, or otherwise suffer an unhappy fate - isn't euthanasia an option - even for a healthy horse that cannot find a suitable home? Animal shelters do it all the time.

          I don't want to debate slaughter, because I know it's an extremely controversial subject. And frankly, I'm a bit tired of being called horrible evil names because of my position. It distracts from any meaningful debate.

          Many people sell or give away horses - even unsound ones - and walk away. We can't blame it all on breeders, reputable or not. If the fashion is for Paints - it's because the consumer demanded it. Horse owners. Same for zorses, mini-donks, or any other designer animals.

          What responsibility does the individual horse owner share for a glut of horses, overpriced WB's that some trainer demand they have - QH's with the feet bred out of them, etc. I think the horse community bears some of the burden for those animals - as we, as consumers - have created the demand. And therefore - the glut. Horse owners can only absorb so much of a glut until there is nowhere for these horses to go except to slaughter.

          Whether I agree with it or not is not the point. I'm saying that horses are not just a product of breeding - bad or good breeding. They are also a product of our demand for certain breeds, colors, temperament, flashiness, etc.

          If you ask the dressage forum, only a WB can be a great dressage horse. If you ask the hunters, they require a certain type. Foxhunters require certain traits. Eventing, driving, trail riding, etc. To meet that demand, horses must be bred to certain specs. Sometimes they don't turn out the way the breeder intended, or the fashion has changed in the horse world, or an economic downturn has resulted in poor sales.

          Sooooooo.... where do they go? Where do all the unwanted dogs and cats go? Ferrets? Birds? Hedgehogs? As an owner or breeder, is euthanasia an ethical choice for such animals?
          Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
          Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
          -Rudyard Kipling


          • #6
            She sounds very logical to me. If someone has no other use for a horse and no one wants to pay more then the slaughter plants thats where I send mine. There livestock and we use them foir meat all the time. Same as cattle, hogs, sheep etc.

            If someone hates to see them slaughtered I have no problem with that but pay more for them then the meat users do.
            Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


            • #7
              Originally posted by J Swan:
              I don't think slaughter is inherently inhumane, but I know that perfectly useful, healthy horses are slaughtered all the time... At least horses are put to use - even if we find that use distasteful.
              3 of my 4 horses were bought from the local "meat" horse auction, so I've seen a little bit about how the slaughter system works.

              Here is what horses look like whose owners were so caring they sold them to slaughter (taken the day the horses were pulled out of the sale: first 2 are ex-amish belgians i bought to rehab. The 3rd, a young Percheron, belongs to my friend who bought him at the same sale for only $150). Some at the sale actually looked worse: slipper feet, open wounds, etc.
              (these aren't bad horses. They were just unlucky & dumped)

              It's not the idea of quickly converting an animal to food that bothers most people. It's the days or weeks (or more) of neglect these animals endure once the owner makes up their mind the animal is worthless. And it's the fact any animal once written off as "heading for slaughter" has zero right to medical care, decent food, or humane treatment. If you saw the animals in this condition in someone's backyard, you'd call the police. If you see them like this at the sale, it's normal -- they all look like this sad -- and the police won't do a darn thing.

              By the time many of these horses get dumped at the meat auction, they're already underweight. Footcare... who pays for footcare for an animal that'll be shipped off to be hamburger? Vaccinations, deworming... nope. Why spend the money? So at the auction we see row after row of tired, malnourished, underweight, sick, and injured animals.

              A lucky few get bought by caring people. The rest get bought by the dozen to be crammed into tractor trailers. Up until very recently there were still horse slaughter buyers who were using double-deckers COW trailers to move their inventory (it's now illegal in PA where my local meat auction is). Imagine a horse crammed shoulder to shoulder in a truck where they can't even lift their head up? Imagine stuffing yearlings in with stallions, mares, and geldings.

              Then they cross the country to Texas or head up towards Canada since horse slaughterhouse are never local. They finally get access to water and minimal hay in a crowded feedlot while they wait a few days. Injured horses are ignored and left to suffer. Medical care is required by law for our horses but it's NOT for "meat" animals once they're on their way to slaughter. And keep in mind many of the dumped horses weren't in the best of health anyway: bad feet, maybe founder, maybe ill, maybe just old.

              Their suffering finally ends when they're chased up a chute, terrifed. The captive bolt is the method most slaughterhouses use to kill their horses. They'll tell you though this system does NOT kill 100% of the animals on the first try. So even the death may be repeated attempts at the boltgun or if they don't notice the horse is still concious, he's hung up by a hook in his leg still alive.

              I also object to the lack of disclosure: when you sell your beloved horse, you have no assurance the horse won't end up at slaughter. You can't trust most auctions! You can't tell the auctionhouse "do not sell this horse to meat buyers". Meat buyers don't have to (and often avoid) identifying themselves. The horses are just sold and vanish, maybe to a good home or maybe eventually into a feedlot, you'll never know.
              Veterinarians for Equine Welfare


              • #8
                The problem is that as any rescuer can tell you, there are sound, healthy horses going through the kill auctions ALL THE TIME.

                Including some pretty big name race and show horses, of all disciplines.
                "The standard you walk by is the standard you accept."--Lt. Gen. David Morrison, Austalian Army Chief


                • #9
                  The type horses in the pictures are not whats used for slaughter and have nothing to do with that industry.

                  Slaughtered horses are the fat, young, in good shape ones no differant then cattle or any other species.

                  Theres no meat on thin animals so why would they be the ones slaughtered?
                  Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                  • #10
                    As J Swan points out this is just a letter to the editor. I'm rather familiar with The Daily Star and in fact Otego NY as well, where the writer proclaims to be from.

                    The newspaper and its editors, owners could care less about horses IMHO and barely gives much attention to anything equestrian in the area. Spectacular Bid lived, died and forever remains less then 20 minutes away from Oneonta and recived this fairly bland article that was largely AP rewrites and a citation from an older article. Disapointing as the National Soccer Hall of Fame, something the paper couldn't be more of a cheerleader for, only in the last few years has it surpass the volume of fans that visited Bid each year while he lived at Unadilla. Go figure.

                    Anyhow the writer is just illinformed as someone cited above, Ferdinand was a Derby and Breeders' Cup champion and was slaughtered as was the other champion, Exceller. So, no not the fictional "Mr. Ed" but other horses that have made people very rich and had hundreds of thousands of fans cheering them on.


                    • #11
                      "One thing that's rarely, if ever mentioned on this forum is the unappealing but ethical choice of euthanizeing an unsound, aged, or otherwise unadoptable horse" J Swan

                      J Swan you make a valuable point. A couple of years ago I had an OTTB who had been bought out of the slaughter pens at New Holland. He rehabbed into a lovely, essentially easy horse-- for a while. We eventually ran into the unpredictable and dangerous behavior under saddle that was no doubt the reason he wound up where he was. It could well have been due to mistreatment or unsoundness at some point in his unknown history, but in my opinion it made him ineligible for adoption. I would not consign him back to the sales only to start the cycle all over again, nor could I afford to support a young and healthy and useless animal using resources destined for a working horse in my small operation. So we euthanized him. It was not a happy or easy decision, but my vet fully supported me and I felt it was absolutely the right thing to do. So there is another choice,and even if it is not pretty or idyllic I believe it is ultimately fair and humane.


                      • #12
                        For sure if you don't need or want the money putting one down is a great way to go. Its what we do with all our pets here.
                        Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                        • #13
                          County, you're kidding right? So, they only kill the fat ones? And what, let the skinny ones just sit in a pen and die of starvation? Please. And horses that are fat, young and slick....were NOT bred for consumption.

                          The logic is flawed, slaughter is just a more efficient way of disposing of unwanted horses while getting the last possible buck (pun intended). In NO way is it more humane.

                          If you're really convinced that this is all true, then why not send unwanted dogs and cats to southeast Asia, since both are consumed and in fact, bred kept for consumption. Why not? Because to most if not all Americans the thought of eating Fluffy or Fido is repugnant. Well, the thought of eating my horse (who was on her way to auction and most likely would have been a tasty "whinny-burger" for someone in Europe or Japan) makes me sick!

                          In the US, we don't eat our pets (well, maybe some do, but that's an issue for Jerry Springer). Thus, we don't breed them for consumption. Sending horses to slaughter for foreign consumption is (in my not-so humble opinion) based on greed, not hunger. We don't send them to other countries to end famine, no, horse meat is (or so I'm told) a very expensive delicacy. (Operative phrase: very expensive)

                          OK, flame away, I'm off the soapbox.

                          (And by the way, for anyone who might know, why haven't we heard about PETA razzing, rioting or whatever, about this issue? I don't appreciate their ignorance on horse issues, but this is one a first-grader can understand.) Now I'm really off the soapbox. Promise.


                          • #14
                            Darn it, I just wasted my time reading the "Liberal" article before the one you're talking about

                            and WOW, county I would HATE to be one of your "pets"


                            • #15
                              No they hardly let skinny ones die of starvation any more then cattle buyers let skinny cvattle die. They fatten them up then butcher them. And your right we don't eat pets but then not all horses are pets. And horse slaughter exists for the exact same reasons all slaughter does. Profit and demand for meat, we don't butcher cows because theres to many either.

                              LessIsMore17 why would you hate to be a pet here? Would you rather suffer and have a prolonged life when you become old and sick?
                              Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                              • #16
                                J Swan- I agree with you on the choice of euthanasia.


                                • #17
                                  I truly understand everyone's point of view. Honest to God I do.

                                  My own draft cross was likely a PMU foal. My "free" horse that was headed to auction has really almost bankrupted me.

                                  county is doing nothing more than being brutally honest. As am I.

                                  I think it's a bit simplistic to blame breeders, or a segment of society, or even an industry on the slaughter issue. Horses are not being bred for consumption like other livestock. Before we cast blame, I think we, as individual horse owners, need to examine our own role in this mess.

                                  We mourn Ferdinand, cheer Spectacular Bid, and insist our horses have what it takes to conform to our desires and goals.

                                  For every horse that makes the grade, there are dozens who don't. There aren't enough homes for them all, and there are a limited number of facilities to care for them. So what is to be done. Slaughter is one solution. Euthanasia is another. Both are unpleasant.

                                  So in the end, it's a simple equation, isn't it. (Welfare concerns aside)

                                  For dairy cows, byproducts are veal, meat, leather, milk, gelatin, dog food and other uses. All of these products are used in other industries to make toothpaste, fabric softener, etc., contributing to the overall economy.

                                  What are the by products of horses? Simply more horses? Or can humans use this species of livestock after their death the way we use pigs, deer, cows, or other livestock? Please note that only recently have horses been used for recreation - throughout history we have indeed used them to clothe and feed us.

                                  Is a solution that x number of grade horses are produced and x number of owners are permitted to purchase them with a prohibition on selling or breeding the animal? That seems rather extreme.

                                  Again, using posts on this forum, I can see that individual horse owners indirectly contribute to slaughter whether they mean to or not.

                                  People advising others to breed an unusuable mare, people giving away or selling horses for low prices, people advising others to get rid of horses because it won't do upper levels, run fast enough, too tall, too short, bad feet, etc or has a conformation fault, or otherwise serve the person's ego or pocketbook or trainer....

                                  Where do these horses end up? Do they keep getting sold down the line and eventually end up in the kill pen? Do they die a quiet natural death in a green pasture? Do we all know what happened to those school horses we learned to ride on?

                                  As a community, those questions need to be asked and answered, because we do contribute to the slaughter industry - and in the end, we are partially responsible because we have created the market for horses as pleasure or competition mounts.

                                  We can't justify our actions by taking the moral high ground and saying well - my horse went to a good home. Or, I have a contract. Or whatever it takes to make us feel better about ridding ourselves of a horse that no longer serves a purpose.

                                  We euthanize unwanted animals all the time. Heck - I witnessed a lady at the local shelter give up her 1 year old yellow Lab because - IT NO LONGER MATCHED THE INTERIOR OF HER CORVETTE. Swear to God. Hope she wasn't a horse owner or had kids.

                                  Before we lambast others, we need to examine our own role, indirect as it may be. And we also need to ask ourselves some hard questions about our own morals and ethics.

                                  Is it ethical to go through horses until you find the one that will take you to Grand Prix? Is it morally acceptable to consign an aged foxhunter because it can't gallop over jumps? Is it ethical to euthanize a healthy horse instead of selling it? Is a person opposed to horse slaughter morally corrupt because they have owned, bred or sold horses? Is a person who is not opposed to slaughter morally corrupt as well?

                                  People will have different answers to those questions. These question may even make us feel uncomfortable. But I think they should be asked anyway.

                                  I'm not critizing anyone, and I'm not calling names. I'm simply asking everyone opposed to slaughter (as well as people who aren't opposed) - to think about exactly how this industry came to be.
                                  Brothers and sisters, I bid you beware
                                  Of giving your heart to a dog to tear.
                                  -Rudyard Kipling


                                  • Original Poster

                                    Well, I responded to the editorial. Funny, my anger was flared and I found myself having a difficult time trying to put my feelings into the appropriate words, but this is what I wrote-
                                    As a resident of Central NY state, its quite understandable that many are pro-slaughter towards the issue of horses. There are several ‘dumping’ grounds (auction/sales houses) that enable horseowners within a 1-2 hour driving range, the ability to discard their unwanted horses and put the last few dollars the horse might bring in their pocket. Do they question or care who the buyer might be of these horses? In most cases, no. Are the horses taken to these sales of less quality- therefore of less value and worth? No. Are only the infirmed and aged sent off to be sold? No. And just who is it that places the ‘value’ on these equine lives? The value of any horse is subjective, in most instances, it’s what a buyer is willing to pay on any given day. To argue that any horse that may lack expertise training or not have stellar breeding is of less value and therefore makes it a prime candidate for slaughter is ludicrous. Being involved in the horse community, I’ve known many horse enthusiasts that may proclaim ‘this horse has extensive ‘professional’ training’ – and again, what may be professional training to one individual may be nothing more than ‘backyard trailriding’ to another. The slaughtering of horses is not based on the ‘value’ or ‘worth’ of any horse.

                                    The transport and slaughter of our American horses is a disgrace to this country. For centuries horses have played an important role in the defense of our country, carrying soldiers to battle, vital correspondence to wartime authorities and in many other capacities. Through the years, we have domesticated the horse through selective breeding enabling it to adapt to an environment unlike that of which it was intended. Through training and socialization with it’s human counterpart, it has learned to trust the human hand. If slaughter is to continue, it is the trust of the human hand that will be the final touch in ending it’s life, a human hand armed with a captive bolt gun to be aimed at the horses forehead. To continue to permit these foreign owned slaughterplants to operate and exploit our American horses is shameful.

                                    The solution to this issue needs to begin with responsible horse ownership. The breeding of equine stock, no matter what the breed, needs to become more selective to lessen the number of animals produced that will inevitably, become unwanted. The practice of euthanasia needs to become a standard, and ideally veterinary facilities, drug manufacturers and rendering companies need to begin to work in unison to lessen the burden and expense of euthanasia. As Americans, we do not permit this in-humane treatment towards our canine/feline animals, and it should not be permitted towards our equine population.

                                    The profiting of these foreign owned slaughterplants off of our American horses needs to stop!
                                    Some pics of just a few of the killpen rescues I've done-

                                    Destiny - Arriving at Epona Farm in NH- adopted and living the good life now!

                                    ALL of these were purchased out of the NY killpen

                                    My Nell - still wearing her 'kill' tag

                                    My Nell - just a few months after her arrival to my farm

                                    My Val - no longer productive and DUMPED by TB Breeding farm here in NY

                                    And here's After Ben - TB that we were not able to help


                                    • #19
                                      So should the profit of U.S. companies on foreign soil also stop?
                                      Quality doesn\'t cost it pays.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        County- I've never corresponded with you on this forum and you do raise a good point. I would like to know, do we as Americans, profit off the slaughter of animals (you see, I'm strictly referring to living, breathing creatures) through companies located abroad?

                                        Also County- it is my understanding that you are a breeder in the MidWest, correct? Respectfully, I'd like to know what you do with any of the youngsters you produce that do NOT live up to the expectations of the breeding? For each breeding and resulting foal, do you have them 'pre-sold' to perspective customers?