Horses play an integral role in the history, and the present, of the Americas. In recent months, there have been a great many articles about the BLM's wild horse roundups, the treatment of retired racehorses, of neglect and cruelty. The issue of horse slaughter (which is currently banned in the United States, but allowed in both Canada and Mexico) is receiving tremendous publicity both for the inhumanity of the practices associated with it, and because of the practice itself.
"Faith and Spirit came to the farm on April 20th 2011. We received a phone call from the local kill pen that a foal had been born in their holding pen. We worked desperately to raise funds to rescue mom and baby. Joel, one of our dedicated volunteers, donated what we needed to save these two. We estimated his birth date is April 10th 2011. This colt literally saved his mother's life. There's no doubt the slaughterhouse would have killed her, pregnant or not. Faith and Spirit will remain at Day Dreams Farm until Spirit is weaned and then Faith will be up for adoption. Spirit will continue to grow up at the farm and he will choose which direction he wants his life to go."
The inhumanity of the kill pen, and the tragedy that faces horses who find themselves there, is illustrated in a wonderful video of a foal born in a kill pen while his mother waited for slaughter (http://youtu.be/WODPAmME1e8). There is a happy ending for them both, thanks to Day Dreams Equine Rescue and Therapy (http://www.daydreamsfarm.com) but there need to be many, many more. Horses, because they have outlived their usefulness in one role, should not be thrown away. They can certainly be retrained for another purposes. Like all domesticated animals, they have an important relationship with people, and one that is mutually beneficial. The unspeakable things we do to dispose of them reflects our respect for humanity as a whole, and it is time we step up for the human race, the animal population, and the planet.
The issues around the treatment, management and slaughter of horses are complex, but the realities seem to be simple and come down to an all too common denominator - human greed. Horses are expensive to keep, and if they are wild, can be inconvenient to have around. Crushing economic conditions have exacerbated poor conditions for many farmers and horse owners, with more and more horses suffering from neglect as owners are unable to keep them. A reduction in horse races and purses, and an increase in irresponsible breeding, have resulted in a glut of unwanted racehorses, many of whom have earned significant money before being consigned to the kill pen because their racing careers are over. Rescue organizations are stretched, and advocacy groups fight an uphill battle in the face of a glut of unwanted horses. And, it is important to remember that, in North America, horses are not raised for human consumption, and the sale of horse meat is prohibited by the FDA for health purposes.
Please advocate to stop horse slaughter, and to address the root causes of this issue. And please, support your local rescues, shelters and therapeutic riding centres!