Saturday, June 13, 2009

Well SOMEONE sure drank the Kool-Aid over there!

How incredibly disappointing. The Arabian Horse Association came out pro-slaughter, and the reasoning they give is just beyond lame.

Here is the excuse letter they sent to a disgruntled member. My remarks in blue.

"Thank you for contacting the Arabian Horse Association. I wanted to thank you for expressing your views however I also wanted to let you know how and why AHA has come about this decision. After rigorous debate concerning the arguments on both sides of the issue, it is the opinion of the Board of Directors of the Arabian Horse Association that reopening equine processing plants for horses in the United States is in the best interest of the horse and livestock community. Prior to the passage of HB503, nine university professors independently studied the economic impact of discontinuing horse slaughter in the U.S. and came to the same conclusion — it could lead to terrible unintended consequences. It seems they were correct:

- According to a Dec. 16, 2008 report by USA Today, the incidence of abandoned and starving horses has risen exponentially. Well, DUDE, if it was in USA Today, it must be true! Because reporters never get things wrong. Particularly USA Today.

The TRUTH is that there are absolutely no legitimate statistics kept as to the number of abandoned and/or starving horses in the U.S. There are statistics only regarding those cases animal control/law enforcement gets involved in, and there are more of those cases because, Halle-freaking-Lujah, we have FINALLY gotten BETTER LAWS and BETTER ENFORCEMENT.

- Dr. Kerry Rood, a veterinarian at Utah State University said in addition to the current economic troubles, "the abandonment problem can be directly attributed to the closure of the USA's last horse slaughterhouse last year in Illinois. Slaughtering provided owners with a final option."

I'll take your pro-slaughter vet and raise you four anti-slaughter vets that I personally know. I will note that even your pro-slaughter vet, who, surprise! does speaking engagements at places like the meat goat association, realizes
it's the economy, stupid.

Pro-slaughter is ALWAYS, 100% of the time, closely linked to the meat industry in general. Nobody is more upset about horse slaughterhouses closing than the beef industry, which is running around like a chicken with its head cut off, pardon the pun, terrified that PETA is taking over just because we aren't slashing the throats of old lesson horses in Illinois anymore.

(Hey, check it out. So almost all the evidence AHA is providing here came from ONE article in USA Today. I've done way more research on junior high school papers I started at 6 AM the morning they were due than these folks did on a decision affecting thousands of animals' lives.)

- In Wyoming, there have been "huge increases" in the number of domestic horses abandoned, said Jim Schwartz, director of the Wyoming Livestock Board

According, again, to USA Today. BTW the livestock board is generally not the folks who put the welfare of livestock as their #1 priority. They put the financial well being of livestock producers as their #1 priority. If you don't believe me, find me a livestock board that has started a fund for dairy cow retirement. Uh-huh. To them, a horse is simply another critter that you ought to be able to sell for meat when you are done with it.

- "It used to be six or eight per year. This year we've had at least 41," said Lee Romsa, Wyoming's brand commissioner. In Nevada, officials have found 63 abandoned horses in the northern part of the state alone in 2008 — "an unprecedented situation," said Ed Foster, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture.

Guess where that quote came from? I bet you all get it right! Lady, I wouldn't have gotten away with research this lazy in the fourth grade.

- The law hasn't put an end to horse slaughter; rather it has led to extremely inhumane treatment of horses, with horses packed into over crowded cattle trailers and transported thousands of miles without food or water into Mexico.

Which is SO different than when they were packed into overcrowded cattle trailers and transported thousands of miles without food or water into Texas. Let me tell you the difference - the cost of transport went up and now the dealers aren't paying as much. That is the main thing that has changed and that is why you are all screaming. God forbid someone mess with what you think is your inalienable right to sell your culls and old barren mares without papers and get a decent $300 for them.

- It is widely known that slaughter facilities in Mexico are largely unregulated and very little consideration is given to humane treatment.

It was widely known that slaughter facilities in Texas and Illinois were shoddily regulated with very little consideration given to humane treatment. What else is old? Yet one of the many reasons we simply should not have horse slaughter plants and should not let our horses be transported out of the country to horse slaughter plants.

AHA Directors have personal knowledge of a growing number of individuals who have been unable to donate good horses to universities because these institutions have taken on as many unwanted horses as they can handle.

OH NOOOOOES! They're being deprived of their tax write offs! The NERVE! Do you mean that they might have to actually stick a crowbar in their wallets and pay for retirement board on their used up horses or fork over the cash for a humane euthanasia?

As people who love the Arabian horse and have an appreciation for all breeds, the AHA Board of Directors understands that this is a very passionate issue for many and respects those who hold to the opposing view. However, it is the sincere belief of the Board that humane processing is a far, far better outcome for unwanted horses than abandonment, malnourishment or in worst cases, starvation.

I always love these either-or arguments. You'd think humane euthanasia didn't exist, or that bullets were $350, not 35 cents. There are completely humane ways of disposing of a horse that do not involve trucking it to a slaughterhouse. However, they do not put money in your pocket. Follow the money...*sings*

Some have suggested that we simply stop breeding horses altogether.

(But we're not going to address that, and therefore are mentioning it why?)

There is always a segment of horses for which there simply is no market, and the unfortunate result is mistreatment, abandonment, or starvation. When faced with these options, humane slaughter is better for the horse than a life of misery. My opinion.

What about enforcement of existing humane laws, or having your wealthy organization put a dollar of each registration or transfer fee into a euthanasia fund? What about donating funds to gelding programs so that there aren't so many of those low-end Arabians with no buyers out there? What about a fund to care for senior Arabians who outlive their senior owners? What about taking a stand that Arabian horses don't deserve to die in a slaughterhouse, and Arabian horse owners need to behave responsibly? (And if your response is on behalf of AHA to explain their policy, why is your personal opinion any part of it?)

As always, AHA understands that some of its members will disagree with the position it has taken on Slaughter. We respect those individuals and their right to hold opposing views. However, AHA believes that it has acted in the best interest of its breed.

Certainly not in the best interest of Arabians that wind up desperately trying to duck a captive bolt. I'd like to see you watch a few hours of that, sunshine. Then tell me what your opinion is.

If you'd like to respond, please feel free to respond to Dan Lawrence, their Marketing Director. Here is his e-mail. Please let AHA know what you think, particularly if you own, breed and/or show Arabian horses.

More background:

Arabian Horse Association Betrays its Breed

Pictured: OA De Leon+ - 1995 National Champion Show Hack. Was headed to public auction in February of this year after being taken for seven months of back board. 23 years old and fat and not quite sound.

Fortunately, the barn owner was reputable and did not want anything to happen to him, so she ended up selling him to another boarder for just $50 instead of the $200 or so she'd have made on this well-fed old boy at the sale. If she had been a jerk, we all know who buys stiff old horses at the auction...he escaped but how many other National Champions didn't? Don't even try to tell me that doesn't happen in Arabians. Wonder how many 20 year olds and up can be accounted for? Don't they ALL deserve better than to end their life in a kill box?

I think they do. It's sad that you don't, AHA.