Because I am 100% anti-slaughter, and always will be.
IMHO if you can afford horses (and sometimes even showing, clinics, fancy tack with bling all over it…) you can fork out the money to have them put the sleep peacefully when the time comes. Go without the next Iphone for a couple of months or something…you will survive, I promise.
I am sure many of my readers here will agree with me.
But…we don’t all think alike. Many people, from low end backyard breeders to the often quite well off “I broke it and need a new one” crowd, don’t see anything wrong with sending a horse to auction, and often by way of that-to slaughter.
And some folks just get plain duped by a smiling white haired kill buyer, promising a forever home for old lame Patches.
There are countless undercover videos of horse slaughter on the internet, from our own (I am ashamed to say) Canadian version to the brutal knife wielding methods used down in Mexico. I have seen many, and am not going to sit on a high horse here and pretend we are much better than them. Even in “our” version of slaughter horses go through abuse and terror. They do not always die instantly.
Being flight animals they often don’t cooperate by staying still, they are highly sensitive to their environment and to what is going on around them, and nature has designed them to pick up and act upon the fear of their herd mates. We horse people know it, we have likely all experienced the “group spook” on a hack or seen them do it in the paddock.
I could also rant for a day about how they have served us, how we have taught them to trust us, how we often owe them for years of service…but who wants to read my blog for a day? So I will get to the point.
During my surfing I found this video, and as usual I will warn you, it is graphic footage of a UK slaughterhouse.
Never makes for nice watching, does it? But I was truly suprised at the calm gentle handling of the horses and the accurate kill shots these employees delivered, especially considering this is an undercover video. This is their day to day operations, not people on their best behavior for a documentary. Impressed? No, I will never be impressed by horse slaughter. I will forever be dismayed and saddened by it. Seemed every one of those animals was healthy. None were visibly lame or crazy. All trusting and calm. A lot of potential happy horse years were erased in that video so I can never be “impressed”.
I guess I saw the kindest handling of a bad thing I have ever seen. No abuse or terror. Each horse handled carefully and individually, with no idea what was coming. Some basic humanity in an ugly business. This is a hard post to write for me, “Hey way to go, you killed horses nicely”? Damn…
I would like to see it outlawed, I would like to see every horse owner provide for their animals’ end properly. Death is death, whether by a Vet’s needle or a bullet or a captive bolt, but while they are ALIVE they need to be handled kindly and respectfully.
I think these guys managed that, if nothing else. Until it is banned and people stop using auctions as a dumping ground we, as a humane society, could at least bring in regulations to ensure handling like this.