Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Montana Equine Veterinarian Speaks Out About Horse Slaughter

I know many of you and many of you know me. I know many of you to be very good, honest, decent people and it saddens me to see the lies that are being spread about the issue of horse slaughter. We are all entitled to our beliefs as we are entitled to share & stand up for our beliefs. I feel the need to clarify some absolute lies that have been circulating via email.

If you are in favor of horse slaughter, you are entitled to that, but please know some truths. The pictures and videos are real. They are not made up or sensationalized. The wounds, broken legs, foals born in feed lots, pictures of shod horses, pictures of peoples pet horses in feed lots and at slaughter, videos of horses being repeatedly hit with the captive bolt, overturned cattle trucks with 60 horses mangled..Those things are real; they are not made up or sensationalized. Please just accept that fact for what it is. Horse slaughter and its journey for the horse is not humane. If you are OK with that treatment of the horse, that is certainly your choice, but it is sad to me when I hear people deceiving themselves by saying that they are sending their horse to slaughter because it is humane. If I offered to buy your horse and guarantee you that I would haul it and treat it inhumanely then kill it in an inhumane method, there is no way that many of you would sell your horse to me. But that is what we are doing when we drop off our horse at the sale ring and walk away with a small check and a rosy thought in our mind that our horse went to some green pasture with a good owner, mind you, many horses do get this good end, but many do not and to close our eyes & just hope it all works is sad because reality is, the slaughter horse is destined for a very bad journey.

I am tired of the emails circulating that say PETA is sensationalizing, blah, blah, blah. The truth is PETA is NOT at all involved. The people who are spreading that rumor to incite anger are really being ridiculous. I have been a very involved person against horse slaughter; I know the opponents and I assure you PETA is not involved. I also assure you that other rumors circulating are false as well. There is not an abandoned horse problem, the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition has done a county by county survey and the rumors are false. Additionally, the allegations have been studied on a national level and have been proven false. It is a ridiculous argument anyway because the reality is that there is still a loose horse market, horse slaughter is still going on so if there were abandoned horses, the people who would do that would do it regardless of access to a slaughter facility as there is still access to horse slaughter. This false rumor is being spread by proponents to incite fear.

Furthermore, the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition is simply a group of Montana horse people who are against horse slaughter. In fact, some of the people started out leaning towards being more in favor of slaughter, then the more they researched & studied the issue, they failed to see how or why horse slaughter is a good thing. Not one person who is at the core of the group is a member of PETA, not one person is a vegetarian, not one person is an animal activist and they are all really nice people from around the state who live year round in Montana. Most of you would really like them if you were to ever meet them (or, if you do know them, you already know them to be good people). It is shameful for Linda Grosskopf, the editor of Western Ag Reporter and Stan Weaver to say that the group was made up by Animals Angels. The thing that is made up is the email Stan circulated. That organization does have a website and I personally have downloaded and distributed some of their stuff, but that organization is in no way connected to the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition. The reality is that Linda and Stan out & out lied to you about this issue. One of the people in the Montana Grass Roots Horse Coalition does have that email address and she did email around fact sheets. It is ironic that so many of the emails Stan Weaver is sending have so many false things in them and are sent in such a way as to try to elicit fear. Fear of who is involved and lies to create fear. If you are a horse slaughter proponent, you are certainly entitled to that opinion but please make your decisions on facts, not lies or fear.

It is true that the opponents have hired a lobbyist to fight HB 418, but it is also true that AQHA has spent well into 6 digits on their own lobbying for horse slaughter. Additionally, there are MT organizations that have also hired lobbyists in favor of horse slaughter, I assure you, this is no fear that proponents should have, they have more lobbyists than the opponents. Additionally, it is very confusing how AQHA can campaign for us to have horses as partners, family members and pets and yet promote horse slaughter. No wonder so many people don't want to face the reality of how cruel horse slaughter is. The AQHA is totally advertising a double standard.
Another thought, the horse slaughter industry wants young, healthy animals. It is a human meat consumption industry, they do not want the old, thin crippled horses. This is not a way to get rid of old horses. The average age of the horse slaughtered is 7. This is reality, so it really should be asked, do you want to raise horses as food animals. That is really the issue and that is what beliefs should be based on. Certainly there are people who will say yes to this and people who will say no but let us argue about that fact, not fears and lies.
There are horses that are unsafe, horses that are ill, people that cannot afford their horses. What would happen if all of us great minds in the horse community came together to deal with these things as a community. What happens if the lobbying money (assuredly, proponents have spent far more than opponents) was used to help programs develop. To help create euthanasia funds, spay and gelding programs, rescue programs, educational programs, feed programs to help people through a short term crisis with their horses, scholarships to help fund equine programs, and lots of other positive things that haven't yet been thought of.

Furthermore, we have learned so much about the care of older horses that still have great value in the horse community. Their value in human rehab programs, human therapeutic programs, teachers to young & silly colts and teachers to young and/or inexperienced horse people. There is a lot of work that can be created around these old horses, jobs and money that can stay in our communities and in our industry. Horses of all ages need farrier work, veterinary work, dental work, massage & other body work, feeds, caretaking jobs, etc. All of this is part of the horse community and supports that community. Slaughter plants simply take their profits overseas. Except for the sale rings and killer buyers who make money on slaughter horses, but they do have a food animal market to make money on. They can still make their money there.

Why not come up with good, positive ways to treat our horses humanely and create good and honest work in the horse community. Why not go back to our western roots of helping each other when in need.
We are all good, intelligent people who can do amazing things if we will work together.

In closing, please be passionate about your beliefs, but please base your beliefs on truths not on fear or on lies.
Thank you for your passion and for your efforts,

Dr. Lisa Jacobson
Equine veterinarian
Clyde Park, MT

1 comment:

horse dentistry floats said...

Thanks for this post Lor. Like yourself I love horses and OK some would argue that makes me bias in my views. It frustrates me that anyone would consider the slaughter of horses as beneficial in any way. These majestic creatures have served us through many centuries and helped us achieve great things in both building our societies and winning past wars. It seems to me that many people only care about money and possessions and the plight of many horses is not even given a second thought. Sorry for the rant.

Stolen Horse International


The face of death

The face of death
#396, A kind, gentle Thoroughbred

All that is left

All that is left
I will never forget him...I promise. I am so sorry, #396...I don't even have a name for you...

Why would you take my life? Am I a food source animal?

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