A bad death indulges irrational emotions

Feral horses forage for food on dwindling ground cover near Placitas as debate continues on a proposed slaughterhouse. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

Feral horses forage for food on dwindling ground cover near Placitas as debate continues on a proposed slaughterhouse. (Dean Hanson/Albuquerque Journal)

By   via the Albuquerque Journal

The horse slaughter issue in New Mexico has been dominant for some time in this state, and much has been put forth in attempts to influence the public perception. All the while, a very real state of suffering continues to languish, draining resources and pointing a damning finger at our society’s collective unwillingness to face the problem head-on.

During my watch as Executive Director of the Livestock Board, I and our inspectors were directly engaged in numerous cases involving starved, neglected, abandoned and otherwise abused horses. It was always disturbing and often heartbreaking.

It was also clear to me that seizure and criminal prosecution, however appropriate, cannot on its own provide sufficient response to the real problem.

There is an accumulation in the United States of more than 100,000 unwanted horses each year. Because processing plants in the United States were closed several years ago, most now end up in slaughter plants either in Mexico or Canada, where the United States has no regulatory control or oversight.

In addition, the “captive market” situation has caused values to be very low to virtually zero for unwanted horses. Over the last several years, especially because of the weak economy and widespread drought, many horses have been abandoned, neglected and otherwise left to starve, and there is nothing right about that.

If slaughter plants are banned in this country and export to foreign slaughter plants is stopped, there will be no way to deal with the numbers. Rescue and adoption are noble endeavors, but offer a woefully insufficient solution in the face of the problem’s overwhelming scope.

Euthanasia and disposal of that many horses, absent processing facilities, is an utter practical and economic impossibility.

When it comes to livestock, and for that matter all domestic animals under our stewardship, death is an inevitability subject to the control and moral responsibility of us humans, a responsibility that cannot be shirked without cruel and devastating consequences. There are, therefore, only two possible ends – a good death or a bad death.

Starvation and neglect lead to a bad death, yet veterinary euthanasia and disposal of so many unwanted horses is absurdly impossible. With these realities in mind, the availability of well-regulated processing facilities operating under good humane practices do much more to offer the prospects of a good death and the only economical, decent end for horses with no other alternative.

I grew up on a ranch that raised and used a lot of good horses. The exceptional cowponies we retained were looked upon as partners and workmates, and many ultimately lived out their days there in retirement.

When their time came, they deserved and received the respect of a good death. I never sent a horse to slaughter, nor would I have; but not many owners, or horses, have that luxury, and for them there must be practical, economic and humane alternatives.

It is complicit and immoral on the part of this society and its leaders to allow horses to die the bad deaths of starvation and abuse, simply to indulge irrational emotions. Genuine compassion demands more of us than that.

The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other MisfitsThe Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. by Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s aStore.

Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Amazon.com. Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on Amazon.com

To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here

About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
This entry was posted in Government Interventionism, Wild Horses and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A bad death indulges irrational emotions

  1. Pingback: Pets or Livestock | Hippies for Horses

  2. Pingback: Thundering Hooves Event in Santa Fe, NM on Oct 19 2013 | Hippies for Horses

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s