Monday, September 7, 2015

Good karma

It all started when I spent a couple of lunch breaks trying to force myself to watch a video produced by the Canadian Horse Defence Coaltition. Non-horse people have no idea how many horses are sent to slaughter every year. And even though no horse slaughter plants operate in the United States, it doesn't stop the horrific transportation of horses across both borders to an awful end at a slaughter house. I have to admit to not being able to watch parts of the video and had to fast forward, but I'm not the one who needed to see it. I already know the staggering numbers slaughtered. It's the people cheering at the track, the parents sending their kids to a camp that sends it horses to auction at season's end, the traveler seeing mustangs in a holding pen out west, and yes, even the shopper, unknowingly buying meat possibly tainted with horse meat not fit for human consumption.

Horses in the United States are wormed with medicine that specifically states, "Not for horses intended for human consumption". And then there are the other medications, especially in performance and sport horses as well as backyard pets. So tell me, how do Canada and Mexico get away with sending this "tainted" meat overseas? Through deception? Ignorance? Falsifying documents? Probably all of these.

The video plagued me--I couldn't stop thinking about it. I had to hug my horses and murmur, "You are so lucky.." into their necks. Coming off the racetrack, they were fortunate Suffolk Downs had a "no slaughter" policy meaning the race horses could not be sold to a kill buyer when they were done racing. But that's not true for all tracks.  A public outcry just forced Louisiana's Evangeline Downs to revisit its policy. The sheer numbers of horses bred to run is staggering. And some should never be bred at all. Seeing a picture of a mare in foal, who gave birth in the kill pen, brought to mind the concentration camps. Now some may see that as a stretch, but think about it; a mare having her foal in a filthy, overcrowded environment, that will inevitably be sent along with her to slaughter. How can someone be so callous as to toss her into such a horrific place, knowing what she will face? God help the person with so little compassion for their fellow creatures.

But on the bright side, a number of outstanding people work tirelessly to rescue horses from kill buyers and from auctions where kill buyers fill up their trailers for non-stop treks to the borders. I don't know how these people do it, but each week they attend auctions and visit kill buyers, looking for candidates, asking for donations, flipping lips on end-of-the-line racehorses, and networking like mad. It must be exhausting, and depressing, knowing they cannot save them all.

So this Saturday, as my horses were basking under cool fans, munching on alfalfa hay, I checked up on Facebook to see what was happening in the horse world. Two horse remained with a two hour deadline before they would be shipped to slaughter--two perfectly sound horses (jog videos available), not old, not sick, were headed for Canada and a bolt to the brain, if people didn't step up and help.  I had never donated before, and honestly didn't think my little bit could help. But I couldn't sit by and let this happen without trying to make a difference. I messaged the group to find out how to help, how much more did they need for those last two horses. I waited, no answer--less than an hour to go--someone sent me the link and I grabbed my wallet. Less than a half hour left--were they safe?

I needed to go feed my horses their dinner, but I had to know the status on the two last standing. Just as I went to put on my boots, I checked Facebook one more time. The horse community had pulled it off--SAFE! I broke down in tears. 

So fellow equestrians, please don't assume someone else will pick up the tab, someone else will save the horses. Share this knowledge with others. Get involved, give time, give money, or both. While you're uploading selfies of you and your horse, network the less-fortunate horses in the gravest of danger. Even a few bucks can get them to safety. Help make a difference. It's good karma. Now go hug your horse.

1 comment:

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