Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Slaughter or no?

I hosted a segment tonight on what I knew was going to be a very hot topic. I knew it would raise tempers, eyebrows, and blood pressure. I will be the first one to admit I found myself staring at the cracks in the floor of the office at times, but I did make a point to answer every caller I could in the time I had set aside. I did my best to stay civil and made my stance on the issue very clear at the beginning. Because I have an opinion one way or the other does not mean that I cannot hear others or will blast them for it. I don't have to agree with their opinions any more than they have to agree with mine. I listened to them extol the virtues of the horse, the noble steed, the ever present companion for over an hour and a half. I'm almost certain most of those folks don't own a horse or have ever been in an economic situation in which they had to choose between feeding their family or feeding the horse. It is unfortunate that due to the influx of calls from one particular group of friends that I was not able to accept more callers. I'm sure it would have gone on for hours, and to be perfectly honest, I have horses to turn out and had to cut the program when I did.
I did not say I was pro slaughter, I am pro-option to kill in a humane fashion. In light of recent economic times, what are people to do when the local rescues are full? There are numerous newspaper articles lately telling of horse owners and foreclosed properties having domestic horses just turned loose to fend for themselves. This being a particular problem in Nevada and California where bands of wild horses still roam. They're not friendly, they're not like dogs and walk up and sniff each other's rear end and say, oh, you're cool. The domestic horses are set upon by numerous members of the band and not allowed in. Many of these domestic horses are severely injured from these encounters or are hit on the highways by oncoming vehicles.
I understand overbreeding is a problem, I get it. I know of many breeders that have opted out of new foal crops for the last couple of years because they can't sell them and if they do, they won't get what they're worth.
So, what is the solution according to the anti side of things? They don't have one. If it were up to them, each and every single horse would be "rescued" to live out its days laying under a shade tree until the day they peacefully passed on. But here in the real world, no one on this planet can afford to take on such a daunting task. Horses have been known to live to 35 years, they are a long term commitment. The economic strain alone is staggering. Several callers mentioned "hay banks". I've never heard of such. We're lucky we get enough rain to sustain our own hay crops and now I hear these people have a big old place where they're just giving this stuff away! Yeehaw Nirvana!
If not kill plants, then what? It is not going to be possible economically or physically to adopt out every single horse that needs a home. It's just not. Are there some horses sent to the packer that don't belong there, of course. Does there need to be newer and stricter regulations regarding the sale and transport of animals to the packer, of course. At some point these anti organizations have to stop bashing and provide what will be an agreeable alternative to all.
So, for those of you that called in because someone told you to but you didn't listen to the beginning of the segment or you didn't call or listen and just knew we talked about it and felt you had to get ugly, please go back to the beginning, you evidently missed the most important part. Thank y'all for making this my most popular segment EVER!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, those people that live on the East Coast have made PETS out of livestock. Us ranch folks who have been ranching cattle for generations breed horses because they have a usefulness on the ranch. They are used to gather and cut cattle period! In the winter they are turned out to graze on a couple thousand acres. No stalls, no cozy blankets...just thick winter coats. Back before cars, horses were shot if they came up lame, period. In the scheme of things, that wasn't too long ago! Heck my 90 year old dad remembers when nobody had cars where he lived in Kentucky and got around by horse and mule! I know of a few rank horses in my day that tried to kill me that should have been turned into glue!