Thursday, December 01, 2011

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?


Given all that’s going on in the world, you can be forgiven for missing things.

Given how many causes are crying out for your attention, you should feel no guilt over the ones that skipped past without your noticing.

But sadly, much of what fills us with anger, sadness or regret, goes on because those we elect or otherwise charge with addressing them, don’t do the job we thought they were doing.

Millions lose their homes, their jobs and their life savings because those overseeing the integrity of the financial markets didn’t.

Aboriginal Canadians suffer third world living conditions because generations of politicians have opted for expediency over simple decency.

And so it goes, through all aspects of human endeavor, when “doing the right thing” is set aside for not doing anything or hoping nobody notices the wrong that was done instead.

Obama cowboy hat

One week ago, US President Obama pardoned a couple of turkeys in a traditional Thanksgiving show of compassion before the annual national decimation of the species.

It’s a cute ceremony, enjoyed by all, that reminds us that we may be carnivores, but we’ve still got some compassion for our fellow creatures.

What slipped under the radar is that just prior to the quaint White House ceremony, the President signed a bill lifting a six year ban on the slaughter of horses, a ban he himself had pledged to make permanent.

Why? Probably for the same reason the practice goes on in Canada. Farmers and ranchers are strapped, caught in the economic squeeze and have no choice but to sell once valuable thoroughbreds,rodeo stock or pets to the slaughterhouse.

The alternative is even less palatable. Every year, thousands of horses are released into the wild where they starve or are torn apart by predators.

Both Canada and the US are nations with a long history of dependence on the horse. The animals have just as long been symbols of our heritage, our sense of compassion and even our love of freedom.

Most are now brought into the world to entertain us. They race. They rodeo. They’re ridden for recreation. And they deserve a better fate.

There are charities that rehabilitate thoroughbreds at the end of their racing careers, such as The Exceller Fund, named for a stallion who beat two triple crown winners during his storied career – and then was butchered when he couldn’t run anymore.

There are also dozens of charities working tirelessly to find homes for horses whose owners can no longer care for them.

But, as in so many other parts of our society, more could be done.

But it seems that if it’s something that can slide under the radar or make somebody in charge a larger dollar, doing the right thing, the decent thing, gets ignored.

Leading the fight to have the President repeal the recent pro-slaughter bill and replace it with the one banning the practice are a couple of young ladies known as “The Barbi Twins”.

shane and sia 1

Shane and Sia Barbi made their names as Playboy centerfolds. But in real life, they’re horse trainers who have long advocated for both the rights of animals and an end to turning horses into commercial meat.

They’ve already released an award winning documentary entitled “Saving America’s Horses” and are behind a petition demanding the new law be repealed.

Given that 70% of the American public is opposed to the slaughter of horses and it’s an election year, I’d say doing the right thing might stand a chance this time.

But as in everything else, the guys in charge only move when they’re pushed.

Please take a moment to advocate for creatures who can’t speak for themselves. Nobody will thank you. But then, that’s not what it’s supposed to be about – is it?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Didn't you say the alternative was 'even less palatable'? Can the owners be paid something to ensure the horses are rehomed, rather than released to die or slaughtered?