Washington D.C. does not fix it's mistakes very often, but yesterday they did. President Obama signed a bill that will allow horse slaughter again. This rectifies a mistake that allowed for the suffering of many horses over the past several years.
To those of you not associated with horses or livestock, it may seem shocking that not allowing the harvesting of animals would be cruel. Yes, many horses were underfed, neglected and abandoned because of the lack of horse slaughter facilities in the United States. Think of all the news stories over the past several years about neglect of horse owners and even horse sanctuaries.
I was never around horses until I married my wife. When we met she was training horses and she has had a love of horses all of her life. During our courtship and first years of marriage I saw her work with many, many horses. Most great animals, but also several who were not safe. I have had a 16 year crash course in equine management and that has made me an advocate for horse slaughter.
OK, before you get upset, I like horses, let me say that we currently own 4 horses and at least 1 of those horses will probably live his entire life out on our ranch. However, over the years the need for horse slaughter has become apparent to me. This can be summed up by something my wife told me early in our relationship. "Life is too short to ride a bad horse." Simply, some horses are dangerous.
In other cases, a horse may have a physical infirmity that would limit its use. In other cases, the owners of a horse may not be able to financially support the ownership of that animal. Horses are large animals, who require large spaces and large amounts of feed, i.e. they are expensive to own. In all those cases something needs to be done to insure the horse does not die from starvation or neglect.
The vocal minority who oppose horse slaughter see horses in a different light. They have blurred the line between animal and human to the point that they see no difference. While I like all 4 of the horses we own and I am attached to them, they are animals and should be viewed as such.
We treat our horses with kindness and respect, caring for their needs. However, if injury, age or illness happens to lessen their quality of life, we would look at all the options available to us. It would be a difficult choice, but the animal's quality of life must be taken into account.
If sending a horse to slaughter is not something you could do, I respect that position. It is your choice to do what you want with your animal. All that I ask is that we view animals as animals and not the same as humans. I applaud congress and the President for recognizing that an important option had been removed from the decision making process for horse owners and correcting it.