The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The other side of the story

Picture and related article from MSNBC

This mare was found abandoned in Nevada. The wound you see is from her brand being cut out so that the owner could not be identified. A livestock brand is registered with the state department of agriculture, and is traceable in the same manner as a driver's license. On the ranch where I lived, when a steer died, we were asked to cut out the brand and show the owner to prove that we didn't steal and sell it. It was, of course, done after death, and I can tell you it is not an easy thing to accomplish. Imagine cutting out a tattoo.

When I was a kid, there was a man in my area who bought "killers." As a last resort, if you needed money, or for whatever reason, you wanted to rid yourself of your horse, you could call him, he would send a trailer, and pay you by the pound. Easy money, quick and convenient. I sold a few horses to Slim as a last resort and a couple of times I traded with him as well. He freeze-branded every horse he bought with a small heart shape on their left shoulder, and many times, instead of shipping the horses to a Texas processing plant, he would re-sell them. Over the years I have seen that heart brand on horses all over the place including family homes, the show ring and even once at the very exclusive Del Mar Polo Club.

In 2006 the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was passed making it illegal to kill horses in the US and the business of buying "killers" was effectively stopped. The new law was highly touted by animal rights organizations and, in fact, brought about as a result of their actions. Now with the onset of desparate financial circumstances for many horse owners, they are turning to abandonment in record numbers, and states are seeing it sharply on the rise. Why not just sell your horse? Just like dogs, there are more horses than there are willing owners. Why not just give it away? You have to feed it while you are finding a home, homes can't always be found, and many simply can no longer afford it. Why not take it to a livestock auction? Many owners have no way to get their horse to an auction and the market is so flooded with prices so depressed that you can easily end up owing the auction for transport and stabling even after the sale. Isn't abandonment better than death? Abandoned horses that have been fed and watered all their lives can no more fend for themselves out roaming around than you or I, so they end up starving to death, or worse.

I lay this mare's torture at the feet of animal right's activists, PETA and HSUS that, once again, mettled in things they knew nothing about to the detriment of animals. It's not always as simple as "stop the slaughter of horses," and self righteous organizations like them would never consider consulting with professionals who deal with their cause du jour on a daily basis. They beat their drum, solicit millions, pay lobbyists and attorneys salacious sums of money, win their battle and escalate the war in some previously unforeseen direction that isn't good for any one.

Slaughter is not my preferred method for disposing unwanted animals, horses included. Until we can keep them out of the hands of stupid and/or desparate owners, however, I see humane processing as a reasonable alternative to torturing and abandoning them to their death in a small mining town in Nevada.


  1. I agree, I also lay the blame at the feet of PETA and other organizations like them.

  2. This poor mare. I hope she gets an owner that appreciates her.

    A third side to the anti-slaughter story. The chronically lame that cannot be helped medically. The ones that cannot be made comfortable anymore.

    see, there are many many places you cannot bury a large carcass. There are NOT many places that you can incinerate them (and imagine the's $150 or better for a large dog, a horse is 10X that). Who has $1500 to do that? And once euth solution is in the animal...the carcass is no longer available for rendering. So you either have a large animal you cannot make comfortable, or you have a large carcass you cannot render or bury.

    now what?

    and eliminating slaughter has not cured the problem, it moves it somewhere else. It moves the problem out of US jurisdiction where we have no control over how the rendering happens and it is further for the animals to travel before death.

    I repeat, it is no solution.

    We all know the solution.....breed fewer horses and we all know that will not happen any time soon either. It also does not address the issue TODAY.

    *spits bad taste out of mouth*

    I know the only way my mare will ever be bred is if *I* want to keep the foal...and I also know that it is both cheaper and easier to buy what I want than to raise it.

  3. Amen, Holly. You are right on all counts imo.