English 4/ Period 5
11 February 2013
Nearly one hundred thousand horses are sent to slaughterhouses each year. The slaughtering of a horse is a very misunderstood and diluted practice that many people still confuse with euthanizing. But should this method of horse destruction still be a legal practice? While slaughtering is an option for putting injured or malnourished horses out of their misery, it is an inhumane practice for both the horses and human beings and there are more appealing options to take into consideration that would help us completely ban slaughtering. The misconception with equine slaughtering is rooted deep in what really happens. Picture over 50 horses packed into a closed off truck, some with injuries, some unable to withhold their own weight due to malnourishment. The racehorse from the track that finished at the back of the pack last week or the foal who just didn’t live up to his breeder’s expectations. The old school mare who spent years caring for the younger children first learning to ride and the Budweiser pony who pulled one too many carts trying to please his owner. The collection of horses all piled together in a confined and crowded double-decker cattle truck. They are offered no food or water, sleep is nearly impossible to obtain, and fear runs through all the animals veins. A simple fact that is often not acknowledged is that the majority of horses sent to slaughter have not been raised for such practices. The large majority have them have been in constant contact with humans whether from pleasure riding, rodeo, horse races, heavy duty draft, ranch work or the variety of other disciplines. They are used to being cared for by humans; fed, exercised, and cleaned and have created a trust with them. While there are still a notable few places where the horses are bred specifically to be sent to slaughter, the majority of them just have been in the wrong place at the wrong time and their future becomes determined at a auction house by a mallet and a few bills. Their winning bidder has become the killer buyer who will ensure they are to be delivered to the slaughterhouse, no matter their condition. For a human broken and domesticated horse, a slaughterhouse is far from their known world. To suddenly be mistreated and disoriented is an emotional and terrifying experience and only begins the animal’s suffrage on the road to death. A slaughterhouse does not follow the same regulations that an animal shelter does. In Mexican and Canadian slaughter plants, each horse is either stabbed multiple times in the neck using a “puntilla knife” to severe their spinal chords or administered a thirty second shock treatment; just enough to be able to tie a rope around its hind legs and hoist it up in midair. Still very much alive, the animal is left to bleed out and is slowly dismembered by the workers. Very rarely does a horse experience death before it starts to feel the pain (Vets Stunned at Horse Slaughter Misinformation). Studies have shown that most Americans perceive that slaughterhouses use a form of euthanasia. The cold truth is it’s a far cry from being humane. In fact, humane slaughter is an oxymoron in itself. Euthanizing a horse is a cheap and painless alternative that costs a mere two hundred and fifty dollars, the average monthly price to sustain and care for the animal. “Euthanasia is the act of inducing humane death in an animal. The term euthanasia is derived from the Greek terms meaning “good death”. Euthanasia techniques are supposed to ensure that if an animal’s life is to be taken, it is done with the highest degree of respect and with an emphasis on making the death as painless and distress free as possible. The method should minimize anxiety experienced by the animal prior to a rapid loss of consciousness and which is followed by cardiac or respiratory arrest and the ultimate loss of brain function” (Facts that Refute the 7 Most Common Myths about Horse...