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auction/slaughter houses

I have been following this subject with interest.
I guess my own opinion falls somewhere in the
middle of all this. It would be really nice if all
horse owners (and dog and cat owners) were as
responsible and rich as the folks on ridecamp.
Alas, they all are not.

Not all auctions are like the ones described, good
or bad. Just because we, in our modern age, are
appalled at slaughter houses for horses since we
have elevated them to pet status, doesn't mean
it's wrong. (flame suit at ready).

We use to have a slaughter house in my area for
many years. The meat was sent to Europe where they
have no qualms about eating horse meat. People for
the last several thousand years have had no
problems eating a horse when their useful life is
ended, or the animal was dangerous, or the people
were starving. We treat them as pets and are
appalled at this. (Horse meat, if prepared
properly, is pretty tasty, I don't eat it but when
I've tried it I had to admit it was alright).
(Flame suit ON!) :)

The slaughter house was visited by me often as my
neighbor's husband worked there and was head
butcher there. I saw horses go through that it was
a relief to see them put out of their misery from
stupid owners who didn't have the decency to
euthanize them at home. At least there was a place
for the poor horse to be put out of his misery
somewhere down the line. While it was not my
favorite place to go, it was nice to know that the
local horses did not suffer long trips to far off
places without food/water to suffer the same fate.

I once had to take a horse there. I wasn't in the
financial position I am now (ha!) and lived in
town and had to board my horse. No backhoe or
property to bury said horse on. No money to pay
vet to euthanize. Wanting to make sure he didn't
suffer anymore I borrowed a trailer and truck and
took him to the slaughterhouse and held his lead
rope while they killed him. It was instant and I
had control to the last minute. He wasn't in fear
or terror and it was a relief to know he wouldn't
be in any more pain). I got my much needed money
back out of the animal as he had been sold to me
under false pretenses and in those days you
trusted the seller and "pre-purchase exams" were
not the norm.

Alas. They aren't there anymore. The animal rights
activists in the area burned the thing down.
Figured they were doing all the poor horses a
favor I guess. Now those horses can be hauled to
Canada (or wherever) instead of just a quick,
local trip from the area auction yards.

Some people want the horse to go to the meat
buyers. I've had a couple I wanted that to happen
to in no uncertain terms. They were not my buds,
they were dangerous animals (trainers told me so,
just took me a while to believe it, so what if
they were pretty and well-bred), there has to be a
place for horses like that to go. If people are
going to continue breeding hundreds of horses in
the hopes of getting that "one" special show
animal, there will remain a need for slaughter
houses and auction yards. Just like the dogs and
cats that people forget to spay and neuter. Should
reputable breeders with good animals stop breeding
them? No... that is the other extreme and doesn't
solve anything either.

I guess education of owners is the best way like
the other, thoughtful people who have posted to
ridecamp have mentioned.

You can get all self-righteousness about what
other people do or don't do with their animals
when the "time comes" regardless of the reason,
but each person has to do what they have to do
with the means at their disposal. Jumping all over
them doesn't do any good, but the stories of
individual experiences seem to be the best way
since then it doesn't come across as "I'm right
and you're wrong".

I suppose the people with the
sick/dangerous/unwanted horses could just find a
wilderness area, or what passes for it where they
live, and turn them loose. Yep, that would solve
everything, I'm sure. (ha!)

Toni Jones
Central Oregon

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