Unwanted horses continue
Black Hills Stock Show is in full swing – hope you are enjoying TSLN’s great BHSS Edition that hit your mailbox last week. Keep it with you for reference ’cause you won’t want to miss any of the fantastically varied action! I hope to spend some time in the TSLN booth there on Monday, Feb. 2nd. I look forward to visiting with you, so please stop by.
Unfortunately, the problem of unwanted horses is very much in the news as I write this. Breaking news was forwarded to me just last week about 70 horses being rescued from Shannon County, SD, near Porcupine. Apparently 10 horses were already dead and another had to be destroyed before the rescue, because they’d been starving and without water in a barren pasture on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Lakota Sioux authorities assisted in moving the horses to a site where they’re being cared for.
Equine rescue operations everywhere are overflowing. This is a huge problem that’s going to get worse, not better, as more and more people decide they can no longer afford to keep the horses they’re responsible for and choose to turn them loose in remote locations.
A Brand Inspector friend from Colorado just sent me information on the United Horsemen’s Front, an organization working hard toward solving this problem. Their website http://www.unitedhorsemensfront.org, offers information that a federal ban on horse processing has been revived by animal rights groups. Resurrected by Reps. Conyers and Burton, who’ve introduced it into the House Judiciary Committee, it bears the name H.R. 503. This is basically a reincarnation of last session’s H.R. 6598, which was vigorously debated and passed by the House Judiciary Committee, then received no further action and withered away as the legislative clock wound down. The current bill, H.R. 503, has the same goal: to outlaw the interstate and international transport of horses for human consumption.
United Horsemen’s Front promises, “We will continue to bring you updates and ask you to help us oppose this bill. For now, please take a moment and vote by going to http://www.washingtonwatch.com/bills/show/111_HR_503.html.”
You can let your thoughts on HR 503 be known at that site, where a NO vote means you support the United Horsemen’s Front and are AGAINST a ban on horse processing. When I voted, the tally was running 51 percent ‘for’ and 49 percent ‘against’. That’s positive because it’s so close, indicating animal rights hysteria hasn’t totally run off with things. Go there and cast a vote, then let your legislators know how you feel – this is the time to take a stand.
Breeders and all others who make a living with horses have felt the pinch of no slaughter plants through a deeply depressed market. Serious as that is, it pales in comparison to the needless suffering of countless horses that could’ve died swiftly and humanely in a slaughter plant instead of being forced into the straits of the horses from that news story… and thousands of others like them across America.
Be sure to check out http://www.unitedhorsemensfront.org for the gory facts, and what you can do to get involved. They say, “Horsemen, Let’s Stand Together and Be Heard! The horse slaughter debate is emotional and divisive. It stirs horse lovers’ hearts, minds, core values and pocketbooks.
“The United Horsemen’s Front was born of necessity: to defend horses and the horse industry from damaging legislation promoted by the animal-rights movement. Supporters of the United Horsemen’s Front have a long history of guarding animals from harm… Sadly, our industry is under attack by activist groups who use lies and misinformation to shock the public to their side. In the guise of campaigning for animal ‘rights,’ organizations such as HSUS and PETA distort the truth to achieve their secret goal: eliminating the use of animals for any purpose, whether for food, sport or recreation. This means no zoos, aquariums, dairy products, meat on your table, hunting or fishing. No horse shows. No horse training facilities. No riding lessons for kids…”
The site offers information and PETA’s and HSUS’s agendas; things they don’t want the public to know and understand. Naturally they’ll be working hand in hand with Cass Sunstein, the Harvard University Law School professor Hussein The Chosen One picked to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. (See last week’s column.)
Just the other day I received an email from Oklahoma about an elderly woman who’s been in horse ranching all her life and is now forced to try to “adopt out” beloved well-bred and even trained horses, almost free, because the market is destroyed. Some say the fault lies with horse people, for overbreeding. Perhaps that’s true, but who knew the market was suddenly going to die? What caused it to die?
Turning to process of elimination for answers in any case we have to suspect whatever is new or different in the equation is at fault. There’s continuity in the horse business from years past to today in all but one factor – the closing of slaughter plants; leaving us with the natural conclusion of where the fault lies.
Given the market, you’d wonder why anyone would steal a horse, wouldn’t you? Yet NetPosse.com Idaho is circulating an alert for a missing Medicine Hat Paint gelding named Max that disappeared through a cut fence from his pasture in Crawford County, IL, Aug. 23, 2008. The family is offering a reward of “$4,000 or a Ford Truck” and they say they have not given up the search, although he could be anywhere in the US or Canada. He has two blue eyes and a distinctive black spot on the right side of his pink muzzle, between the upper lip and right nostril. To leave messages of hope and support for the Max’s heartbroken teenaged owner, or for info, photos and a flyer, go to: http://www.netposse.com/stolenmissing/MaxILstolenAug08.htm.
Both this writer and my dear friend Jan Swan Wood, TSLN cartoonist and feature writer from Newell, are privileged to appear in the 2009 Cowboy’s Prayers & Praises calendars. They’re nice, big calendars with sepia tone photos and inspirational thoughts from cowboys and cowgirls out of Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota. Calendars are available free by phoning (405) 466-3844 or writing the non-profit ministry Cowboy’s Prayers & Praises, Inc., P.O. Box 73044, Guthrie, Oklahoma 73044.
I had a nice visit with Cricket Mills of the Mills Ranch on Inyan Kara Creek in northeastern Wyoming earlier this week. They’ve leased the ranch and are looking for homes for some great mares out of their breeding program, in foal to a Peptoboonsmal son. Anyone interested can contact her at (307) 283-2352, or write firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looks like we’re plumb to the end of our ol’ lariat rope once more…
© 2009 Rhonda Stearns
Email Rhonda at email@example.com
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Outtagrass Cattle Co. cartoon by Jan Swan Wood for the Oct. 23, 2021, edition of Tri-State Livestock News