Another solution on horse-slaughter issue
Guest View

Frances Yeardley

Special to The Augusta Free Press
October 27, 2004 

I keep receiving e-mails about Rep. Bob Goodlatte and his stand on the horse-slaughter bill. One e-mail directed me to an article by one of your columnists.

So I've tried to do some research on the subject. Most of the info that can be found appears very PETA-inspired, which makes it hard for me to trust. One e-mail I received included actual PETA instructions on how to instigate, attack and inflame at a political meeting. I found that very disturbing.

The anti-Goodlatte ads in The Virginia Horse Journal were shameful and an embarrassment to the horse community. I do believe that Goodlatte has researched and been counseled by some very good authorites, the American Veterinary Medical Association and the American Quarter Horse Association, among numerous others. I e-mailed Goodlatte from his Web site and received a very educational packet in the mail on the horse-slaughter issue. I do not believe he hates horses and grinds up adoreable foals for breakfast.

Maybe the problem has nothing at all to do with Goodlatte. Maybe the solution is the responsibility of horse owners and breeders themselves.

I readily admit that I have a problem with drawing a line between slaughtering other animals and horses. I find it disturbing to consider sending ANY animal to slaughter. Yet I am a comfirmed meat eater.

I don't believe for a moment that banning horse slaughter will end horse slaughter. They will just be shipped further beyond our borders. It just takes one fib about the intent to get past the regulations at the borders.

I question the claims about abuse cases rising in states that have slaughterhouses. Why would having a slaughterhouse in a state cause people in that state to treat their horses badly? I suspect if those statistics are true, then it is because horses are being shipped to that state for holding. So what's the solution?

I have never personally sent a horse to slaughter, or even to an auction where the possibility of being bought for slaughter existed. No one in the USA is under any pressure or obligation to send a horse to slaughter or auction. If someone owns a horse they no longer want, and have been unable to sell, then maybe they should consider giving it away instead of sending it to the auction to reap a tiny profit. Maybe horse owners should consider their own practice of buying and selling horses a lot more carefully. Maybe owners should consider the "fun" of breeding horses for fun and/or profit with more responsibility.

Now, I can't say I know for a fact, but I am willing to bet, that most horses that end up going to slaughter are from the racehorse industry. So maybe a solution would be to ban horse racing in the USA.

Don't yell at me indignantly - I, too, am a fan of horse racing. I still thrill at the memory of Secretariat winning the Triple Crown. I cheered for Smarty Jones and Funny Cide. My heart was broken when they both lost the third race. But the fact is that the horse-racing industry is a profit-motivated industry, not a labor of love.

Perhaps the real solution really lies with personal responsibility for the animals that we, as horse owners, choose to breed, buy, sell, show and race. I realize I cannot save the world, but I CAN do my part for the horses within my own sphere, and that's a good starting point for everyone.

Frances Yeardley resides in Lexington. 

The views expressed by op-ed writers do not necessarily reflect those of management of The Augusta Free Press. 

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(Published 10-27-04/Opinion)