Dog And Pony Show - or, Peace on Earth For All Creatures

A couple of weeks ago I went to Congress along with members of the Animal Welfare Institute, Bo Derek, John Corbett, and Willy Nelson’s Family, to lobby for passage of the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, S.311 - a Senate bill to prevent horse slaughter in the US and transport of horses for slaughter across international borders.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Mary Landrieu, helped facilitate our access to Senators Byrd, Warner, Webb and to the offices of other senators. At each stop, we plead our case. Although the last couple of equine slaughterhouses in the US have been closed by popular mandate, horses can still be shipped to slaughter houses in Mexico and Canada (an even more inhumane process).

S.311 would stop all that but, paradoxically, is opposed by the American Veterinary Medical Association and the meat industry working in concert. Opponents of the bill say that horse owners will be unable to pay for humane euthanasia (yeah, right) and will let their horses starve if slaughter is not an option (that’s illegal). They say that slaughter is a necessary evil but the facts say otherwise. There is, in fact, no connection between equine slaughter, or a paucity thereof, and abandonment or abuse of horses by their owners. Slaughter actually only exists because greedy foreign horse meat vendors make money from it in supplying high-end gourmet meat markets overseas.

I believe that AVMA politicians have been suckered in to supporting this process by industrial scare tactics and propaganda. Currently, horse owners have a choice of what to do at the end of their faithful friends’ working life - pay to do the right thing or be paid to do the wrong thing. For many people money talks and they unthinkingly or unwittingly commit their horse(s) to a dreadful last few days of crowded, inhumane transportation, often in low-roofed double-decker cattle trailers, to a place of unimaginable suffering and finally death by captive bolt or spinal cord transaction (by stabbing) followed by upside-down suspension, throat cutting, and bleeding out. This option should not be available to horse owners.

When dog owners run out of patience with their pet, they all too frequently bring them to a shelter or pound. There the dog at least has a chance of adoption, though most shelter dogs - two of three, in fact – end up being “put down” by lethal injection. Although this scenario may not sound like a great way for a dog’s life to end, it is considerably better than happens to horses. At least our end-of-the-road dogs are not shipped thousands of miles across country in open vehicles, exposed to extremes of temperature and without food and water, to meet a grisly fate. At least dogs are not shot, stunned and bled out while semi-conscious to have their carcasses shipped to other countries as a gourmet delight. If you would be enraged if dogs were treated like this, consider doing your part to lobby for smooth passage of Senate bill S.311 and House bill H.R. 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act.

See for further details.

* EDITOR'S NOTE: This piece is off-topic for Dog Star Daily, but it is an important one. It is a cause that means a lot to Dr. Dodman, so I ran it. Plus it is about demanding respect and compassion for another domesticated species, horses, at all phases of their lives, and I believe our dogs would be happy to support that goal.

"You become responsible forever for what you have tamed."
Antoine de Saint Exupery

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