BRIEF OVERVIEW OF HORSE SLAUGHTER
Visions of an old, crippled, lame or sickly horse are usually what one envisions upon hearing the phrase "rescue horse". Many years ago, a horse that was no longer useful to its owner, was often sent to the "glue factory". Today's reality about horse slaughter couldn't be farther from the truth. Horses are now sent to foreign slaughter houses to be brutally slaughtered to feed diners in other countries. Foreign consumers are eating our American Icon, The Horse.
Words used by the pro-slaughter lobby such as "unwanted horse, rendering, processing, necessary evil", and the like are words used to cleanse the process in the minds of people with compassion and kindness towards life of any kind. The pro-slaughter lobby should use the terms that are more applicable such as "brutal, inhumane, horse slaughter, torturous," and other words too numerous to list in this brief article.
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HEALTHY, YOUNG, SOUND HORSES LIKE DREAMER ARE SLAUGHTERED EVERY DAY
Dreamer was a 3 year old Thoroughbred race horse when he was rescued in 2005. Too slow to race yet sound, young and healthy, his owners decided his value was effectively zero and stopped feeding him. A concerned exercise rider borrowed money to pay off Dreamer's board and borrowed a friends trailer to transport Dreamer to his rented farm.
As fate would have it, Fran Burns happened to hear about a horse in need of a new home and contacted the exercise rider that had saved Dreamer and the gentleman then rode him over for Ms. Burns to see. Having recently retired her 22 year old Thoroughbred gelding, Ben, she was in the market for a new riding horse. The gorgeous bay gelding was solid, sound, kind and willing; Fran agreed to purchase the gelding and take him into her equine family.
Purchasing Dreamer would forever change Ms. Burns life, upon learning how close Dreamer had come to going to auction and possible slaughter Ms. Burns knew that she had to do something to raise awareness about horse slaughter and promote responsible horse ownership. She would go on to investigate horse slaughter and life would never be the same for Dreamer or Ms. Burns.
COMPETING ON BEHALF OF SLAUGHTER BOUND HORSES EVERYWHERE
A gorgeous, beautiful horse clearing a fence effortlessly on a beautiful day is not the image most people imagine when they hear the words horse slaughter. Each year over 100,000 healthy, young, sound American horses are transported under horrific and unfathomable conditions to Mexico and Canada where they are brutally slaughtered to feed foreign diners.
As a direct result of Ms. Burns strong desire to help horses around the nation and her dedication to raising awareness about horse slaughter, Dreamer now competes in horse shows in Maryland to raise awareness. He was the champion in the Open Hunter Division and 2nd in the Low Hunter Division in The Baltimore County Horse Show Association’s 2009 season with trainer Jennifer Marshall Radebaugh riding him in all classes.
In addition to promoting second careers for rescue horses, each time Dreamer competes and wins a blue ribbon, Ms. Burns makes a donation to the Angel Acres rescue fund; a fund used to pull horses from kill pens and secure their safety.
HORSES, AN AMERICAN ICON, DESERVE BETTER
Dreamer is a prime example of the typical healthy horse that is sent to slaughter; older, sick, lame or crippled horses are also sent to slaughter. While no horse deserves to be brutally slaughtered for any reason, it is especially disheartening that older horses that have given their lives in service, in any number of ways, to their owners are sent to slaughter every day. The very least that is owed to this American Icon, friend and faithful servant, is a humane, peaceful ending when that time has come.
This author believes that Ms. Burns sums it up nicely when she states, “Thoroughbreds are so very deserving of second careers. Whether it is trail riding, showing, polo, fox hunting they just need the chance. Dreamer is giving back to the thoroughbred industry without racing. I wish more people out there would do the same.”
Without the intervention of Ms. Burns, Dreamer most likely would have ended up as the main course on some foreign diners menu, instead he lives and competes to help other horses in need. The horse rescue world needs more people like Ms. Burns, going the extra mile day in and day out, to help end this brutal and undeserving trail to the slaughter plant and the exportation of horses over US borders to be slaughtered for human consumption.