Letters to the Editor
||July 13, 2006|
Wild Horse Story
Draws a Neigh
Your lead article in the July 6, 2006 issue, “They Kill Horses, Don’t They?” was obviously written by a bleeding-heart environmentalist. Lyle E. Davis does not have a realistic under-standing of environmental issues and is filled with the worst type of soft mushy
I am a retired high school Biology teacher. When I took the Graduate Test in Biology, I scored well above the 99% percentile level. As I have spent extended times in my life at Miramar Ranch and Hi Hope Ranch, I am familiar with horses. I am also a Mensa member and have a 2nd Sunday Brunch so I have a chance to talk to other people of intelligence. I am a critical thinker, therefore an atheist, and I believe in equal rights for all people, especially for women to determine their own reproductive lives.
Horses and burros are not native species to the American West. As with all life, they multiply endlessly. They compete with the native species for food, water and shelter. An example would be Santa Rosa Island and feral goats. If we are to have herds of wild horses, the numbers should be kept to a reasonable level determined by the Bureau of Land Management. Some of excess animals could be adopted, but that requires stable and corral facilities, food, water, shoeing, equipment and on occasion, veterinary care. Proper care for a horse is not cheap.
Horses that are not adoptable and cannot be used for a useful purpose should not be put in prison corrals at great public expense, but be put down as humanly (sic) as possible. From Miramar Ranch we used to take horses that could no longer be ridden or used for breeding purposes to the San Diego Zoo. There they were examined for possible disease, then when needed, slaughtered for food for the carnivores. Besides zoos, there are wild animal refuges that need donated horses to feed the inhabitants. Healthy young animals should be taken to a nearby facility to be slaughtered according to health regulations for human consumption.
Other than fuzzy thinking, there is no reason why we shouldn’t eat horsemeat. Humans have eaten everything imaginable, and during times of hardship and starvation, have eaten some very unimaginable things. A well driller at the ranch used to shoot rattlesnakes for lunch. They taste like chicken. I have eaten bear (tough) and opossum (greasy).
The 1998 California Initiative to Ban Horse Slaughter was a terrible mistake, more fuzzy thinking on the part of the uninformed. Unneeded animals are no longer slaughtered locally, but are shipped to Mexico or Texas. This is a real hardship for formerly wild animals. Owners of animals they can no longer keep are faced with expensive disposal costs.
Charles L. Short
ps – Thought your article on “Blue People” was a real winner, good information.
And Another Neigh . . .
I still don't get it. Feral domestic horses are not native wildlife, they are not even wildlife. They are man made. There are feral sheep, asses and swine in various parts of the USA. No one holds them in reverence. What is this thing with horses?
Paul Van Middlesworth
San Marcos, Ca.
And Still Another Neigh . .
The photos you used were of Arabians, a breed, not a wild horse. Well, the black may have been wild, but definitely not the gray on the right.
This sentence is extremely misleading: "It's roundup time and it's the beginning of the end for these beautiful, wild horses. Although they were supposed to have been federally protected - Congress some 25 years ago said they were "living symbols of the American West," most will wind up on the dinner table at restaurants in Europe and Asia." TOTALLY FALSE.
In reducing the feral horses on BLM land, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Program adopts out the animals. Older ones which are not adopted are put into holding areas and fed for the rest of their lives. NOT ONE of them is sold to slaughter (by the BLM.) Indeed, after the one year period adopters must care for the horse they adopt, there would be no profit in selling them for slaughter due to the initial cost (bidding is the primary method of adopting them out) and the cost of feeding them for one year. If these adopters still have problems gentling and training their horses, there is a nation-wide network of volunteers who will help them, volunteers who have adopted and successfully gentled their own wild horses, or who have extensive experience with them.
As a matter of fact, the brand which (is given) every wild horse captured by the BLM is a deterrent to slaughter houses. They are obligated by law not to accept any BLM branded animal without a clear title. Needless to say, going through this paperwork for what is usually a 600 to 800 pound animal is irritating, and most slaughter houses simply will not accept any BLM branded horse. They like the big horses anyway, draft horses, worn out quarter horses, tall ex-race horses . . . More meat on the hoof.
The anti-slaughter movement tends to go a little overboard in their persuasive methods, although I agree with the overall goal.
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
As info, there was a bill passed that was supposed to stop the slaughter in the U.S. It was rather watered down, but it was supposed to stop U.S. inspectors from going to the slaughter houses. However, some enterprising creep managed to get it approved to slaughter with private inspectors instead of U.S. inspectors.
Did I tell you that my son, Bob and his wife, Connie, bought a couple of very young Appaloosa colts several years ago? They were in a trailer going to slaughter. They were too young to even be weaned. They couldn't afford to save any more than those two. They have grown into two beautiful horses.