It's worse than I imagined. The tragic fallout from closing horse slaughter plants and the collision with feed costs and the housing crisis is becoming a big problem.
The global food and fuel crisis is resulting in more than just people going hungry. Rising grain and gas prices, as well as the closure of American slaughterhouses, have contributed to a virtual stampede of horses being abandoned — some starving — and turned loose into the deserts and plains of the West to die cruel and lonesome deaths. Horse rescue projects, which are mostly small, volunteer operations with limited land and resources, are feeling the consequences of this convergence of events. In the meantime, many now unaffordable horses are being sold to abbatoirs south of the border where inhumane methods of slaughter are practiced. [More]Don't get me wrong, there is no I-told-you-so scheudenfraude here. Just a sadness that animal welfare advocates don't face end-of-life issues for companion animals any better than we do for our own species. And we are just beginning to see the consequences, I think.
So unwanted US horses, if not abandoned to die a lingering death or wander onto a motorway, are being shot and dumped illegally. how humanely one doesn't wish to think. Being slaughtered for meat would probably be a lot more humane. And some US horses still are - except this now entails being painfully trucked to distant slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. The US Humane Society wants to stop even the export of horses for slaughter; some animal scientists predict an "equine tsunami" if they succeed.This outcome is not simply irresponsible. It is immoral. And it will set back animal welfare advocacy efforts immensely.
I think most of us hate the idea of cruelty to animals, especially intelligent domesticated creatures like the horse. But efforts to protect animal rights should lead to less cruelty, not more of it. It seems the animal rights people have shot themselves in the foot.
It reminds me of when activists liberated all those mink from European fur farms, helping the bloodthirsty little weasel, an American native, destroy yet more European wildlife. [More]