Stop sending horses out of the country for slaughter |

Stop sending horses out of the country for slaughter

Cheri Spangler
Ogallala, Neb.

I grew up on a wheat and cattle farm where I still reside today. My parents and grandparents farmed with horses. Several years before I came along they had switched to tractors.

When I was 5 years old my parents bought a well-broke pinto pony stallion for my brother and I to ride. Since then there have been horses and ponies here being ridden or driven.

I was in 4-H with my horses and beef calves. I was lucky to be a rodeo queen and honored to carry our U.S. flag through a parade on my horse with my 4-H group.

I was married to the love of my life, a Sandhills ranch cowboy, for 38 years until he passed away in 2014.

In 2015, I bought a registered pinto pony stallion with the idea to raise just a few foals to ease my grief and to have something cheerful to look forward to. I decided to look at some other farms for one or two mares.

While browsing on my tablet I also stumbled onto rescue horses, then the slaughter houses and kill pen videos.

There are up to 170,000 horses a year going to slaughter. I also just found out on July 12, 2017, the Keyhouse Committee voted to reopen horse slaighter plants in the United States. Now horses are trucked to Canada and Mexico for slaughter. The horses are crammed into trucks that they can’t stand in with their heads up. Some have broken legs because their legs have gone through the holes in the side of the semi trailer. They are horribly mangled, bloody and scared beyond belief.

I saw a cute, gentle, healthy looking Welsh-type pony standing patiently in an open grey room with no halter like he was hoping to get petted, but a man was standing in front of him with a rifle to his forhead. Needless to say, I shut my tablet off. I was livid with anger and the sight and sound of those screaming horses will not be forgotten.

I would guess the minis and small ponies are a little less likely to go to slaughter as they would be trampled in the trailers and they don’t have enough meat to interest a kill buyer.They do get dumped in the country though. Midsize and larger ponies do go.

People take their unwanted horses to auctions to get rid of them. They can get several hundred dollars for them instead of spending up to $200 for euthanasia and $150 for a rendering truck (approximately) if you can get a truck. The owners of these horses need to be held accountable and properly take care of their own horses and not dump them like garbage at an auction. Caring for an animal includes end of life care.

I go to a lot of auctions, and in the past there were a lot of broke horses with riders in the ring and a half dozen loose horses going to slaughter. Now for the last several years there are only a few horses ridden and 20 or more run through loose. I have known for several years what happens to these horses and thought they were killed instantly, so out of sight, out of mind, until I found the videos.

I like to eat beef, pork and chicken but any of us who raise any kind of animals for food, pets, companions, rodeos, or our horses and ponies for riding and driving, not only do we need to take good care of our own animals but we need to speak up for the animals whose owners don’t.

Some peope reading this may think “Oh this doesn’t affect what I’m doing.” Well think again, because this abuse fuels animal rights activists and organizations that want to stop any and all use of animals.

I’m so happy to hear of the Bureau of Land Management horses that get saved and turned into rideable horses. We the taxpayers support our BLM horses and for awhile these horses are protected, buy why do they deserve any more protection and care than a little pony that was probably a child’s pet.

Breeders of all animals need to not over breed. The majority of these horses are quarter horses and race track thoroughbreds. When we breed too many registered or grade horses we are the root of this problem and the animals are the ones who suffer sickening, tortured and violent deaths.

I’m hoping to see the slaughter plants back in the U.S., where they can be watched to make sure that any animal to be put down, that it’s instant rather than stabbed in the head with a knife then have their throat slit and start to be butchered while some of them are still alive. This includes pregnant mares with foals being thrown aside, some still moving. Colts that are 500 pounds also go, and I’ve been seeing a lot of colts run through auctions several at a time. They are mostly Quarter horse babies.

Some things I’m hoping for is to have all-breed registries include animal abuse in their youth education. This should include 4-H clubs, FFA and any other youth groups. We must teach our youth that this is unacceptable. I would like to see a large number of youth be schooled under trainers such as Clinton Anderson, the Parelli’s, or take equine training and horse care in a college setting with scholarships provided. My hope is that the more trainers, the more well-broke, usable horses.

I would like to see these unwanted equines turned into veterinarians or rescues to be euthanized, or hopefully rehomed to a new person with a veterinarian signed approval or, if necessary, go to a U.S. slaughter house.

I would like to have all horse magazines and farm magazines put these graphic articles in their magazines twice a year so we do not forget these animals.

I’d like to have radio shows, celebrities, and any investigative TV shows speak up. The public needs to see and hear these animals screaming.

I want all adults reading this to look on your computers/tablets for horse slaughter and kill pen videos.

If you cannot, or will not look at these videos and pictures, that tells me that you already know this should not be happening. You are as big a part of the problem as I was.

If we want to enjoy our animals, our livelihoods and our country way of life, we must all work to stop this insanity. ❖