Nancyeclark's Blog

They Shoot Horses Don’t They? and prod, stab, chase, starve, maim, you name it…they do it…..

Horses have given us so much. They have pulled our plows and our heavy loads, carried us and all our worldly goods, broadened our horizons, gone to war with us, given us milk and food, entertained us with their speed and skill, rounded up our cattle, pulled our canal-boats and wagons, turned the mills, delivered the mail, the milk; their speed, stamina, endurance and strength was ours. They have enchanted us with their beauty and intelligence, rewarded us with their loyalty and companionship…they enthrall us with their wildness, their spirit and ability to survive in harsh conditions.

We have used them and abused them…bred them for size and shape, speed and strength, agility and pace.  We have shaped them to fit our needs and wants…we have raced them, ridden them into new territories, terrified our enemies with them, traded them, eaten them, taken their milk and foals,  cosseted them, starved them, rounded them up and turned them into dog food, worshipped and revered them. They are symbols of beauty and freedom and yet we treat them so badly, so cruelly. We over breed them, we stand them in stalls forever pregnant to produce the hormones that keep aging at bay, we race them after breeding them for speed at the loss of bone and then put them down when their bones break. We round them up from land and air, terrified and hurt: we fence them from water, we use them for target practice, we protect them by law (just not here) and then treat them like pests. And no one gives a damn because it doesn’t affect our pocket books.  Little girls love them…books and stories and movies feature them…our history would be very different without them. They carried us into the frontier…and what do we give them in return….crops and whips, starvation and abuse, roundups where foals die and mares abort and dehydration kills, and then send them to god knows where…the end is often a harrowing and horrific transport to an inhumane and awful death at a slaughter-house…. here in Canada, our oh so lovely and kind nation. We slaughter horses for other people of the world..Japan, Belgium, France and the States. 

What we owe to horses is a debt so big we can never pay it…yet pay they do. We owe them love, affection, food, water, exercise, green grass, flowing water, land to roam on.  We owe them decent stabling, company and respect…we owe them a life of fulfillment and peace…they could still work with us, entertain us, enchant us and carry us over jumps and round racetracks…but with care and respect and humanity. We can let the wild ones be free…let them have the land intended for them, allow them access to water, stop seeing them as pests and forage stealers…allow the wild ones, the ones that trace their bloodline in part back to the Conquistadors, the protection and freedom that they should have…what in the States, the bill of 1971 says they should have.

Politicians in Canada and the United States should be ashamed of themselves when they look at the state of the wild horse, the state of horses in general. In Canada we cannot even agree that they are wild..only feral and not worth protecting…so any Tom, Dick or Harry can round them up or shoot them or abuse them, so much so, there are almost none left. In the United States, the horses and burros are at least protected by law…but the protectors are now the abusers. In Canada, our oh so kind and gentle and smug land, we slaughter horses for the world, Japan, Belgium, France…and we do it in a way that no animal should ever have to suffer (see the video available from inside a  Canadian slaughter-house) We have rules governing their transport to slaughter…so much headroom on double-decker trucks, and yet no one enforces the rules…horses end up injured, maimed and dead before they ever reach the place where they are going to die a horrific, inhumane and terribly cruel death. The CFIA says they have rules and regulations about this…but who enforces them? This is what I got in return for a letter I wrote to them about this issue:

“Thank you for your interest in the issue of humane transport.

The regulations do not prohibit the transport of horses by double-decker trucks. The regulations specify that:

142. No person shall transport or cause to be transported animals in a railway car, motor vehicle, aircraft or vessel unless
(a) each animal is able to stand in its natural position without coming into contact with a deck or roof; and
(b) provision is made for the drainage or absorption of urine from all decks or levels.

Smaller horses can be segregated and shipped in double-decker trucks if they are able to stand in their natural position. If larger horses are shipped in violation of the regulations, the operator may be issued an Administrative Monetary Penalty by an inspector or face formal prosecution.

Thank you for using the CFIA web site.”

So…horses are inhumanely treated in so many ways…the wild horses of Canada and the United States are disappearing in the wild…there are now more mustangs in holding pens than on their range in the American west…they are sold, slaughtered and terrified. And supposedly protected by law. Canadian mustangs have no protection under federal law…and little under provincial…horses are slaughtered in Canada in at least 4 facilities…in a way that would make you sick…and you can see it on YouTube among other places…and the RCMP investigated and says there is no basis for charges…I wonder how they would feel if their beautiful Musical Ride horses ended up like that. Horses do not in any way deserve such callous treatment by our society.

There are people working to change things…check out some of the links here or google some…and get in touch with your MP and MPP right now…tell them how you feel…ask your MP to support the Private members bill C544…put forward by Alex ban horse slaughter in Canada. Please get involved.

The state of animal welfare in our civilized world is appalling…our laws do not do enough, the penalties are not harsh enough, they are not enforced. Institutional crueltyexists in Canada because our animal welfare laws of 1892…outlaw unnecessary suffering…and so would seem to allow necessary suffering…Check out “No Country For Animals”..Kevin Newman’s documentary for CanWest/Global.

I am distraught that I live in a country so smug because we make the list of places everyone wants to live…while we accept institutional cruelty, slaughter horses in a way that would make you sick, and live by animal welfare laws that have not been updated since the century before last…we pride ourselves on being a kind, gentle, peacekeeping country…all the while the creatures who live with us have no recourse and few protections. They are living, breathing, sentient and feeling creatures…pain is as horrible to them as it is to us…we spend millions on food and toys and trinkets for the animals we choose to spoil…and neglect the rest.

I love my country and I am a proud Canadian…but I am not proud of our continued abuse of animals and our inability to protect those who cannot speak for themselves. Countries in Europe are doing so much more than we are…surely it is time to make some changes…and truly become a kind, gentle and humane place to live. To quote a man I revere (as do many),

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”…Mahatma Ghandi


He also said,

“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s need, but not every man’s greed



Be the change you want to see in the world.


That is precisely what I will try to do with the rest of my life.

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