Horses in Florida: Save Harmless

I just returned from the International Conference on Equine Welfare in Alexandria, Virginia.  Was I, were any of us, expecting the turn-out we got; the quality of speakers; the commitment that floated in the very air we breathed, the tears shed (not for long but intense nonetheless); the sad but heroic (in the original Greek sense of the word) passion that drives all great and global change?  Maybe 30 or 40 were expected; over 100 showed up…from every state you can name…from as far away as New Mexico, Texas, and California.  And apart from me and my colleague from the Cdn Horse Defense Coalition (CHDC), two other Canadians showed up from Markham, Ontario, at their own expense, just because they wanted to learn about what goes on beyond their local horse farm!  Impossible to comment on the intelligence, willingness to learn, and dedicated love of horses that their very presence showed– simply and without fanfare of any sort (in typical Canadian fashion).

The horror that afflicts our horses spans three countries, not just the United States (I’ve only just begun collating information on which other countries either slaughter or eat horsemeat.  We know that 16 per cent of the world’s population eat horsemeat, concentrated in certain countries…Australia among them.  More on that in a later post.).  One of the eternal flaws of the US is its utter inability to see beyond its own borders.  I’ll speak of American self-absorption more in a later post. I want to draw attention to what happens in Florida because so many Quebeckers are snowbirds (people who spend winter in Florida and return to Quebec some time in April or May).  Just beyond the Florida Everglades lie ILLEGAL and heinous practices going on against all sorts of animals–dogs, goats, puppies–as well as horses.  Valerie Azar of Animal Recovery Mission (ARM) showed undercover videos of such disgusting, unbelievable cruelty that I could hardly stand to watch…but I did.  I kept eyes wide open because I believe that each of us must witness what our dear friends undergo thereby the better to fight on their behalf, to say “I have seen and I know, and I will not let this continue”.  As one speaker said:  we take their freedom and then their families from them…and then we take their lives.  Go to ARM’s website:  www. animalrecoverymission.org  and even if you can’t give a donation, drop them a line and tell them that you agree that these illegal and rogue slaughter shanties must be eradicated.  When Ponce de Leon described Florida as the “fountain of youth”, I’m sure he had no idea that mankind would take that fine place and twist it into a secret hellhole of pain and misery.  The animals at these outlaw places are sold to voodoo practitioners and others, some of whom buy horsemeat on the cheap.  This is unacceptable and far away from what North Americans consider to be humane behaviour (they often dismember animals while they are still alive…I mean, why waste time, after all, if you have an order for horsemeat or goat meat, and have to deliver by 5pm, eh?).

My next post will talk about burros–that’s donkeys and mules–and how these iconic equines (equidae) are being decimated in the US (and probably here,too; I’m still collating the statistics).  Oh, and “save harmless” is a legal term.  Here I mean it to refer to horses in the sense that they are responsible for nothing.  Responsible for nothing and therefore innocent of wrongdoing–in fact, innocent all around.   So we slaughter the innocent though the Bible quote says:  the meek shall inherit the earth.    We, to that way of thinking, are not the meek.  More later.  Stay close.

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