Animals Angels’ Light Up the Sky
Every year, Animals’-Angels USA holds a vigil by candle light that lights up the sky with the love of humans for animals. Let me put that another way: lights up the sky with the love we hold for the others we share this planet with. I sent a very, very personal missive to AA last year about the horses I grew up with…horses whose very presence lightened a childhood and adolescence fraught with, well, personal and family contradictions I agonized over. I wasn’t much different from people my age, some of whom knew worse, I’m sure.
Here I offer words I wrote when the CHDC held a Memorial when the Norval Slaughterhouse in Ontario was finally and permanently shut down; the Memorial was held on May 1, 2011 (I posted on that somewhere; look thru my Horse posts). These slaughtered equines–horses, minis, donkeys, mules and burros–were all owned equines whose service to us went unthanked, ultimately unappreciated to the point of not mere death, but a peculiarly human-engineered death…that of the terror of transport away from safety and love and human kindness to the cruel, unfeeling pathology of the abattoir. AA’s Vigil is on December 10th of this year: send your personal tribute to the animal(s) of your choice now. Herman Melville said: ’Silence is the voice of God’…maybe so, but He can see alright, and our candles will be a beacon of love He can hardly miss.
And so I wrote to, and for, the horses who passed through Cerberus at the Norval Horse Slaughterhouse…
Here lies the soul of the pony who taught autistic children to connect, to observe, to respect other beings, and, in a special, almost magical, quietude, taught them trust. All human efforts failed to give these children what they needed, but this pony never failed to soothe and repair the damaged psyche of every child he ever met, of every child entrusted to his gentle care. A thankless task…he ended up here. That pony’s name was Bijou. We will never forget Bijou and will always speak in your name.
Here lies the soul of the Quarter Horse mare who stopped on a dime just because someone wanted her to, performed at big shows in fancy gear, her coat brushed to a fine sheen. She did whatever she was asked to do…a hundred times over…just because she wanted to please a beloved owner. She was 13 when sent here…in perfect health. Her name was Arrow. We will never forget Arrow and will always speak in your name.
Here lies the soul of the tall, handsome Palomino who learned all the tricks taught him just to impress people and bring in more money. He was abandoned to this cruel death at the age of 23. His name was Doc. We will never forget Doc and will always speak in your name.
Here lies the soul of the stalwart Standardbred who quickly learned that to canter on course would bring him a beating…and so he trotted and paced and let others out-pace him—and that didn’t seem natural to him…so his leg broke and then his heart, when he ended up here, in this dread-filled place. He was two years old. His name was Joli. We will never forget Joli and will always speak in your name.
Here lies the soul of the 28-year-old caleche horse who hadn’t seen grass since he was a foal…and didn’t find any here where he met his gruesome death. He is in heavenly pastures, now and forever after. His name was Samson. We will never forget Samson and will always speak in your name.
Here lies the soul of the 3-year-old Canadien stallion with a lineage so honourable that hundreds would pay to stand him at stud. His owner, out of ignorance saw a flaw which he thought unfixable, and sent him to these walls of fear and anguish, where the blood embeds the ground, the screams echo, the history speaks, in volumes we will never condone nor accept. His name was Machismo. We will never forget Machismo and will always speak in your name.
We lay here a rose for each of you and for all the many thousands of others. Like all of you, roses are unique among species, with their beauty and grace and strength.
We have seen your anguish, our dear friends, and we speak on your behalf, always, at all times, for all time…now and forever. We have heard your cries and, like the thorns protecting the rose, we shall forever work to stop the madness. Rest now, in the arms of the Lord…for He is incensed at your slaughter, the futility and the manner of it, and, as He promises a Day of Reckoning, we will not stop fighting for you and for all those to come. (All arms raised) We release you from all earthly torment at the hands of man, surround you with our love, and give you eternal peace in pastures of green and plenty.