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…

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Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Good News about Ground Manners. A Novel

Every now and then, I have a brainstorm…as opposed to my usual state, “bubblebrain”.  I came across Carol Upton’s site almost by chance, circuitously anyway, as most “stumbles-upon” occur on the internet.  When I read her site, I just knew that this was the person I’d been desperately wishing into existence to help me market GM and its message to the public.  Now don’t get me wrong:  I have marketing experience; I’m a pretty smart cookie, neurons only just lately starting to crumble, so I thought I’d done a pretty fair job so far.  But now, Carol…well, Carol, like one of those gentle forces of nature–like a sudden wind that knocks you off your feet, or a downpour that wets you through and through before you’ve even processed that it’s raining–just shimmers into your circle like Gwenda in The Wizard of OZ, and carefully assesses your needs, dialogues with you (as a person and as a writer), and then produces results far beyond your expectations, and makes it appear so simple and easy, that you are left quite speechless (which, as you know, is a rare state for me).  (I bet she has a magic wand on her person somewhere; it must be another ‘practical magic’ thing, eh.)   So, before I go on to list and link to the important horse websites which Carol somehow persuaded to carry her excellent Press Review of GM, let me just say ‘thanks, Carol.  I am most beholden to you.’  And one of the most heartwarming results of Carol’s work on Ground Manners’ behalf is that Yvonne Allen, who owns Voice for the Horse in Langley, BC, has asked me to provide, as a prize, a copy of my novel for their First Annual International Writing Competition.  Now, I ask you:  does lightning strike twice?  

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Excellent News about le cheval Canadien

Excellent News about le cheval Canadien

[The following was written by Betty Baxter in the most recent CHHAPS newsletter. I was thrilled to read this! I’ve edited for brevity only.]  Preservation Group in Quebec buys breedings from CHHAPS member.  La Federation de producteurs des races patrimoniales du Quebec (FPRPQ), a non profit society established in 2005 to preserve the genetics of rare breeds in Quebec, contacted Five Winds Canadians as part of their project to purchase frozen semen from Canadien stallions of rare lineage to safeguard the genetics of these stallions for a minimum of 50 years….This will ensure that the genetic purity of the Canadian Horse will be available to breeders of the future.  It was an honour to have our stallion, Bromont Loupin Prince #5159 (see pic by Deb Harper), selected for this project and to have the Henryville line represented for years to come.

Why am I excited about this news?  Prince (see photo) is the gorgeous stallion gracing the cover of Ground Manners. A Novel.  Every time I look at him, I just babble like a schoolgirl.  I’d write him love letters if I could, but I don’t think he’s a big reader.  That’s my personal reason for being thrilled. Another reason is

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A Canadien Stallion: Saved from Slaughter

A Canadien Stallion:  Saved from Slaughter

If you search back through my prior posts (Horses), you’ll read about the demo against horse slaughter held in Quebec at the Massueville horse slaughterhouse (Viandes Richelieu) in October 2010.  The pic is of the magnificent, 5-year-old, registered, purebred Canadien stallion whose fool of an owner was ready to have slaughtered at Massueville for the petty price of $350.  “Macho” (now re-named) was rescued by the demonstrators, especially Celine Tremblay of les ecuries Diabolo who transported “Macho” to Refuge RR.  Most of the demonstrators were from the Ottawa Animal Defense League…but Dave and I were there too…it was a concerted effort on all our parts.  What a beauty he is!  I’m glad I was there and I’m glad we were able to save at least one…and such a one!  (Go to Refuge RR’s website to see a bigger version of this picture.)

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Linus at the CHHAPS Pacific Canadian Horse Show 2011

Linus at the CHHAPS Pacific Canadian Horse Show 2011

My fingers have been hovering over the keyboard for about five minutes now, much like the scene in You’ve Got Mail in which Tom Hanks ponders how to explain his no-show on his date with Meg Ryan.  I was so privileged to be part of the Pacific Canadian Horse Show in Maple Ridge, British Columbia that my gratitude has all but rendered me mute. Everyone was warm, welcoming, helpful–and that was just the people.  The horses were, well, breathtaking, and since my booth was less than five feet from the shed-rows, you can easily guess where my heart led my feet, again and again and again.  I couldn’t get enough of these superb horses, each one a credit to the Canadian breed in looks and temperament.  All the owners and riders were very good about letting me pet, kiss and generally bask in the energy and beauty of their horses, and everyone graciously tolerated all my questions–and dumb and wordless staring, which I did a lot of.  Even while there, I was very much aware how different this Show and this group of people were from those at other Event and Competition shows I’ve attended.  

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That Parrot is Asleep

That Parrot is Asleep

Joe Rescued from Viandes Richelieu

The puerile but concise rant of the postee mentioned earlier–full of a venomous smugness–is in stark contrast to the man who showed up at the Massueville demonstration last Monday.  As luck would have it, this poor sap showed up amongst the demonstrators–some sporting fake bullet holes in their foreheads (I guess he didn’t notice as he pulled in to park beside them)–with the intention of asking the abattoir to slaughter his young stallion for him.  As I shepherded him over to the group (he didn’t notice the big signs they were holding up with “arretons l’abattage des chevaux” written on them either), he told me the abattoir would pay him $350.  So it was that when at least five of us pressed in on him, all talking at once and in two languages, he was taken aback, as if he’d opened the door to what he thought was a room and found himself on the edge of a cliff instead.  (Well, one can never safely predict one’s destination with any certainty at the best of times.)  I’ll give him credit though; he didn’t turn and leave (run away! run away!):  he stayed as the group grew more vocal, imploring him not to do this heinous thing, inundating him with facts and proof and alternatives.  Now nonplussed, he argued back that no cruelty existed at the slaughterhouse.  That wasn’t true, he knew for sure.  They shot the horse dead right in front of him last time because he’d told them he didn’t want it to suffer.  I nearly wiped a tear from my eye. I suggested they might have done that because he was a witness, and judging from the paucity of windows in the building, they didn’t really want witnesses to their daily goings-on.  Furthermore, I asked if he thought they had the time to process 80 or so horses a day in that kind fashion–would that be an efficient way to render a high volume of product?  When he looked back at me blankly, I thought maybe I’d driven the point home to him and that he was processing new information or maybe, old information in a new way.  But no. 

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