To Eat or Not to Eat… your Horse?

To Eat or Not to Eat…   your Horse?

If you read my last blog about the CFIA asking to consult the Canadian public on traceability requirements for food animals (which includes horses),  you also read Roxanne’s comment.  Roxanne sums up everything so well that this blog post is devoted to her comment alone.  Please click the link and read the CFIA’s original notice so you can fully appreciate her excellent points.

How different we are here. A national animal identification system was much protested and rejected in the United States. Implementing an NAIS will be much more difficult for horses. Horses rarely stay on the farm like other animals because they are not “like” other animals, or perhaps better said, other food or dairy animals. Horses go out and off the farm, sometimes every weekend, sometimes daily for trail rides, to riding lessons, to clinics, to horse shows, to see the vet. Horses live a long time and often have several owners. Horses often live in urban environments, in boarding stables. How will that be monitored, Will it further push the cost of horse ownership away from the average person? How will it affect rescues? Local horse clubs? 4H? Pony Club? Wild horses? If they choose a microchip, will that mean another chip for breeds that already have microchip identification? What if it’s retinal scanning? Who is going to pay for all the equipment? This is a strategy for food animals, not companion animals. There is no such strategy for dogs and cats. Along with traceability, what is chosen now will formally define the status of the horse in our society and in our country. It was hashed over for years in the U.S. and rejected. I can’t believe how apathetic the horse community in Canada is to all this, but I’m sure they will complain when it happens. My vote is for choice and for a passport system like the U.K. has, that allows the owner to choose if their horse will ever go to slaughter or not, with tracking necessary only for those who choose that possible end. Let those who would permit their horses to go to slaughter pay the costs of supporting the coming requirements for that industry. Leave those of us who don’t choose that end alone.

 

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Canadian Mustangs Menaced

In November 2010, I wrote a blog entitled Saving our Mustangs in Canada (scroll down to last blog on that page) about the great work WHOAS (Wild Horses of Alberta Society) does, and asked readers to sign its petition.  I’m asking again before the few remaining symbols of our history are decimated by the Alberta government’s “cull”.  Go here and sign. 

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The Future’s So Bright: Wear Shades

Les informations ci-bas seront répétés en français sous peu.  Voice for the Horse is hosting an International Writing Competition for Young People, up to age 18, on the subject of wild horses.  VFTH is a great advocate of mustangs, burros, and all those timeless equines Wild Horse Annie (Velma Johnston) fought so hard to preserve for future generations.  I’ll be talking more about VFTH, and (beware), writing to select horse advocacy and horse-loving groups to promote this Competition to their memberships.  The young ones need little encouragement to share their love of horses, but what we need is to hear it, read it, and understand how crucial it is to the continuing care of all equines everywhere.  The combination of writing and writing about what we are passionate about (and I do know a little bit about that particular combination) is priceless, and all young horse-lovers will revel in the process, the journey which gives voice to their love and admiration of the equine, and gives a voice to the horse as well.  More later.  In the meantime, please visit the links above and encourage your young ones to submit their thoughts (hey, they’re all writing poetry and short stories, hidden somewhere you have no idea where, and they’re all about their angst, passion, devotion, to friends, dogs, cats…and horses.  I know I did).  Submissions can be in Français or English.  I’ll keep you posted.

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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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Saving America’s Horses. A Nation Betrayed

Saving America’s Horses. A Nation Betrayed

While at the Virginia Conference, I had the good fortune to meet Katia Louise, producer and director of the outstanding film, Saving America’s Horses.  This was a film that I’d been frothing at the mouth to see for nearly two years.  (I kid you not.)  A Humanion Films production sponsored by Wild for Life Foundation, I’d seen the movie trailer over and over again on different advocacy sites, and in addition to being a total fan of Tippi Hedren, director of Shambala, the wildlife preserve in California, who is featured in the movie (along with Paul Sorvino), I knew–I just knew–that this film could evolve public understanding of the plight of North American horses in one sitting. Katia, who is about the size of a china doll with the accompanying exquisiteness must have the inner fortitude of Samson.  

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