Opposing Reader Reviews

Marie Dean, a strong supporter of the CHDC, wrote this review of Ground Manners. A Novel:

Ground Manners by Cynthia D’Errico is a rollercoaster book of thrills and heart-pounding drama.  I have never been so absorbed, and never read a book so fast before in my life – just couldn’t put it down.  Ground Manners has actually got me interested in reading again.  It was thought provoking, captivating and I so wanted to be part of the group of characters – I so wanted to meet them in person – crazy!  The love and trust between human and horse, as well as between the horses themselves is so eloquently expressed that you are engulfed in the deepest of bonds.    Being a horse owner and lover I felt so greatly the vulnerable side of the horse, which Cynthia puts into words so gently that you are exhausted from emotion.    The details of horse slaughter are few, but the terror is felt and written between the lines – the horror and evil is understood.  Powerful read!! —Marie Dean, Waterford, Ontario, Supporter of the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition (CHDC).

Now here’s another Review written by someone on Amazon (and I did try to reach him to get his permission, but alas, so I hope he doesn’t mind my posting it here [csa was his moniker]):

This wasn’t quite what I expected. It dwelled a bit too long on the rescue aspect of horses and described things I really wish I could “unread”. I know there are people who need to be reminded of the cruelty of humans toward other inhabitants of this earth, but for one with a lot of empathy, it was just a bit over the top for me. The story line was easy to follow although a bit contrived and required a stretch of belief in places. The most interesting parts to read, aside from the historic aspect of the Canadian horse (of which I own several), were the interactions among the herd of horses. Those parts helped me see some members of our herd in a new light. The author did a good job of expressing the spirits of horses.


Of course, what I really liked was that GM changed someone’s view of his own herd…that’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?  And as for Marie, she wrote that GM “got her interested in reading again”, and as a former teacher, I can’t tell you how much that means to me.  As for CSA, his review was honest and balanced; I really appreciate that, but clearly, he didn’t read my Afterword in which I state and re-state that, though fiction, all the horse stories in the book are true…so they may seem “over the top” to him, but that’s what makes our mission to stop abuse and slaughter so crucial.  One can’t turn away from abuse just because it’s unpleasant.  It happens, it’s real, and we’ve got to stop it.


  1. Deb Harper
    Oct 30, 2011

    I know what that critic meant….I too, in the beginning thought that this COULDN’T be true…. it HAD to be sensationalized…And to my horror, I read in the Afterword that this was all based on real life documented cases. It left me shaken for days. And still leaves me deeply wounded of soul. I had NO idea that this happens every day in those slaughter houses.

    • Cynthia
      Oct 30, 2011

      Hi Deb…I am sure many readers felt the same way. For those of us who work in horse advocacy, the events in my book were understated, compared to what we know goes on everyday, everywhere in the world. It’s ironic that people will slow down to get a better view of a car accident, or want to be thrilled by the latest Stephen King thriller, but they don’t want to know what people are capable of on a day-to-day basis. All loving, responsible horse owners like yourself are often the most horrified to learn about what goes on, and many do not even know that horses are slaughtered for their meat, nor how cruelly the slaughter is carried out. Those are just the readers I wanted GM to reach, and reach out to so that we can stop the horror. Thanks for sharing this personal insight with me, Deb.

      • Deb R (on the Island)
        Nov 1, 2011

        Hi Cynthia and friends,
        well Deb H recommended the book, so I just ordered it and hope I will enjoy it. My husband and I have a farm and I have seen what happens to our sheep/pigs/cattle at slaughterhouses … so I am willing to believe in pretty much any brutality that might occur to horses at slaughterhouses. Although I don’t like killing anything, we prefer to slaughter our own animals to prevent un-necessary suffering … but that is illegal now even for small farmers. And no, we don’t (God forbid) raise horses for meat! But a friend of mine who is a trans-Canada horse hauler has been instrumental in the rescue of a few draft horses from Eastern Canadian meat lots. I was shocked to learn from her that providing young healthy draft horses for the gourmet meat markets in Japan and France is big business in Quebec … also that horses are shipped frequently to Quebec from the USA where it is illegal to slaughter horses. But it is not illegal to have them shipped across the border to have it done. Perhaps it seems I am a bit of a hypocrite raising animals for meat as I do. But one of the reasons my husband and I chose to raise our own meat was that we would at least know they were well treated and would have a humane end. As to horses, yes I think they are special.
        Most of human civilization depended on our partnership with horses. Many cultures hold the horse to be sacred. I would prefer no horses be slaughtered … but I especially am bothered by the slaughter of draft horses, and young healthy animals in their prime, since as a small farm owner and fan of the hopefully rebounding art of horse driving (and coming from a place where a brave few still log and farm with horses) I have a very special place in my heart for these gentle giants. Anyway, looking forward to the book. Thanks … Deb R

        • Cynthia
          Nov 2, 2011

          Hi Deb R and welcome! I just packaged your signed copy and will mail it this afternoon. (And thanks to my friend, Deb Harper, for recommending Ground Manners to you). I really appreciate what you had to say. We desperately need the support of people like you who work in the field, so to speak, because you know what goes on first-hand. And, no, I don’t think people who raise food animals are hypocrites at all! In fact, before industrial farming began, it was the local farmer who, like you, could exercise humane treatment–a choice that is lost to so many,many farmers now because of factory farming. I agree completely that horses are in a different category, and I’m not surprised that the young, healthy, and drafts go to slaughter. What a waste! In a culture which now practises the three r’s (reduce, re-use, recycle), it makes more sense to rehab and/or re-train, and re-home horses. Anyway, I’d better stop now, Deb, or I’ll go on a rant. Thanks for ordering GM, and let me know what you think of it once you’ve read it. Cynthia

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