The Pryor Times

March 7, 2013

Non-horseowners need offer an opinion

Kathy Parker
Managing Editor

PRYOR, OK — Do you think $120,000 a day is a significant number?

I do.

Channel 6 has posted a story where “horse advocates rally against horse slaughtering in Oklahoma.”

To begin with, we have two separate issues going in this state about horse slaughter.

One - and both senate and house bills have passed - lifts the horse slaughter ban in Oklahoma. This would allow slaughter plants to open for old, infirm, starving, unwanted or infectious disease affected animals to be terminated. Unfortunately, lifting the ban is only a first step.

The means the government used to sabotage horse slaughter in the first place was to take away funds to pay government inspectors - the only kind allowed in horse slaughter plants. So even when the ban was lifted nationwide, letting the states decide their position, nothing happened because there was no money to pay inspectors. With no inspectors, no plants could reopen.

I would like to know how many protesters and detractors of horse slaughter - including those holding signs at the capitol - own or have ever owned a horse.

How many have seen the slow and horrendous process of a horse starving to death or dying of disease for which there is no cure?

One woman said everyone in favor of horse slaughter has something to gain. I certainly do - the health, comfort and dignity of the horse.

I had a horse waiting for me when I was born. I have owned at least one every single day of my life. I own four now and I make more than one quarter of my living from their backs. You will be hard pressed to find anyone with more love and respect for a horse.

Since the horse slaughter ban has been in place, many horses have died a slow and painful death from starvation. Many have been literally abandoned at salebarns or put inside pastures where they don’t belong - often with the wild horses.

Which brings me to the issue of horse slaughter for “wild” horses. That’s the part costing you, me and every other Oklahoma taxpayer $120,000 a day, each and every day.

These horses were brought to Oklahoma from states further west because there were too many for the available land to support. They are not indigenous to this state. In fact, horses are not even indigenous to the United States. They got here in the first place when explorers left them behind. Those were mostly Spanish horses. Over time, every breed and color horse in the rainbow has escaped or been abandoned in the west to eventually make up the mongrel variety you see all over the place in Osage County.

All these protesters are worrying about people eating horse meat. Well I’ll tell you something, if the cattle ground keeps being used to run wild horses, we will have to eat them if we want meat because there won’t be enough cattle.

Why is the cattle ground going to wild horse ground? Money. Ranches make millions of dollars letting the government stock their land with wild horses. The land owner puts out some feed bought and delivered by the government. For that they are paid handsomely, by the head, by the day. That’s the $120,000 a day. And that is only in Oklahoma. Multiply that by the total number of states keeping wild horses and it really turns into money. I know several ranchers, personally, who are making millions - yes I said millions - of dollars each year running wild horses. I worked on one of those ranches.

There are too many. With the best of care and feed and few natural predators, the wild horse population has ballooned to a ridiculous number.

There’s nothing wrong with preserving some of the horses for history’s sake. But it could be done much cheaper in smaller numbers in sanctuaries; much as the buffalo herd at Woolaroc.

All those horses costing the taxpayers so much money could be making money.

People in other countries eat horse meat. That’s just the way it is.

This country could humanely slaughter horses the same way we slaughter beef and send it to other countries for sale the same way we ship beef. That’s for revenue.

And for you proponents who think the ban stopped slaughtering horses from the United States, you are wrong. Horses are shipped to Mexico and Canada every day for slaughter - after very long trailer rides with no feed and water, they are taken to plants with no regulations and no inspectors. Some of that slaughter is very gruesome indeed.

The wild horse program is just one more bloated government program which has gone morbidly out of control. Slaughter is one way to rein it in and ease some of the taxpayer’s burden.