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Horse neglect isn't new

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By The Staff

Animal neglect and abuse have always been with us. Studies have shown that neglect gets worse when unemployment increases, but that it did not worsen following the closing of the Texas and Illinois slaughter houses.

Moreover, slaughter auctions continue, unabated. Horses are simply hauled to Canada and Mexico. Over 134,000 American horses were slaughtered in 2008, the second highest number since 1995!

Euthanasia is a humane solution for older horses, when their owners wish to rid themselves of a mouth to feed. The cost is minimal.

Mr. Mattingly implies that the pittance of money garnered through selling a horse to slaughter will be enough to buy another. Such an owner certainly does not need another horse! If the owner cannot afford the small fee to have his horse humanely euthanized, he cannot afford correct horse keeping.

In John Hettinger's words:  "Horse slaughter caters to the lowest common denominator". In fact, there are "good and viable solutions to the problem".

1.) Stop breeding horses. 2.) Enforce abuse and neglect laws.

3.) Should a horse owner decide that he no longer wants his horse, call the folks at the Kentucky Horse Park and ask to be referred to a rescue or a sanctuary.

4.) As a last resort, have vet humanely euthanize the horse.

There is always a good and safe place for an unwanted horse. Ask!

Mattingly said, "We really don't have the resources right now to meet what I foresee as a problem in the future."  What problem in the future? This is ridiculous pro-slaughter jargon. The sky is not falling. There are still responsible people in this country. The other kind of "horseman" (I use this term loosely) is certainly in the minority.  Only 1.4 percent of American horses were sent to slaughter last year.

T. Boone Pickens once said, "If you have to ask the price of a yacht, you can't afford it". If you cannot afford hay, vet and farrier care and safe shelter, you cannot afford a horse. Sadly, irresponsibility and not financial hardship is often the reason for neglect. Whether irresponsibility or lack of funds leads to neglect, enforcement of the law is the correct answer.

Luckily, the county need not take on horse care for the irresponsible. Kentucky is has many rescues and sanctuaries. After all, Lexington stands at the center of the horse world.

Bonnie S. Oliver

Ripley, WV