I was honored to be asked to partake in the festivities surrounding the film Saving America’s Horses screened at the Artivist Film Festival this past weekend. It is a heart breaking documentary which details the systematic eradication of our wild horse population by the Bureau of Land Management and its sub-contractors, as well as the inhumane treatment of horses after their service as racers, entertainers and family pets.
It depicts the horrific journeys of horses from our back yards to slaughterhouses as their mere existence has become an inconvenience to consumers, cattle ranchers, race track denizens and the like.
Essentially, our horses have been relegated to the status of disposable pests, betrayed by those in our government charged with their protection and conservation, and sacrificed by special interest groups who need them eliminated for their special projects. Worse than that is the misinformation disseminated to us, the taxpayers, about the true destiny, killed, of these horses.
Many times in the film, those interviewed claimed to be either tricked by kill buyers (those selling horses for slaughter) posing as adopters of unwanted horses or those with eyes shut wide who simply did not want to know where their racehorse or pet was really going once they stopped winning or started costing more.
Horses are the very soul of the animal welfare movement
It was the physical abuse of carriage horses that served as the catalyst for the creation of spcas in this country. spcaLA opened in 1877 to protect horses, (transportation) beasts of burden, (factory labor) pets, women and children, (all legally property) from being overworked, over-driven, starved, exploited and tormented. It is the horses that we must protect and to whom we should pay homage.
We have to open our eyes, noses and mouths to save America’s horses
We must see what is really happening, follow up when a “story” doesn’t pass the smell test, and broadcast the truth to the people.
We can start by urging the passage of Senate Bill 1176 – American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act of 2011 and remaining vigilant and analytical when issues involving horses arise in individual states as well.
Black Beauty, a family pet that was sold as a carriage horse in London, laments her suffering and pines for earlier times when she was loved and coddled, states:
We don’t get to choose the people in our lives. For us, it’s all chance.
Anna Sewell (Black Beauty)
It doesn’t have to be so.