A Horse, Of Course

Don Blazer

I’m a very efficient guy, so I think I’ll enrage three groups of horse lovers at one time. First, we are still allowing politicians and veterinarians kill hearty, useful horses that react positive to the Coggins test. Politicians haven’t got a clue why it’s being done, and veterinarians are doing it for the money.

Second, mare owners will breed poor quality mares and never give a thought as to who is going to want or care for the resulting foals—foals that will have no market value and will be a burden financially to everyone who comes in contact with them. Third, wild horse protection groups will continue to make inaccurate, but passionate pleas to save “wild herds” when in actuality what they are doing is creating misery and abuse for a horse given no choice, but to suffer.

I’ve been opposed to the slaughter of inapparent Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) carriers for years, and I’ve asked those who want to continue the horrible waste to come up with some facts about the so-called, “threat”. No facts are forthcoming. Those who claim horses are dying from EIA never give you a number. Veterinarians, testing labs and government agencies continue to pocket big bucks from testing, yet they remain silent when asked to give facts about the numbers of horses suffering from EIA.

EIA is like the common cold; no one making money from the relief drugs and “doctoring” wants a cure because it’s no big deal. Sure every once in awhile someone gets really sick and dies. Same with EIA, once in awhile a horse dies from it…but so infrequently you can demand a count from any state veterinarian’s office, and the answer will be, “We don’t have a count.”

Here’s a typical statement made by a veterinarian and sent out by an insurance company as information horse owner’s should have: “Since the early 1960s, several outbreaks of EIA have occurred at either race tracks or large breeding farms, resulting in the deaths of many horses.”

That’s it; no facts or supporting evidence offered. And let me remind you, this is 2005; you’d think if there was many horses dying you’d have heard about it during the past 45 years. More horses have been euthanized for being Coggins positive than have died from EIA.

Everywhere you go you hear how the horse market is in a slump; prices are down. You hear that from the people who breed and raise bad horses; horses no one wants. So why do people keep breeding such horses, because they are selfish and give no thought to the welfare of the animal.

They want a cute baby…of course, when the baby becomes a hard-to- handle two year old, they try to sell it for $500 and can’t find a buyer. Then it’s the market’s fault and guess who suffers? You guessed it. A reader, Linda Truax recently sent me a note to suggest, “Everyone voluntarily not breed unless it is absolutely necessary.”

Instead, she suggests, they could refocus their resources (time and money) on giving the babies and yearlings on the ground more handling, or fine-tuning an older horse so it is more salable. And Linda suggests adopting unwanted horses and give them the attention they need, “be it health care or training.” Linda has spent some time thinking about things and being pro-active rather than “complaining.”

How many times have you gone to see the bands of wild horses roaming free as a symbol of America’s heritage? The answer is none, never, nada, zip, zilch. First, wild horses aren’t America’s heritage; North American didn’t have horses before they were imported in the late 1500s. Second, you don’t go to see them because you can’t get close enough to see them.

Finally, if you’re worried the wild horses are being slaughtered for meat, don’t fret. Only horses 10 years of age or horses not adopted after three tries can be sent to slaughter. To date, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has not sent a single horse.

No, instead they put what is supposed to be a “wild horse” in the hands of well-meaning, but incompetent horse lovers. The horses are half crazy with fear, captured, poorly cared for, get injured, get abused, and most of the time the adopters get hurt---usually more than once.

It’s a great program if you like tormenting animals. If you want wild horses, let them be wild; nature will take care of matters. Get government and “goodie two shoes” out of the picture. I’d be happier and I can guarantee the wild horses will be.

Now is there anyone I haven’t enraged? I’ll try to do better next time.

Visit A Horse, Of Course at www.donblazer.com

Read, Ride, Reason--visit www.donblazer.com often for answers to your questions about horses.
© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review

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