A Horse, of Course

Don Blazer


Saddle up, horsemen, they’re going to try to take us for a ride... The government has found a new crisis…one dairy cow was identified as having BSE, mad cow disease…..and now it is absolutely necessary we have a national livestock identification system—which will include horses--so we can track animals throughout their life cycles.

In other words government will have a system in place to tax, to create new and bigger agencies at greater costs, to regulate the movement of horses and to put the “out-of-pocket costs” of identifying each horse directly on the horse owner.

Big Brother is watching.

Of course, I’m not saying any of that would happen.

The whole “wave the flag and give us a drum roll idea is to “ensure there is a system in place for horses in case of a major disease outbreak,” Dan Fick of The Jockey Club is quoted as saying. Fick is a member of the American Horse Council’s National Equine Identification Plan Task Force and chaired its second meeting in Dallas, TX. The results of the meeting: “The task force reviewed and highlighted specific details that must still be worked out,” according to Fick. Now there’s a surprise…the meeting accomplished nothing; but probably had some nice expenses attached to it.

Just asking, but what in the world is a system of horse identification going to do to protect horses from a major disease outbreak? If giving flu shots can’t stop the flu, how is giving a horse a number going to stop West Nile?

What needs to be done in the case of a major disease outbreak is notification of horse owners. You can do that these days in a matter of hours---we have the Internet, cell phones, faxes and e-mail. Wake up; this is the age of technology!

Identifying a sick horse is relatively easy—no need for an electronic transponder inserted in his neck. If there are a lot of sick horses in the same place, then get the word out; horsemen who have had horses in that area will know they had their horses in that area. No need for a national task force to tell them they had their horse in that area.

Horsemen aren’t as stupid as government thinks. Horsemen check on their horse’s health; they get medical attention if needed.

The touted benefits of a national identification system for horses include “protection of equine health, reductions in the number of disease outbreaks and the ability to limit the effect so that the commercial and recreational segments of the industry could continue to operate both domestically and internationally.”

Just asking, but how does a national identification system protect horse’s health? Most horses in the U.S. today are already identified—they are registered with a breed association…they have papers, markings, numbers and DNA samples. I have yet to see all that protect a single horse from any disease.

How is an identification system going to reduce the number of disease outbreaks? Will viruses have to check in with the task force to be assigned the identification of the horses they can attack, and then be told to limit their attack to only those horses the task force has listed?

The first two claimed benefits for a national identification system are ludicrous. The third claimed benefit is even worse. By the time a governmental agency gets through the paperwork of getting started, any long lasting disease will have run its course and be over. That’s about the time the government is going to scrap the identification system and start calling horse owners to ask: “Do you know where your horse was seven weeks ago about 10:30 p.m.?”

The task force is made up of representatives of about 30 organizations who are supposed to evaluate and determine guidelines for such an identification program. Surely one or two of them will wake up and identify this crisis as another “phantom” without substance.

Each month you'll find a new column on our web site. We hope you'll enjoy it, and maybe e-mail us with questions or suggestions for other columns. A Horse, Of Course is a weekly column syndicated by Success Is Easy. If you like the column, call your local newspaper, or local horse publication and ask them to subscribe by contacting Success Is Easy

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

Read, Ride, Reason--visit www.donblazer.com often for answers to your questions about horses.

Reprinted with permission from Don Blazer.
© 2004-2012 Horse Tack Review



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