Horsetalk has carried two important pieces this week on the wider issue of horse slaughter.
Both are notable for their quality and provide both sides of this emotive debate with much food for thought.
Both sides of this debate touch a raw nerve with many people.
A majority of those opposed to slaughter find the whole concept abhorrent.
Many in favour of a slaughter industry believe it to be in the best interests of horses, amid a strongly held belief that a worse fate otherwise awaits such animals.
It cannot be denied, however, that on the pro-slaughter side of this heated debate there are some who are driven by money. This fuels the emotional side of the debate on the pro-slaughter side.
Horsetalk often receives reader feedback on stories on slaughter – the current two pieces are no exception – and some has been vitriolic.
One reader took particular exception to Lenz’s piece and felt it should be removed immediately.
Whether you agree with Holland’s slaughter politics, there is much to be admired about the way in which he lays out his arguments, and the manner in which he explains his position with measured language.
The Lenz piece is likewise a quality piece of writing, as one would expect from an article which formed part of the proceedings of the last World Equine Veterinary Association conference.
Both present the kind of face on which the fate of this important issue will be decided.
It is not a debate that will ultimately be won with emotion, personal attacks, nor, one would hope, by the amount of dollars spent on lobbying.
Holland believes that definitions in this debate are important, and he takes major issue with the term “unwanted horse”.
He suggests that definitions are important because it ultimately comes down to precisely what you are arguing over. Holland prefers the term “excess horses” because be believes it touches more accurately on issues around overbreeding.
Overbreeding and poor quality breeding decisions are not problems confined to the United States, but one has only to look at the dominance of quarter horses and thoroughbreds in the analysis of US horses going to slaughter to realise that the business models that ultimately feed the industry have serious shortcomings – at least you do if you object to otherwise healthy horses meeting their fate at a slaughter plant.
Horsetalk appreciates that Lenz and Holland provided us with the opportunity to publish their pieces.
Information – as they say – is power, even if the message isn’t always to your liking.
» More articles on this topic are here