Letters from America...
Many people work hard to save unwanted horses...
This letter is in response to "'Excitable' horse lovers unfair to Cavel, DeKalb," a letter written by Peter Barick of Sycamore and published on May 3.
Mr. Barick wondered what other options there are for horses should there be no horse slaughter plant at which to dispose of what he termed "unwanted" horses.
The answer to this, Mr. Barick, is that the options are many. To name just one option: There are more than 300 equine rescues operating in the United States where caring, wonderful people break their necks and wallets on a daily basis to keep our horses out of the hands of Cavel and the two plants in Texas. And then there are the thousands of decent individuals who also are ready, willing and able to step up to the plate to help a horse in need. Many of these people are operating here in the DeKalb area, practically right under your nose, which you might have known had you bothered to take the time to discover what goes on behind the scenes in the area.
You wrote, "Well, fine - how many of those nags have they rescued to nurse, feed and board, or are willing to help? They're not saying, but I'm guessing it equals zero."
Well, Mr. Barick, to answer your question, today alone I personally rescued three, yesterday two and the day before two more. In the past 30-odd years I've lost count of how many I have saved from the likes of Cavel. I am but one person, Mr. Barick - you can multiply what I do by tens of thousands, because collectively we responsible horse owners have indeed saved many. How many did you save today, Mr. Barick?
Horse slaughter encourages backyard irresponsible breeders and irresponsible, neglectful horse owners. Horse slaughter rewards the bottom-feeders of the horse industry with an easy out, and worse, it pays them for their irresponsible behavior. The overwhelming majority of horse owners want our horses protected from those who exploit them, including meatpackers who scour the country purchasing perfectly healthy horses simply to kill them.
Perhaps you should walk a mile in our shoes for a day before offering up an opinion on a subject you clearly know little about. I personally invite you to come by my farm and visit for a day to learn just what it is we are all doing to take responsibility for not only our own horses, but also the horses that have the misfortune of being owned by the irresponsible among us. I'm certain you would walk away with a whole new perspective. You never know - you just may want to do some good and help a horse yourself someday!
GAIL VACCA, DeKalb