Hast thou given the horse strength? hast thou clothed his neck with thunder?.… He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting…
~Holy Bible, from the book of Job
Last week I thanked Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin and our state legislators for legalizing horse processing facilities in our state and promised to tackle a series about some end of life issues for horses, guinea pigs, and maybe even gramma and grampa, to illustrate why.
I was mostly goofing around about the guinea pigs, but since have discovered from agriculture commentator Trent Loos’ written column, Loos Tales, National Public Radio recently ran this headline:
Mmm…Makes me want to nibble on their little heads
Here is a short excerpt from the NPR website:
“…According to activists, eating guinea pig is good for the environment. Matt Miller, an Idaho-based science writer with The Nature Conservancy, says rodents and other small livestock represent a low-impact meat alternative to carbon-costly beef. Miller, who is writing a book about the ecological benefits of eating unconventional meats, visited Colombia several years ago. At the time, he says, conservation groups were expressing concern about local ranchers clearing forest to provide pasture for their cattle — activity that was causing erosion and water pollution.
“They were encouraging people to switch from cattle to guinea pigs,” Miller says. “Guinea pigs don’t require the land that cattle do. They can be kept in backyards, or in your home. They’re docile and easy to raise…“
They certainly are. My little calico guinea pig, Petunia, was one of my favorite pets. If I had only known she was a low-impact meat alternative, I could’ve–
Oh, dear, I feel like I’m almost getting off topic…Now, where was I…?
Oh, yes. The horse slaughter issue.
A few years ago, Gramps and I took a trip to Branson, Missouri. Outside Springfield, we passed a billboard depicting a dozen, or so, wild-eyed horses behind a fence. Across the bottom of the scene, an animal rights group encouraged passing motorists to end horse slaughter.
I have no idea where the picture was taken. Possibly it was taken at a horse slaughter facility, or it might’ve merely been in a corral where a rancher had just brought in the two-year-olds off the range. But that doesn’t matter, because almost every little girl who passed the sign wanted to stop horse slaughter immediately. I know because I was once a tender-hearted little girl who loved horses. That purity of heart in anyone, female, male, old, or young, is precious and should be highly valued.
However, our emotions can’t change facts of life.
If you’re a tender-hearted horse lover I find no fault with that, but before you reach into your pocket and hand out money to stop horse slaughter, please join me in examining a couple of the most basic scenarios for guinea pig ranchers or horse owners in my area.
- The guinea pig rancher goes out to feed one morning and finds a favorite guinea pig dead of old age. The guinea pig rancher can either bar-b-que the two-pound guinea pig, or bury her beneath a favorite tree in the yard. If the rancher grills her, the carcass smells pretty good. If the rancher buries her deep enough, her carcass is odorless. Sad, but not a giant problem.
- A horse owner finds her 1000-1200 pound horse dead of old age. She doesn’t want to gnaw on her beautiful, intelligent companion of many years. (Unless she is hungry enough to…er…eat a horse.) So, she has a logistical problem in the form of a huge mound of rotting horse meat.
Some possible solutions for the horse owner with plenty of land:
- If she has plenty of land away from a water source and mechanical digging equipment, she can dig a deep grave and bury her horse.
- If she has plenty of land, some shovels, and some teen-age boys, she might get a grave dug, eventually. (But only if the boys are brothers. If they’re a crew of friends, forget it.)
- If she has plenty of land and a shovel, but is a small, wimpy ranch/farm woman, she might scratch out a grave about 3 feet long and a couple of feet deep then give up and crawl in it herself. (Depending on the woman, that might, or might not, be a solution.)
- If she has plenty of land, mechanical equipment, and a chain, she can pull her horse’s carcass out away from the home place and the other livestock and let the coyotes and nature do what they do.
Some possible problems for the horse owner who lives on a two acre rancho and finds a 1000 pound corpse in the backyard:
- The neighbors might call the cops if the owner brings in a backhoe and starts digging a grave.
- The neighbors might call the cops if they even see teen-age boys out there with shovels.
- The neighbors are just waiting for the wimpy woman to fall into the grave so they can come cover her up themselves.
Join me next Monday as I continue the series with more scenarios and a personal reason or two why I–as Mrs. Grandma Horse Lover–appreciate the need for horse slaughter facilities.
God Bless All y’all until next time.