To United Horsemen president David Duquette,
Thank you for doing what you do.
I have been involved with horses for 21 years now. I am 24, and my goal in life is to breed some of the finest Egyptian Arabians in the world, and help my fiancé, Michael, breed the best Quarter Horses he can. I love all horses though, from the mutts to the high-end dressage horses, and I think what you are trying to do will be an enormous help to all of them.
I used to hate slaughter houses and I celebrated when they were shut down. But as I was reading through a Western Horseman magazine, I came upon an interview done with an old cowboy. The gist of the article was that the closing of the slaughterhouses was a mistake. He went on to say that it would impact the economy, and not in a good way, because now the horses that would normally have gone there would be floating around in and out of auctions. He also predicted that
there would be many more cases of horse abuse and neglect.
At first, I didn't want to believe this article, and, in a fit of arrogance, decided he did not know what he was talking about. However, I never forgot it, and as time rolled on, I think everything that cowpoke predicted came to pass.
That little bit of reason inside me spurred me on to doing some of my own research about what would happen to the horses now that the American slaughterhouses were shut down. I remember thinking "What did we do?" when I found out about Mexican slaughterhouses, and how they destroy the horses in their operations. I think the video I saw was the most violent thing I have ever seen in my life. Again, I buried the knowledge deep and tried to forget about it.
The most puzzling part was how to change this situation. I had no idea how it could ever be improved, except by re-opening the slaughterhouses here in the U.S. But in the last few months, I've been to a local auction here in Southern California and watched horses be bought for $35 a head, and had no idea how the situation could be improved. I remembered the interview with the old cowboy and that terrible video.
And then, this morning, I read all about you and your organization and what you are trying to accomplish in the California Riding Magazine article, (March, 2012) and thought to myself that this is the answer! You, and what you do, will help resolve some of the economical issues within the horse community, as well as do major good for horse rescues and the horses within them.
I also think that you are a very brave soul, and so are those following you. There are so many people that hear the words slaughterhouse, and, just like a horse that doesn't want to do what it is asked to do, shut down. They shut down their reasoning skills and their open-mindedness and just flat refuse to hear more. It takes a lot of steel in a person to be faced with that and keep going anyway. You have it.
I also think that putting an article in this magazine was a brilliant idea, and that Kim F. Miller did a wonderful job writing it. It may be a small door, but I think you all unlocked it with the perfect key. Hopefully, others like me will read it and help you with your endeavor, or at least become more open to the idea of what you are trying to accomplish.
You gave some knowledge to the public, a wonderful idea, and a beautiful way to help us all deal with the ugly fact of slaughterhouses, but knowing that even there, we can do some good.
Chelsey C. Fuqua