Thursday, May 10, 2012
New Mexico Needs Another Vision for Horses OP-Ed by Senator Mary Jane Garcia (D-Doña Ana-36)
Photo above from the site America's Horse Daily
Since serving in the New Mexico legislature starting in 1988, I’ve considered it my duty to stand up for our state’s many vulnerable populations, particularly children and animals. The common denominator in the challenges I’ve faced has been the predictable and tired refrain of those who can’t picture things being different. The pushback has always been fierce. This is especially true with the systematic cruelty being inflicted on horses today.
Thanks to heart wrenching but honest exposés that have recently uncovered one after another tragedy involving horses in our state, the public wants change. One thing is clear: even though some of us have heard these concerns in one form or another for decades, we are on the edge of a shift in thinking regarding horses. That’s why plenty of people are fighting back against that shift.
Is it really that hard to understand that horse slaughter is not and cannot be humane? No matter where it’s done, saying horse slaughter is less cruel in one country compared to another is missing the point. Simply put, horses flee when they’re frightened, and those who defend U.S. horse slaughter should watch videos of it that are easily available online. The panic, fear and pain are unbearable to watch.
The phrase, “if we build it, they will come,” would have severe unintended consequences as a horse slaughter plant anywhere in New Mexico would encourage uncontrolled over breeding of horses. The obscene incentives to breed, ship and kill would be substantial.
Eighty percent of Americans are opposed to slaughtering horses for food. Add to that the fact that American horses are routinely injected with drugs such as “bute,” (a horse medication known to be unfit for human consumption) makes me very apprehensive with horse meat being used as a food source.
Furthermore, establishing New Mexico as a horse slaughter haven will do irreparable damage to the unique brand of our state. We all can agree that New Mexico’s brand is remarkably unique with all of the heritage and culture that make up our beautiful state. Yet, a horse slaughter plant is likely to be an unwanted distraction from what our state genuinely has to offer. Do we really want to be known as the epicenter of something so inhumane? One economic step forward might mean two steps back if our state becomes renowned for such appalling treatment of the noble American horse.
Like other New Mexican leaders and so many of my constituents who have contacted me about the horse slaughterhouse proposal, I know we can use our God-given intelligence and imagination to create lasting and humane solutions for horses. A system already exists to help our communities’ dogs and cats. It is more than possible to do the same for horses. Model programs already exist that provide feed assistance, shelter, adoption and yes, humane euthanasia.
Horses are suffering; I see it when I travel around New Mexico. I know that we as New Mexicans can do better than this. Please join the strong chorus of individuals opposing cruel treatment of horses and let’s create solutions for horses that will make us all proud
BRAVO Finally an intelligent Woman who realizes the absolute disaster a Horse Slaughter House would do to the Tourism of New Mexico. The RVers, the gamblers, the shoppers, the Snow Birds well into retirement would say "Why Would we want to go there-Repulsive"..
Tourism is the MAIN money making industry of beautiful New Mexico. Even the thought makes me want to vomit...Please don't let the Pro-Slaughter "Kill" New Mexico Tourism.
Posted by: Elizabeth dana | May 14, 2012 7:15:35 PM
Senator Garcia is and has been a champion for battered women, abused children and abused and neglected animals. I think she is correct that individuals will start breeding horses for the sole purpose of selling them for meat People around our state are unable to feed their horses with the high price of hay,due inpart to the drought. So people are abandoning their horses. their pets on the desert. I owned a horse for about 14 years. He was approximately 34 years old when I had to put him down humanely by a veterinarian. It was the most difficult thing that I have ever had to do. The Horse is a great part of the Southwest. A majestic animal that provided the power to till the fields, deliver the mail and provided transportation for people including doctors when they still made house calls. I agree with Senator Garcia we must not let our state become the horse slaughter house capitol. We as human beings are entrusted with being stewards of our land and we must be stewards of the horse who has no voice and be there to protect them
Posted by: Stephanie DuBois | May 14, 2012 8:24:49 PM
Thank you Senator Garcia for speaking up on this matter. It's time horse owners take responsibility for their actions. It's also time for New Mexico to clean up their act and treat horses accordingly. We need to take positive action in protecting our horses. I'm glad you recognize the valuable programs available in our state that need our support to do the right thing.
Posted by: Rebecca Jolin | May 14, 2012 8:33:43 PM
I don’t believe there is any doubt that annual or twice yearly wellness examinations are a “win-win” situation for both horses and their owners. The examinations maximize the quality of the horse’s life through prevention and early disease treatment which, in the end, saves the owner money and provides them with a horse that is healthier and lives longer.
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