Many thoughts filled my mind this day after the beautiful feast of Christmas, and for many of us,
the beauty and awe of Christmas will continue until we celebrate the feast of Epiphany. However,
it is sad, that despite the wonderment re the birth of the Prince of Peace, there are still so many
happenings in our daily world which speak not of love and caring, but of violence, cruelty, and greed.
Our only hope is that each day will be better than the next for us and the world at large. I believe
that n othing would please the Prince of Peace more than for us to live in peace and harmony with
each other and our fellow living creatures - the animals. That Christ chose to be born in a stable or
a cave with a cow and a donkey will always be for me testimony of His love and respect for animals.
Would that we would emulate His loving kindness and concern for them as well.
This morning I was so disappointed to "read" an article in the New York Times digest about the "art"
of hunting. First, unless you are hunting because you have no money to buy food and you must feed
your family ( a bonified reason for hunting) - in no way would I consider taking the life of this beautiful
animal an art unless you mean that your skill will not cause unnecessary suffering. This deer may
be a mother or father to a fawn. He or she has family. And then for this Pennsylvania hunter to
say that he hates to kill, was a bit much for me. I truly didn't read it carefully because I've heard all
the petty and insignificant reasonings before. But I'm sure that somewhere in this article he wrote that
he is saving that deer from starvation. Perhaps that is true. I don't know. But I believe that we can
keep numbers down to prevent starvation with the use of contraceptives. I n my opinion, that is truly
an "art" -to shoot targeted deer with a contraceptive to prevent too many births. Why isn't it being done?
Too much time needed to develop a viable plan? Not enough money to devise said plan? But still enough
money for salary pay raises to Wildlife Division members?
I'll never forget the hypocrisy of the Ohio Wildlife Division in the 80's which promoted wildlife
"concerns" on our Ohio income tax filing with a requested check mark to add money for s upposedly
aiding the wildlife. No way Jose. That money I found out later was used for salary increases.
Maybe they were needed and justified, but to make us think we were helping "Bambi" was
dishonest and wrong.
All this week Willie Nelson's beautiful song "Gentle On My Mind" had me changing the word
"gentle" to horses and deer "on my mind" - especially the horses since they have been so much
in my thoughts since I found out that an amendment was slipped into an Appropriation Bill in
November allowing for the opening of horse slaughter houses in the US. The signing of this bill to
keep us going until Nov. 18 was signed by Pres. Obama. Why didn't he use his line veto in this
regard? Or was this another foolish compromise to placate the Republicans, who in my opinion,
basically care only about monetary profits for their constituents - whether it be for the Oil Tar Sands
Project which will harm the environment or in this case, the opening up of horse slaughterhouses
once again in the US.
In 2006 people who appreciated our beautiful horses believed that with the closing of the last horse
slaughterhouse in the US, our horses were protected. Not true. F or the past 5 years thousands and
thousands of them have been sent to the slaughterhouses of Canada and Mexico to supply the tables
of Europe. I think everyone had let their guard down - the members of Congress who wanted to protect
them and even the different animal welfare groups who it seems were slow in finding this out and
doing anything to protect the horses.
One poll said that 80 percent of Americans don't believe in horse slaughter and here this Congress
who is suppose to reflect the will of the people, certainly seems not to care a wit in this regard. I don't
know how we can stop this from going forward. I wrote my congresspeople to support the American
Horse Slaughter Ban (H.R.2966 and S.1176). Is it too little - too late? Neither Democrats- Ohio
Senator Sherrod Brown or Representation Dennis Kucinich replied to my e-mails in this regard. Yes,
I had hoped better of both of them. I never expected a response from Republican Rob Portman because
I have never gotten one from him before that I can recall .
Recently, Sen. Brown's office sent us an e-mail re their disappointment in Congress saying that it was
a bad day for Americans generally when such and such happened and that monetary support was
needed to address those concerns. Well, I replied that MY bad day was when Congress decided to fund
the USDA to inspect American horse slaughterhouses -clearing the way for slaughtering horses in the
US once again. No reply.
On the Saturday before Christmas the Cleveland Plain Dealer featured a movie review of Stephen
Spielberg's "The War Horse." I think the writer could not have been happy with my comment in particular
which prompted 2 replies - all 3 basically unrelated to a movie review per se.
MY Comment read: "I hope Steven Spieberg will do more than use horses for material gain. We in the
US don't eat horse meat but soon it seems Congress has given the get go for the establisment of
horseslaughter houses in the US once again. I wrote him and asked him to support the American Horse
Slaughter Ban. Did he get the message? Does he care? Do you? Than please write all three
congresspeople to support this ban unless you want our iconic horses to meet horrible slaughtering deaths.
With hard economic times, some feel that horse slaughter is an option. Never for the compassionate
Those horses should be put down humanely instead.
JOHN Z responded: "I do NOT care. I am an omnivore, by nature as are all homo sapiens. Some may
choose to make a conscious choice to avoid animal protein to varying degrees. I respect that choice.
Nonthesless, I can see no moral distinction between slaughtering a horse and slaughtering a pig or a cow.
I suspect that I shall never eat horse meat but it has nothing to do with some sort of high moral ground.
I've found that those animals we traditionally raise for protein to be more palatable than, say, game. Alas,
most of my compassion is reserved for my fellow homo sapiens. Although, I agree, that we do have a
responsibility to treat all as humanely as possible."
NORTH COAST SURFER GIRL responded: " I CARE. If you do any reading on horse slaughter, the plants
in the US were frequently using techniques and processes designed for cattle. Horses are NOT cattle and
slaughtering them with the same techniques and processes as if they were cattle is inhumane. If slaughter
of ANY kind of animal is going to occur, it should be done as humanely as possible. It certainly isn't done
that way with horses right now, and if you look at some of the practices particularly in Mexico, I think most
people would be appalled even if they don't otherwise have a problem with eating horsemeat."
Way to go "North Coast Suffer Girl!" Often times I get a lot of satisfaction from reading a positive comment
such as hers. I also thought that I should not miss an opportunity to reply to John Z as well - so I did:
"John Z-your last line said it all - if we are to slaughter, it should be humanely done and North Coast Girl
answered that so well. It is by and large NOT humanelely done. As a Catholic for many, many years, I've
asked the church to have a teaching on compassion for the animals. Sadly there is none - so everyone
like yourself thinks only man is important. God is kind and good to ALL His creatures. Look up ps.145
if you believe in the Bible. I know God loves ALL His creatures and in the beginning He made us all
vegetarians. So much for the need to eat meat. I am a vegan and have not eaten meat since 1978 and no
dairy or eggs since 1983. And guess what - I use no prescription drugs and I haven't seen a doctor for years.
But most of all, I believe in the Golden rule for animals: 'Treat me like you would like to be treated if you
were an animal.' How different the world would be today if we did this. Truly, it would be a taste of the
Peaceable Kingdom Isaiah wrote about."
I've been saving inspirational thoughts - hoping to use them in some way. I think at the end of a post
would be a good place for them. Cesar Chavez in 1992 wrote:
" We cannot defend and be kind to animals until we stop exploiting them. Exploiting them in the name of
science, exploiting them in the name of sport, exploiting them in the name of fashion, and yes, exploiting
them in the name of food."
Thank you Cesar. You are a credit to your Latino culture and to all people of compassion.