As anyone who cares about animal suffering knows, we will find our mail boxes stuffed
with requests for monetary help - for rescued farm animals on the brink of being
slaughtered, for the monkeys who have languished in cages waiting to be further
traumatized in a research setting, for homeless cats and dogs looking for a loving home.
It is impossible to help them all and believe me, they all need help, so how does one
Today when I opened the flyer from Habitat for Horses and saw the picture of Ziggy, a white
scrawny horse -almost reduced to skin and bones, I knew I had to at least read about him
before I did anything else. Who was responsible for this cruelty? Did someone finally help
him? If so, where is he now? I "cheated" and found a picture on the second page of a
wonderfully transformed Ziggy - his body filled in and his pristine white coat shining in
the sun. By his side stood a lovely young woman, his new owner. In Ziggy's case, rescue
came in the form of two beautiful women who proved to be his saving angels as well as
Habitat for Horses.
For six months Ziggy had baked in the hot sun amidst filth and mud -waiting for someone
to care. The writer believes that possibly hundreds of people passed him by in their flashy
cars but sadly no one gave him a thought at all until one blessed day one woman finally
did and stopped her car. She offered the old man $100 to take Ziggy off his hands. But he
refused. Luckily for Ziggy, this lady did not give up.
She contacted Habitat for Horses and when they contacted the old man, he too gave them
a song and a dance saying "Ain't nothin' wrong with that horse. I feed him every day.
He's one of them Arab horses. They (sic) suppose to look skinny."
Habitat didn't waste any more time trying to reason with this pitiful excuse of a man
and came back two hours later with a Warrant for Seizure. The court listened to both
sides of the case - the defense producing receipts from a feed store and mentioning
that a vet had seen the horse a few months ago.
And then it was Habitat's turn. They pointed out the scar tissue under the horse's
neck from leaning over the barbed wire fence as he tried to grab a bite of grass. They presented photographs, vet statements, the results of the blood work and a stool sample -
"Worms, anemic, grossly underweight, the only possible reason? Severe lack of nutrition...."
The judge ordered the horse be surrendered to Habitat for Horses. Ziggy was brought home
to Habitat where he was wormed, washed, hugged, brushed, and turned loose to heal. He
must have thought that he had died and went straight to heaven because now hay, the
water trough and the feed bucket were available to him at all times. He was also no longer
baking in the hot sun.
There are probably more Ziggys out there and where can some of the blame for him be
placed? Of course- to cruel and indifferent people like his former owner. And what about
the Bureau of Land Management? Instead of protecting our wild horses as mandated by
the Wild Horse and Burro Act of 1971, per Habitat the BLM is "systematically torturing,
removing, corralling and inadvertently killing them...."
Maybe even Ziggy was bought cheaply at one the BLM auction places where for a long time
many of these former free spirits were put up for auction. All too many were snapped up by
the"meat" people who sent them to a cruel slaughtering death for the dinner tables of
places like Belgium and Japan.
I can still visualize a picture from a flyer of two horses in a chute with a man from
the side and above them thrusting a knife repeatedly into one of them as he/she
winnied in distress. Fear was evident in the other horse's eyes as clearly he knew
what was awaiting him as well.
Though Congress closed the US horse slaughter houses, sadly many thousands of
innocent horses are still being shipped to Mexico and Canada for slaughter-where in
some cases, the slaughtering practices are often especially cruel and primitive.
Thankfully, Ziggy, two angelic women and Habitat for Horses saved you from such a fate. Hopefully, Congress can somehow address this terrible problem of transporting
horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter. There is enough room for these beautiful
horses on public lands provided for them by the Act of 1971. Sadly though, much of
these lands are being ceded instead to cattle barons. Another reason why hopefully,
people who care about horses, will try to adopt a more meatless diet even for only one
day a week. Meatless Mondays are catching on in some places. Why not yours?