By Laura Moretti (from 1992)
There has been no rest for the incredibly, terribly weary. They arrive utterly exhausted, frantically falling over themselves as they dangerously slip on the feces- and urine-slicked floors of the two-tier cattle truck that has brought them here. They are pushed forward with electric prods into the temporary holding pens outside the killing plant. From California to Texas, they arrive bearing the scars of their strenuous 30-hour trek across state lines — from other states, the journey has been nearly 2,000 miles. They arrive injured, emaciated, pregnant. And they have come a long way; all of them: registered thoroughbreds, purebred Arabians, former wild ponies, speckled appaloosas, draft horses, donkeys, old-timers and newly born foals. Not a horse is safe from the Texas massacres.
A number of the horses in the 45-head-packed truck arrive too injured to walk from the transport themselves; like any downed animal arriving at slaughter, they are dragged by their legs to the killing floor. Dead horses are trashed — fallen and trampled victims of transport in a truck designed for animals half their size.
They arrive hungry. Thirsty. Terrified. But it matters not. In just a few hours’ time, they will be forced through kill chutes, shot in their heads with captive-bolt pistols, butchered, packaged, refrigerated and shipped abroad by air and by sea to countries where dining on horse flesh has become a reborn fashion.
These images circle through my mind as I climb to the top rail and survey horses mulling about in the manure and fly-infested confines of the kill pen — their last stop here in California before the long and torturous journey to Texas. These hapless creatures — a mere unwanted hundred or two of the more than 300,000 butchered in the United States — have become statistics in the yearly export trade in horse flesh: the little Arabian, back from her lease to the U.S.-based Mexican “Charro” rodeo, badly banged and bruised; the big white blind mare who circles nervously in her so-called protective enclosure; a rose-grey Arabian with swollen, runny eyes whose “owner” fell from her and then branded her wild, dooming her to the kill pen; the seal-bay thoroughbred filly who walks with an unacceptable twist of her right rear pastern; the cancer-afflicted Welsh pony; the unmanageable pinto stallion who relentlessly expresses his dissatisfaction over this unusual confinement; they’re all here: the emaciated backyard abuse cases, the “excess” racing stock, the lame, the injured, and the ill. Alone, by herself, an appaloosa mare lies colic-stricken beneath the rain-threatening sky. She was unloaded here due to an intestinal stone too painful to pass; if the condition doesn’t kill her, the slaughterman will.
But these unfortunate animals are only the exception, not the rule. Fully trained, young, sound, well-groomed horses pack the dusty, stench-wreaking pens, competing with one another for impoverished food and muddy-colored water.
I spy a young dapple-grey Arabian gelding. A long black forelock falls across his face; the wind picks up his thick mane and tosses it over …
The European Union (EU) has banned new cosmetic products that use animal-tested ingredients. The European Commission stated that this supports the belief of Europeans that cosmetics development does not need any animal testing. The ban is also seen by animal rights activists as a victory in their fight against animal-testing.
Japan’s largest cosmetic company, Shiseido, which is also one of the oldest companies in the world providing women’s beauty products, announced on Friday that it will no longer be selling cosmetics tested on animals.
Use the “P” word with Barbara Meyers and you might very well get a lesson about a movement among animal advocates who are challenging society’s widely accepted definition of “pets” as “domesticated animals kept for pleasure.”
Following the death of the elephant Queenie, In Defense of Animals (IDA) is calling on the San Antonio Zoo to retire the one surviving elephant at the zoo, and permanently close its elephant exhibit.
An animal rights group on Tuesday called for Taiwan’s largest aquarium to immediately release a whale shark in its care to prevent physical and psychological damage, which the groups said could result from the creature’s extended captivity in a small tank.
The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is accepting public comments on an Environmental Assessment (EA) of a plan to manage wild horses and livestock during drought. The EA analyzes a range of management alternatives that may be implemented to mitigate the effects of drought and to address emergency situations.
There is a cruel irony in the fact that Santa Cruz Biotechnology, Inc. develops antibodies and animal healthcare products, but has also repeatedly violated the federal Animal Welfare Act by allowing many of the goats that they use for producing those antibodies to suffer horribly and, in some cases, die.
Celebrities are teaming up with animal rights activists in an attempt to end cosmetic testing on animals in the U.S., a move at least one industry trade group says should be delayed until better alternative testing is available.
Some people actually think this is fun: tie a bear to a stake so she can barely move, then let loose a bunch of dogs who want to tear her limb from limb. As dogs get tired or injured, fresh dogs are brought in. Sometimes the bear’s canine teeth are pulled out and claws are filed down or removed so that she has no way to fight her attackers.