Kudos to Hillary Clinton for launching an official page on Protecting Animals and Wildlife. It’s short on specifics (the very thing Clintonistas like to rap Sanders for), and the free trade policies she’s enamored of directly undermine environmentalism and animal welfare in many ways, including:
- supporting fracking
- allowing imports of unsustainably produced meat (e.g., from burned rainforests), and
- allowing U.S. agribusinesses to set up slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants in countries with weak or no animal welfare (and labor protection) laws.
Still, it’s a welcome development – and she hits many good notes, including protection for farmed animals and ending horse slaughter.
Sanders had a pro-animal page much earlier – although not on his official campaign site.
Huge kudos to my fellow animal activists for their decades of hard work that has brought, and is continuing to bring, animal issues more and more into the mainstream. Because animal welfare = human welfare = eco welfare, we all benefit.
Anonymous At Work
Ending horse slaughter or ending wild horse slaughter? Former good, latter bad. Western states have serious issues with herds of wild horses, so they requested the federal government to re-open the only horse meat packing plant in US to help.
Actually, Sanders still doesn’t have a pro-animal page. Here’s a quote from the page linked above:
So, kudos to Clinton, the ONLY Democrat with an official pro-animal page! ;-)
Bob In Portland
And in other news…
@Anonymous At Work: There are not enough predators to keep wild horse populations in check, which is another slop to Western ranchers. It’s a similar issue with deer overpopulation in the West and really all over the country. A lot of the current populations also don’t have enough range to support their numbers. So yeah, there has to be something to restore balance there.
@Anonymous At Work: And the people who have the most problem with the wild horses are…the Bundyesque welfare ranchers, so, uh, no.
Even leaving that aside, some BLM employees have personally profited from horse slaughter in an incredibly corrupt way.
@Betty Cracker: noted!
Ending horse slaughter is one of those sounds-great, feels-good emo causes that people who have never lived in horse country rally around. Then you see four or five horses packed into a five-acre weed-choked lot, owned by people who can barely feed themselves, let alone buy quality feed for the horses – and let’s not even talk about the costs of vet visits, farriers, shots, floating a horse’s teeth so they can actually digest the meager food they receive…
I have rescued starving horses, and wept over the ones I couldn’t rescue. The horses sent to slaughter aren’t the ones in the beautiful glossy pictures that 14-year-old girls put on their walls. They are spavined, sway-backed, cow-hocked, half-starved nags with bad teeth and worse dispositions from being neglected and left to fend for themselves on weeds and dirt.
There are too many horses. Not enough homes. Horse meat is recognized as an appropriate carnivore feed by the USDA. The only reason to ban their slaughter is pure emotional nannyism, akin to glorifying “no-kill shelters” that keep problem dogs alive while perfectly wonderful pets are euthanized by the hundredweight.
I take a back seat to nobody in my animal-rescue bona fides. I have been in dog rescue for 25 years, and was in horse rescue for eight. My wife and I were the Southeastern Region coordinators for National Great Pyrenees Rescue, and in that capacity we took in more than 100 Great Pyrs over a five year period, sometimes more than a dozen at a time. We have rescued and re-homed many dozens of dogs on our own, as well as several equines and cats. Animal rescue, if it is to be done intelligently, and benefit the greatest number of animals, must be done with a clear eye and a cold heart. There is no room for sentimentality when it comes to the vast numbers of surplus animals to whom we owe a debt of care and compassion. Sometimes the best thing to do – the very best – is to gently, compassionately, carefully, and with tears in your eyes if that’s your thing (it is mine), kill the surplus animal.
Holy shit. How did I get up here, and what’s that soapbox doing in my yard? sorry all, as you were, but yesterday I had to put down one of our rescue foster failures, an 11-year-old Lab who came to us literally insane three years ago and who we taught to play, to fetch, to kiss, and to love again. We had three good years with her, but the former abuse caught up and her neurological issues became untenable.
I gotta go back to work now.
In the early months of Bernie’s campaign, I’d have a similar issue with a particular Bernista in these threads: He’d make some clam about Bernie’s position, and when I challenged him for a supporting link to Bernie’s campaign site, he’d give a link to a fan site instead. Very annoying.
@Anonymous At Work: Kind of silly to me that folks are OK with eating any animal except for, oh the horror, horse and dog meat. My understanding was when the horse slaughterhouse was shut down during the economic downturn and severe drought effecting hay availability; tens of thousands of horses were abandoned/starved to death. May as well slaughter them, send the meat to France, and render the rest. At the least poor folks with horses they cannot care for could get a little money from the slaughterhouse. (I eat nothing with eyes, except for potatoes.)
well, it’s nice to see you admit that clinton kinda but not really got something almost right. kinda. but not really at all.
I do so look forward to the next several months of backhanded, passive-aggressive compliments to HRC from Rettig.
Your understanding is correct.
the people who have the most problem with the wild horses are…the Bundyesque welfare ranchers, so, uh, no.
People who have problems with over-populations of large herbivores are people who care about the land, the soil, the native vegetation, and the other animals that belong in that biome. Overgrazing on semi-arid lands has done and continues to do incalculable damage to the environment, whether those animals are Bundy’s cattle, protected wild horses, elk, mule deer, or goats.
The hills of the eastern Mediterranean were once crowned with cedar forests. Then people killed the lions and bears, and brought in herds of goats …
When people extirpated wolves from the Greater Yellowstone, the elk overpopulated, and changed the landscape. Groves of aspen disappeared; the soil gullied and eroded. When the wolves came back, so did aspen groves that had been missing for a century.
If we won’t allow wolves in the West, and we want to leave the remaining grasslands and riparian forests to our descendants (instead of badlands of gullied gravel), a way must be found to control the populations of herbivores, both domesticated and wild. If there were a way to effectively apply contraception to a population of wild horses or deer or elk, I’d be in favor, but I don’t think such exists.
We need to start treating animal abuse as less of a “maltreatment of livestock” issue (which is how it is currently handled in most jurisdictions) and more a “stop a spousal abuser/serial killer before it’s too late” issue.
I won’t hold my breath. But good on Hillary for doing this. Any thing, no matter how little, would be an improvement.
@Hillary Rettig: You may possibly be the most misinformed person I have ever encountered anywhere. Try and be right about just one thing, OK? I’m not asking for much here.
@Elmo: Really glad you’re here and posted that. I will be thinking about your points. Also thanks so much for your rescue work.
The collision between wildlife (including horses and deer) and humans seems like it’s always tragic. Are you familiar with the rewilding movement?
@Elmo: Anglo-Saxons have some kind of hang-up about eating horsemeat that is specific to them. In a lot of other European countries horsemeat a fairly well-known, although not particularly common, food, a bit like game. As in, people know it exists, they just don’t eat it very often. When I was young, the doctor even recommended it to my brother to help with his anemia.
So you mean he did not?
@Hillary Rettig: Rewilding movement, I am not familiar. But it sounds interesting. Is it similar to the “wildlife corridors” that were in vogue a few years ago?
@Mart: Many vegans would agree with you on the hypocrisy point:
clinton hate is a helluva drug.
@Elmo: Yes! And Edward O Wilson just came out with a new book called Half Earth which takes it to the next level.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: I will so take your comment to heart, Anonymous Internet Person.
Everything I’ve read has put the ranching issue at the forefront of the justifications for the wild horse culls. If you have other information I’d be grateful if you’d share it.
@Elmo: You’re a fucking saint and I mean that. Pyrs are some of the best dogs ever. Rescuing abused dogs is one of the hardest things ever, because they all have potential, but sometimes the issues are just too much for anyone to fix. And yeah, I cry when it goes bad. Afterwards. The dogs know if you’re crying beforehand something bad’s about to happen.
I currently raise and train guide dogs for the blind, whole different ballgame and the animals are the opposite of abused (more like spoiled properly given what they do for people) but have done rescue work in the past and will do so again. But not at the level you have. I tip my hat to you and hope you can keep doing it.
The need is far greater than the available resources, and that’s why I highlighted the part of your post that I did. Given what’s out there, often it’s best, with love, with compassion, to put the poor critter down.
I don’t know if that’s feasible either, but if so, it is a great idea.
@Hillary Rettig: I am working on the vegan thing. More of a cheesatarian when not home. Do not know how to cope when on the road, which is often, and in small mid-west towns. The mostly farm raised folks I am with already think my eating habits are very strange. Especially when my boss sends me to a slaughterhouse, ’cause he can, and he thinks he is so funny.
the Conster, la Citoyenne
The Ag Gag rules are abominable, but I can’t imagine there’s a large enough constituency to overturn them. I get a twitter feed from a couple of vegans, occasionally of pirated pics from the farms. Really, if anyone wants to stop eating meat, 10 seconds of viewing what goes on there will do it.
@Hillary Rettig: Since the previous level was a complete non-starter on a practical basis, I’m not sure how excited I am about the next level. Human beings are the apex predator on Earth. Any accommodation to the natural world has to accept that reality, because no amount of earnest persuasion is going to change it.
Gin & Tonic
You’ve gotten two thoughtful, carefully worded responses from long-time commenters to precisely that same point in this very thread.
A question for you Hillary.
The decrease in US coal consumption is a direct result of increased use of natural gas. Much of the increased supply of natural gas is extracted by fracking.
If fracking ended tomorrow, what would be the alternative energy source of scale to replace the decreased natural gas supply?
It’s been studied. The meds exist and are understood; the problem is getting them into the animals.
All the proposals I’ve seen require vast roundups or an army of rangers armed with tranq darts, and are so not deemed practical.
It’s not just large animals, either:
Australia would love to find a way to reduce the fecundity of rabbits, and the whole world awaits an effective control for the brown rat.
@CONGRATULATIONS!: Thanks. I need the boost today, so thanks.
I’ve done puppy raising for Canine Companions for Independence (mobility service dogs), but Guide Dogs for teh Blind have always been beyond me. The level of integration that the dog needs to have into his person’s viewpoint – the dog needs to know when there’s an obstruction four feet above his own head, for Pete’s sake! – just baffled me. So thanks for your work. Amazing what they can do, isn’t it?
The dog we had to put down yesterday was a chocolate Lab, papered and pedigreed, who had been bred every single heat for probably seven years. Nothing else. Just a breeder bitch. She came to us 35 lbs overweight and with her mammaries literally dragging on the ground and constantly infected from overuse.
She was nutso terrified and defensive about every new person ever, so we could only socialize her with a muzzle on for everyone’s safety. But at home she was (eventually) happy and grinning and delighted with toys and fetch and tug, and frantic to greet me when I got home from work. She would have been an amazing dog, just amazing, if she hadn’t been so poorly used.
She is in my front yard now, under a weeping cherry tree.
Nope. The two issues (horse slaughter in the US vs Mexico/Canada) and wild horse culls by BLM are two very different issues. Animal rights activists who want to end all killing of non-human animals “because it’s wrong” are ethically stunted, immature ignoramuses who tend to bias their presentations to sway those who are innocent of the realities of the natural world, so that may be the source of your confusion.
Each has its own complex moving parts that I shall leave in the hands of those already aboard this thread.
Because I’m too busy today. My 16yo took her winnings (from an equine sport that animal rights activists want to outlaw) and went into business with her former trainer. The rescue pony, who was 17 minutes from her one-way ride to Canada for slaughter when the kid talked me out of my credit card number, is arriving at the barn (where we “abuse” the 3 horses we currently support by giving them humane, dignified work and keeping them healthy and fed) later this afternoon…and I’d like to meet her there.
So please continue with the links that are not from BS and the ones that are from those who want nature to be elegant and wild and beautiful but don’t grasp that nature is a lot of creatures dying all the time…I’m leaving Elmo in charge.
@Gin & Tonic: I didn’t say there weren’t other justifications for culling horses, but that clearing land for ranchers is the main reason the BLM is doing it. (Along with the fact that it’s a profit center.) For instance:
“The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse & Burro Act was passed, protecting wild horses from capture and death. The BLM and the U.S. Forest Service were responsible for implementing the act and ensuring protections were in place for the wild horses while they also issued grazing permits to cattle ranchers on public land.
“While they were once considered iconic and majestic, wild horses are now deemed nothing more than a nuisance by ranchers who use federal land for subsidized grazing….
“Under the Department of Interior’s ‘multiple-use’ principles, only so much cattle, so much wildlife, and so many wild horses are allowed on federal lands,” she writes. “The wildlife is ‘paid for’ by hunters’ licensing fees. Cattle are ‘paid for’ by the meat industry: $1.35 per head per month to graze the public domain. Horses, on the other hand, take up one ‘Animal Unit Month’ (AUM), but no one is paying their way. Each horse removed from the West frees up another AUM for cattle or sheep or game antelope.””
Maybe I misread CONGRATS’ comment, but s/he seemed to be disputing that, and I was asking for clarification.
@PhoenixRising: Best of luck to your daughter in her business! I envy you the horses. We had to stop keeping them because my wife’s COPD got too bad, and she couldn’t handle dealing with hay or horse dander. That was another day of crying, giving up the beautiful 17-hand warmblood who loved to give grass-stain kisses.
When they started rewilding the Highlands of Scotland the first thing they had to do was reforest. In order to do that, they had to cull the deer herds.
@PhoenixRising: For clarity, my OP was about horse slaughter (as is Clinton’s page) but the topic of wild horse slaughter got introduced in the very first comment, and that’s where the thread went.
And your characterization of animal activists is pure straw-person.
You just can’t help yourself, can you?
@Emma: Thanks for posting – as I mentioned, when humans and wildlife collide the result is almost always tragic for the animals. I’ll have to check out the Scotland story, tho.
No way to “humanely” kill horses at slaughterhouses. And they are usually horribly starved and brutalized in transport. Long term, need regulations on who can own and breed horses. Need more money for wild horse adoption. More research for effective, easy horse birth control, reintroduction of natural predators. An END to ecologically unsound, way below market priced cattle (over) grazing on public lands. All will take time and commitment. Way more humane to shoot a horse than send it to a slaughterhouse. But no money in that!
@Facebones: If her mushroom identification talents are anything like her level of emotional maturity, I fear she’s not long for this world.
@RealityBites: Slaughterhouse death is still more humane than slow starvation at the hands of people who don’t understand that domestic horses can’t survive on a diet of scrub and weeds. When somebody has more horses than they can care for, what options do we give them if they can’t sell to a slaughterhouse?
Seriously? In red states? In Tennessee, Kentucky, Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas? In Texas? How are those regulations going to be enforced? With what budget? And what are you going to do with the horses that you confiscate (since you can’t slaughter them)?
@Hillary Rettig: here is the best link. Second box of text as you scroll, third paragraph. They had to enclose fields, cull deer and reduce the goat herds. First step in rewilding in places like the Highlands, where the environment is so degraded, is to reintroduce the forests.
I have taken both the train and the bus between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh. That train ride is probably the most exquisite one in the UK. But you can see the devastation of the forest. Trees for Life is working with the Forestry Commission to help restore woods all over Scotland.
I’m all for animal well being etc. but there are probably about a thousand things more important to talk about and spend precious money and time on during an election campaign. it’s not like anyone expects ANY Republican to care more about animals than the Dem candidate does EVER. Double that for a moron like Drumpf.
Ella in New Mexico
God bless you. Thank you so much for the hard and compassionate work you do.
Euthanasia is one thing I have no issue with. Horse slaughter for meat, however, is rarely kind. It involves rounding up animals that are pretty much on par with dogs as to their ability to understand and feel and traumatically, violently killing each one while the others witness in terror.
And FWIT, ranching and it’s corporate interests out west ARE the biggest enemies of the wild horse, because they compete for food with their cattle. with reasonable control of their populations, wild horses can actually help in the prevention and restoration of the destruction done by cattle to public lands, particularly near riparian areas where they have less of a damaging impact due to the difference in how they eat their food, the anatomy of their hooves, and the balancing biochemistry of their waste.
Ella in New Mexico
I read it the same way you did–a shitty insult. ;-)
Ms. Hillary R:
Please to list free trade policies Clinton has a) voted for or b) currently supports. 25 years of republican CDS is a helluva drug; have you considered rehab?
Sen. Sanders not being able to articulate how he is going to bring down the Big Banks is a much bigger worry than Sec. Clinton not being too specific about issues related to wildlife. I would wager that the vast majority of people would (and should) care more about the former rather than the latter.
Kudos to you for all your rescue efforts, and for saying succinctly one of the biggest issues in rescue; one that I dealt with for years, and in some ways still do with my “unadoptables”.
It has driven me nuts sometimes, the insistence that all animals can be saved, that leads to huge efforts and expenses lavished on some less adoptable or on unhealthy animals while other ones lose the life lottery solely because the space and resources were squandered already on an animal that is unlikely to rehome or survive a serious illness. I wish there were places for them all too, but there isn’t and turning rescuers into near animal hoarders (which I have witnessed) isn’t a solution.
Hillary, thanks for highlighting Clinton’s animal protection policies.
@Betty Cracker: She’s the only Democrat running.