“The greatest deterrent
to freedom are men and women of zeal, well-meaning, but
without knowledge or understanding.”
~Justice Louis Brandeis~

"People are so quick to defend their own agendas, but they so often fail to realize we must protect the rights of all if we are to continue to have any rights of our own."

Ranch meaning, in general, any real world dwelling probably not involving full care board. Kind of a rural voice of real horse owners, trainers, traders, auction owners, rodeo contractors, etc.. all of us who have taken a verbal beating and called greedy ass hats. Back at the Ranch contributors, moderators, subjects, and so on, are pro-horse, pro-owner, and pro-slaughter.
Back at the Ranch was formed by a group of like minded horse / livestock owners. It is a place for us to try to educate, a place to vent our frustrations with the current equine industry, a place to share humor and snark, and in general try to open the eyes of the public who seem to be anti-agriculture.We do have a section for comments of course, and if you would like to email us you can do so directly or through the contact us form. We like to hear from our readers. I hope you enjoy reading our blog as much as I enjoy managing it.
Ranch Manager

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

So It Ain’t Just Me…..I Really Have Seen This Before……..

People Looking at the Problem in the Real World can and do change their minds. The first several are a discussion involving an article in an Arizona newspaper in 2008.
One person comes on to say “I wish I had listened to the people who told me this would happen”.... The fight is on…..

Comment by john w.
Originally I was FOR a ban on slaughter and transport. BUT, I have now seen the unintended consequences and they are much worse than we were warned about.
I have seen more thin and neglected horses these past few months than I have ever seen in my lifetime (and I ain't young).
What I have seen is a new report nearly every day of horses being seized because of neglect and Counties running out of money to buy feed for them. The stories are all the same. Since horses have dropped so much in value, they aren't 'worth' being taken care of at the level they were before the precipitous drop in value.
I have a very good friend that is a veterinarian with a mixed practice. He told me what would happen but I did not believe it would be that bad. Well, it is worse. His horse calls and his horse work done at his clinic is less than 1/2 of what it was a year ago. He says he gets calls every day from someone wanting to know what it will cost to treat a horse down with colic or one that is all cut up from going through a fence. When he tells them (and he is one of the most reasonable vets around) they just say "Well Doc, I can replace him cheaper than that so he will just have to live or die." This Vet has told several people to come in to his clinic and he would GIVE them one or two shots of Banamine to take home so the horse would not beat his head to pieces fighting colic since he figured they would die anyway.
He has tried to talk several people into just shooting the horse instead of letting it suffer.
Don't try to tell me or him that horses are better off now than when they had a killer market and a decent value.
He said he knows some Vets who have had their horse business drop off as much as 75%. They have all had regular customers that have told them they are not going to vaccinate anything this year. They all know people (and I do too) that have said they just turned horses out in a back pasture off of the road and they have to live or die until green grass arrives. They all said they could replace them cheaper than take care of them like they did before.
I think this anti-slaughter movement is going to prove to be the worst thing that has ever happened to horse’s welfare.
If you don't believe me, just call up 3 or 4 Vets that have 'country' mixed practices and ask them how much LESS they are being called to care for the average kind of saddle and ranch horses.
Maybe then you will understand why the AVMA and the AAEP are solidly against this legislation. I wish I had listened to them because I actually spent time and worked for ending slaughter in Texas.

Then Terry showed up to set him straight……

Fact #9: In the early 90's we were slaughtering over 300,000 horses in the US, had over 2 dozen horse slaughterhouses operating, and less than half the horse population we currently have. Between 1992 and 1995 many horse slaughterhouse closed, in 3 short years slaughter was cut by more than half, a reduction of more than 138,000 horses being slaughtered. What happened to the 138,000 horses that were no longer slaughtered? Guess what Einstein's, no one even noticed the massive reduction, they were merely sold to other horse buyers.

This is the same argument used to tell me I was full of crap in the horse market opinion piece. I wish we could go back to the middle 90s too. I don’t know anyone in the horse business who doesn’t. I think the operative statement Einstein is missing ….we had half the horse population then as we do now. We could go back into the reasons why but that’s ground we already covered. The horse population according to Mr. Holland last time he visited us with “concrete” statistics to educate us was roughly 10,000,000. That 10,000,000 figure is a full million over the figure the same man used in 2006. I am sure this all the fault of the AQHA somehow.
Terry does deserve credit for sticking to the same story, even though the only thing it has added to the problems we are facing today is in contributing a horse population, who by Terry’s own statements, doubled in less than 15 years. Let’s try to put our thinking caps on before it doubles again.
Like all us horse murderers john w persists in trying to make some sense of all this and replies…

Comment by john w.
Most of you JUST DON’T GET IT! For you radical city folk who do not understand livestock rationale, (and yes, horses are livestock): I am not saying that all, or even a large part of the thousands of horses that are now being starved, neglected an deprived of basic Veterinary and hoof care would otherwise have been sent to slaughter. Quite the opposite. They are being neglected because they have lost so much value. They have lost so much value totally because the “set in” price is gone in the market place. This is a direct result of the loss of the slaughter market, otherwise been sent to slaughter. Quite the opposite. They are being neglected because they have lost so much value. They have lost so much value totally because the ‘set in’ price is gone in the market place. This is a direct result of the loss of the slaughter market.
Just like you aren’t going to tell a cattle rancher that he should spend $200.00 on a $200.00 cow, you aren’t going to tell the majority of the saddle horse owners that they should spend $300.00 for a vet call for a sick or injured horse that may die anyway when that animal can be replaced for $200.00 or less.
No one can argue that all but the highest level of show, racing, and other performance animals have lost a great deal of their value. Whether breeders or owners use sales to market horses or not does not matter. Just like with cattle, the sales set the market. When the killer market was active, a 1000# horse would be set in for $600.00 to $700.00. This meant that all of the horses that were rideable, sound, and ‘martketable’ brought more than that price. Now, a 1000# horse that is rideable or not, will be set in at $100.00 or maybe only $25.00. This drastic drop in value is the cause of the collapse of the horse market and the lower level of feed and care that thousands of horse are now getting.
The unintended consequences of this drop in value are many. The young horses that always sold to ‘project buyers’ for $500 or $600 are now selling for $40 or $50 to the killer buyers. The project buyers have disappeared because they are afraid if they buy one that does not work out, it has no ‘salvage’ or re-sale value. This is also keeping many people from buying horses for their kids for 4-H and trail riding. They, too, are afraid that if the horse does not work out, they will not be able to re-sell it.
If people would put as much effort into over-seeing the transport and slaughter process to insure it is humane from the sale barns to the feedlot to the slaughter plant, there would be fewer, not more neglected, abandoned, and starved horses.
As for selling them for human consumption - well, dead is dead. Why on earth would it be more noble to poison and waste the meat than to use it and have it help reduce the trade imbalance. Only a moron can say a dead horse that is poisoned and thrown away is better than one transported and killed humanely under close supervision.
Like I said earlier, I was all for stopping slaughter when this issue first came out. I was warned of the drop in prices that would come with it, but I had to see this happen for myself to make a believer out of me. I just can’t see where anything done has or will help the poor horses caught in the middle.
Not only that, I have been told that any laws that prevent Mexican buyers from buying and taking horses for any purpose cannot be stopped because of NAFTA. This federal law will insure that more not fewer horses, will go across the Mexican and Canadian borders. At the very least it will be in the federal court system for many years.
So, there is a lot more to this story than, “let’s pass a law and save all of the pretty horses.”

And then Vicki cames along to help set him straight……Never mind this was the same cost prohibitive B.S. used to tell us in the beginning horses wouldn’t be shipped out of country…..Although just recently they have admitted that didn’t work out…….can’t really decide why……. mistake in the Ensign/Bird act or they knew it all along but it was okay because it happened before the U.S. plants were shut down…….

Comment by Vicki t.
No, John. You don’t get it. The bill does not ban the movement, selling or buying of horses to Mexico, Canada, and Japan. It bans the transport of horses going to SLAUGHTER. ‘Going to slaughter is specifically called out. Now, I’m sure you’re going to say that they will say they are being transported to be sold. If they do that, there is a hefty Mexican import tax that must be paid, they will need a Coggins and a health certificate. None of this is required for slaughter bound horses. The import tax and paperwork will make the cost prohibitive.

This is a comment section on HR503. It involves my favorite anti-slaughter poster……
Coeurderfer so eloquently joined in with these comments. I would like to remind people this is the “civilized and educated” side of this debate………

NO...PeTA is not the topic here and I know what you are doing. You are illogical, disjointed and ignorant or just simply one hard headed, me-me-me, I know better than you government separatist loon. First it was "we don't own horses, aren't involved in AG and vegans"...now it's that we "don't support HCHS and eat meat"....you sir/ma'am are a sick bunch of crap with your noxious, HCHS at all cost, no testing, poor inspection and no address of the cause of slaughter in the first place. Let me guess...you raise cattle? Then clean up YOUR meat industry with full, thorough cooperation via FDA/USDA before you start throwing equines into the mix. BTW...get your cattle/sheep rear off of public lands!....you lease????? You're a welfare baby. You get ANY subsidies? You're a welfare baby.

And more “facts” from the elite Coeurderfer side…….

Oh....and NO! PeTA, HSUS and ASPCA ARE NOT PAYING MILLIONS TO GET THESE BILLS PASSED. But I can tell you who is spending hundreds of thousands and millions to block them...NCBA, Farm Bureau, AQHA, other breed registries, auction associations, transporters and heavy AG states that use that crap called NCSL. You guys NEVER support anything that could, would or should be good for the animals or consumer. YOU and your ilk BLOCK EVERYTHING!!!! What's wrong with NAIS??? You know what? Even USDA, FDA want producers to do it. What's wrong with you? I know. MONEY AND EXACTITUDE WITH A TON OF ACCOUNTABILTY. This ain't Tombstone any more cowboy. And it is no longer 1882. Hey, too bad about your conceal carry at the Fed level, heh?

This is my personal favorite from the “solutions” list…..the anonymous poster seems to think we have land running out our ears in the west.…….The original article was written about how the debate has raged on for years and no one is actually solving anything…..true enough…..I could have copied more comments we have read them all before……this person has a rather unique take… ….he and Madeleine are on the same page though….as least she wants to buy the land from the ranchers….he just wants the ranchers to anti-up and “absorb” 100,000 horses or so….that will tide us over for about a year…..

Great comments from the readers of this article. It does sicken me to know that the horses have to go through a brutal slaughter. Horse meat, no thanks. A reader brought up a good point in that yes, we have many unwanted cats and dogs and not every one can be saved. How about as an idea, that many of these unwanted horses are shipped to the a remote state with lots of land such as Montana, North Dakota, Idaho where horses can live off the land and grass. People could come and visit and leave food for these great creatures that have given so much for society. A state like Montana could probably absorb in their ranches over 100,000. Just an idea. A fact that I heard is that through the Barbaro tragedy, over 27,000 unwanted horses were saved. The horse rescue people do such great work.

We here at the ranch were recently scolded for wasting so much time on pro-slaughter rhetoric when we should be working on solutions. I didn’t set out to spend this much time on this subject. It keeps coming back to haunt us. I was trying to research the EU regulations when I ran across all these comments. The same people show up every time the subject comes up. It seems to be the only subject they have any interest in anywhere. I don’t see them commenting on anything else….We try to discuss the economic impact to ranch communities involved with Madeleine’s mustang plan…….nada………we try to discuss balance, conformation, and the impact breeding for the show ring is having on the future soundness and longevity of our horses……..silence……..or the impact the reintroduction of the wolf has had on ranchers…….who cares………a little snark about horsemen buying prospects at auction being around for years “saving” horses……….lukewarm …..Rodeo……unless we are scolding a Chicago duo for exploiting for dollars…..no comment….even a snotty comment about forerunners in the anti-slaughter movement lacking the horsemanship skills and knowledge to produce marketable horses went virtually unnoticed.
I am tired of the “what have YOU done approach” from these habitual commentators……….
What have YOU done which has actually helped the horses and the industry? I don’t count work to close the plants… work toward shutting anything or anyone down…. lobbying this or that bill….. pointing a blaming finger at one association or another……work to solicit more donations…….But actually helping the horse and the horse industry move forward toward more value, less population, better quality horsemanship, or BETTER regulations for anything?????
Any of you approaching your breed associations to change futurity rules? Any of you working toward breeding more all around horses? Any of you campaigning for anything actually improving the training, marketing, and overall quality of the horse population?
Anyone doing anything other than trying to stop something?

written by RH1


  1. Thanks for writing this. I have some friends who started out as Anti Slaughter and changed their stand. I am one of them. I changed my beliefs long before all of this happened, though. I came to realize that there were far more good horse owners than bad, and that I could spend my time in more productive ways than trying to punish everyone for what the bad ones do.
    I also am not comfortable with some of the more off the wall behavior of some of the Anti Slaughter people. I wouldn't threaten anyone who doesn't agree with me, or resort to name calling. In recent years, some on the Anti side have gone farther than that.
    I am all for horses staying out of the Slaughter plants, too, but haven't seen much success on the Anti side in getting that done. They have had time to have the horses absorbed into the Equine community as they predicted. That did not happen. They have had not only the time, but the opportunity to network to get Rescues set up. We have seen so many horrible situations involving rescued horses being neglected, abused, and even killed. If anything, I am more concerned about the validity of some of those Rescues than I ever was before.
    From the comments I read on here, they are comfortable talking about the past, but don't want to take a chance on a better future.
    Being Proactive, or Pro Horse, in our case, is not something they seem prepared to do.
    I think every day that we remain responsible owners, we help improve the overall situation.
    When we refuse to break under the pressure and strive to continue to live life as we used to, we improve the chances for the Equine Industry. It used to be fun, people used to enjoy it. If you talked to someone on the Anti side, you'd think horse ownership was some sort of punishment to be served.
    There a lot of people on the Pro side, myself included who work long and hard to improve the situation many horses find themselves in. Personally, I don't like to advertise what I do, and how I accomplish it. It's part of my responsibility as a horse owner, and frankly, I would feel a little silly if each time I was successful in helping get a horse out of a bad situation, I had to let the whole world know how wonderful I was. I know a lot of people like me on the Pro horse side. We get the job done, and move on. Some of what we do, and how we do it, involves a little finesse, and it's better to keep it a little low key. If we're on the internet bragging about how great we are, and how awful those people are who had the horses we've saved, we wouldn't get far. And it doesn't help the horses to pat ourselves on the back.
    I do have some friends who are Anti Slaughter, who do work hard towards the same goals, and I have nothing but respect for them. We may not agree on the Slaughter issue, but at least, for them, they realize it is just one issue. We can work side by side, and talk about the vast number of other issues we face as horse owners without always coming back to this one subject.
    I wish more of these Anti Slaughter people would visit here.

  2. Very well said G810girl!
    ((I wish more of these Anti Slaughter people would visit here.))
    I wish they would be willing to learn more about horses, horsemanship, and the industry instead of wasting time pointing fingers and conjuring up the next emotion filled less than factual story to feed to the public.

  3. I agree. Those on the Anti side who are willing to have a conversation and work towards a solution are more like those of us on the Pro Horse side. They're busy working with their own horses, and out trying to make things better in the Equine community. They don't have time to continue to blame everyone for what happened in the past. That's not to say they are not firm in their beliefs on the Slaughter issue, they just have work to do in the real world. I do admire them, and strongly feel if there were more of them we'd have a better chance of coming to a compromise everyone could live with.
    Those who keep on posting the same old things (Lin immediately comes to mind) don't really have anything to contribute, in my opinion. For every Slaughter horror story that can be told, sadly, we can now relate an equally terrible Rescue story. Where does it get us?
    A huge error was made in closing down United States plants without any real options in place for the horses. I,like one of the other posters, am glad to finally see one of the Anti side finally admit that. But we now need to move forward. What's done is done, and we need to find a solution. I still feel that solution is in U.S. plants being built, transport regulated, and laws being enforced. Responsible ownership is just the beginning. The more well cared for, well trained horses there are, the better chance we have to turn this around. But we all have to be willing to give a little, and work together.
    I'll be interested to see if you get any other comments on here.

  4. I've been watching this site for a while now. Nice to be able to have two sides, though not much does seem to come from one side, except, "Because I WANT IT SO".
    I used to be antislaughter. Way back when we went through another time like this. The difference then, though, was the "noobs" had money and the horses were much higher quality. They still got dumped, we'd find a few horses a week tied up in the barn or let out in the field. Didn't matter when the grass was green and the hay plentiful. Then when draught hit 5 semis of those horses went out. I was pissed, but my Dad said someday I'd grow up and understand - reality did hit.

    I don't really understand the logic here. To me, it's as if they're saying, "Oh my god, there's people getting in accidents at places with stop signs, we must get rid of stop signs!".
    Seeing that pic of the leader, Mr. Holland, impressed upon me what these people are now, compared to back when. That was a prime example of reading "The Black Stallion" too much. With horses being so cheap, THAT'S what happens.
    Mr. Holland is like the guy talking on his cell, eating a banana, shaving (or putting on make-up), busting through a stop sign, then screeming about stop signs causing accidents when he looks in his rear-view mirror and sees the damage he caused (though he'd never admit he caused it).

    As to the price of top horses not being affected, check out the NCHA sales, Keeneland, etc. There's been a BIG drop (though a one or two horses may bring up the average, the means are way down). I have middle class horses that were appraised from 10K to 50K for insurence - I don't even bother with equine insurance and just have them on farm insurance because they're value has decreased so much. I would have a hard time getting the stud fees back on some of them.

    The horse market SUCKS! Horses are so cheap, any buttwipe can afford to pick up some mares and a stud. THAT'S A PROBLEM, PEOPLE! Real breeders are trying to hang on to the best and have cut back, but when rescues Save the Horsies from the new type of breeder, what incentive is that to stop? We have designer dogs filling up the pound, waiting to be gassed, do we really want designer horses there, too? Do they realize how much bigger a horse is compared to a dog? Can they grasp that horses are not big dogs?
    Reality sucks, but we really should try to live with it.

  5. Shovels, you've really put it in perspective, but I don't know that anyone's going to get it. There was a time when pure bred dogs were worth money. responsible reputable breeders produced quality animals, and while they may have been expensive, you knew you were getting a quality dog. now we have chi-weenies, doc-wawas, puggles, etc. You name it, they'll breed it. And lots of them land in the animal shelters, because they aren't wanted after they get a little older and not so cute.
    When we dropped the prices on horses so drastically, it became possible for people who would not otherwise be able to afford them to not only enter the market, but to become breeders. Many of them have this same mentality. It doesn't matter what breed the mare and stud are, if they compliment each other in any way, what the bloodlines are, and nevermind about any health or soundness issues that may occur because of the breeding. They're just hoping for a cute baby.
    These are the people who, no matter what the Anti side does now, will continue to churn out babies, because they see a market where there is none. And since they know nothing about breeding, they know less about nutrition. It stands to reason this is not a good situation for any horse to be in. But mares and studs are plentiful.
    Sure, the Anti side can continue to point fingers at the "Big breeder" who put these animals in the hands of these ignorant, irresponsible people, but in the past, they didn't have access to them. They couldn't afford them.
    Your stop sign analogy is great, I hope some can see themselves in what you've written.