Once upon a time, a cowboy poet author wrote a convoluted story about horse butchery, comparing the familiar fairy tale known as The Emperor’s New Clothes to his take of the hotly contested horse slaughter issue in the United States. His story and the comparative horse tragedy, dated Aug. 13 in the Business Farmer, would have readers believe that those favoring horse slaughter were wise and intelligent. Baxter Black continues his self-indulgent fable hoping to make people doubt their own positions and to feel foolish.
As Black switches over to the horse slaughter issue in his comparison allegory, he talks about well-meaning horse lovers (to whom he ascribes the WMHL moniker). In the world according to Black, for many years prior to 2007 everything was just hunky-dory for horses when the unwanted ones “went” to USDA-inspected and approved plants within U.S. borders. Back then the U.S.-located slaughterhouses butchered an “annual average of 62,719 horses and exported an average of 42,286 per year for slaughter to Mexico (24 percent), Canada (74 percent) and Japan.” That averaged about 105,002 horses each year.
Then everything changed and, per Black, for the worse. In 2008 the WMHL folks managed to effect a political change [his words] that prevented horse slaughter within the United States – he notes this conveniently coincided with the 2008 stock market fiasco. These “wrong-thinking” WMHL folks totally ignored predictions of “virtually all professional horse users, raisers, vets and equine associations, who warned there would be tragic results.”
Time out to let that statement sink in . . .
Black claims “all” of these various horse-related aficionados warned about closing horse slaughterhouses. Of course, there were certain factions within the industry, in particular the Quarter horse breeders who indiscriminately overbreed and then cull countless “subpar” horses, who were vehemently against closing the killing plants in the U.S. He continues that the WMHL were thrilled with their accomplishment, congratulated themselves righteously, and disdained professionals with different opinions.
Next, Black really gets dramatic: “The Tragedy began!” He asks, “What was going to happen to the 62,719 unwanted horses normally slaughtered at home? Where would they be taken? Who’ll feed them and there was no system in place to handle the unwanted. WMHL continued to tell people how much better horses will be treated. The price of horses plummeted.” And so forth . . .
Per Black, all manner of hell broke out within the horse industry since people were abandoning horses everywhere, while countless others were abused and starved. But wait, it gets better.
Black wants the WMHL to be aware that the real heroes have survived. Today we can sing praises to the real heroes says Black — truck drivers, sale barn owners, horse buyers and Mexican [and Canadian?] abattoirs – since these people are the reason that horse owners are not shooting horses in the street. Black’s figures claim that now we export 137,475 horses a year. Interestingly enough, he counts in and out the Canadian statistics.
In his lingo, Black refers to folks within the WMHL as “cowardly politicians” and “innocent ignorant media,” animal rights groups and activists. According to him, they accept no responsibility for the tragedy they created. He finishes his attack with “They are still sewing invisible clothes for their naïve, well-meaning emperors like Robert Redford, Tom Vilsack and good ol’ T-Bone Pickens.”
Black’s tall tale is untrue and overlooks completely that the will of the people is against horse slaughter by a vast percentage. All his resume credentials aside, Baxter Black does not mention the cruelty imposed on horses by all of his heroes, nor the greed of the slaughter industry, and the abject horror and inhumanity to which the horses are exposed.
Did anyone even mention drugs in this tall tale?