Tuesday, March 31, 2009
Triple Crown 2009 = Open Season on Horses. And on Racing. Unless We Act TODAY.
Ah, The First Saturday in May: The day that separates the proverbial sheep from the goats. The title of a great documentary film. The day when PETA dons its orange vests, sets the scope on Louisville and, like a starving weasel lurking outside a chicken coopâ€”takes aim and fires at an industry it doesn't understand.
The day that, after over a century of successes, has morphed into an event that sets an entire industry on edge. Every year henceforth, we must tread gingerly and pray that nothing goes wrong.
God help us if a Derby horse has a hangnailâ€”PETA will be on it like an elephant on a bag of peanuts.
PETA and some others have convinced a lot of people that our sport is rife with hard-hearted horsehaters. Not only do we force horses to runâ€”we may actually pray that one of them goes down. We get a sadistic thrill out of seeing a horse writhing in pain, and then euthanized. PETA has done a great job of convincing a lot of lonely, ill-informed, ignorant people that we are The Bad Guys.
Amazing, this opportunity for resurrection: Spring truly brings with it the promise of New Life.
We need not fear Kentucky Derby Day simply because we know that PETA will be watching and waiting. We can take action, one horseperson at a time, and change not only the world's perception of ourselvesâ€”we can actually do something of huge merit.
We can save the lives of horses.
We have before us two opportunities to save horses' lives AND, a nice side benefitâ€”prove to ourselves and the outside world that we're not the demon-possessed trolls we've been painted to be. Sweet: being rewarded for Doing the Right Thing.
Opportunity #1: The 33,000
Last week, Madeleine Pickens trekked to Washington, D.C. to speak on behalf of The 33,000 (as I'm calling them)â€”the beautiful Wild Horses who should be allowed to live out their lives on the 1,000,000-acre Sanctuary that Mrs. Pickens wants to create for them. A gift to the horses; the people of the United States and to the governmentâ€”this proposed Sanctuary is running into opposition. Go figure.
In fact, as I began to write this, I received an email from James Magill of the BLM. He thanked me for emailing the BLM about the Sanctuary, and he provided a link to the BLM's official stand on the issue. I read this statement as being a government-sanctioned tap dance, all smoke and mirrors. Reading between the proverbial lines isn't so hardâ€”the BLM is reporting their take on Mrs. Pickens' proposal. And, like the Six Blind Men and the Elephantâ€”they're seeing the thing from only one perspective: that of the Ag lobbyists.
A-HA! You thought I was going to say that they see it only through the BLM's eyes, didn't you? Hell to the no: the missive reeks of Ag lobby influence. (You know the Ag lobbyists, those fun-loving, high-living drones whose pockets are lined in the blood of dead horses. They represent ranchers who've been sold the bill of goods that, if the Wild Horses are allowed to live their lives peacefully on the Sanctuary, or if horse slaughter becomes fully illegalâ€”somehow this is going to take down the entire meat industry. No more Triple Whoppers for Bubbaâ€”all because of those damned horses.)
I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around how the Bureau of Land Management and the State of Nevada can think that the horses are a threatâ€”to the cattle industry, or to anyone else. Maybe because they eat grass? Take up space? Breathe air that steers need? Whatever the imagined threat, it's all propaganda for the sake of greed.
The hot pursuit of Filthy Mammon once again dictates that innocent horses must die. Just in case their existence is a threat to wealthy ranchers.
We stand shoulder-to-shoulder with Mrs. Pickens: her goals are noble, her love for the horses, real. She encourages us to contact Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, to voice our support of the Sanctuary.
Please do so, and let Mrs. Pickens know that you're a conscientious member of the Thoroughbred industry who's behind her efforts 1,000%.
Washington Update & Wild Horse Sanctuary Plan Details - MadeleinePickens.com
Opportunity #2: Banning Horse Slaughter in the United States, Once-and-For-All:
This was quite the morning: I also received an email with the link to the Animal Welfare Institute's latest press release. The AWI today bears great tidings: a bill has been introduced onto the floor of the Senate, a bill which will make it illegal for several reasons for horse slaughter to occur in the United States.
This is grand news: passage of this bill into law will effectively nuke all efforts by wannabe Slaughter States like Montana and Illinoisâ€”even if they give the proverbial finger to the will of the people, and create horse slaughterhousesâ€”they'll do so in violation of federal law. The slaughterhouses, themselves, will be illegal. It's already illegal for USDA inspectors to inspect the meat from said proposed slaughterhousesâ€”this new law will make it illegal, period, to even buildâ€”never mind useâ€”such a facility.
The bill will also dovetail with H.R. 503, and make it illegal to ship outside the country for slaughter.
This bill can get it done.
We know that President Obama will sign the bill once it's passed onto his desk. All we have to doâ€”all we need do is contact our Representatives, and let them know that we want the bill to pass. Call/email/fax/carrier pigeon your Representative, and tell them that you're involved with Thoroughbred racing. Tell them that you're a fan, a hotwalker, the President of CDI. Whatever your roleâ€”we need your voice. We need three minutes of your timeâ€”that's all the time it takes to call your members of the Senate, and tell them that you want the slaughter stopped, once-and-for-all.
The link to the Animal Welfare Institute's press release will lead you to the link to your Representative.:
Senate Introduces Horse Slaughter Ban - Awionline.com
Three minutes of your time will help change the course of history.
Horse racing sits at a crossroads: we have myriad problems within the industry that must be fixed, immediately, if our sport is to continue into the 21st Century. We have to get healthy, then stay healthy.
There's a lot of bad PR out there. Some of it is justified. The majority of it is the result of hate campaigns by PETA and others who would deep-six our beloved sport simply because they don't understand it. They've created a culture of hatred: they benefit financially from the public's misunderstanding of the sport and of those of us who live, love and work in it.
Whether the criticisms are justified or notâ€”it falls onto our withers to change the public perception of Thoroughbred racing. We are the ones who must do the work to show the world that Americans in horse racing are good people, people who weep when a horse breaks a leg and must be put down. We are the victims of the smear campaignsâ€”so we must be the ones who clean up the mess.
And the only wayâ€”the only wayâ€”to clean up the reputation of horse racing before Triple Crown Season descends fully upon usâ€”is to stand toe-to-toe with Madeleine Pickens, the Animal Welfare Institute, American Against Horse Slaughter, the Humane Society of the United States and all the other groups which are striving to save the lives of our horses. Madeleine Pickens and AAHS are horsepeople: the people who run AWI and HSUS are notâ€”but we're all on the same page. (Interestingly enoughâ€”those last two groups are doing a better, more effective job at rallying people for the horses than others of us within Thoroughbred racing.)
If we're guilty of any sin here, it's the sin of omission. We go about our days knowing that Mrs. Pickens and those three groups are working on behalf of the horses. So we don't have to.
No more. Today is the day. Today is the day that youâ€”weâ€”Iâ€”must pick up the phone and make two calls. Two simple calls, to Ken Salazar on behalf of The 33,000, and to your US Representative in favor of the new anti-slaughter bill on the floor of the Senate.
Two calls that will change the future for all horsesâ€”wild, Thoroughbred and burros alike.
If we can't each commit to making two calls for the horsesâ€”then PETA is right. We don't care about anything but money. We don't care about horses. We care only about cash, baby, the Almighty Dollar.
But if PETA is wrong about usâ€”speak up, for God's Sake. If we don't make those calls for the horses, if the Sanctuary doesn't come into beingâ€”and horse slaughter continues as an issue in the United Statesâ€”then the Thoroughbred industry deserves to die.
Either we love horses and care about their welfareâ€”or we don't.
If you care, act.
If you don't careâ€”get another job, and make room for someone who does.
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