30 October 2007

Horse accident 'avoidable, inexcusable'

"This accident was completely avoidable and inexcusable," said Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran. "I say this because you had 59 Belgium draft horses, which is an extremely large horse, being transported in one truck with one driver on one of the busiest highways in the nation."

15 young horses died either on the scene or were euthanasized, more might have to be put down. This is just sad. Its not clear where the horses were going or at this point who has legal rights to them. I've read that they were bound for a slaughter house in Canada, to an Amish community, and vaguely to Minnesota. The news paper on the kitchen table (can't find an online reference) thought that the horses, mostly yearlings, were from a farm that harvests hormones from the urine of pregnant horses for use in hormone replacement therapy. Sounds appetizing doesn't it.

My question, which might be a little cold, is what if this were a double deck trailer full of beef cattle? Or hogs? What if it were something more exotic, llamas or camels? I seriously doubt that there would be such a pull at our hearts if the animals in this accident were cattle bound for slaughter anyway. Or if they were animals that we aren't as attached to. I'm not making a judgment, I'm not anti-meat, but PETA and other groups have a point when they say that we base our rules about how animals are treated on our emotions about animals.

I'm not a horse person (I'm a city girl, I've ridden more transit systems than horses) but a dear friend is a horse nerd and future large animal vet. I can tell how much people get attached to horses. Maybe cows just aren't as friendly or it isn't as easy to see a personality in them. Hrmm.

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