Our industry must address the need to identify and throw out the irresponsible players in our industry.
The animal rights community was abuzz last week, when an individual associated with a proposed New Mexico horse-slaughter plant created his own video. In the video, the individual leads what looks like a healthy horse to a spot in a dirt road, strokes the animal, says “All you animal activists, (expletive) you,” and then shoots the horse in the head. The apparent purpose was to taunt the animal rights community; instead, it greatly bolstered their cause.
I can understand the emotions that most livestock producers harbor toward radical environmental and animal rights people. After all, nobody cares more than ranchers about the land and/or the animals entrusted to their care. It’s part of our code and who we are; thus, it’s totally contrary to our being when someone challenges our commitment to such deeply held beliefs.
But while it’s a sacred trust that we believe and uphold on a daily basis, we also have to realize that there are a few people out there who don’t act appropriately or fail to live up to those standards.
There’s a growing realization in the U.S. that the horse slaughter ban has resulted in a precipitous increase in animal abuse and animal cruelty cases. The horse-slaughter ban has had the exact opposite effect of what was intended by those who supported the law. It’s only tangible results have been to increase animal welfare problems and the abuse of horses, while lowering the overall value of horses.
Just when it appears that common sense and a factual-based approach to the problem is possible, we get an individual making a video like this. It’s bad enough when you get the staged and misleading videos created by the radical activists, but it is far worse when a legitimate video so negatively reflects on an individual who is actually part of the industry.
Of course, this individual was summarily fired. While he may be that one in 100,000 individuals who doesn’t embrace our core beliefs, we still have to ask ourselves how we can find these individuals and eliminate them from our industry. And we have to, because the damage they cause is significant and real.
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