Horse slaughter has been going on for a long time now and humans have increased their horse meat consumption because of the mad cow disease. Mad cow disease is issued from the fattening foods farmers give to their cattle. In the food are sheep’s’ bones grinded into tiny, tiny bits. Ignorant till the outburst, makers didn’t know that in sheep bones there is the virus of the dreaded disease. The disease doesn’t affect sheep as it is only in their bones but when the cows eat it, it gets into their systems and is passed on through their meat to humans.

Many people are going off cow meat and onto horse meat. Countless numbers of them are oblivious to the fact that horse meat is just as dangerous as meat from a cow contami­nated by mad cow disease. The antibiotics, wormers, para­sites in the horses, the conditions the horses are in when slaughtered, etc… These all affect the meat humans eat.

I agree, humans need the protein from meat but we do eat enough animals, pigs, sheep, cows, chickens, turkeys, deer, and fish. Should we really add a compassionate friend? Horses have served us many years without complaint. Should we just end their kind-hearted services by a knife?

Horses are slaughtered in the most inhumane way possi­ble. It doesn’t start at the slaughterhouses, it starts long be­fore that. Most of the horses are stolen or bought from mea­sly horse sales jam packed with killer buyers. Horses swap hands and end up in a waiting pen for the trailer to take them away. No water or food, a tiny space where they can’t turn around. Many horses are lame, sick or in horrendous condi­tion, of all sizes and ages, from the noblest old horse to the youngest newborn.

It’s a long drive from this place to the slaughterhouse. A last the trailer comes. Sometimes it is already full, other times it is empty. The horses are loaded into it; the door slammed shut and off it goes. There is no space, no food or drink and hardly any light. The next stop could be twenty-four hours away sometimes even further. When they go through a fron­tier, the vets only glance quickly at the merchandise. If the horses are lucky, they are unloaded into a small pen and given water. Hungry and thirsty horses get vicious so many weaker ones get kicked or bitten.

If the driver is in a hurry, water is often limited down to a hose through a slit or sometimes the horses don’t get any at all. Dead or dying horses are dragged out, as the driver doesn’t want to get to destination with a carcass. This horror can go on up to 90 hours. When they get to the slaughterhouse, the horses are released into another pen. Blinded by the light, they trip down the ramp and stumble into others. There is no food or drink and the many horses are herded into a narrow passageway where they can only move forward single file. They can smell the blood and death but can’t place it as their senses have weakened without food or water. Stumbling, they follow their friends along to the knocking box. In some coun­tries they use hammers, others a gun like thing. These metal tools go through the forehead and split the bone, right into the brain, aiming to make the horses senseless. In pain, they collapse. In America, for example, the horses slip down a ramp into a blood-sodden room. There, a man hoists them up into the air by tying their hind legs. In other countries, France for example, the horses are left on the floor where their throats are slashed and they bleed into the gutter. In both countries, the legs are broken or even hacked off while the horse is bleed­ing to death.

The reason why they bleed them to death is so that the meat is good for human consumption. The governments have imposed a law that the horses, or slaughtered animals, must be made senseless. This is done by stunning or electrifying but it doesn’t always work. In a lot of pictures I have seen, the horses are twisting their legs in pain when they are hoisted and their throats slit.

Let’s take the trip of a horse. You are a beautiful Arabian horse, only four years old. You love your owner, she is the best you can find and loves you as well, takes excellent care of you.

It’s early Sunday morning and you have been let out into a large field full of sweet, rich grass. Delighted, you race around with your friends before settling down for a nibble. The birds are singing in the trees, a cool breeze ruffles your silky mane and tail.

The sun is getting hot, the flies annoying and there isn’t much shade. You stamp your foot as a horse fly attacks your hock but look up as the gate wails open. The figure is an unknown one but your owner always lets her friends bring you in. Joyful, you neigh and canter over but this person is strange. It isn’t a usual smell; it is a smell of death and blood. There is a sense of evil and secrecy about this bizarre indi­vidual. You stop and look at him, nostrils dilated. Who is this? I’ve never smelt anything like him. Now the stranger is walking forwards, hand out stretched, cooing softly to you. The smell of a sweet carrot reaches your nostrils. Tempted by it, you take a step forwards then another until your lips are brushing the palm of this strange hand. Before you can run, a strong arm encircles your neck and a head collar is thrust over your head. Being well brought up, you tug a little then follow him out over to a rickety horse trailer. This isn’t right! You think and stop but once again, the stranger coos you on. There is straw on the lowered ramp and it feels welcoming. You don’t hesitate and walk into the trailer. The ramp slams shut and the trailer bumps away, unbalancing you. No light, no food, no water. You neigh franticly. Where am I going? The trailer stopped regularly but you are never let out, any food or water is brought to you, no one ever looks in on you. This torture goes on for three days. By the time you are un­loaded, you head is drooping, your ribs have begun to show and you are completely dehydrated. Some kind-hearted sole brings you a bucket of water, which you down within sec­onds and look up expectantly but your new owner drags you away to a bunch of horses all in the same state as you. People come and look at all of you. Some nod, others shake their heads. One man only prods your haunches and nods. People come and go all day. Water is brought to you every hour but the boy soon gets stopped and you go the rest of the afternoon without.

There are twin foals in the pen next door. Curious you bend you graceful neck and sniff at them. Their eyes are half shut and one of them has its chest torn open. A big, high-strung thoroughbred kicked out when led past, his shoes catch­ing the delicate skin. Blood is pouring down his legs onto the well-trodden soil.

The sun is beginning to set when, at last, you are able to stretch your legs. The man brutally drags you out along with two other horses and the foals. The walk isn’t long. Soon a long ramp of a truck is in front of you. Gingerly, you walk up it, followed by the other. The ramp flattens out then suddenly stops. You don’t want to go forwards but the horse behind bumps into you in fright and pushes you down. Rapidly, the truck fills up. You don’t have room to move, let alone scratch your nose, which a horse fly bit earlier on. The two foals are next to you. A horse moves slightly, making it possible for you to bend your neck and touch the foals’ noses. With a jolt, the truck starts moving. Horses neigh, lose their balance, knock others and end up on the floor, between the many legs. The foal with the torn chest stumbles, falling onto his knees. Gently, you coax him onto his feet again and keep them close. Horses are getting hungry and thirsty. Many of the big ones bite and kick. You fear for the younger ones and have to, against your will, bite a small, vicious mare who is threaten­ing to kick them. She looks at you but doesn’t raise herself against you. There is very little straw on the ground and your protected are weakening fast.

It’s been four days now that you’ve been in here. The foal with the wound died and was dragged out at a stop. The truck stops again. There is a beeping sound as it backs and the ramp opens. Every horse is blinded by the sun light but races out into the pen where water has been set out. You can hardly move and wait for the other foal to be out before you make you way to the water trough. The bigger, pushier horses have got there first but you are so thirsty and care so much about the foal that you bite and kick a shire until he unwill­ingly gives up his space for you. You let the foal drink then take your share. You haunches are showing, your back and neck are sagging, your ribs stick out very badly and you eyes are gaunt. Your once flowing, silky mane is now mattered and knotty against your neck, your tail is one big knot and your knees are cut by the falls and kicks in the truck. Men come out with ropes and whips to urge you back into the truck. There is no more water and the men are vicious.

You’re now back in the dark, compact space that is begin­ning to smell very bad. Another two days in this torture be­fore you get to destination. The other foal is sick and his legs won’t hold him up anymore. You yourself are too weak to hold him up but stand over him when he sinks to the ground. Arrived at the destination. To your resentment, all of you are each put into an individual stall. The space isn’t much bigger than the one in the truck. One strong man walks over to the little foal lying in the stall next to you and bends down to the ani­mals height. He says something you don’t understand and picks the foal up. You neigh but it rakes your throat so badly that you back in pain, shaking your head. All of you are ex­pecting water to come round but it doesn’t. One by one the horses are led out and away. There is a familiar smell but you can’t place it as your senses have weakened too badly. The horse next to you is taken out. It stumbles along behind the man then disappears behind a door. You’re next. Trying to look your best, you follow the man through but as soon as the door shuts behind you, you wished you hadn’t. Now you know what that smell was. Panicked, you don’t know what to do. Your limbs are too feeble to hold you up if you rear and be­side, the man is holding you tightly. He leads, or rather drags, you over to a box made from metal. Another man is standing there, a long thin metal thing in his hand. You quickly cast a nervous eye around as the man stops you in the ‘box’. This is the knocking box. The long thin metal tube is place just above your eyes. You tense, nervous. These men have almost killed you, what else could they do to you? You glance around at the horses lying limp on the floor, large pools of a rich red around their heads, slowly leaking into a gutter. There are two men doing something to the legs of one horse. There is a horrible crack and all four legs hang limp. You shudder. There is an­other crack. Something has gone through your skull into your brain. You’re in pain but stay up. The man repeats the proc­ess. The pain is now unbearable and your legs aren’t going to hold you up much longer consequently you collapse onto the floor. You feel two strong hands grip you hind legs and pull you out of the ‘box’. You feel quite sleepy. There is a cold, sharp thing at your throat. You twist away from it but it hurts and now it is your turn to have a rich red pool builds up around you. You currently realize with shock that it is blood. Your life. You open your eyes and try to raise you head but find it backed in the most uncomfortable position. A man in yellow is standing over you, doing something to your feet. You vaguely remember the crack and the horse’s legs. Frantically, you move and get free of their grip. There is a loud shout. The man is cursing as he gives you a blow around your head. The loss of blood has made you weak and you give up, closing your eyes as the men take your legs again. There is a loud crack then a ghastly pain creeping up your legs from your hocks and knees. Your chest tightens, your breathing becomes husky and your vision is blurred.

A slow painful death. A fine Arabian does not deserve this, especially a loved one with a nice owner and home. This is where most of the horses come from, fine homes, just ‘taken’ out of their paddock because the horse thief can get a lot out of it for meat. Owners who sell their horses from a horse sale never know where their friend is going to end up. The pro­spective owner says that he will have an excellent home, a kind and loving rider and so on but he or she is always think­ing ‘excellent business. No one would refuse such a feast.’

Will you be able to look at a double Decker trailer with­out flinching now that you know what happens? Are you go­ing to close your eyes and turn you back on this inhumane doing? Or are you going to go out there and fight? Horse slaughter is a crying shame. How would you feel if I take your pet dog or cat away from you and throw it into a box, transport it for hours on end without food or water to a slaugh­terhouse, slit its throat and let it bleed to death on a blood sodden floor? Whilst his life is draining out of him, I break off his four legs and keep his paws for glue or some other substance and once he has finished bleeding, skin him, take out all his internal organs and hang him from the ceiling, ready for packaging? Think again before you order your meal. We don’t eat our friends, neither should you…