Almanac

Viewpoint - April 24, 2013

Guest opinion: Young equestrian opposes slaughterhouses for horses

by Zoe Levitan

Horses are amazing animals. They can be used for riding, therapy, aids to happiness, farm work, and pulling carriages. I consider myself fortunate to be able to get to know these fascinating animals first-hand. I am a dedicated equestrian who goes to the barn every day. Horses bring pure joy. There is nothing better then grooming, riding, and spending time with a horse.

I was surprised to learn that we may soon have horse slaughterhouses here in the United States. There was a ban on the slaughter of horses for human consumption that was lifted in 2011. Now a number of slaughterhouses are waiting for approval to be begin operations. To be clear, we will not be seeing horse on the menu anytime soon as the meat is only for export.

I am against the slaughter of horses — whether here or internationally. Slaughtering horses is cruel; it is a punishment for something they never did.

Most horses get sold at the chaotic auctions for slaughter, where the environment causes tremendous stress for the horses.

Once sold, the horses will be transported under brutal circumstances. Sometimes they travel thousands of miles in cramped trailers with little or no water or food. Some horses arrive at the slaughterhouses injured from being kicked or trampled by other terrified horses. Many cannot walk after the ride, so they get towed to their death; others arrive dead.

The traumatized horses at the slaughterhouse that survive get forced into a death chute, leading them to the "knock box," where they are theoretical going to be knocked unconscious. However, the method of slaughtering horses is horrific, as many horses are still conscious as their throats are being slit.

People say that the horses will then be transported to Mexico or Canada, where horse slaughter is permitted, but my parents always told me, two wrongs don't make a right; so slaughtering horses is not going to turn out to be the right thing to do.

I would like anyone reading this article who believes in this cause to go online and sign my petition. Thank you so much.

Visit tinyurl.com/horse-329 to find the petition.

Zoe Levitan is a 12-year-old girl who lives in Menlo Park and goes to La Entrada Middle School. She and her horse "Tintero" (also called Tinny) compete in rated shows, where the two jump barriers up to 3-feet high.

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