You didn’t go to the auction today

Auction Horses

The auction was today. 60 horses went through. You weren’t there.

It was cold today. It was hot today. You couldn’t get a trailer. There wasn’t any gas in the truck. Gas prices are too high. You had other commitments. You’re short on cash. It was too early. You were up too late. You don’t have a stall ready. You can’t afford board this month. You were too busy to waste hours standing around at some auction. They probably won’t have the kind of horse you’re looking for.

Either way, you weren’t there today.

60 horses went through today. There were only 15 homes bidding. They only wanted one each. 12 of them found horses to take home. 12 horses with a new lease on life. A new chance. A new beginning. Safe.

What about the other 48? What happened to them?

You begin to see the posts on social media. Horses who are at risk of being shipped to slaughter. Horses that were purchased at the auction today. You know, the auction you didn’t go to. Now they’re owned by the kill buyer. Young horses. Sound horses. Trained horses. Bomb proof horses. Nothing wrong with them, horses.

Then you see the price. Wow! That much? Why so much? If they want to save them, why are they charging so much? They should lower the price if they truly want to save them. They couldn’t have paid that much for it. These money grubbing people – all they want is money. That poor horse. He would have been perfect in your barn. That mare would have been great for your kids.

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The kill buyer went to the auction today. They gassed up their truck, regardless of the prices. They hooked up their trailer. They sweated in the heat or they shivered in the cold. They made time to go to the auction. They made sure they had enough money to buy enough head to meet their needs. They paid the taxes. They said no to staying out late last night and they got up early this morning. They have space on their trailer. They have space at their place. They have feed for as long as they need to take care of what they buy. This is their business and they treat it as such.

Yes, they will be paid for their time, effort, money invested, wear and tear on their vehicles and anything else they put into their business. Either someone will buy the horse from them or the meat plant will. They aren’t doing this for free.

How much is doing all of the things you didn’t do, worth?

The kill buyer saw the potential for this particular horse to go to a home. The home that wasn’t there. The home that opted not to go to the auction today. They could have shipped it. Silently. No one would have known. That would have been easier. Easier than dealing with the drama and BS. That’s what the other kill buyers do. They don’t need this crap. But this kill buyer sees the opportunity for this horse to get a home. Sure there’s the potential for a bit more money too – but it comes at a price. BS. How much is BS worth these days? Guess we’ll find out.

The kill buyers were at the auction today. Where were you?

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We Rescued Finneous

June 20, 2015

Today I was given an opportunity. Heart strings were tugged of the right people and we encouraged each other to do what we could.

I went to an auction to rescue a potential mare and foal that were at risk. We didn’t want them to go to a kill buyer. So with a lot of support, off I went. I hadn’t been to an auction in about 25 years. Oddly enough, it was the same one a quarter of a century later. Still there. Still standing.

The mare and foal (an adorable filly) went to a home so there was no need to bid on them. They are safe.

However, horse #1 wasn’t so lucky. He was sore up front due to losing a shoe and poor foot care. He was sore all over, it was impossible to tell where the cause was. He was a big boy, 17hh. He went to a known KB. I couldn’t even consider saving him because he wasn’t who we went there for. The mare and foal hadn’t come up yet.

From his description by the auctioneer, he had been purchased at the beginning of the year to be a foxhunter. The owner was apparently a ‘do it yourselfer’ when it came to his shoes. One of which he lost, both front feet at different angles and way too short. It couldn’t have helped his discomfort.

The good news is that I’m part of an incredible network of people that I count myself lucky to be a part of. I posted about one that I knew our group would like. Then I asked about poor number 1. The other horse looks like he’s safe. But number one wasn’t.

Heartfelt thanks to Tanya Boyd of Kindred Farm Rescue for trusting me regarding sweet #1. For forcing me to go back into the sale, find out who owned who and to make an offer to buy him from his buyer.

Finneous has been rescued and is on route to his 30 day quarantine. He’ll then be incredibly lucky to go home to Kindred Farm.

This 17hh gelding schmoozed his way into my heart and everyone else’s as well. When people realized what I was doing, they all said “Oh the sweet one.” 

Rescued June 20th, here'd Finneous in August.

Rescued June 20th, here’s Finneous in August.

Here he is. He is safe.

It’s funny, when I think over the course of the day. I kept telling those who were msging me that when the horses were nuzzling me, I had to walk away. It made me so sad to see them in limbo. Or for those whose fate was sealed. It was Finn who I was referring to. He kept nuzzling me. So happy. Ears forward every time. Such a kind eye looking to me, wondering what he was there for. It was him.

He wouldn’t be denied. I’m so happy for him.

We’ve almost raised all of the funds needed for his save – and will move on to raising funds for his trailering to his new home in a month, supplements to help his terrible feet and vet care. Although if you’re willing and able, Kindred Farm Rescue could use any help you can offer caring for their 22 rescues looking for homes, including Finn.

Finn has made his way to Kindred. He seemed to have injured his eye somewhere between point A and B. He has partial paralysis of his eyelid now, but it’s slowly improving.

The sad news about Finn is that after an extensive veterinary evaluation, it seems as though his shoulder was dislocated at some point. An injury like this is devastating. He’s sore up front so he shifts his weight back. It affects his back and hips. Compensating for the pain and the lack of range of movement. We’ll never know how it happened. Typically something like this is due to being run into a stationary object.

In spite of his tremendous pain, he’s still a sweetheart. There’s something in him that refuses to be denied. He’s made friends in the herd. He’s keeping weight on too. Most horses in this amount of pain would slowly waste away. He won’t give up.

The vet has prescribed that we leave him to be a horse for 6 months. Just turn him out and let him move around. Hopefully he’ll strengthen his shoulder and tendons, and allow for a freer range of motion.  He cannot have pain killers as he needs to self limit his movement. He might injure himself more if he felt too good. He’s half way into his rehab now. He seems to be improving….

It’s impossible to know if he’ll recover. If he be able to be a hack horse and just take quiet rides around the field. It’s not fair, being only 10 years old and facing his possible end. The good news is that he’s loved where he is. He’s wormed his way into many hearts and he won’t let go.

Safe, Still At Risk: Parker

When a horse comes to the end of its use, after years of partnership and work, what happens to it? What happens if that end is due to the hard work asked of it? Through no fault of their own, being put into situations that a horse wouldn’t have chosen of its own accord – what now?

For loving horse owners, it means hopefully rehabbing their equine partner so that they can live a pain-free life. Maybe in a new discipline. Maybe as a buddy to their next mount. If that can’t be achieved, they’ll opt to have the vet out to put them to sleep. However for businesses and those without the emotional attachment to their horses, auction tends to be their choice.

Such is the story of newly rescued Parker. His true name isn’t known, not that it matters. He’s sleek, impressive, well put together and beautiful. His love note said he was a jumper. To have such a beautiful, satin coat in March, in Ontario is to know that his previous life was plush. You don’t get a coat like that without being in a heated barn, blanketed, grooming and hands on care.

How he ended up at auction and within a breath of being slaughtered was a mystery.That is until he ended up in a loving rescue and abnormal muscle development, indicative of a long standing injury at the base of his neck raised eyebrows. Veterinary examination found an issue with the C4 and C5 vertebrae. It’s serious enough that his previous owners decided it was a career ending injury.

This is where Parker’s plush care ended. The rescue has no idea of how the injury was sustained. Nor do they have any knowledge of the treatment, if any that he may have received.

What is known that any movement is painful for him. For those of you with neck and back issues, you know full well of how difficult it is to function. It is known that his previous owners gave up on him and rather than giving him the final kindness of putting him down at his home, they opted to ship him. At best, to a home with no knowledge of his issues. At worst, to a terrorizing end at slaughter.

To make things worse, he’s been shipped around, shuffled through chutes and housed with strange horses. Add that he doesn’t have a warm winter coat. Imagine being shipped outside in mid-March in Ontario without a coat. Add his shivering, attempting to keep warm while in horrible pain from his injury. Causing further damage.

Luckily Kindred Farm Rescue, Rehab and Rehome (an approved Not for Profit Organization and pre-approved as a charity), came to the rescue of this poor boy. Through a network he has found a soft landing. The flip side is that his bills are racking up. His purchase price, trailering, quarantine, vet evaluation, a second opinion, his board, medication to keep him comfortable….

Parker has a long road ahead of him. With any luck, he’ll recover while under the watchful eye of Kindred Farm. The worst case scenario will find that his injuries are too extensive and he’ll need to be put down. In order to fully assess his needs and to give him the best possible care, we’ll need to fund his journey.

UPDATE: I’m sorry for allowing this post to remain so long without an update. Parker was released from his pain. His injuries were too extensive. The excessive drugs left his system after the auction and left him crippled. Even with the drugs, he was still in pain. No treatment could alleviate his discomfort or correct the terrible injury he was left with.

His last days found him in loving hands. He had a buddy to keep him company. Hearts broke the day he was let go, but he was loved.

He’s now buried on Kindred Farm. He’s in good company on the edge of the field. Overlooking the grazing pasture of the horses still looking for home. Parker will never be forgotten.

Humane Slaughter: Can it be done?

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If you have read any other posts from this blog, you know I love animals.  Horses and dogs primarily.  Although I think all animals are incredible in their own way.  I may not be a fan of some, but I don’t wish any of them ill-will.

It’s on that note that this post may take an odd turn.  A departure for me, but needed nonetheless (as far as I’m concerned).

I’ve been horrified at the brutality of horse slaughter.  For a wide variety of reasons that you can read my previous posts to see why.  I don’t need to rehash them here.

cowWhat I haven’t covered is that the slaughter process for all animals is horrific.  While slaughtering a horse using the same methods designed for cows is appalling, it’s not humane for cows either. Or pigs. Or chickens.

Don’t care about chickens? Does that still apply if they have to die by your hand? Think about it.

Don’t care about cows? What if you had to take it from the field, lead it and kill it? Still apply?

Define “Humane”:

Having or showing compassion or benevolence.
“regulations ensuring the humane treatment of animals”
synonyms: compassionate, kind, considerate, understanding, sympathetic, tolerant;

Showing compassion.  How can you be compassionate to an animal you intend to kill? Watch a video of slaughter and pick out what parts are compassionate and which aren’t. Stop the video the moment you see something that doesn’t meet the definition of humane or compassionate or benevolent. How far did you get?

I’m not asking for the government definition that a slaughter house needs to meet.  I don’t need to have compassion legislated to me.  Neither should society.  To rely on legislation to tell you what’s right and wrong is a cop out at its finest.  You don’t get to opt out of your responsibility to do what’s right.  It seems to me that we’ve been passing the buck for far too long to let others define right and wrong so that we don’t have to follow our hearts or inner voice.

Too new age for you?  Suck it up buttercup.

You see someone kicking a kitten.  The law says it’s okay.  Do you allow it to continue or do you act and protect the kitten?  Now make it a child.  They’re kicking a child.  The law says it’s okay.  Do you step in?  

Don’t hide behind some piece of paper or try to pass the responsibility to the police.  If you know it’s wrong, you step in.  Period. Our society needs to pull their head out of their collective ass and “man up”.

I do NOT subscribe to PETA and their ultimate goal – freedom of all animals (Food, Work, Companion) from all human influence.  Nor do I subscribe to any of their methods. However, you don’t need to go to PETA to watch an animal being slaughtered in today’s slaughter houses to know that this system is horribly dysfunctional.

I am not going to become a vegan or a vegetarian.  I freely admit that I like meat.  However I do not endorse the methods to which our society obtains that meat and separates themselves from that process.

Do I Endorse Brutality?

Actually, if I want to be honest with myself and you with yourself, we all do.  With our money.  I endorse it every time I purchase an animal product.  I just endorsed the method to which that animal was killed.  My money said “Thank you for this product, Business X. Keep up what you’re doing because you just gave me what I wanted.” It’s a sad and brutal reality.

Is it okay to terrorize them because we’re going to eat them? If you’ve never been involved with animals going to slaughter you’ve probably never heard this reasoning nor do you agree with it. Go into an auction house, stock yard or slaughter house and you’ll quickly hear “they’re going to slaughter anyway” to justify violent actions against that animal (kicking, punching, slapping, hitting with items, forcing movement of an animal in pain or distress, ignoring an animal in obvious need of veterinary care, etc.). The idea that the only thing, and the last thing they’re good for is only when they’re dead. So their current state of being alive is considered an inconvenience.

So here’s the question: Can slaughter be humane?

It seems odd – wanting to be kind to an animal we’re about to kill.  We as a society are so removed from the process, WE have allowed a grisly system to run rampant.  Individuals abuse the animals entering the system.  Either as a defense mechanism to the horrors they see everyday in order to protect themselves, because they’re sicko’s who are actually looking for that sort of thing or, due to production requirements, they don’t feel they can be kind and meet their quotas.

Slaughter of an individual animal is one thing.  You can create your own scenario, control the outside influences and provide the most humane process possible.

However when we’re talking about humane slaughter of hundreds or thousands of animals.  Can it be done?  Is it even possible?

Let’s Break It Down

If money were no object.  If time were no object.  How would you humanely slaughter an individual chicken, pig or cow?  Discuss why you would do it that way.

Creating that “best case scenario” would be our first step into this process.

Production Slaughter

Yes.  Slaughtering one animal is intrinsically different from slaughtering many.  However, my challenge to you is why does being humane also have to be slaughtered in the process?  Why is that suddenly acceptable?  What’s the tipping point? One animal?  Five?  Ten?  When does it become okay to sacrifice our morality, ignore our inner voice and allow an animal to be terrorized?  Define that for me.

I will never subscribe to “it’s too hard so it can’t be done”.  I have never accepted “that’s the way it’s always been done”.  My proposition to you is to not only “think outside of the box” but to ignore the box altogether. It doesn’t exist.  You have a clean slate.  Work from your best case scenario and work from the premise that it CAN happen.

Consider this step one.  Go:

If money were no object.  If time were no object.  How would you humanely slaughter an individual chicken, pig or cow?  
Discuss why you would do it that way.

Parent Rant: Seasonal Dresses

girl_dressesEaster is coming.  I enjoy dressing up my girls on special occasions.  Sure, there’s the bows and the flowers and the frills.  I don’t have anything against them.

So what’s my problem?  It’s April.  It’s cold.  It still goes below freezing at night.  Heck, there’s still snow in our forecast.  I know the calendar says it’s Spring.  I too would like it to BE Spring.  However reality doesn’t agree and winter is still very much in force.

When I walked into a well known children’s clothing store today, every dress either had short sleeves or no sleeves at all.  Add that the fabric was what you’d expect to put on your kids in the middle of a heat wave!

Little girl dresses can still be cute, fashionable and functional with long sleeves.  Add that the little boy outfits were long sleeved shirts, sweaters, sweaters over shirts and jackets! So little boys get cold but girls don’t?

When asked, sales staff explain that you can buy this cute little bolero jacket with it.  When held up, the knit was so loose you could see through it.  It wouldn’t offer any warmth at all.  It also wouldn’t cover their back or chest.

Add that of course, they were dresses!  So there’s no warmth for their legs either.  Leotards or tights just cover their skin.  It does nothing to fight off freezing temperatures.

Yes, I am up on my feminist horse screaming about how the fashion industry is trying to train my girls that in order to be pretty, they have to be uncomfortable.  That getting attention is more important than their own inconvenience.  It needs to stop.

I challenge the children’s clothing stores to create long sleeve, warm outfits for girls.  Try to be fashionable without freezing kids.  Forget about the Spring / Summer / Fall / Winter lines.  Think about Easter being in April and the type of temperatures that involves.  Christmas too while you’re at it.  Design and carry what’s right rather than what industry tells you to do.

Pet Dangers: Elevators

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Dog ElevatorThis terrifying video is spreading on social media.  A Rottweiler was lifted by its collar when its leash was caught in the elevator door.

Some of the comments to this young woman have been horrible.  We’ve all had accidents.  Accidents happen.  We all know this.  Watch her reaction, she obviously didn’t mean for it to happen and was horribly distraught.  Luckily, the leash broke and released the dog.  The dog is apparently okay.

So rather than lambaste the owner, how about we give her kudos for sharing her terrifying story.  Let’s learn from her mistake, so that it doesn’t happen to one of us.

Lessons learned:

  1. Use a traffic leash when walking your dog in situations where you are moving through or around things that requires your control.  A traffic leash is called that because it’s short and keeps the dog right at your side, in order to move quickly and safely.  If this owner had been using a traffic leash, when she accidentally dropped the leash, it would have been too short to get caught in the door of the elevator.
  2. Put your flexi-leash or long leash in your pocket, put it on when you get to your destination.
  3. We should also note that flexi-leashes / long leashes have been known to also cause accidents when dogs bolt into traffic during a walk (i.e. chasing a squirrel).  Reaction times are too slow and owners often have “too much line out”.  Consider the full radius around you to the length of your leash.  If your dog could be injured in any direction at the end of your leash, you’re putting them at risk.  Shorter leashes save lives.
  4. Pack up your things before you leave your home. Make sure everything is in your pockets, secure and accounted for.  That way, you’ll have your full attention on your pets once leaving your home and in full control of them.  Just like distracted driving causes accidents, focus on the task at hand and ensure your pets safety.
  5. Training is key.  Having your dog under control so that you don’t drop your leash in the first place would be your best case scenario.  I’m a firm believer that every dog should have at least a basic level training class.  Yes, even little wee breeds, mix breeds and those that are “just pets”.

Let’s take this video in the spirit in which it was intended.  Let’s learn from Tamara’s mistake.  If it saves even one dog and owner from this terrifying experience, her honesty and courage will be rewarded.

16×9: Where Do We Go From Here

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16x9 Horse slaughterI was very excited to hear that 16×9 was going to do a segment on tainted horse meat coming out of Canadian slaughter houses.  This issue needs to be brought to the forefront!  As a Canadian, I’m disgusted that we allow such a dangerous and compromised system to operate.  There’s a national pride when we say “Made in Canada”.  Not here.  In this case, I’m embarrassed.

The segment was as good as it could be, when they’ve only got about 16:31 minutes.  It was good to see the Canadian Horse Defence Coalition highlighted.

The attitude of the kill buyer is, according to the system, correct.  As long as the horse he purchases has a “valid EID”, he can ship it to slaughter.  To the letter of the requirements, he has met them.

However, the EID system, the only safeguard, is failing.  Horribly.

EIDs fail because the system surrounding it is broken.  You cannot ensure the safety of meat for consumption of an animal not raised for consumption.  You cannot demand clarity and compliance for long term medical histories from a system that demands short term ownership before slaughter. 

The business plan is only successful if the EID says that the horse is drug free. If they answer it honestly, that the horse has had drugs, the horse cannot be sold into slaughter. If those are the only buyers for the horse, the seller is stuck with a horse they do not want. Stuck paying for a horse for 6 more months. That can run anywhere from $150 per month to much, much higher. For a horse that was only going to be sold for $400 – $600, it’s a huge hit to the bottom line.

There is a serious financial penalty to being honest.

Add to the equation that horses often change hands several times right before slaughter. While some are being intentionally dishonest, others have no clue or any way to know if the horse truly is drug free. The difference being of course, that they still sign their names and knowingly check that box.

In the 16×9 segment, it was said that the kill buyer would have to keep the horse for 6 months. Horses have this paperwork when they enter the auction. A kill buyer wouldn’t purchase a horse that they had to maintain for 6 months. The horse simply wouldn’t sell. Much like overtly ill horses that won’t meet the criteria to be slaughtered, there simply won’t be a buyer. What happens to them now? That wasn’t covered.

If our regulations state that it’s a lifetime ban [once given banned drugs]. Why do we even have a six month document?

Why indeed. It profits no one to fund the research required to establish how long a particular drug stays in an animals system. Sure, it’s a nice to know. But nice to know doesn’t pay the bills.

Let’s do some math. 16×9 reported that of 82,000 horses slaughtered in 2012, only 143 were tested. Less than 0.5 %. Of those tested, 98% were found to be compliant. That’s where 16×9 left it.

I’d rather hammer those numbers a little further. A 2% failure rate. So 3 horses out of 143. That would be 1,720 drug tainted horses entered the human food chain. Keep in mind that is assuming that the testing the CFIA performs is testing for all possible dangerous drugs. Economics come into play. All drugs cannot be tested for. Some will slip through the tests.

In very general terms, on average a horse would offer about 500 lbs of meat. 860,000 lbs of drug tainted horse meat generated by Canada if we go by the CFIA’s own numbers. Those numbers are terrifying.

Consider the types of drugs that horses are routinely given. Enter any stable of any discipline, you will find drugs that are not fit to enter the human food chain. The vast majority state “Not for use in Horses intended for food.” right on the label.

Bute label

The kill buyer did make an interesting suggestion. That every horse given bute (phenylbutazone) should be freeze branded to signify that they had been given the drug. Extend his position to freeze brand any horse that have been given ANY drug that states it is “Not for use in Horses intended for food.” The industry would be stopped in its tracks.

I’ve never met a horse that was appropriate for slaughter due to drug administration. I don’t say that for dramatic effect. I’ve thought about it. Not a one. Have you?

Thank you to 16×9 and Global News for their attention on this matter. My hope is that the more the public hears about horse slaughter, the abuse, the neglect, the dangerous practices…. This will be a call to action.

The Love Note Project

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auction

A love letter is a way to express feelings of love in written form.

I’d like to kick off a project that will need the help of the horse community. The next time you’re at an auction, please snap a picture of the love notes sent along with the horses.

What is a love note?  A love note at an auction is the note that the previous owner has sent along with their horse.  Most owners do not accompany their horses to auction.  So a note is all that they have to tell potential buyers about the horse, its breeding, training, personality and health.  The hope is that a new home purchases them for top dollar.  The hope is that the note will keep them out of the slaughter house.

Not to worry, I’ll remove any personal information from the notes. I’d like to share what is said in these notes, the commonalities between them and what people hope will sell their horses at auction.

If you know if the horse ended up being purchased by a home, dealer or a meat buyer, that would be handy to know. Although it is not a requirement. My first priority is to the letters.

Please email them to: LoveLetterProject@gmail.com

If you could please share this widely, I’d like as many “love notes” as possible, it would be greatly appreciated.

Removing Euthanasia From Vets

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old horseIf you want to put down your horse, you have to call the vet. Your invoice will show charges for:

  • Farm call
  • Emergency fee (if circumstances warranted)
  • Examination fee (to assess if euthanasia is warranted)
  • The actual products used (syringe, euthansol solution)
  • A possible additional fee to verify death

The total tends to be anywhere between $200 to $400. Every single one of these charges is warranted. There is a cost to the vet and a service granted for each item. There is no argument here.

It Doesn’t End There

Now you have a dead horse. If you’re lucky, you own your property and a back hoe. You dig a hole, you say good bye to your good friend and you bury them in a place that you can visit from time to time.

If not, you have to call another company to come and get your dead horse. They may be able to come out right away, the same day or the next day. Sometimes longer. Years ago this would be a free service. The body taken away, rendered down and used for it’s parts for a multitude of uses.

Today many companies charge for this service. Costs range from $200 – $400 for a horse.

Again, there’s no argument here. You needed your horse disposed of and they did just that. This is a good business model for them.

Horse Owners In A Pinch

In addition to this being a very emotional time for many horse owners, the prospect of a costly bill weighs heavily on their ability to offer a peaceful crossing over for their trusty mounts. $400 – $800 isn’t pocket change for many owners. Especially in this economy where boarding fees and everything else associated with horses are sky rocketing.

Sadly, the reality is that this is simply cost prohibitive for many owners. While they want to offer their horses the end that they’ve earned, they simply can’t afford it.

Vets Don’t Need To Euthanize

The act of euthanasia is a simple one. A highly concentrated anesthesia is administered via intraveneous injection. The animal’s heart slows, they lay down, breathing gets shallow and stops, the heart soon follows. The animal is then monitored to ensure that their hearts are no longer beating. After a duration of time without a heartbeat, the animal is declared dead.

Euthansol is a controlled drug:

Any drug or therapeutic agent–commonly understood to include narcotics, with a potential for abuse or addiction, which is held under strict governmental control.

Certification by the government in order to possess Euthansol could be offered outside of the veterinary community. Euthanasia itself should be removed from the veterinary mandate. Considering that one of their very first declarations is “to do no harm”, it seems that this should be considered.

It’s not to say that veterinarians shouldn’t be permitted to euthanize. However they shouldn’t hold a monopoly on it either.

All In One Service

A service that offered to come out, euthanize and take the horse with them could do so at a much cheaper rate. There would only be one farm call rather than two. It would be emotionally easier on their owners, as the horse would be removed right away.

This service would make the option of humane euthanasia more financially feasible.

When offering services to horse owners, to grant them and their horses the last, loving dignity after a lifetime of service to their owners… Shouldn’t every effort be made to make that happen?

I Call BS: “Older Parents Put Their Careers First”

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Older ParentsCan I just say how much that statement bugs me? As an older parent (I gave birth to our girls when I was 36, 38 and 40), I’ve been pigeon holed into this category. Not all of us were career hungry. It’s said negatively from most. With the suggestion that we couldn’t be bothered or didn’t want to sacrifice money or our materialistic happiness for screaming babies and poopy diapers.

We’re nothing of the sort.

Of those I’ve met, myself included, we just simply weren’t in the right situation (for us) to bring children into the world. We had an idea of what the “right” situation for us would be to have children and we hadn’t reached that magical place yet. I haven’t met a single “older” parent who said “I wanted to reach XYZ in my career before we had kids”. Maybe on some television shows, but not real people, or at least I haven’t met any yet. Just in my personal experience and by my own observations.

I remember someone once saying to me that they could totally see me “doing it on my own” when it came to children. I was in my early 30’s and still single. I was hurt by this statement. For me, my picture of my life with children had always included marriage, a home, a present husband and father. I realize that’s not the reality for many out there, but for me, that was what I wanted. I didn’t want to opt to be a single parent (not that there’s anything wrong with that). I grew up with a traditional family ideal and I wanted that for my children, if I had them.

So when my husband and I finally decided to tie the knot at 34/35, I was ecstatic. He and I had finally come to the same place in our lives at the same time (we met at 14/15). We knew what we wanted and it was with each other. So we started our family. The family that we wanted. The family that we waited for.

Sure, some would argue that our careers were further along than younger parents. Of course they were. We had more time on the line. It wasn’t by design. It was simply a result of the situation we were in.

So I’d like a new statement. “Older Parents _____________ ” How about “chose to wait”? Or “found family life later in life”? Or more appropriately “are parents. Period.”