"Today, Tennessee Walking Horses are known throughout the industry
as the breed that shows abused and tortured horses."

~ Jim Heird, Ph.D., Do Right By The Horse, February 2010

"If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity,
you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men."

~ St. Francis of Assisi

Sunday, August 29, 2010

THOUGHTS - Kind of OT, but applies to Black Week...

I watched the film The Cove tonight. I was excited because it's on my Netflix list, but Animal Planet aired it tonight, so I got to see it anyway.

In case you haven't heard of it, The Cove is a film about the dolphin slaughters in Taiji, Japan. Each year, thousands of dolphins are "herded" into a small cove off the cost of Taiji. They are then evaluated by local dolphin trainers to sell them to marine shows across the globe, usually to places where the quality of the care and training is inadequate. The remaining dolphins are then moved to a smaller area around the back of the cove, where they are systematically and brutally slaughtered and sold for dolphin meat. Over 23,000 dolphins die each year in this senseless form of killing. The Cove won the Best Documentary Film from the Academy Awards in 2009.

This film is an amazing eye opener, and I cannot thank the filmmakers enough for exposing this horrible tragedy. The facts are that there is no need to slaughter this huge amount of dolphins. Dolphin meat is extremely high in mercury content and very dangerous to eat. In fact, the levels of mercury in dolphin meat make it illegal to sell in many countries. The Japanese gov't claims that the dolphins and whales are to blame for the disappearance of the fish in the oceans, which of course we all know is a load of crap. It's the problems of humans overfishing, particularly the Japanese, that is causing this problem. But they raise this excuse to try to continue to slaughter whales and dolphins. Japan is paying small third world countries, such as Antigua, to support their efforts to re-introduce whaling into their fishing. The International Whaling Commission (IWC) who are supposed to be protecting these animals continue to just sit around and hold meetings try to placate everyone and not take action to stop this. The Japanese also claim that hunting dolphins is a tradition, and the rest of the world just doesn't understand.

What fascinated me about this film is that this slaughter and the reasoning behind is it almost exactly the same as the continuation of soring of horses. The actions are illegal. Those who support soring pay others to back them up and/or shut them up. They blame everyone else except themselves for the problem of the horses continuing to be abused. They are determined to continue their way of life instead of changing and not be bothered anymore. They lie on camera and make up excuses for their actions. They try to keep outsiders from coming in and learning more about what's going on. The gov't body that's supposed to be policing this aren't pushing hard enough for it to end. The abuse is not well known and occurs in small pockets across America. And they say it's tradition and the rest of us just don't understand.

I would hope that someday someone will do the same thing: put together an award-winning film that puts soring in the spotlight. No, the horses aren't dying, but they are certainly suffering needlessly, especially during Black Week. I can compare the slaughtered dolphins to the sored horses because the reasons behind why it continues are the same. Let's take a cue from the filmmakers of The Cove and put more and more spotlights on this community and it's continued ignoring of the law. Write letters, join anti-soring and sound horse groups, promote the sound Tennessee Walking Horse, do not go to shows or venues that showcase stacked or padded horses. Let's help make a change for the better.

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