Jamaica's Story: An Unlikely Happy Ending to a Horse Slaughter Case

Horses bound for slaughter could be valuable resources if kept alive.

By SHARE

By Bonnie Erbe, Thomas Jefferson Street blog.

There are few happy endings in animal slaughter cases. America blinds itself to the misery it causes in the animal world. Too few Americans have woken up to the scientifically-proven fact animals have feelings and emotions just as we do. Slaughter for them is no less harrowing than it would be for a human animal in the same situation.

Here, however, is a slaughter story to celebrate.

The United States Equestrian Federation, the national governing body for equestrian sport and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, has nominated for Horse of the Year Jamaica, a horse rescued from slaughter and now competing at the Olympic level. Full disclosure: I am a USEF member and voted for "Jamaica" as horse of the year. 

His incredible story is relayed as follows:

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Jamaica 's story started years ago in Europe where as an unwanted animal he was headed for slaughter. Fortunately for Jamaica, he was rescued and trained as a tourist carriage horse. His humble beginnings as a carriage horse were cut short, however, because he wouldn't stand still. Jamaica's antsy attitude didn't bode well for carting tourists from one location to the next—but that attitude would serve him well after (a man named Chester) Weber purchased him. Re-trained as a Four-in-Hand driving horse, Jamaica has become a valuable horse on Weber's world-class team and not only helped Weber capture a Silver Medal at the FEI World Championships but also helped the team win the Four-in-Hand National Championship title—six years in a row. Pretty impressive for a horse originally headed to slaughter.

What Jamaica's story should also stand for is that most horses bound for slaughter could have "jobs" and provide valuable services to human owners if they were kept alive. Most are sold for slaughter because the human animals selling them into slaughter cannot afford to keep them. If over-breeding of horses were banned or better controlled, there would be fewer horses shipped across the Canadian and Mexican borders for slaughter. Even with the end of U.S. slaughterhouses, well more than 100,000 horses are shipped across borders to slaughter each year.

The Humane Society is working with Congress to pass a law banning the shipment of horses for slaughter across borders.

But as long as human greed drives the trade, and breeders over-breed, horses will be brought into this world unnecessarily and suffer horrible endings. The same is true of course for dogs and cats and all manner of animals.