If you’re searching for info on college tuition discounts, try www.TuitionDiscount.com on the Internet. The Web site, operated by the Madison County-based venture Prime Leads Corp., can also help narrow the options in choosing a college.
by Paula Sparrow
We all cheered as Barbaro crossed the finish line in the Kentucky Derby.
And we all watched in horror when he shattered a hind leg in the Preakness just yards from the starting gate.
Any other horse would have immediately been euthanized. But Barbaro was lucky: his owners have the compassion and the resources to at least try to give him a good quality of life after his devastating injury. They don’t care that Barbaro will never run again, they don’t even care if he’s not capable of becoming a stud horse. They just want the horse they love to be happy and pain-free.
Another Kentucky Derby winner wasn’t so lucky. Ferdinand, who won that race in 1986, ended up in a slaughter house years later when he was no longer capable of racing or producing foals for racing. That’s the thanks he got for being such a tremendous athlete.
Because of horses such as these, the issue of slaughtering horses for their meat has become a high-profile story. What once was a hidden fact of life is now in the forefront: an estimated 90,000 horses are slaughtered every year for what’s considered a delicacy in other countries.
Proponents of horse slaughter argue that it’s no different than killing beef cattle. They also say it’s best for a horse that’s old, ill, or injured—at least the horse isn’t suffering anymore.
On the surface, that makes sense. The faithful childhood pony or the fancy show horse indeed should not be made to suffer from age or injury. Sometimes it is, in fact, a kindness to end the life of an animal in pain. That’s what euthanasia is for.
But there’s a big difference between being put to sleep and being sent to slaughter, and I suspect most people don’t realize this. Euthanasia is a controlled, pain-free death. Slaughter is the hit-or-miss killing of an animal already traumatized and terror-crazed from being held at the slaughter house.
Even the comparison to beef cattle doesn’t quite wash. The killing of beef cattle isn’t pretty by any means, but it does feed us, there is USDA regulation in process, it’s an ingrained part of our culture, and raising beef cattle is a source of income for thousands across the U.S. It’s not the same for horse slaughter.
If horse meat was being distributed to the hungry children in our country or anywhere else, maybe it would be different. But it’s not. It’s being served, at a very high price, to the well-to-do in Europe and Asia. It’s a delicacy they’re happy to pay for.
But besides all that, there’s simply an aesthetic wrongness to slaughtering horses. These animals are too noble, too majestic to suffer the indignity of being served on a platter. That horse might have been someone’s much-loved backyard pony, or maybe it was a show horse that sailed over jump after jump. Or maybe it was a Kentucky Derby winner. I’ve had horses all my life, and I shudder to think of this happening to any of my wonderful equine friends.
Congress will soon be voting on whether or not to ban horse slaughter, and one concern is that if it were banned, the result will be a lot of horses who will suffer at the hands of owners that cannot or will not care for old, sick, or injured horses. It’s a legitimate concern, and worthy of debate. But my hope is that at least a few people, upon learning the facts about horse slaughter, will become more caring and stop on the road the next time they see a hurt or starving horse and try to help. And maybe horse owners will be more discriminating about who they sell their horse to, making sure it goes to a good home and doesn’t end up at the slaughter house. Maybe the person who loves his old or injured horse but can no longer care for it will have a vet humanely put it down instead of sending it down the road in a truck.
More animal rescues in Kentucky are starting to make room for horses that need a place to go, and there are some rescues that are exclusively for horses. If the public will help support these rescues, they can take in more horses that otherwise would languish in their fields or be taken to slaughter.
Our horses are a treasure, particularly here in Kentucky, and to slaughter them is a disgrace. They serve us well, and it’s time we did the same for them.
Paula Sparrow is the “Creature Comforts” columnist for KentuckyLiving.com. To read more stories, go to www.KentuckyLiving.com/Showcase and click on Creature Comforts.
Government and utilities across the country are encouraging everyone to take a small step for energy efficiency on National Change a Light Day, Wednesday, October 4.
Organizers note that if every American household replaced one traditional light with an Energy Star-qualified compact fluorescent bulb, it would save enough energy to light 7 million homes, save $600 million in utility bills, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to 1 million cars.
Energy Star is a national program providing energy-efficiency ratings and labeling. More information is available at www.energystar.gov or by phoning (888) 782-7937.
Kentucky’s public postsecondary institutions reached a significant milestone by conferring nearly 24,000 degrees, diplomas, and certificates during commencement exercises this past spring. This historic high exceeded last year’s record-setting number by 19.9 percent, based on preliminary information released by the Council on Postsecondary Education. Since 2001, the total number of degrees and credentials conferred by the public institutions during spring commencement has climbed 68 percent. More than half of all
degrees are awarded in the spring. Kentucky’s Public Agenda calls for nearly doubling the number of Kentuckians ages 25-64 with at least a bachelor’s degree over the next 15 years to reach the projected national average.
Theresa Vincent’s sixth-grade class in Greenville spent part of last spring recording children’s books on tape. They hope their efforts will instill a love for reading in the children who listen.
Each student in the class chose a book a young child might enjoy, paid for it, and recorded it. The books and tapes will be used at the family reading night activities in Muhlenberg County schools and will also be available through the Longest Elementary School library. Families will be able to check out the books, tapes, and a tape player to take home and listen and read along.
“I hope that little kindergarteners will want to read more books,” says sixth-grader Daxton Lear. “If they enjoy that one, maybe they will look for more books in that range and they might enjoy it more often.”
The idea began with Judy McGehee, 4-H youth development program assistant in Muhlenberg County, who learned of the idea during a meeting in Lexington and shared it with Vincent. The two paired together for the yearlong service project.
Vincent and McGehee say they talked about the county’s literacy rate being in the bottom half of the state and how the project may be a tool to help. Several projects are ongoing in the county to help improve literacy and this one will be added to the arsenal, McGehee says.
The students have learned along the way as well, Vincent says. It has improved some of their reading habits, taught them to put more expressiveness in their voice while reading aloud, and brought back some memories.
The Happy Man and His Dump Truck allowed Joshua Lindsey to show his creative side with voices and sound effects.
“It just seemed like a pretty good book because it had farmers interacting with animals and I like animals so I chose it because of that,” he said. “And the sound effects were fun.”
Vincent and McGehee say this first year was a great experience for them and the students and they are already thinking of ways to improve it for next year.
Laura Skillman, UK Extension