Therapy Animals: Companions or Consumption?

animal therapy
Buzz, Self

The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated. -Mahatma Gandhi

On November 18, 2011, it became legal to slaughter American horses for human consumption in the United States. What?! Americans don't eat horses. We ride them, groom them, love them, use them in therapy, and make movies about them. Imagine sitting through two hours of War Horse, only to watch "Joey" get slaughtered after his brave and heroic service. Unthinkable? Think again.

During a closed-door-session, a few members of Congress slipped language into an appropriations spending bill which reversed a five-year ban on horsemeat inspections. With the pressure of a government shutdown looming, and despite his 2008 campaign promise to ban horse slaughter and the export of horses for slaughtering, President Obama signed it. There was no media coverage until ten days later. How could this happen? Can A Democrat Love A Republican?

People proposing to slaughter horses, usually those who stand to profit in some way, suggest that horses will be neglected or starved if they are not slaughtered instead. They say that slaughtering, the details of which I will be kind enough to spare you, is the humane thing to do. In my opinion, there is nothing humane about slaughtering any animal. (That's why I became a vegetarian) Slaughter is not humane euthanasia.

This same rationale could be used to slaughter our stray, neglected, or homeless dogs and cats and ship their meat to foreign countries so that someone, somewhere, could profit while breeding goes unchecked. We don't eat dogs and cats and in America, we put people in prison who harm them. We protect our companion animals...or do we? Sadly, Congress has just betrayed one of our nation's longest-standing providers, protectors, and companions. We still owe a lot to the horse. An Unlikely Boyfriend [VIDEO]

Besides winning races and herding cows, horses provide remarkable therapy to people. From veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress, to people afflicted with Down Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy, the therapeutic benefits of working with horses are proven. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I have provided Equine-Assisted Therapy for over ten years and my therapy horses Lustre, Fifo, Una, Duncan, Maggie, Fancy, and Sky have helped depressed people feel better, autistic children to communicate, people with attention deficit improve their focus, at-risk teens to learn confidence and trust. The list goes on. Why Therapy?

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