Documentary - "What About the Horse?" Questions Public Awareness

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Voluntary Instinct Productions' documentary entitled "What About the Horse?" explores Land Development and the fate and exploitation of wild and domestic Horses in North America.

Voluntary Instinct Productions - To recap on a long standing issue; 'NPR's All Things Considered' reported Oct.16, 2007 that approximately 60,000 horses were slaughtered annually at the Belgian-owned Carvel International Horse Slaughter plant in Dekalb, Illinois. Carvel was the third and final of three foreign owned horse slaughter plants to be closed in the US in fall 2007, somewhat affecting this $20,000,000 export business. This is a sore subject in the equine circles, but why has it primarily remained there? Voluntary Instinct's three part documentary series entitled "What About the Horse?", will explore the fate and exploitation of our wild and domestic horses, to unveil the core issues of how this situation has gotten so out of hand and why so few people know anything about it.

Despite legislation obtained by the Humane Society lobbying to ban horse slaughter within the US, we continue to export horses to Mexico and Canada for slaughter, and onto Europe and Asia for consumption. The export business continues, but unfortunately the horses don't fair as well with the live transport. The conditions are very difficult and cruel to the animals. Some are transported by aircraft, but usually traveling days overseas in uncommonly tight quarters, without food or water, in a mad rush to their immediate demise. The fear and abuse these animals withstand is immense. Compounded by the brutal conditions in which they are now slaughtered (without FDA regulations). Sometimes selling for less 15 cent per pound. Race and Show horses, former pets and protected wild horses among others are bought very inexpensively at auctions, unbeknownst to the seller, specifically for slaughter purposes.

American's don't typically eat horse meat. This could be associated with the connotation that US freedom was built on the backs of these creatures. Wars were fought, livestock managed, transportation provided, hunting accelerated, mail delivered, sports enhanced, races won and ponies given to little girls while emotional attachments were made for life.

Yet the current economic mantra appears to be that few things are sacred and everything has a price. Therefore, why shouldn't the very animal that this country's freedom was built on the backs of, be sold for consumption over seas? Have horses completely served their purpose since the advent of the automobile and impending demise of the cowboy? Are they now just an economic drain? Perhaps any other purpose is purely sport and human indulgence?

Adding to the problem, agricultural areas are being sold and over developed, with little regard to grazing and roaming needs for wild and domestic horses among other animals. And these resources are only further stressed by over zealous horse breeders.

But still, Wythe Pharmaceuticals of New Jersey continues to reproduce horses at an alarming rate in Canada since PMU farms were banned in the US in 2002. These PMU farms are apparently necessary to produce Premarin, in order to keep the hormonal nightmare of Menopause at bay. Unfortunately many Premarin users have no idea how this drug is produced or the long suffering inflicted upon the equine.

Just as most manufacturing companies aren't interested in accommodating the bi-products of their productivity, we now have a surplus of unwanted foals, with most going on to slaughter.        

However, there is an upside to all this equine drama. In some countries these American horses obviously bring a pretty penny and look very nice on a plate with a sprig of parsley. Could this equine export be just another necessary bi- product of capitalism, which we have somehow managed to exploit even further?

Evidently free trade has a sneaky way of staking its claim on most things that can't speak for themselves or justify their functionality. Yet the question still remains: Where does mankind's responsibility end and conscious begin?

The hardest part seems to be the suffering these animals silently endure due to a lack of public awareness through proper media representation. 'What About the Horse?' will explore the issues that fuel the debates and deliberations of equine and land management, which unfortunately place the horse and its welfare in the cross fire of commerce.

According to Hannah Flynn, Equine Financial Services, Inc. of Alpharetta, GA.; 'The equine industry is a $112 billion dollar GDP, equal to the textile and coal industry, with only $14 billion going to the work horse.' (Statistics by: Deloitte and Touche / Accounting firm for the American Horse Council).

There are over 2 million horse owners in the US. Many provoking much heart felt and financial controversy over the horse slaughter issue. Yet somehow this controversy is missing the mark on public awareness or impact outside the equestrian world.

But broken down, if only 15% of the US horse owners alone gave just $1 to the making of 'What About the Horse?' the public would be knowledgeable of the issues and informed enough to weigh in on a solution.

So horse lovers unite! You can make a difference for only $1.00. And you will see your unity have a positive impact in our equine community via national media attention. And as an added bonus, all additional proceeds will be allocated towards responsibly and conscientiously managed land trusts, dedicated to equine preservation.

Voluntary Instinct has no illusions that 15% of US horse owners will donate $1. This number is simply based on a law of averages. But in an ideal world, that's all it would take. Many wonderful organizations including Voluntary Instinct seek solutions, not dogma. VI feels that by bringing the public into the decision making, a solution is possible. If your concern for the welfare of American horses and our rapidly diminishing agricultural areas is worth $1, please take a stand and support "What About the Horse?".

People can't make a difference, until they're made aware.

To enjoy a brief sample of 'What About the Horse?' equine footage click here: . It will make you feel better, but it won't change a thing ... until we, as an informed society ... change.

Voluntary Instinct is a New York based 501c3 Non Profit Media Corporation. To learn more visit our web site @ or write to:
Voluntary Instinct
PO Box 3582
New York, NY 10163.

Robyn Day / Producer- 'What About the Horse?' / Founder -Voluntary Instinct, Inc.


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Robyn Day

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