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A Horse,
of Course

with Don Blazer

A Horse of Course

I call 'em like I see 'em.
So, I say anyone supporting our present EIA (equine infectious anemia) eradication program is lacking in normal intelligence or understanding, is slow-witted or dull.
Does that mean I'm calling state department of agriculture directors, state veterinarians and state legislators stupid? Of course not!
I do think they are lacking in understanding.
Let's look at some facts, then you decide.
Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is a viral disease, and it can be fatal. Most of the time it is not, and deaths from EIA are so rare there are no statistics which support the idea it should even be of concern.
Agriculture directors, state veterinarians and state legislators, however, have adopted programs which require lifetime quarantine or immediate slaughter of any horse which tests positive for EIA. That's about the same as getting the biggest bulldozer you can find to run over an ant.
Every year, because of the nationally adopted slaughter program, we kill hearty, useful, working horses for no good reason. We kill horses which are pets, which are show animals, which are ranch work horses. We kill horses who have never shown any sign whatsoever of suffering from EIA. Why?
No one who is doing the killing can give you a quick-witted, full of understanding, sharp answer. In fact, most of those responsible for the killing haven't got an answer, let alone a good one.
The director of the Arizona Department of Argiculture, the man with the power to kill, or stop the killing, won't even talk to me about EIA or the Arizona state quarantine and kill program. His public information personnel won't give me an answer either.
The Arizona State Veterinarian says the quarantine or kill law is not based on the number of horses deaths caused by EIA. The decision to slaughter animals which have a disease is based on "production", according to the Arizona State Veterinarian's office.
So I ask, what does a horse produce? A horse, even one testing positive for EIA, produces happiness, mental health, pleasure. That horse helps a child grow in confidence, learn responsibility, sportsmanship and what the world need's most, love.
Well, because he has tested positive for EIA, he may not be producing love, confidence, happiness, mental health, pleasure and learned responsibility to his absolute potential. So, he ain't producing. Kill him!
If the quarantine and slaughter program were designed to eradicate this dreaded disease--95 per cent of the horses who have it never show any ill effects--then maybe you could say with some understanding that the program at least was offering some protection to other horses.
The fact is, only about 20 per cent of the horses in the country are tested for EIA. That means that 80 per cent of the horses aren't being tested. You can't eradicate a dreaded disease that way, or protect other horses. The fact is, those who are being tested are being discriminated against, because their crime is they are going to cross state lines, thereby triggering the testing mandate.
Getting those horses tested is easy for everyone who wants to profit from the useless slaughter of horses.
State government offices can build their budgets and personnel because they need people and money to enforce the law.
Veterinarians make money drawing blood. It's quick, it's easy, and many times they can charge a call fee on top of the service fee.
Laboratories which run the tests see the program as pure and simple guaranteed income. And how much income is it?
In 1998 horsemen spent an estimated $314 million dollars on Coggins testing. That ain't hay.
Now figure this, if Coggins testing continues and 40 per cent of the horses get tested, that could be $628 million a year. What if 65 per cent of the horses get tested? That could amount to nearly $1 trillion in income.
Does anyone want to put a stop to a money maker like this?
Only some stupid guy like me.
Please, someone, e-mail me, call me, or write to me and explain why we allow the killing of useful healthy horses. If someone could explain, maybe I won't be so lacking in normal intelligence and understanding, so slow-witted, so dull.
Don Blazer
Visit Don Blazer's Web Site

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"A Horse, Of Course"
Monthly Column
by Don Blazer

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