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Christian Vegetarian Association Presents:
Take Heart!

Rev. Craig DiBenedictis

Rev. Craig DiBenedictis, a CVA sustaining member, was kind enough to write a wonderful piece about horses and what they mean to humanity. We are thankful for his words and echo his sentiments with the hope that one day a similar Act includes not only horses but the rest of the animals raised for food.

The famed cowboy Will James (1892-1942) said, "To my way of thinking there's something wrong, or missing, with any person who hasn't got a soft spot in their heart for an animal of some kind." For Mr. James and the American people, that animal has always been the horse. "To me," he said, "the horse is man's greatest, most useful, faithful, and powerful friend. He never whines when he's hungry or sore footed or tired, and he'll keep on a going for the human till he drops."

Americans have never considered horses to be livestock, animals raised for food and hide. Instead, they have been seen as partners in conquering insurmountable odds, whether they be the land and elements in blazing new frontiers, plowing the ground for raising crops, hauling logs for building our homes, mining necessary resources, fighting invading armies, thrilling the hearts of our children by giving them rides, and lifting or calming our spirits with nothing more than their majestic and powerful presence. Yet, while we have built monuments to horses, there has also existed what some have termed a "dirty little secret" in the horse industry: horses have been slaughtered in the millions for diners in other countries that consider horse meat a delicacy. Reminiscent of Jesus' words, "Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed" (John 3:20), great efforts were made to keep the American public from knowing about this, or, to whatever extent the word got out, to lead them to believe that these were just old, sick horses. But the truth is that the majority of these horses are young and healthy. Some are deliberate throw away from the entertainment industry, no longer useful because they make money by winning races, or failed to measure up on the rodeo circuit. Others are stolen from loving homes. And some are bought by "killer buyers" under the false pretense of giving them good homes.

Since the mid-1970's, efforts have been made to end this ugly practice, but the industry always had powerful people in key places to make sure the legislative bills never made it to the floor of the Congress, in spite of overwhelming support for it from hundreds of co-sponsors. This past Thursday was a dream-come-true for those of us who have worked for years to save our horses, as HR 503, the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act, made it to the floor and was passed by a big majority, just as we knew it would be. It now must go on to the Senate, where we are hoping and praying for the same level of victory.

While I believe we can and should strive to live without slaughtering and eating any animals, I think a biblical case can be made for a culture that does so to grant "favored status" to an animal that partners with man in expressing his imago Dei (image of God). No animal has done that like the horse. If any animal deserves to be treated with dignity in life and in death, it is the horse.


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