Alayne and I wanted to tell you how much we appreciated all the wonderful comments and thoughts so many kind-hearted people have sent our way after reading about Chance's death yesterday. From the comments posted on the blog to the emails we've received, we have been very touched by the condolences and sentiments. Thank you for sharing them with us.
Many of you wrote about the "dignity" we gave Chance in how he died. I thought about that a lot yesterday, too. To us, every one of our animals deserves that kind of dignity at the end of their lives. And sadly, it's the one thing too many horses don't get.
On average about 2,000 horses die in slaughterhouses every week in this country. I've been checking the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service Web site every day this week for their latest equine slaughter statistics because I knew we were going to reach a gruesome milestone. Sure enough, the stats they released today showed that more than 100,000 horses were slaughtered in America in 2006. To be precise, 101,502. That was for the week ending 12/16/06, so a few more thousand will have died a tragic death in a slaughterhouse since then.
The reason I was thinking about this yesterday is because it struck me that every horse should be able to die like Chance did ... "peacefully, quickly, and gently, surrounded by people who loved him," as I described it. Or, as many of you called it, with "dignity." I think we owe them that. Not death in a slaughterhouse.
Rather than leave you on that grim note (sorry!), I wanted to close with one of our favorite video clips. This is blind Chance in August this year, doing what he loved the most ... rolling around on his back. He did this every morning when he first went out to pasture. Bear in mind that this is a horse who was dying from lymphosarcoma and had no eyes in his head -- and yet you can see how much he still enjoyed the simple pleasures of a horsey life.