I would like to thank you for the lovely article that was your cover story, "The Business of the Sport of Kings" (U.S.1 November 23). It is a shame that one of your readers has decided to badmouth the writer and the people described in the article without trying to uncover the true nature of the events and the people he wrote about.
The article itself was a pretty accurate description of an auction with all the different people involved and the different reasons for attending. As for name checking, there were a few spelling errors, but it was otherwise correct, and Harry Hershkovitz is actually very insulted that the ‘letter writer’ [who sent an anonymous E-mail] thinks that he is ‘fantasy fiction.’
The real ‘fantasy fiction’ is the Horse Popsicle case. The real story goes like this: David Carper was driver Frank Carper’s custom-made for horses trailer to sell the horses that people no longer want or have use for because they are lame or unridable. He had engine trouble and pulled off to check the problem. A cop ‘discovered’ 36 horses in the trailer in good condition, properly loaded as to size and disposition. A local ‘vet’ (who could no longer practice) is called to ‘expose’ the ‘conditions’ on the truck. Except there are no ‘conditions.’ The horses are all fine, and are released to continue on and arrive safely at their destination.
A fine was issued for three things, none of which had to do with the condition of the horses. The Justice of the Peace decided that she would ignore the law as written in New York, and instead of a fine of $100 "per violation," (i.e. the separation gates were 12 feet apart instead of 10 feet) would try to levy a fine "per horse," which is how the figure of an $11,000 fine was issued.
Horse dealers sell horses of all sizes, shapes, and descriptions, They care for and about the animals that they sell and are discouraged when they fall into the hands of people who don’t care for them. It is a shame that horses, or any animals are injured through neglect or ignorance. I see that your "letter to the editor" sender realizes this, too, but, like most denigrators, does not offer a real solution or publish their name so that we can ask them if they have a solution.
Horse slaughter is a contentious issue and it will not be solved here today. However there are some questions that people should mull over. Why is it that the Humane Society collects tens of millions of dollars in donations for the advertising campaign to end horse slaughter and yet offers no solution to the problem of unwanted horses? Why are the people who starve and abuse horses seldom prosecuted? Why do people seem to automatically think that if a dealer buys a starving horse that he is sending it for slaughter? Why don’t they see all the ones that dealers saved with feed and care and sold again to someone who can take better care of them? Why aren’t all the race horse trainers who push their horses too far, too fast, and lame them prosecuted?
No miracle will happen here just by saying stop horse slaughter. They still won’t have a place to go or someone to care for them. There is no easy answer to a lot of these questions. But maybe you have a solution. If so would you let everyone know?
Also since the person who wrote the letter is a ‘true lover of horses’ they should give their name and address so someone can deliver all of the horses to their farm for them to care for, instead of sending them to slaughter.