If anyone is undecided about whether or not they are anti- or pro- horse slaughter, I beg of you to read on. I am truly begging anyone that has not yet made up their minds to please read the information and stories presented in this post. PLEASE! You owe it to yourself to know the full story. ~TL
My friends, it is with a heavy heart that I write to you this day. While following up on a research project, I came across a story about a horse named Rhapsody Rhose. Her human was Jaime Cowan. As I read Jaime and Rhapsody’s story, I realized that their story was quite literally my nightmare come true. After speaking via email with Jaime, it seemed prudent to share with you all this experience.
Anyone reading this could easily say to themselves, “But that won’t happen to me,” or something along the lines of, “That would never happen here.” My friends, this is sadly the worst possible assumption anyone could make.
The following is an account of just how hard their story has been driven home to us here at TMP. Please, do not interpret this as an attempt to strike fear into your hearts and minds. We simply wish to convey the gravity of the situation so that you may also take preventative steps to avoid a similar outcome. At the end of this post, there are links to websites and organizations that combat horse theft. Please, take a few moments to look over some of their suggestions. There are also links showing what you can do should you ever have to face the same situation as Jaime.
Many thanks in advance, and as always, stay safe. ~The TMP Team
P.S. Of particular interest in the video “Part 1” was his confession of how he trapped Wild Mustangs when he couldn’t get enough domesticated horses bought to make a load to slaughter.
About a month ago, I awoke in the middle of the night screaming and throwing punches. Clate woke up as well and immediately ducked to miss a punch I had thrown into the air at an invisible assailant. Luckily, he was able to wake me from the nightmare before I seriously injured him or myself. He tried to calm me, and tried unsuccessfully to understand the incoherent words I was crying. When he was finally able to comprehend my words, he also understood my fear and violent reaction:
“They took him! They took him and I couldn’t stop them! They took Mouse!”
I had been having a nightmare.
Someone elusive and evil had stolen Mighty Mouse away from our pastures in the dead of night. They had taken him to Mexico, and through my dream vision, I saw him standing in the death line. My dream vision flashed back to our home, with Clate and I sitting in the living room, and the phone rang. It was someone telling me of Mouse’s situation. My disbelief was quickly replaced with an awful fear and dread as I raced to the barn only to discover he was indeed gone.
My dream vision then flashed to the cab of our truck as we raced down the highway headed for the border. Texas is a huge state, and we live on the Eastern border. Mouse was across the Western border. Chevrolet makes an awesome truck, but even our big V8 Silverado couldn’t drive fast enough to get there in time.
Again, my dream vision flashed back to Mouse standing in that line, unknowingly awaiting his death. He looked back as though I were standing right there with him. The look on his face was one of confusion and curiosity. Mouse, forever the curious one, was totally unaware of what fate lay ahead of him. Suddenly, fear replaced curiosity’s position alongside confusion as the horse already inside the chute screamed. Mouse jerked his head towards the scream, and then frantically back at me.
Even though it was only a dream, I literally felt my heart breaking inside of my chest. The pain was immense. My beloved Mustang had no idea what was going on, and had no idea where I was, or why I wasn’t there. And try as I did, I couldn’t get there!
Flash back to the truck. My fingers furiously dialed number after number to reach every contact I had in the Texas Department of Public Safety’s State Troopers Offices, the Texas Attorney General’s Office, then on to the Texas Courts System. I called every last friend and ally I had as fast as I could, all the while my vision flashing me back and forth to Mouse standing there in that line. All of my contacts assured me they would do whatever they could to stop this horrible atrocity from taking place. But they should not have made those assurances, for such a thing was not in their power. Mouse was already across the border. He was no longer inside any of their jurisdictions.
I was too late.
As my dream vision flashed back to Mouse, he was now next in the death line. I screamed. I fought. It wasn’t enough. My boy stepped through the opening of the chute. The knife was raised, and just before it came down, I awoke from the nightmare.
My nightmare was just that: a dream that sent the deepest fear I’ve ever felt through my entire being. A desperate sprint to the barn confirmed that Mighty Mouse was indeed still safe here at home and not in the clutches of an unspeakable horror. I must have stood there in the barn for what seemed like forever making sure that the dream was in fact just a dream, and that I was really touching his mane.
Relief doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt.
The nightmare had been so incredibly real that I still had a pain deep in my chest, one that persisted until the following afternoon. Breathing did not come quite as easily as it should have. Hot tears still flowed down my face. Anger, intense and furious, welled up inside of my body. As I stood there in his stall rubbing his neck and smelling his mane, Mouse was aware of my emotional state. He responded as a comforter, as my friend, and almost in a reassuring manner as if to say, Mom, I’m ok. I’m here, safe and sound.
But Rhapsody Rhose was in fact not safe and sound, and Jaime was in fact living my nightmare on an even grander scale that I could ever possibly dream or would ever want to.
I’ve spent the last month in a state of heightened awareness, wary of those who slow down even a little in front of our pastures, wary of any noises I hear in the middle of the night, and constantly checking to make sure of the horses’ safety. India is my son’s mare, and is much bigger than Mouse, so I fear for them both.
This fear is very strange to me. I am not the type of person that fears many things, and I am certainly not afraid to defend those whom I care for and love with whatever means are necessary. However, I am finding through this fear that even though I am fully prepared and capable of such a defense, I cannot be everywhere at once. And there are those amongst us who are not afraid of consequences to their actions. Indeed, they do not care about said consequences.
Where I live and where I was raised, we haven’t always locked our doors. In the past, we’ve often left for days on end with the front and back doors left unlocked and even open, especially in the summertime. Now, we are sure to lock every door and window before going on a five minute trip to town and back. Jaime lives in a place much the same as we do, and likely much the same as many of you do as well.
My point is simply this: We as the American People have taken for granted the safety and security of our homes, barns, and pastures for far too long. We who have not been affected by such tragedies as the Cowan family has should count ourselves extremely lucky that we have been but merely “missed” by that tragedy’s aim thus far.
If Jaime and Rhapsody’s story proves but one thing to us all, it is that we must be vigilant. Rhapsody Rhose was taken by someone the Cowan family trusted. This trust was given to this person with no cause to doubt it. And yet, Rhapsody is still gone.
We cannot allow this to happen to others. With Jaime’s story, others – possibly in the same position with horses at a boarder – can put measures in place to help prevent the same outcome.
(FYI: Under Texas Penal Code Chapter 31, Sec. 31.03(e)(5)(A), horse theft is a third degree felony if you steal less than ten horses and a first degree felony to steal ten or more horses. Both are state jail offenses. Contrary to what many have believed for years, horse theft is not a hanging offense in Texas. At least, it’s not legally.)
Many pro-slaughter advocates would have the American public believe that slaughter is a necessary means to dispose of horses that inevitably will be among any horse population. These “inevitable” horses include those who are lame, sick, old, or those with severe behavioral problems that cause them to become a danger to humans.
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Most horses that end up in slaughter are in fact robust, healthy animals. Many are highly trained and certainly capable of continuing life in the service of humans as companions and/or laborers. Even higher populations of these horses were sold under the pretense that they would go to a “good home”, some owners even being promised that their beloved Equine would be the new companion of a small child.
But this isn’t always the case. There are no solid statistics yet available, but it is believed that between 40,000 to 55,000 horses are stolen each year. It is relatively easy to take a horse, put it in a trailer, haul it to an auction and make a quick dollar. Sadly, many horses that go through an auction end up at a slaughterhouse.
Rhapsody Rhose was a Purebred Polish Russian Arabian Mare born April 9, 1989. Rhapsody was never bred. She was raised and trained for pleasure riding only, as was her mother, Romantica Rose, who still survives. Rhapsody’s bloodline contained several patron lines. She was the granddaughter of National Grand Champion Marsianin and daughter of Borexpo. She was valued between $5000- $25,000. She was sold to the kill buyer for $65. She wasn’t a show horse, a racehorse, a mare that produced wonderful foals and she never won any trophies. She was also not an “inevitable” horse.
Rhapsody was not bad. She did nothing wrong. She was not old and she had no lameness. Her trot was amazing; her canter was breathtaking. She was not ugly. She did no harm and did not disappoint.
Click here for Jaime Cowan’s Story, The Story of Rhapsody Rose
Let your voice be heard directly by Congress on PopVox:
WARNING: The following videos give first hand accounts from a “kill buyer”. He is graphic in his detailing of events that he and his fellow “kill buyers” committed and witnessed. Viewer discretion is advised.