Blog DOB: 20 Jul, 2012
Name: azsdag han
32 dead horses were discovered in Amersham, Bucks at the weekend. Three other animals were in such poor condition they had to be put down, while the remaining stock of eighty were being taken to sanctuaries rather than the meat hooks they were destined for. Conditions at the site were described as "utterly horrific" with horses being tied up in small pens and standing in their own excrement.
So what's the problem? They're animals! There are plenty of starving people in Africa who'd be happy to eat them! This probably isn't a response you'd expect, but would it be more acceptable if I was talking about chickens?
They live for thirty nine days, never see natural light, constantly feed to make their commercial weight, are overcrowded, get painful lesions on their legs from sitting in their own faeces ("hock burns"), and are starved for eight hours on their last day to have a clean gut before ending up on our shelves in Tesco at two for a fiver.
This is the story Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has been describing on Channel 4 this week as he tried to convert Axminster into Britain's first free range town. His experimental chicken farm contrasted differences in welfare, and in taste, between factory reared and free range. The free range chickens, he said, are "out here in the grass, doing what chickens want to do."
I would like to think, and I'm probably in the majority, the surviving horses in Amersham would have a similar fate and were free to run around a field, but when it comes to chickens people just don't seem to feel the same. They're chickens, they'll buy two for a fiver.