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Finding happiness

Here's an upbeat year-end type horse story.

It will take a while to get there.

I live in a state, Oklahoma, whose most recent claim to hotly debated legislative taste is the passage of a bill that legalizes the butchery of horses. Who knows where this idea originated, possibly during a break at the rooster fights.

Horses were essential to the settlement of this state, as a land run opened it for business and pleasure. A land run was one of the biggest horse races ever, with settlers riding for the garden spots, often leaving the starting lines sooner than what was legal.

Here's the way a state like this works when it comes to laws of the land. It's frequently the small-town legislators versus the metropolitan-area legislators. The metro areas here are Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where we have essentials like pro basketball, good college football, solid universities, and more natural gas than you can shake a fracker at. The rural Oklahomans have to scratch harder for their livings. So when it comes to any new piece of law, one of the first questions considered is: What's the money angle?

It is illegal to ship dead horses in cans, or horse meat, to food companies in this country. So the dead horses in cans will go to other nations. There's the money angle. People who think their horses would be better off dead would make some cash for leading their animals into the slaughterhouse. And the butchers would make money for selling the squashed up remains of horses to countries where they might also dine on doggies.

In jockeying the horse butchering bill to the finish line, the country cousins broke out the argument that killing a mistreated or ill or abandoned horse was more humane than arresting any low-life owner and rescuing the animal; or letting a sick horse suffer. The proponents of the bill even found some horse race people who spoke positively of putting down animals, "putting down" being a more livable way of saying "killing."

Just this month, the courts ruled that slaughterhouses in New Mexico and Missouri could go on with their plans to make killing horses and selling their remains a legal and legitimate business. No horse butchering joint has been opened in this state yet. Imagine having a slaughterhouse as a neighbor. Imagine working there. Wait. Don't.

Arguing horseslaughter is like talking politics or religion. Beliefs seem ingrained or inborn. Nobody says kill only terminally ill horses. Nobody takes into much consideration worthless owners who would breed a horse just to kill it for profit.

So what's a horse player to do? What's somebody who gets pleasure from a sport involving horses to do after the photo of the finish has been read, forget about it?

There are lots of places that rescue and care for horses. The way it seems to work is the bigger the animal, the more it costs to keep it alive. You can buy a rescued horse a bale of hay for around twenty bucks, or adopt one long-range for whatever you want to send.

So I have been sending out some $25 checks in the name of horse rescue and support. Who knows where good karma at the track in 2014 will originate.