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John Block Reports from Washington

RSS By: John Block,

John Block has dedicated his professional career to the fields of agriculture, food and health.

Montana Horses

May 04, 2010

Last weekend, with our corn all planted in record time, I went out to Montana. My 16-year-old daughter and I went to a horse ranch – Montana Horses’ annual horse drive. Those responsible for herding the horses included about 15 “green horns” (that would include me, although I did grow up riding a horse), and 25 cowboys and wranglers who knew their job.
We rounded up 350 horses that had been wintering in high country pasture and drove them 30 miles to new pastures. The drive took 3 days and, on one occasion, we herded our horses right down the middle of a little town called “Three Forks” with a thousand people cheering and lining the streets.
The ranch owns the horses and now will lease them out to customers for the summer. Their customers include individual families, dude ranches, etc. That is their business. I met and talked to many ranchers that were involved in the drive. This is just another dimension of this diverse country. Sit on your horse on top of a big hill and you can see for miles. Cattle ranches, wheat fields, pastures, and yes, horses. Different from my Illinois farm – a far cry from corn, soybeans, and pigs.
However, there is a common bond, a consistent way of thinking across rural America. Our priorities are personal responsibility, self-reliance, trust, and integrity. That’s why we don’t like the “nanny state” managing our lives and business – always encouraging dependence on big government. Rural Americans are more independent than big city urban dwellers.
The philosophy of the ranchers and horsemen was adamantly opposed to government micro-management. They are furious about our government closing down all of our horse slaughter plants. Horses are personal property. The owner should be able to sell his horse for slaughter, have the meat processed and sell it to the French. Why not? The alternative is to have thousands of unwanted horses on our hands.
Rural Americans are convinced that our government spends too much, wastes too much, and costs too much. In our lives, we have to live with what we have. We can’t spend what we don’t have. However, our government can and does.
Keep your eyes on Greece, Portugal, Spain, Italy – wallowing in debt. We need to turn around and not take that path. That’s the good judgment of rural America.
In closing, I would encourage you to access my website which archives my radio commentaries dating back 10 years and will go back 20 years when complete. Check on what I said back then. Go to
Until next week, I am John Block in Washington.
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COMMENTS (10 Comments)

Jeff Hudson
It simply amazes me of the ignorance of some Americans. You conservative want a government run by the majority when you are in power but by the miniscule minority when not( the rural American) I live in Montana, very rurally. I have lived in places like San Jose Ca in the bay area, doesn't get much more urban then that and I can tell you for a fact that Urbanites are much more self sufficient then rural people by a far stretch. Just because you want something to be doesn't make it that. The populace of this country doesn't believe that horses are property nor food, You are always welcome to move to Canada, Italy or any place that does eat horse and consider them property if you wish but stop trying to convincing the millions of us out here, far more then all the rural states together by the way that we are wrong and you in your outdated mode of thinking is right. I was raised on a southern horse farm, killed my own dinner and have 15 horses of my own. Just shows what a bit of education and the ability to learn different ways of thinking can do for that "Rural" mind when its applied.

11:20 AM May 7th
Sending a horse to slaughter is only what an owner with no gratitude for its service or compassion would do. Slaughter is not euthanasia but a cruel death. 92 % of the horses sent to slaughter are young and in good shape according to USDA stats. Greedy people who overbred their horses are the ones who favor slaughter. Horses are not livestock according to the USDA and are companions and pets to most owners. I guess some of the pro-slaughter side will want to kill our cats and dogs next and send them to China.
For shame !
3:48 PM May 6th
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