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Hearing Cleveland's Voice While Traveling with the Miracle Horses to the Black Beauty Ranch

Holly Hazazd with Mari Mariah, one of the Miracle Horses given sanctuary at the ranch.

Holly Hazard is the executive director of the Doris Day Animal League and the chief innovations officer of The Humane Society of the United States, two partner groups of The Fund for Animals. She traveled with Mari Mariah and Josie Sahara from the stockyard in Cheyenne, Wyo., to the Black Beauty Ranch in Murchison, Tex. Below are her reflections on the journey and Cleveland Amory’s legacy:

I’d heard Cleveland talk of Black Beauty Ranch in the 15 years I worked with him on issues ranging from wild horses to spaying and neutering to chimpanzees. It was his pride. It was a place for some lucky animals to come and after a life of misery, a place to call home.

I remember his power and rage, bellowing at the carriage horse drivers in New York to stop the cruelty to the horses in their care. I remember his passion in the fight to protect the wild burros in the west. He had a special place in his heart for horses.

But there was no one to bellow at here. No one person brought about this cruelty. The guilty here hide behind a corporation at a slaughter plant, as owners overseas, or in a federal office making the slaughter inspections easy. The fact that the perpetrators are corporations or the government doesn’t make the cruelty any less painful for the animals involved. I know Cleveland would be at the head of this fight as well; he’d be at the head of his “Army of the Kind.”

Mari Mariah and Josie Sahara traveled through the day, rested over night and arrived at the ranch on April 12th, 2007. As if it had been scripted for a “B” movie, they tentatively came off the truck, looked at each other, and in perfect tandem, trotted off onto the green grass in the large paddock where they would spend the day. It may have been a “B” movie, but it was an “A” moment watching them gallop briskly away from the camel in the next enclosure who tried to vocalize a greeting and then bend down in the sunshine to graze.

By the end of the afternoon, this family, taken over a week ago from Utah to Illinois, to Wyoming to Texas, kicked and pushed, loaded on and off, separated and reunited, slowly came up to me and took a carrot from my hand. They were home….and I know Cleveland was grinning with us somewhere, and that he would be so proud of his part in this “miracle.”

The sadness in this story is that while the 30 Miracle Horses are now known as individuals, some proud, some timid, some funny or gallant, they are no different than the other 100,000 horses sent to slaughter last year, and the ones going right now to a plant in Mexico and Canada. Just as these individuals deserved a second chance at life with a family who will care, so do the ones who weren’t saved. This is a reminder of the crucial importance that the American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act (H.R. 503, S. 311), now pending in Congress, is passed. It would prohibit the slaughter of American horses for human consumption and the export of live horses to Canada and Mexico for slaughter, closing that loophole. We must persevere.

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Published May 2, 2007