Off To The Big Glue Factory In The Sky

Well, it's likely you've heard by now. Barbaro is no more. As we try to pick up the pieces and move on with our lives, I suggest a national day of morning for everyone's favorite oat-eater.

No, not really.

When I was driving at lunchtime yesterday (mmmm, lunch) I heard the news on the radio about Barbaro being put down and I laughed gleefully. But then I stopped abruptly and wondered if I had reached a new low in callousness, laughing at the death of an animal. Like many people, I am heartbroken when I hear about or see abused animals (like dogs at shelters) and cannot understand how anyone could abuse a lower life form like that. And, I thought, here I am laughing at the death of a horse.

Then I came to my senses and realized I wasn't laughing at Barbaro's death; rather, I was laughing with glee at the morons who have pinned the value of their own existence to the health and well-being of a horse. Remember the Barbaro message board? Well, that thing kept going strong and while I considered making it a weekly feature around here, enough other sites were bashing them. See the makeshift Myspace pages (here's one example) or Deadspin's coverage.

Yes, I have some anger in me and very often I vent it at people with barely enough brain cells to function on their own. Most of these people, I've learned, are obsessed with Barbaro, a horse that they hadn't ever even heard of before he won one famous race and then broke his leg. They send him cards and emails and post messages... it's ridiculous.

The main reason it all made me angry? The bullshit suggestion that what the veternarians and owners of Barbaro were doing was somehow noble or well-intentioned. That they wanted Barbaro to be happy and live out his days eating apples on a nice farm. What a crock of shit. This was about money, plain and simple, and nothing -- nothing -- more than that.

Any other horse would have been put down the day he grotesquely broke his leg. Horses don't understand their treatments and they don't understand calming down and not thrashing on their broken leg. They will suffer if they're not put down. But Barbaro's owners, Roy and Gretchen Jackson, saw dollar signs and realized that Barbaro could be a stud and spread his seed to dozens of mares and they could college a handsome stud fee for each time Barbaro mounted another horse.

Think I'm wrong? Well, in 2005 the top stud fees in Kentucky were well into the six figure range, as you can read about here. So having a potential gold mine in their hands, is it so hard to imagine the Jacksons trying at all costs to keep Barbaro alive?

Let's not pretend that Sunday night was Barbaro's first "bad night." There's no doubt that this horse has been suffering and the vets finally said on Monday morning that he absolutely had to be put down.

Those who claim to "love" Barbaro should be happy at this development -- he's finally at peace and no longer being drugged or having dozens of screws put into his leg. This was the humane thing to do and it was the humane thing to do last May. All these clowns who post messages about him and make him carrot-treats can move on to something else now.

So it turns out I really don't like to hear about animals suffering and that on Monday, Barbaro actually -- finally -- was put out of his suffering.

Can We Talk About This For A Second?

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