Congress recently lifted a ban on the inspection of horse meat for human consumption in the United States, essentially making horse meat eligible as food. The ban was lifted in part because of the recession and the effect it has had on the welfare of horses in this country. Last June there was a federal report stating that animal rights organizations were experiencing a spike in incidents of horse neglect and abandonment since 2007.
Basically as people began to struggle economically and since the maintenance of a horse is a large expense, corners were being cut in terms of horse care and in some cases animals were being inexpertly put down. In some states, data showed that investigations for horse abuse increased more than 60 percent.
Those that would advocate for the humane slaughter of horses for human consumption say that lifting of the ban argue that if slaughterhouses existed for horses, they would be a place where an unwanted animal could be disposed of in a humane way and they would not go to waste. Dave Duquette, president of the nonprofit, pro-slaughter group United Horsemen, said that while no site has been picked yet he’s got investors who have expressed interest in financing a horse meat processing plant. The horse meat industry is apparently big business in Mexico and in Canada and we could see some of that profit.
The last slaughterhouses in the U.S. were in Illinois, were owned by foreign companies and closed in 2007, but Duquette’s plant would be American-owned. Since horse meat is not a common menu item here in the states, most of the meat would be shipped to countries in Europe and Asia. I know, it kind of makes you think twice about eating meat while travelling abroad.
But who’s to say that a horse has any more rights than a cow, a chicken, or a pig when it comes to being food for ‘human consumption?’ Who knows, horse meat might be delicious and it’s got protein right? Well as someone who has been dabbling in vegetarianism as of late I’ll pass, but far be it from me to keep the people in France or Japan from satisfying their cravings for horse burgers!
For me it comes down to this: I don’t think that any one animal is “better” than another in terms of which ones are ok to call “food.” Of course I have preferences for which animals constitute food to me, but the world is a big place. There are many different cultures and different resources available to all of us. And telling people what they can and can not eat is in a way like telling them how they can and can not worship. So since I’m not totally against the idea of eating meat, I guess if people want to eat horses or deer or even cat or dog, that’s their business. But I do believe that no animal (food or not) should be abused or killed in a matter that is inhumane or unprofessionally handled.
What do you guys think?
- Horse Meat May Pop Up on Menus (thedailymeal.com)
- Horse Slaughter Likely Back in U.S. Soon; USDA Ban Lifted (ibtimes.com)
- Would You Eat Horse Meat? (boston.cbslocal.com)
- U.S. Recession, Inflation, Now Horse Slaughtering For Meat (friendseat.com)
- US horses could be slaughtered for meat (news.smh.com.au)