Animal slaughter, and even more specifically, horse slaughter has been one of my latest points of ponderment (making the English language work for you people!).
For several years now I have been aware of/and researched somewhat the American animal slaughter market. The injustices (both to animals and humans), corruption, and downright filth, are way too broad of a topic to discuss here. However I do think I can scratch the surface on the horse slaughter issue, and that has been the focus of my musing lately.
It all started several months ago when I admitted how much, and how long I have had a crush on horses. It started as a kid with the Black Stallion books and an uncle who let my brother and I ride his Quarter Horse, Sugar Foot. As I got older, I just admired them, and the people who got to ride them, from afar. With this admiration came the knowledge that somewhere between calm, sweet Sugar Foot and the present, I had developed some fear.
My brother now has three horses and every time I get around them I feel anxious I am going to get stepped on and the notion of riding one of them fills my head with ugly fall scenarios; complete with broken bones. Yikeys!
Anywho, back to the crush*. I decided to seriously consider getting my own horse (under my brother's tutelage) and wanted to educate myself before making any final decisions.
I started with several books about horse care and "horse people" relating their experiences at all stages of equine knowledge. At the same time I added a few horse blogs to my morning lineup; including Fugly Horse of the Day and NorCal Equine Rescue. Lately both of these blogs have had several posts on the issue of horse slaughter in this country. I am sure it comes as no surprise that they are both staunchly opposed to horses being slaughtered and their meat being eaten. No shocker here either that many are for the slaughter and meat use of horse, and so the grand debate begins.
Currently in the US (and these could be rapidly changing in Montana) horse slaughter has been banned in most states sine the 1990s. Most of the horses purchased at livestock auctions in this country, are sent to Canada or Mexico for slaughter.
I do not regularly comment on blogs (other than my own) but yesterday I did weigh in at Norcal's blog on the slaughter issue.
Daniella said...So there you have it. Not the most eloquent comment in the world, but hopefully I got across my point that if we have dominion over an animal, it is our duty as humans to make sure that our time with them does not include inhumane or unnatural treatment.
I think the work Nor Cal is doing is not only amazing, but wonderful. I have great respect and admiration for all of the work to help as many horses as possible.
The animal slaughter issue in general is a difficult one. Who are we as a nation to decide which animals are to be eaten and which to be spared, or made into pets?
We routinely, and by vast majority, inhumanely slaughter thousands of animals a day in this country alone for their meat. No, we do not currently slaughter dogs and cats for food in the United States, but is that to say other animals like cows and pigs and chickens are just plain more deserving of this fate?
Does that also mean European markets for horse meat are somehow wrong in comparison with our meat consumption?
I don't think it is about how many animals are killed and what we are doing with them.
I think we need to shift our thinking to one of a unified intolerance of any animal being inhumanely treated/slaughtered; no matter their human labeled status as "pet" or "food".
As humans, we have chosen to overlap our existence with many different species. If we respect that choice by making sure every animal we deal with has a dignified, peaceful life - and death, then I think we will have brought some much needed humanity and grace back into our interactions with these animals. That is what they deserve.
Did my cheery look at such a lighthearted topic stir you to the point where you just have to know more?
Here you go:
Legislation information from the Animal Welfare Institute
The Montana chapter of the Quarter Horse Association jumps into the slaughter ring, but maybe not on the side of the issue you would think...
A surprising look into the horse meat black market in Miami
A Pro-slaughter article from the NY Times
A Fugly Anti-slaughter post
* Afternote: My equine education really showed me that I cannot afford a horse at this time. It didn't wipe out my crush though, so we shall see!