Monday, December 12, 2011

Friend or food? Horse meat for human consumption, Congress and PETA

Regarding the ban on slaughtering horses to produce horse meat for human consumption, see these previous posts. There have been a rash of recent stories about the recent Congressional reversal on this, including this unlikely story (as reported by the Christian Science Monitor): Lifting horse slaughter ban: Why PETA says it's a good idea

""Congress has found what many may think of as an unexpected supporter in its decision to bring back horse slaughter facilities to the US after a 5-year-ban: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), the often-controversial animal rights group known for campaigns like “fur is murder."

“It's quite an unpopular position we've taken,” Ms. Newkirk says. “There was a rush to pass a bill that said you can't slaughter them anymore in the United States. But the reason we didn't support it, which sets us almost alone, is the amount of suffering that it created exceeded the amount of suffering it was designed to stop.”

"While PETA says the optimal solution is to ban both consumption slaughter and export of horses, it supports reintroducing horse slaughterhouses in the US, especially if accompanied by a ban on exporting any horses at all to other countries.

"There are now plans in over half a dozen states in the South and West to begin horse slaughter processing, a business worth about $65 million a year before Congress defunded the inspection regime. While unpalatable to most Americans, horse meat is eaten in Mexico, Asia, and parts of Europe.

"As Newkirk predicted, the end to domestic slaughter didn't curtail the number of horses being slaughtered for consumption, but, according to a GAO report, may have led to more inhumane treatment of old, abandoned, or neglected equines as greater numbers were instead shipped to Mexico or Canada for slaughter where the USDA doesn't have the authority to monitor the horses' conditions.

"The number of horses exported from the U.S. to Mexico, for example, increased by 660 percent since the de facto ban, the Government Accounting Office reported in June. Almost 138,000 horses were shipped out of the country for slaughter in 2010, compared to the 104,899 horses that were slaughtered domestically in the year before the ban took effect.

“It's hard to call [the end of the horse slaughter ban] a victory, because it's all so unsavory,” Newkirk says. “The [funding] bill didn't mean any horses were spared, but it does mean the amount of suffering is now reduced again.”
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Zhenyu Lai passes on the following related story, concerning the recent Congressional action (and which includes a video with the headline "Friend or Food?"): Horses could soon be slaughtered for meat in U.S.

""Congress has lifted a de facto ban on the slaughter of horses, a move hailed by Missouri farmers and state political leaders who say the prohibition had inadvertently caused more harm to the animals than good.

"But some animal-rights activists decried the little-noticed provision, which sailed to passage earlier this month and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Nov. 18. And they vowed to keep the issue alive, pressing for an outright prohibition of horse slaughtering in the U.S."
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And Divya Kirti points me to a story that ends with 5 Reasons Not to Eat Horse Meat
including 4. Most Americans oppose horse slaughter.
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And also this one (which seems to ignore most of the recent history that involved the just repealed ban): The Empathy Test: Why Nobody Cares About Horse Slaughter
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And in other horse related repugnance news, Push to Ban New York Carriage Horses Gains Steam
"After campaigning for decades, animal rights advocates are gaining support for legislation that would ban the hansom cabs..."

1 comment:

Suzanne Moore said...

While I put little credence in anything from PETA, this is actually a misquote. PETA published a clarification - which no one seemed to notice - that they were NOT pro-slaughter. They just believe that the horses would have a shorter ride if there were domestic slaughter plants - which is still ridiculous because there were only 3 plants in the entire US at the time they were closed, 1 in Illinois and 2 in Texas. Many of the western states are actually closer the Canada than to Illinois or Central Texas. All anyone need do is look at a MAP.

Still, with all the disinformation surrounding this topic, what's a little more? The European Union, which is our biggest horse meat customer, is FINALLY getting the message that we don't consider horses to be food animals in the US, so they are not regulated like food animals. About 70% of horse products, both prescription and over-the-counter are plainly labeled "not for use in horses intended for human consumption." I don't know HOW it could possibly be any plainer. Our horses are routinely exposed to substances that mandate permanent removal from the human food chain. Period. End of discussion. Horse meat in Italy: an investigation reveals that it contains substances dangerous to health: http://www.horseprotection.it/dett_articolo.asp?id_a=380

Horse slaughter in unconscionably cruel. The pro-slaughter advocates claim it will be different this time, that Temple Grandin has designed humane horse slaughter plants. Oh, yeah? This plant in Canada was supposed to be the newest, state-of-the-art horse slaughter facility, deigned by Temple Grandin herself: The True Cost of Canada's Horse Meat Industry: http://www.defendhorsescanada.org/lpn.html

And finally, the pro-slaughter advocates have been screaming about all these "unwanted, abandoned, neglected" horses left to starve, that slaughter would be better than that - notice they never discuss any options OTHER than slaughter, but never mind. Well, guess what? Guess where these horses were REALLY coming from: EWA Drops Explosive Bomb on Alleged Abandoned Horses Myth: http://horsebackmagazine.com/hb/archives/13190/

What more could I possibly say except that I have owned horses for 35 years, and 15 of those years were spent in Texas, between the two slaughter plants there - Beltex and Dallas Crown. It was a nightmare. If a horse slaughter plant opens in your area, you will not be happy whether you own horses or not.